Posts Tagged ‘food and wine pairing’

Debbie’s Phad Thai recipe

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
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Adapted from Ken Hom Cooks Thai Cookbook
serves 4 -5 people

A good friend of mine taught me how to make Thai food and now I always have the ingredients for Phad Thai on hand.

 

Phad Thai Sauce

1 cup water
1 ½  cups sugar  (less if you rather not as sweet)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 piece of tamarind (approx 1″ x 1″) – purchase this at a Asian supermarket
½ cup ketchup

Method

Combine ingredients in a saucepan, stir and bring to boil.

Lower heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Strain sauce to collect remaining bits of tamarind (pits, skins etc).  Makes about 2 cupes.  This sauce can be stored in the fridge for weeks.  Reheat when ready to make Phad Thai.

Ingredients for Phad Thai

1 package of rice noodles (medium width)
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove of garlic minced
2-3 teaspoons of fish sauce
1 lime, cut into wedges
1-2 eggs
2 chicken breasts cubed
a couple of handfuls of bean sprouts (washed)
2-3 green onions finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped peanuts or cashews
2-5 sprigs of fresh coriander (coarsely chopped)

Optional items:
1 cup of cubed deep friend tofu (optional)
15 – 30 cooked or raw shrimp (optional)

To assemble

Soak noodles in warm to boiling water to soften (approx 30 minutes or longer.

his part of the assembly takes on 8-10 mins so have everything chopped and ready!

Heat wok. Add oil and garlic. Break eggs into oil and scatter fry. Add chicken and stir until cooked.  If using raw shrimp add to wok when chicken is almost done.

Drain water from noodles and add to wok. Toss continuously.

Pour Phad Thai sauce (as much or as little as you like), green onions, tofu and cooked shrimp (if using). Add fish sauce to taste.

Keep tossing noodles until completely coated with sauce and food is really hot.

 

To Serve Phad Thai

Place a handful of bean sprouts side of plate. Mound noodles beside sprouts. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, coriander and squeeze lime juice over top. Serve immediately with spring rolls.

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Hodge Podge – a summertime favorite!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
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This is a family favourite in my house.  Both of my parents are from Nova Scotia and ask any Bluenosers about Hodge Podge and their reaction is usually – “yummy!” Loaded with any fresh veggies from the garden or picked up at the farmers market. Left overs (usually not much at my house!) are just good as the first time around.

It is important that the freshest veggies are used, so this is definitely a summer recipe. Use whatever you have on hand (that you would usually boil or steam) & tinker around by adding different vegetables and quantities … the bacon is a must!

Hodge Podge – Fresh Garden Vegetable Chowder


Ingredients
6 to 8 slices bacon – cooked until crispy
2 tablespoons butter
1 to 2 onions – roughly chopped

Any 4 to 6 of the following fresh vegetables:
12 small whole new potatoes – a mix of red & white are my favorite
1 head of cauliflower
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
1 cup fresh green or yellow beans, trimmed and snapped
1 cup fresh peas – use either snow peas or shucked peas
1 cup of yellow or green zucchini – cubed
2 or 3 cobs of corn – boiled & kernels cut off
salt & fresh ground pepper – to taste
1/4 cup butter – cubed
½ cup  to 1 cup 2% milk (or if you like – cream!)
1/2 cup water

Method

Cook the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble and set aside.

Wipe the skillet with a paper towel leaving just enough bacon fat to lightly fry the onions. Reheat skillet on medium heat & stir in the chopped onion. Cook until the onion has softened. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring 3 or so cups of water to a boil.  Keep in mind that you want to boil the vegetables in an order where those that need the most time in the water are done first, then staged to those vegetables that need just a few minutes.  There is nothing worse than over boiled veggies! My suggestion is to begin with potatoes for 5-6 minutes, then add cauliflower until tender, then beans & carrots for 2 mins.  By the time you add zuchinni, peas & corn, the potatoes should be perfectly done!

Drain off all but 1 cup of the water (can pour into a bowl & use as vegetable stock for another recipe).  Return to low heat. Add onions.  Pour in enough milk to cover all of the vegetables in the pot. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch out that you do not boil the milk…just want to heat it through.

Add butter to melt & crumble in most of the bacon (set a handful of bacon aside). Stir gently.

Serve into large bowls & top with more bacon.

What bottle of wine to uncork?

This recipe begs for a full bodied white wine like a buttery oaked Chardonnay.  For something a bit lighter with more acidity, uncork a bottle of Chenin Blanc or Vouvray.  On the flip side – for fun – serve with a bottle of sparkling wine to toast in the best things of summer!

Enjoy!
Debbie

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From the founder of Rosemount….

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
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Robert Oatley is a true pioneer in the Australian wine industry. He helped put Shiraz on the map when he owned Rosemount Estate – considered the most recognized family run winery in Australia.  Ranked #25 by Forbes Magazine as one of Australia’s billionaires, everything that Robert touches turns into gold!  He is now involved in luxury & hospitality & a winery that bears his own name, this great man still finds time for his other passion – sailing.

Robert Oatley Rosé of Sangiovese 2011

New South Wales, Australia
$15.95
VINTAGES 278275, 12.8% Alcohol

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: From Australia’s first plantings of the Italian Sangiovese grapes (used for Chianti wines), this dry wine is delicate with well balanced aromas & tastes of red fruit, herbs (tarragon or mint?), peach & raw sugar (do find this?).

Suggested Food Pairing: Frankly…nothing! Chill & enjoy on its own….then sit outside on the deck & unwind.

 

Little known Aussie facts…

Australia’s first vineyards were planted in 1788 in a small area near the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

There are now 64 designated wine regions in Australia

Australia is the 4th largest exporter of wine in the world

Canada ranks as Australia’s 3rd largest market (behind US & UK).

 

Want to go to Australia?

Come with me on Taste Your Way Around Australia trip that I will be co-hosting in March 2013 organized by Aussie Travel.  It’ll be a 23 day extravaganza of delicious Australian cuisine, winery tours, dinners with chefs, boutique hotels & unique cultural excursions.

