Posts Tagged ‘designated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve’

They’re one bee-zy family at Rosewood

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013


Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Rosewood Estates
– February 2013 –


While working as a high-tech executive, Eugene Roman was also developing his skills as a master beekeeper & dreaming big about creating a winery and meadery in Niagara. In 2000, he & his wife Renata, purchased 40 acres on the Beamsville Bench, backing onto the Niagara Escarpment – interestingly, a designated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. A further 45 acres was purchased in the nearby village of Jordan.

Soon followed the construction of the winery designed to reflect the family’s European heritage with exquisite rose gardens. 2006 marked the first harvest and vintage, as well as the year that Eugene & his winemaker started to make mead, which is produced by fermenting honey & water. Get the low-down on mead.

Rosewood Estates is a family affair. Daughter Krystina Roman has taken on full responsibility for Marketing & Sales, while son William (Wills), who is a graduate of the Viticulture and Oenology program at Niagara College and also has a business degree, can be found amongst the grapes in the vineyard, in the wine cellars & working at the apiaries with his father.

The ‘buzz’ is never far away. Step out behind the winery & you will find a sheltered glade among the trees where hives produce the wildflower honey that is sold in Rosewood’s retail shop. Of course, there are hives elsewhere in the Niagara area to optimize the bees’ access to a range of pollens from the fruit orchards & vineyards.

With its unique meadery – the only in Niagara – Rosewood is definitely a ‘must visit’ when you are in Niagara.

Until your next trip to the Beamsville Bench, with this month’s Savvy Selections you will get a taste of red wines to match the hearty foods of winter along with a lesser known white grape variety – Semillion grapes – rare in Ontario.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Semillon VQA 2011 – medium bodied white wine that is delicious with winter time foods

Merlot Reserve VQA 2009a complex, powerful award-winning red wine that is silky & flavourful

Pinot Noir VQA 2010 – a easy drinking dry & juicy, well-balanced Pinot that will impress anyone


Mima’s Block Riesling VQA 2011 – slightly off-dry, elegant balanced with delicious ripe fruit and lively acidity

Ambrosia Grand Reserve Mead 2007 – smooth uniquely aged in 3+ years in French oak barrels.

Enjoy discovering Rosewood wines.  At any time you would like additional bottles of your favorite Savvy Selections wines, just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to  It would be my pleasure to arrange a delivery for you. Cheers & Enjoy!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Rosewood Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins


Truly a family affair, Rosewood Estates reflects the enthusiasm & passion of the Roman family. Krystina explains, “As a family we fell in love with the Beamsville Bench. When first scouting locations we evaluated different sites all over the Niagara Peninsula. While the purchase was a business decision & we had professional advisors to help us evaluate the properties, as well, we followed our heart. There’s something unique about ‘The Bench’, it’s a small narrow sub appellation with a unique character – both in the wines and the people.”

Planted in 2003-04, the vineyard on the Beamsville Bench, named Renaceau, has deep clay-loam soils from which their Riesling extracts its mineral character. Merlot is planted in the same vineyard, on an iron-rich deposit which, states Wills  “has helped the Merlot develop rich & complex flavours through the years.” The second vineyard, comprising 20 acres in the Twenty Mile Bench appellation just above Jordan features limestone-clay soils. “It has a particularly beneficial aspect that drastically improves airflow, in turn reducing cold air pockets and helping dry any excessive humidity on the vines & fruit.” A significant limestone ridge on this property contributes a mineral character to their many different Riesling wines.

While the properties total 85 acres, only 30 are under vine – planted by them with advice from professionals to ensure the optimum match of grape variety with sub soil. They benefit from being on the Niagara Escarpment, but are also limited by the environmental constraints of this UNESCO Reserve. Where necessary, they work with local grape grower – Marcus Van Ber & Rick Wismer to complement their estate-grown fruit. “Niagara is blessed with amazing grape growers who are very passionate. It’s a pleasure working with such dedicated grape growers and vineyard owners”, shares Krystina.

