Posts Tagged ‘dessert wine’

If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 16th, 2016

I was pretty excited to see the feature at the LCBO Vintages be shining the spotlight on Ontario wines. I am a firm believer that we never have to look further than our own backyard for great vintages.

sept-17-vintages-catalogueWe have wineries in the Niagara Escarpment, Prince Edward County, Lake Huron, Pelee Island and Georgian Bay, just to name a few.  This past summer, my husband I toured around the Twenty Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake regions visiting several wineries and the enticement of uncorking new wines that we could not purchase locally just overcame us. We stocked up!  If you have not had a trip to wine country this summer, here is the opportunity to go wild at Vintages and pick up some gems.

The 2016 grape harvest is underway! Ontario winemakers have finished picking grapes for sparkling wine and are now busily harvesting white wine grapes.  By all reports from wineries, the crops are looking good!  Pick up some Ontario wines to celebrate our beautiful province and let’s toast the winemakers that make it all happen.



If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 17, 2016


13th Street White Palette 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #207340) 12.5% alcohol 

A fabulous & unique blend of 53% Riesling, 18% Chardonnay, 17% Gewurztraminer, 9% Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of 3% Pinot Gris. The grapes were hand harvested from a variety of vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula, with the vast majority from the 13th  Street Estate vineyards. All varieties were fermented separately in stainless steel then blended in the final stage.

Aromas of orchard wildflowers at their peak housed in a soft golden colour. There’s gentle honeysuckle and lemon aromas on the palate with tree fruit; apricots and yellow apples mixed with some buttery almonds on the finish. Delicious and flavourful. My husband and I enjoyed this white wine with some grilled chicken and Caesar salad and it was over the top perfect!


Flat Rock Riesling 2014flat-rock-riesling

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages # 43281)  11%  alcohol

White blossoms and ripe tree fruit capture the senses.  Slightly off-dry with lots of fruity flavours, ripe peaches and apples. This medium-bodied white wine has a delectable seam of acidity that sends you back for another sip. It’s smooth and elegant.

Lovely on it’s own or with lighter fare of fish tacos, salads or a bowl of steamed mussels.



rapscallion-wine-companySmoke & Gamble Cabernet/Merlot 2012

VQA Ontario  (Rapscallion Wine Company)
$19.95 (Vintages #332825) 13% alcohol 

Located in Port Dover in the county of Norfolk, this winery is new for me and does not disappoint. On the bottle label it states 44% barrel aged and 56% stainless – meaning that this is a blend of wine that was both aged in barrels and tank resulting in a medium bodied red wine.

There is a subtle whiff of dusty aromas (that is a good thing for a wine that is 4 years old already!) with suggestions of roses and violets coupled with red and blackberries on the palate. There is a subtle sweetness of black plums with freshly ground green and black pepper on the long finish. It is slightly tart with firm tannins but then moved into a fabulously smooth and tantalizing red wine blend.  Would definitely marry a hearty autumn stew or thick-with-meat chili.


westcott-temperance-redWestcott Vineyards Temperance Red 2014

VQA Vinemount Ridge Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages # 469189) 13.4% alcohol

Bravo to these young retired folks, who bought a 200 year-old timber frame barn, restored it to build a winery around the original structure.  And on top of all that, they planted 26 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Talk about a leap of faith. This relatively new winery located in Jordan, Ontario, is right in the heart of the Twenty Valley region, where the soil is the creme de la creme for growing grapes.

This interesting Cabernet Franc & Pinot Noir red wine blend is loaded with red berries – cherry and raspberry flavours jump from this light bodied pale red nectar. It shows more like a light bodied Pinot Noir with layers of personality. Pair it with pork or roast poultry encrusted with lots of herbs.


pondview-icewinePondview Vidal Icewine 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #390351) 11% alcohol

It has been a while since I included an icewine in my list.  This one is a great price!

By definition, icewines can only be made from grapes that have naturally frozen on the vine and picked when the thermometer dips to -8°C or lower. While the grape harvest yield is particularly low, (hence the high expense), icewine offers a mouthfeel and sweet deliciousness that is worth every penny. With a under $20 price tag on this icewine, our friends at Pondview are giving it away.

This dessert wine has aromas and flavours of sweet baked yellow apple, pear and marmalade, citrus notes at the end of this long divine finish. Dinner becomes memorable when you end with such panache.


Grand Total – $92.75



The Best Cocktail Party in Eastern Ontario!

