Posts Tagged ‘Fielding Winery’

Warm welcome & amazing wines from Fielding Estate Winery

Posted by Debbie

Friday, November 6th, 2015
Share

SS stamp lowest res

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Fielding Estates Winery
–  November 2015 –

 

This year marks the big 1-0 milestone for a handful of wineries in Ontario. We helped Stratus Vineyard celebrate in July and now it is time to pop the corks for Fielding Estates Winery as they ‘Cheers for 10 Years!’

At Fielding, the front door is always open at the winery (aka the Lodge) and the Muskoka chairs are dotted around the grounds awaiting you to relax and unwind as you soak up the sunshine and enjoy the view of the vineyard…while sipping on fine wines made by Fielding’s winemaker Ritchie Roberts.

heidi and curtisI have said it before…one of the occupational hazards of this business is that people who work at wineries often become friends. Certainly not a bad thing, rather, it makes working together to grow each other’s business even easier and more enjoyable. Curtis and Heidi Fielding (in photo) are two wonderful people that it is easy and natural to become fast friends. And that friendly nature is evident to all who walks through the glass doors at the Lodge.“We want everyone to feel welcome and at ease when they visit our winery”, comments Heidi. And true to form, that is exactly what they do.

Too many fine wines!

Selecting only 3 bottles of wine for you this month was probably the hardest that the Savvy Team has encountered. I believe that this is a telling sign of quality & most of all maturity of the vineyards…and the talented winemaking team can’t go unnoticed either.

After great deliberation, the Savvy Team chose:

grapesSparkling Rose–light & elegant bubbly made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir using the same winemaking method as French Champagne. Naturally suited to celebrate the 1-0 milestone!

Gamay VQA 2013 – easy drinking, full of red fruit & well balanced. A wine that is becoming a signature wine at Fielding…and best of all, it tastes like it should be $25+.

Syrah VQA 2012– you had us at hello!WOW – this is a heart stopping red wine that you can taste the talent in each sip.

Can you spot the difference?

While there was a party at the winery to mark the occasion, the marketing team at Fielding decided that the labels would get a touch up. Put the three bottles of your Savvy Selections side-by-side to see if you can spot the new improvements to the label design. Extra points if you see something more welcoming about the Muskoka chair!

Looking for a F.E.W. more? Fielding Estates Wines that is!

heidi at doorFielding takes pride in making small lots of their wines. Several wines only have 400 cases (4800 bottles). There are a handful of Fielding wines that you will regularly find on the LCBO shelves, yet if you have found a new favorite in your Savvy Selections, give us a call to quickly re-order. With a limited number of cases made and many Fielding fans clamoring to get the latest release, their finest wines don’t last very long! The Savvy Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…

Fielding Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

 

Remember when Yellow Tail wines first bombarded the shelves at the LCBO? This is the same time when Fielding Estates opened their doors. Critter labels donning cats, dogs, lizards and penguins were all the rage and smack-them-over-the-head red wines loaded with overripe fruit were flying off the shelves.

Dfielding-logoespite all of this distraction, husband and wife team – Heidi & Curtis Fielding found their footing in Niagara. Located part way up the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment) with neighbouring wineries – Angels Gate, Thirty Bench and Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery – Fielding set out to create a different story and culture at their winery.

Everyone has a story

Fielding familyFielding Winery began with subs…yet you read that right! Submarine sandwiches. Marg & Ken Fielding own a significant number of Subway franchises in Eastern Ontario. Drawn to Niagara & intrigued by the new Canadian wine industry, this husband & wife savvy business team soon were bitten by the bug as well saw the business potential. They lured their son Curtis off the race car track where he was starting his career as a competitive driver, to come home to gain hands on experience in the wine industry in preparation that would be integral their new family venture.

In 2000, the family purchased a 20‐acre orchard of peaches and pears on the Beamsville Bench and replaced all the trees with high‐quality vinifera vines during the summer of 2001. In keeping with the Muskoka feel that they wanted to create, the unique Wine Lodge opened its doors in May 2005, and has quickly established itself as one of the finest wineries in Ontario.

muskoka chairWhy the Muskoka chair?

The family is from the area and has a house that brings everyone together. “It was a natural fit to extend that relaxing, unpretentious your-are-part-of-the-family feeling to our winery”, explains Heidi.

10 years later, Ken & Marg are now arm’s length business advisors while the Heidi and Curtis run the business and day to day operations. Coincidentally this dynamic duo are also a husband and wine team. “And our 5 and 7 year old boys love helping us at the winery”, says Heidi.

