Posts Tagged ‘bubbly wine’

‘Tis the Season for Snazzy Sparkling wines

Posted by Julie

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Holiday season is upon us, so it’s no wonder that one theme for this next release on December 8 at the LCBO Vintages features is “Fabulous Fizz”, also known as sparkling wine.

There is nothing more celebratory or inviting than being given a glass of sparkling wine when you go into someone’s home and this release offers all kinds of festive fizz. Of course if you are in for the big splurge there are some new Champagne releases starting at $44.95 going to $299.95 for a rare Dom Perignon Rosé Champagne. My features however show that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy great bubbly.

Sparkling wine is generally lower in alcohol than many table wines with more delicate flavours to entice the palate. This makes it a great aperitif to serve with hors d’oeuvres, especially salty ones. The bubbles act as palate cleansers which send you reaching for one more nibble. For this reason sparkling wine is also known to be incredibly food friendly from appetizers through to desert. During the Christmas season, I add pomegranate seeds to the sparkling wine which, in a tall flute, makes for a very festive presentation.

So don’t neglect to have a few sparklers on hand. What is not enjoyed before Christmas, can provide some “pop” at New Year’s. There are some new, some old and I am sure you will find one to suit your budget.

Since this will be my last “If I had a $100” blog until next year, I wish you a fabulously, fizzy season.

Cheers, Santé, Salute, Aplausos to my readers!


Oyster Bay Brut Sparkling Cuvée

New Zealand
$21.95 (Vintages #163634) 12% alcohol

Some of you may be familiar with the Oyster Bay Chardonnay on the LCBO general list so it was a real treat to see that the winemakers made a sparkler just in time for the Christmas season. Produced with the same finesse that is given to their Chard., this does not disappoint and tastes similar to Champagne, done in the Charmat style. (This is when the wine undergoes a secondary fermention in bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure.) A lovely nose of lemon-lime, fine moussy bubbles with a creamy texture in the mouth feel. It is a lovely sipper on its own with hors d’oeuvres and could easily go to the table to serve with salad and seafood.

Jackson Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut 2008

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$22.95 (Vintages #234161) 12% alcohol

The wine was fermented first in stainless steel tanks and like the above Traditional Méthode or Méthode Classique, it was then aged in the bottle for 3 years before being disgorged (removing the sediment). A blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay 30%) how could it not be anything but elegant and refined? It has a generous mousse (wine speak for lots of tiny bubbles) aromas of white blossoms and almonds, with creamy tastes of apples, citrus and apricots. It’s one classy wine!

Domaine Du Clos De L’Epinay Tete De Cuvée Brut Vouvray 2007

AC, Loire Valley, France
$19.95 (Vintages #298398) 12% alcohol

The Chenin Blanc grape varietal initially hails from the Loire valley of France. It is known for its’ great acidity which means it can be blended, or produced on it’s own in everything from sparkling to still wine to luscious desert wine. This sparkler has lots of “nose” giant flavours of yellow apples, almost a little sweet spice reminiscent of baked coconut pie but dry and a pinch vegetal. All these fabulous flavours dance on the palate with a delicious hazel-nutty finish. Another great partner for seafood appetizers or a fish course.

Masottina Brut Prosecco

DOC, Treviso, Veneto, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #297838) 11.5% alcohol

I can’t count the number of times I have served Prosecco (and Cava, below) to start a dinner party and this is the new kid on the block. Very pale in colour with a slightly greenish hue, delightfully aromatic; white blossoms and fresh scents of apple and pear, with a slightly edgy taste of citrus on the palate. It sure gets those taste buds moving before sitting down to the main course and is a great all year round sparkler. This would be a fabulous prior to a creamy hot or cold soup, depending on the season. It also goes without saying it’s a splendid beginning to some Italian food.

Naveran Dama Extra Brut Cava 2010

DOC, Spain $17.95 (Vintages #223602) 12% alcohol

Fresh and lively with aromas of tropical fruit and a little spice. A blend of Chardonnay and Parellada grapes gives it a fairly weighty mouth feel for a sparkling wine with lots of bubbles to create lingering fruit flavours on the finish. A great start to a paella dinner or with tapas or just on its own. Lots of flavours and interest, a great value wine.

