Posts Tagged ‘Canadian wine’

Fondue Frenzie!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
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Cheese fondue is quick and easy meal to make, especially if you have a bunch of different cheeses in your fridge.  It is truly a melting pot! Fondue is a signature dish from Switzerland, so do as the Swiss do – use firm alpine style cheeses such as Swiss & Gruyere.

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa has Canadian-ized this classic fondue recipe with suggestions of Canadian cheeses that will make a great combo.   Remove the rind…and get shredding!

 

Ingredients

1 pound of shredded firm cheeses
Vanessa’s TIP: Use any combo of these stunning firm Canadian cheeses:  La Nouvelle France Zacharie Cloutier, Fromagerie du Presbytere Louis d’Or, Gunn’s Hill Handeck or St Albert’s 1894

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon kirsch aka cherry brandy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg

Assorted items to dip into the fondue.  Grainy baguette slices, apple & pear slices, grilled sausages, cubes of cooked ham or peameal bacon, blanched pea pods & green beans, chunks of red & green peppers…anything goes!

 

Method

In a small bowl, toss the shredded cheeses with cornstarch and set aside.

With the garlic clove, vigorously rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic.  Throw away the garlic afterwards…and wash your hands – garlicy fingers are not that sexy!

In a medium saucepan add the wine and lemon juice.  Heat on medium & bring to a gentle simmer. Stir the cheese a handful at a time into the simmering hot liquid. This will gradually melt the cheese to create a smooth fondue.

Once the fondue looks ready, stir in kirsch (optional), mustard and nutmeg. Stir again.

Remove from heat and pour cheese into the garlic ladened fondue pot.

Place on fondue apparatus with a votive or fondue burner underneath in order to keep the cheese warm.

Go nuts & enjoy!

 

What wines to serve with this fondue?  

Canadian of course! A fondue full of Canadian cheese would be best with Canadian wines.

Our Sommeliers recommend that the wine should enhance the melted cheese combo rather than overpower it.  If white wine is your preference, look for a lightly oaked Chardonnay, Viognier or Pinot Gris.  For red wines, a light to medium bodied wine would be ideal.

As for red wines, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir or a blend with Cabernet Franc & Merlot.

Rose wine would work too!

 

 

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Fall in Love with these Okanagan wines & cheese

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
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I can’t get enough! I’m in the south Okanagan again, remembering why I fell in love with its unique landscape, the changing hues of the fruit trees and the vineyards, the outstanding wines created by established growers and newcomers. On this trip, I discovered new places that I wanted to share with you…

Upper Bench Winery & Creamery

Four years ago, I headed up to the Naramata Bench to check out a couple of new wineries, including Upper Bench. At the time, they had just opened, many of their wines were sold out, and there was a limited selection of their delectable cheeses. But what I tasted was very good and I decided to stop in this year on my way from Kelowna to Osoyoos.

As luck would have it, Shana, the ‘Big Cheese’ – half of the duo responsible for this small family-owned winery (husband Gavin Miller is the winemaker) – was in the tasting room. So, we were treated to her expertise and enthusiasm as we tasted three of their unique cheeses, along with several wines.

I make no claim to any cheese expertise like our cheese Sommelier Vanessa, mark my words, the Brie seemed wonderfully creamy to me, with a lovely soft yet textured rind. The Gold offered a firmer texture, a golden washed rind and a slightly nutty flavor. The Grey Baby, named for her cat, had a lovely bloomy grey rind, almost no typical blue cheese veining but an absolutely melt-in-my -mouth texture and delicate flavours. Yes, I found cheese heaven!

The U&Brie was paired with their 2015 dry Riesling – they’re already into the 2015 wines due the fast pace of sales. Light-mid weight, the nose is floral and fruity with underlying mineral notes, the palate crisp and bright offering flavours of orchard fruit and lemon zest, the finish tart and tangy yet fruity.

The 2015 Chardonnay continues to be made with an emphasis on purity of fruit, half the wine aged only 3 months in French oak, the balance in stainless, so that the delicate notes of spice and warm pastry garnish the aromas and flavours of tropical fruit, melon and juicy pear, while a hint of pithy grapefruit adds tang to the creamy finish. It provided a great pairing with the Oka-like Gold cheese.

The Grey Baby cheese was a perfect complement for the 2014 Pinot Noir red wine – an elegant, silky wine with lifted floral notes, bright red fruit and hints of earth and spice. Medium bodied, it’s intensely flavourful, subtly structured, the flavours of ripe red fruit interwoven with delicate notes of spice and mineral.

