Posts Tagged ‘great wines from Niagara region’

Tawse – Be Inspired!

Posted by Susan

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Tawse Winery

–  June 2015 –

In the 13 years since starting Savvy Company, I’ve met numerous fascinating people in the wine industry. Beyond their love of wine, the common thread is that everyone enters into the wine world from a different route. Each month we share these stories in the Savvy Selections eZine. The following pages hold tidbits that would start an interesting conversation at a cocktail party or around a dinner table.

My introduction to this month’s winery – Tawse Winery – would begin with the exciting news that they have been named ‘Canadian Winery of the Year’ by Canadian Wine Access Magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2012. And they are the only Ontario winery so far to achieve this acclaim.  The people that have built this reputation have interesting routes that make up the story that we are eager to share with you this month.  Naturally, Tawse’s beginning has not changed since we last featured the winery in 2011, yet the story of their growth and constant commitment to put Canada on the world wine map has evolved.

The story of Tawse Winery is all about a young man, Moray Tawse from Alberta, who worked at a resort where he ‘fell’ into the role of wine steward…and his route into the wine world.  Eventually in 1988, he co-founded (and continues today to lead) a financial services firm while dreaming of owning a vineyard in Burgundy, France. Luckily for the Canadian wine industry, fate kept this dream on Canadian soil.

Enamored with Burgundian wines, he was amazed by the outstanding Chardonnays made in Niagara (Sommelier tip: white Burgundy wine is 100% Chardonnay). After researching the Niagara wine scene, he purchased property in 2001 and his winery dream began to take shape.

Our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins has a keen personal interest in organic and biodynamic wineries. She naturally gravitated to the Tawse story.  With all of the intricacies of the subject of organic and biodynamic, we’re sharing with you her interview with the Tawse team from our 2011 issue of the Savvy eZine because no one can eloquently explain organic like Susan can! Pop open the Spark bubbly or crack open the seal on the wines in this month’s Savvy Selections & enjoy the wines while you read more about Tawse.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Limestone Ridge ‘Spark’ Riesling VQA 2013, $19.95 – Tawse’s signature sparkling wines – refreshing, dry bubbly that would is perfect enjoyed as you relax on your deck or your dock.

Quarry Road Vineyard Gewürztraminer VQA 2013, $24.95 – a BIG, beautiful, white wine loaded with concentrated aromas & flavours.  You’ll thank us for including this gem.

Gamay Noir VQA 2013, $18.95 – Medium bodied with warm smoke & red fruit flavours that would be perfect for simple BBQ fare like burgers, sausages & ribs.  At this price, they are giving this wine away!

All of the awards & recognition has drawn the attention of wine lovers like you & me to Tawse wines. At one time the price tags of their wines were untouchable (several wines still are!), yet recently, it appears that more of their wines are at an accessible price point.  We are confident that you’ll be impressed with this month’s selection.  At these prices, if you would like to stock up…simply give us a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to arrange a special delivery for you.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

Introducing….
Tawse Winery

 Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

To visit Tawse is to be inspired. Their uncompromising commitment to the vines, the grapes and the soil, respect for the environment and their stewardship of the land will be rewarded with the excellence of outstanding wines.

When Moray TawseMoray Tawse (in photo) purchased the estate in 2001, he obtained existing vineyards – some with vines planted in the 1970s and 1980s. As he built his new winery with the old vines, he selected sites that offered unique terroir, for instance the Quarry Road site which is at the top of the Niagara escarpment, where the limestone in very accessible and minerality shines through. (try the Gewürztraminer we included to find these minerality notes)

As he was building the winery, he called on renowned winemaker Deborah Paskus to lead the winemaking team because her Chardonnay single-handedly changed his mind about establishing a winery in France and lay down his roots in Niagara instead. Paul Pender, fresh from Niagara College’s Winery & Viticulture program, joined as assistant winemaker. When Deborah decided to move to Closson Chase Winery in Prince Edward County, Moray then called on his long-time friend, internationally renowned consulting winemaker Pascal Marchand to assist with the 2005 vintage. With the French influence & more experience under this belt, Paul soon took the helm and brought in Rene van Ede from Australia with a palate extraordinaire. Paul and Rene are still the dynamic winemaking team today and the industry recognized their talent in 2011 when Paul was named Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards.

Known for his ‘non-interventionist as far as possible’ approach to winemaking, Paul has overseen both Tawse’s organic and biodynamic certification processes. His is a steward, watching over the vines and grapes, ‘keeping them safe and then letting the wine express its sense of place’.

Moray repeatedly explains in media interviews that the vineyard location is critically important. He is proud of the terroir that he has as it is similar to the region of Burgundy, France…and is one of the reasons he believes to invest in vineyards in Niagara.

Growing a Biodynamic Business

The state-of-the-art building is nestled into the Beamsville Bench along the Niagara Escarpment, housing an impressive six-level gravity flow winemaking operation. Underground cellars maintain the ideal temperature and humidity for barrel aging, while minimizing its impact on the environment. The geo-thermal energy system has reduced consumption of traditional energy by 80%, and the wetland bio-filter system ensures that all sanitary and winery waste water is recycled.

Biodynamic farming – as we explained in last month’s Savvy eZine featuring Southbrook Vineyards, is referred to as “extreme organics” – is the practice of ever increasing ecological self-sufficiency on the property (similar to last month’s featured winery – Southbrook Vineyards). The Tawse estate is farmed organically with everything done by hand. Biodynamic farming and winemaking techniques have been implemented – Ecocert and Demeter seals appear on all Tawse wines made from biodynamically cultivated fruit (note the Gewürztraminer).

The biodynamic approach has the principal focus on treating the vineyard as an ecosystem where all the components are a self-contained integrated whole, dependent upon each other for long-term health and vitality. Those components include biodiversity, soil fertility, crop nutrition and disease/pest control.  As an example, hedgerows are planted to attract specific insects, while cover crops are planted in the vineyard to prevent erosion and compete with the vines for nutrients, driving the roots down into the mineral layers of the soil. Various farm animals roam through the vineyards to eat weeds or excess vine foliage, their manure providing natural enrichment for the soil. And periodically horses are used for harvest to minimize soil compaction.

In the winemaking process, the guiding principal is to celebrate the terroir. With the changing weather of each vintage, Paul spends much of his time in the vineyard monitoring the health and quality of the fruit, sugar and acidity levels. Flexibility and quick reaction time is required, given the unpredictable climate – but this is what makes each vintage unique. In addition to the gentle process ensured by the gravity-flow system, wild yeasts are used wherever possible, and the same type of oak is applied in aging wines so that the unique qualities of the vineyard come through. The Tawse winemaking staff rejoices in the nature of cool-climate wines: ‘We’re an acidity-friendly winery,” states Rene, the assistant winemaker. Their goal: to create elegant, bright, pure ‘old world’ style wines.

And Moray’s dream of making wine in Burgundy is now coming to fruition as his friend Pascal Marchand has begun to operate a cuverie (winespeak: vat room) and cellars in Nuits-St-Georges, France.

 

 

 ~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling VQA 2013, $19.9513_Spark_Limestone_Ridge_Riesling

Tawse was one of the first Ontario wineries to make a bubbly using Riesling grapes…and their sparkling wines grace many restaurant wine lists. Respecting the Riesling grape, Paul continues with his non-interventionist approach from hand harvesting the grapes to leaving the wine to create itself.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Zippy with notes & tastes of lime, white grapefruit, crab apple & minerality tied up with a brioche aroma (think raisin Danish pastry) makes this bone dry bubbly refreshing.  The persistent and elegant mousse makes you yearn for another sip…then another bottle!

Suggested Food Pairing: “All you need is a hot day”, remarked one of our Savvy Sommeliers.  Chilled down before popping the cork, this bubbly will be fantastic on its own, with summertime , sushi, oysters, lacey parmesan cheese crisps…or a picnic!

Cellaring: Pop the cork now or cellar for 2-3 years

 

13_QuarryRoad_Gewurz_LargeTawse Quarry Road Gewürztraminer VQA 2013, $24.95

We are excited to showcase this wine as not many wineries in Ontario grow Gewürz grapes nor make a good wine.  The vines are grown in an area where the soil is uniquely composed of both limestone & clay soils.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bursting from the glass with absolutely delicious and pretty aromas tropical fruits (think mango, guava, pineapple), white flowers and juicy apricots.  These continue in the taste with loads of pear, honey (or is it marmalade?) and smooth mouthfeel.

Suggested Food Pairing:  A dish with heat will be softened with this wine. Fish tacos, Phad Thai, or Indian red curry.

Cellaring: No need to wait – enjoy now

 


Tawse Gamay Noir VQA 2013
,
$18.9513_Tawse_Gamay_Noir

In its 3rd vintage & only 5000 bottles made, mark my word that this wine could be sold out by the time you want more! Perfect for summertime enjoyment as Gamay grapes produce a light to medium bodied wine ready to pair with anything off the grill or slipped into a picnic basket.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Fire engine red in colour, this warm red wine, ‘reminds me of roasted red peppers’, stated Debbie during the panel tasting. There is a race between the tannins & acidity as you swirl it in your mouth while tastes of cherry, pomegranate & smoke develop. A medium bodied red wine with a long delicious finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ! This is perfect with anything off the grill – vegetables, burgers, spicy sausages or saucy ribs. Rather than one BBQ recipe, we are giving you 10 rub recipes to try over the summer.