Warning: you may not come back!

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Wrap your tongue around this grape variety

Posted by Eva

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
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While visitors whose last name is Featherstone frequently visit Featherstone Estate Winery with curiousity that the winery might be owned by a long lost relative.  When owners David Johnson and Louise Engel explain the origins of their winery name, the visitors are eager to try their wines.  You see, long before the term ‘foodie’ was mainstream, David & Louise had a inherent passion for wine. They owned a specialty poultry business in Guelph (the feathers connection!).   They decided to move to Niagara and purchased a 23-acre property that is the site of their home and transformed into the winery and vineyard.  This property has a rock quarry behind it (hence the stones).  The name was born of their experience and their dreams for the future – Featherstone.

Savvy Sommelier Debbie, states that David & Louise have one of the most picturesque home offices in Niagara – a beautiful farm home with a wrap around porch surrounded by slopes of vineyards.  Heavenly!  And so are their wines.

Featherstone Gewurztraminer VQA 2011

LCBO#64592
$19.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:David nicknames this ‘G Wine’ as more often than not visitors can’t wrap their tongue around the word Gewurtraminer – it is a mouthful!  It is a refreshing white wine with aromas & tastes of stone fruit (think pear, peach, apricot) along with some pineapple too with great acidity that makes this a easy drinking wine.

Suggested Food Pairing: Nice on its own or with spicy Mexican, Indian curry or Thai food.

Cheers & Enjoy!

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

Featherstone has been a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Like to try this wine or order an assortment of wines from Featherstone? Contact the Savvy  Team on 613-SAVVYCO or cheers@savvycompany.ca to make the arrangements. Or better yet, subscribe to Savvy Selections & outstanding wines from across Ontario will be delivered to your home or office!

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Winner of a Pinot Noir shootout!

Posted by Eva

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
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Pinot Noir is known around the world by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape”.  This grape variety needs care & nurturing around the clock. Difficult to grow in the vineyard & always changing in the cellar, crafting a good wine of Pinot Noir is the pinnacle of any winemaker’s personal achievement.

Rosehall Run Vineyard has a growing reputation of producing some of the best Pinot Noir wines in Prince Edward County (aka ‘The County’). This past March, Rosehall won a gold medal in the international Pinot Noir shootout in San Francisco, California – now that is impressive!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Rosehall Run Pinot Noir County Cuvée VQA 2009

$21.95
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This Pinot Noir has delicious aromas & tastes of strawberry, raspberry & red licorice with a dash of vanilla on the long finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Pinot Noir is a versatile wine – it can be served chilled or at room temperature.  As the wine warms up, aromas, tastes & levels of acidity change too. Classic matches with Pinot are roast duck & mushrooms & grilled salmon too.

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

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

Food & Wine Pairing

Here’s a recipe our Savvy Sommeliers picked to enjoy with the Rosehall Run Pinot Noir.

Grilled Duck Breast with Red Wine Reduction
Everyday Dining with Wine

The key to this recipe are the dried cherries in the sauce which are a classic with duck and a great cherry flavor to match the silky-textured Pinot Noir.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup pinot noir (or other left over dry red wine)
1 shallot finely chopped
1/3 cup of dried cherries
2 boneless duck breasts about 12 ounces each
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

METHOD
Combine the stock, wine, shallot, and cherries in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by half and thickened – 15-20 minutes. (The sauce can be made one day in advance and refrigerated, reheat before serving.)

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Split each duck breast into 2 halves.With a sharp chef’s knife trim away any overhanging fat so that only about a strip of skin about 2 inches wide attached to each breast. Sprinkle the breast halfs on both sides with salt and pepper, place on the grill skin side down and grill covered until well browned about 8 minutes. Turn and continue to grill covered about 3-4 minutes more for medium rare, or longer if desired, but be careful not to over-grill or it will be dry. This can also be done in a sauté pan but make sure the pan is very hot before adding a couple of tablespoons of oil so the breasts will brown.

Remove breasts from grill and cover loosely with foil, let stand 5 minutes to rest. Stir the sage and thyme into the sauce and re-warm. Slice each breast to fan out on a plate and serve with the sauce on the side or drizzle over top.

Enjoy!

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What’s red, white & pink AND green all over?

Posted by Susan

Friday, April 9th, 2010
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Southbrook Vineyards
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep
 

 

It’s a natural fit to feature Southbrook Vineyards as our Savvy Selection this month. April 22nd marks Earth Day and Southbrook’s owners Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier have established their winery in Niagara to be a great example of how to “tread lightly on the land”. Bill proudly explained to Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins during an interview, “Our goal is for this winery to promote Ontario’s role as a producer of some of the world’s best wines, and create a destination as compelling as wineries in Napa or Tuscany.”

For our longtime Savvy Selections subscribers, you may recognize Southbrook’s name and novel wine label design.  We featured this winery two years ago to support the grand opening of the winery’s new location in Niagara.  For the launch and our Savvy Selections feature, winemaker Ann Sperling had just released some of the first vintages (winespeak: first release of wine) made in their state-of-the-art and now LEED Gold award-winning facility designed by celebrated architect Jack Diamond.

 

Much has been achieved at Southbrook in the last few of years and so much more is planned. To start, the new facility is an environmental showcase. When you plan your visit to Niagara, Southbrook is a must visit location.  The building itself is an eye-catching design with highly aesthetic interior features. The tasting room has a beautifully designed table of natural oak and maple preserved from trees on Southbrook’s original property located in Richmond, Ontario. The building is also an incredibly environmentally friendly structure with highly efficient electrical and mechanical systems, glazing and roof that reduce its energy consumption by about 45% compared to standard construction. Environmentally friendly bioswales, ponds and wetlands capture rainwater or handle water treatment and runoff while native plant species adorn the landscape and reduce the need for irrigation.

