Posts Tagged ‘Beamsville Bench’

Wines from the Bosc family to you

Posted by Bethany

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
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Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Château des Charmes Winery
–  February 2016 –

 

Type ‘Château des Charmes’ into a Google search and you’ll find yourself being redirected to fromtheBoscfamily.com. That’s because everything about this celebrated Niagara winery—from designing labels to trimming the vines—is a labour of love on the part of the entire Bosc family.

paul stPaul Bosc Sr. started out in the 1970s with a vision to craft top-shelf, European-style wines from vitisvinifera grown right here in Ontario. He was undeterred by naysayers and equally deaf to any words of caution about what he should & shouldn’t plant in the hard, stony soil, in a country known for its bitterly cold winters & short growing season. He toyed with different varietals, re-imagined vineyard structure and rolled the dice on how consumers would receive his wines.

A pioneer of the Canadian wine industry

To say he succeeded would be an understatement. Over the course of two decades, his wines have garnered widespread acclaim (and hardware) at the national &international levels, including the Ontario Wine Awards, the National Wine Awards of Canada and the internationally renowned Vinexpo.

That doesn’t mean the Bosc family is resting on their laurels. Far from it: read more about what they’re up to at the winery, including details about the largest renovation in its history.

paul jr and micheleWe are confident that this month’s Savvy Selections from Château des Charmes will surprise and delight you. We even went so far as to ask Michele (in photo at left with her husband Paul Bosc Jr) which wine she thought was the best.“It’s like asking someone with two kids to choose a favourite – it’s not fair!” she laughs. “That’s the thing about our wines that I love. No matter what mood I’m in, or what I’m feeling, or eating or not eating, there’s a wine for that. Sorry for stealing the Jackson-Triggs line, but it really is true.”

Our Savvy Sommeliers have shared their tasting notes with you, along with some pairing tips and recipes to help you enjoy each wine to its fullest.

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In your Savvy Selections you will find…

Gewürztraminer VQA 2013 St. David’s Bench Vineyard – A fragrant & succulent sipper that will have you dreaming of spring.

Chardonnay VQA 2012 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard– A hands down classic.

Cabernet Franc VQA 2012 St. David’s Bench Vineyard – Full, ripe red fruit explodes out of the glass.

Most not at the LCBO

Your Savvy Selections, along with many other gems from Château des Charmes, are not stocked at the LCBO. If you would like to order additional bottles or other Ontario wines, call me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926)or drop me a line at debbie@savvycompany.ca. We’ll be happy to arrange a special delivery for you!

Enjoy this great selection of wines from Château des Charmes.

Cheers,
Debbie & Savvy Team

 Introducing…

Château des Charmes Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Bethany Harpur

 

weddingIt was late in the day when my husband and I stopped at Château des Charmes in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Ten minutes before the tasting room was due to close. The harried server at the bar gave us a look; we flashed a few guilty smiles as we quickly sniffed and swirled.

Then the door opened, and a silver-haired gentleman walked in, wearily removing dusty work gloves. He pulled a bottle out from under the counter and poured some of its deep purple contents into a glass. Just before it touched his lips, he saw us. “Would you like to try some of this, while you’re here?”

A captivating man

That “quick stop” turned into a long, leisurely hour of sampling off-the-menu wines and engaging in deep discussion with none other than Paul Bosc Sr. himself (left in photo below), the patriarch of the Bosc family and the pioneering winemaker of Château des Charmes.

bosc familyIt’s no surprise to find the elder Bosc chatting up visitors at the impressive building on York Road. Hospitality and approachability are key in this thriving family business, where job titles tend to be malleable, depending on the season, event schedule or guest experience.

Bosc’s daughter-in-law, Michele (in black blouse in photo), wears several hats at the winery: marketing director, social media guru, welcoming committee, wedding planner. “I get to do a lot of different, fun things,” she says. “I think it’s great to interact with customers, to hear what they have to say, whether it’s on social media or live and in-person. That interaction, it’s about bringing our family story to the consumer.”

Renovations underway

Right now the family is adding a new chapter to the narrative as they expand the Château’s massive cellar. The renovation marks the first major capital investment since the winery opened. It will double the available space for barrels and create more “breathing room” for workers. “We want to be sure we have all the tools we need to make the best possible wine that we can,” says Michele.

reno spaceExpanding the cellar meant digging up the Château’s popular vineyard courtyard, where countless weddings, parties and concerts have been held over the years. “Now’s the opportunity to re-imagine it,” Michele says. “When we first built it and when we first opened, there was no concept of hosting 35 weddings a year, or welcoming 100,000 visitors a year—it just didn’t exist. Now we get to build it the way the business wants it. I can’t wait to see it done.”

A late start to winter and mild temperatures in the Niagara region have kept the renovation running on schedule, with the revamped space scheduled to open in May of this year.

Even better than before

After two decades, the Bosc family is eager to get people excited about their brand again—and get new Château des Charmes fans on board. “Our wines have never been better,” Michele proclaims. “We’ve been around a long time, we know what we’re doing. If you haven’t tasted our wines in a while, try us again. I think you might be surprised.”

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Here’s to Château des Charmes team!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


St David’s Bench Gewürztraminer VQA 2013 $19.95

“We planted these vines in 1996 &we feel they are just now hitting their peak, flourishing, producing fantastic, hand-harvested grapes that are making very interesting wine”, Vineyard manager Miguel Fontalvo.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A brilliant, clear pale-gold shines in the glass. Wave after wave aromas of clover honey, nectarines, grapefruit and honeysuckle inundate the senses. A bit of sweetness carries evenly with lingering acidity on the palate, to balance out the creamy mouthfeel. That same acidity lingers a bit on the finish, where subtle hints of woody smoke come through.

Suggested Food Pairing: Gewurztraminer is always a classic match for spicy dishes. Pair this with Mexican, Thai or Indian food, like the Quick Chicken Korma recipe included below.A perfect meal for a wintery day.

Cellaring: This beautiful wine has gorgeous aromas & flavours that are ready to enjoy right now!

 

Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2012, $21.95

A classic Chardonnay for even the pickiest ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) enthusiast. It’s the very definition of balance: all the aromas, flavours and textures carry through on an even keel from start to finish, without any sudden spikes or dips in the quality, making for an all-around elegant wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Up front, creamy butterscotch and exotic coconut, followed by butter and brioche on the palate. Finishes with subtle almost restrained oak and a muted essence of dried herbs.

Suggested Food Pairing: The smooth texture of oaked Chardonnay lends itself well to dishes dripping with butter, cream and cheese.A delicious wine to enamour your sweetheart over a Valentine’s Day meal with seafood, Pasta Alfredo, cheese fondue or cuddled by the fireplace enjoying a cheese platter and roasted nuts. For something completely different, try Roasted Chickenpeas recipe that we offer.

Cellaring: Ready to drink, but has the staying power to evolve further in the bottle over the next 2-3 years.

 

St. David’s Bench Vineyard Cabernet Franc VQA 2012 $25.95

This special parcel of land – St David’s Vineyard – is located high up against the Niagara Escarpment, the fruit has more time to mature and ripen in the summer sun. 2012 was spectacular vintage in Niagara, so with these 2 elements – the location of the land plus the ideal grape growing season – this red wine is outstanding.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Complex nose of blackberry, dark chocolate and dried cherries with a lifted note of violets and rosewater. The powerful fruit carries right through the finish, buoyed by velvety tannins and a soft texture.

Suggested Food Pairing: Cabernet Franc is a winner with all kinds of red meats – beef, lamb, game. Try it out with this Venison Ragout recipe from Bearbrook Farms.

Cellaring: Can be opened now, but if you have will power & patience, this red wine will age nicely over the next 5-10 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With St David’s Bench Vineyard Gewürztraminer …

Quick Chicken Korma

Recipe & photo credits: Canadian Living Magazine

Ingredients

Quick-Chicken-Korma13811536451/3 cup unsalted raw cashews
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 onions, sliced
2 green hot OR jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 ½teaspoons each ground coriander and garam masala
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch each ground nutmeg, salt and saffron (optional)
450 grams boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
1 ½ cups no-salt-added chicken broth
3 tablespoons fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons lime juice

Method

In large skillet, toast cashews over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to food processor. In same skillet, heat half of the oil over medium heat; cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add to food processor; puree until smooth.

Combine hot peppers, garlic, ginger, coriander, garam masala, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and salt. Add chicken; toss to coat.

Heat remaining oil in same skillet over medium-high heat; brown chicken, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp water, scraping up browned bits. Stir in broth, saffron (if using) and cashew puree; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 5 minutes.

Stir in yogurt and lime juice; heat until warmed through but not boiling.

 

With Paul Bosc Vineyard Chardonnay…

Crispy Cider Vineyard & Sea Salt Roasted Chickpeas

Recipe & photo credits:Constantly Cooking

Light, crispy and full of flavour, these protein packed snacks are great on their own or as a garnish for soups or salads. Play around with other spices if you like – a few shakes of chili powder or smoked paprika, for example. You can use dried chickpeas, which you’ll need to soak and cook, but for this recipe, the canned ones are just as good plus a whole lot faster and easier.

Ingredientsroasted chickpeas

1 can (19 oz / 540 mL) chickpeas, rinsed well
1 ½ cups (375 mL) cider vinegar
1 ½ Tablespoons (22 mL) olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 mL) coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground pepper

Method

Pour the vinegar into a medium-sized saucepan. Cover pot with a lid and place on high heat. As soon as the vinegar is boiling, add the rinsed chickpeas to the pot and remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Drain chickpeas, discarding vinegar. Pour chickpeas out onto a clean dish towel and roll them around gently to dry thoroughly.

Put chickpeas in a clean bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss gently to coat evenly.

Spread chickpeas out onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in oven for 40 to 45 minutes, jiggling the baking sheet occasionally.

The chickpeas will turn a dark golden brown and get crunchy. If you take them out of the oven too soon, you can always put them back in the oven for a few more minutes later.

Serve warm or at room temperature. These will keep for 2 weeks in a Ziploc bag stored in the fridge.


With St David’s Bench Vineyard Cabernet Franc

Venison Ragout in Red Wine

Recipe Source: Bearbrook Farms
Photo Credit: Chart Farm

Ingredients

venison1 shoulder/leg (2-3 lbs) venison
5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
4 slices bacon, cut into strips
10 juniper berries
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar cup dry red wine
1 cup game or beef stock
3 tablespoons cranberry or red currant jelly

Method

Cut meat into bite-sized pieces.

Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.Brown meat on all sides. Do 1/3 at a time and remove from pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Fry bacon a few minutes and add thyme, juniper berries, tomato paste and flour. Fry for 2 minutes longer.