Cellaring: Enjoy now and stock up on several bottles…

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~


With Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling…

Rosemary & White Bean Dipwhite bean dip - serious eats
From Serious Eats
Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

1 (15 ½ ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Photo credit: Joshua Bousel, Serious Eats

Method

Place beans, garlic, and lemon juice in the work-bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until beans are roughly chopped

With motor running, slowly pour 1/4 cup of oil through feed tube. Process until mixture is smooth.

Transfer bean mixture to a small bowl. Stir in rosemary, lemon zest, and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Serve with Greek pita wedges or pita crisps.

 

With Tawse Gewürztraminer

Firecracker Shrimp & Mango Avocado Dip

From the kitchen of Debbie Trenholm

Serves 4 to 6

This was served at a cocktail party and after the first bite, it of those “I got to have this recipe” moments. The exotic ingredients playfully complement each other and Gewürztraminer wine will enhance the flavours this appetizer to rave reviews!

Firecracker Shrimp – Ingredients

Freshly ground black pepper
Sesame oil
Sambal sauce (a Thai/Vietnamese red chili sauce – sold in bottles)
Salt
Sugar

Method

Quickly cook shrimp in boiling water and then cool under running water.  Remove shells.

Toss with sesame oil, pepper, salt, a sprinkle of white sugar and Sambal.

Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Ingredients – Mango & Avocado Dip

1 ripe mango, peeled and roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
1-2 tablespoons of liquid honey
Juice of 3-4 limes
1 teaspoon salt

Method

 In food processor combine grated ginger (or chop knob of ginger in food processor first), mango, jalapeno, honey, avocado and lime juice.

Add vegetable oil and salt.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Chef Tip: Try to achieve a balance of ginger, acid (lime) and sweetness.

 

With Tawse Gamay Noir…

10 Top Rubs for BBQ-ingMemphis_style_Rib_Rub
www.aboutfood.com

Everybody has a favorite way to prepare meats for BBQing.  Many of these recipes aren’t written down, rather by feel. To break away from using your ‘tried and tested’ marinade or rub, in true Letterman style, here are the top 10 recipes that are consistently favorited on aboutfood.com’s web site:

  1. Kansas City Rub
  2. A Carolina BBQ Rub
  3. A Sparerib Rub
  4. Memphis Rub
  5. Best Odds Brisket Rub
  6. Magic Dust
  7. Memphis Style Rib Rub
  8. Basic Pork Rub
  9. Best Odds Pulled Pork Rub
  10. Brisket Brown Sugar Rub

Photo credit: Regarding BBQ Inc.

Check them out at http://bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/tp/aatp042607a.htm.
There is a recipe there for everyone!

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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Southbrook has a ‘Dynamic’ story!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Southbrook Vineyards

–  May 2015 –

I don’t know where to start… This month we are featuring Southbrook Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake & they have quite a story to tell. I’ll admit that I was first introduced to Southbrook with a sip of their Framboise raspberry wine. Fruit wine you say – yes!  As the expression goes…’you have come a long way baby!’ Southbrook is now less known for their fruit wine and they are more recognized for their commitment to biodynamic practices at every level in their business. They are also the only winery that we have featured in Savvy Selections who has appeared on Dragon’s Den….more about that on the following pages!

What is Biodynamic you ask?
“It’s extreme organics!” explains Southbrook’s winemaker Ann Sperling.  Her vineyard & winemaking Southbrook winery at nightteam creates wines that express the story both of the grapes & the ground that nourishes them.  Mark our words, with each sip of any wine from Southbrook, you’ll taste their commitment to the biodynamic grape growing & winemaking practices. “We want people to taste the purity in the wines we make,” explained owner Bill Redelmeier.

In your Savvy Selections parcel  you will find an amazing assortment from Southbrook:

Triomphe Chardonnay VQA 2013, $22.95 – an absolutely easy drinking Chardonnay with the refreshing fruit showing through interlaced with oak

Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2013, $21.95 – fire up the BBQ!

Whimsy! Married Young VQA 2009 – $34.95 – this 6 year old wine has aged at the winery & is now ready for you to enjoy.

This selection shows that organic does not need to be expensive.  Our Savvy Selections tasting panel were impressed with the quality & readiness of these wines.  No need to cellar or decant, just twist the cap or pull the cork to enjoy fine Ontario wine.  “I simply want people to say – these wines have character,” states Bill. Let us know what you think.

Read all about it in your Savvy eZine!
While you relax on your dock or deck chair waiting for your BBQ to warm up, flip through the following pages to learn more about biodynamic grape growing & winemaking (I promise not to get technical!), the winery’s fascinating architecture, our Savvy Sommeliers’ tasting notes & recipes provided from Southbrook’s kitchen.

Want more Southbrook wines?
You may have noticed a few Southbrook wines in the LCBO, yet there is so much more available through us or when you visit the winery.  To stock up on any of the Savvy Selections wines, simply call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to make a special delivery for you.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…
Southbrook Vineyards

Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

“I thinkBILL AND MARILYN of wine like a talking stick”, shares Bill (right in picture). “You buy the wine because there is a story that you are eager to share with friends.” Bill & I have known each other for many years, yet during our phone conversation we commented that most of the time spent together was seeing each other at wine shows, in meetings at the winery or when Bill flies in to participate in a Savvy Taste & Buy event.  “Let’s make a point to go out for beers next time we see each other”, we said in unison.  It is a well-known fact that the drink of choice by most in the wine industry is beer!

On Dragon’s Den…

After a few beers I will endeavor to real dirt about Bill’s experience on Dragon’s Den in 2012. He explained the audition process and how one hour of filming with 8 cameras was unnerving enough then boiled down into 5 quick minutes we see on TV.  “Over 9,000 people audition and 200 pitches were selected to go before the Dragons,” explains Bill. “I was really hoping that Arlene or Jim would say – I’m in!” While the winery was mentioned several times, Bill’s focus was on pitching Bioflavia –a health bioflaviaproduct used made from the dried and crushed skins of red grapes from their organic vineyards.  This ‘wine waste’ contains high levels of natural and powerful antioxidants.  Bioflavia can be added as an ingredient in smoothies, cooking or baking.  “With the snap of Jim’s fingers, the dough of every Boston Pizza made could be enriched with a teaspoon of our product.” What happened in the Den?  Click to watch the video>>

Biodynamics 101

Bill & Marilyn are the driving force behind the winery’s organic and biodynamic practices. They are the first to tell you that they are fundamentally agriculturalists. Bill explained that his grandfather had a Jersey dairy farm in Richmond Hill.  Growing up, he’d always been surrounded by farmers.  Initially, Bill wanted to start an ice cream company using the rich Jersey milk from his grandfather’s dairy.  grapesThe hurdle came when he discovered that his family’s milk could not be separated out from other Jersey farms – unlike a winery. Long story shortened, Bill shelved the ice cream idea and ventured into the winery business.  “I wanted people to taste the terroir – the exact place where the fruit was grown.”

“We were drawn to biodynamics as it is a way to fully express the vineyard’s character in our wines. I did not want to make low end wines. There is no appeal or talking stick in making 2 buck chuck!”

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 land while taking into account the cycles of nature (ie. various stages of the moon) and there is a philosophical and spiritual aspect woven in too.

Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins (also a trained horticulturalist) explains more.  Growing practices are quite similar to organic agriculture, but a specific calendar is followed to help determine when activities such as pruning and fSouthbrook sorting grapesertilizing should be undertaken in the vineyards. In addition, a variety of treatments are applied to the soil, generally using ingredients that are derived from plants or animals that are integral to the property. Other approaches include planting cover crops between the vines that attract beneficial insects and using lambs to ‘mow’ these areas. Southbrook has 80-90 ewes in their herd.

Ann explained to Susan, “Biodynamics says the farm is an entire ‘living system’. The resulting practices are about quality – quality in the bottle and quality of life.”

Southbrook is the first biodynamic winery in Canada.  They keep company of other well-known wineries including Chapoutier and Domaine Leflaive of France. “Many of the wineries in the great wine regions of France are biodynamic”, Bill explains. “Like Southbrook, their wine labels do not herald their biodynamic certification.  You can tell just by the taste that the wine has soul.”

What is in Bill & Marilyn’s cellar?

There’s about 1800 – 2000 bottles mainly old Bordeaux, ports and Chardonnay. “Nothing fancy to look at but it is well organized with IKEA shelving and like most cellars, there are always cases of wine on the floor.”

 I’ll raise a glass to that! Enjoy your Savvy Selections.

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Since 2008, all of the yeast used in the winemaking process is natural yeast.  “We sold all of our commercial yeast and now use what is naturally in the air. Our vineyard is alive!” proudly explains Bill.

 

Triomphe Chardonnay 2013 VQA, $22.95southbrook chardonnay

Made with Chardonnay grapes picked at various times throughout October from 5 different organic vineyards in Niagara.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our tasting panel raved about this lively Chardonnay.  Notes of fresh juicy peach, grapefruit & apples follow through into the taste with a hint of nutmeg & vanilla.  A rich wine that is beautifully balanced, laced with subtle oak with a zip of acidity.  The soul of the wine definitely shines through!

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine is simply delicious on its own (I am enjoying as I write this eZine!), with pork tenderloin, sushi, crabcakes or fish. The Savvy Selections tasting panel had so many good recipes to share and so did the winery, that we have not one…but three recipes that hit the mark! Peach Pizza, Sunshine Salmon & a unique recipe for Banana Leaf Tilapia with Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 3-5 years.

Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2013, $21.95triomphe cabernet franc

Ontario continues to impress us with Cabernet Franc wines.  And this one is a fine example of how a big red wine can be made in a cold climate wine growing region. This wine contains 95% Cabernet Franc with a splash (5%) of Merlot to give it finesse.

Winemakers Tasting Notes: The wine presents a nose of red currant with notes of raspberry, savoury herbs and cedar wood. The palate echoes the fruit aromas supported by medium toast and firm tannins. The finish is of medium length and is driven by both fruit and savoury notes.

Note: our Savvy Selections panel tasted a different vintage, so the above notes are provided by the winery.

Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ!  Ribs, burgers or spring lamb chops would be a perfect pairing.

Cellaring: Ready now or can be cellared a further 3-5 years.

 

Whimsy! Married Young 2009 VQA $34.95Southbrook married young

As you might imagine, there is no end to experimenting at Southbrook. The Whimsy label is where Ann and the winemaking team stretches their talent and winemaking techniques to play!  Wines are made in small lot batches (so there are no big mistakes).  On the label, each dab of paint represents a different varietal in the Southbrook palette to make an interesting design element that is…simply whimsical.

Winemaker Notes: This blend is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc.  The juice of the two varieties were fermented separately, then blended prior to barrel aging (in French oak) in order to “marry” and create a wine of more complexity, depth and completeness.  Released in February 2015 after several years aging at the winery. 138 cases were produced….and Savvy Selections subscribers took many of them!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Gorgeous! A smooth, delicious deep red wine that has blackberry, boysenberry, black licorice, leather, cedar and forest floor (think of walking in the woods after a rain). Tannins have mellowed with age, with a zip of acidity that will smooth out with food (we tried it with old cheddar), and long lingering smoky finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Beef, beef, and beef! If you are vegetarian, then grilled mushrooms will be delish!

Cellaring: Ready now, no need to wait any longer.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay

Peach Pizza

From Southbrook’s Kitchen
Serves 4

Ingredients

flatbread
fresh peaches – from Niagara of course!
goat cheese
2 tbsp organic honey
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
olive oil
fresh basil

Method

Combine balsamic vinegar and organic honey with olive oil to taste. Stir until combined.

Half peaches and lightly brush with oil, to prevent sticking on the BBQ.

Place flesh side down on BBQ on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Brush flatbread with olive oil and kosher salt. Put on BBQ on medium heat for a couple minutes.

Remove peaches and flatbread.

Cut peaches onto the flatbread and sprinkle cheese onto pizza. Drizzle balsamic honey dressing on top.

Cook on top rack until cheese is melted. Remove and sprinkle chopped basil on top.

Cut and enjoy!

 

Another recipe to serve with

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay

Sunshine Salmon

From Kitchen at Publix
Serves 4

Ingredientssunshine salmon - Publix

2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
2 oranges
½ cup sweet white wine (or chicken broth)
4 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin removed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Method

Cut ½ orange into ¼ inch-thick slices (rounds), then cut slices into quarters. Squeeze remaining 1 ½ oranges for juice (about ½ cup).

Place wine, orange juice, garlic, dill, and orange slices in large sauté pan and cover; bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered 7 minutes.

Check fish for bones. Season salmon on both sides with garlic seasoning and pepper. Add salmon to wine mixture; simmer 3–4 minutes on each side or until salmon is opaque and separates easily. Transfer salmon to serving dish.

Add marmalade and mustard to wine mixture; cook and stir 1 minute or until marmalade dissolves and sauce thickens. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter (being gentle while stirring, so fruit stays intact). Pour sauce over salmon & serve.

 

Even more recipes to serve with Triomphe Chardonnay!

Spicy BBQ’d Banana Leaf Tilapia with Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

From Southbrook’s Kitchen
Serves 4

 Ingredients for Tilapia

4 pieces of tilapia
4 pieces of banana leaves
¼ Spanish onion
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili
1 tsp tumeric
½ tsp sea salt & cracked pepper
2 stalks of lemon grass
1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
¼ cup butter
8 wood skewers

Ingredients for Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

½ cup white wine
1 cup 35% cream
2 lemons – juiced
1 cup butter
4 pieces of baby bok choy
egg noodles
1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes

Method for Banana Leaf Tilapia

Finely dice Spanish onion, garlic, red chili (seeds removed) and lemon grass. Add salt, pepper, tumeric, vegetable oil and butter. Mix well.

Place tilapia on the banana leaf and spread marinade over fish. Wrap the banana leaf around the tilapia and secure with skewers.

Heat one side of the BBQ to high. Place wrapped fish on direct heat. Sear 2 minutes per side and then move wrapped fish off direct heat and finish cooking for 10 minutes with BBQ closed. Should reach 375°F.

Method for Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

In a large sauce pan, combine wine, cream and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until ½ of the volume remains.

Add 1 cup of butter. Stir constantly. Sauce will thicken with the addition of butter. Continue stirring until desired consistency is reached.

In a separate pot, steam baby bok choy. At the same time, cook egg noodles. Drain noodles.

Add baby bok choy and uncooked, diced cherry tomatoes. Slowly add Beurre Blanc and stir. Serve with Banana Leaf Tilapia on top of the noodles.


With Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc

BBQ Smoky Pork Ribs with Asian Slaw

From: Regan Kapach – Southbrook’s Assistant Winemaker

Serves several rib lovers!

Ingredients for RibsWINERY

1 side pork ribs
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, halved
1 to 2 litres beer
1 to 2 litres water
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp each salt & pepper
1 Tbsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp cloves
2 inches fresh ginger
1 cup homemade BBQ sauce

 Method for Ribs:

Portion ribs into ‘four-rib’ pieces for easier cooking and serving.

Parboil the ribs for 2 hours in mixture of half water/half beer (enough of each to just cover the ribs), plus the onion, garlic, ginger, bay leaf and spices. Remove from pot and refrigerate for half and hour.

Leftover boiling mixture can be strained and reduced to make an amazing beef/pork stew stock!

Fire up the barbie! Cook ribs until done to your liking.

Ingredients for Slaw

½ head of Chinese cabbage, shredded
1 good sized carrot, grated
1 handful of sweet peas, julienned
3 green onions, julienned
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
fresh cilantro to garnish

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Ingredients for Dressing

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over slaw.

 

 Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Ridgepoint Wines, a brother and sister team!

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Ridgepoint Wines

–  April 2015 –

At Ridgepoint Wines, it’s a family affair of a brother and sister.  The division of labour between the siblings is clear with Anna recreating her mother’s home-style recipes for the restaurant. Mauro Scarsellone is focused on producing wines that honour his grandparents and his Italian heritage.

signHe laughed when I asked him about his family’s involvement in the making of Ridgepoint wines. ‘Actually, they stay as far away as they can from the whole process.  Anna though, insists on tasting the wines.’ As he hurried toward me in the tasting room, Mauro explained that he was late for our meeting because he was putting out fires.  He was trying to fix a fermenter that had gone into a funk, and was dealing with the issue of having to re-create some labels because his naming proposal to the AGCO had been rejected. “You know, I’m an accountant by training, but I really just want to be a farmer.’

What inspired Ridgepoint’s successful combination of winery and restaurant? Mauro and Anna grew up experiencing their grandparents’ passion for wine and food. “They made wine in Italy from the grapes they grew on a small parcel of land.  When they moved to Canada, they kept making wine. As kids, we were thrilled to help them. I’ll never forget my grandfather’s comments when he started making wine from local Niagara grapes – he couldn’t understand why the wine wamauro and annas so awful’, recounts Mauro. (A side note: Mauro was using Ontario grown Italian Labrusca grapes. Typically, these grapes have a ‘foxy’ taste that results in not the most enjoyable characteristic for a table wine!)

As for Anna, the recipes she uses were learned from her mother, passed down from her grandmother…and they are passing along one to you in this blog.  Eating at Ridgepoint is like going to a typical family-owned ‘trattoria’ in a small town in Italy. The aromas are mouthwatering, the dishes classics of simple, tasty Italian cuisine. Wine and food complement each other, as do Mauro and Anna.

The tasting I did at the winery this past autumn, followed by our Savvy Selections Sommelier panel tasting recently, made it clear we were going to share with our subscribers a selection of the fabulous reds that Mauro crafted from the outstanding 2010 vintage:

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico VQA 2010 – a unique blend resulting in a velvety Appassimento-style wine

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot VQA 2010 – supple with notions of chocolate-coated cherries

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage VQA 2010 – carefully crafted from the fruit of select low-yield vines

On your next visit to Niagara, be sure to visit Ridgepoint.  You’ll probably find Mauro roaming the vineyards or entertaining in the tasting room. Then wander into the restaurant to meet Anna as you enjoy a meal of her Italian pasta or pizza. You’ll think you were in Italy.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…
Ridgepoint Wines

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

For Mauro and Anna, it was a long road from the joy of helping their grandparents to make wine through their traditional business careers to being proprietors of their own winery and restaurant. ‘Our parents discouraged us from having anything to do with farming. They remembered how difficult it was in Italy, and the inevitable dependency on the whims of Mother Nature,’ remembers Mauro. This advice seems particularly prophetic this year, as we emerge from one of the most frigid winters on record.