Grand Total: $ 99.75

(maybe in the New Year I will hit $100.00 spot on)




Are you going to Harvest Noir?

Posted by Debbie

Friday, September 28th, 2012

When I met the event organizers for the 2nd annual Harvest Noir over a glass of wine, we we over the moon when they invited us to be the Sommeliers for Ottawa’s chic flash mob picnic.  Harvest Noir takes place on Sunday September 30 somewhere in Ottawa…the destination is the BIG secret!  Fashioned on a long standing event in Paris, this unique style of event is taking Ottawa by storm.

New this year, is a wine bar serving Ontario wines that we have selected to showcase. While the location of Sunday’s picnic & dance party is not known….we can tell you the Ontario wines on the list that will be served… only $5 per glass!

Want to join us at Harvest Noir?  Fantastic!  It is almost sold out, yet there is room at the Savvy Table!  And you can get a 25% discount by using a special promotional code: SavvyTable when you purchase your ticket online. Join us!
Book your place at the Savvy Table >>

~ Harvest Noir wine selection ~

Kick off the celebration with a Sparkling Wine!

Lighthall Vineyards Progression Sparkling Vidal VQA 2011, Prince Edward County

 There is no better way to set the party mood than with the pop of a cork of a bottle of bubbly! This bubbly is from the newest boutique winery in Prince Edward County & they are making a BIG impression with their wines. Made with Vidal grapes – often used to make icewines – yet this is far from being sweet!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry, crisp & refreshing with fine mousse (winespeak: bubbles) elegant aromas & tastes of citrus, pear & crunchy apple with a crisp finish. Delicious!


Featured White Wine

Rosehall Run Chardonnay Sur Lie VQA 2009, Prince Edward County

Rosehall Run’s winemaker & winery owner Dan Sullivan has been integral in putting Prince Edward County on the map! Their outstanding wines repeatedly win international wine awards. Be sure to visit Rosehall on your next getaway to ‘The County’ – it is only a 3 hour drive from Ottawa!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This unaoaked Chardonnay is a medium bodied wine that fills your glass with aromas of peach & tropical fruit (can you find banana, mango or pineapple?).  There’s a touch of toast & nuts on the smooth finish. An easy drinking wine that is a crowd pleaser as it is versatile enough to go with seafood, pasta with a cream sauce & grilled chicken.


The best picnic wine is Rosé!

Rosehall Run Sullyzwicker Rosé VQA 2009, Prince Edward County

Rosé is not just for summer….it can be enjoyed all year round.  Another gem from The County, the eye catching name is a blend of the name of Rosehall’s winemaker & owner – Dan Sullivan along with the word Edelzwicker – a German wine term used to describe white wine blends. This fun wine will become a party favorite once everyone discovers it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This dry wine is all about wild strawberries – the colour, the aromas & the taste. The refreshing acidity of pink grapefruit makes this a delicious sipping wine.  Enjoy!


Fill your glass with this Red Wine!

Palatine Hills 1812 Merlot Cabernet VQA 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Palatine Hills has been growing grapes for other wineries for 30+ years. Recently, they opened a small winery that is making BIG red wines!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This crowd pleasing medium bodied wine made with Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is loaded with aromas & tastes of raspberries, blackberries & plums with a touch of vanilla & chocolate with medium tannins.  The finish lingers forever! This easy drink wine will be delicious with homemade pizza, pasta with tomato sauce, burgers & shish kebabs.



Fun bubbles from Oz

Posted by Debbie

Monday, August 20th, 2012

In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than a bottle of sparkling.  The sound of the cork popping & the floating bubbles sprinting up the glass, along with the wonderful rushing sound of the bubbles popping in my mouth. These things make me smile.  Sparkling wine is a fun wine to drink!

