Posts Tagged ‘Cabernet Franc Private Reserve VQA Vinemount Ridge’

No need to go all the way to Italy when Niagara has Vieni Estates

Posted by David

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
Share

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Vieni Estates Winery
–  November 2016 –

Where in the world would you find wine that offers ripe fruit flavours, food-friendly reds, and traditional winemaking techniques? If you answered “Italy”, you’d certainly be correct.  But if you answered “Vieni Estates in Niagara”, you’d prove that you really know your stuff!

This month in Savvy Selections, we feature the Italian-style wines of Vieni Estates.  A newcomer to the Beamsville Bench, Vieni has imported the techniques and grape varieties from their founder’s homeland of southern Italy.  You can read all about their take on the Italian winemaking tradition in our Vieni profile, below.

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Vieni wines. We chose these as the best examples of Vieni’s blend of Ontario fruit with Italian-style!

2013 Momeni Extra-dry a Prosecco-style sparkler, loaded with fine bubbles and citrusy fun-
2012 Cabernet Franc Private Reserve – rich and ripe, this Cab Franc explodes with flavour
2011 Aglianico Al Passo – made with air-dried fruit from Canada’s only Aglianico planting, this is a stellar example of an Italian wine made right here in Ontario

Traditional techniques and Niagara fruit

Vieni Estates may be new, but they are producing some unique and very good wines.  After all, they’ve been growing grapes for other wineries for decades – and the grapes make the wine!  These wines are ready to drink, though most of them can handle cellaring for a few years too.  Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Call on us anytime you would like additional bottles of your favorite Vieni Estates wines – or other wines we have featured in previous Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926), or you can just drop me a line at debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing
Vieni Estates
Presented by Sommelier David Loan

Pasquale Raviele wanted one thing; to bring the flavours from his family’s roots in Naples to his new winery in Niagara. That required not only reproducing the techniques of Southern Italy, but introducing some of their grape varieties, too. “We combine Old World traditions with a New World locale,” said winery manager, Steven Dimola.

Breaking Ground

Pasquale already owned 120 acres of vineyards in the heart of the Beamsville Bench (in photo on right)  He had been selling high quality grapes to a number of wineries in the region.  But in 2013, he decided it was time to undertake his own project; a winery and distillery making Italian-style wines and grappas (called “graspas” at Vieni to avoid trademark issues). This would be a first for Niagara – while there are a number of Italian-influenced wineries, no one had been making grappa, the fiery spirit made from grape skins leftover from the winemaking process.

Another first: Pasquale imported Aglianico vines, the only plantings of this most ancient of grapes in Canada.

Sun Worshiper

It is widely believed that Aglianico was the first wine grape grown in Italy, brought there by the ancient Greeks.  The grape is black, producing a dark red juice with big fruit flavours and high tannins and acidity.  A staple of the Naples region Pasquale’s family comes from, it enjoys that area’s long growing season and Mediterranean climate. Bringing a heat-loving vine to Niagara was a challenge, but Pasquale and winemaker Mauro Salvador – another Italian import(!) – overcame the obstacles with careful hillside plantings that maximized the amount of sun the grapes would get each day.

They also brought with them an Italian winemaking tradition that ensured the grapes would produce the wine they wanted.

Cut and Dried

Appassimento is an Italian winemaking technique in which whole clusters of grapes are cut off the vine and then placed carefully onto custom-made racks.  The racks are designed to allow good airflow across the grapes so that the fruit begins to dry and shrivel. Drying the grapes concentrates the sugars and the fruit flavours.  Appassimento style wines – Amarone is the best known example – are richly flavoured with notes of figs, raisin, and leather.
Other Ontario wineries have applied the Appassimento technique, with most of them drying the fruit in repurposed tobacco kilns.  At Vieni, the grapes are dried in the traditional method, in an open air shed with a few fans helping blow air across the grapes. The grapes are left on the racks from six weeks to four months, depending on the winemaker’s preference.

Vieni’s Appassimento-style Aglianico is full-bodied, with huge fruit flavours and terrific balance.  It really is a taste of Italy, made in Ontario.

We’re Convinced!

In addition to the Aglianico and grappa, Vieni produces Prosecco-type sparkling wines, wines that feature such well known varietals as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay, and a range of ice wines.

The biggest challenge, according to winery manager Steve, is convincing Canadians how amazing Ontario wines are.  “Many Canadians still don’t believe that we’re producing world-class products in Niagara,” he said.  We know that when you try our Savvy Selections picks from Vieni, you’ll agree: these are absolutely world-class wines!

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that beautifully showcase Vieni’s stunning fusion of Italian technique and Niagara fruit.  We know that you’ll love the remarkable flavours of these unique wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink. 