Battling with Old Man Winter & Mother Nature

Brock University’s Cool Climate Viticulture program does annual assessments of bud survival, and the early results for the 2014/2015 winter are distressing, particularly in vineyards on the escarpment. Bud (on the vines) survival rates may be as low as 10% for some varieties, while others may reach 70-80%. ‘Our most significant challenge has always been trying to get our vines through the winter. While Ontario’s growing season is long enough and warm enough to ensure grapes ripen, the varieties that we most enjoy producing wine with, such as Nebbiolo and Merlot, are the ones with the lowest survival rates’, Mauro explains.

Ridgepoint wineryWith the many sleepless nights he experienced through this past January and February: ‘This year, Lake Erie is frozen, so the strong westerly winds are not moderated in any way as they make their way over the Niagara Escarpment. Those strong winds also make it difficult for us to use our wind machines, which are the usual defense against these conditions. So, sometimes, we just have to pray…’

As we discussed this winter’s impact, Mauro came back to his love of Niagara and winemaking. ‘My sister and I both graduated from York University with business degrees. I went on to become a Chartered Account with Price Waterhouse Coopers. I was on a business trip to the Niagara region when I first experienced the local wine industry. It was love at first sip! I was so impressed with the work being done to improve wine quality. After doing some research, we thought we could contribute something to the industry by planting varieties that we really enjoy drinking, including Nebbiolo.’

mapThe Ridgepoint property was purchased in 1995. ‘We were attracted to the Beamsville Bench partly because this area brings us back to our roots—the hillside vineyards of Italy, where the highest quality grapes are usually grown. We felt the bench offered the same potential.’ The vineyards were planted in 1997, about half of the 18 acres dedicated to Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the balance to Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and, of course, Nebbiolo.

The first to plant Nebbiolo

Ridgepoint has the distinction of being the first Ontario winery to produce a commercial bottling of Nebbiolo.  Says Mauro, ‘As an artisanal winery, we are passionate about what we do and are involved in every step of the process, from the vineyard to bottling to retailing, and to savouring our wine with typical Italian cuisine. True to our Latin blood, we’re stubborn in our belief that Ontario can make great red wines. To this end, we continue to innovate with the introduction of our Ripasso and Appassimento wines’ (using dried grapes in fermentation to add depth and intensity to the wine).

MauroandSteve2jpegIn this quest for great wines, Mauro has worked with a number of assistant winemakers and winemaking consultants. Steve Byfield, of Nyarai Cellars, worked with Mauro as assistant winemaker earlier in his career. Steve and Mauro re-established their winemaking partnership in 2013, with Steve acting as a consultant. What does Mauro look for in a winemaker? “We desire and appreciate the creativity that Steve offers, helping to research and use new techniques, yeasts and enzymes that will help us create wines with greater fruit, color, structure and balance. We value the opportunity to work with someone who shares our goals and winemaking style.”

Eat, Sleep & Dream about Wine

Mauro and Anna share the characteristics of all entrepreneurs – their absolute commitment to their endeavour, and their willingness to deal with disappointments and move forward. ‘We eat, sleep and dream about Ridgepoint. We are not focused on making wines that critics worship. Rather, we’re excited about making wines that can be enjoyed on any occasion and shared with friends and family. Our pride has taken a few bumps over the years, mainly from Mother Nature as she provides us with yet another harsh winter this year. But we persevere and keep bouncing back to continue to push the envelope.’

While Mauro’s goal may not be to create ‘worshipped’ wines, I know you’ll agree that the wines in this Savvy Selection are worthy of contemplation, cellaring and sharing with your friends.

Here’s to Mauro and Anna… and bring on those great reds!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico 2010 VQA, $20.00

Ridgepoint bottlesThis small-batch wine is aged in aged French and American oak for up to 24 months. It’s predominantly Merlot, with a small portion of Cabernet Franc and fully air dried (almost to the point of raisins) Aglianico grapes added for depth and intensity in aromas and flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our tasting panel loved this unique wine, with its rich, ripe berry and plum notes, hints of dried fruit and spice. It’s full bodied, generous and velvety, the texture warm and spicy, the tannins supple, with a clean acidity that lifts the tasty fruit flavours.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this unique blend with classic Italian meat pasta dishes.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years.

 

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot 2010 VQA, $25.00

Only in vintages that produce ‘super ripe’ grapes is this Merlot produced. Fermented on the skins for up to 2 weeks, the wine in then aged in French and American oak for up to 24 months. Each barrel is tasted, and only those meeting Mauro’s exacting standards are selected for this Reserve.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Aromas of red fruit, plum, cedar, spice and vanilla are predominant on the nose.  “Its outstanding!”, comments Velma during the panel tasting.  Dry, medium-full bodied, the wine shows great integration—supple tannins and fine acidity establish the framework for ripe plum and cherry fruit, notes of chocolate-coated cherry and spiced vanilla adding to the savoury taste experience. Reflecting the excellent vintage, the wine finishes warm, spicy and fruit filled.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with duck or pork roast.

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

 

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage 2010 VQA $30.00

Equal parts of the Cabernets and Merlot were harvested at 2 tons/acre from specially selected rows, fermented together, then aged in new French oak for about 14 months to create this powerful, cellar-worthy wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The special care taken with this wine has created a dry, full bodied wine with great complexity, a velvety texture and beautiful balance of fruit, supple tannins and clean acidity. Cassis, plum and red berry, floral and earth notes, vanilla and spice layer and mingle on the nose and palate. Warm on the finish, the ripe berry flavours shine through.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine will sing when it is served with a prime rib or roast with all of the trimmings.

Cellaring: Ready now, it will cellar 3-7 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico…

Potato Cake with Soppressata

From www.bcliquorstores.com
Serves 12

Ingredients

4 large eggs
½ C homogenized milk
¼ C ricotta cheese
½ tsp dried oregano, crushed
4 lb. russet potatoes (about 6 large)
1 ½ C freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano, Pecorino or Grana Padano cheese
½ lb soppressata, prosciutto or salami, cut into 1” pieces
¼ C finely chopped flat leaf parsley
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ C fresh bread crumbs
¾ lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼” slices

 Method

Preheat oven to 450F. In mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add milk, ricotta and oregano, mix well and set aside. Boil whole potatoes until tender, 30-40 minutes. Drain & peel potatoes. While still warm, pass through a food mill or grate into large mixing bowl. Fold in Parmesan, then stir in soppressata and parsley. Gently mix in egg mixture. Do not over-mix or potato starch will make mixture tough.

Butter 9” springform pan with 2 Tbsp butter & dust with some bread crumbs. Transfer half potato mixture into pan and gently smooth I to edges. Spread mozzarella slices over potato mixture to within ½” of edge. Top with remaining potato mixture and carefully smooth over with wet spatula. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs dot with remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Bake until light golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to stand 15 minutes before unmolding. Serve in wedges with a green salad. Can be made the day before, covered and refrigerated. Reheat at 350F uncovered for 30 minutes.

 

With Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot

Ridgepoint Bolognese

from the Chef at Ridgepoint WineryRidgepoint bolanese
Serves a crowd!

Ingredients

2.5 lbs each ground beef & pork
Canola oil for browning
1 lb. carrots, peeled and diced
2 small white onions, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
1 ½ cup red wine
Quality Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar reduction

Method

Using a large frying pan, heat canola oil on medium-high heat and brown meat, in portions if necessary, until cooked through about 80%.

Add vegetables and wine, reduce heat and simmer until wine is reduced and sauce achieves desired thickness.

Dress your choice of fresh cooked pasta with a light tomato sauce, spoon over the Bolognese, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar reduction.

Steve & Mauro in the barrel room

 

With Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage…

Garlic Prime Rib

www.allrecipes.com
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

1 10lb. prime rib roast
10 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme

 Method

Ridgepoint restaurantPlace the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, letting the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than 1 hour.Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325F and continue roasting for an additional 60-75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 135F.

Allow the roast to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving, so the meat can retain its juices.

Serve with roast potatoes and a medley of roast vegetables.

 Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Nyarai Cellars – virtual winery in Ontario

Posted by Cathy

Friday, July 25th, 2014
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 Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Nyarai Cellars

– July 2014 –

In Vino Veritas, in wine there is truth… and truthfully Nyarai wines are to be experienced. Overlooking the Georgian Bay, lounging in an Adirondack chair that is bright red cherry colour reminiscent of Pinot Noir wines, while sipping on a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier or Veritas from Nyarai Cellars is just about as perfect as it gets! And our Savvy Sommelier Cathy Law did exactly this.

What is a virtual winery?

Steve ByfieldWhile the setting is absolutely glorious, you will not find any of Nyarai vineyards here. Not even a building with a sign stating Nyarai CellarsSteve Byfield (left) is the owner and winemaker of a virtual winery.  Never heard of that? It is essentially a winery within a winery.

In this case, Nyarai resides within the scenic Coffin Ridge Winery near Meaford, Ontario in the Georgian Bay area. In a co-operative manner, Steve uses the facilities at Coffin Ridge to produce his delectable wines. He is a part of a growing industry of winemakers ‘without walls’ who source their grapes from hand selected grape growers to ensure that Nyarai wines are made from the finest quality grapes available. Rather than draining the financial resources to erect beautiful buildings and tasting rooms, winemakers of virtual wineries lease, share or use the equipment and facilities of an already existing winery. No doubt this keeps their overhead low and creativity high.