Sparkling wines are made everywhere around the world.  In Spain sparklers are called Cava, in Italy, they have several styles – Spumanti, Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti & in France they have the infamous Champagne, as well as bubbles spotlighting the different regions such as Cremant de Loire.  Then there are labels from bubblies around the world sport the terms is Blanc de Blanc (wine speak: made with 100% Chardonnay) & Blanc de Noir (wine speak: made with 100% Pinot Noir).

Wine countries like Australia are constantly trying different techniques, grape varieties, blends & closures too.  Here’s two sparklings that I discovered & featured in our Let’s go to Australia Sommelier led wine tasting a few weeks ago.

Emeri Sparkling Wines was a great way to start an evening. The story about the winery is that the De Bortoli family emigrated to Australia’s Yarry Valley in 1928, leaving behind the Northern Italian Alps.  Now three generations later & everyone in the family is involved. Grab a flute glass & let’s toast to a week of Australia wines!


PS – ever wanted to travel to Australia? Come with me on a once-in-a-time  tour as we sip & eat around Australia.  Hosted & organized by Ausssie Travel, for more details on this trip, click here.


Emeri Sparkling Pinot Grigio

LCBO 222224, 10.5% alcohol

Delicious refreshing acidity with aromas of citrus, pear & mandarin with a crisp refreshing finish.



Emeri Pink Moscato

LCBO 222190, 8.0% alcohol
Juicy nectarines, watermelon & strawberry aromas & tastes fills your glass.  Hard to stop sipping this one!




Want to go to Australia?

Come with me on Taste Your Way Around Australia trip that I will be co-hosting in March 2013 organized by Aussie Travel.  It’ll be a 23 day extravaganza of delicious Australian cuisine, winery tours, dinners with chefs, boutique hotels & unique cultural excursions. Warning: you may not come back!


There’s no cork in this sparkling wine!

Posted by Eva

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

With a wine route map on her knee, Savvy Sommelier Debbie followed the country roads that lead to this new boutique winery in the depths of Prince Edward County.  Definitely worth the visit! Lighthall Vineyards owner & self taught winemaker Glenn Symons was eagerly awaiting her visit as he was excite to pour a glass of his soon-to-be-released sparkling wine.  This was Glenn’s new creation and you could see that he was ‘bubbling’ over with excitement.  With coaching from his friend Frederic Picard (winemaker at Huff Estates), Glenn has every reason to be proud of this bubbly. ..and his other wines too as he is making a big impression already!

Lighthall Progression Sparkling VQA 2011

This sparkling wine is different is several ways.  First, there is no cork, just secured with a bottle cap like closure.  And it is made with Vidal grapes that are often saved for dessert wines – yet this wine is far from being sweet!

 Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s delicious refreshing acidity with aromas of citrus, pear & crunchy apple with a crisp finish.

Suggested food pairings: Served well chilled, this wine is lovely on its own, with oysters, or paired with light appetizers. Be sure to pack a bottle of this sparkling wine for your next picnic.

Cheers & Enjoy!


Want to buy this wine?  We can arrange for it to be delivered!

 Lighthall Vineyards will be a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Want to try their wines? Subscribe & they will be delivered to your home or office!


Italian style wine from Prince Edward County

Posted by Eva

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

There is no better way to set the mood than with the pop of a cork of a bottle of bubbly!

The team at Huff Estates Winery in ‘The County’, continue to impress the Savvy Team with their well made wines and novel creations like this one! Made with Vidal grapes that are often left on the vines to make icewine, Huff`s winemaker, Frederic Picard (originally from Burgundy, France), decided to do something completely different – create a crisp & refreshing sparkling wine fashioned after the Italian Prosecco sparkler.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Huff Estates Vidalescco 2010

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry with fine mousse (winespeak: bubbles) elegant aromas & tastes of citrus (can you find mandarin or lime?) & toasted almond.

Suggested Food Pairing: In keeping with the Italian flair of this style of wine, serve with proscuitto & melo, marinated olives, fresh basil & tomato salad or simply sip a glass while eating el fresco (outside).