Pour in vinegar and red wine. Bring to boil, scraping solids from bottom. Add stock and cook until sauce is thickened.

Add meat with juices, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Add jelly and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper & serve over mashed potatoes or with wild rice.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Rounding out the year with Redstone

Posted by Debbie

Saturday, December 26th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Redstone Winery
–  December 2015 –

 

It’s been a whirlwind month for sure – for winemakers as well! To interview Redstone Winery’s winemaker Rene Vanede, I had to ‘pull him off’ the bottling line. “We are disgorging sparkling wine right now. It is the fun part of making bubbles.” I have never met this Aussie, but in the 3 minutes talking to him over the phone, I felt that we’d known each other for years. The conversation is fantastic & interesting, learning about his love of sparkling wine and learning about his impressions about Canadian wine industry. “Why would you come all this way from Australia?” I asked “And why have you stayed??”

More about this interesting & engaging conversation on the following pages. But first…let’s get to the wines!

bottles 2In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Redstone Sparkling VQA 2013- $24.95
now THIS is the bubbly to pop & celebrate the holidays!

Redstone Cabernet Merlot VQA 2011- $28.95
Already aged 5 years, this a crowd pleasing red wine

Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2012 – $29.95
WOW what a powerhouse! Ready to drink now or cellar for 5+ years

Initially, they did not plan to have a winery

Red-Stone-WineryTawse Winery purchased the vineyard that was once owned by Thomas & Vaughn – one of the first of the boutique wineries in Beamsville. Moray Tawse had planned to use the grapes from their new vineyards in the Tawse wines…then the winemaking team discovered something VERY interesting. You’ll find the backstory on the following pages. Rene gave me the inside scoop during our interview. And as always, our Savvy Sommeliers share with you their tasting notes for the wines in your Savvy Selections along with recipes to pair with each over the holidays.

You won’t find many Redstone at the LCBO

You’ll be hard pressed to find Redstone’s striking orange foiled bottled on a shelf at the LCBO or Vintages. This winery makes small batch wines, so if you find a wine that you enjoy, give our Savvy Team a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to arrange an order for you. It is easy & only takes a matter of a couple of days for delivery from the winery to you.

Kicking off the New Year!

Time definitely does fly when you are having fun. Our Sommeliers have been working hard (tough job we know!) finding wines to feature in the 2016 line-up for Savvy Selections. We are starting the New Year with Coyote’s Run Estate Winery of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Our Savvy Sommeliers & tasting panel chose the following wines:

Mark your calendar that these impressive wines will be delivered on Friday January 8th. If you would like additional bottles of these fine wines or other favorites from Coyote’s Run, just let me know & I will add more to your order.

We hope you’re having wonderful holiday season with great wines, family & friends!

Cheers!
Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…

Redstone Winery

Presented by Accredited Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

 

rene-vanedeI always find it fascinating to hear a winemaker’s impression of the Canadian wine industry. And when the winemaker is ‘an import’ from a different wine region, the insight is even more interesting! My interview with Rene Vanede (below) – winemaker at Redstone Winery – held my interest at ‘Hello’. If it weren’t for a glitch in the bottling line that he needed to tend to, our phone conversation could have lasted for hours.

The ‘ah-ha’ moment

Originally from Hunter Valley, Australia, Rene was surrounded by the wine industry. He worked as a Sommelier in various local hotels, then the travel bug bit him & he headed to Europe. “England in particular is great place for access to the world of wine,” Rene mentioned. As he was pulling the cork out of a bottle of wine from an undiscovered place he thought, “I can make this stuff.”

From Sommelier to Winemaker

Rene jumped into being a winemaker with both feet. He completed his university studies, then rolled up his sleeves & got hands-on experience with grape harvest and in the cellar at an Australian winery you may have heard of…Rosemount, Owned by Foster’s Group, Rene’s work experience at Rosemount was making wine in massive volumes. He explained that he often did not know what brand he was making…all he knew was that he was making wine.“I quickly figured out that I did not want to continue to work at big places.”

The all-Canadian wine adventure

Now with winemaking experience, Rene was ripe to explore other wine regions. He had heard that Canada’s wine industry was making big strides & was comprised of hundreds of small businesses. Curious & intrigued, he packed up & headed to Vancouver. It turns out that he did not work at a BC winery at this time, yet he did sample a lot of their wines during his travels.

In 2006, he was invited to be part of the vintage team at Tawse Winery in Beamsville.“It was their biggest harvest ever. Tawse went from a 2000 case winery to 6000 cases,” Rene recalls. “It was exciting to be part of that.” With so much work to do, Rene became a permanent fixture at Tawse. A few years later in 2009 when Moray Tawse purchased Thomas & Vaughn Winery, even more wine had to be made. The new vineyards provided the grapes needed to make Meritage & Bordeaux styled wines for the Tawse portfolio.

Tasting the difference

Curious about the new vineyards, the winemaking team did a side-by-side comparison taste test of wines made with Tawse grapes and wines made with grapes from the Thomas & Vaughn vineyards. “The same winemaking team, however the final product showed an incredible difference,” explained Rene. “The terroir was prevalent in the Tawse wine, while the other wine was all about the fruit.” With this incredibly different wine, the idea was born to keep them separate and establish a new winery. Just like that…Redstone Winery was created.

here’s what it’s all about…

Terroir is the focus at Tawse. Redstone is fruit first.“This is a massive change of mindset for winemaker.” Rene became Redstone’s winemaker with Paul Pender from Tawse on hand as consulting winemaker. The sistering wineries leverage some production equipment and resources, yet for the most part, they are 2 separate wineries.

“At Redstone there are no guidelines. We have the land, the mature vineyards & the track record that the grapes are known to produce quality good wine,” said Rene.

Redstone’s 38-acre vineyard is farmed organically and biodynamically. The location is perfect for late-ripening varietals including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah – the Bordeaux grape varietals. In terms of white, there is Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, & Chardonnay from recently acquired Limestone vineyard.

Differences between BC & Ontario

Having been in Canada for 10 years, his Aussie accent is still thick. It could be the company he keeps as there are several Australians at Niagara wineries. Interestingly, without being probed, Rene offered his impressions of the BC & Ontario wine industries. “After traveling in BC, I expected the Ontario wine scene to be similar. In BC, the wineries are cottage like, small operations. The scales of things are different here in Ontario with larger farms & businesses.” Rene continues, “The wines are sheer finesse here in Ontario.” When I heard this, I was eager to share this with our Savvy Selections subscribers.

Here’s to Rene & his winemaking team!

 

~SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

 Redstone Sparkling VQA 2013 $24.95

This is Redstone’s first sparkling. “Sparkling is a Winemaker’s Wine – there are so many different steps involved to making a good sparkler”, explains Rene. While at university, he took a keen interest to learn the finesse of making sparkling wine….and his talent shines through in this wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Made with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & a splash of Pinot Gris, this is an absolutely delicious bubbly. “I like to make wines that I like to drink”, says Rene. This wine has a delicious balance of acidity (think white grapefruit) with a smooth mouth feel and very elegant mousse (bubbles). It’s dry, crisp &delicious.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will be perfect any time during the holidays – to pop open when friends drop in, enjoyed with appetizers during Happy Hour, unwinding after tidying up the wrapping paper or even served for brunch. “I enjoy sparkling wine with seafood- scallops, prawns & smoked salmon, or blue cheese,” suggests Rene. On the following pages, we have included an interesting scallop dish for you to try.

 

Cabernet Merlot VQA 2011 $28.95

close up bottleA blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, this is the classic Bordeaux blend. “We are always comparing the wines from Tawse& Redstone to French wines,” shares Rene. He goes on to explain, “30-40% of the wine was oaked (in French oak of course!). You should be able to see the oak, but it should not be overpowered. In this vintage, the fruit demanded some oak to finish the wine.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is a crowd pleasing wine that you can drink with pretty much anything. Red & black fruit (think plums, currants, raspberry, blackberry) and warm spices waft from the glass and linger on your tongue with each sip. Well balanced, smooth finish, yet still a touch of tannins after the 5+ years of aging that pairs well with hearty food.

Suggested Food Pairing: “For me, this is a winter wine. I would serve it with Beef Finger Pie.” shares Rene. That is a dish that I am not familiar with and nor is Google! After more probing, turns out that a Beef Pot Pie is what this Aussie was referring to! A recipe for an “Aussie Humble Pie” follows.

Cellaring: This wine is ready now or will cellar a further 3 to 5 years.

 

Redstone Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2012 $29.95

“This is THE signature wine at Redstone. It put us on the map.” explains Rene. “It’s Redstone in a bottle – the fruit & tannins exhibit the vineyard site.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Now this is a BIG red wine still with some grippy tannins. If you like to put wines away, this would be the one out of this bunch. It will be interesting to see how the wine evolves with time. For now, each sip shows the quality of the fruit & the winemaker’s talent – kudos to Rene. The Sommeliers at the tasting panel remarked how this wine reminded them of black – intensely dark in colour, aromas of black fruit (berries, plums, currants, figs) that continue on in the taste. A long finish with an earthy or herbal note like roasted caraway or fennel seeds.

Suggested Food Pairing: One word: steak. If your BBQ is buried under snow, then prime rib would be perfect accompaniment. We share with you a Dijon Herb Crusted Prime Rib recipe.

Cellaring: Ready now or it will cellar nicely for another 5 to 7 years. Winemaker suggestions to decant for 2 hours before serving….then enjoy every sip!

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With Redstone Sparkling…

Confit of Scallops with Lemongrass & Coconut Sauce

By chef Kevin Bélisle at Spa Eastman, Eastern Townships, Que.
Source & photo credits:Globe & Mail

Ingredients

Beets

2 large yellow beets, cooked and peeled

Herbs and lemon zest oil

½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoon chopped chives
Grated zest of one lemon

Gomasio

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseed
Sea salt to taste

Lemongrass &coconut sauce

2 sticks lemongrass
1/3 cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger
½ cup cashews
¾ cup organic coconut milk
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Scallops

12 large fresh scallops, kept cool
2 cups coconut oil to cook scallops

Method

Braised+Scallops_Spa+EastmaCut beets into ½-inch-thick slices. With a cookie cutter the same size as the scallops, cut the beet slices into rounds. Warm in the oven before serving.

Mix oil with herbs and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Toast the sesame seeds lightly in a pan, being careful not to burn them. Mix the toasted sesame seeds, flax seeds and sea salt in a blender or with a mortar. The mixture should remain fairly grainy. Reserve.

Remove the bottom 2 inches of lemongrass stalk. Chop coarsely, reserving remainder for another use. Combine lemongrass, ginger, cashews, coconut milk and lemon juice. Blend in a food processor or blender until smooth. Place in pan and heat gently when ready to serve.