Posted by Amanda

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The 5th annual Prescott-Russell Wine & Food Show will take place this Saturday (September 21st) at The River Rock Inn in Rockland.  Billed as the ‘Best Cocktail Party in Eastern Ontario’ is a fun evening to feast on wines, beers, coffee, port, sparkling wine & gourmet bites from around the world.

Why not make it a date night out or grab some friends & head to Rockland. This is a different kind of wine & food show. You can vote on your favorite foods, wines and beers for La Cité Collégiale’s Crush Awards. There’s a Chocolate Extravaganza & Bubbly Bar too…and be sure to stop by the Savvy Company booth to share your wine, beer & food tips!. We are delighted to be one of the partners of this year’s show offering the new Savvy Sip & Shop service. 

What is Savvy Sip & Shop you ask?

Find a new favorite wine or beer at the show? Savvy Sip & Shop can deliver a case of all of your favorites – an assortment of any wines & beers – to your home or office within a week. Simply visit the Savvy Team at the Savvy Sip & Shop booth located in the Lounge Area.  Alternatively order online – it is that easy to have your new found favorite wines & craft beers on hand.

FREE SHIPPING on 12 bottles or more!

Exclusive at this show you can order ANY combination of outstanding wines from ANY of the featured wineries & they will be delivered by courier to your home or office.  

Wines & Craft Beers you will find at the show…

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company

Lug Tread 4-pack $15.85 / 12-pack  $46.10
Night Marzen Single Bottle $4.35 / 12-pack  $52.20
Spruce Moose Single Bottle $7.85 / 4-pack  $31.40 

Casa-Dea Estates Winery

2011 Dea’s Cuvee Sparkling $18.95
2010 Chardonnay $15.95
2010 Pinot Gris $18.95
2010 Gamay $14.95
2009 Cabernet Franc $18.95 

Cassel Brewery Company

Golden Rail Honey Brown Growler $16.00
Upper Canadian IPA Growler  $17.00 

Château des Charmes

2011 Generation Seven White $13.95
2011 Earth and Sky Riesling $14.95
2010 Generation Seven Red $13.95
2010 Earth and Sky Pinot Noir $15.95 

Domaine Perrault

2011 Pinot Grigio $14.00
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Sabrevois $20.00 

Harwood Estate Vineyard

2011 Gewurztraminer $20.00
2011 Chardonnay $32.00
2012 Pinot Gris $18.00
2011 Friends Rosé $18.00
2012 Gamay Noir $25.00
2010 Pinot Noir $29.00
2010 Marquesa Red Port $29.00
2009 Just Desserts (Late Harvest) $25.00 

Huff Estates Winery

2011 Riesling Off Dry $18.00
2012 Rosé $18.00
2012 Pinot Gris $20.00
2010 South Bay Merlot $30.00 

Konzelmann Estate Winery

2011 Riesling $11.95
2011 Pinot Blanc $11.95
2011 Pinot Noir $11.95
2012 Shiraz $12.95 

La Cava Vino del Mundo Imports

2011 Bagordi Blanco $16.80
2011 Tobelos Blanco $24.50
2011 Recoveco $18.70
2011 Betolaza Tinto $18.70
2008 Usoa de Bagordi $24.55
2009 Tobelos Garnacha $35.65
2008 Bagordi Graciano $34.75

Lighthall Vineyards

2012 Progression Sparkling $20.00
2009 Chardonnay $25.00
2011 Chardonnay $25.00
2012 Gewurztraminer $25.00
2010 Pinot Noir $25.00
2011 Muté (500mL) $30.00 

Nickel Brook Brewery

Headstock IPA $2.75/can
Naughty Neighbour 6 pack $12.25
Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout $2.30/bottle
Saison Draft (750 mL bottle) $8.95
Gluten Free Beer $2.65/can
Babbling Brook Root Beer 24 bottles $33.60
Naughty Nick’s Ginger Beer 24 bottles $33.60 

Palatine Hills Winery

Juliet Blanc de Blanc Sparkling $18.95
1812 Chardonnay $11.95
2011 Quattro $14.95
1812 Cabernet Merlot $12.95
2011 Cabernet Franc $19.95 

Sandbanks Winery

Dunes White $12.80
2012 Shoreline White $14.95
2012 Riesling $14.95
Dunes Red $14.80
2012 Cabernet Franc $14.95
2012 Shoreline Red $14.95
2012 Baco Noir $14.95
2011 Baco Noir Réserve $19.95 

The Grange of Prince Edward County Winery

2011 Estate Pinot Gris $14.95
2011 Estate Chardonnay $15.80
2009 Estate Cab Franc $17.95
2009 Estate Pinot Noir $16.95

We look forward to seeing you there!

