Posts Tagged ‘Fairmont Chateau Laurier’

Raise a glass – Mondavi celebrates 100 years!

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

As a part of its centenary celebration, and recognizing the life and work of its founder, the Robert Mondavi Winery hosted a luncheon and tasting at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa.  I was delighted to be part of this special event to mark the major milestone.  The afternoon’s wine tasting was led by Mark de Vere, Mondavi’s Director and Master of Wine, who moved to Napa Valley California from the U.K. shortly after completing his WSET and Master of Wine certification.

The talented Chef Louis Simard of the Château Laurier created an innovative, intricate series of dishes featuring local produce and expertly paired with each wine:

Asparagus Salad with charred tomato, home-made ricotta, pickled egg, basil-mint vinaigrette
Smoked Salmon Rillette with grilled baguette on a bed of baby arugula
Duck Confit with Ermite blue cheese, brioche crostini, sherry-rhubarb reduction
Cardamom-Mushroom, Rubbed Lamb Sirloin & Aged Striploin  graced with lima bean cassoulet, red wine jus
Blueberry Goat Cheese Cake

Why not test out the menu yourself with these Mondavi wines – all available at the LCBO.


Considered as one of Robert Mondavi’s signature wines – Napa Valley Fumé Blanc (LCBO #221887, $22.95) – was first released in 1968 as an endeavour by Mr. Mondavi to redefine California Sauvignon Blanc from a sweet, unnuanced wine to one endowed with a rich, round texture complemented by a lively, fresh texture. The 2010 vintage served at the tasting certainly hit the mark, displaying beautiful aromas of tropical fruits, lime, a whiff of honeyed floral notes and a touch of nutty toast. The first sip brought out the concentrated fruit and round texture, while the crisp acidity ensured a juicy, finely balanced finish.

The wine continued to evolve in the glass, showcasing tantalizing aromas of crème brulée. The Fumé Blanc was followed by the 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay (LCBO #310409, $25.95), a fruit-focused wine with attractive aromas of orchard fruit, pineapple and vanilla. Dry, bright and smooth, the wine again featured that fine balance of ripe fruit, well-integrated oak and fresh acidity, finishing with a touch of warmth and candied citrus.


The spotlight turned to the red wines featuring the Carneros Pinot Noir 2011 (LCBO #438697 $34.95), vinified to accent the ripe berry fruit, picked early to retain its freshness, then aged 10 months in French oak. Showcasing luscious cherry/berry fruit aromas, notes of smoke and spice, this is a warm, fleshy Pinot Noir, where the intensely flavoured ripe fruit is again balanced with lively acidity. Dry and spicy, it finishes with a touch of peppery warmth.

The 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (LCBO #255513, $34.95, available to June 23 for $31.95) is inky purple and tantalizingly rich, offering complex aromas of dark fruit, vanilla, licorice, spiced chocolate and a hint of herbs. Blended with a touch of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, Mark described it as a ‘classic Napa Valley Cab’, a well-balanced dry wine with perceptible tannins framing tasty black fruit, replaying the notes of herb and licorice on a finish that offers a whisper of well-integrated oak.

The third red wine was the Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (the 2008 is available in the LCBO, 670463, $144.95), produced from fruit harvested from the To Kalon Vineyard. Designed for aging yet absolutely fabulous now, this is a deep, powerful wine characterized by plush, ripe black fruit, supple yet well-structured tannins, clean acidity and lovely nuances of spicy floral notes, chocolate, dried herbs and spiced vanilla. A rich, lush, harmonious wine.

The tasting closed with the Robert Mondavi Winery’s Moscato d’Oro 2009 (LCBO #687392, $17.95, currently available for $14.90), a wine with the winery’s classic intensity and depth of flavour, beautifully fragrant and crisp, Lovely notes of natural grape juice, fruit salad and honeyed peach are lifted by a gentle touch of spritz. Simply delightful! 


Here’s to 100 years of Mondavi wines…and many more to come.











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.