Want to buy this wine?  We can arrange for it to be delivered!

Huff Estates Winery has been a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Like this wine or want an assortment of Huff wines? Call on our Savvy Team to offer their recommendations on various wines from Huff Estates & have delivered to your home or office!


Celebrate Friday the 13th with this heavenly drink

Posted by Eva

Friday, July 13th, 2012

There is no better way to set the mood of a dinner party than with the pop of a cork of a bottle of bubbly!

This sparkler from Angels Gate Winery perched atop the Niagara Escarpment is made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes.  In the wine world, a sparkling of this type is referred to as ‘Blanc de Noirs’. Since the juice was left in contact with the skins of the Pinot Noir grapes for about 1 hour after the grapes have been crushed & pressed, the wine takes on a light pink colour.

This is the first sparkling wine made at Angels Gate by Australian winemaker Philip Dowell … now he makes 3 bubblies! And with the winery celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, I am certain that there will be lots of corks flying to mark the occasion!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Angel’s Gate Archangel Pinot Noir Rosé 2008

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry with fine mousse (winespeak: bubbles) elegant aromas & tastes of wild strawberries, rhubarb & even fresh baked bread.

Suggested Food Pairing: Absolutely anything or nothing at all.  Dry & crisp with a soft texture, this wine is simply delicious on its own.


Want to buy this wine?  We can arrange for it to be delivered!

Angel’s Gate Winery has been a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Like this wine or others from Angels Gate? Call on our Savvy Team to arrange a delivery direct from the winery.  Or subscribe to Savvy Selections & outstanding Ontario wines will be delivered to your home or office!


Celebrate Canada Day with a bubbly!

Posted by Eva

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Growing grapes on the farm and making wine at the winery are viewed as independent successes in their own right at Palatine Hills. Because of the weather conditions and the potential for developing vines that produce premium grapes with high acidity and good sugars, Palatine Hills’ acreage is renowned in the Canadian wine industry to producing some of the best Gewürztraminer vines in Canada. So much so, that other wineries purchase vines and/or grapes from Palatine for their own wines and vineyards.

Part of the successful business is due to the foresight and courage that owner John Neufeld exhibited in 1975 when he decided to completely replant the entire 187 acres of his established vineyards the with vinifera vines (winespeak: single grape varietal rather than hybrid grapes). Now, over 30 years later, Palatine has some of the oldest vines deeply rooted in the Niagara region.  Older vines draw untapped nutrients resulting in rich, luscious grapes for making premium wine.

Expanding from grape growing to include a winery in his business, John opened the winery in 1998. Winemaker David Hojnoski, was formerly the Executive Winemaker for Bright’s Wines for 30+ years.  Ten years later, Jeff Innes departed The Grange of Prince Edward Winery to join Palatine as cheif winemaker.  With each sip of his wines, you can taste that he continues the reputation of impressive wines at Palatine – like the Romeo sparkling wine reviewed by our team of Savvy Sommeliers

Cheers & Enjoy!

Romeo Blanc de Noir Sparkling VQA 2008

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Why wait for a special occasion to pop open a bubbly?  Our Savvy Sommelier Debbie, believes that we don’t drink enough sparkling wine.  With the simple POP of the cork, is an easy way to set the fun mood of any gathering.  Blanc de Noir means that this wine is made Pinot Noir grapes made in the ‘methode traditionale’ style as French Champagne is crafted.  The result is a elegant light  pink colour in the glass with delicate mousse (winespeak: bubbles).  Romeo is crisp, dry with apple & citrus aromas that follows into the taste.

Suggested Food Pairings: Absolutely anything! Great sipped on its own, with light fare. For some fun, Debbie recommends to serve salt ladened potato chips (like Ms Vickie’s original chips) with sparkling wine.  The salt plays with the bubbles in your mouth & explodes like fireworks!



Want to buy this wine?  Subscribe & it will be delivered!

Palatine Hills Estate Winery is the feature winery all this month (July 2012) in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Like this wine? Subscribe & it’ll be delivered to your home or office!