Remove the muscle from the scallops. Heat coconut oil in a small high-sided pan to 175 to 185 F (80 to 85 C). The oil should be barely moving with just a few bubbles. (Use a thermometer to check, if you have one.) Place the scallops in the coconut oil (in batches, if necessary) and confit for 5 to 7 minutes or until opaque.

Spoon warmed lemongrass and coconut sauce onto serving plates. Place 3 slices of warm beets on each plate and top with 3 scallops. Drizzle scallops with herbs and lemon-zest oil and garnish with a pinch of gomasio. Garnish with herbs.

 

With Redstone Cabernet Merlot

Humble Aussie Pie

By Jamie Oliver
Serves 8
recipe & photo credit: Jamie Oliver

aussie humble pieIngredients

1 kg beef skirt , chopped into 1cm chunks
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1 whole nutmeg , for grating
2 large carrots , peeled
2 red onions , peeled
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary , leaves picked
250 ml pale ale
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon tomato purée
250 g button mushrooms
1 large egg yolk, beaten , or semi-skimmed milk

For the pastry

600 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150 g cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
150 g Cheddar cheese

Method

Place the beef, 1 heaped teaspoon of pepper, a good pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large bowl. Grate in half a nutmeg, then toss to coat and set aside. Roughly chop the carrots, onions and rosemary leaves.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a wide, medium pan over a medium heat, then add the beef and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meat is browned all over and any liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, heat another medium pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped veg and a drizzle of olive oil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until softened and caramelised, stirring frequently, then remove from the heat.

Add the ale to the beef, turn the heat up to high and allow the liquid to boil and bubble away, stirring and scraping all those lovely sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the flour and tomato purée and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it forms a thick paste. Stir the softened veg into the pan, then pour in 1 litre of cold water. Roughly slice and add the mushrooms, then bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, then take off the lid and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced and the beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely for a few hours or preferably overnight in the fridge.

Meanwhile, make the pastry. Combine the flour and a good pinch of salt in a bowl, then grate in the Cheddar and rub into the flour along with the butter, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add 250ml of cold water, stirring continuously to combine, then use your hands to bring it together into a rough dough – be careful not to work it too much. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease 8 individual pie dishes (roughly 15cm x 10cm) with a little butter and dust with flour. Divide the pastry into 4 equal-sized pieces, then roll out a portion on a flour-dusted surface to the thickness of a pound coin. Place 2 of the pie dishes side-by-side, roll the pastry around the rolling pin, hold it over the dishes and carefully unroll the pastry to cover. Gently press the pastry into the sides of the dishes, then roughly cut away the excess so you end up with 2 lined pie dishes. Repeat with the remaining pastry, reserving the excess for later.

Equally divide the steak and ale filling between the dishes and brush the edges with the milk or beaten egg. Divide the excess pastry into 8 equal-sized pieces, roll out to the thickness of a pound coin and place over the filling. Trim away any excess, crimp the edges with a fork and pierce a little cross into the top. Brush over a little more milk or beaten egg, then place in the hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and piping hot through.

 

With Redstone Cabernet Sauvignon…

Dijon Herb Crusted Prime Rib

from Farm Boy

Ingredients

1Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp ground cloves
4 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bone in rib roast (2.5KG/6LB)
6 medium garlic cloves, quartered lengthwise

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 F

Make small incisions all over the roast.Insert the garlic into the holes. Place the roast in a roasting pan and mix the remaining ingredients into a paste and rub entire roast evenly.

Roast for 25 minutes then reduce heat to 350 F and continue cooking for about 1 and a ½ hours or until internal temperature reaches 135 F (forrare). Transfer roast to a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Serve with your favourite sides. (Especially good with creamy mashed potatoes & buttered beets!)

Enjoy your Holidays & your Savvy Selections!

 

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Warm welcome & amazing wines from Fielding Estate Winery

Posted by Debbie

Friday, November 6th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Fielding Estates Winery
–  November 2015 –

 

This year marks the big 1-0 milestone for a handful of wineries in Ontario. We helped Stratus Vineyard celebrate in July and now it is time to pop the corks for Fielding Estates Winery as they ‘Cheers for 10 Years!’

At Fielding, the front door is always open at the winery (aka the Lodge) and the Muskoka chairs are dotted around the grounds awaiting you to relax and unwind as you soak up the sunshine and enjoy the view of the vineyard…while sipping on fine wines made by Fielding’s winemaker Ritchie Roberts.

heidi and curtisI have said it before…one of the occupational hazards of this business is that people who work at wineries often become friends. Certainly not a bad thing, rather, it makes working together to grow each other’s business even easier and more enjoyable. Curtis and Heidi Fielding (in photo) are two wonderful people that it is easy and natural to become fast friends. And that friendly nature is evident to all who walks through the glass doors at the Lodge.“We want everyone to feel welcome and at ease when they visit our winery”, comments Heidi. And true to form, that is exactly what they do.

Too many fine wines!

Selecting only 3 bottles of wine for you this month was probably the hardest that the Savvy Team has encountered. I believe that this is a telling sign of quality & most of all maturity of the vineyards…and the talented winemaking team can’t go unnoticed either.

After great deliberation, the Savvy Team chose:

grapesSparkling Rose–light & elegant bubbly made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir using the same winemaking method as French Champagne. Naturally suited to celebrate the 1-0 milestone!

Gamay VQA 2013 – easy drinking, full of red fruit & well balanced. A wine that is becoming a signature wine at Fielding…and best of all, it tastes like it should be $25+.

Syrah VQA 2012– you had us at hello!WOW – this is a heart stopping red wine that you can taste the talent in each sip.

Can you spot the difference?

While there was a party at the winery to mark the occasion, the marketing team at Fielding decided that the labels would get a touch up. Put the three bottles of your Savvy Selections side-by-side to see if you can spot the new improvements to the label design. Extra points if you see something more welcoming about the Muskoka chair!

Looking for a F.E.W. more? Fielding Estates Wines that is!

heidi at doorFielding takes pride in making small lots of their wines. Several wines only have 400 cases (4800 bottles). There are a handful of Fielding wines that you will regularly find on the LCBO shelves, yet if you have found a new favorite in your Savvy Selections, give us a call to quickly re-order. With a limited number of cases made and many Fielding fans clamoring to get the latest release, their finest wines don’t last very long! The Savvy Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…

Fielding Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

 

Remember when Yellow Tail wines first bombarded the shelves at the LCBO? This is the same time when Fielding Estates opened their doors. Critter labels donning cats, dogs, lizards and penguins were all the rage and smack-them-over-the-head red wines loaded with overripe fruit were flying off the shelves.

Dfielding-logoespite all of this distraction, husband and wife team – Heidi & Curtis Fielding found their footing in Niagara. Located part way up the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment) with neighbouring wineries – Angels Gate, Thirty Bench and Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery – Fielding set out to create a different story and culture at their winery.

Everyone has a story

Fielding familyFielding Winery began with subs…yet you read that right! Submarine sandwiches. Marg & Ken Fielding own a significant number of Subway franchises in Eastern Ontario. Drawn to Niagara & intrigued by the new Canadian wine industry, this husband & wife savvy business team soon were bitten by the bug as well saw the business potential. They lured their son Curtis off the race car track where he was starting his career as a competitive driver, to come home to gain hands on experience in the wine industry in preparation that would be integral their new family venture.

In 2000, the family purchased a 20‐acre orchard of peaches and pears on the Beamsville Bench and replaced all the trees with high‐quality vinifera vines during the summer of 2001. In keeping with the Muskoka feel that they wanted to create, the unique Wine Lodge opened its doors in May 2005, and has quickly established itself as one of the finest wineries in Ontario.

muskoka chairWhy the Muskoka chair?

The family is from the area and has a house that brings everyone together. “It was a natural fit to extend that relaxing, unpretentious your-are-part-of-the-family feeling to our winery”, explains Heidi.

10 years later, Ken & Marg are now arm’s length business advisors while the Heidi and Curtis run the business and day to day operations. Coincidentally this dynamic duo are also a husband and wine team. “And our 5 and 7 year old boys love helping us at the winery”, says Heidi.

Slow and steady…

“Fielding has grown little by little over the last 10 years”, recalls Heidi as laughs remembering that in the first couple of years before the winery doors opened, the winery offered:

In 2002: 400 cases of Cabernet Merlot, 50 cases of Chardonnay

In 2003: bad crop yielded a measly 60 cases of Chardonnay

In 2004: significant growth to 6000 cases

Now in 2015, they have grown to full capacity to 20,000 cases – mostly in last 2 years.

Select Fielding wines are now readily available at the LCBO and can also be found in Alberta, Florida and served by the glass at restaurants at Walt Disney World…yes Disney!

Highlights of the last 10 years

cellar room“It is an awesome business to be in”, says Heidi with delight. “We have a great team at the winery and all of us work extremely hard – we can’t let anything slide!”

This dedication has been recognized by their peers in the industry. Curtis was crowned Grape King in 2012 by Ontario Grape Growers. “Everyone involved in the winery are so proud of this recognition”, explained Heidi. “It is a huge honour when your mentors and industry leaders select you from all of the others wineries in the province as the top vineyard of the year. When they announced Curtis’ name, all of the hard work that Ritchie, Curtis and the rest of the team have put into the vineyard instantly paid off. This was definitely a highlight of the last 10 years.”

Grape king“This is a huge honour,” says Curtis in the press release about the prestigious achievement. “Look at some of the names who have been Grape King in the past. They are big names with world‐class vineyards. They are people that our industry really respects and looks up to. It is amazing to have my name associated with them.” Did I mention that Curtis became King at the ripe age of 34? Pretty impressive.

“Curtis is an excellent example of the next generation of grape grower, a first‐generation farmer who has quickly embraced sustainable practices while maintaining a beautiful vineyard and producing top quality wines,” stated Kimberly Hundertmark, Executive Director of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival (and friend too!)

And it does not stop there. Fielding was named one of the Top 10 wineries in Canada for 2009 and again in 2013 by the Canadian Wine Awards.

And all that in their first 10 years…watch out for what the next 10 has in store.

Happy Anniversary to the Fielding team! Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Fielding Sparkling Rosé $29.95

Ritchie winemakerThis is the first traditional method rosé that Ritchie has made. Traditional method is the wine term referring to the sparkling winemaking process as it is done in Champagne, France. The second fermentation – that creates the bubbles – happens inside the bottle (rather than in a tank then bottled) and yeast is added to each bottle. “This is a huge labour of love for Ritchie”, explains Heidi. “He has only made 2 traditional method wines and we are so excited to release this wine.” All of us in the Savvy Team are excited that our subscribers are receiving it first as there is a small amount made!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Light salmon in colour that has delicate wild strawberry aromas and taste. Well balanced, smooth mouth feel and very elegant mousse (bubbles). Dry, crisp and delicious. “A rule of thumb is that the finer the bubbles the greater the quality” explains Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm.