Our Savvy Sommelier Cathy Law spent a lovely afternoon interviewing Steve who lives in Hamilton and makes a bi-weekly visit to Coffin Ridge to check on his wines.  Steve surprised Cathy with a story about his musical background then serenaded her with Gleeful tales of his winemaking journey. Since his debut with Savvy Selections in 2008, Steve has delighted Ontario wine enthusiasts with a symphony of notable wines.  You will see exactly what I mean when you open one of the bottles in this month’s Savvy Selections.

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

Sauvignon Blanc 20012 $19.95 – the flagship wine  that was awarded Bronze Medal at the National wine Awards of Canada.
Viognier 2012 $21.95 – a hard to find grape variety in Ontario & we were so excited to introduce you to this elegant wine.
Veritas Reserve 2010 $26.95 – a highly sought after wine that we made sure that there was enough to include in the Savvy Selections.  Now it is almost all gone!

Cheers & enjoy your Nyarai wines!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Nyarai Cellars

Presented by Cathy Law

 

Nyarai (Nah-Rye) is a word from a South African dialect that means humility. This aptly named winery epitomizes Steve in every sense of the word.  From my visit with him, I think that he exudes humility in all aspects of his winemaking journey.

Steve explained to me that he chose the name in consultation with his business partner Rod Ingram as it is an expression that encompasses all that he believes in. I can see it in Steve’s eyes that he is humbled by the land and how we should respect what we have by letting nature take its course.  As an aside, Steve mentioned that Nyarai is often a name often given to first born girl in the African American community.

And all that jazz…

Steve’s passion for wine began with a part time summer job while he was studying music. He first worked at one of the “make your own” wine shops.  It was there where he developed an interest in the process and the chemistry of winemaking. Completing his degree in music performanc, all the while beginning a teaching position as well as entertaining people with his jazz band did not diminish his desire to be part of the wine industry.  Steve began a natural progression from entertaining people with music to tantalizing their palates with his burgeoning vintners ability.

In the fall of 2000, Steve joined Southbrook Vineyards (in their original location near Richmond Hill) as a consultant where he began his winemaking career. In 2006, he moved on to the Beamsville Bench region where he has since worked as Assistant Winemaker at Ridgepoint Wines, Calamus Estates Winery and as Winemaker at Thomas and Vaughn Estates Winery (now Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery.  In 2008, through a chain of circumstance and chance meetings with the owners of Coffin Ridge Winery, Nayarai Cellars became a reality. 

Creating a co-operative community

steve-hands_208x198Steve is all about sourcing his grapes from conscientious growers who show respect for the vine and the land. The grapes are sourced from Redfoot Vineyards Beamsville and Watson Vineyards Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Steve explains, “Everything happens in the vineyard. We simply extend the process in the cellar. The goal of Nyarai is to convey a sense of place.”

Steve believes in a minimal intervention from “bud to burst”.  “Ninty percent of the winemaking journey takes place in the vineyard.  From grape, to bottle, to your table, I want you to enjoy what the terroir -land, water, sunshine, region – has to offer.  I strive to create a sense of place”, offers Steve.

Virtual vs. Reality

Steve’s virtual winery allows for an ever expanding exploration in creativity with regards to wine making techniques and varietals. He is striving to continue to grow his wine business in a sustainable way, cautiously without diluting the quality of his product. In the upcoming months, Steve will release Cadence VQA 2011 a delectable red blend. Cadence, a word showing the lineage to music indicates the tempo of song, everything coming together to act as one. Steve tips his musical hat by blending of 42% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah grapes (different proportions than Veritas).  “It is a bright and full bodied wine.” comments Steve.  Hint: As with all Nyarai wines, this will be a small lot wine (aka limited stock). If you would like some of this wine, simply call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to arrange a shipment for you. 

“My passions are music and wine”

One of the most exciting moments in Steve’s winemaking venture was finding out that he was congratulated on his product in the Wall Street Journal. As you would expect, Steve said with a smile, “Now, that was really cool”. 

Here’s to Steve & his wonderful wines!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

sauv blanc2012 Sauvignon Blanc VQA $19.95

This wine is the essence and flagship wine of Nyarai Cellars. Sauvignon Blanc is Steve’s favorite grape to make into wine.  “Sauvignon Blanc is my passion.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Beautiful aromas,  good acidity with some mineral on the palate. This is a refreshing wine for summertime sipping.  With its long citrus finish, it is a well-balanced and extremely well made wine.

Food Pairing Suggestions:Classic pairings with Sauvignon Blanc include asparagus,  fresh-from-the-garden peasand white fish.  Cathy offers a recipe of Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken  that would do the trick!

Cellaring: This wine is best served young …so open it up now to enjoy the crisp & refreshing tastes.

 

viognier2012 Viognier VQA $21.95

I have a love affair with Viognier, based on what Mother Nature has given us this year should be something special.   This hard-to-find grape variety (in Ontario vineyards) was originally grown in France & is becoming increasingly popular around the world.  Few Viogniers are made in Ontario…and when the Savvy Team finds them, they are shared & are usually met with a big smile.  Once you like Viognier, you will be on the lookout for more – guaranteed.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Made with an interesting & artistic blend of Viognier grapes that 62% were fermented in stainless steel tanks while the remaining 38% was fermented in oak barrels.

The result we all agreed is a well balanced and elegant white wine. Orange peel, lemon and apricot aromas come to mind that continues through into the taste. “this is a humdinger” said our Savvy Selections tasting panel with a smile.

Food Pairing Suggestions: A versatile white wine is delicious on its own, with shellfish, chicken or with the summer classic of Cedar Planked Salmon with a ginger and fruit jam glaze – recipe follows.

 

veritas2010 Veritas Reserve VQA $26.95

“I love the anticipation and expectation just prior to the harvest, walking through the vines, looking at the grapes”, says Steve with a smile.

This one-of-a-kind blend is made with 40% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah grapes.  This wine showcases the amazing 2010 growing season that Mother Nature provided. “Oh WOW!” was said by everyone in the Savvy Selections Tasting Panel.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A full bodied red that is loaded with red and black fruit.  A velvet & plush texture (aka tannins) with every sip. “Fire up the BBQ for this wine” suggested Amanda during the tasting.

Food Pairing Suggestions: “Anything with dark chocolate would be perfect” commented Debbie.  Sunday Roast Beef dinner with all the trimmings, game meats, BBQed ribs or a thick rib eyed steak. Cathy offers the recipe of Mushrooms Stuffed with Parmesan Cheese and Almonds that would be a hit with this wine.

Cellaring: Ready to be enjoyed now or can be cellared for upwards to 5 years…but when it is this good, why wait?

 

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Nyarai Sauvignon Blanc….

Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken

From the Canadian Living Light and Healthy Cookbook
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups buttermilk (500 ml)or low fat yogurt
¼ cup lemon juice (50ml)
4 chicken quarters
2 ½ pounds-1.25 kg total
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Lemon slices

Method

In a heavy plastic bag, combine buttermilk and lemon juice; add chicken and a few rosemary sprigs. Close bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least 2 or up to 8 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Remove chicken from the buttermilk mixture, scraping off excess. Place on greased grill over medium-high setting; cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Turn the chicken over; top each piece with 2 or 3 lemon slices and rosemary sprigs. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes longer or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Serve garnished with more lemon and rosemary.

 

With Nyarai Viognier ….

Cedar Planked Salmon à la Cathy

From Savvy Sommelier Cathy Law’s Kitchen
Serves 4 to 6 (depending on size of filet)

Ingredients

1 fresh fillet of salmon
2 tbsp. fresh ginger chopped
Enough ginger infused peach or apricot jam to spread evenly over the salmon
Cracked pepper and salt fish to taste

Method

Submerge your cedar plank in water with a little of the Nyarai Viognier (if you dare! Alternatively, use another white wine). Let the plank soak for about 2 hours. The longer the plank soaks the better as there will be less burning of the wood.

Heat your BBQ or Smoker to medium high.

Place the salmon on the plank skin side down. Set the plank on the pre heated grill and close the lid.

Grill salmon for 10 to 20 minutes until it starts to flake easily. Carefully remove the plank from the grill.

Serve with your choice of accompaniments and a luscious glass of Nyarai Viognier.

 

With Nyarai Veritas Reserve …

Mushrooms Stuffed with Parmesan Cheese and Almonds

The Wine and Food Lovers Diet Cookbook by Dr. Phillip Tirman, M.D

Ingredients

1/3 cup almonds finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon olive oil plus more for brushing
¼ cup chopped yellow onions
1 egg
½ cup freshly grated parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 large button or cremini mushrooms (about ½ pound total ), stems removed

Method

Preheat oven to 350F

Lightly oil a baking sheet. In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring constantly, until they just begin to turn light brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately pour them into a small bowl to allow to cool.

Chop the almonds finely and set aside.

In a skillet over medium high heat, warm the oil until it simmers. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until softened and slightly brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Stir in the almonds, eggs, Parmesan, mustard, and nutmeg until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Brush the mushroom caps all over with oil. Spoon the cheese mixture into the caps, dividing evenly. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms stuffed side up, on the prepared sheet. Bake until the filling is lightly browned and the mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Enjoy these mushroom delights with a brilliant glass on Nyarai Cellars Veritas.

 

Have some Veritas in your glass left to enjoy with chocolate?

Good dark chocolate (from Belgium especially) is a perfect pairing with this fruit driven red blend. Also, play with this pairing with a chocolate infused with chilli or a cherry truffle filling  – a unique pairing experience!

