Posts Tagged ‘Bon Appetit Magazine’

Wine-making and film-making at Long Dog Winery

Posted by Velma

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Long Dog Vineyard & Winery
–  December 2012 –


When IMAX filmmaker James Lahti, his wife Victoria Rose, and his good friend Steven Rapkin bought property in Prince Edward County in 1999, it was not with the intention of growing grapes or making wine. The purchase of one of the oldest deeds in the County was meant to be a weekend getaway from their hectic lives in busy Toronto.

Two years later, inspired by others in the region who were successfully growing grapes, they planted 1000 vines and, three years after that, produced their first vintage – three barrels of Pinot Noir. Although the vines were young, James produced a Pinot that reminded him of his first incredible taste of this grape 40 years before in Burgundy, France. His first thought, as he recalls the memory, was “Wow! If we can produce this kind of wine with three year old vines, what are we going to be making in 10 to 15 years?”  This was the seed that started Long Dog Vineyard and Winery.

Fast forward ten years, to 2012, and the Savvy Team can answer James’ question: James can make great wines! Five of us from the team conducted a tasting several weeks ago and, I have to say, we had a hard time selecting the wines to be named Savvy Selections from the four Pinot Noirs and two Chardonnays that James sent us to sample. It was a tough job, but what can I say – someone had to do it, and I’m awfully glad it was us!

Our Savvy Sommelier Velma Leblanc also talked with James about his first taste of Pinot Noir wine in the early 1970s, about the similarities between winemaking and filmmaking, and where the name “Long Dog” comes from. Read all of these stories in the following pages of this month’s Savvy eZine.

In the end, our tasting panel selected, for your enjoyment this holiday season, three wonderful wines that have been created, as all Long Dog wines are, with 100% of grapes grown on the property of this boutique Prince Edward Country vineyard.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Bella Chardonnay Riserva 2008 – a medium-bodied, well-balanced, cool-climate white, with
just a hint of oak

Otto Pinot Noir 2009an aromatic, classic Pinot Noir with a cherry finish  

Top Dog Pinot Noir 2009 – a beautiful rich red Pinot Noir that one member of the panel described
as having a velvety Santa Claus finish and that others simply described as “yummy”

Ever tried a vertical?

Vertical is wine speak for having the same variety from one particular winery from consecutive years. Long Dog has Pinot Noir from 2007, 2008 & 2009 and our Savvy Sommeliers had a delicious vertical experience during the Savvy Selections tasting panel.  We selected our top favorites for you to enjoy, yet if you would like to order additional bottles to have a Long Dog vertical, just let me know & I will arrange for additional bottles to be sent to you.

OPTIONAL WINES – Long Dog Pinot Noirs:

Top Dog Pinot Noir 2008, $30 – in the glass it looks like a light red wine, but that is totally misleading.  The aromas & taste will surprise you & blow you away! Medium bodied with BIG aromas & tastes of ripe cherries, raspberries, blackberries with velvety tannins. Ready to drink now.

Otto Pinot Noir 2007, $36 – loads of black cherry aromas that follow into the taste with lots of acidity & tannins that should mellow as it is cellared for a few more years.  This Pinot is definitely well made & will continue to evolve as it ages.  Afterall, it was from the highly acclaimed 2007 vintage.

Cheers & have a wonderful holiday!
Debbie & Savvy Team 


Long Dog Vineyard & Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Velma LeBlanc


It happened 40 years ago, but it was a moment James Lahti has never forgotten.  He was 19 years old, travelling across Europe on a motorcycle, and was in the heart of wine country: Burgundy, France. He had picked up a bottle of wine at a local store, a baguette and some cheese and had stopped by the side of a river to enjoy his purchases. He opened the bottle and – at a time when most Canadians back home were sipping Baby Duck – tried his first-ever Pinot Noir red wine.

“I couldn’t believe wine could taste so good,” he said.  “Pinot has been following me around ever since,” he laughed.

Today, James is a well-known and respected IMAX filmmaker who has been in the movie business for more than 30 years.  For the last 13 years, he’s also been in the wine business.

In 1997, James (left), along with his wife Victoria Rose (middle), also a filmmaker, and a good friend Steven Rapkin, a lawyer (right), bought a 300-acre property in Prince Edward Country as a vacation getaway. It housed eight buildings, including a 150-year old home, and was meant to be a place to retreat to on weekends.

Within a year, however, James and Victoria moved their film-making business to their new property and James caught the grape-growing bug.  Inspired by others in the County who were successfully growing grapes – and after much research, soil sampling, and consultation – they planted 1000 vines: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Blanche.