Suggested Food Pairing: Chill & serve in tall flute glasses. Sushi, salted nuts, chips or Parmesan Crisps are delicate enough that won’t detract from the wine.

 

2013 GamayFielding Gamay 2013 VQA, $17.95

“These grapes are grown especially for us by wonderful grape growers who have become good friends”, shares Heidi (that theme never seems to go away!). “They are meticulous about their vineyards and it shows in the grapes.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Gamay is growing in popularity, especially with the wines that are being produced in Ontario. Usually light bodied laced with tannins, this one surprised us with its full flavour or red fruit – cherries, plums, raspberries – with warm spices and subtle tannins. Medium bodied and well balanced. This is definitely an impressive wine.

Suggested Food Pairing:“With 2 little boys, we don’t eat fancy at home.” Heidi laughs when I asked what she would pair with this easy drinking wine. Pasta with mushroom, roasted chicken and even grilled salmon. Heidi suggest to serve their Gamay with foods that you would pair with Pinot Noir. We share with you a mushroom risotto recipe to enjoy with this wine as the days get colder.

Cellaring:This wine will cellar a further 3 to 5 years.

 

2012 Syrah_HRFielding Syrah 2012 VQA $35– special Savvy Selections price (regular $39.95)

“This wine is so special to us”, explains Heidi. “We don’t make it every year. Ritchie wants to make a spectacular Syrah and for this one, he only made 250 cases”. Perfectly timed, you are receiving this wine before it is released at the winery…being a subscriber has its benefits! If you would like additional bottles, let us know soon as this wine always sells out…quickly!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:This inky, powerful wine offers great intensity and extraction. On the nose, the aromas of cassis and berry are rich and ripe, traces of vanilla, dark chocolate and spice merging and mingling with the fruit. Ripe yet firm tannins and refined acidity frame the concentrated dark fruit, hints of smoke, dried herbs, spice and pepper adding depth and complexity. Long and intense on the finish, the wine will cellar well.

Suggested Food Pairing:Serve with rack of lamb or rare prime rib.

Cellaring:Ready now or it will cellar nicely for another 4 to 5 years

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Fielding Sparkling Rosé…

Parmesan Crisps

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Julie

parmesan-crisps-2Serves: should yield about 20 small crisps

This is one of the most popular recipes that we are always asked for. With the holiday entertaining season around the corner, have this recipe on the ready! There are so many versions of this recipe but nothing could be simpler, or more delicious to match with this sparkling wine. The bubbles compliment the saltiness in the cheese and just send you back nibbling for more. For a different taste, serve with a little red pepper jelly on the side.

A perfect hors d’oeuvres – beware, folks inhale these!

Ingredients

1-1/2cups of grated Parmesan depending how many crisps you would like to make.

Method

Preheat often to 400 degrees and put a heaping tablespoon of the Parmesan onto aparchment lined baking sheet. I would space the spoonfuls about an inch apart.

Bake about 8 minutes or check them after 5 and they should be just slightly golden.

 

With Fielding Gamay …

Roasted Chickpeas & Tomatoes

Roasted-Chick-Peas-and-Swiss-ChardBy Chef Tonia Wilson
Serves 4
photo credit: www.toniawilson.com

Chef’s tip:

Ingredients

2 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
5 whole cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 cups (500 mL) whole grape tomatoes
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).

Place all ingredients on a large baking sheet. Stir to combine and coat well with oil. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, carefully shake pan to move ingredients around and roast for another 15
minutes or until chick peas and tomatoes are golden.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

With Fielding Syrah…

Beef Tenderloin with Dark Mushroom Sauce

from Old Stone Inn & Boutique Hotel in Niagara Falls

Ingredients

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 strip beef tenderloin (2 to 3lb)
½ cup red wine – don’t you dare cook with the Fielding Syrah…it is better left in your glass!
1 red onion, sliced
1 cup dry wild mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of red wine
2 cups brown beef or veal stock
½ cup heavy cream

Method

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Heat oil in a cast iron pan. Season the meat with salt and pepper on all sides. When the oil is very hot, sear the
meat, caramelizing all sides evenly. When seared, drain off the fat and add the wine.

Roast the meat in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the meat rest for 5
minutes before slicing.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottomed pot, add the onions, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Squeeze the
mushrooms out of the juice, and add to the onions, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with 2 cups of wine, and reduce until almost dry. Then add the mushroom rehydrating liquid, and reduce until almost dry. Add the veal stock and the cream, and reduce at low heat until thick. Check the seasoning, reserve.

To serve, slice the meat in 1/2 to 1/4-inch thick pieces. Place in the middle of a warmed plate. Put the wild mushrooms around the meat and cover with a thin layer of the sauce and serve immediately.

Cheers to 10 years

A little extra treat from Fielding’s kitchen to yours…

Mini Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake

This is a little treat that we prepared for one of our winery events.

Ingredients

24 ginger snaps
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup pumpkin purée
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
24 baking cups

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Next, add pumpkin puree, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Mix thoroughly.

relaxing in the chairsLine muffin tin with individual baking cups and drop one ginger snap at the bottom of each cup. Pour filling into
each mold to the top.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cheesecake.

Cool to room temperature and lightly brush the tops with maple syrup. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with candied walnuts and whipped topping

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

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Southbrook has a ‘Dynamic’ story!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Southbrook Vineyards

–  May 2015 –

I don’t know where to start… This month we are featuring Southbrook Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake & they have quite a story to tell. I’ll admit that I was first introduced to Southbrook with a sip of their Framboise raspberry wine. Fruit wine you say – yes!  As the expression goes…’you have come a long way baby!’ Southbrook is now less known for their fruit wine and they are more recognized for their commitment to biodynamic practices at every level in their business. They are also the only winery that we have featured in Savvy Selections who has appeared on Dragon’s Den….more about that on the following pages!

What is Biodynamic you ask?
“It’s extreme organics!” explains Southbrook’s winemaker Ann Sperling.  Her vineyard & winemaking Southbrook winery at nightteam creates wines that express the story both of the grapes & the ground that nourishes them.  Mark our words, with each sip of any wine from Southbrook, you’ll taste their commitment to the biodynamic grape growing & winemaking practices. “We want people to taste the purity in the wines we make,” explained owner Bill Redelmeier.

In your Savvy Selections parcel  you will find an amazing assortment from Southbrook:

Triomphe Chardonnay VQA 2013, $22.95 – an absolutely easy drinking Chardonnay with the refreshing fruit showing through interlaced with oak

Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2013, $21.95 – fire up the BBQ!

Whimsy! Married Young VQA 2009 – $34.95 – this 6 year old wine has aged at the winery & is now ready for you to enjoy.

This selection shows that organic does not need to be expensive.  Our Savvy Selections tasting panel were impressed with the quality & readiness of these wines.  No need to cellar or decant, just twist the cap or pull the cork to enjoy fine Ontario wine.  “I simply want people to say – these wines have character,” states Bill. Let us know what you think.

Read all about it in your Savvy eZine!
While you relax on your dock or deck chair waiting for your BBQ to warm up, flip through the following pages to learn more about biodynamic grape growing & winemaking (I promise not to get technical!), the winery’s fascinating architecture, our Savvy Sommeliers’ tasting notes & recipes provided from Southbrook’s kitchen.

Want more Southbrook wines?
You may have noticed a few Southbrook wines in the LCBO, yet there is so much more available through us or when you visit the winery.  To stock up on any of the Savvy Selections wines, simply call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to make a special delivery for you.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…
Southbrook Vineyards

Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

“I thinkBILL AND MARILYN of wine like a talking stick”, shares Bill (right in picture). “You buy the wine because there is a story that you are eager to share with friends.” Bill & I have known each other for many years, yet during our phone conversation we commented that most of the time spent together was seeing each other at wine shows, in meetings at the winery or when Bill flies in to participate in a Savvy Taste & Buy event.  “Let’s make a point to go out for beers next time we see each other”, we said in unison.  It is a well-known fact that the drink of choice by most in the wine industry is beer!

On Dragon’s Den…

After a few beers I will endeavor to real dirt about Bill’s experience on Dragon’s Den in 2012. He explained the audition process and how one hour of filming with 8 cameras was unnerving enough then boiled down into 5 quick minutes we see on TV.  “Over 9,000 people audition and 200 pitches were selected to go before the Dragons,” explains Bill. “I was really hoping that Arlene or Jim would say – I’m in!” While the winery was mentioned several times, Bill’s focus was on pitching Bioflavia –a health bioflaviaproduct used made from the dried and crushed skins of red grapes from their organic vineyards.  This ‘wine waste’ contains high levels of natural and powerful antioxidants.  Bioflavia can be added as an ingredient in smoothies, cooking or baking.  “With the snap of Jim’s fingers, the dough of every Boston Pizza made could be enriched with a teaspoon of our product.” What happened in the Den?  Click to watch the video>>

Biodynamics 101

Bill & Marilyn are the driving force behind the winery’s organic and biodynamic practices. They are the first to tell you that they are fundamentally agriculturalists. Bill explained that his grandfather had a Jersey dairy farm in Richmond Hill.  Growing up, he’d always been surrounded by farmers.  Initially, Bill wanted to start an ice cream company using the rich Jersey milk from his grandfather’s dairy.  grapesThe hurdle came when he discovered that his family’s milk could not be separated out from other Jersey farms – unlike a winery. Long story shortened, Bill shelved the ice cream idea and ventured into the winery business.  “I wanted people to taste the terroir – the exact place where the fruit was grown.”

“We were drawn to biodynamics as it is a way to fully express the vineyard’s character in our wines. I did not want to make low end wines. There is no appeal or talking stick in making 2 buck chuck!”

If biodynamic is a new wine term for you, Southbrook’s winemaker Ann Sperling, puts it simply: ‘extreme organics’.  Biodynamic agricultural promotes the ecological self-sufficiency and internal harmony of the land while taking into account the cycles of nature (ie. various stages of the moon) and there is a philosophical and spiritual aspect woven in too.

Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins (also a trained horticulturalist) explains more.  Growing practices are quite similar to organic agriculture, but a specific calendar is followed to help determine when activities such as pruning and fSouthbrook sorting grapesertilizing should be undertaken in the vineyards. In addition, a variety of treatments are applied to the soil, generally using ingredients that are derived from plants or animals that are integral to the property. Other approaches include planting cover crops between the vines that attract beneficial insects and using lambs to ‘mow’ these areas. Southbrook has 80-90 ewes in their herd.

Ann explained to Susan, “Biodynamics says the farm is an entire ‘living system’. The resulting practices are about quality – quality in the bottle and quality of life.”