All in the family

You could say that Krystina & Wills, along with their parents Eugene & Renata, make a dynamite team. “As a family, we always have SOMETHING wine-related to talk about’, comments Krystina.  It’s interesting to hear the mutual respect between siblings, as well as the passion for the business that can typically cause heated discussions. In Wills’ view, their collaboration has helped strengthen the family, as they spend so much time working together. Krystina explains, “I’m very thankful to have a brother who loves to grow grapes, make wine and has as much enthusiasm about the wine industry as I do. He is our Operations Manager ‘Extraordinaire’!” In that role, he oversees the vineyards, the winemaking, honey & mead production. Yet he still finds time to spend in the tasting room. “It’s very rewarding to talk with customers who thoroughly enjoy our wines, mead & honey—it brings a smile to my face & makes all the early mornings & long days worth it!”

Wills first started helping with beekeeping when he was just 4 years old, whether helping his Grandmother pour honey or carrying the smoker in the beeyards. His interest only increased as he grew older. He headed off to university to obtain a business degree with thoughts of working in the high-tech industry. He continued to help out in the apiaries & when the vineyard was purchased, became involved in that as well. It didn’t take long for him to realize his passion was inherently in beekeeping & viticulture, leading him to Niagara College’s program in Viticulture and Oenology. “I found great reward in producing handcrafted goods and loved the idea of working outside with my hands. And I truly love working with my family!” The combination of business training, apprenticeship in beekeeping with his father Eugene, & the Niagara College viticulture program have given him the wide-ranging skills to excel in his role at Rosewood. He credits Luke Orwinski, Rosewood’s winemaker, with honing his practical viticulture & winemaking knowledge, as well as a stint with winemaker Matt Mavety at Blue Mountain Vineyards and Cellars in British Columbia’s Okanagan.

Bees in the Winter

The bees are currently in winter dormancy, in their hives. They create their own heat, moving in a cluster within the hive, consuming honey they stored & vibrating to generate additional heat. Meanwhile, Krystina & Wills are also generating their own heat, dealing the ongoing operations of the winery. They look forward to the spring, when the buzz ramps up again. They will be focused on ensuring the bees & the vines have the best possible conditions to thrive & contribute to the outstanding wines & meads.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!



Rosewood Semillon VQA 2011  $18.00

This wine is produced from grapes that were hand-harvested off of a single vineyard.  The grapes were whole-cluster pressed (winespeak: entire grape bunches are pressed very gently to extract the juice. This is thought to minimize the amount of harsh malic acid & astringent tannins that naturally exist in the skins, seeds & stems) then aged four months in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pale gold, this wine offers aromas of rich stone fruit, zesty citrus, beeswax (of course!), mineral, with a whiff of freshly ground white pepper. Dry, juicy & quite weighty, the white pepper mingles with dried apricot, apple & citrus on the palate. Crafted with fine balance, it has a lasting crisp finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy this wine with fish such as halibut, herbed pork tenderloin, or steamed mussels in a white wine sauce.

Cellaring:  Ready to drink now or cellar 2-3 years.

Rosewood Pinot Noir VQA 2010 $20.00

Produced from hand-harvested fruit from local grape growers (the Wismer Vineyard & the Renaceau Estate Vineyard), this Pinot Noir was aged 11 months in premium new & seasoned French oak barrels to create the smooth & silky texture of this wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Offering aromas of strawberries, sweet spice & earth that are classic to Pinot Noir, this is a dry, vivid wine with a smooth silky texture & well-defined structure. Ripe red field berries mingle with herbal notes & that refined earthiness, the wine finishing long, dry & balanced.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this wine with grilled or planked salmon, or with duck with cherries.

Cellaring: Enjoy the wine now or can be cellared 3-5 years.