Slow and steady…

“Fielding has grown little by little over the last 10 years”, recalls Heidi as laughs remembering that in the first couple of years before the winery doors opened, the winery offered:

In 2002: 400 cases of Cabernet Merlot, 50 cases of Chardonnay

In 2003: bad crop yielded a measly 60 cases of Chardonnay

In 2004: significant growth to 6000 cases

Now in 2015, they have grown to full capacity to 20,000 cases – mostly in last 2 years.

Select Fielding wines are now readily available at the LCBO and can also be found in Alberta, Florida and served by the glass at restaurants at Walt Disney World…yes Disney!

Highlights of the last 10 years

cellar room“It is an awesome business to be in”, says Heidi with delight. “We have a great team at the winery and all of us work extremely hard – we can’t let anything slide!”

This dedication has been recognized by their peers in the industry. Curtis was crowned Grape King in 2012 by Ontario Grape Growers. “Everyone involved in the winery are so proud of this recognition”, explained Heidi. “It is a huge honour when your mentors and industry leaders select you from all of the others wineries in the province as the top vineyard of the year. When they announced Curtis’ name, all of the hard work that Ritchie, Curtis and the rest of the team have put into the vineyard instantly paid off. This was definitely a highlight of the last 10 years.”

Grape king“This is a huge honour,” says Curtis in the press release about the prestigious achievement. “Look at some of the names who have been Grape King in the past. They are big names with world‐class vineyards. They are people that our industry really respects and looks up to. It is amazing to have my name associated with them.” Did I mention that Curtis became King at the ripe age of 34? Pretty impressive.

“Curtis is an excellent example of the next generation of grape grower, a first‐generation farmer who has quickly embraced sustainable practices while maintaining a beautiful vineyard and producing top quality wines,” stated Kimberly Hundertmark, Executive Director of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival (and friend too!)

And it does not stop there. Fielding was named one of the Top 10 wineries in Canada for 2009 and again in 2013 by the Canadian Wine Awards.

And all that in their first 10 years…watch out for what the next 10 has in store.

Happy Anniversary to the Fielding team! Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Fielding Sparkling Rosé $29.95

Ritchie winemakerThis is the first traditional method rosé that Ritchie has made. Traditional method is the wine term referring to the sparkling winemaking process as it is done in Champagne, France. The second fermentation – that creates the bubbles – happens inside the bottle (rather than in a tank then bottled) and yeast is added to each bottle. “This is a huge labour of love for Ritchie”, explains Heidi. “He has only made 2 traditional method wines and we are so excited to release this wine.” All of us in the Savvy Team are excited that our subscribers are receiving it first as there is a small amount made!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Light salmon in colour that has delicate wild strawberry aromas and taste. Well balanced, smooth mouth feel and very elegant mousse (bubbles). Dry, crisp and delicious. “A rule of thumb is that the finer the bubbles the greater the quality” explains Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm.

Suggested Food Pairing: Chill & serve in tall flute glasses. Sushi, salted nuts, chips or Parmesan Crisps are delicate enough that won’t detract from the wine.

 

2013 GamayFielding Gamay 2013 VQA, $17.95

“These grapes are grown especially for us by wonderful grape growers who have become good friends”, shares Heidi (that theme never seems to go away!). “They are meticulous about their vineyards and it shows in the grapes.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Gamay is growing in popularity, especially with the wines that are being produced in Ontario. Usually light bodied laced with tannins, this one surprised us with its full flavour or red fruit – cherries, plums, raspberries – with warm spices and subtle tannins. Medium bodied and well balanced. This is definitely an impressive wine.

Suggested Food Pairing:“With 2 little boys, we don’t eat fancy at home.” Heidi laughs when I asked what she would pair with this easy drinking wine. Pasta with mushroom, roasted chicken and even grilled salmon. Heidi suggest to serve their Gamay with foods that you would pair with Pinot Noir. We share with you a mushroom risotto recipe to enjoy with this wine as the days get colder.

Cellaring:This wine will cellar a further 3 to 5 years.

 

2012 Syrah_HRFielding Syrah 2012 VQA $35– special Savvy Selections price (regular $39.95)

“This wine is so special to us”, explains Heidi. “We don’t make it every year. Ritchie wants to make a spectacular Syrah and for this one, he only made 250 cases”. Perfectly timed, you are receiving this wine before it is released at the winery…being a subscriber has its benefits! If you would like additional bottles, let us know soon as this wine always sells out…quickly!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:This inky, powerful wine offers great intensity and extraction. On the nose, the aromas of cassis and berry are rich and ripe, traces of vanilla, dark chocolate and spice merging and mingling with the fruit. Ripe yet firm tannins and refined acidity frame the concentrated dark fruit, hints of smoke, dried herbs, spice and pepper adding depth and complexity. Long and intense on the finish, the wine will cellar well.