Southbrook is the first biodynamic winery in Canada.  They keep company of other well-known wineries including Chapoutier and Domaine Leflaive of France. “Many of the wineries in the great wine regions of France are biodynamic”, Bill explains. “Like Southbrook, their wine labels do not herald their biodynamic certification.  You can tell just by the taste that the wine has soul.”

What is in Bill & Marilyn’s cellar?

There’s about 1800 – 2000 bottles mainly old Bordeaux, ports and Chardonnay. “Nothing fancy to look at but it is well organized with IKEA shelving and like most cellars, there are always cases of wine on the floor.”

 I’ll raise a glass to that! Enjoy your Savvy Selections.

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Since 2008, all of the yeast used in the winemaking process is natural yeast.  “We sold all of our commercial yeast and now use what is naturally in the air. Our vineyard is alive!” proudly explains Bill.

 

Triomphe Chardonnay 2013 VQA, $22.95southbrook chardonnay

Made with Chardonnay grapes picked at various times throughout October from 5 different organic vineyards in Niagara.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our tasting panel raved about this lively Chardonnay.  Notes of fresh juicy peach, grapefruit & apples follow through into the taste with a hint of nutmeg & vanilla.  A rich wine that is beautifully balanced, laced with subtle oak with a zip of acidity.  The soul of the wine definitely shines through!

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine is simply delicious on its own (I am enjoying as I write this eZine!), with pork tenderloin, sushi, crabcakes or fish. The Savvy Selections tasting panel had so many good recipes to share and so did the winery, that we have not one…but three recipes that hit the mark! Peach Pizza, Sunshine Salmon & a unique recipe for Banana Leaf Tilapia with Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 3-5 years.

Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2013, $21.95triomphe cabernet franc

Ontario continues to impress us with Cabernet Franc wines.  And this one is a fine example of how a big red wine can be made in a cold climate wine growing region. This wine contains 95% Cabernet Franc with a splash (5%) of Merlot to give it finesse.

Winemakers Tasting Notes: The wine presents a nose of red currant with notes of raspberry, savoury herbs and cedar wood. The palate echoes the fruit aromas supported by medium toast and firm tannins. The finish is of medium length and is driven by both fruit and savoury notes.

Note: our Savvy Selections panel tasted a different vintage, so the above notes are provided by the winery.

Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ!  Ribs, burgers or spring lamb chops would be a perfect pairing.

Cellaring: Ready now or can be cellared a further 3-5 years.

 

Whimsy! Married Young 2009 VQA $34.95Southbrook married young

As you might imagine, there is no end to experimenting at Southbrook. The Whimsy label is where Ann and the winemaking team stretches their talent and winemaking techniques to play!  Wines are made in small lot batches (so there are no big mistakes).  On the label, each dab of paint represents a different varietal in the Southbrook palette to make an interesting design element that is…simply whimsical.

Winemaker Notes: This blend is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc.  The juice of the two varieties were fermented separately, then blended prior to barrel aging (in French oak) in order to “marry” and create a wine of more complexity, depth and completeness.  Released in February 2015 after several years aging at the winery. 138 cases were produced….and Savvy Selections subscribers took many of them!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Gorgeous! A smooth, delicious deep red wine that has blackberry, boysenberry, black licorice, leather, cedar and forest floor (think of walking in the woods after a rain). Tannins have mellowed with age, with a zip of acidity that will smooth out with food (we tried it with old cheddar), and long lingering smoky finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Beef, beef, and beef! If you are vegetarian, then grilled mushrooms will be delish!

Cellaring: Ready now, no need to wait any longer.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay

Peach Pizza

From Southbrook’s Kitchen
Serves 4

Ingredients

flatbread
fresh peaches – from Niagara of course!
goat cheese
2 tbsp organic honey
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
olive oil
fresh basil

Method

Combine balsamic vinegar and organic honey with olive oil to taste. Stir until combined.

Half peaches and lightly brush with oil, to prevent sticking on the BBQ.

Place flesh side down on BBQ on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Brush flatbread with olive oil and kosher salt. Put on BBQ on medium heat for a couple minutes.

Remove peaches and flatbread.

Cut peaches onto the flatbread and sprinkle cheese onto pizza. Drizzle balsamic honey dressing on top.

Cook on top rack until cheese is melted. Remove and sprinkle chopped basil on top.

Cut and enjoy!

 

Another recipe to serve with

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay

Sunshine Salmon

From Kitchen at Publix
Serves 4

Ingredientssunshine salmon - Publix

2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
2 oranges
½ cup sweet white wine (or chicken broth)
4 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin removed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Method

Cut ½ orange into ¼ inch-thick slices (rounds), then cut slices into quarters. Squeeze remaining 1 ½ oranges for juice (about ½ cup).

Place wine, orange juice, garlic, dill, and orange slices in large sauté pan and cover; bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered 7 minutes.

Check fish for bones. Season salmon on both sides with garlic seasoning and pepper. Add salmon to wine mixture; simmer 3–4 minutes on each side or until salmon is opaque and separates easily. Transfer salmon to serving dish.

Add marmalade and mustard to wine mixture; cook and stir 1 minute or until marmalade dissolves and sauce thickens. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter (being gentle while stirring, so fruit stays intact). Pour sauce over salmon & serve.

 

Even more recipes to serve with Triomphe Chardonnay!

Spicy BBQ’d Banana Leaf Tilapia with Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

From Southbrook’s Kitchen
Serves 4

 Ingredients for Tilapia

4 pieces of tilapia
4 pieces of banana leaves
¼ Spanish onion
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili
1 tsp tumeric
½ tsp sea salt & cracked pepper
2 stalks of lemon grass
1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
¼ cup butter
8 wood skewers

Ingredients for Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

½ cup white wine
1 cup 35% cream
2 lemons – juiced
1 cup butter
4 pieces of baby bok choy
egg noodles
1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes

Method for Banana Leaf Tilapia

Finely dice Spanish onion, garlic, red chili (seeds removed) and lemon grass. Add salt, pepper, tumeric, vegetable oil and butter. Mix well.

Place tilapia on the banana leaf and spread marinade over fish. Wrap the banana leaf around the tilapia and secure with skewers.

Heat one side of the BBQ to high. Place wrapped fish on direct heat. Sear 2 minutes per side and then move wrapped fish off direct heat and finish cooking for 10 minutes with BBQ closed. Should reach 375°F.

Method for Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

In a large sauce pan, combine wine, cream and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until ½ of the volume remains.

Add 1 cup of butter. Stir constantly. Sauce will thicken with the addition of butter. Continue stirring until desired consistency is reached.

In a separate pot, steam baby bok choy. At the same time, cook egg noodles. Drain noodles.

Add baby bok choy and uncooked, diced cherry tomatoes. Slowly add Beurre Blanc and stir. Serve with Banana Leaf Tilapia on top of the noodles.


With Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc

BBQ Smoky Pork Ribs with Asian Slaw

From: Regan Kapach – Southbrook’s Assistant Winemaker

Serves several rib lovers!

Ingredients for RibsWINERY

1 side pork ribs
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, halved
1 to 2 litres beer
1 to 2 litres water
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp each salt & pepper
1 Tbsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp cloves
2 inches fresh ginger
1 cup homemade BBQ sauce

 Method for Ribs:

Portion ribs into ‘four-rib’ pieces for easier cooking and serving.

Parboil the ribs for 2 hours in mixture of half water/half beer (enough of each to just cover the ribs), plus the onion, garlic, ginger, bay leaf and spices. Remove from pot and refrigerate for half and hour.

Leftover boiling mixture can be strained and reduced to make an amazing beef/pork stew stock!

Fire up the barbie! Cook ribs until done to your liking.

Ingredients for Slaw

½ head of Chinese cabbage, shredded
1 good sized carrot, grated
1 handful of sweet peas, julienned
3 green onions, julienned
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
fresh cilantro to garnish

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Ingredients for Dressing

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over slaw.

 

 Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Ridgepoint Wines, a brother and sister team!

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Ridgepoint Wines

–  April 2015 –

At Ridgepoint Wines, it’s a family affair of a brother and sister.  The division of labour between the siblings is clear with Anna recreating her mother’s home-style recipes for the restaurant. Mauro Scarsellone is focused on producing wines that honour his grandparents and his Italian heritage.

signHe laughed when I asked him about his family’s involvement in the making of Ridgepoint wines. ‘Actually, they stay as far away as they can from the whole process.  Anna though, insists on tasting the wines.’ As he hurried toward me in the tasting room, Mauro explained that he was late for our meeting because he was putting out fires.  He was trying to fix a fermenter that had gone into a funk, and was dealing with the issue of having to re-create some labels because his naming proposal to the AGCO had been rejected. “You know, I’m an accountant by training, but I really just want to be a farmer.’

What inspired Ridgepoint’s successful combination of winery and restaurant? Mauro and Anna grew up experiencing their grandparents’ passion for wine and food. “They made wine in Italy from the grapes they grew on a small parcel of land.  When they moved to Canada, they kept making wine. As kids, we were thrilled to help them. I’ll never forget my grandfather’s comments when he started making wine from local Niagara grapes – he couldn’t understand why the wine wamauro and annas so awful’, recounts Mauro. (A side note: Mauro was using Ontario grown Italian Labrusca grapes. Typically, these grapes have a ‘foxy’ taste that results in not the most enjoyable characteristic for a table wine!)

As for Anna, the recipes she uses were learned from her mother, passed down from her grandmother…and they are passing along one to you in this blog.  Eating at Ridgepoint is like going to a typical family-owned ‘trattoria’ in a small town in Italy. The aromas are mouthwatering, the dishes classics of simple, tasty Italian cuisine. Wine and food complement each other, as do Mauro and Anna.

The tasting I did at the winery this past autumn, followed by our Savvy Selections Sommelier panel tasting recently, made it clear we were going to share with our subscribers a selection of the fabulous reds that Mauro crafted from the outstanding 2010 vintage:

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico VQA 2010 – a unique blend resulting in a velvety Appassimento-style wine

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot VQA 2010 – supple with notions of chocolate-coated cherries

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage VQA 2010 – carefully crafted from the fruit of select low-yield vines

On your next visit to Niagara, be sure to visit Ridgepoint.  You’ll probably find Mauro roaming the vineyards or entertaining in the tasting room. Then wander into the restaurant to meet Anna as you enjoy a meal of her Italian pasta or pizza. You’ll think you were in Italy.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…
Ridgepoint Wines

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

For Mauro and Anna, it was a long road from the joy of helping their grandparents to make wine through their traditional business careers to being proprietors of their own winery and restaurant. ‘Our parents discouraged us from having anything to do with farming. They remembered how difficult it was in Italy, and the inevitable dependency on the whims of Mother Nature,’ remembers Mauro. This advice seems particularly prophetic this year, as we emerge from one of the most frigid winters on record.