Rosewood Merlot Reserve VQA 2009 $32.00

To create this outstanding wine, grapes from low-yielding vines grown on the Rosewood property were handpicked & sorted, then fermented with natural native yeasts. The wine then aged in select new & aged French oak barrels for 13 months to round out the structure & create the smooth, rich texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Deep ruby in colour, this dry, full-bodied wine offers intriguing complexity of aromas & flavours—roasted herbs, concentrated dark fruit (think figs, dates, plums/prunes) & blackberry jam, cedar, vanilla & warm spices. It’s loaded with luscious fruit, notes of dark chocolate & coffee beans. Well structured with fine-grained tannins & subtle acidity, has a long deep finish with dark & toasty notes.

Suggested Food Pairing: For this big wine, Susan thinks that this is hands down wine for beef tenderloin or roast of lamb with all of the trimmings.

Cellaring: Already aged 4 years, this wine is approachable now, yet has the cellar ‘power’ for another 2-4 years.



With Rosewood Semillon…

Steamed Mussels with Wine & Saffron

Serves 4


3 lbs fresh mussels
1 large pinch saffron (about 30 threads)
¾ cup white wine
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about ½ cups)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Holding mussels under cool running water, scrub with a stiff sponge or vegetable brush, then debeard: grip the touch fibers extending from the shell & pull to remove. Discard beards.

Steep saffron in wine for 10 minutes (Saffron is soluble in water, not fat, so won’t release its color or flavour if added directly to the butter.) Meanwhile, melt butter over medium-high heat in a shallow stockpot. Once it’s foamy, add shallots, garlic and ½ tsp salt. Cook until shallots are transparent and garlic is soft, about 3 minutes, stirring every so often to keep garlic from scorching. Pour in wine & saffron, then add tomatoes and return to a simmer, stirring once or twice.

Add mussels & cover tightly. Cook until all mussels open, about 6 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Discard any unopened mussels. If using wild mussels, strain broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve to remove any sand, if necessary. Taste the broth & season with salt & pepper.

Sprinkle with parsley before ladling mussels & broth into bowls.


With Rosewood Pinot Noir

Pan-seared Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives, Oregano & Capers

Chef Michael Smith recipe that appeared in The Globe & Mail
Serves 4


1 Tbsp vegetable oil4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts1 large onion, chopped into large pieces4 garlic cloves, chopped (or to taste)1 Tbsp dried oregano1 tsp salt2 cups red wine1 pint cherry tomatoes1 cup pitted Kalamata olives½ cup capers, drainedFreshly ground pepper


Set a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Swirl in enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Sear the first side until golden brown and crusty, 4-5 minutes or so. Adjust the pan’s heat as needed, keeping it sizzling, but not so hot that the oil smokes.

Flip the chicken breasts over, cooking the other sides until they’re equally golden brown. Add a splash more oil if you think the pan needs it. The goal is not to fully cook the meat but just to add flavour while the pan temperature is high.

Reduce heat to medium and remove the chicken breasts to a plate. Add the onion, garlic, oregano and salt to the pan. Sauté for a minute or two. Add the red wine, tomatoes, olives, and capers. Turn the heat much lower, just enough to maintain a slow, steady simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, nestling the breasts into the stew. Cover tightly and simmer until the meat is cooked through (10-15 minutes). Turn the breasts once, allowing the flavour to fully permeate the chicken from all sides. Sprinkles with pepper to taste and serve.


With Rosewood Merlot Reserve…

Peppercorn Roast Beef with Balsamic Beets

Food & Drink Magazine
Serves 8


8 medium beets, trimmed & peeled, about 1 ½ lbs
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
2 red onions cut into 1” wedges
8 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled (or to taste)
3 Tbsp cracked black peppercorns
1 beef tenderloin, about 3 lbs
2 Tbsp quality balsamic vinegar
Rosemary sprigs for garnish


Preheat oven to 425F.

Cut beets into 1” wedges. In a large shallow roasting pan, toss together beets, 2 Tbsp oil, rosemary and ¼ tsp salt; spread beets out in roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring once.  