 

It is easy to see that everyone working at Southbrook is proud of their roots. Grape growing and winemaking have been transformed to follow organic and biodynamic processes.  Ann describes biodynamics as “extreme organics”. She follows the principles of organic agriculture and very specific processes in winemaking and cellaring based on the theory established by Rudolf Steiner in 1924 – read on in the following pages to learn more! One example of their commitment, Southbrook released the industry’s first certified biodynamic wine – Cabernet Rosé VQA 2008.  This delicious rosé was launched on Earth Day in 2009. The wine impressed several people including our Sommeliers that we wanted to make sure that we timed our Savvy Selections feature to coincide with Southbrook’s release of this year’s rosé wine. 

 

You are the first!

The white and rosé wines in this month’s Savvy Selections are pre-released – just for to you to enjoy.  The 2009 Fresh White VQA and 2009 Cabernet Rosé VQA will be launched later in the month on Earth Day – April 22nd. They are both biodynamically produced, and are packaged in new environmentally friendly bottling.  In addition, they can be served to vegan and vegetarian friends. And we’re featuring the fabulous 2006 Triomphe Cabernet/Merlot VQA – just released a few weeks ago.  We are confident that you will be impressed with month’s Savvy Selections.

 

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Introducing…

SOUTHBROOK VINEYARDS
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

 

Winery owners Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier are the driving force behind the winery’s organic and biodynamic practices and certification. They are fundamentally, agriculturalists. “We were drawn to biodynamics as a way to more fully express the vineyard’s character in our wines. Together, everyone at the winery underwent the certification process to authenticate our commitment to sustainable practices.”, proudly explains Bill.

If biodynamic is a new wine term for you, Southbrook’s winemaker Ann Sperling, puts it simply: ‘extreme organics’.  Biodynamic agricultural promotes the ecological self-sufficiency and internal harmony of the property while taking into account the cycles of nature and a certain philosophical/spiritual aspect. Growing practices are quite similar to organic agriculture, but a specific calendar is followed and helps determine when such activities as pruning, fertilizing and other operations are undertaken. In addition, a variety of treatments are applied to the soil, generally using ingredients that are derived from plants and/or animals that are integral to the property. Other approaches, include planting cover crops between the vines that attract beneficial insects and using sheep or goats to ‘mow’ these areas. Ann explains, “Biodynamics says the farm is an entire ‘living system’. The resulting practices are about quality – quality in the bottle and quality of life.”

Biodynamic certification is granted by Detemer International. Southbrook is the first biodynamic winery in Canada.  They keep company of other well-known wineries including Chapoutier and Domaine Leflaive of France. While Southbrook wine labels do not herald their biodynamic certification, there have been a variety of occasions where in blind tastings, wine critics have rated the quality of biodynamic wines higher than comparable standard wines. Those biodynamic winemakers are converted and convinced that this approach to growing grapes and making wines leads to healthier and more disease-resistant vineyards and fruit, wines which are a better representation of their terroir, a healthier environment to raise their families all the while a positive contribution to environmental sustainability. Ann explains, “There’s one thing we have learned – amazing, vibrant wines come from grapes raised biodynamically.”

Ann is a child of the wine industry. Raised on a family vineyard in British Columbias’s Okanagan, she took her hands-on experience to University of British Columbia, where she completed a B.Sc. in Food Science. Over two decades, she has built an impressive reputation in the Canadian wine industry, winning numerous accolades from peers, a gold medal at the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition and was named Ontario Winemaker of the Year in 2004. Prior to her current role at Southbrook, she was winemaker at Cedar Creek Estate Winery in BC, then moved to Niagara taking the winemaking reins at Malivoire (featured in Savvy Selections in April 2009).  It was at Malivoire where she first started working with organic vineyards and grapes.

Ann has had extended her talent to many start up wineries as a consulting winemaker and continues to work with her family in their Okanagan vineyard. When asked how she came to organic and biodynamic viticulture and winemaking, “during my career ‘growing’ wine, I observed that conditions of the vintage predominated and revealed the unique aspects of the vineyard and terroir. It’s not so much about what I do as the winemaker, rather about the vineyard. This left me open to new and better ways of doing things.”

Ann found that by following biodynamic practices and principles, even in adverse and difficult vintages, the grape maintains its health and integrity, veraison (winespeak: ripening of the grapes) occurs at the appropriate time in the season and the grapes are healthy with “a substance and a character unique to their terroir.” The winemaking process begins with this substantial fruit, uses natural indigenous yeasts (which have consistently produced excellent fermentation), and minimizes additions. Through this experience, Ann has also found that following the natural rhythms of the biodynamic calendar optimizes many of the winemaking processes.

“The Southbrook property was purchased with a long-term view. We, and the vines, are setting our roots down. Well-situated vines are better able to derive their true character from a healthy soil. Organic and biodynamic culture create the environment. From this source, we can ‘grow’ a more unique and specific wine.”


 

 ~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Fresh White 2009 VQA, $16.95

Organic and Demeter-certified biodynamic wine, Ann’s goal was to ‘produce a new and different wine’ – this has certainly been achieved!

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Made with Vidal grapes, the color is tinged with a hint of apricot, and an expressive nose of sweet stone fruit and honey. The initial impact is of fresh peaches, apricots and pears, followed by bright tangy acidity—think juicy red grapefruit. The wine is light, appealing and has a refreshing mid-length finish.

 

Suggested Food Pairing: Best said by one of the Savvy Selections panelist, “Just lie in a hammock and sip away!” Or pair it with dishes featuring spring’s bounty—like the Risotto with Asparagus below.

Cellaring: No need to wait – drink this spring

 

Winemaker’ s Note: It has been noticed that if this wine is chilled at low temperature (in your fridge for a long time) “wine diamonds” may form. These are clear crystals that are in fact crystallized tartaric acid. They are natural and are not harmful if consumed. In fact, wine diamonds are often considered a sign of high quality. At Southbrook, we process our wine as minimally as possible in order to maintain flavour and balance. If this white wine stored at a temperature colder than during the winemaking process – diamonds may precipitate. Have diamonds in your bottle? Simply stand the bottle upright prior to drinking, allow the crystals to fall to the bottom and then decant and enjoy.