Suggested Food Pairing:Serve with rack of lamb or rare prime rib.

Cellaring:Ready now or it will cellar nicely for another 4 to 5 years

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Fielding Sparkling Rosé…

Parmesan Crisps

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Julie

parmesan-crisps-2Serves: should yield about 20 small crisps

This is one of the most popular recipes that we are always asked for. With the holiday entertaining season around the corner, have this recipe on the ready! There are so many versions of this recipe but nothing could be simpler, or more delicious to match with this sparkling wine. The bubbles compliment the saltiness in the cheese and just send you back nibbling for more. For a different taste, serve with a little red pepper jelly on the side.

A perfect hors d’oeuvres – beware, folks inhale these!

Ingredients

1-1/2cups of grated Parmesan depending how many crisps you would like to make.

Method

Preheat often to 400 degrees and put a heaping tablespoon of the Parmesan onto aparchment lined baking sheet. I would space the spoonfuls about an inch apart.

Bake about 8 minutes or check them after 5 and they should be just slightly golden.

 

With Fielding Gamay …

Roasted Chickpeas & Tomatoes

Roasted-Chick-Peas-and-Swiss-ChardBy Chef Tonia Wilson
Serves 4
photo credit: www.toniawilson.com

Chef’s tip:

Ingredients

2 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
5 whole cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 cups (500 mL) whole grape tomatoes
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).

Place all ingredients on a large baking sheet. Stir to combine and coat well with oil. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, carefully shake pan to move ingredients around and roast for another 15
minutes or until chick peas and tomatoes are golden.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

With Fielding Syrah…

Beef Tenderloin with Dark Mushroom Sauce

from Old Stone Inn & Boutique Hotel in Niagara Falls

Ingredients

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 strip beef tenderloin (2 to 3lb)
½ cup red wine – don’t you dare cook with the Fielding Syrah…it is better left in your glass!
1 red onion, sliced
1 cup dry wild mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of red wine
2 cups brown beef or veal stock
½ cup heavy cream

Method

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Heat oil in a cast iron pan. Season the meat with salt and pepper on all sides. When the oil is very hot, sear the
meat, caramelizing all sides evenly. When seared, drain off the fat and add the wine.

Roast the meat in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the meat rest for 5
minutes before slicing.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottomed pot, add the onions, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Squeeze the
mushrooms out of the juice, and add to the onions, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with 2 cups of wine, and reduce until almost dry. Then add the mushroom rehydrating liquid, and reduce until almost dry. Add the veal stock and the cream, and reduce at low heat until thick. Check the seasoning, reserve.

To serve, slice the meat in 1/2 to 1/4-inch thick pieces. Place in the middle of a warmed plate. Put the wild mushrooms around the meat and cover with a thin layer of the sauce and serve immediately.

Cheers to 10 years

A little extra treat from Fielding’s kitchen to yours…

Mini Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake

This is a little treat that we prepared for one of our winery events.

Ingredients

24 ginger snaps
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup pumpkin purée
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
24 baking cups

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Next, add pumpkin puree, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Mix thoroughly.

relaxing in the chairsLine muffin tin with individual baking cups and drop one ginger snap at the bottom of each cup. Pour filling into
each mold to the top.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cheesecake.

Cool to room temperature and lightly brush the tops with maple syrup. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with candied walnuts and whipped topping

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

Share

Tips for your Valentine’s Day dinner…

Posted by Debbie

Friday, February 13th, 2015
Share

Have you been wracking your brains to plan the perfect dinner night out or have been trying to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant on February 14th? Have a romantic night in.  One of our catering partners, Thyme & Again has an elegant take home menu prepared by their creative chefs using local ingredients & they’ve asked us to pair Ontario wines…and craft beers with each course.

 Here is your Valentine’s Wine & Craft Beer Shopping List ♥ 

Savvy SommeliersTo make your Valentine’s celebration easy & simple, our Savvy Sommeliers  have selected Ontario wines and our Brew Crew has added in local craft beers that will WOW your love.  The wines are available at various LCBOs in Ottawa and the beers you can drop in to the brewery to pick up a growler or two.