Amanda & the Savvy Team



Wineries in the National Capital – yes Ottawa!

Posted by Susan

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Savour Ottawa recently hosted a number of intrepid local farmers, winemakers and micro brewers at the Château Laurier, who came out, despite the inclement weather, to introduce residents and visitors alike to their products.

Savour Ottawa is a collaboration among Ottawa Tourism, the City of Ottawa, and Just Food working to promote the national capital region as a year-round culinary destination, offering extensive and varied opportunities to ‘savour’ local foods grown, harvested and produced right here in our own back yard.

The event at the Château Laurier provided the opportunity to visit with the owners and taste the wines of two local wineries:  Jabulani Vineyard & Winery, located southwest of Ottawa near Richmond, and Domaine Perrault, located east of the city, near the town of Navan. In both cases, the wineries grow their own hybrid grapes – hardy varieties such as Frontenac, Marquette – and use grapes from specific Niagara growers with whom they have an ongoing relationship. Their wine is available only directly from the farm. Should you be interested in acquiring some of these wines, contact us at Savvy Company.


Domaine Perrault

Domaine Perrault is located on a dairy farm owned and operated by Denis Perrault and his family. Denis first planted vines in 1999, in consultation with a University of Guelph viticultural expert. A few years later, he extended the planting to 6 acres, and in 2006 received his license to produce and sell wine on the farm premises. When I asked if he was the winemaker, Denis’ response was “No, I’m just the owner”. A modest man, he credits his current winemaker, local oenologist Bernard Martineau, for the quality and style of the Domaine Perrault wines. The winery offers a range of wines, including varietal wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Frontenac, as well as rosé and a dessert wine called Nectar des Neiges.

Domaine Perrault Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Product of Canada $16.00 12.6% alcohol

Vinified from Niagara fruit, this straw-hued white wine offers attractive aromas of grass, herbs, citrus and mineral. Dry, light-mid weight, the fresh flavours include citrus, orchard fruit and a touch of mineral underlaid by clean crisp acidity that assures a bright tasty finish. Serve it with coquille St-Jacques or with soft cheeses.

Domaine Perrault Shiraz 2010

Product of Canada $24.00 13.5% alcohol

Also produced from Niagara fruit, this approachable wine was aged 6 months in seasoned French oak. There’s sweet ripe red and black berry on the nose, mingling with notions of sweet spice, vanilla and pepper. Dry, mid-weight, it’s round and satiny in texture, spiced vanilla replaying, wrapped around delicious blackberry and raspberry flavours. Pepper warms the lengthy flavourful finish.

Jabulani Vineyard & Winery

According to Wikipedia, jabulani is the Zulu word for ‘rejoice’ and the owners, Tom Moul and his wife Janet, no doubt did when their search for a suitable site for a vineyard and winery led them to their property by the Jock River. They found it flourishing with apples, berries and wild grapes, giving them hope for success in their wine venture. Research on suitable grape varietals led them to the University of Minnesota and eventually to grape guru Alain Breault. They have now planted 11 acres to a variety of hybrid grapes including Frontenac Gris and Marquette. They also source grapes from a contract grower in Virgil, in the Niagara area. Visit their wine patio overlooking the vineyard, take a tour, or book a private event and enjoy, as their website suggests “The Spirit of Happiness”.

Jabulani Frontenac Gris/Vidal 2011

Product of Canada $11.00 13.0% alcohol

Enjoy the floral notes and aromas of stone fruit and tangerine of this dry yet fruity wine. On the slightly honeyed palate, there’s a whiff of mineral while stone fruit and citrus flavours replay balanced by fresh acidity and a touch of residual sugar through a mid-length finish. An enjoyable quaffer. 

Jabulani Sauvignon Blanc/Frontenac Gris 2011

Product of Canada $14.00 13.5% alcohol

Displaying grassy notes, citrus and citrus zest, this dry, mid-weight wine is crisp and tangy, with notes of passionfruit and citrus ringing through a lively, lasting pithy finish where mineral and citrus zest cleanse the palate. Serve with pan-fried white fish. 