Battling with Old Man Winter & Mother Nature

Brock University’s Cool Climate Viticulture program does annual assessments of bud survival, and the early results for the 2014/2015 winter are distressing, particularly in vineyards on the escarpment. Bud (on the vines) survival rates may be as low as 10% for some varieties, while others may reach 70-80%. ‘Our most significant challenge has always been trying to get our vines through the winter. While Ontario’s growing season is long enough and warm enough to ensure grapes ripen, the varieties that we most enjoy producing wine with, such as Nebbiolo and Merlot, are the ones with the lowest survival rates’, Mauro explains.

Ridgepoint wineryWith the many sleepless nights he experienced through this past January and February: ‘This year, Lake Erie is frozen, so the strong westerly winds are not moderated in any way as they make their way over the Niagara Escarpment. Those strong winds also make it difficult for us to use our wind machines, which are the usual defense against these conditions. So, sometimes, we just have to pray…’

As we discussed this winter’s impact, Mauro came back to his love of Niagara and winemaking. ‘My sister and I both graduated from York University with business degrees. I went on to become a Chartered Account with Price Waterhouse Coopers. I was on a business trip to the Niagara region when I first experienced the local wine industry. It was love at first sip! I was so impressed with the work being done to improve wine quality. After doing some research, we thought we could contribute something to the industry by planting varieties that we really enjoy drinking, including Nebbiolo.’

mapThe Ridgepoint property was purchased in 1995. ‘We were attracted to the Beamsville Bench partly because this area brings us back to our roots—the hillside vineyards of Italy, where the highest quality grapes are usually grown. We felt the bench offered the same potential.’ The vineyards were planted in 1997, about half of the 18 acres dedicated to Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the balance to Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and, of course, Nebbiolo.

The first to plant Nebbiolo

Ridgepoint has the distinction of being the first Ontario winery to produce a commercial bottling of Nebbiolo.  Says Mauro, ‘As an artisanal winery, we are passionate about what we do and are involved in every step of the process, from the vineyard to bottling to retailing, and to savouring our wine with typical Italian cuisine. True to our Latin blood, we’re stubborn in our belief that Ontario can make great red wines. To this end, we continue to innovate with the introduction of our Ripasso and Appassimento wines’ (using dried grapes in fermentation to add depth and intensity to the wine).

MauroandSteve2jpegIn this quest for great wines, Mauro has worked with a number of assistant winemakers and winemaking consultants. Steve Byfield, of Nyarai Cellars, worked with Mauro as assistant winemaker earlier in his career. Steve and Mauro re-established their winemaking partnership in 2013, with Steve acting as a consultant. What does Mauro look for in a winemaker? “We desire and appreciate the creativity that Steve offers, helping to research and use new techniques, yeasts and enzymes that will help us create wines with greater fruit, color, structure and balance. We value the opportunity to work with someone who shares our goals and winemaking style.”

Eat, Sleep & Dream about Wine

Mauro and Anna share the characteristics of all entrepreneurs – their absolute commitment to their endeavour, and their willingness to deal with disappointments and move forward. ‘We eat, sleep and dream about Ridgepoint. We are not focused on making wines that critics worship. Rather, we’re excited about making wines that can be enjoyed on any occasion and shared with friends and family. Our pride has taken a few bumps over the years, mainly from Mother Nature as she provides us with yet another harsh winter this year. But we persevere and keep bouncing back to continue to push the envelope.’

While Mauro’s goal may not be to create ‘worshipped’ wines, I know you’ll agree that the wines in this Savvy Selection are worthy of contemplation, cellaring and sharing with your friends.

Here’s to Mauro and Anna… and bring on those great reds!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico 2010 VQA, $20.00

Ridgepoint bottlesThis small-batch wine is aged in aged French and American oak for up to 24 months. It’s predominantly Merlot, with a small portion of Cabernet Franc and fully air dried (almost to the point of raisins) Aglianico grapes added for depth and intensity in aromas and flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our tasting panel loved this unique wine, with its rich, ripe berry and plum notes, hints of dried fruit and spice. It’s full bodied, generous and velvety, the texture warm and spicy, the tannins supple, with a clean acidity that lifts the tasty fruit flavours.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this unique blend with classic Italian meat pasta dishes.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years.

 

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot 2010 VQA, $25.00

Only in vintages that produce ‘super ripe’ grapes is this Merlot produced. Fermented on the skins for up to 2 weeks, the wine in then aged in French and American oak for up to 24 months. Each barrel is tasted, and only those meeting Mauro’s exacting standards are selected for this Reserve.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Aromas of red fruit, plum, cedar, spice and vanilla are predominant on the nose.  “Its outstanding!”, comments Velma during the panel tasting.  Dry, medium-full bodied, the wine shows great integration—supple tannins and fine acidity establish the framework for ripe plum and cherry fruit, notes of chocolate-coated cherry and spiced vanilla adding to the savoury taste experience. Reflecting the excellent vintage, the wine finishes warm, spicy and fruit filled.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with duck or pork roast.

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 3-5 years.

 

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage 2010 VQA $30.00

Equal parts of the Cabernets and Merlot were harvested at 2 tons/acre from specially selected rows, fermented together, then aged in new French oak for about 14 months to create this powerful, cellar-worthy wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The special care taken with this wine has created a dry, full bodied wine with great complexity, a velvety texture and beautiful balance of fruit, supple tannins and clean acidity. Cassis, plum and red berry, floral and earth notes, vanilla and spice layer and mingle on the nose and palate. Warm on the finish, the ripe berry flavours shine through.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine will sing when it is served with a prime rib or roast with all of the trimmings.

Cellaring: Ready now, it will cellar 3-7 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico…

Potato Cake with Soppressata

From www.bcliquorstores.com
Serves 12

Ingredients

4 large eggs
½ C homogenized milk
¼ C ricotta cheese
½ tsp dried oregano, crushed
4 lb. russet potatoes (about 6 large)
1 ½ C freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano, Pecorino or Grana Padano cheese
½ lb soppressata, prosciutto or salami, cut into 1” pieces
¼ C finely chopped flat leaf parsley
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ C fresh bread crumbs
¾ lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼” slices

 Method

Preheat oven to 450F. In mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add milk, ricotta and oregano, mix well and set aside. Boil whole potatoes until tender, 30-40 minutes. Drain & peel potatoes. While still warm, pass through a food mill or grate into large mixing bowl. Fold in Parmesan, then stir in soppressata and parsley. Gently mix in egg mixture. Do not over-mix or potato starch will make mixture tough.

Butter 9” springform pan with 2 Tbsp butter & dust with some bread crumbs. Transfer half potato mixture into pan and gently smooth I to edges. Spread mozzarella slices over potato mixture to within ½” of edge. Top with remaining potato mixture and carefully smooth over with wet spatula. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs dot with remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Bake until light golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to stand 15 minutes before unmolding. Serve in wedges with a green salad. Can be made the day before, covered and refrigerated. Reheat at 350F uncovered for 30 minutes.

 

With Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot

Ridgepoint Bolognese

from the Chef at Ridgepoint WineryRidgepoint bolanese
Serves a crowd!

Ingredients

2.5 lbs each ground beef & pork
Canola oil for browning
1 lb. carrots, peeled and diced
2 small white onions, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
1 ½ cup red wine
Quality Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar reduction

Method

Using a large frying pan, heat canola oil on medium-high heat and brown meat, in portions if necessary, until cooked through about 80%.

Add vegetables and wine, reduce heat and simmer until wine is reduced and sauce achieves desired thickness.

Dress your choice of fresh cooked pasta with a light tomato sauce, spoon over the Bolognese, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar reduction.

Steve & Mauro in the barrel room

 

With Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage…

Garlic Prime Rib

www.allrecipes.com
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

1 10lb. prime rib roast
10 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme

 Method

Ridgepoint restaurantPlace the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, letting the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than 1 hour.Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325F and continue roasting for an additional 60-75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 135F.

Allow the roast to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving, so the meat can retain its juices.

Serve with roast potatoes and a medley of roast vegetables.

 Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Tee off for a round of golf & wine at Rockway Vineyards

Posted by Susan

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Rockway Vineyards

– September 2014 –

 

If your passion is golf and you love to spend the 19th hole with a fine glass of wine paired with a delicious lunch, Rockway Vineyards is the place for you. This property has a fascinating history that starts with founder Bruce Strongman’s love of golf and wine.

Enter the entrepreneur…

Bruce started making paint in his family-run paint store in Toronto, and built the business into the largest paint and wallpaper chain in Canada – Colour Your World. Bruce had time for more golf when the company was sold, and like many entrepreneurs, he followed his dream. It wasn’t just about shooting a perfect round, his dream included owning a golf course.

Take one golf enthusiast…

Rockway VineyardsYears of travelling to his golf course through vineyards along the Niagara Wine Route, which was increasing in popularity, led Bruce and his son Reid to hatch the idea of establishing a golf course associated with a vineyard and winery. The current property – originally a Concord grape vineyard – was purchased and construction of the course began in 1982, with the official opening in 1984. The father and son team were convinced that many of the 25,000 golfers coming to the Niagara region would too be interested in purchasing a bottle or two of wine.

Buy grape juice…

In 2000, they set the wheels in motion, purchasing juice from Reif Estate Winery and gaining the helpful winemaking expertise of Klaus Reif.  Right from the get go, it paid off as their first ice wine was selected as the ‘best of the best’ on the menu at Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Now that is impressive!

Planting of the vines began on a 50-acre vineyard adjacent to the winery.

And last but not least, purchase the vineyard!

wine-hero1When the vineyard across the street was for sale, Bruce purchased it to provide a total of 150 acres. The rapidly growing business became the only 18-hole championship golf course with a fully functional estate winery in Ontario. Bruce is now 92, and can still be seen out at Rockway for his weekly golf game, followed by lunch and a glass of wine in the restaurant. Reid continues to be involved in the business, as are several other family members.

We’re delighted to have this opportunity to offer to you a collection of Rockway Vineyards wines, crafted by winemaker David Stasiuk’s signature ‘minimalist touch’.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Small Lot Block 12-110 Wild Ferment Chardonnay VQA 2013 – a well-balanced wine with complex nose & flavours.  You are the first to receive this wine as it is not yet released at the winery.

‘The Outcast’ VQA 2011– a red Rhône-style blend that will intrigue you as it is Syrah blended with Riesling. Daring, peppery and flavourful

Small Lot Block 11-140 Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 – perfectly well-ripened, smooth, sauve & showcasing all that Cab Franc can be.