 

Cabernet Rose 2009 VQA, $18.95

Produced from a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – a Bordeaux-style rosé! Grown in Southbrook’s organic and biodynamic certified vineyard, the grapes were fermented in stainless with indigenous yeast, with the wine produced primarily by the saignée method (winespeak: pronounced say-NAY, it is derived from the French verb ‘to bleed’. Referring to the process used to make rosé wines where red skinned grapes are left in a stainless steel vat for several hours. During this time, the grapes are naturally crushed by their own weight and a light red juice bleeds from the tank then collected to use for making rosé wine. The remaining grapes are often used to make red wine.)

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  This is another great wine to enjoy on its own with friends on the patio.  Or pair with a strawberry spinach salad – recipe below – grilled rainbow trout or light menu fare.

 

Cellaring: Designed to be enjoyed this spring and summer – it’s so appealing, we are confident that you will want to stock up on this wine for the summer season to come. Just call Debbie to arrange for additional bottles of this special rosé.


 

Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2006 VQA $26.95

In traditional Bordeaux style, this blend is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The grapes were harvested from the estate vineyard, which was in its second year of transition to organic certification. The wine was fermented in one-tonne totes and barrel aged for 16 months. In addition to this 2006 vintage, Southbrook also has available the 2001 and 2002 Triomphe Cabernet Merlot. With a collection of these three, you have a vertical (winespeak: same wine from different vintages). TIP: have a mini wine tasting – open them together to taste the difference in the vintages and ageing.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our Savvy Selections tasting panel was impressed with the balance and fine texture of this elegant wine. Deep red with a slight garnet hue, the wine was layered with aromas of dark fruit, spice and a whiff of cedar. It’s mid-weight and earthy with subtle flavours of currant, cherries and berries. Balanced with fresh acidity and supple tannins. The persistent finish displays fruit with pleasant notes of roasted peppers.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy with lamb, beef (recipe below), or a fricassé of chicken in a red wine sauce.

Cellaring:  Drinking well now, this lovely blend has the structure to age for another 2-3 years.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~


With Southbrook Fresh White…

Risotto with Asparagus
From LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
¼ cup butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup sliced asparagus
½ cup slivered red pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine

4-6 cup chicken stock (approx.)
½ cup whipping cream

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

2 Tbsp minced parsely, dill or basil

Freshly ground pepper

 

Method
Melt half of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chopped garlic; sauté until softened. Stir in asparagus, red peppers; cook until vegetables are crisp-tender and still brightly colored. Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl. Set aside.

 

Add remaining butter to same pan. Add rice; stir to coat rice with butter. Cook two minutes. Add wine; cook and stir until wine is absorbed by rice. Add 1 cup stock; cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring often, until stock is absorbed. Continue to stir, adding stock 1 cup at a time, allowing each cup of stock to be absorbed by rice before adding the next cup. Cook and stir until rice is tender and mixture is creamy. This takes 30-40 minutes.   

 

Stir asparagus mixture into rice, along with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.   

 

With Southbrook Cabernet Rosé….

Strawberry and Spinach Salad
From Cooking with BC Wine, Troy & Cheryl-Lynn Townsin
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
1 cup white or rosé wine
1/3 cup shallots
1/3 cup liquid honey
1 Tbsp raspberry vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ C vegetable oil
12 oz. fresh baby spinach
2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
8 button mushrooms, sliced
Salt to taste

Method
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine wine and shallots. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 12-15 minutes or until reduced to syrup-like consistency.  

Transfer wine mixture to a small bowl and whisk with honey, vinegar, mustard and salt. Slowly add the oil while you whisk until mixture is well-combined and thickened.  

 

In a large salad bowl combine the spinach, strawberries and mushrooms and toss with the dressing.

 

Serve with crusty bread and artisan cheeses.

 

With Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot…

Beef Filet and Rack of Lamb with Red Wine Sauce
Recipe adapted from Executive Chef Hector Diaz, Hilton Lac-Leamy
Serves 1-2

Ingredients
1 portion beef tenderloin, 6 oz.
1 portion rack of lamb (2 ribs)
Salt & pepper ground coarse
2 Tbsp + 4 Tbsp butter, divided
1 tsp shallots, chopped
½ cup red wine
½ cup cream (35%)
1 cup red wine
1 cup veal or beef stock

Method
Preheat oven to 375F.

Season meats with salt, coarse pepper. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in heavy frying pan and sear beef, lamb 2 minutes on each side. Remove meat from pan. Add shallots, briefly sauté, then add ½ cup wine and deglaze the pan, sautéing until liquid is almost completely evaporated.  

Add cream and reduce by half, then add red wine and reduce by half. Add stock, simmer to reduce liquid by half, then pass sauce through a sieve to remove any lumps, particles. While sauce is still hot, but not on the burner, add remaining butter 1 Tbsp at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition to complete the rich sauce.

 

Bake lamb 30 minutes, beef 20 minutes for medium rare, or to desired doneness. Serve with risotto and vegetables with the wine sauce drizzled on top. (You may wish to begin cooking the meat as you are finishing the sauce.)

 

  

 

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

 

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Icewine: Gold is made in the cold

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
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Blogger Kim Bannister of WeeWelcome interviewed our Savvy Sommelier – Debbie Trenholm – about her experience picking frozen grapes during the icewine harvest in Niagara at Malivoire Winery.

 Inside Icewine

The cold weather brings one tasty treat – Icewine. To learn more about this delicious drink, I talked with wine expert Debbie Trenholm of Savvy Company.