Jabulani Marquette/Cabernet Franc ‘Barrel Select’ 2010

Product of Canada $18.00 15.5% alcohol

Aged 18 months in new French oak, this deep ruby red wine offers some classic Cab Franc aromas—floral, grilled herbs, pepper and dark berries. Dry, mid-full weight, it’s firmly structured with fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity framing rich dark fruit garnished with notes of cocoa, spice and  pepper. The extended finish is dry and savoury. Match to rare roast beef or grilled red meats.








Ontario wines to WOW your Valentine….

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Thyme & Again Creative Catering called on the expertise of our Savvy Team of Sommeliers to provide wine recommendations that would deliciously pair with their Valentine’s menu.     As Thyme & Again and Savvy Company are both members of Savour Ottawa it was only natural to select Ontario wineries to enjoy with the special meal made with local products & artisan foods.

All of the recommended wines are available at the LCBO.

Begin with Bubbles!

  • Flat Rock Cellars ‘Riddled’ Sparkling VQA 2008 (Twenty Valley) $29.95
  • Featherstone JOY Premium Cuvée Sparkling Wine VQA 2008 (Twenty Valley – aka Niagara Escarpment) $34.95
  • Peller Estates Ice Cuvée Rosé Sparkling (Niagara) $34.95


White Wines

  • Coyote’s Run Red Paw Pinot Gris VQA 2011 (Niagara) $17.95
  • Fielding Estates Riesling VQA 2011 (Twenty Valley)  $18.95
  • Vineland Elevation Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2007 (Twenty Valley) $19.95
  • Stratus Gewürztraminer VQA 2011 (Niagara-on-the-Lake) $29.95
  • Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2009 (Prince Edward County) $29.95


Red Wines

  • Malivoire Guilty Men Red VQA (Twenty Valley) $14.95 – this wine is sure to provoke a fun dinner conversation!
  • Kacaba Vineyards Cabernet/Syrah VQA 2008 (Twenty Valley) $18.95
  • Pondview Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010 (Niagara-on-the-Lake) $19.95
  • Huff Estates Merlot VQA 2011 (Prince Edward County) $19.95
  • 13th Street Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010 (Twenty Valley) $21.95


A Sweet Finish

  • Sandbanks LOVE Cassis Aperitivo $14.95 – great to make Kir Royal cocktails
  • Megalomaniac Coldhearted Riesling Icewine VQA 2008 (Twenty Valley) $29.95
  • Peninsula Ridge Cabernet Franc Icewine VQA 2001 (Twenty Valley) $29.95



Taste a glass…buy a bottle!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Everything is all set for our next wine tasting events: Wine & Cheese with a TWIST! Tuesday January 29th in Rockcliffe Park & Wednesday January 30th in Westboro.  We are delighted to be hosting 7 wineries from Prince Edward County and Niagara-on-the-Lake who will showcase their best wines.

Are you interested in joining us? A limited number of tickets are left!

Here is a sneak peak of the wines that are ready for you to enjoy – most you will not find at the LCBO – so this is a perfect evening out sipping and stocking up on new wine discoveries.  There will be over 30 different outstanding wines ranging in prices from $15 to $40 – sparkling wines, lots of white and red wines & a dessert wine.  There’s definitely something for everyone.

Taste a glass…buy a bottle

Exclusive at this event you can order ANY combination of outstanding wines from ANY of the wineries & they will be delivered by courier to your home or office. Free shipping on all orders of 12 bottles or more!

With so many wines and so little time, members of  our Savvy Sommeliers will be there to help you sharing wine tips & recommendations to find wines that you will undoubtedly enjoy.

We’re hosting 2 back-to-back wine tastings!

If you can’t attend either event, don’t despiar…you can still place your order with us.  Have a look at the list of wines that will be showcased and email us or call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) & we’ll be happy to make the arrangements for your order.