Cheers & Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your love!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

 

Special Valentine’s Day Menu with Wine Pairings

HORS D’OEUVRES

Cherry Tomato Florentine with Basil Balsamic Drizzle (Cherry Tomato with Spinach and Parmesan Stuffing) (V, GF)

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño and Cheddar Stuffed Meatballs (GF)

Seared Scallop with Champagne Jelly and Candied Lemon Zest on Rice Cracker (GF)

 

wine_tasting_sparklingKick off your special night with a bubbly! Savvy Sommeliers recommend:

Casa Dea Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling (Prince Edward County) $18.95

Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosé (Prince Edward County) $29.95

Featherstone JOY Premium Cuvée Sparkling (Niagara) $34.95

 

Crack open these Craft Beers:

Beyond the Pale Pink Fuzz

Perth Brewery Euro Pilsner

 

STARTERS ♥

Tomato Saffron Bisque and Goat Cheese Crouton (V)

Baby Greens, Marinated Mushrooms, Pickled Beets and Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette (V, GF)

Crab Cake, Cucumber, Radish, Frisée Salad and Dill Mayo

 

Our Savvy Sommeliers recommend these wines:

Burnt Ship Bay Pinot Grigio (Niagara-on-the-Lake) $14.95

Malivoire Gamay (Niagara) $17.95

Fielding Red Conception (Niagara) $18.95

 

Serve one of these craft beers!

Bicycle Craft Brewery Belle River Blonde

Whiprsnapr Inukshuk Canadian IPA

 

MAIN COURSES ♥

Celtic Blue Cheese and Leek Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Thyme Jus (GF)

Herbed Potato Medallions; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Kacaba Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Kichesippi Wuchuk Black

 

Spinach and Shallot Stuffed Chicken Breast with Braised Fig, Orange and Port Wine Jus (GF)

Parsley Risotto; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Sue-Ann Staff Loved by Lu Riesling VQA 2012 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion Beau’s St Luke’s Verse

 

Reif Estate WinesCocoa Chipotle Dusted Magret Duck Breast with Cherry Gastrique (GF)

Herbed Potato Medallions; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir VQA 2012 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Covered Bridge “Over the River Chai”

 

Togarashi Smoked and Seared Tuna with Wakame Salad (GF)

Bamboo Rice; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Redstone Chardonnay VQA 2011 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Big Rig Brewery Session IPA

 

Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille Terrine (V, GF)

Parsley Risotto; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon VQA (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Craft Beer suggestion: Cassel Brewery Honey Brown

                                                                                  

DESSERTS ♥

Passionfruit Crème Brûlée (GF)

Rose and White Chocolate Mousse, Mango Meringue & Dehydrated Raspberry

Hazelnut Crèmeaux (N)

Dulce Mousse, Brown Butter Blondie and Dark Chocolate

Apple Confit Cheesecake

Bacon Caramel Corn, Ice Wine Gelée, Spiced Shortbread Crumb and Maple Dust

Mini Sweet Selection

Red Velvet Cupcake, Spicy Chocolate Tart, Salted Caramel Macaron (N), and Passionfruit Cheesecake

 

Dessert wines to finish off the evening:

Tawse Riesling Icewine VQA 2009 (Niagara)

beercheeseStratus Red IceWine 2012 (Niagara)

 

A Craft Beer will go with dessert too!

Dominion City Brewing Earl Grey Marmalade Saison

 

Menu codes:
N = Contains Nuts or Seeds
V = Vegetarian
GF = Gluten Free 

 

Call on Savvy Company anytime…

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…or any day of the year – you can call on us to make your get-together a special one. For more wine & craft beer recommendations from Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)  or cheers@savvycompany.ca  

 

Share

Newsletter February – Win GOLD with these Valentine’s Day gifts

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Share

Looking for THE perfect way to say ‘I love you’? or ‘Will you be my Valentine’? or ‘I’m falling head over heels for you’?If your love is crazy about craft beer, wine or artisan cheese, look no further – these gifts are golden!

Pssst: single gals & guys. . .why not treat yourself with a Savvy gift just for YOU?

 

For the Craft Beer Lover . . .

Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month clubA one-of-a-kind gift! Launched just 10 days ago, Savvy Hip Hops is Ontario’s first Craft Beer of the Month ‘Club’ featuring award winning breweries across Ontario.

Each month, our Savvy Brew Crew collaborates with the featured brewmaster to create a unique Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case – an assortment of what’s on tap & in tank. It’s every beer lover’s dream.

The first delivery will be Friday February 28th featuring a 12 bottle pack from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co featuring one of each of their special FeBREWary beers as well as some other hard to find Beau’s brews.