Three years later they produced their first vintage: a Pinot that exhibited some of the characteristics of the great Pinot James had tasted in Burgundy 40 years before. His first thought, was “Wow! If we can produce this kind of wine on three-year-old vines, what are we going to be making in 10 to 15 years?”

Today, Long Dog is producing some excellent wines and the 1000 vines have expanded to 25,000. More than half are Pinot Noir. Seventy percent of the other half are Chardonnay and the remainder Pinot Gris and Gamay.

“Winemaking and film-making are both creative processes, which is why I think so many people in the film business end up owning wineries,” he explained.  “As a producer and film editor, a lot of stuff gets dumped onto my desk and I say ‘OK, let’s make a movie’.  Making wine is a similar process. You have 25,000 vines giving you different fruit from virtually every vine and you say ‘OK, how am I going to make the best wine out of this?’”

James believes that a great wine starts with great grapes and, as such, takes pride in producing the best grapes possible.  A lot of it has to do with terroir – the soil and environment in which the grapes grow. “You can take the exact same grape variety and grow it and ferment it the same way, but if one vine is grown in clay soil and the other in stony limestone, you get totally different wines.”

Winemaking is as easy as A, B, C & D 

The Long Dog Vineyard is divided into four blocks – A, B, C, and D – each with a different soil type. “I keep everything separate. All my blocks (wine speak: parcels of property) are separate. All my clones are separate. And, now with the progress of the vineyard, I’m actually down to keeping some rows separate.”

The reason?  It offers him flexibility and variety when it comes to blending those grapes to make the best wines possible.  “The science is the real fun of it.”

To also guarantee great grapes, James is a “real stickler” for picking and harvesting, ensuring that no more than 30 minutes go by from the time a grape is picked to when it reaches the cool room (monitored at 5 to 6 degrees Celsius). “The minute you pick the grapes, they start to break down. The quicker you can get them cooled, the better your chances of making a good wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.”

James is also a great believer in a French expression that says “the road to a great wine starts with small footsteps in the vineyard”.  He takes this quite literally and, every night, at 6 p.m. with a glass of wine in hand, 10 legs go walking – his and those of his and Victoria’s two wire-haired dachshunds dogs: Bella and Flora.

Why the name?

“Bella” is the name on the label of one of the wines from this month’s Savvy Selections, as is “Otto,” the name of the dachshund that James and Victoria had when they first moved to Prince Edward County.

Their love of dachshunds inspired the name of “Long Dog” for the winery, which James says puts a smile on many peoples’ faces when they finally come to the end of the winding country road & lay their eyes on the quaint picturesque winery & historic buildings.

“And, that’s what it’s all about,” says James, “the satisfaction of putting a smile on someone else’s face and knowing they’re enjoying your wine and your labour.


It’s the satisfaction you get when they come up to you or send you an e-mail that says ‘Hey, we just had a bottle of your wine last night and it was fantastic.”

“And, from my experience in traveling, and tasting Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from around the world, we are producing some fantastic wines here in Prince Edward County and Niagara. We can hold our heads high, and it’s only going to get better.”



Long Dog Bella Riserva Chardonnay 2008, $18.00

Savvy Sommelier & Savvy Company founder Debbie fondly remembers her first visit to Long Dog and walking through the vineyard with James on a cool summer day.  James repeatedly called the Chardonnay vines “his girls”. Tall, trimmed with a great canopy of leaves at the top like an umbrella shading the grapes from the harsh sun.  This ensures that the grapes are slow & evenly ripen.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A well-balanced, medium-bodied, cool-climate Chardonnay that offers classic hints of butterscotch, vanilla, and tropical fruit. Very rich, smooth, and warming, with a long finish, that could be enjoyed on its own or with food.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Delivered to you in time for the holiday season, this wine would be a lovely sipping wine and would pair exceptionally well with such appetizers as savoury shortbreads (see recipe below), spicy nuts, or parmesan crisps.

Cellaring: No need to wait – enjoy it now!


Long Dog “Otto” Pinot Noir 2009 $28.00

James has 3 tiers of his Pinot Noirs – Otto is the mid-tier with Top Dog being the premium – of course! Crafting a good Pinot Noir is considered by winemakers as the pinnacle of winemaking. Pinots are difficult to grow in the vineyards and in the cellar, the wine can change so fast – for the better or worse – as it ages in the barrel.