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Riverview Cellars – a little winery making BIG wines

Posted by Erin

Monday, June 16th, 2014
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Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Riverview Cellars

– June 2014 –

 

Riverview Cellars is boutique winery that is a true family affair. There are 2 generations working together in harmony with a shared vision and passion to create beautiful, approachable wines produced in small batches. The family has been on the land since 1975 starting out with fruit farm. In 1992, the transition began with the first rows of vineyards took shape with Gewürztraminer vines that are now producing award winning vintages – more on that later!

What you need to know now is that the Pillitteri family comprises of Salvatore (Sam) & his wife Angelia (Lina) as well as their 4 children Angela, Maria, Connie & Michael (Mike).  Together this tight knit family fulfilled a dream of opening the winery in 2000 and it has been going gang-busters ever since.

Our Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling chatted with prodigal son Mike Pillitteri who is the General Manager to catch up with what has been happening at the winery since we last featured them in Savvy Selections (in 2011 – during their 10th anniversary) and to see what he thinks will make his winery THE place to see on your summer wine tour of Niagara.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Angelina’s Reserve Gewürztraminer VQA 2012– $19.95 This wine is so consistent, it wins medals year after year.

Salvatore’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2011– $24.95 A signature wine & a personal favourite of Mike’s. He is very proud that we selected this wine as it just won a silver medal at the Ontario Wine Awards held in April.

Salvatore’s Reserve Syrah VQA 2012 $29.95 An incredible red wine from Niagara-on-the-Lake that is hard to come by as only 207 cases in produced. These vines did not fare well during the past harsh winter, so Mike is doubtful that there will be any 2014 Syrah wine made.

Where to find those hard-to-find wines…

Due to the small batch nature of wine produced at Riverview, it is rare to find a wide selection of their wines at the LCBO.  If you would like additional bottles of your Riverview favourites – or other featured Ontario wineries – just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.cato arrange an additional delivery for you. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines!

Do you like Rosés?

Our Savvy Sommeliers have been hard at it, tasting 30+ recently released Rosés from across Ontario to pick out the best of the best for you to enjoy over the summer.  In the upcoming few weeks, we will be launching a new case of wine offering – that will make you think pink all summer long.  Stay tuned…

Cheers & enjoy your Riverview wines!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Riverview Cellars Estate Winery

Presented by Erin Bolling

Now that summer has arrived (fingers crossed) my thoughts are turning to vacation time, patio entertaining and BBQ – right?  The wines from Riverview Cellars suit all palates and foods year round with their style that will impress a connoisseur and make a novice feel comfortable with each bottle they open.  From the winery tasting room, to the glass, Riverview creates wine enjoyment. The following quote on Trip Advisor seems to sum up the experience: “We are tourists, not wine connoisseurs. They made us feel welcome and very comfortable.” Meanwhile, our panel of Savvy Sommeliers was impressed to the point there was debate about which wines to offer this month. Read on to see why Riverview is a must-visit when you plan your next trip to the Niagara wine region.

A family Affair

Mike and familyFirstly allow me to take a line to congratulate Mike and his wife Sarah (in photo on left) on the birth of their second son Leo a few weeks ago. I was amazed and pleased he had so much time for me with all the winery work while juggling fatherhood. The fact that we spoke by phone did not dampen his ability to portray his true passion for what he does and how grateful he is to be part of this family run winery.

His father Sam is his mentor and colleague. Sam focuses on the vineyard while Mike is the General Manager. Mike’s three sisters helped to launch the winery and contributed their artistic talents to developing the Riverview brand. You can still find the family matriarch (and mother) Lina working occasionally in the gift shop. While Mike’s sons are only 3 yearsold and 7 weeks – who knows – perhaps his boys will continue the next generation of the family business.

The Little Winery that Could

Riverview is a ‘boutique’ winery. This may be a buzz word these days, yet Riverview lives up to the image that a boutique winery evokes. The wines are made in small batches and carefully hand crafted by the winemaker. These wines are difficult to find at the LCBO because their production quotas are often not enough; what a loss for those who do not subscribe to Savvy Selections (shameless plug but I can’t help it)!

Mike stressed the personal relationship he & his team strive to establish with each and every customer. Even as a GM, can find Mike in the tasting ready to welcome visitors. For Savvy Selections subscribers, Mike asked me to mention that if you call in advance he’ll be happy to conduct a winery tour himself with you!  Equally, we look forward to introducing you to the Pillitteri family when they participate in an upcoming Savvy Event.

Boutique wineries are often thought to produce better wines, and this is definitely in the case of Riverview. In fact the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the Gewurztraminer reigned over the big wineries with recently having won silver medals at the Ontario Wine Awards. This is certainly impressive – Congrats Mike!

The Elephant in the Room…..

The trees may be in full leaf right now but I’m sure we all remember the harsh winter that just passed. Again, Mike’s candidness with me was a pleasure because of course I’m curious about what we can expect from the 2014 season (as far as he can tell at this point).

Old man winter did not treat all vines equally.  Mike reports that the Syrah vines in Niagara were decimated. Cool climate Syrah is gaining in popularity with its fresh, peppery qualities. When you open this bottle make sure to savour it….this wine is sourced from a trusted farmer in NOTL who was not able to save any of the Syrah after this past winter. The Syrah in your Savvy Selections is a hot commodity (and not even listed on Riverview’s web site).

Overall at Riverview, the vineyards seem to have fared approximately at a 60%-70% survival rate – and this is good news. The Niagara River sub-appellation has an extra pocket of protection and benefits from the lake effect as well as close proximity to the Niagara River. This results in earlier spring warming and moderate temperatures that shelter the vines from frost that result in an overall longer growing season.

Planning a Vacation?

Riverview Cellars barn - low resWith a young family it can be hard to get away. Mike feels Riverview has something to offer the whole family. They grow their own peaches, nectarines, cherries & apples that are often available to enjoy with their special cheese plates to enjoy on the winery patio. In addition to wine, there is grape juice for the kids.

This summer Riverview will be hosting local food trucks and hosting the annual ‘Fontana Party’ in August. Mike told me that since they’re part of the cyclist network he keeps a set of Allen wrenches nearby in case a bicycle breaks down he can help!

The cycling path follows along the river and is across from the winery so plan to bring or rent a bike and enjoy the scenery and great wines. Now that is a great way to explore Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Reserve Gewürztraminer VQA 2012 $19.95

When asked what wine he most often drinks Mike didn’t hesitate in stating this Gewürztraminer is the one! He enjoys the complexity of this wine and its ability to match with Asian and Indian cooking. The Savvy Selections tasting panel has to agree. In fact, Mike shared with us his personal recipe for Pad Thai that he regularly serves for his friends & cooking group ‘Dudes with Food’.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A classic example of Gewürztraminer. The first thing we noticed was the aromatic nose – teasing us with floral roses and ginger spice. The taste follows through with lychee, mango and apricot. The viscous mouth feel is like honey and the finish is satisfying and long, slightly sweet and spicy. Yum!

Suggested Food Pairing: Hands down, Gewürztraminer is one of the best food wines to serve with exotic foods. Whether you’re in the mood for Asian, Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine, you’ll find a happy match with anything spicy.

 

Salvatore’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2011$24.95

A silver medal winner of 2014 Ontario Wine Awards, Mike is especially proud of this since 2011 vintage was not one of the best years for this grape in Niagara. He felt the upgraded drainage of the vineyard done 5 years ago helped hold in the nutrients that translated to this winning wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:This Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of strawberry, rhubarb, cranberry and allspice with hints of dark chocolate that follow through on the finish. It is a well integrated wine with a smooth, juicy finish that lasts just long enough.

Suggested Food Pairing:  The Savvy Sommeliers agreed that this would be another great BBQ wine or take a pause to enjoy it with mushroom risotto, a Sunday roast or event pasta with meat sauce. With such a versatile wine, let’s try something completely different and pour a glass to unwind with an artisan cheese plate loaded with Canadian cheeses – just like they serve at the winery.

 

Salvatore’s Reserve Syrah VQA 2012 $29.95

According to the newly released Maclean’s Magazine special edition ‘Wine in Canada’, Syrah may be the new hot grape grown in Canada’s cool climate. Our Savvy Selections tasting panel certainly attests that Riverview may be one of the trail blazers in popularizing this grape in Ontario with this outstanding wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:   “Pow!”,  “Hmm”, and “Aaahh” were heard simultaneously around the table when this wine was poured into the tasting glass. It is a deep red wine with earth, warm spice, fresh pepper, loads of fruit such as pomegranate, raspberry, blackberry and chocolate notes. At 13.1% it is not an overly alcoholic Syrah but it still packs a warm spicy punch and finish to match.

Suggested Food Pairing: There was no question that this is a wine that begs for the BBQ. We bantered back and forth between ideas of grilled duck, ribs or steak…but in the end have settled on steak with a mushroom sauce. No matter what you drink this with the peppery freshness of the Syrah will be a winning combination with anything from your grill.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Angelina’s Reserve Gewurztraminer VQA 2012…

Pad Thai
From Mike’s Kitchen

Ingredients

1 package of pad thai noodles (approx. 400g)
½ white onion (sliced julienne)
1 clove garlic
1 tea spoon of shredded ginger
2 table spoons coconut oil
2 table spoons peanut butter
2 large carrots (sliced julienne)
1 large red pepper (sliced julienne)
12-15 large shrimp uncooked
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
2-6 drops of sirachi sauce (depends on desired heat)
1 green onion1 handful of cilantroSalt & pepper

Method

Get large wok ready to a medium heat.