Give a SUDS-cription for 4, 6 or 12 months > >

 

For the Wine Lover . . .

Savvy Selections iconScratch ‘Buy Wine’ off the Honey-Do list! Give your Valentine a subscription to Savvy Selections – Ontario’s largest Wine of the Month Club.

Each month we feature an Ontario winery & send you 3 different wines that you won’t find at the LCBO. Check out the line-up of award winning wineries we’ll be featuring in the upcoming months.

And that is not all! When you uncork a bottle of the wine that our Savvy Sommeliers have hand-picked for you, unwind by reading our monthly Savvy eZine to learn about the people who make the wine you are enjoying, the recipes we’ve paired with each bottle & tasting notes as well as tips on cellaring the wines.

Give a subscription to Savvy Selections & we’ll arrange for a February delivery of incredible wines (1 white & 2 BIG reds) from the highly acclaimed Stratus Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

WOW your Valentine with a 4, 6 or 12 month subscription > >

 

For the Cheese Lover. . .

Vanessa SimmonsThis is every cheese lover’s dream – join us for a fun-filled day with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons on Saturday March 22 for Cheese FUN-damentals 101 ‘Class’. Nibble & nosh all day as Vanessa introduces you to cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers & show you the ‘whey’ as you learn cheese-y lingo, how artisan cheese is made, tips on buying cheese. . . and loads more!

And to top it all off, your tastebuds will be put to the ‘test’ by sampling wines & craft beers to decide which really is the best pairing with cheese.

Date: Saturday March 22 – 10:30am to 4:30pm

Location: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar – in Ottawa’s Byward Market

Savvy Special: $140 before March 15 (reg $155). Includes everything as well as gourmet lunch

This Cheese ‘Class’ will sell out fast! > >

We’re in LOVE with this Red & White wine duo!

We’ve got an amazing combo of red & white wines at amazing prices only available from Savvy Bin Ends.

The secretive Syrah is $19.95 – it’s a secret as it hasn’t been released yet – and the remarkable Reserve Riesling is $15.95 (reg 17.95) both from Kacaba Vineyards in Niagara. Mix & match any combo of 6 or 12 bottles of reds & whites for your Valentine. Be ready for lots of oooohs and aaaahs with every sip of these wines!

HOT Tip: shipping is FREE when you order a total of 12 or more bottles.

Order & it’ll be delivered in 2 days! > >

Planning an extra special dinner for your Valentine?

We’ve got you covered – for wine that is! Our ever popular Dinner Party Pack of 6 different bottles of dyn-o-mite wines from Fielding Winery that will make it easy to entertain. Start by popping the cork on the hard-to-find bubbly, then 2 show-stopper white wines & 3 heart-thumping red wines – you won’t find any of these at the LCBO.

Specially priced at $149 – including delivery to your home or office.

We have recipes to pair with the wines to make a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner:

A Sizzling Starter: Grilled Sea Scallops with Honeydew & Soy Glaze
The Main Attractions: Bacon Wrapped Veal Tenderloin with Leeks & Mushrooms or Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom & Stilton Sauce
A Delectable Dessert: Ken Fielding’s Apple Pie – with WOW factor

Order your Dinner Party Pack > >

Mark these dates in your calendar!

Next Thursday (February 20)Debbie is hitting the airwaves to co-host for the day with Derick Fage on Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV – schedule your PVR!

Thursday March 6 – Calling all Western University Alumni – we’re hosting a fun wine tasting to celebrate UWO’s 136th anniversary. Be purple & proud . . . bring a friend!

Thursday March 20 – Our first ever Taste & Buy featuring 3 wineries – from British Columbia & Nova Scotia. Full details to be announced soon. Can’t wait? Be the first to receive an invitation by emailing cheers@savvycompany.ca

Valentine’s Day can’t overshadow the record-breaking feats of our Canadian athletes at the Olympics. Raise a glass of Canadian wine or craft beer to them. Here’s to making us proud to wave the Canadian flag.

 

GO Canada GO!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

PS – gift enclosures for any of these special gifts are available – just ask us!

PPS – Show us a bit of your LOVE by ‘Liking Us’ on Facebook! Savvy Company or Savvy Selections and our brand new Savvy Hip Hops

Share

Shine the spotlight on Ontario wines

Posted by Susan

Friday, September 13th, 2013
Share

This weekend’s LCBO Vintages release celebrates Ontario wines, from the vineyards of Prince Edward County in the east, Niagara in south-central Ontario, and the north shore of Lake Erie in the west. Click to see a map. With so many great wines to choose from, our Savvy Sommelier Susan – who has visited all of these wine regions several times – gives you a brief history of the Ontario wine biz, so that you have a taste of how far we have come!