James does an incredible job each year with his multiple Pinot Noirs – very impressive undertaking!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This aromatic, well-balanced Pinot Noir has aromas and flavours of dried and fresh cherries. Its tannins are velvety and its finish long.

Suggested Food Pairing: The Savvy Team imagined that mushroom risotto would be absolutely delicious with this wine.  Enjoy the recipe below, mushroom crêpes, and grilled salmon. All are classic food pairings with Pinot Noir wines and this Otto is definitely a classic!

Cellaring: Enjoy the wine now or cellar it for 2-3 years.


Long Dog Top Dog Pinot Noir 2009

$35.00 (special price for Savvy Selections subscribers)

Wines named as “Top Dog” are a blend of the James’ favourite barrels.  Each wine is vinified separately according to age, location, and clone. The result is the best wine possible – naturally.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Stunning red in colour, with hints of violet, cardamom warm spice and leather.  This earthy Pinot Noir has smooth tannins and a velvety finish. To enjoy it at its best advantage, we recommend to decant for 10-15 minutes.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve this wine with baked trout.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this wine will cellar 2-3 years.



With Long Dog Chardonnay…

Savoury Parmesan Shortbread Rounds

Bon Appétit Magazine, December 2007
Makes 24


1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
½ small garlic clove, mincedPinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix flour, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic, and cayenne pepper in processor. Add butter and, using on/off turns, process until dough begins to come together. Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into 12-inch log, and cut each log into 1-inch pieces.

Roll each piece into ball. Arrange dough balls on prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Press each ball into 2-inch-diameter round. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over.

Bake shortbread rounds until tops are dry and bottoms are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer shortbread rounds to rack and cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Shortbread rounds can be made 1 week ahead. Store rounds in airtight container at room temperature, or freeze up to 1 month.


With Long Dog ‘Otto’ Pinot Noir

Mushroom Risotto

Gourmet Magazine, April 2005 (Velma has edited slightly)
Serves 6


1 cup dried porcini – optional
3 ¾ cups hot water
5 ¼ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 lb Arborio rice (2 1/3 cups)
2/3 cup dry white wine
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Soak porcini (if using) in 1 ½ cups hot water in a bowl until softened, about 20 minutes. Lift porcini out, squeezing liquid back into bowl. Rinse to remove any grit and coarsely chop. Pour soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a coffee filter or a dampened paper towel into a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, then add broth, soy sauce, and remaining 21/4 cups water to pan and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté onion, stirring, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and fresh mushrooms and sauté, stirring, until mushrooms are browned and any liquid they give off is evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in porcini and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Stir 1 cup simmering broth into rice and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, about 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy looking but still al dente, 18 to 20 minutes. Thin with some of remaining broth if necessary. (You will have about 1 cup left over.) Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and remaining 5 tablespoons butter until butter is melted.

If reserving some risotto to make one of the following recipes, set aside 3 cups and cool to room temperature, then chill, covered with plastic wrap.

Stir parsley into remaining risotto and serve immediately.

With Top Dog Pinot Noir…

Maple Salmon on Asian Inspired Greens

Canadian Living Magazine
Serves 8


1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 lb Pacific salmon
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 Tbsp soy sauce
2/3 cup rice vinegar
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 whole red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp finely minced gingerroot
2 lbs assorted mushrooms
6 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
6 to 8 cups baby spinach
2 Tbsp sesame seeds



In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.

Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 20 minutes, turning once.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, mustard, onion and gingerroot; set aside.

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 10 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

Pile mushrooms in centre of large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce. Fold edges and ends to seal well. Place in over for the last 10 minutes to which the salmon in cooking.

Warm up the dressing which was set aside earlier in a sauce pan just until boiling.

Divide baby spinach evenly among 8 dinner plates. Top with steaming mushrooms and drizzle with warm dressing. Place 1 of salmon piece over each plate of spinach. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds for presentation.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections

 Happy Holidays to you & your family!



Great stuff from Huff!

Posted by Erin

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Huff Estates Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep

When a wine is complex, it opens up to you bit by bit and offers something new each time. I think that this is a fitting way to describe this month’s our feature winery Huff Estates Winery of Prince Edward County. This marks the third time that we have featured Huff in Savvy Selections. Why? Because as one of the flagship wineries of Prince Edward County – or PEC as it is often referred to –  it is a complex winery with something new to offer each time we return. With the rapid growth of ‘The County’, I find it fascinating to see & taste how the region evolves each year.  When I first visited the region six years ago, there were a mere 7 wineries. Now there are 23 wineries, with more opening this summer! 