Momenti Extra-Dry VQA Ontario 2013, $14

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This lovely sparkling wine is made in the tradition of Italy’s famous Prosecco, but from Ontario Vidal and Pinot Grigio grapes.  Like Prosecco, it is light (11% alcohol), frothy, and tangy.  Flavours of green apple, ripe melon, grapefruit, and apricot are detectable at first, but give it a minute in the glass and you’ll find pretty floral notes come through, especially honeysuckle. Debbie, who loves sparklers, calls this “an unwinding wine” – perfect for relieving the day’s stresses!

Suggested Food Pairing: This bubbly treat will pair nicely with an Italian flatbread topped with Fontina and Prosciutto.  Recipe below.

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within a year.

 

Cabernet Franc Private Reserve VQA Vinemount Ridge 2012, $23

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of a number of international wine awards, this rich and ripe Cab Franc was aged in oak for eighteen months!  The medium tannins and acidity are perfectly balanced with the notes of black cherries, fragrant spices, mint, and raspberries.  2012 was an excellent vintage for Ontario Cabernet Franc, allowing it to come to full ripeness without any of the green vegetable aromas that sometimes mar the grape. If you want an excellent example of Ontario Cab Franc, here it is!

Suggested Food Pairing: The richness of this wine and the cool autumn weather makes us think of Chicken Chasseur, a hearty stew of chicken braised with mushrooms and tomatoes.  Perfect November fare!  Recipe follows

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 3 years.  Serve between 15-16ºC.

 

Aglianico Al Passo VQA Vinemount Ridge 2011, $30

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The beautiful silver-on-black image on the bottle is of a Greek ship.  It’s a fitting homage to the ancient roots of this wine, which came to Italy from Greece.  The name, which comes from a corrupted word meaning “Greek”, is pronounced “al-YAN-i-ko”.

This wine is made using the Appassimento technique, in which ripe clusters of grapes are carefully placed on custom racks to dry.  The results are rich, concentrated flavours of dark berries, figs, mint, and boysenberry. This is a juicy wine, with lots of stewed and dried fruit notes.  David calls it a “November pleaser”, ready to warm you up on a chilly day.

Suggested Food Pairing: One of our favourite cookbooks is David Rocco’s “Dolce Vita”.  His fun Drunken Spaghetti recipe will go perfectly with this Southern Italian-style wine.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years.  Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Vieni Momenti Extra-Dry…

Italian Flatbread (Piadina) with Fontina and Prosciutto

Recipe & Photo credit: CookingChannelTV.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 2 small lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh basil

Method

Combine the flour, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes.  With the machine running, slowly add 10 to 12 tablespoons water until the mixture forms a dough around the hook.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth.  Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Form into disk shapes and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into an 8-to-10-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick.  Brush each circle with the extra-virgin olive oil and grill for 4 minutes each side.  Remove the piadina from the grill to cool slightly.

Combine the ricotta cheese and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Spread each piadina with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle the fontina cheese evenly over the ricotta cheese.  Arrange 2 prosciutto slices on top of the cheeses.  Cut each piadina into 8 wedges and transfer to a serving platter.  Garnish with the chopped basil. 

 

With Vieni Cabernet Franc…

Chicken Chasseur

Recipe and Photo credit: BBCGoodFood.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken legs
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, thickly sliced
1 cup whole button or chestnut mushrooms
1 rounded tbsp tomato purée
1 ¼ cup white wine
1 ½ cup chicken or beef  stock
3-4 tomatoes , quartered and deseeded
sprinkling tarragon leaves and chopped parsley

Method

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a lidded sauté pan or shallow casserole. Pan-fry the chicken over a medium-high heat, turning, until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.  You will need about 2 tbsp fat left in the pan for cooking the onions, so if the legs have released a lot of fat, drain off the excess.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan, stirring occasionally until they have a little colour and are beginning to soften, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and white wine, then pour in the consommé or stock.

Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer. Place a lid on the pan and continue to cook, allowing the sauce to just simmer for about 1 hr, or until the meat is completely tender.

To finish, skim the sauce of any further excess fat, then add the tomatoes, if using. Simmer, without the lid, for a further 2-3 minutes to soften them, then scatter over the herbs.

 

 

With Vieni Aglianico…

Drunken Spaghetti

Recipe & Photo credits: David Rocco, FoodNetwork.ca
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti
3 to 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
3 cup red wine
½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
Small bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 dried chile peppers, crushed (optional)
Salt to season

Method

Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Add spaghetti and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, pasta should still be a little firm in the middle (just before pasta is al dente).

In a skillet or large sauté pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, anchovy fillets and chile peppers. Cook until garlic is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add spaghetti to the pan. Toss to combine with olive oil. Add the red wine. Cook until wine has reduced slightly and spaghetti has finished cooking.

Sprinkle parsley and grated pecorino cheese. Toss to combine and remove from heat.

 

Enjoy with your Savvy Selections!

Share