Debbie & the Savvy Team

Featured wineries & wines:

Casa Dea Estates Winery from Prince Edward County

  • 2011 Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling Wine $18.95
  • 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay $15.95
  • 2010 Pinot Noir $19.95
  • 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve $24.95

Fielding Estates Winery (Beamsville Bench – aka Niagara Escarpment) 

  • 2011 Viognier $19.95     Special price (regular $25.95)
  • 2010 Merlot $29.95
  • 2010 Syrah $34.95
  • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon $34.95     Special price (regular $44.95)

 Lighthall Vineyards (Prince Edward County)

  • 2009 Chardonnay $25.00
  • 2010 Chardonnay $25.00
  • 2011 Gewurztraminer $25.00
  • 2010 Pinot Noir $25.00

Palatine Hills Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc $18.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay $22.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Cabernet Franc$19.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Meritage $29.95

Pondview Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

  • 2010 Cabernet Merlot $18.95
  • 2011 Bella Terra Pinot Gris $29.95
  • 2010 Bella Terra Cabernet Franc $29.95
  • 2010 Bella Terra Meritage $39.95
  • 2011 Select Late Harvest18.00 (375ml)

Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery (Beamsville Bench)

  • 2011 Long Rows White $13.00
  • 2011 Mimas Block Riesling $20.00
  • 2009 Merlot Reserve $32.00
  • 2008 Mead ROYALE $15.00

Sue-Ann Staff Winery (Beamsville Bench)

  • 2011 Sparkling and SASSY $27.95
  • 2011 Grace’s Dry Riesling $21.00
  • 2011 Pinot Grigio $21.00
  • 2010 Baco Noir $14.95



You’re invited to a Wine & Cheese with a TWIST

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Shake off the winter blues & join our team of Savvy Sommeliers for a fun wine tasting the “coolest” wines from Niagara & Prince Edward County boutique wineries.

These back to back events will take place in small & intimate venues so that you can spend the evening chatting with the winemakers & winery owners about their vineyard, winemaking styles & all the goings on at the winery during the winter months….and stock up on your favorite wines too!



Tuesday January 29 @ 7pm
Rockcliffe Community Hall – 380 Springfield Rd


~ OR~


Wednesday January 30 @ 7pm 
Exposure Gallery
– 1255 Wellington St West (2nd floor of Thyme & Again)



What is the TWIST?  

At these Taste & Buy events, there will be a wide selection of hard-to-find wines that are not available at the LCBO.  This gives you the unique opportunity to a taste a variety of sparkling, white, red & dessert wines that you can order your new favorite wines that will be delivered directly to your home or office – within a week!

Feature wineries include:

Casa Dea Estates Winery (Prince Edward County) – one of the first wineries in The County will showcase their new range of wines.

Fielding Estates Winery (Beamsville Bench – aka Niagara Escarpment)  – from sparkling to reds, their wines are fantastic!

Lighthall Vineyards (Prince Edward County) – one of the newest boutique wineries in The County…and their wines are turning heads!

Palatine Hills Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake) – one of the oldest vineyards in the region makes spectacular reds, whites & bubblies

Pondview Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake) – they’ll be serving their Bella Terra Reserve wines

Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery (Beamsville Bench) – outstanding white wines & a lovely Pinot Noir awaits…and meads too (winespeak for wine made with honey)

Sue-Ann Staff Winery (Beamsville Bench) – international winemaking star will charm you with her vivacious personality & her impressive wines.


You can purchase your favorite artisan cheese too!

And as wine & cheese is a classic pairing, Vanessa – our Cheese Sommelier – will be on hand at the Artisan Cheese Bar serving handcrafted cheeses from Ontario & Québec that may be purchased to take home with you that night.


HELD OVER! $55 per person before January 25 (regular $65)

$200 for a group of 4 people (save $15 per person)

Only 50 tickets available per event.  Click to buy yours …

ROCKCLIFFE PARK event on January 29 >>

WESTBORO event on January 30 >>

Price includes wine tasting, cheeses, HST & a special Savvy wine tasting glass

Share this invitation with your friends – everyone is welcome.


These events are hosted in partnership with:






New & Known wines of BC’s Okanagan

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

A trip to the Okanagan is always an opportunity to explore familiar and newly established wineries. And that’s exactly what my husband and I did in last month! Along the way we visited familiar wineries and discovered brand new ones too.  Come and explore the Okanagan with me.

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards now showcases not only their wonderful wines crafted by winemaker Sandra Oldfield (“She’s been here since THE BEGINNING, 16 years ago,” said Jerralynn at the tasting bar) but also the recently ensconced restaurant, Miradoro. The restaurant flies out from the ridge, soaring over the south Okanagan valley like a bird on the wing. And the offerings to be found on the menu don’t disappoint! We enjoyed the rich and flavourful meatballs in fresh tomato sauce with a glass of Sandra’s ‘Oldfield Series’ 2Bench Red 2009, which we’d tasted at the winery ($29.99) – aged 18 months in French oak and held in bottle 14 months before release. It’s a blend of the Cabernets, Merlot and a splash of Petit Verdot, a dry full-bodied red wine, keenly balancing velvety tannins, fine acidity, well-integrated oak and a complexity of aromas and flavours including black cherry, plum, licorice and spices.