Add onions and garlic to roasting pan; stir to combine with beets, breaking up onion wedges as you stir. Roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together peppercorns and remaining salt in a small bowl. On work surface, lay a piece of plastic wrap large enough to enclose beef; sprinkle with half peppercorn mixture. Rub feed all over with remaining oil. Lay beef on peppercorn mixture on plastic wrap; sprinkle evenly with remaining peppercorn mixture. Wrap beef in plastic wrap, pressing so that peppercorns and salt adhere evenly to meat. Unwrap beef; transfer carefully to a wire rack.

Stir vegetables.

Set rack holding beef in roasting pan containing vegetables; roast for 25-30 minutes for rare (125F on meat thermometer), 30-40 minutes for medium-rare (135-140F on meat thermometer).Remove beef to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil & let stand 10-15 minutes.

Stir balsamic vinegar into vegetables; season with more salt & pepper to taste. Spoon vegetables onto a warm serving plate.

Cut beef into slices; arrange on top of vegetables. Garnish with rosemary. 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!



Our discovery: Ridge Road Winery makes great wines under $20!

Posted by Susan

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Ridge Road Estate Winery
– June 2012 –

Ridge Road Estate Winery occupies a coveted position atop the north-eastern edge of the Niagara Escarpment, a designated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.  Owners Jayne and Sean Douglas along with their four children, recognize the great value of this ecosystem and are committed to carrying on the family tradition of stewardship of the land, while offering unique small-lot hand-crafted wines.

Once you leave the QEW near Stoney Creek, the road to the winery winds up the Escarpment along switchbacks and through lush vegetation. The winery tasting room sits like an invitation in an attractive rural setting, the pond is loud with croaking frogs while offers water for the visiting deer. And the property is on a major raptor migration route, so you can expect to see birders sitting on the patio, glass of wine in hand, binoculars nearby focused on the raptors in the fruit trees. In fact, Jayne explained that her four children had the opportunity to watch peregrine chicks hatch last spring.

The creation of this winery is a story of the agricultural evolution of the region, of the unique environment in which the property is situated and of the life-long dream of this couple. The farm, comprising 60 acres, has been in Jayne’s family since 1875. In fact, E.D Smith was the original mortgage holder on the property and great-great-grandfather sold his fruit to this iconic Canadian food company.

While on a trip to France 25 years ago, Jayne and Sean caught the wine bug! With fulltime careers in Burlington, they dreamed of purchasing the family property, still a working fruit farm, and transforming part of it into a vineyard and winery. Their idea came into fruition with the purchase of the family property 16 years ago. Eager to get to work, Sean enrolled in winemaking and viticulture courses, while gradually building the structure which today is the winery tasting bar and barrel cellar. They developed their expertise in the 12-acre vineyard, selling their grapes to local winemaking hobbyists and Sean practiced as an amateur winemaker. After careful deliberation, they opened the winery in September 2009 and in 2010, they took the plunge to become full-time winery proprietors.

Our Savvy Sommelier Susan, found a meeting with Jayne and Sean is like a visit with friends or relatives that you don’t see very often. You can pick up the threads of the relationship in no time! After discovering Ridge Road shortly after they opened, we were eager to introduce them to our Savvy Selections subscribers. Our tasting panel selected the following wines for you to enjoy this summer:

Pinot Gris VQA 2011 – a lively, well-balanced white wine with honey notes

Pinot Noir VQA 2009
a dry, smoky classic cool climate Pinot
Merlot VQA 2010
– a subtle red wine offering chocolate notes as it dances on the tongue.

Stock up for the summer – all under $20

Being such a small winery, you won’t find Ridge Road wines at the LCBO. So, if you found a new favorite wine and would like additional bottles, give me a call and I will take care of ordering more for you.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team

613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)


Ridge Road Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

Jayne remembers the joy of her childhood visits to ‘the farm’. “My Gramma Verna Stuart owned the farm where we would have large family gatherings and pot luck picnics there on weekends. My brother, cousins and I would run wild through the 60 acre fields & orchards, chasing and trying to ride the poor cows! We would hike in the forested area along the Niagara Escarpment – it was a fabulous weekend getaway for us ‘city kids’. Today, my own 4 children enjoy the same open spaces, hikes and adventures discovering wildlife like bull frogs and salamanders, snakes, deer, raptors, lynx, coyotes—even a generation later, it’s still a great weekend getaway for city kids!”