 

How does Icewine differ from other wines?
Throughout the growing season, winemakers decide which grapes to leave on the vines long after the regular harvest is complete and wait for Mother Nature to turn them into gold – icewine grapes that is. The magic number is the air needs to hit -8 degrees Celsius or colder. At this point, the frenzy begins! The frozen grapes can be picked (by law it must reach -8 degrees in order to be classified as an Icewine). Some wineries leave the grapes on longer (such as -10 degrees). The trick with Icewine is that winemakers never know when during the winter -8 degrees will come.

This year -8 degrees came to Niagara in early January.  Winemakers also need a long period of time at that cold temperature to pick (some wineries have many acres of vineyards with frozen grapes) and crush the grapes.

In 2001 I was called on to pick in an Icewine harvest. While staying in Niagara doing some consulting work, I received a phone call at 11:30 one night from Ann Sperling – Winemaker at the time at Malivoire. What an opportunity!  I bundled up and headed out!

When you think of a vineyard often thoughts of lush green comes to mind. But in January, the reality is that many grapes had fallen off (these are no good), and the bare dead vines set against the stark whiteness of the snow was very dramatic. Shadows of people were cast from the head lamps of the tractor going up and down the rows of grapes being picked by people with ski gloves.

The grapes look like almost like raisins – brown & shrivelled. Mother Nature has attacked them – hitting them several times by frost. I had to snap the bunches off the vine (remember with ski gloves) and they were hard as marbels. Clunk they go into my bucket.

The winemaker’s job is to press them – they press these little pellets and patiently wait until the first juice comes out. The juice looks like apple juice concentrate that you get at the grocery story  – as  thick and the same caramel colour.

Once the grapes are crushed outdoors (they too have to maintain -8 degrees Celsius during this part of the winemaking process) they can bring the juice into the cellar to start to ferment it. As you can imagine, the juice in each grape is highly concentrated because the water content of the grapes is frozen. What is extracted from the grapes is pure nectar – this is why Icewine is deliciously sweet.

For my Icewine harvest experience, the team of pickers (all family & friends) were out for about 6 hours, until sunrise. We had to stop because the sun was rising and the temperature began to rise above the magic number -8C.

What foods go well with Icewine?
When I serve Icewine I follow a simple rule of thumb – make sure that the food is not sweeter than the Icewine – it will make your Icewine seem sweeter. Good accompaniments include dark chocolate, roasted nuts, and fresh fruit. Icewine can be served before or after dinner or as a dessert all on its own.

How much does a bottle of Icewine cost, on average?
Because of all that work that goes into making a bottle, and because, like maple syrup, it takes a lot of grapes to make one bottle – most Icewine cost between $45 and $85. I know of some Icewines that have a price tag of $1000 plus!

An interesting note: at the recent Nobel Peace Prize dinner President Obama was served an Icewine by Niagara winery Inniskillin (click here for more info). This same wine was recently featured in Oprah Magazine.

Why is the Icewine experience one to try?
People are really starting to recognize the beauty of this type of wine. Bottom line, it is uniquely Canadian. There is so much love and care that goes into making the wine that it is magical! Everything has to come together to make this type of wine: -8 degrees and a team of patient pickers.

If someone wanted a good ice wine to start with, can you suggest a few types/brands?
In Niagara, winemakers started with Vidal as the main grape variety to create Icewine. it is hardy grape to grow with its thick skin, so it weathers well while waiting for the magic -8 degrees. But with the curiousity and experimentation of many winemakers, you can get almost any grape variety in this sweet rendition. I have enjoyed icewines made with Chardonnay and Reisling as well as red icewines made with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes. It is neat to see how the same grape can taste so different. There are also sparkling Icewines.

My favourite sparkling wine is made by Pillitteri Estates Winery.  Be sure to try the classic Inniskillin Vidal Icewine VQA, served at the Nobel Peace Prize dinner.  And if you want to indulge in a red Icewine, try Malivoire’s Cabernet Franc Icewine VQA ….and those are just for starters! 

An event not to be missed!  Check out the Niagara Icewine Festival on now until January 31st. A delicious getaway with tastings and winemakers dinners.

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Winemaking talent shows through in Nyarai wines

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
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Featuring Nyarai Cellars
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep

Is it me or are there more younger winemakers arriving on the Canadian wine scene? In the past couple of months, I have attended wine industry conferences – Society of Wine Educators in Sacramento, California and Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival – where talented winemakers from every corner of the world were celebrated. It was interesting to see that a large number of these winemakers were under the age of 40!

 

With aspirations of one day owning their own winery, some new-to-the-industry winemakers have been provided the unique opportunity to create a virtual winery with their own label while working in the cellars of their employer’s winery. In Ontario, there are currently five winemakers who are crafting their ‘own label’ in this virtual winery setting.  In this month’s Savvy Selections, we are proud to introduce you to Steve Byfield and his new wines – labeled Nyarai Cellars – that he crafts in the cellars of Calamus Estates Winery in Niagara (featured in Savvy Selections in June 208).

 

Steve launched Nyarai Cellars just last month in time to be featured in the Savvy Selections.  This is an opportunity for you to sample Steve’s talent as you open the bottles of:

– Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2008 – Steve’s favorite white grape to work with

– Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2007– an easy drinking red wine to have on hand with BBQ fare

– Syrah VQA 2007 – an outstanding red wine that is turning heads

 

In this Savvy e-Zine, read more about how Steve’s involvement at a brew your own place was the stepping stone for a winemaking career.  In nine short years, Steve’s career includes making wine at five different Niagara wineries. As always, below you will find our Savvy Sommelier tasting notes and recipes chosen to pair with the selected Nyarai wines.

 

These wines are hard to come by!

You will definitely not see Nyarai wines at the LCBO. When you would like more of the wines or other wines from previously featured Savvy Selections, simply call me to (613-728-8926) make the arrangements for a delivery. The wine can be sent to any Ontario address: to your home, office – even your cottage!

 

Be forewarned….there are VERY few cases of Nyarai wines available.  Steve is predicting that the Sauvignon Blanc (he only made 126 cases) & Syrah will be sold out by September so don’t wait too long to contact me if you would like to re-order extra bottles.  When the reviews for these new wines get published, the wines could sell out quickly.