Of course, we tasted a few other wines at Tinhorn Creek’s spacious tasting room overlooking the valley, including the ‘Oldfield Series’ 2Bench Rosé 2011($22.99)— produced from 100% Cabernet Franc which spent 16 hours on the skins, it offers classic Cab Franc aromas, a crisp texture, lively herb-infused red fruit and a juicy long-lasting finish. The 2008 ‘Oldfield Series’ Pinot Noir ($29.99) is a first release produced using only the vineyard’s best fruit, aged 12 months in neutral French oak, then held 3 years in bottle prior to release. Silky smooth on the palate, displaying beguiling balance, it layers bright red fruit on subtle caramel, spice, pepper and earthy notes. It’s clean and dry from start to finish. The Tinhorn 2010 Cabernet Franc, selling for just $19.99, was aged in 2-3 year-old French and American oak for 12 months. It offers classic layered aromas, perceptible tannins and fresh acidity that define the clean dry palate, and flavours of bright red and black berries mingling with dried herbs and pepper. The tasting ‘finale’ was the 2009 ‘Oldfield Series’ Syrah ($34.99), aged 18 months in new and neutral French oak, held 14 months in bottle prior to release. It offers high-toned aromas of mint, licorice and lush dark fruit. A dry, full bodied red wine with great structure, full-bore fruit and lovely notes of exotic spice, it finishes long, dry and spicy.

Disappointed you won’t make it out to the Okanagan to taste these wines? Don’t despair, Tinhorn Creek’s ‘Crush Club’ offers you the opportunity to receive a minimum of one case of wine per year, reds, whites or mixed, shipped throughout Canada!

Forbidden Fruit Winery

Forbidden Fruit Winery, located in the Simalkameen Valley, a short jaunt from Osoyoos or Penticton, is a regular stop for us. Steve Venables has been cultivating organic fruit and making organic fruit wines for over three decades, and has recently started producing grape wines as well. At a recent dinner party, I served his apricot dessert wine, Caught Mistelle ($26.95, 375ml). with a peach and blueberry galette, to gushing reviews. We just had to stop in to replenish our supply. Of course, Steve wouldn’t hear of us leaving without trying one or two of his other creations. The oaked Cerise d’Eve ($29.95, 375 ml), a red cherry port-style wine, was outstanding—true to the fruit flavours, intense and fruity yet clean and relatively light on the palate. We served it with dark chocolate, to rave reviews. Among the grape wines, we tried his Earth Series’ Merlot ($26.00), which offered ripe red and black fruit aromas and flavours, with touches of spice and vanilla.
While in the south Okanagan, we also visited a couple of new wineries, Adega Estate Winery, on the road into our condo at Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa, and Gold Hill Winery, located on the highway just south of Tinhorn Creek.

Adega Estate Winery

Adega Winery sits just up the hill off Rancher Creek Road, surrounded by recently planted vineyards. Adega is family owned and operated by the Nunes clan, who purchased the vineyard on the hill in 1966, planting it to the classic soft fruits of the Okanagan. They purchased other property nearby and eventually began cultivating and selling grapes to local wineries. Changes in the family led to the decision to uproot the existing fruit orchard and plant vines in 2007 and 2008. And since they were expanding their grape harvest, the decision was made to establish their own winery as well. While most of their wines were sold out, we had the opportunity to taste the 2010 and 2011 Viognier, as well as their 2011 Rosé, which is produced primarily from Merlot with a dash of Viogner. The contrast in the Viogniers was fascinating. Though both displayed great balance of fruit and acidity, the 2010 ($18.00) offered a lean, crisper profile with citrus and orchard fruit to the fore, while the 2011 ($21.00) displayed the more classic stone fruit and tropical notes with a lusher, fruitier body. The Rosé ($17.00) is your quintessentially ‘gulpable’ wine (we did so shortly after purchasing a couple of bottles, enjoying it with grilled salmon), offering a dry texture underpinning rich ripe red fruits that mingle with a touch of Okanagan peach. An absolutely delectable sipper!