The property offers a unique growing environment, with lake breezes flowing up and over the escarpment and clay loam soils. The ubiquitous Escarpment limestone offers a mineral component to the wines. Sean explains, ‘Although on average the temperature is 1°C cooler up here in the winter, it’s often warmer in the summer. The site benefits from consistent breezes that quickly dry the grapes after a rain, and that tend to push the late spring frosts up over the escarpment—fortunately, wind machines are redundant for us!”

The focus is on quality at Ridge Road, with hand harvesting and sorting in the production of their small-batch wines. Sean is the winemaker, with over 20 years’ experience both as an enthusiastic amateur winemaker and in his current role at the winery. Fifteen years of amateur winemaking, as well as valuable product knowledge gained through supplying grapes to other wineries and amateur winemakers, gave the couple the confidence to ‘go pro’ and create their first commercial vintage in 2007.

Jayne remembers, “Sean believes that the grape should shine through. Based on the climatic conditions of the vintage, yeasts are chosen to accentuate what the grape is projecting. Minimal fining and movement is practiced so as not to bruise the wines. And we’ve moved toward the Stelvin closure (winespeak: screwcap) to preserve the freshness of the wine and avoid microbial infection.”

After getting some initial advice on appropriate varietals, Sean and Jayne planted Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Franc, along with Vidal and Baco Noir grape varietis. They’ve been experimenting with other varietals too, and recently added Pinot Noir, Syrah and Gamay Noir to their vineyard. In addition to these varietals, their property is the one of only three trial sites in Ontario for Traminette – a hybrid varietal created at the University of Indiana in 1965 by crossing Gewürztraminer with the little known varietal called Joannes Seyve. The cross was sent to Cornell for development and has produced a wine grape well adapted to a cool climate region like Niagara, displaying cold hardiness, good productivity and resistance to fungal diseases. When combined with Geisenheim and Vidal grapes in Ridge Road’s ‘Vineridge Blend’, it results in a zesty, fresh white wine with high-toned aromatics of floral, citrus and tropical notes, along with a mineral quality and a silky texture.

Sean and Jayne have purposely retained a large portion of the home farm as a fruit orchard and natural habitat for the varied local flora, birds and as Jane says…‘critters’. Working with the local conservation authority, they are planning to establish a walking trail through part of the property to a nearby waterfall. If you are a bird lover, Ridge Road invites you to their Raptor Festival, and spare binoculars are always available for the uninitiated wine-tasting birdwatcher!

Even with their short time in business, the quality of Ridge Road’s wines has been recognized with two gold medals for their 2009 Riesling and Vidal at the 2010 All Canadian Wine Championships. Jayne feels their approach accounts for this: “Our focus is to make hand-crafted wines that showcase our terroir. We create two blends each year— Call Me a Cab and Intersection White – and adjust our single varietal portfolio annually in response to the vintage. We’ve also found that our property produces very crisp, fruity sparkling wines, ideal for causal occasions. We plan to expand that part of our portfolio in the future.”

We are fortunate to feature Ridge Road early in the summer, as their wines are usually sold out by early fall. They are expanding to 4500 cases over the next two years, with a long-term plan to cap production at 10,000 cases. “We really believe that for us, that’s the maximum volume that will allow us to continue to put the care and effort we feel is required into each wine.”

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!


~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Ridge Road Pinot Gris 2011 VQA, $16.95

The first Pinot Gris produced at Ridge Road, this is a unique wine. The grapes were divided into two lots, the first given extended maceration to create a pinkish hue and then fermented in stainless. The second batch was whole cluster pressed, the fermented in new French oak, then blended with the first to create this mouth-filling wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Finely crafted and well balanced, this Pinot Gris offers great weight. texture and length. Honeyed fruit aromas dominate with pear, nectarine and crunchy Gala apple. Palate pleasing and silky, lively citrusy acidity balances the honeyed orchard fruit, while a nutty note persists on the long tangy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy this wine with a grilled chicken Caesar salad, or with shellfish. The recipe for Spaghetti with Shrimp is on the following pages for you to try your hand at with this wine.