Prince Edward County was the center of the fruit canning industry in Canada & has transformed itself into the fastest growing wine region in Canada. In addition to the wine, The County is growing its reputation as a culinary weekend getaway with its gourmet restaurants, artisan cheese makers, artists & historic inns. The fertile limestone land bordering Lake Ontario once produced fruits & vegetables.  The landscape continues to change, transforming into impressive vineyards – with Huff Estates as one of the wineries to watch & breaking new ground as this region grows.


While the winery opened in 2004, the roots of the Huff family lays claim to PEC back to the 1800s when they settled as United Empire Loyalists. In fact, the winery is located on what used to be an orchard called “Huff Corners” – at the intersection of County Road #1 & Highway 62.


On the following pages, our newest Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling shares with her interview with Huff’s winemaker Frederic Picard & his impression of this year’s harvest.


Or watch our video!  
On a recent visit to Huff, I spent some time with Frederic too. Watch us our chat in the vineyard on the Savvy Company YouTube channel at:


Cozy up by the fire or celebrate the Chinese New Year with these Savvy Selections wines:

·         Huff Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2009

·         Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay 2008

·         Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007

·         OPTIONAL WINE: Huff Estates First Frost 2008


What did you think?

Our Savvy Team appreciates hearing from you about the wines we selected for your enjoyment.  And if you plan to visit the County soon  – be sure to consider taking in the annual Countyliscious festival that runs March 23 to April 16 featuring prix fixe menus for under $35 at renowned gourmet restaurants featuring local produce. Contact us in advance & we’ll be happy to arrange a tour of Huff Estates or give you our ‘must visit’ list of wineries to help you plan your trip.


Want more Huff Estates wines?  It is easy – simply call on us to arrange an order for you.


Cheers & Enjoy!

– Debbie & Savvy Team


Huff Estates Winery

Presented by Sommelier Erin Bolling


Winemaker Frederic Picard hails from Burgundy, France and has travelled from the famed vineyards of his homeland to Italy, Chile, California & France where he gained hands on experience in vineyards & wine cellars. When asked how his vast experience has helped him in the different cool climate growing region of PEC, he explains with a little tone of je ne sais quoi, “to me, all experience is positive. I have learned how to get the most out of what the land & terroir gives me to work with”. As the winery has rapidly grown in the past six years, Frederic now has 40 acres of vineyards to work with, bearing vines that are producing high enough yields & quality grapes for him to make wines that contain 100% County grown grapes. A sidenote: a new vineyard needs to grow 5 to 7 years before the grapes are worthy to use for making wine.  During this time, to help PEC wineries get started, they can purchase grapes from Niagara & bring them to their winery to make wine that they can call their own. It is a true signal of ‘coming of age’, when the winery produces wine using grapes from their own vineyard.  All of the wines in this Savvy Selections are made with County grown grapes.

Frederic has been with the winery since the opening in 2004 during this time has produced wines that are winning notable awards here at home and abroad. Last year, Frederic was part of a team of Ontario winemakers who traveled to London, England on a ‘mission’ to make an impression on the European wine media by showcasing Ontario Chardonnay wines. Huff’s South Bay Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2007 garnered rave reviews from renowned wine critics including Oz Clarke & Jancis Robinson. Huff’s Chardonnay – made with grapes from their vineyard in PEC’s South Bay area – was touted as a ‘wine to watch’.  Now that is impressive! This wine quickly sold out & we are excited to include the South Bay Chardonnay from the 2008 vintage for you to sip on now or cellar.  We are sure that you too will be impressed with the outstanding quality of this wine.

Interview with Winemaker Frederic Picard
“Respect the grapes you’re making the wine from”, was the repeated message during my interview with Frederic. Luckily, I was able to catch him before he headed off to France. Given the short growing season & cold winters he explained to me that after harvest, he has to hill-up (winespeak: bury the vines). This technique is only practiced in PEC to protect the vines from the harsh winter conditions.  By hilling up, the vines can produce quality fruit in the spring.  As you can imagine, with the arrival of spring, he has to ‘hill down’ by removing the soil from the buried vines. According to Frederic, “the climate in PEC favours excellent ripening of cool climate grape varieties – Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling & Pinot Gris.