 

Here’s to the launch of Nyarai Cellars! 

Debbie & the Savvy Team

Follow me: www.twitter.com/savvydebbie





Nyarai Cellars
Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm


The word Nyarai (pronounced Na-rye) literally jumped off the page when Steve was searching for a name to for his own wine. “Typically a winemaker will use his name on the label, but that is not my style”, explains winemaker Steve Byfield. “I was looking for a name that was more subtle, yet, still had a personal connection.”

 

Born and raised in St Catherine’s, Steve became interested in wine while working at a ‘Brew Your Own’ store.  Here, he had a hand in both beer & wine making on a small scale. 

 

Trained as a jazz musician & music educator, Steve decided to put both on the back burner to devote his time to develop his skills as an amateur winemaker.

 

He launched into a wine career during the whirlwind activity of the harvest of 2000.  Hired on as product consultant at Southbrook Vineyards (featured in Savvy Selections May 2008), during the five years at this winery, he was exposed to all aspects of commercial winemaking as he apprenticed as a winemaker. “There is nothing like jumping in with both feet.” remembers Steve about his first day on the job. “I realized that my chemistry was a bit rusty, so after work, I enrolled in courses to brush up.”

 

While at Southbrook, Steve was involved in the development of all wines. Southbrook’s famous Frambroise wine – made with raspberries – was one of the products that Steve had a hand in crafting each year.

 

In 2006, two small boutique wineries opened on the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment). Steve jumped at the opportunity to be assistant winemaker at both Ridgepoint Winery and Calamus Estates Winery.  The two wineries shared the equipment and services of a consulting winemaker and Steve as the assistant winemaker. Talk about expedited learning!  “I prefer hands on learning.  Everyday I walked through the vineyards checking the progress of the vines & grapes.  The best part was that I was always learning because I had two different wineries to oversee,” recalls Steve.

 

Talented and in hot demand, Steve helped the owners at Thomas and Vaughn Winery (also located in Beamsville) during the 2007 harvest. This harvest has been considered by many as the best harvest of the century.  Again, Steve talent showed through in the wines that he crafted.

 

Throughout all of this time, Steve, like many young winemakers had the pipedream of owning his own winery.  “I think that it is natural that we all think about it at some stage.” The running joke in the wine industry is that to make a million of profit, you need to start with 10 million dollars. Start up costs & large capital expenditures is the common obstacle for new winemakers. “When the owners at Calamus provided me the ability to create my own wine at their facility using their equipment – this was a dream come true. Having my own label allows me to develop my own expression & allows me to experiment to fine tune my winemaking skills.”

 

Steve & other virtual wineries source premium fruit from local grape growers or their own vineyards.  They make the wine in the cellars using the technology & equipment available to them in their host winery. Now that you know that this style of winery exists, keep these young winemakers on your radar as their labels are making an impression in the Ontario wine industry: Charles Baker at Stratus Vineyard, Kevin Panagapka at Featherstone Estate Vineyard (featured in Savvy Selections in January 2008) & Wes Lawry at Five Roads Winery all located in Niagara.  Frederic Picard at Huff Estates (featured in June 2007) is located in Prince Edward County.

 

The story of Nyarai

No doubt that Steve will be constantly telling the story & correcting our pronunciation of the unusual word Nyarai.  “I wanted a name that honoured history & celebrated my African-Canadian roots”, explained Steve.  Nyarai means to be humble or humility in the language of the Shona tribe – native people of Botswana & Zimbawe. “The name is fitting as I think it is a humbling process & experience to take fruit from the land to make wine”, states Steve.  Throughout his research, Steve found that Nyarai is often used as a girl’s name.  Have you met a woman named Nyarai?  Steve hasn’t – yet!

 

Does Steve ever stop?

With two winemaking jobs on the go, does Steve ever take time to unwind? “I will sometimes pick up my sticks & play the drums or sit down to the piano”, states Steve.  “By far though, my favorite way to relax is in the kitchen cooking for family and friends. Being a winemaker, I have the opportunity to meet and work with many great chefs to pair my wine with their specialties.  I am always trying new recipes or creating my own.” Steve shares one of his recipes with you below. 

 

Cheers & Enjoy!


  

    

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~


Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2008, $18

 

With many options of quality grapes available to him, Steve wanted to focus on his love of Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  “I absolutely love working with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  It is my goal to make Sauvignon Blanc my signature wine for Nyarai”. 

 

“You can smell the freshness as soon as the cap is untwisted”, commented Debbie during the Savvy Selections tasting panel.   

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: As you swirl this crisp, dry wine, refreshing aromas of lime, green melon & white grapefruit jump out of your glass. These aromas continue into the taste with a zingy key lime pie finish that lingers forever. A well made, elegant wine has loads of acidity – perfect to brighten our soggy summer weather!

 

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve chilled (at about 11C) on its own or with food – perfect for a picnic.  Try with scallops in lemon butter, pasta dishes topped with goat cheese or fresh from the garden steamed green beans tossed with butter and toasted almonds. Try your hand at the Cashew Encrusted Halibut with this wine provided by Chef Glen “Skip” Sansome of Petit Bill’s Bistro in Ottawa.

 

Cellaring: No need to wait…just chill this bottle and enjoy this summer.

 
  

 

Nyarai Cellars Cabernet Merlot VQA 2007, $18

What timing to start a new label – during the 2007 vintage when ripe fruit is plentiful. Named ‘Mother Nature’s gift to winemakers’, the 2007 vintage has created some of Ontario’s best wines.

 

A blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc & 15% Syrah that was aged for 13 months in French oak. Steve made this wine with the intention to have on hand and serve with any meal.

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Concentrated aromas of black fruit (think fresh juicy black cherries or wild blackberries) that then integrates with flavours of warm spices (can you find cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves?). “There is black licorice woven in through the aromas, taste and finish”, comments Debbie during the Savvy Selections tasting panel. Medium bodied with just enough tannins that will be softened with a few years in the cellar or why wait….simply serve with a burger to see how the tannins smooth out.