Gold Hill Winery

Gold Hill Winery is a recently opened winery that’s well worth a visit. With vineyards located on the Golden Mile, the Gill family has for years been producing grapes used in the creation of award winning wines across the OkanaganValley. With over 60 acres in production and another 40 ready to be planted to the vine, the family is justifiably proud of the quality of its grapes. In the tasting room, their son talked about the rare qualities of the Golden Mile, which seems to have a unique microclimate that protects the vines from the worst of the ‘renegade’ frosts. He quotes history:  A killing frost in spring of 1966 wiped out the soft fruit harvest in the entire Okanagan – except for the Golden Mile. The family’s first commercial vintage was 2009, and many of the wines we tasted were produced from 2-year old vines. The quality of the fruit is attributed to knowledge of the vineyard and a vigorous program of thinning and cropping—“My father and uncle work the vineyards and have a great sense of the ripeness of the fruit”.

The 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay ($18.00) from the Deadman Lake Vineyard tasted fruity and just off-dry. Almost transparent, it balanced lovely lush stone and orchard fruit flavours with lively citrusy acidity and a touch of spice on the finish. The 2011 Pinot Gris ($18.00) is a well-crafted, fruity wine that combines juicy apple, ripe pear and apricot with fine acidity that carries a touch of residual sugar through the fruity finish.  The 2009 Syrah ($27.00), at 14.9% alcohol is a big, bold, in-your-face wine that won gold at the West Coast Wine Awards. Aged 16 months in new and neutral French oak, it’s loaded with black fruit, toasty oak and a whiff of lavender. Dry, full bodied and spicy, the fruit is lush, the pepper building across the palate through a finish that’s bursting with ripe fruit.


Moraine Estate Winery

On the recommendation of a friend, we made a side trip to the Naramata Bench and visited two new wineries there. Oleg Aristarkhov, with his wife Svetlana, is  the proprietor of newly opened Moraine Estate Winery. He owns 15 acres on the bench, 10 of which have established 12-year-old vines, 5 of which he has planted to Pinot Noir. From a background in geology and the oil industry, Oleg, with his Kiwi winemaker Jacq Kemp, is creating wines that celebrate the history of his terroir—and you can taste the mineral notes across his portfolio! The Cliffhanger White 2011 ($14.00) is a blend of Pinot Gris and Viognier, offering quite intense fruit aromas , a crisp texture, flavours of citrus and green apple with a touch of minerality through the tangy finish. The Pinot Gris 2011 ($21.00) spent 2-3 months on the lees and offers a crisp, lively profile, with some flinty, citrus notes, pear and a refreshing finish. The Viognier 2011 ($23.00) combines beautiful floral, stone and tropical fruit aromas with zesty, slightly pithy flavours of citrus and stone fruit. It’s well crafted and balanced, finishing with that classic tart zing. The Cliffhanger Red 2011 ($24.00) is a blend of Gamay which he purchased from an Oliver vineyard, with his own Syrah. The wine spent 17 months in Frnech oak, displaying aromas of ripe berries and overtones of vanilla and sweet spice. Medium bodied, the ripe red fruit flavours blend with spice, pepper and a touch of underlying minerality. An intriguing blend that offers complexity and a clean crisp texture.


Upper Bench Estate Winery & Creamery

Heading back toward Penticton from Moraine, I couldn’t resist stopping in at Upper Bench Estate Winery and Creamery – who can withstand the urge to taste cheese and wine together! There’s a story here, of Gavin Miller who came from the U.K. to visit a friend, and met his wife Shana (the Big Cheese) who had migrated to the Okanagan from Nova Scotia. Sixteen years later, they’re still here! They purchased the property in January 2011, and opened the winery earlier this year. We savoured the nice, fresh 2011 Pinot Gris ($20.00) with their melt-in-the-mouth brine-washed Gold. It’s a finely balanced wine with sweet fruit aromas, dry texture and crisp lively flavours of green apple and melon. The 2011 Rosé ($19.00) was served with their creamy ‘U & Brie’. Made with Zweigelt, if offers good red fruit aromas and flavours, hints of rhubarb, and a fresh lively texture. The 2011 Chardonnay ($25), served with their King Cole Blue, is a 50/50 blend of unoaked wine with wine aged 3 months in French oak. Dry, mid-weight, it offers aromas of ripe apple, tropical fruit and toast, a creamy yet fresh texture, flavours of apple pie fresh from the oven and a nice toasty finish.





Go Nuts With These Nuts & A Glass of Port!