If you’re an avid golfer like our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins, after visiting Rockway for both the winery and the golfing – you will make this a regular stop when you visit Niagara. Be sure to make time for a round, wines tasting, lunch or dinner at the excellent restaurant, then take a stroll through the Rockway museum, that includes a selection of authentic French winemaking antiques.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team 

Introducing…
Rockway Vineyards

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins

 

Rockway Vineyards family photoAs I talked to Bryce Carruthers (far right in photo) – Rockway’s Sales Manager as well as Bruce’s nephew – he emphasized the recent transition that has taken place at Rockway. With tee off bookings at the golf course being steady and the banquet hall is regularly booked with weddings and golf tournaments, the family wanted to shift the focus to growing the winery and the creation of distinctive wines.

In 2009, the name was changed to Rockway Vineyards, and Bruce (centre with white shirt) instructed his then-wine consultant to find the best possible winemaker in the region. “If it’s not the best wine we can make, we’re not going to bottle it!”

Enter David Stasiuk . . . and the accolades keep coming. (David is middle of left group in photo)

David’s excitement at his role is palpable. A graduate of the Niagara College Winery & Viticulture program, he came to winemaking through the hospitality industry. “In the various roles I held in the restaurant industry, I met many winemakers, attended tastings and played a role in the selection and management of wines for the restaurants. I quickly realized that my passion for wine was too great to play second fiddle to opening a restaurant!”

Attracted to the practical components of the Niagara College program, he initiated his studies in 2007, soon realizing that the scope of a winemaker’s duties is broad.  At Rockway, David is a grower, a chemist, a taster, a people manager, a marketer, a media relations agent and, as he says, a life-long student.

Hands-on experience across Canada & beyond

During and after the College program, he ventured to gain hands on experience locally and around the world. At Le Clos Jordanne (in Niagara), he worked with Thomas Bachelder, learning the importance of site and terroir and how that translates into each wine. “Thomas was a great mentor. I learned so much—that passion for winegrowing is a must and plays a key part in the impression left on every wine crafted; the methods of wild yeast fermentation, barrel program design and so much more—I could go on forever”, explained David.

He wanted to experience winemaking in Canada’s other major winegrowing region, and was able to secure a position at Sumac Ridge. What better place for David to cut his teeth in the industry, than at this seminal Okanagan property, where Harry McWatters established his first vineyard by planting vines on what were the first few holes of his golf course! Through this experience, David worked with Sumac Ridge’s signature product –  sparkling wine – as well as still wines and developed an understanding of the BC wine industry.

Next, David moved on to Australia and New Zealand, staying true to his cool-climate roots, working at Moët Chandon in Australia’s Yarra Valley and with Villa Maria Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. Here, he worked with grapes varieties such as Pinot Noir and Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay – all highly relevant to the Ontario wine industry.

Europe was his next destination, yet life and his wife’s career intervened, so he headed to BC to work with Darryl Brooker at Cedar Creek, before moving back to Niagara. “Darryl’s approached to winemaking really affected how I look at things—always a focus on the highest quality with an honest hands-off approach, and the determination to go the distance to achieve the best results, no matter what”, tells David. 

5 years and counting…

David Stasiuk - taken by Savvy CompanyWhen David joined Rockway Vineyards 5 years ago, he combined his love for food and golf with his passion for wine.

He was given a clean slate and the opportunity to re-define the style of Rockway wines. Asked what he feels gives his wines their unique style, he focuses on two keys factors: the site and state-of-the-art equipment.

“We are located on the furthest eastern border of the Twenty Mile Bench sub-apellation. We are farther away from the lake than the bench wineries (winespeak: wineries along the Beamsville Bench), yet still benefit from the lake-effect wind and temperature modulation. Because of the way the escarpment wraps around our site, we tend to have funneling winds that promote good air flow through the grapevine canopies.” David continues, “we have diverse soils and are on a gradual slope that, with the winds, helps reduce the risk of settling frosts. Most of our vines were planted 10-30 years ago, so we have some mature vines and are focused on Chardonnay and Riesling, as well as Cabernet Franc and Syrah.”

With the winery onsite, there is minimal time from picking to processing and the winemaking equipment includes state-of-the-art cooling tanks and processing equipment.

Making wines he likes

When I asked about his philosophy and the type of experience he would like you to have when you taste his wines, David is poetic. “We try to preserve the flavours developed in our vineyards by being gentle with the fruit and not obscuring the taste of the vineyard by over oaking. I want people who taste our wines to have the same experience I look for in a wine”. David shares his personal impression, “I want to be intrigued at the first smell from the glass. I want to sense depth and layers of aromas. Then I want the wine to have life on the palate. I want it to be fresh and approachable but firm, with a distinct personality.”

Let me ask you…what more could YOU want!?!

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


‘Small Lot Block 12-110’ Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 VQA, $32.00

The fruit for this wine was hand harvested, a portion of the juice placed in a warm room to start a natural inoculant, then was tasted and added back to the barrels. The wine was aged in French oak for 7 months.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Attractive notes of butter, vanilla and toasted nut mingle with aromas of ripe orchard fruit. This dry, medium-bodied wine offers a tantalizing taste experience, showing complexity & verve with sound fruit flavours, good structure and a pleasant touch of buttery toast on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Enjoy the creamy texture  & lively acidity of this wine with roast chicken, pork or grilled salmon.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years.

 

‘The Outcast’ 2011 VQA, $19.95

Move over Shiraz/Viognier blends, David is introducing his own creation: Syrah/Riesling. It’s common practice in Australia to add 5% Viognier to Shiraz for aromatics and minerality. David in turn, is adding 5% Riesling to this northern Rhône-style Syrah for the subtle acidity and residual sugar it brings to the texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Dry, medium bodied, this unique blend has a firm structure and fresh texture, with a peppery nose, spicy floral notes and lovely red & black fruit.The spicy peppery notes mingle with a hint of earthiness and juicy ripe fruit, while a subtle note of coffee bean (resulting from the Syrah juice that spent 18 months in oak) lingers on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:Lamb is a classic pairing or enjoy with other roast meat are a perfect match.

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 2-3 years.

 

‘Small Lot Block 11-140’ Cabernet Franc 2011 VQA $24.95

The fruit for this wine benefited from ideal ripening conditions – warm days and cool nights heading into harvest, assuring depth of flavor and smooth tannins. Fermented with a native Bordeaux yeast, then aged 18 months in French barrels.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Here’s a well-ripened Cabernet Franc offering a fine nose of spicy chocolate, lavender, dried herbs, ripe berry and plum. Dry, medium-full bodied, it has great presence on the palate, a fresh yet rich texture, well-defined structure and flavourful fruit flavours. Attractive peppery notes & a hint of mocha persist on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with Beef Bourguignon, Coq au Vin or leg of lamb.

Cellaring:  Ready now, it will cellar 3-5 years.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~


With Rockway Wild Ferment Chardonnay…

Salmon with Lemon Quinoa & Corn Salsa

From Radius Café, Hamilton Ontario
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups dried quinoa
2 lemons
6 Tbsp olive oil
½ C chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cobs corn
½ red pepper, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
4 portions fresh Atlantic salmon

Method

In 2 litres of boiling water, cook quinoa until tender, 8-10 minutes. Strain in a colander & transfer to large bowl. While it’s still hot, add zest & juice of 2 lemons & 2 Tbsp olive oil. Stir & let cool in refrigerator. Once cool, add 2 Tbsp parsley & set aside.

Husk corn & grill on high, rotating cobs until nicely charred on the outside. Stand corn upright on cutting board & run knife along cob to remove kernels. (alternatively, do the same process by boiling corn)

Transfer kernels to bowl. Add red pepper, shallot, remaining olive oil, white wine vinegar & remaining parsley. Season this corn salsa with half the salt & pepper & set aside.

Season salmon with remaining salt & pepper & brush lightly with oil. On hot grill, cook salmon for about 6 minutes per side or until moist & flakey.

Make a bed of quinoa on each plate. Lay grilled salmon on it & top with corn salsa. 


With Rockway ‘The Outcast’

Leg of Lamb with Syrah Marinade

Adapted from Cooking with BC Wine Cookbook, T & C-L Townsin
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 leg of lamb
1 cup Syrah
2 tsp minced horseradish
2 cup ketchup
2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp shallots, minced
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped

Method

David Stasiuk in cellar - taken by Savvy CompanyCombine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container. Trim excess fat from lamb and marinate overnight for best results. There should be extra marinade to be saved for later.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove lamb from marinade and sear on all sides in pan over medium high heat.

Transfer lamb to ovenproof dish, cover and roast for 45 minutes for rare or 1 hour for well done. Or grill on barbeque. Serve with baby roast potatoes and seasonal fall vegetables.

 

 

What a treat! David gave us a barrel tasting of his 2012 red wines of Syrah & Cabernet Franc. Not ready just yet, but they will be worth the wait!

 

With Rockway Cabernet Franc…

Grilled Hanger Steak with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa

From The Flavour Principle Cookbook, L. Waverman, B. Crosariol
Serves 6

Ingredients for Steak

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbp chopped garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp honey
¼ cup olive oil
one 2 lb. hanger steak
salt & freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for Salsa

3 ears corn, shucked
3 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 red pepper, cut in quarters
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
¾ cup chopped red onion

Ingredients for Dressing

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp coriander seeds
¾ tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

 

Method for Steak

Combine mustard, vinegar, thyme, garlic, chili powder & honey in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Pour marinade over steak & marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Remove steak from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat grill to high. Season steak with salt & pepper & grill for 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare (depending on thickness) or until desired degree of doneness.

Remove from grill & let rest for 5 minutes. Slice against grain & serve with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa.

Method for Salsa 

Preheat grill to high. Brush corn, tomatoes & red pepper with oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Grill corn for about 3 minutes per side or until kernels are golden. Also grill tomatoes until skin is shriveled and flesh is soft, about 2 minutes per side. Peel charred skin from tomatoes & discard; then grill peppers for about 4 minutes per side or until skin is blackened. Set aside & cool. Peel skin from pepper & discard. Dice pepper & transfer to medium bowl.

Slice corn from cobs & add to pepper with red onion.

Place tomatoes in food processor with oil, lemon juice, coriander seeds & paprika. Process until smooth. Stir in cilantro. Toss vegetables with dressing.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Tawse is named Winery AND Winemaker of the Year

Posted by Susan

Friday, June 10th, 2011
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Tawse Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep

Venturing to Alberta as a young man, Moray Tawse worked at a resort where he ‘fell’ into the role of wine steward, further developing his interest in wine, in particular Burgundian-style wines. In 1988, he co-founded and continues to lead a financial services firm while combining his dream of owning a vineyard in Burgundy, France. Luckily for the Canadian wine industry, fate wanted to keep this dream at home. Moray was enamored with an outstanding Chardonnay from Niagara and saw the potential for his beloved Burgundian wines in Ontario. After researching the Niagara wine scene, he purchased property in 2001 and his winery dream began to take shape.