Put vegetable oil and toasted sesame oil in pan while adding onions, garlic, ginger. Sautee until translucent, then add sliced carrots and peppers along with peanut butter, coconut oil, sweet chili sauce, and srirachi .

Boil noodles until soft and add to wok when ready.

Add shrimp into wok and cook with mixture until the shrimp turns pink.  Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste.

Toss frequently and serve, enjoy!

 

With Salvatore’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2011…

Artisan Cheese Plate

Holiday-Cheese-BoardWhen it comes to pairing wine with cheese there are no hard and fast rules.  It is a world of ‘drink what you like and eat what you like’. As a rule of thumb, Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with hard cheeses such as Old Cheddar and Parmesan. Additionally, soft Blue Cheese, Gorgonzola or semi-soft Gouda would do the trick.

We turned to our Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons for specific recommendations of cheeses to match this Cabernet Sauvignon.   For more cheese ideas, read Vanessa’s blog: The Curd on the Street

 

Lankaaster Aged Glengarry Fine Cheese, Alexandria Ontario

Lankaaster from Glengarry Fine Cheese

 

2013 Global Cheese Awards – Supreme Global Champion 

Named for its local region (“kaas” the Dutch word for cheese), aged for 14 to 24 months, this extra old batch of Lancaster is from gourmet artisan cheese maker pioneer Margaret Morris. 

Vanessa’s Notes: Firm to hard cow’s milk cheeses comes shaped in a loaf or wheel, covered in a waxy rind is a Gouda-style after Dutch farmstead cheese. It’s rich, dense & chewy with intense buttery, fruity, caramelized nutty flavors that linger forever.

Bonnechère Back Forty Artisan Cheese, Lanark, Ontario

Bonnechere from Back Forty ArtisanRecently changed ownership, with new & very young cheesemakers at the helm who have in the cheese biz for just over a year, this striking cheese has not changed. If you see this cheese, don’t blink, don’t hesitate, snap it up immediately.  (it is great with craft beer too!)

Vanessa’s Notes: Bonnechère is one-of- a-kind artisan cheese.  It’s a semi-firm, double pressed and unique both inside and out.  A beautiful, chestnut patterned toasted rind covers the interior smooth ivory paste.  Hand torching gives Bonnechère smoky aromas and a very distinct caramel flavor.  As it ages, these characteristics amplify the tangy, sweet, and fruity body of the cheese.  Sour milk lingers with a slight amount of acidity. Produced in very small quantities with seasonal milk, it’s a hot commodity.

Dragon’s Breath Blue Cheese That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm, Nova Scotia

2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix finalist

A rare find! Take Note the recipe for this cheese is a closely guarded family secret.

Vanessa’s Notes: Unique in shape and size, these small cylinders are aged only a few weeks then coated with wax for ripening another 2-6 months. The flavor and texture varies by season, more buttery/creamy in the summer months with higher fat content in the milk. Note sharp blue flavor, moist texture with fruity notes, and little blue veining depending on exposure to air. More than worth the shipping charges!

Bleu D’Élizabeth Fromagerie de la Presbytere, Warwick Quebec

Bleu D'Elizabeth, Fromagerie de la Presbytere by Vanessa Simmons2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Category Winner: Blue Cheese& Organic Cheese

2013 Sélection Caseus, Quebec Fine Cheese Awards Best of Show Winner: Gold, Emeritus & Blue-Veined Cheese Category 

Vanessa’s Notes:A beautiful, semi-soft, raw organic cow’s milk blue cheese, it has a natural rind with spots of dark clay.  The creamy, silky, straw-colored paste is speckled with slate & blue-green veins throughout. Rich in flavor, with a hint of sweetness, spice, & salt, it pairs beautifully with iced wine, cider or port.

 

Building a Cheese Board with Pizazz

To create a cheese plate that will undoubtedly create ooohs and aaahs, Vanessa offers these tips in a recent blog: How to create a festive cheese board

Mix it up

Consider taste, style and texture. Choose a theme — region, milk type (cow, sheep, goat, buffalo) or category (fresh, soft, semi-soft, washed, firm, hard, blue). 3-5 cheeses display well on a board or serve one stellar cheese as an appetizer, or dessert. Buying cheeses that look different will offer visual appeal to your table. 5-10gms/cheese/person is a good rule of thumb.

Holiday-Cheese-BoardServe cheese with star treatment

Serve at room temperature. Offer one knife per cheese. Don’t cut up small pieces in advance. Allow breathing room between cheeses so aromas don’t mix. Use an interesting wooden board, cross cut log, plate, slate or marble tiles or tiered trays for visual appeal. Keep it simple and your cheese will shine.

Compliment your cheese

Serve specialty breads, gourmet crackers, fresh seasonal or dried fruits, figs, dates, raw or toasted nuts, olives, caramelized or pickled onions or milder charcuterie items as accompaniments

Store cheese properly

Wrap leftovers of soft, semi-soft and washed rind cheeses in parchment or cheese paper, and pop into a small Tupperware or Ziplock bag. Refrigerate in a container in the vegetable drawer (for high humidity).

Have a cheese tip for us?

If you find a particular good match with the Riverview Cabernet Sauvignon, let us know!  Send us your tip to cheers@savvycompany.ca or Tweet us at @SavvyCompany or directly with Vanessa @SavvyVanessa

 

With Riverview Salvatore’s Reserve Syrah VQA 2012…

Grilled Peppercorn Steak

From Foodnetwork.com
Serves 6

Ingredients

(10 -12 ounce) New York Strip Steaks
1 garlic clove, bruised, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil (or as needed)
1 cup cracked peppercorns, preferably a blend of black and white (approximate amount) or 1 cup fresh coarse ground black pepper (approximate amount)
salt, to taste

Method

Pat steaks dry with paper towels & rub both sides of each steak with garlic, then brush lightly with olive oil.

Line large baking sheet or tray with waxed paper.

Spread thin layer of pepper on plate, lightly coat both sides of steak with pepper, and place on waxed paper. Repeat with remaining steaks and additional pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare charcoal for grilling (or heat broiler); just before grilling, lightly salt both sides of steaks. Grill steaks over hot fire or broil 4 inches from heat until browned and crusty on outside but still pink at center, about 5 minutes each side for medium-rare.

Transfer steaks to serving plates and serve at once.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

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Heavenly wines made at Devils Wishbone

Posted by Patti

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring The Devils Wishbone Winery & Vineyard

– May 2014 –

 

Did you know there are so many wineries are right in our back yard? It’s true the Savvy Team is always travelling great distances to discover new wine regions for Savvy Selections and yet only 270km from Ottawa and 240km from Toronto we find Prince Edward County (PEC) on the shores of Lake Ontario and seemingly surrounded on all sides by water. This emerging region – a recognized VQA wine region since 2007 – offers a tremendous variety of wines from a new breed of winemakers who have built a community of collaboration to craft fine wines. When speaking to these winemakers and owners about what it is they do, their passion oozes. And, passion creates wonderful wines!

Come & get lost in The County

One of the joys of  Prince Edward County is getting lost on the country roads. A few years ago, I was coming from Some Where, going Some Where-else when low & behold, I came across The Devils Wishbone. Their winery and vineyards sit along County Road 7 and you reach them by wandering along a road with rock and shale outcroppings on one side of the road and views of Adolphus Reach on the other. It truly is a beautiful location.

What’s in a name?

The Devils Wishbone seems like a curious name for a winery but it is one rooted deeply in the history of the county. Back approximately 15,000 years ago when the glaciers retreated from this area they left a soil comprised of clay and loam on a limestone substrata. The amount of soil varies greatly from approximately 2” – 10” and the area where we find The Devil’s Wishbone, when allocated to one of the early settler’s, was actually in the shape of a wishbone. Because the soil was so poor for farming, those settlers called this area “The Devils Wishbone”.

Paul Gallagher, a retired accountant from Toronto, will tell you more of the story when you visit.  Savvy Sommelier Patti Petty had two interviews & remembers Paul stating, “We may be in concert with the Devil but we make heavenly wines”!

Paul calls the vineyards his “children” and the grapes are his “babies”. All of The Devils Wishbone wines are personal to Paul and he won’t pick a favorite…he loves them all. Our Sommeliers tasted them all…and loved them too. But we had to make a choice for you.

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

2012 Riesling VQA, Prince Edward County – a heavenly wine that… Dances with the Devil

2012 Cabernet Franc VQA, Prince Edward County –  a beautiful ruby, ripe and well-balanced wine that will age well. We suggested holding on to it for a couple of years.

2012 Pinot Noir VQA, Prince Edward County“This wine is devilishly delicious.  It makes me smile” I remarked when I first sipped it.

The Devils Wishbone makes such a small amount of wine that none are available at the LCBO. If you would like additional bottles of your favourite Devils Wishbone wine, call me on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange an additional delivery. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…

The Devils Wishbone

Presented by Sommelier Patricia Petty 

Paul worked for 35 years as an accountant in Toronto and during those years, between the early 1980’s and the mid 1990’s he traveled frequently to France with restaurateur clients where he would spend time talking to the winemakers. In 1997, while on a trip to Burgundy he tasted Michel Lafarge’s Pinot Noirs from a small single vineyard. And, a passion was born.  

Paul discovered The County in 2002. He was looking for a place to slow down and to get his strength back after suffering a stroke in 1998 and then having open-heart surgery after several heart attacks. Coming to The County felt right for Paul; it was a place to heal, to breathe and to play in the dirt.