Early days for Ontario grapes

Not many realize there was a thriving wine industry in Ontario in the late 1800s & early 1900s, primarily in Pelee Island area. Settlers from the United States began growing grapes on the island in the mid-1860s. By the end of the 19th century, with the help of an enterprising gentleman, W.J. Hamilton, wines from Vin Villa Winery were being sampled across eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. The winery garnered widespread fame when one of its wines won a bronze medal at a competition in Paris. Changes in agriculture caused the industry to disappear from the area for many decades. 

Pioneers then move to Niagara…

As the prohibition era ended, a new wine business T.J. Brights was founded in 1874 with a substantial investment to improve the quality of Ontario wine, including the hiring of French-born winemaker and chemist, Adhemar de Chaunac, who imported a number of French hybrid grape varieties. Fast forward 100 years, by the 1970s, hybrids grapes were becoming more common in Ontario vineyards, yet consumer tastebuds were shifting to dry, low-alcohol tables wines rather than the slightly sweeter wines made with the hardy hybrid grapes. To go with the flow of this change, Ontario grape growers had already begun planting vitis vinifera vines (winespeak: the vine species that produces 99% of the grape varieties used in winemaking today – example: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot etc) and began to see a vibrant future for these classic varieties in Ontario vineyards.

At the same time, a number of the recognized pioneers of Ontario’s modern wine industry were moving to the Niagara area from Europe: Paul Bosc Sr., Karl Kaiser, Ewald Reif, Herbert Konzelmann, and others.  Still to this day, these gentleman are praised by the Canadian wine industry as the founding fathers of the Ontario wine industry.

First new winery since 1929

In 1975, Inniskillin, pioneered by the dynamic duo – Don Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser – was granted the first new winery license in the province since 1929.  Don harvested his first Riesling, Chardonnay and Gamay grapes in the fall of 1977.  In 1984, Karl Kaiser produced the first icewine from Vidal grapes grown in the Inniskillin vineyards.

The beginning of VQA

In 1988, Don Ziraldo was instrumental in establishing a team of grape growers and winemakers to develop VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) as an appellation of origin system and a method of setting standards for wines in Ontario. More recently, sub-appellations have been established in Niagara to recognize the unique terroirs across the region. Interesting to note that VQA is not a national standard, rather established for Ontario and recently adopted by British Columbia.  Nova Scotia currently has a different system in place.

Ontario wines win awards around the world

Ian d’Agata, a world renowned correspondent for International Wine Cellar stated in the September 14, 2013 Vintages magazine, ‘Ontario is one of the premier cool-climate viticulture areas of the world . . .’.  Pretty impressive don’t you think?

And the world has been watching the Canadian wine industry grow and recognizing that we are producing fine wines. In 1990, Ontario wines leaped onto the world stage, when Karl Kaiser’s 1989 Vidal Icewine won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at the prestigious Vin Expo – France.

Open your door to the discovery of spectacular Ontario wines

Today’s Ontario wine industry has rapidly grown and the quality has increased exponentially as winery owners, winemakers and growers focus on terroir, viticultural practices and excellence in winemaking. With just over 100 wineries in Ontario now, not all of their wines are on the LCBO store shelves.  Enjoy the ones in this Shine ON feature and continue your discovery by subscribing to Savvy Selections, which features all those wines not available at the LCBO or Vintages.

Wineries we recently featured included Lailey Vineyard, Daniel Lenko Estate Winery & Pondview Winery.  Next month we will showcase wines from Casa Dea  Estates of Prince Edward County.  A subscription to Savvy Selections is like having a personal Sommelier!

For this “If I had $100, I would buy at Vintages”, I have selected a variety of Ontario wines along with some from Chile & Italy too. And for the first time in a long time, my shopping list was not even close to $100. I’ve $12.25 spare.  With this extra, take advantage of your savings & Go Local to sample a few more Ontario wines! Let me know which ones you put in your shopping cart!

Are you on Twitter? Share your Ontario wine discoveries with others using #ShineON. 

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

Fielding Pinot Gris 2012

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$21.95 (Vintages #251108) 12.0% alcohol
There’s a lovely hint of pink to the pale gold hue of this fragrant white wine. Aromas of ripe stone and orchard fruit mingle with melon and spiced floral notes. Dry, medium bodied and smooth, the clean fresh fruit and lively acidity build harmony, while hints of spice and a pithy note linger through the tasty, fruity finish. Enjoy it with roasted white meats or grilled sausages.