The Yard Wine is a signature wine, a Bordeaux-style red wine blend of co-fermented Merlot and Cabernets (mainly Franc) that’s medium-full bodied, full of aromas and flavours of sweet black and red fruits, hints of chocolate-coated caramel and spice as well as complementary undertones of tomato leaf and earth. Underpinned with ripe tannins and fresh acidity, it’s a very approachable, gulpable wine!

While the small production of Upper Bench wines means that they won’t be found in the LCBO, you can always join their wine and cheese clubs.

 

Painted Rock Winery

Another sunny day found us winding our way along the east side of Skaha Lake from OK Falls toward Penticton. We made our way up the bench to Painted Rock, where we once again struck gold, as proprietor John Skinner was at the tasting bar.

John worked in the financial industry in Vancouver for many years, all the while developing his fascination with fine wines and the wine industry. In 2004, he and his wife Trish purchased a former fruit orchard on the bench that had lain fallow for almost 2 decades. About 25 acres were planted to a variety of vitis vinifera clones in 2005 and 2006. As a result of his interaction with the nursery from which he sourced his clones, John was contacted by wine consultant Alain Sutre (who also consults with Don Triggs’ Culmina estate winery), who continues to work with Painted Rock to this day. As an example of the valuable input he provides, during the extremely hot 2015 vintage, Alain counselled John and his team to allow the vine canopy to grow to ensure shading of the grapes from the sun and to prevent scorching. This allowed for a longer hang time, good maturation of the fruit and retention of acidity.

John’s commitment to premium winemaking and his delight in his property and the local trails was evident as he interspersed our tasting with anecdotes of the recent vintages and photos of local pictographs he has found on the granite outcroppings.

The 2015 Rosé wine is a Saignée, an assemblage of his red grapes, including Merlot, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Francs, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Syrah. A lovely salmon hue, it shows some residual sugar and warmth from the hot vintage, aromas and flavours of strawberry/rhubarb compote, dried cherry and dried herbs, and a lovely silky, fruity finish.

The 2013 Merlot, aged 18 months in a combination of new and second fill French oak, is dry, full bodied red wine with tangy, showing rich lifted aromas and flavours of black cherry, plum and raspberry, warm sweet spice and hints of menthol and herbs, underpinned by ripe tannins and a fresh texture.

The 2014 Cabernet Franc was a particular favorite, seducing with its lifted floral notes of red rose and violet, the sweet hints of baking spice, cocoa and plummy fruit, and a subtle whiff of graphite. Dry and firmly structured, it’s loaded with flavours of black currant garnished with notes of herbs and cracked pepper. Finishing long and dry, this red wine shows great cellaring potential.

Once again, none of these wines are on the LCBO website, but John also offers a wine club.

Nk’Mip Winery

Nestled on a bench just above Lake Osoyoos, the Nk’Mip Cellars is as much a part of the land as its owner/operators, the Osoyoos Indian Band. In a partnership with the then-Canadian wine conglomerate, Vincor, the band established the first indigenous-owned winery, and winemaker Randy Picton was engaged in 2002, just in time for the first harvest.

Located on a small campus that includes the Desert Cultural Centre, the Sonora Dunes Golf Course and Spirit Ridge Resort (where I stayed), it was inevitable that I would wander over to Nk’Mip to see how the 2016 harvest was progressing (slowly due to a very cool fall and an early killing frost) and to taste a few wines from recent vintages. It felt like a celebration to be there, as Nk’Mip has recently been named 2016 Winery of the Year, having been in the top 10 in the last four years, and the recent purchase of Constellation Brands Canadian wine properties (including its investment in Nk’Mip) by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund means that the winery is now fully in Canadian hands once again.

The view from the winery is idyllic, rows of golden-leaved vines marching down the sloping vineyard to Lake Osoyoos, the small resort town of Osoyoos rising from the lake to a backdrop of rugged Sonoran desert mountainscapes.

Randy has honed his craft so that no matter the level of wines tasted, you can expect deftly crafted high quality wines made to his exacting standards. To quote Randy, “My approach is to focus on every detail in the vineyard in order to bring the best possible grapes to the winery. The vineyard is expressed in the bottle.” He’s assisted in the winery by Justin Hall, an Osoyoos Indian Band member who has studied viticulture and oenology in Canada, as well as New Zealand, and worked in the industry in Australia as well as at Nk’Mip.
You see his experience in cool climate winemaking in the vibrant, fresh 2015 Pinot Blanc, a great value white wine that offers subtle aromatics of citrus and orchard fruit, with a clean, crisp flavours of lemon, pithy grapefruit mineral through a zesty finish.