You heard it here first!
While he experiments in the vineyard, Frederic also experiments in the wine cellar.  He let me in on a secret that I am excited to share with you….Frederic has crafted a new wine that will be called Zero DeGris – a late harvest style wine that will be released this spring. That is all that he would divulge, so stay tuned! Frederic is also very excited about what he calls his “baby” – the  sparkling wines he makes at Huff. In fact, he was the first winery in the area to make a bubbly.  Frederic proudly recalled the story that acclaimed Canadian wine critic, Tony Aspler stated that he feels “sparkling wine can be something very special here in the County.”  Huff’s Cuvée Peter F. Huff sparkling won gold at the All Canadian Wine Championship. Speaking of awards, check out the extensive list Huff has received so far:

The verdict of 2010 harvest? As Frederic claims with his charming French accent, “one of the best ever”. We anxiously await to taste the wines of 2010.

Plan a visit to Huff – its a year round destination
I plan to be enjoying a glass of Huff sparkling wine on the winery’s patio when I visit the winery as one of my stops along a cycling tour that I am planning of the County this summer. There are several other reasons to jump in your car to visit Huff – any time of the year:
The Inn – each of the impressive 21 suites are surrounded by vineyards.
Oeno Gallery – Art & wine are perfect partners, especially with PEC becoming a thriving artists’ community, Huff Estates added the gallery to its property in 2009. There are different exhibits featuring contemporary art & sculpture. Did you know that PEC has more artists per capita than Toronto does?

With the stellar 2010 harvest, I’m looking forward to what comes next from Huff.  Until then, enjoy your Savvy Selections. As they say in France…Santé!


~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Pinot Gris VQA 2009, $19.95

This wine is a sure crowd pleaser. All the grapes in this award winning wine are from PEC, specifically the Southbay, East Lake, and Hillier vineyards. The Savvy panel agreed it is lovely on its own or as an aperitif.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This white gold wine is complex with intense aromatics of apple, pear, ripe guava and almonds. Savvy Sommelier Doug commented that, ’’there is a lot going on in this glass’’ to the agreement of all involved in the Savvy Selections tasting panel. With a quick sniff, you will find all the aromatic notes repeated on the palate in a medium-full bodied wine with a refreshingly tangy lime finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: As sommeliers we aim to help you find out what you love to drink & eat. This is a versatile wine that will pair with seafood, roast chicken, even porkchops with a chutney.  For those of you who make a full meal out of our suggested recipes, we suggest to serve Asian Avacado Salsa. This wine will meld well with the avocado in this twist on traditional guacamole.

Cellaring: No need to wait! This wine is drinking well now.

South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay VQA 2008 $29.95
This was the Savvy Selections panel hands down favorite. Savvy Sommelier Julie coined this wine as the ‘Golden Baby’ & enthusiastically stated that  “she could write all night about this delicious Chardonnay”. It’s a Chardonnay for any season with enough body that white wine lovers simply need to curl up in front of the fire with a glass. I’m already looking forward to my next glass of this County grown Chardonnay. Congrats Frederic for making such a fine wine!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Shimmering gold coloured, this full bodied Chardonnay is a rich wine with notes of tropical fruit, toasted coconut, butterscotch & warm spices. As expected the palate does not disappoint with apple, toast other notes that follow the nose. Savvy Sommelier Debbie was impressed with the long “heavenly’’ finish.  Aged in French oak barrels, this wine is a classic.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will pair well with rich foods such as: figs wrapped in prosciutto, salmon wellington, lobster alfredo or a hearty pasta carbonara – see recipe on the following pages.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, the wine could cellar for a couple of years

South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007 $

Made exclusively from the Huff vineyard in the South Bay area of Prince Edward County, this Bordeaux blend is a repeat favourite vintage after vintage. It is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon & 15% Cabernet Franc, it spent 18 months in new French oak barrels. This is the 5th year its been released & this vintage, Frederic decided to lean heavily on Merlot (a perfect varietal for PEC region). Frederic considers this the best yet rendition of the blend.   


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Our Savvy Selections tasting panel had a lot to say about this pretty, balanced and medium bodied wine. It greets you with loads of red fruit, chocolate, plum, cedar and violets. The smooth mouth feel does not disappoint and it finishes with a dry cranberry taste that lingers just enough. This wine has limited availability…if you want more, be sure to call on us to help you stock up!

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy with tortiere, coq au vin, or the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe that we offer on the following pages.

Cellaring: You will definitely want to taste this wine now to determine if you want additional bottles to cellar for another 3-5 years as Frederic recommends.