The uncompromising attention to quality, environmental stewardship and landscape is evident as you approach the Tawse Winery. Opened in 2005, the state-of-the-art building nestles into the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment), boasting a six-level gravity flow vinification system that uses the naturally sloping terrain for gentle handling, assuring the exquisite bouquet and flavours of the finished product. Underground cellars maintain the ideal temperature and humidity for barrel aging, while minimizing environmental impact. The geo-thermal energy system has reduced consumption of traditional energy by 80%, and the wetland bio-filter system ensures that all sanitary and winery waste water is recycled. Biodynamic farming, sometimes referred to as “extreme organic”, is the practice of ever increasing ecological self-sufficiency on the property. The estate is farmed organically with everything done by hand. Biodynamic farming and winemaking techniques have been implemented—Ecocert and Demeter seals appear on all Tawse wines made from biodynamically cultivated fruit.

Frequently receiving accolades, the piece de resistance is undoubtedly the prestigious Canada’s Winery of the Year from Wine Access Magazine presented at the 2010 Canadian Wine Awards. Interestingly, Tawse was the first Ontario winery to receive this honor and also won an unprecedented 5 gold, 3 silver and 10 bronze medals for their wines. In addition, they won the White Wine of the Year award for its 2008 Robyn’s Block Chardonnay. And to top it all off, Tawse winemaker Paul Pender was named Ontario’s Winemaker of the Year 2011 at the Ontario Wine Awards.  Congrats to the Tawse team!

We are delighted to introduce you this month’s Savvy Selections:
Sketches of Niagara Rosé VQA 2010 – a crisp, dry & delicious Rosé perfect for sipping on your patio
Riesling VQA 2010 – just released in time to be included in Savvy Selections
Laundry Vineyards Cabernet Franc VQA 2009 – you are the very first to get your hands on this wine. It is not yet released at the winery.
Optional wine: Riesling Ice Wine VQA 2009 – subtle, elegant, and beautifully balanced

As always in the Savvy eZine, we have included the tasting notes from our Savvy Sommeliers along with recipes that Susan specifically chose to pair with each of these wines ideal for summertime entertaining.

If there is a particular wine from Tawse that you enjoyed, feel free to contact me and I would be more than happy to arrange a delivery of additional bottles to be sent to you. And if you would like to stock up on your favorite Savvy Selections wines, just give me a call to arrange a special delivery.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team

Tawse Winery
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

To visit Tawse is to be inspired. Here is uncompromising commitment to the vines, the grapes and the soil, respect for the environment and trust that stewardship will be rewarded with the excellence of outstanding wines.

When Moray Tawse purchased this estate in 2001, he purchased existing vineyards, some of them with vines planted in the 1970s and 1980s. He selected sites that offer unique terroir, for instance the Quarry Road site which is at the top of the Niagara escarpment, where the limestone in very accessible and minerality shines through. He called on renowned winemaker Deborah Paskus, whose Chardonnay had changed his mind about establishing a winery in France and establish roots in Niagara instead. Paul Pender (appears in photo below), fresh from Niagara College’s Winery & Viticulture program, joined as assistant winemaker. When Deborah decided to move to Closson Chase Winery in Prince Edward County, Moray called on his long-time friend, internationally renowned consulting winemaker Pascal Marchand to assist with the 2005 vintage. Paul soon took the helm and acquired his own assistant; Australian Rene van Ede who is a lab expert and has an extraordinary palate.

Known for his ‘non-interventionist as far as possible’ approach to winemaking, Paul has overseen both Tawse’s organic and biodynamic certification processes. His approach to winemaking is that of a steward (or a guardian angel), watching over the vines and grapes, ‘keeping them safe’, and then letting the wine express its sense of place. Moray Tawse has repeatedly explained in various publications the importance of the vineyard location. he is proud that the terroir at his winery is much like the region of Burgundy, France & being one of the reasons to invest in Niagara.

Growing a Biodynamic Business
The biodynamic approach used by Tawse is natural and holistic with the principal focus on treating the vineyard as an ecosystem where all the components are a self-contained integrated whole, dependent upon each other for long-term health and vitality. Those components include biodiversity, soil fertility, crop nutrition and disease/pest control – as an example, hedgerows are planted to attract beneficial insects, while cover crops are planted in the vineyard to prevent erosion and compete with the vines for nutrients, driving the roots down into the mineral layers of the soil. Various farm animals roam through the vineyards to eat weeds or excess vine foliage, their manure providing natural enrichment for the soil. And horses may be used for harvest to minimize soil compaction.

In the winemaking process, the guiding principal is to celebrate the terroir. With the changing weather of each vintage, Paul spends much of his time in the vineyard monitoring the health and quality of the fruit, sugar and acidity levels. Flexibility and quick reaction time is required, given the unpredictability of the climate – but this is what makes each vintage unique. In addition to the gentle process ensured by the gravity-flow system, wild yeasts are used wherever possible, and the same type of oak is applied in aging wines so that the unique qualities of the vineyard come through. And Tawse winemaking staff rejoices in the nature of cool-climate wines: ‘We’re an acidity-friendly winery,” states Rene, the assistant winemaker. Their goal: to create elegant, bright, pure ‘old world’ style wines.

In a interview by wine blogger Michael di Caro,  Paul was asked what he would plant were he given a few acres. Ever the pragmatist, his choices were Riesling and Chardonnay, since he feels that he could reliably produce outstanding wines from these varietals every vintage; but he’s still irresistibly drawn to Pinot Noir, because in a great Ontario vintage, it’s fantastic!

And Moray’s life long dream of making wine in Burgundy is now coming to fruition as he partners with friend and business associate Pascal Marchand to operate a cuverie (winespeak: vat room) and cellars in Nuits-St-Georges France. We look forward to featuring Marchand & Tawse labeled wine in Savvy Selections.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Susan

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Tawse Riesling VQA 2010, $19.95
Representing what’s considered a great vintage in Niagara, the fruit for this Riesling is from a single vineyard in the Vinemount Ridge appellation, known for delivering grapes with an outstanding combination of sweetness and acidity.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Almost transparent, this is a clean zesty wine. Lovely floral, sweet citrus, stone fruit and mineral aromas beckon. Vibrant acidity and mineral notes complement the bright long lasting flavours of kiwi, lime, mandarin and white peach.
Suggested Food Pairing: To quote one of our tasters “This pairs nicely with not much to do!” But we’ve included a salmon recipe to help finish the bottle!
Cellaring: Refined and flavourful, enjoy it now and cellar a few bottles to savour over the next few years.

Tawse ‘Sketches of Niagara’ Rosé VQA 2010, $14.95
This outstanding rosé was featured a few weeks ago in Vintages, yet it’s almost gone. Being a great way to kick off summer with its juicy aromas and tastes, we made sure that the winery had enough of this Rosé to include it in this months’ Savvy Selections. Enjoy!
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Watermelon pink, this blend of Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a selection of white grape varietals, this wine is appealing from the fresh fruity nose, straight through to the flavourful palate of red berry and pink grapefruit, with a lasting fruity finish that hits you with a dash of white pepper. Plain and simple – it’s delicious!
Suggested Food Pairing: Rosé is incredibly versatile – enjoy chilled as you chill out on the patio, match to light meat dishes, serve with appetizers and grilled fish.
Cellaring: Enjoy now and stock up on several bottles . . .

Tawse Laundry Vineyards Cabernet Franc VQA 2009 $31.95
Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, this not-yet-released Cabernet Franc is produced from fruit grown in an organically farmed vineyard located in the Lincoln Lakeshore appellation. You can tell from the texture and flavours that the fruit hung to optimal ripeness.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Offering depth and complexity, this is a dry, firmly structured, medium-full bodied wine with a wonderful velvety texture and enticing aromas of dried herbs, blackberry and raspberry, tobacco leaf and a hint of fresh mint. The rich fruit flavours flow across the palate and through the lengthy finish, notes of roasted peppers, espresso and a dash of pepper adding allure. Irresistible!
Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ. This is a wine to be enjoyed with simply prepared bison, beef or lamb.
Cellaring: Drinking well now, this wine will cellar for 3-5 years.

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTION ~

With Tawse Riesling…

Gingery Grilled Salmon
From ‘Eating Well Magazine’
Serves 4

Ingredients
¼ C nonfat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp freshly grated lime zest
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp canola oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
4 4-5 oz. pieces salmon fillet, ~ 1” thick

Method
1. Whisk together marinade ingredients.

2. Place salmon in a shallow glass dish and pour marinade over it, turning to coat all sides. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator fro 20-30 minutes, turning once or twice.

3. Heat grill. Using long-handled BBQ brush, coat grill rack with oil. Place salmon, skin-side up, on grill. Cook for 5 minutes. Using 2 metal spatulas, carefully turn the salmon pieces over and cook just until opaque in the centre, 6-8 minutes longer. With 2 spatulas, remove salmon from grill and slip off skin.

4. Serve over mixed greens with a simple lime, canola oil and honey dressing.

With Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Maple Rhubarb Coulis
Adapted from Gay Cook
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 ½ lb pork tenderloin
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp wine or cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
A dash or two of Tabasco or 1 tsp chopped canned jalapeno
½ tsp each salt & freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 C sliced rhubarb
1 small onion, chopped
¼ C water
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
3 Tbsp maple syrup or to taste

Method
1. Trim any fat or membrane off pork tenderloin.

2. To make marinade, whisk together garlic, zest, oil, vinegar, maple syrup, Tabasco, soy, salt & pepper. Thoroughly turn meat in marinade & refrigerate for 1 hour. Slice tenderloin into ¾” medallions.

3. Place rhubarb in saucepan with water, onion, ginger, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil & cook gently for 8-10 minutes. Purée if necessary.

4. Grill or pan sautée the pork on medium-high heat until done, about 3 minutes each side.

5. To serve, place the rhubarb coulis on a platter or plate and place the medallions slightly overlapping down the centre.

With Tawse Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc…

Steaks Balsamico
From Susan’s own kitchen
Serves 4

Ingredients
¼ C oil
¼ C balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp basil, crumbled
¼ tsp each salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 strip loin steaks, 1” thick (or filet mignon)

Method
1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a heavy zip-lock bag. Add meat and squeeze bag to coat steaks with marinade. Seal bag. Let stand for 30 minutes.

2. Remove steaks from marinade; discard marinade.

3. Grill steaks over medium heat on gas BBQ to desired doneness.

4. Let the wine shine through with this simple preparation.

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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