The 2013 Merlot is an easy-going crowd pleaser, a dry mid-weight red wine aged 12 months in a combination of French and American oak, offering flavours of cherry and plum, herbs, spice and cocoa through a nice lively finish.

The 2014 Syrah from the signature QwAm QwMt tier is produced from estate fruit, the wine aged 18 months in French oak. It’s a complex, full bodied deep purple wine with layers of flavours–dark berry fruits, exotic spice, Okanagan sage, cracked pepper with notes of dark chocolate and coffee bean wrapped in a firm structure. It’s a great value and worthy of cellaring.

The Nk’Mip Qw’Am Qw’Mt Chardonnay 2013 is listed on the LCBO website (#391813), and for other wines you can always contact the winery about their wine club.

 

There you go…3 more reasons to pack your bags and head to British Columbia wine region!

 

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Beat the heat bevvies

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 11th, 2016
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Question: What drink make you think of summer?

A) Refreshing Rosé
B) Mouth-watering Cider
C) Cold Radler Beer
D) Big bold Cabernet
E) Fruity Sangria
F) All of the above!

This is a multiple choice quiz that none of us can get wrong! With more sun-filled days, long weekends and lazy afternoons lounging on your deck or dock, summer brings more time to relax & unwind with a glass in your favorite beat-the-heat bevvy.

To help you shift from winter warming drinks to summer sippers, here are some tips from our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew:

 

Fielding RoseFielding Estate Rosé VQA 2015

from: Niagara, Ontario

Nothing says summer like a glass of chilled Rosé wine. There are plenty to choose from all parts of the world, ranging in colour from a hint-of-pink to bright candy floss. With a sip, you will discover tastes from bone dry to a touch of sweetness.   To tip you off on just one Rosé to buy is difficult. When the Savvy Sommeliers got together for our spring kick-off, we were impressed with Fielding’s Rosé wine. A soft pink colour with aromas and tastes that will remind you of ripe strawberries and rhubarb. It’s a lovely wine that will be delicious with fish (poached or grilled), prosciutto wrapped asparagus, lemon roasted chicken, corn chowder or even a summer salad.

$15.95 per bottle available at the LCBO all summer long.

County Cider Pear bottle shotCounty Cider Co. Pear Cider

from: Prince Edward County, Ontario

County Cider Company is a family-run operation that has been crafting ciders in The County since 1995 – long before the region became known for its wines. The Pear Cider was inspired when the cidery owners Jenifer & Grant Howes visited Normandy, France – an area renowned for Cavardos (Pear and Apple Brandy). For this summer sipper, pear juice has been blended with carefully selected apple cider – for a dry, delicious quench thirsting summer drink.

$7.95 per bottle – available when you visit The County this summer or contact Savvy Company to deliver some to your doorstep.

radler-can_2048x2048Kichesippi Brewery Radler

from Ottawa, Ontario

Last summer, it seemed that every craft brewery was making a Radler! They are not a new creation, rather a resurgence of a summertime beer that was first introduced in Deisenhofen, Germany back in 1922. Intentionally made to be lower in alcohol (typically 3%), this is a great beer to enjoy during lunch on the patio, or to pop into your panier to quench your thirst during a bike ride. Kichesippi’s Radler is a blend of their lager with grapefruit soda. Be sure to try plenty of Radlers this summer to find your favorite.

$2.85 per can – available at the LCBO throughout Ottawa only for the summer.

 

13th Street Meritage13th Street Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2012

from Twenty Valley (Niagara), Ontario

A powerhouse red blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot & 33% Cabernet Franc. Get out your largest wine glasses as this BIG red wine is begging to be served with anything off the BBQ. Think thick steak, lamb chops, spicy sausages with loads of fresh grilled veggies. A very special wine as only 220 cases were made. Every sip will remind you of black cherry, dark chocolate , black plum with a dash of fresh ground pepper and warm spices (think cloves, Chinese 5 Spice & steak spice). At $34.95 per bottle, this extra special wine is only available when you visit the winery this summer. Alternatively, subscribe to Savvy Selections wine-o-month club & the wine will auto-magically arrive at your home or office.