OPTIONAL WINE: First Frost 2008 $19.95 (500 mL bottle)
Made with Vidal grapes that have been picked after they have been first ‘kissed’ by the first frost, the result is an elegant combination of sweet & acidity.  This wine is only made at Huff Estates & is neither a late harvest nor an ice-wine.  Our Savvy Selections tasting panel enjoyed this wine so much that we wanted to offer it to you as an optional wine to add to this month’s Savvy Selections delivery.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A clear honey gold coloured wine with a medium body. Delicious tropical notes of pineapple, mango & light white floral notes with a touch of clover & honey play in the taste.

Suggested Food Pairing: Savvy Sommelier Julie declared that this wine is ‘simply delicious’ & would be delightful served chilled on its own or with appetizers, fresh fruit desserts or mild cheeses. Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling ooohhhed& ahhhed & remarked that First Frost would be a great wine with her spicy baked coconut shrimp hors d’oeuvre on the following pages.


~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Huff Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2009…

Asian Avacado Salsa
From Bon Appetit Magazine
Serves 4


1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi paste (horseradish paste)*

2 cups coarsely chopped trimmed watercress (leaves and tender stems from 2 medium bunches)

4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup 1/3-inch cubes asian pear

2 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch cubes


1.    Stir sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heatt until aromatic and golden. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.


2.    Whisk next 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add watercress, green onion, and asian pear; toss to coat. Gently stir in avocados & chill in the fridge.  Note: this step can all be done ahead of time.


3.    Sprinkle salsa with toasted sesame seeds and serve chilled with fried wonton triangles or chip of your choice.   


With Huff Estates South Bay Chardonnay VQA 2008…

Spaghetti Carbonara
A personal recipe from Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling &
Serves 4-6


5 oz guanciale (unsmoked cured hog jowl), pancetta or bacon

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 lb spaghetti

3 large eggs

1 1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (3/4 cup)

3/4 oz Pecorino Romano, finely grated (1/3 cup)

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Recipe online at




1.    Cut guanciale or pancetta into 1/3-inch dice, then cook in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fat begins to render, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add wine and boil until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.

2.    Cook spaghetti in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

3.    While pasta is cooking, whisk together eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano , Pecorino Romano (1/3 cup), 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

4.    Drain spaghetti in a colander and add to onion mixture, then toss with tongs over moderate heat until coated. Remove from heat and add egg mixture, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.

With Huff South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007…

Classic Boeuf Bourguignon
Recipe from the Tracey Black – chef and co-owner of Epicuria Fine Food & Catering in Ottawa
Serves 4-6


5lb stewing beef (Chuck – well marbled)
1 spanish onion (cut into a ½ inch dice)
2 cloves garlic
½ lb side bacon – cut into lardon
1 cup red wine
1/4 bunch thyme
1 bay leaf
1.5 lbs button mushrooms – kept whole or halved
1 cups pearl onions blanched
cornstarch slurry to thicken




1.     Cook off lardon in sauté pan until crisp. Reserve bacon fat.

2.     Drain and pat dry stewing beef. Season beef liberally with salt and pepper. Brown beef in sauté pan, careful not to over crowd pan. Use just enough vegetable oil/bacon fat to coat bottom of pan. Place meat into braising pot. Note: flavour of stew is directly related to how well the meat is browned..  

3.     Saute onions in meat browning pan until softened. Add garlic and herbs and sauté until onions are caramelized. Deglaze with red wine.


4.     Add bacon, onions and wine to braising pot and add enough stock to bring liquid level one inch below meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until meat is fork tender – approximately 1.5 hours.


5.     Sautée mushrooms and pearl onions, separately, and add to braising pot when meat is cooked. To thicken, bring stew to boil and add cornstarch slurry. Can also be thickened with a roux.



With Huff First Frost 2008…

Spicy Baked Coconut Shrimp Appetizer
A personal recipe from Savvy Sommelier Erin with a little help from
Serves 4-6


3 cups shredded sweetened coconut (lightly toasted)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko* (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
4 large egg whites
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
Nonstick cooking spray
*NOTE: Panko bread crumbs can be found on the Asian aisle of most major grocery stores or in Asian markets.
Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup mango chutney
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, to taste
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste



1.     Preheat the oven to 350°F.


2.     Spread the coconut evenly on an ungreased sheet pan and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.


3.     Increase oven temperature to 400°F.


4.     To prepare the shrimp, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.


5.     In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, bread crumbs, cayenne pepper, and salt. Place the toasted coconut in another dish.


6.     Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and whisk until frothy. Pat the shrimp dry and dip first in the egg whites, then the flour, back in the egg whites, then roll in the coconut.


7.     Arrange the shrimp on the prepared pan and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked through and golden.


Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!