 

Suggested Food Pairing: This well made wine is a perfect ‘weekday wine’.  Why not have a few bottles on hand to serve with BBQ fare – burgers or lamb chops, pizza, pasta or a hearty stew when the cool autumn nights come around.  Steve shares his Louisiana Blackened Catfish recipe to enjoy with this wine.

 

Cellaring: This wine is impressive as is. Enjoy now or cellar for 2 years to soften the tannins. Serve at 12C to 14C.

Nyarai Cellars Syrah VQA 2007, $18
This wine is a work of art! Steve’s talent as a winemaker shows through in each glass.  Made with the same grape variety of Australia’s infamous Shiraz, the main difference is that Syrah style (rooted in France) is typically not as bold & in-your-face as the Australian blockbuster counterpart.  Syrah is only just coming onto Niagara’s radar with a few grape growers & wineries working together to produce an impressive red wine. Steve is devoted to Syrah as he sees that it will become Nyarai’s signature red wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “The elegant aromas of dark fruit prepare you for a masterpiece wine.” stated Debbie during the Savvy Selections tasting panel.  This full bodied wine has flavours of freshly brewed coffee, dark chocolate & dried figs dance all over your palate with a lingering blackberry finish. 

Suggested Food Pairing: This outstanding wine has good tannins that will soften as you enjoy with food. This wine is begging to be enjoyed with BBQed steak, beef tenderloin or prime rib with all the trimmings grilled vegetables. Slow Food Chef Roger Weldon of Ballygiblin’s Restaurant offers his Rack of Lamb with (not so spicy) Chimchurri Sauce. 

Cellaring: This wine is ready to serve right now or if you choose, it could cellar quite comfortably for 5 to 7 years to soften the tannins. Serve at 16C to 18C. 

 

 

~ Recipes to enjoy with the Savvy Selections ~


With Nyaria Cellars Sauvignon Blanc…

Cashew Encrusted Halibut with Citrus Aioli

Serves 5
From the kitchen of
Chef Glen “Skip” Sansome of Petit Bill’s Bistro located on Wellington Street in Ottawa

The Petit Bill’s Bistro is named in honour of the co-owners’ father – “Little Bill” Fitzpatrick. The Westboro restaurant offers a unique menu marrying fine French food with “down home” comfort, “speaking French with a Newfy Accent”.  More about this fun restaurant at www.petitbillsbistro.ca   

 

Ingredients

1 cup (250 mL) cornmeal

1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped cashews

Five 6-ounce (170-g) halibut filets

1 tablespoon (15 mL) plus 1 cup (250 mL) olive oil, divided

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 teaspoon (5 mL) orange zest

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) each lime and lemon zest

1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh orange juice

1/4 tablespoon (7 mL) each lime and lemon juice

2 egg yolks

5 medium red and/or yellow beets, roasted, peeled and cubed

8 fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 small fennel bulb, shaved thin

3 oranges, peeled, cut into segments

1/2 cup (125 ml) balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh orange juice

 

 

Method

1. Mix cornmeal and cashews in small bowl. Lightly press filets in nut mixture to coat all sides evenly.

 

2. Heat 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil in heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Sautée fish on each side until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.

 

3. Pulse garlic, zests, juices and yolks in food processor until combined; with motor running slowly, add 1 cup (250 mL) olive oil in continuous stream until mixture is thick. Set aside.

 

4. To make beet salad, combine beets, mint, fennel, orange segments, vinegar and orange juice in a shallow pasta bowl.

 

5. To serve, place fish on the salad topped with dollop of garlic aioli.

 

 

With Nyarai Cellars Cabernet Merlot…

Louisiana Blackened Catfish with Roasted Red Pepper Butter

Serves 4
From the kitchen of Nyarai Cellar’s winemaker Steve Byfield

Ingredients

Blackened Seasoning

3 Tbsp dried thyme

2 Tbsp each garlic powder, onion powder, paprika

1 Tbsp dried oregano

2 tsp each salt, black pepper

1 tsp each ground cumin, ground nutmeg

 

Roasted Red Pepper Butter

1 red pepper

¼ cup soft butter

½ tsp paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

             

3 Tbsp butter

4 catfish fillets

 

 

Method

1.      To make seasoning, combine all seasoning ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

 

2.      To make butter, set red pepper in oven or toaster oven. Roast until blackened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool. Peel and seed. In a small bowl, mash red pepper into a puree. Add remaining butter ingredients. Whip by hand until well mixed. Set aside.

 

3.      Sprinkle seasoning on a plate, enough to cover bottom. Set aside.

 

4.      In a small pan, melt butter over low heat. Place a fillet in the pan, flipping over to coat both sides. Set fillet into seasoning, coating both sides. Repeat for each fillet. Use more seasoning if needed.

 

5.      Place fillets in pan. Increase heat to high and cook until blackened on both sides and slightly crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes each side. Use more butter if necessary.

 

6.      Serve hot with a dollop of red pepper butter.

 


With Nyarai Cellars Syrah…

Rack of Lamb with Chimichurri Sauce

Serves 2 or 3 people
From the kitchen of Chef Roger Weldon at Ballygiblin’s Restaurant located in Carleton Place


Located in the heart of Downtown Carleton Place, this dazzling, lively spot has the trappings of a pub-like atmosphere in the back and quaint dining in the front.  Savvy Company is proud to be the Sommeliers at this farm to table restaurant featuring an all-Ontario wine list.  More about the restaurant at www.ballygiblins.ca 

 

Ingredients

1 frenched 6-rib rack of fresh local lamb (Chef Roger prefers Lanark County lamb)

 

For the chimichurri sauce:

1/4 cup (125 ml) olive oil

2 tablespoons (25 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon (15 mL) red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 clove shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 mL) crushed black peppercorns

1 bunch fresh spinach, well washed

1/2 bunch each fresh parsley, cilantro, mint and basil

 

Method

1. Process sauce ingredients in food processor until minced. Let rest at least 2 hours before serving.

 

2. Place lamb rack on hot barbecue grill about 2 minutes per side to sear surface. Reduce heat or move rack to a cooler part of grill to roast about 10 to 15 minutes per side, using meat thermometer for rare (about 120 F/50 C) or medium (about 150 F/65 C). Serve with sauce.