 Summer won’t last forever, so mix it up with a pitcher of sangria. Whether you make it with red wine or take a new approach and use white wine, this fruit ladened cocktail make your summertime Happy Hour, even happier!

 

Debbie’s Secret recipe for Sangria

from Debbie’s kitchen to yours…

Photo from www.goodtaste.tv

Makes 1 large pitchersangria-3

1 bottle of red wine (select something under $18…afterall you will be adding fruit to it!)
10 to 15 strawberries, sliced
A handful of blackberries
1 lemon, sliced & quartered
1 lime, sliced & halved
1 orange, sliced & quartered
½ of a tin of frozen Five Alive juice concentrate
½ to a full can of Club Soda or 7-Up (optional – if you want a little spritz to your sangria. 7-Up will make your sangria sweeter.)

Place fruit into a large pitcher or jug. Pour in Five Alive concentrate, club soda or 7-Up (if using). Fill with red wine. Stir until well mixed. Chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving to let the fruit marinate. Pour into a tall glass with lots of ice. Garnish with a slice of fruit on the rim. Enjoy.

 

Love Rosé wines? You’ll love this…

bouquet-of-rosesWe make it easy to Clink & Drink Pink! Each month throughout the summer, our Savvy Sommeliers will select a different assortment of six Rosé wines from across Ontario. These are extra special as you won’t find them at the LCBO.

Order a small bouquet (a parcel of 6 different Rosé wines) or a full bouquet (a parcel containing 12 bottles – 2 of each of the featured Rosé wines).

There is a different bouquet of Rosés each month!

Next to the taste, the best part of this new way to buy hard-to-find rosé wines is free shipping.

Order yours or give as a gift at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

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Not just ANY Chardonnay…

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013
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Move over maple syrup, there is a new kid on the block that deserves the spotlight.  Introducing Canadian made wines aged in barrels made from Canadian oak trees.  This is 100% Canadiana just like Beaver Tails, the Bluenose II….these special wines will impress you.

In fact, Canadian Oak Barrels are not brand spanking new, yet in true Canadian style we are not shouting from the roof tops about them.  Not only do the wines taste good, there is a great story how the idea was conceived- let’s just say, some beers were involved!

The story goes…

About 5 years ago (or maybe it was 7), a handful of winemakers were ‘talking shop’ at a backyard BBQ.  Conversations lead to wondering what a barrel made with native Canadian oak would do to their wines. After a lot of research, they found a cooper (barrel maker) in California who would make these one-of-a-kind barrels. Next step was to find native oak trees – luckily found in Brantford, Ontario. The wood staves were cut and shipped in hockey bags (brand new ones of course!).  Their “what if moment” & hard work paid off when several Canadian Oak barrels arrived at the wineries.

From the get go, there were fewer than 10 winemakers across Canada who barrel age some of their wines in this special oak – including Tawse Winery, Featherstone, Malivoire, Strewn, Sandhill Wines to name a couple.  Now there is a cooper in Canada making the barrels  (note the unique maple leaf stamp on the barrel head – right) and over 50 winemakers from coast to coast have experimented with Canadian oak barrels.

Derek Barnett (left), co-owner & winemaker at Lailey Vineyard is a big enthusiast of Canadian Oak.  He barrel ages some of his Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meritage wines aged in Canadian oak.  These wines have been receiving rave reviews from day 1.

We introduced our Savvy Selections wine of the month club subscribers to Lailey’s Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2011.  Here’s are our tasting notes (or read our monthly Savvy eZine):

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “This wine makes me think of buttered popcorn” suggested Eva.  Golden straw colour with aromas of wildflower honey, tropical fruit (think coconut & sweet citrus) with some nuttiness – walnut perhaps?.  Rich & round mouthfeel with flavours of lime, stone fruit & baking spice with minerality & a lengthy warm finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Given the rich aromas & flavours of this Chardonnay try the Chicken & Farfalle with Creamy Walnut Sauce recipe.

Be on the lookout!

Now that you are ‘in the know’, seek out wines aged in Canadian Oak barrels.  You will definitely find a range of Chardonnays at next weekend’s Cool Climate Chardonnay Conference (aka i4C) in Niagara.  This 3 day spread give you the opportunity to learn & taste Chardonnays from every corner of the wine world as well as be WOWED by Canadian Oak Chards.

 

 

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An uber premium Pinot

Posted by Eva

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
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Klaus Reif (pronounced ry-fe) is one of the pioneers of the Canadian wine industry.  He immigrated from Germany in 1977 & transformed an orchard into a vineyard.  By 1983, Reif Estates Winery opened.