Miguel Torres ‘Santa Digna Reserva’ Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Curicó Valley, Chile
$13.95 (Vintages #342857) 13.5% alcohol
Brilliant yellow-green, there are pungent grassy and gooseberry notes mingling with tropical fruits, hints of lemon balm and other herbs. Dry, medium-bodied, the white wine replays focused flavours of gooseberry and herbs, underscored by vivid tangy acidity. Finishing long, clean and mouth-watering, this wine will work very well with pan-fried fish or a salad garnished with goat cheese and grilled peaches.

Tawse ‘Sketches’ Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2011

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$20.95 (Vintages #130252) 13.0% alcohol
This well-crafted blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot results in a red wine to enjoy with late fall barbeques. A beautiful ruby tone, the wine marries ripe black cherries, berries, cassis, sweet spice and a whiff of milk chocolate with fine-grained tannins and lively acidity. It’s dry yet approachable, mid-weight and skillfully balanced, leaving a hint of well-integrated oak on the persistent, fruit-filled finish.

Zuccardi ‘Santa Julia’ Magna 2011

Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #93799) 14.0% alcohol
Scoop up a few bottles of this outstanding red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah. Inky purple and alluringly rich in aromas of ripe dark fruit, mint, spice and vanilla, this is a subtly well-balanced wine. Supple tannins and fresh acidity underpin the full-flavoured, luscious fruit—cassis, blueberry and raspberry—while the well-integrated oak offers a long-lasting spicy, peppery finish. Serve it with grilled or roasted red meats.  

Emiliana ‘Novas Gran Reserva’ Petit Verdot 2011

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #325662) 14.5% alcohol
For well-made organic wines offering great value, it’s hard to beat this producer. Rich dark fruit melds with exotic spice and smoke on the intense nose. Dry and full bodied, this red wine showcases firm tannins and clean acidity, yet in harmony with the concentrated spicy dark fruit—blueberries and blackberries come to mind. Robust and flavourful, dry and persistent on the finish, it’s a great choice for lamb.

Grand Total: $87.75

 

Share

Wine class #3 – What’s the story behind these bunches of grapes?

Posted by Amanda

Monday, September 9th, 2013
Share

From working with the Sommeliers at Savvy Company, I have noticed that there seems to be a story behind every bottle of wine and history about the thousands of different grape varieties too.  In this Wine 101 blog, we share with you the background on some interesting wines & grape varieties.  These are tidbits that you can drop into any dinner party conversation!

In fact, over a glass of wine, Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm told her friend Dale Morris of Ascribe Marketing about these 4 grape varieties.  Here are the notes Dale captured in her napkin!

Wine 101 – A few white grapes with a story

Viognier

Viognier (pronounced Vee-on-yeah!) is a grape variety that has a deeply rooted heritage in France. Debbie fell in love with this unusual white while at wine school (aka the Sommelier accreditation program). Expecting to find some while she touring France, Debbie was disappointed there was no Viognier to be had: it seems the French enjoy it so much they often keep it for themselves. Now that word has gotten out about this hidden gem, winemakers in Argentina, California, Australia and Canada are taking up the cause, growing and crafting elegant wines full of delicious aromas.

In Australia, Viognier is often blended with Shiraz to add a little body and sweetness to reds. Some winemakers have told Debbie that Viognier could become the next it white – “If only people could pronounce it correctly.”

Only a few wineries in Niagara are growing this varietal. Prepare to be WOWed by Fielding’s wine. But be warned: if you like it, you’ll be hooked!

TIP: Fielding Winery in Niagara currently has their Viognier wine on sale for $19.95 (that is $5 off per bottle). This special price is only available through our Savvy Bin Ends.  Click here to order >>

Sauvignon Blanc

Lailey Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc (pronounced So-veen-yon Blah-nk) – is a family affair – sort of. Created by winemaker Derek Barnett, the son of a brewmaster, from Kent, England, Derek is renowned throughout the Canadian wine industry for his innovative styles and impressive flavours.

To achieve them, Derek takes the unusual step of a ‘double-harvest’ of grapes. The first picking is done when the grapes are just ripe – this gives his wine its refreshing and crisp aromas and tastes. Derek then lets the remaining ‘Sauv Blanc’ grapes hang on the vines until they‘re well over-ripe – almost brown – before picking the bunch. This gives them nice tropical-fruit notes. Grown from the same patch of vines, these two diverse grapes are blended together for a very complex and delicious summer sipping wine.