 

 

 

Enjoy Nyarai wines while you can! 

You will definitely not see Nyarai wines at the LCBO. When you would like more of the wines or other wines from previously featured Savvy Selections, simply call me to make the arrangements for a delivery. 

 

Be forewarned….there are VERY few cases of Nyarai wines available.  It is anticipated that the Sauvignon Blanc (only 126 cases were produced) & Syrah will be sold out by September so don’t wait too long. Contact Savvy Company if you would like to re-order extra bottles. 

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Wine & food pairing made even easier

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
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Pairing wine to a meal is not a science, rather, I think it is an art.  Like draping a colourful scarf or adding funky necklace, a woman’s outfit turns from “nice” to “WOW!”  Same thing with a man’s suit – goes from “sharp” to “looking like a million bucks” when adding a fashionable tie or crisp shirt.  Taking the time to thoughtfully pair wines to the ingredients of a meal can have impact and makes a memorable impression.

 

So how to do it?

 

I offer two ways.  Keep in mind my wine and food pairing fundamentals or use a lifeline that gives you the answer in a few clicks.

 

Perfecting the fundamentals takes patience and practice – both taking you on a delicious discovery.  Chefs and Sommeliers experiment with a sip of wine here with a nibble of food there all day long (truth be told not ALL DAY – we need time to work out at the gym to keep our waist lines in check).

 

The fundamentals that I keep in mind:
Toss out the rule that white wine should be served with chicken and fish while red wine goes with red meat. Fish, chicken and meat are a canvas for the chef.  It is the sauce, spices or marinade that you want to enhance by selecting a wine that will complement their flavours to make the meal sing.

 

Focus on the origin of the food.  Wine has been crafted for centuries to accompany regional food. For example, Italian wine goes well with Italian cuisine. Pairing the country of origin for both the food and wine is simply put: a natural fit.

 

Make it fun! There is no right or wrong wine to serve. Why not pour a splash of two (or more) wines in different glasses to experiment with your meal.  Need some suggestions of where to start? Email me your menu.

 

A recipe, a wine list or shopping for wine may not be that straight forward.  Here is where the pros come in with a helpful gadget or as some would say – a lifeline.

 

The wine world is all a buzz at the moment with wine writer Natalie MacLean’s Wine and Food Matcher.  Every wine enthusiast should have this at their fingertips. Whether you carry a BlackBerry or Iphone, this ‘app’ is like having both a Sommelier and a Chef at your side.

 

For those non-cell phone wine shoppers, you can download Natalie’s ‘widget’ to access the same information from your desktop.

 

Simply two clicks away from a verdict.

 

Whether you start with the food on your plate or your preferred style of wine, click-click-click and the Wine and Food Matcher narrows down your options.  As said earlier, pairing is an art.  Natalie and a team of techies at Ottawa based company bitHeads figured out the science behind this app.

 

To download:

The app for your Blackberry Curve, Blackberry Bold, iPhone or iPod Touch go to http://www.nataliemaclean.com/mobilematch/

The widget for your computer go to http://www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher/

 

Within minutes and you have a virtual Sommelier at your fingertips.

 

Even as a Sommelier, our Savvy Team are often called upon to host wine and food events or develop a wine list for restaurants, Natalie’s Wine and Food Matcher has been a big help validating our choices.

 

Other wine enthusiasts agree.  “It is incredibly handy”, reports Jay on Natalie’s web site

 

“It is simple and quick.  Now you have Natalie’s vast wine pairing resource at your fingertips”, reviews Craig.

 

“…when I am at a restaurant and wondering what to order, I discreetly pull out my phone and in two clicks my decision has been made…by Natalie!”, shares another app enthusiast.

 

 

Visit Natalie’s web site www.nataliemaclean.com and follow the simple download instructions.  While you are at it, sign up for her weekly newsletter too.

 

Cheers!

-Debbie

 

 

Follow me on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/savvydebbie

 

PS – you can follow Natalie on Twitter too! www.twitter.com/nataliemaclean

 

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Which wine to serve with beef tenderloin?

Posted by Patti

Saturday, March 14th, 2009
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Does the menu come first or selecting the wine?  I am often asked this question.  Hard to say as there is no real rule.  My interest in wine stems from my love to cook, so more often than not, for me, the food comes first. In my blog postings, you can count on me to share my favorite recipes and provide suggestions of wine pairings.  At any time, feel free to send me an email with a recipe that you would like a wine suggestion.

Let’s get started!

When the Savvy team got together to chose the wine selection for a wine tasting to feature Natalie MacLean & her new book, Red, White & Drunk All Over, I took one sip of the Katnook Founder’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia ($18 at LCBO) and I knew that I had the perfect beef recipe to pair with this big bold wine.  Enjoy!

Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom & Stilton Sauce
¼ cup butter
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2-3 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied

Reduction Sauce
1 tbsp butter
4 oz. crumbled Stilton cheese
1 cup beef broth
¼   cup Maderia wine
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½   cup chopped pecans, toasted
½   cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup green onions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet melt ¼ cup butter until sizzling; stir in pepper and garlic. Place tenderloin in skillet. Cook over medium high heat until browned on all sides (7 – 9 minutes). Remove from pan; reserve pan juices and browned particles in skillet. Line a 13 x 9” baking pan with foil; place tenderloin in pan. Bake 35 – 50 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160 F (medium). Remove from oven and let rest, tented for 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in same skillet with reserved pan juices and browned particles until sizzling; stir in blue cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted (4 – 5 minutes). Stir in beef broth and wine; add mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Serve over carved tenderloin.

 

 

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