When Savvy Sommelier Derek interviewed Andrea Kaiser, Reif’s Director of Retail Operations and Promotions when Reif was the feature winery for our Savvy Selections wine of the month club, she stressed the importance of Reif’s First Growth collection of wines,  “These wines are our über premium wines that showcase the terroir of the Niagara River sub-appellation”.  For wines to carry the distinctive First Growth label, Reif established early on that the following criteria must be met:

1. The wines must be produced from fruit that comes from Reif’s older vineyards

2. The wines are only produced in exceptional vintages

3. The wines are made under stricter conditions and with greater TLC such as handpicked fruit.

“Reif’s First Growth collection of wines is one of Klaus’ &  winemaker Roberto (aka Rob) DiDomenico, dream come true & it is something that they are completely proud of”, beams Andrea.

To date, only four First Growth wines have been crafted by Reif Estate’s (2001, 2002, 2007 & recently, 2010 has been named exceptional). You are in for a treat with this wine!

Cheers & Enjoy!

First Growth Pinot Noir

Reif Estates First Growth Pinot Noir 2007 VQA

$50.00

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Bright ruby red with enjoyable aromas of cherries, raspberries, leather & pencil shavings waft from the glass.  The palate will totally blow you away with flavors of sour cherries, ripe raspberries & dark chocolate.  With a velvety mouth feel & a long lingering cherry finish, this is an incredible wine.

Suggested Food Pairing: Peking duck or BBQed lamb chops with a rosemary rub, even grilled salmon would pair very well.

Cellaring: Drinking well now through to 2015.

 

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

Reif Estates Winery has been a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Read more about Reif & their wines in our Savvy eZine.

Want to purchase this uber premium wine? Simply contact us to arrange a special delivery of this wine or a mixed case of other Reif wines that we recommend.  Or better yet, subscribe to Savvy Selections & wines will be delivered to your home or office!

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You’ll want to buy 2, 3 or 5 bottles of this wine!

Posted by Eva

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
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Brothers Kal and Nirmal Gidda opened Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery & recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. They are a true family business success story!  Located in West Kelowna’s Lakeview Heights area, this winery is only a five minute drive from downtown Kelowna, British Columbia across the scenic Okanagan Lake floating bridge.

Winemaker Jim Faulkner and his team, have grown Mt. Boucherie over the years to produce a total of 21 reds, whites and Icewines amounting to 25,000 cases!  Semillion is a rare grape variety in British Columbia vineyards, yet Jim has created a stunning wine.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Mt Boucherie Estate Collection Semillion VQA 2008, British Columbia

LCBO # 279364
$19.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Full bodied white wine with smooth texture & aromas of fresh apple tart with a shortbread crust, beeswax with some refreshing acidity. Smooth texture in the mouth with a full bodied nutmeg & white pepper finish that goes on forever.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Serve with paella, blackened catfish, pan fried scallops or smoke salmon.

Want to buy this wine?  

Run. . . don’t walk to your nearest LCBO as this wine is now on the store shelves in Vintages.  We would strongly recommend to buy two or three or five! bottles because this wine will sell quickly. Once it is gone at the LCBO, you will have to contact the winery directly to arrange an order.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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The fun story of Riverview Cellars Syrah

Posted by Eva

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
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Many winemakers will tell you that ‘wine is made in the vineyard’. This is very true at Riverview Cellars located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  Similar to neighbouring Colaneri Estates , Cattail Creek & Pondview wineries, at Riverview, the Pillitteri family are grape growers first & they recently opened a winery.  Since older vines, produce better fruit to make better wine, get ready to taste the age of Riverview’s vineyard with each sip of this Syrah! Our Sommeliers rave about this wine.

Riverview Cellars ‘Red Truck’ Syrah VQA 2010

$29.95
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Whether you call it Syrah or Shiraz, the wine is made with the same grape variety.  This bold wine overflows the glass with BIG aromas of red & black plums, berries with warm spices that carries into the taste…then lingers forever.

Suggested food pairings: Fire up the BBQ! Serve with steak with blue cheese, beef tenderloin with all the trimmings, even hamburgers would be delicious.  And it would be delicious with a piece of dark chocolate cake too!

 

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

 Riverview has been a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. You won’t find this outstanding wine on the shelves at the LCBO.  Would you like this wine? Subscribe to our wine of the month club or call on us to make the arrangements for a special delivery to your home or office!

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