 Wine 101 – A few red grapes with a story

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir (pronounced PEE-no Nwar) is often referred to as the “Prince of Grapes” or the “heartbreak grape.” Why? This grape varietal needs care and nurturing around the clock. It’s difficult to grow, and the wine it produces has a tendency to actively evolve in the cellar. As a result, crafting a good Pinot Noir is the pinnacle of any winemaker’s personal achievement.

In New Zealand, some winemakers go so far as to have helicopters hover over their vineyards to warm the air on cool nights! Many also babysit their barrels, 24/7.

There are two classic styles of Pinot – cherry or earthy. Depending on the winemaker’s preference, the Pinot can be crafted to emphasize the terroir.

For a classic combination, you can lightly chill a Pinot Noir and enjoy a glass with grilled salmon. 

Carmenère

Carmenère (CAR-men-yere) is a relative newcomer to North American palates. Recently, it was determined to be a long-lost grape varietal from Bordeaux, France, and not just a Merlot, as was previously believed. Grown only in Chile, it has quickly become the region`s signature wine, with winemakers using it to craft excellent, big and bold flavours. Once you’re exposed to Carmenère, you’ll be hooked.

This wine is begging to be served with something hearty off the barbecue – steak, lamb, burgers and grilled mushrooms come to mind.

Savvy Sommelier Debbie recommends you save your last sip for desert, to enjoy with some dark chocolate cake.

 

Reviewing the Week’s ‘Wine’101 Lessons

 

I hope you had a little fun with our 3 back-to-back Wine 101 ‘Classes’ in what can be a stressful time for everyone. You can consult our Wine 101 – Pairing Food & Wine to help you with some quick & easy meals all year long; check the rules & regs in Wine 101 – Tasting, Storing & Ordering Wine and lastly in Wine 101 – The Story Behind the Grapes you can now pass the test when it comes to grape varietals.

I hope you have enjoyed being back at school this week with Savvy Company– and perhaps learned a thing or two!

Cheers!

Amanda

Share

Brazil’s Fish stew to die for

Posted by Patti

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
Share

Are you ready for a new name for fish stew? Moqueca do Ilha Grande.  This recipe was inspired by a great dinner venue…we sat at a tiny restaurant on the beach on the island of Ilha Grande, about 2 hours south of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It truly was a memorable meal that evening and recreating it brought back incredible memories of an amazing trip.

Harbor view on Ihla Grande off Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo credit: Patricia Petty

Moqueca do Ilha Grande aka Fish Stew Ilha Grande

Ingredients

60z. portions of firm, thick white fish (I used halibut)
Fresh shrimp (optional) are also typical for Brazil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion sliced into thin rounds
½ cup white wine (I had a bottle of Riesling open)
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and chopped
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut mild (premium brand tends to be very thick and creamy)
Fresh cilantro sprigs for cooking and extra, finely minced as a garnish
¼ cup chopped cashews
Shavings of fresh coconut (optional)

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 400. Season the fish and set aside

In a deep, ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and reduce down to about half. Add the tomato sauce and cook another minute or so. Add the fresh tomato and red pepper, cook another 8 – 10 minutes or until thickened. Then stir in the coconut milk.

Place the fish in a lightly oiled Dutch oven or casserole and pour the sauce over the fish. Cover and bake for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp if using and gently spoon sauce over it.

Add the cilantro sprigs (4 – 6), cover and bake until the fish is opaque, the shrimp is tender and the sauce is bubbling, approx. 5 – 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the cashews, cilantro and garnish with the fresh coconut shavings.

Serve with simple boiled rice and a hot sauce if desired. I took fresh broccoli and shaved the flower heads and then folded it in to the hot rice.

Bom apetite!
Patti 

 

Wine Pairing

 

2011 Fielding Viognier, VQA Ontario

$25.95 (LCBO Vintages 142323) 13.5% alcohol

 

 

 

 

2012 Morgadio da Torre Alvarinho Vinho Verde, Portugal

$17.95, (Vintages  960955) 12.5% alcohol

Both wines paired beautifully with the fish stew, in fact any Alvarinho would be a good match.

 

 

I hope you enjoy making – and eating – this traditional fish stew as much as I did.  The memory of that wonderful meal on the tiny island of Ihla Grande (there’s an oxymoron for you) will stay with me forever.

Patricia Petty
Accredited Sommelier with Savvy Company 

 

Share