Cellaring: No need to wait – enjoy it now!


Ridge Road Pinot Noir 2009 VQA, $19.95

2009 was a cool wet vintage, but produced attractive Pinot Noir like this one. The grapes were sourced from older vines from a neighboring vineyard as well as from Ridge Road’s first growth vines. Older French oak barrels were used to showcase the bright tangy fruit.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s interesting complexity in the aromas—red cherry, hints of smoke and cedar, and a whiff of vanilla and tomato leaf. Dry, mid weight, the wine has a tangy texture, red fruit garnished with spice, notes of roasted red pepper and a lengthy peppery finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Grilled salmon, chicken alfredo, or warm Brie with red pepper jelly are ideal matches. Susan shares her recipe for Pork Chops to serve with this wine.

Cellaring: Enjoy the wine now or Sean remarks that it could be cellared for 3-5 years


Ridge Road Merlot 2010 VQA $18.95 

This Merlot was bottled as a varietal wine due to unique representation it offers of the vintage, the vineyards and Sean’s winemaking style. The wine is a blend of six specially selected barrels, predominantly new and older French oak, with one American oak barrel ‘making the cut’.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  From a great vintage, this Merlot displays aromas and flavours of black berry and plum, chocolate coated cherries as well as dried cherries with an underlying mineral note. Dry, mid weight, the subtle structure, round tannins and clean texture frame layered fruit flavours, recurring chocolate notes and sweet spice that lingers on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this wine with pork with a burgundy sauce or grilled veal chops.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this wine will cellar 3-5 years.

~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Ridge Road Pinot Gris …
Spaghetti with Shrimp

The Eating Well Cookbook
Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced (or to taste)
1 tsp tomato paste
1 ¼ C dry white wine
2-3 tsp grated lemon zest
1 ½ lb medium-sized shrimp, peeled & deveined
¼ C minced fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
1 lb spaghetti
1/3 C fresh bread crumbs, toasted
Fresh grated parmigiano (optional)


  1. In a large deep saucepan, heat oil over low heat. Add garlic & tomato paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add wine and lemon zest. Increase heat to medium & simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until garlic has softened. Add shrimp & cook for about 3 minutes longer, of just until shrimp are pink. Add parsley & season with salt & pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water until it is tender but still firm. Drain the spaghetti in a colander & transfer to a large, warm shallow serving bowl. Toss with shrimp sauce.
  3. Taste & adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs (and parmigiano cheese) and serve immediately.


With Ridge Road Pinot Noir

Pork Chops with Fresh Tomato, Onion & Feta
Serves 4

1 large onion, halved & thinly sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 pork loin chops, 1” thick
salt & pepper to taste
sliced garlic cloves
½ pint red grape tomatoes, halved
½ pint yellow grapes tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
2 oz. crumbled feta, or to taste


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion & cook until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Add ½ Tbsp oil to skillet & heat. Season pork chops by rubbing garlic clove over, then sprinkling with salt & pepper. Cook to desired doneness. Set aside, keeping warm.
  3. Heat remaining oil in skillet. Return onions to skillet, stir in tomatoes, garlic and basil. Cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes, until tomatoes are tender. Mix in balsamic vinegar & season with salt & pepper.
  4. Top chops with the onion & tomato mixture & sprinkle with feta. Enjoy!


With Ridge Road Merlot…

‘Merloted’ Grilled Beef
Serves 4

4 filets of beef
½ C Merlot
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 cloves garlic (or to taste), minced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp fresh-cracked pepper


  1. Stir together Merlot, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, brown sugar and pepper.
  2. Add beef fillets and marinate at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours.  
  3. Place marinated meat on hot grill and cook to desired doneness. Serve with grilled veggies and rice.

Option: You can create extra marinade, bring it to a boil in a small saucepan, reducing by 1/3, then pour over the fillets.

 Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!