Posted by Patti

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

These are my favorite spiced nuts and I’ve been asked for the recipe more times than I can count! I honestly think the secret ingredient is the rosemary—there is lots of it and it is sharp yet fragrant.

This recipe & photo is from Domenica Cooks & is in fact adapted slightly from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook, by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano; 1994 Harper Collins.

Ingredients (this recipe makes 5 cups)

5 cups mixed raw nuts (I like almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a rimmed cookie sheet. Toast in the oven until they become light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. In the large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Thoroughly toss the warm toasted nuts with the spiced butter.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

What bottle of wine to uncork?

Quite simply a bottle of port of course.  Whether you prefer a Ruby, Tawny, Late Bottle Vintage or Single Quinta port, there are so many to choose from that you can spend all fall & winter learning about the world of port.


Be Savvy! A quick guide of Ports

The history of Port is closely linked to Portugal’s trading relationship with England.  Port was introduced to the rest of the world by the British, as they searched for an alternative to French wines during the unrest of the late 17th century.

Most of the Port Houses are based inVila Nova de Gaiain, Oporto. The vineyards are carved into the mountainside north of Oporto along the River Duoro that meanders across the north of Portugal before it heads to meet the Atlantic Ocean in the city of Oporto.

The winemaking process results in many different styles including:

White Port
Made with white grapes, white port can range from off-dry to sweet.


Ruby Ports
These Ports have retained their deep red colour.

Ruby  – Young, refreshing port matured in large casks 2-3 years, ready for immediate enjoyment.

Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) – This is made in a specific year (vintage), aged in casks 4-6 years before being bottled.  LBVs can be enjoyed soon after purchasing & will keep several weeks after opening.

Single Quinta Port – ‘Quinta’ is Portuguese for an estate or vineyard, and is roughly equivalent to in wine terms, a French ‘Château’.  A Quinta may (or may not) have an elaborate house on the property.  ASingleQuintaPort is from grapes grown in the best vineyard.  This style matures earlier thanVintagePort.

Vintage Port  – Only produced in exceptional years, & declared a Vintage year by the Port Wine Institute.  This wine spends 2-3 years in barrels, then ages in the bottles for 20+ years.


Tawny Ports
By increasing the wine’s contact with air and wood over time, Tawny matures more rapidly than Ruby & transforms into a delicate orange hued colour & smoother flavour.

Aged Tawny – blends of various harvests, the average age is indicated on the label as “10 year old Tawny” or “20 year old Tawny”.

Colheita – the Portuguese word for ‘harvest’ or ‘vintage’.  This port is made from a single vintage (specific year) & is aged in barrels for a minimum of 7 years.



It’s delicious when it’s 13 degrees below zero

Posted by Eva

Friday, July 20th, 2012

13th Street Winery has been crafting outstanding wines in their own way for a number of years.  Located in Twenty Valley wine region in Niagara Peninsula, their beginnings was simple: 4 amateaur winemakers pooling their equipment & land to try their hand at making wines in an industrial-looking garage.  Their customers were family, friends and neighbours…but then the word started to spread and total strangers arrived wanting to pay for their experimental wines!  Now expanded & with new owners and housed in a converted farm house, they are no longer located on 13th Street, yet around the corner.  Their reputation continues to grow, most notably for their array of sparkling wines, dry Riesling white wine and Gamay medium bodied red wines.

At 13th Street, riesling grapes are used to make sparkling wine, table wine and this unique off-dry (winespeak: lightly sweet) wine.

13 Degreets Below Zero 2010

$19.95 (375 mL bottle)

Your sweet tooth will be raging with a sip of this unique dessert wine from 13th Street Winery.  It’s not late harvest wine, nor is it icewine, rather a special creation that only the team at 13th Street Winery can mark as their own.  Made with Riesling grapes that have been lightly touched by frost creating a naturally sweet wine that is far from the typical cloying texture of icewine or late harvest dessert wines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: With each sip, you will notice the layers of acidity, yellow apple & minerals aromas & tastes that make this a refreshing wine with its acidity.

Food Pairing Suggestion:  Serve chilled as an apperitif, with a meal of lobster, chicken with a tarragon & cream sauce or enjoy a small glass after meal with artisan cheeses, roasted nuts, fresh fruit salad, butter tarts or apple pie.


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

13th Street Winery will be a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Like this wine? Subscribe & it’ll be delivered to your home or office!