The Barn is the cornerstone

Savvy Company - Devils Wishbone barnThe property had an old barn and restoring it was crucial to creating the winery. Paul will tell you it is the cornerstone of the winery and that “he just had to save her”. Interestingly, Paul claims that it was the barn that helped bring his strength and improve his health.

The barn now houses the wine cellars (aka Paul’s domain), the tasting room and retail operation (aka his partner Jennifer’s domain), and a beautiful space upstairs to sit and enjoy the view and sip a glass of their wine. Roy, the vineyard manager, takes care of the farming side of things. And growing grapes after all is just that…farming!

I asked Paul about his approach to crafting his wines.  “It is simple,” Paul explains, “I want to create both approachable and affordable wines that reflect the terroir of The County”. He believes in sustainable practices in the vineyard, yet his vineyards are not organic. That’s a difficult path to follow, yet he confirms that he uses neither insecticides nor pesticides.

Like so many winemakers, he states without any hesitation that, “The grape is the place where it all starts.” He told me he wasn’t striving to be the best there is; he didn’t feel that was doable. What he wanted to do was to create wines that reflected that “sense of place” and ones that his visitors and customers would enjoy and he certainly has achieved that goal.

Farmers First

Paul speaks passionately about being part of a much bigger idea. Prince Edward County is a new frontier for viticulture and winemaking and is growing as a destination for wine lovers. He wanted to be a part of the agricultural environment in The County and not an interloper. These winemakers for the most part were not “farmers first” but have become farmers. And, there is a sense of, “we’re all in this together” amongst all the different wineries…of which there are now almost 40! Even the largest winery in PEC is a boutique producer, so he believes they are all a part of the same fraternity.

16,500 children

Savvy Company - Devil's Wishbone vineyard 2For Paul, his favorite part of the year is now – when the green starts to show in the spring. Paul describes his vines as 16,500 children and the grapes they produce as his babies. And, when he sees that green he knows they have made it through the winter. For him it is a very personal experience. Paul is very much a pragmatist when it comes to growing the grapes. “You take what you get…that’s farming.”

I asked Paul if he had ever made a mistake when crafting his wines and the answer was, “of course”. His most memorable – he let his 2007 Pinot Noir “get away”. He blended two tanks of his Pinot. Although a simple action, it had a bad reaction as the new blend separated. The wine had to be “tossed” and he lost 400–500 litres. What it taught Paul was a lesson he already knew and that was to slow down. As he says, “He learned by doing!”

Paul doesn’t want his operation to grow too large nor too fast. Currently they are producing approximately 1,100 cases of wine. He talks about growing to a 1,500 case threshold to maintain his original concept of affordability and approachability. He sees his whites – Pinot Grigio (to be released in June), Riesling, and Chardonnay as having achieved this point.  For his reds, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, these wines continue to come along. In Devil’s Wishbone wines, all are made with County grapes (the exception is the Merlot which is sourced from a Niagara grape grower who practices the same sustainable methods as Paul). He creates a few blends – Wicked White, a Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend and a Rosé using Pinot Grigio.

A Perfect Dinner Party

Paul talks about his 4 Keystone Wines. Those are the Pinot Grigio and Riesling whites and the Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc reds. Those are his “Perfect Dinner Party”. I would love to sit and partake of that party. After tasting his wines I am certain you will agree!

Famous Visitors?

For Paul it was the impressions of his son Sean and his daughter Sara. He sent Sean his 4 Keystone Wines thinking that his son would just “show” them to his Vancouver friends who are all BC wine lovers. Instead Sean served them at a dinner party and when asked where the wines are from, Sean declared with great pride, “My Dad made them”.

And for Sara, those Keystone Wines, along with embossed glasses, were a part of her engagement party. It was with great pride that she served her Dad’s wines to rave reviews.

Definitely stop for a visit!

Savvy Company - Devil's Wishbone - Paul in vineyardPack a picnic lunch or enjoy a glass of wine in the old barn or sit back & relax in one of gazebos on the property overlooking the lake. The Devil’s Wishbone should definitely be on your list of places to visit this summer!  

How does the vineyard look? 

Debbie visited Devils Wishbone last weekend (May 3rd) and Paul had just finished his first pass of ‘Hilling Down’ the vines.  This is the process of removing the 2 foot high mounds of soil around the rootstock to protect them from the harsh temperatures of winter. 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

2012 Riesling VQA PEC $22.00

“Riesling is a variety that is 500 years old. The vines were planted in 2002 and this year we were able to coax out plenty of tanginess balanced with lots of lovely citrus fruits”  – Paul 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  We couldn’t agree with Paul more! During our Savvy Selections tasting panel, Sommelier Debbie’s first comment was that it “Dances with the Devil”. Clean, crisp, a full-bodied wine. Notes of pears, ripe peaches, and citrus (think white grapefruit).

This is a refreshing wine with an underlying essence of minerality, perfect for a warm summer evening.

Suggested Food Pairing: Paul loves pickerel and this wine would pair beautifully with any firm white fish. We think it would be lovely with pan-seared scallops as either an appetizer served with micro-greens or as a main. We would also suggest serving this with a chicken curry with a hint of heat.

 

2012 Cabernet Franc VQA, PEC $26.00

“Aged in 2 year old French oak for the past year, imparting a delicate finish”. – Paul

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A beautiful ruby color, with light tannins, clean fruit flavors and well balanced. There are aromas of dark red fruit and perhaps roasted red peppers. You will find flavors of cherries, cranberry and a hint of red candy.

 Suggested Food Pairing:  Our Sommeliers agree, this wine is best with food. Paul suggests lamb chops with a herb crust. With its heartiness, we crave pasta tossed simply with olive oil and crumbled blue cheese. Better yet, try our ‘Drunken Pasta’ recipe on the following pages.

 

2012 Pinot Noir VQA, PEC $29.00

“This Pinot offers lingering aromas accompanied by subtle layers of black current, black cherry and a hint of pepper.” – Paul

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: When Debbie first tasted this wine her comment was, “This wine is devilishly delicious. It makes me smile”.   There are aromas of red fruit and cranberries, pepper, and hints of oak. On the palate it is a soft, smooth, luscious and elegant wine. It is an approachable wine and that is something that Paul strives for in all of his wines. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Like so many Pinot Noirs, this wine would pair beautifully with salmon on the grill, grilled portabella mushrooms and grilled asparagus…a perfect summer pairing.  Paul suggests serve this wine with small birds such as a Cornish hen, simply roasted and accompanied with seasonal veggies.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With The Devils Wishbone 2012 Riesling VQA…

Scallops with Apple Pan Sauce

From Bon Appétit Magazine, May 2013
Recipe by Lake Austin Spa Resort
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 large sea scallops (about 1 pound), side muscle removed
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoonunsalted butter
1/4 cup hearty sprouts (such as daikon or sunflower) or pea shoots

Method

Core 1 apple; cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a blender with lemon juice and 1/4 cup water; purée until smooth. Strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl.

Peel, core, and cut remaining apple into 1/4-inch cubes. Add to bowl. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook scallops until golden brown and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.

Add butter to skillet along with the diced apples. Cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan.

Add reserved apple mixture and cook, stirring often, until juice is thickened and apple pieces are tender, about 4 minutes.

Spoon over scallops; top with sprouts or pea shoots and season with salt and pepper.

Savvy Company - Devils Wishbone - Paul and Jennifer

In photo at left Paul (centre) & Jennifer (right) at Savvy Company’s County in the City Taste & Buy event, held in Ottawa on April 10.

 

 

 

 

With The Devils Wishbone 2012 Cabernet Franc VQA…

Drunken Spaghetti (in Italian: Spaghetti Ubriachi)

From David Rocco’s Dolce Vita Cookbook
Serves 4

Ingredients

1lb. (500 grams) spaghetti
1 bottle red wine (a bold style wine – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc , Malbec or Merlot)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
Chilli pepper flakes to taste
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ cup crumbled blue cheese, or to taste

Method

In a large pasta pot, put your wine and bring to boil. Add pasta & a splash of oil so the noodles don’t stick together.

In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil. Add garlic, anchovies and chilli flakes if using and cook on medium heat until the anchovies melt into the oil and the garlic is softened. Set aside.

Now, add your spaghetti to the boiling wine, give it a good stir and finish cooking the pasta until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.

Savvy Company - Drunken PastaWhen the pasta is ready, the wine will have infused the spaghetti, giving it a gorgeous ruby color. Don’t worry about the wine being too strong for the sauce. The alcohol will burn off and leave a sweet delicate taste.

Drain spaghetti from the wine, toss in the skillet with the garlic, anchovy sauce and finish cooking for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with a bit of the parsley and the blue cheese. Finish with a few toasted pine nuts if desired.

Note: if blue cheese isn’t for you this dish would work beautifully with a freshly grated pecorino or asiago cheese. Don’t be shy to add vegetables such as grilled asparagus, broccoli or beef it up with thinly sliced grilled meat or sausages.

Serving tip:  This stunning and colourful pasta dish will present well on a simple white plate or pasta bowl, giving it a very bistro style look!

 

With The Devils Wishbone 2012 Pinot Noir VQA…

Roasted Salmon with Lentils

From Bonnie Stern, The Best of HeartSmart Cooking
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 ½ cups dried Puy (green) lentil
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 cup canned plum tomatoes, with juices, pureed
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste
1 ½ lb. salmon filet, cut in 6 pieces, skin removed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Method

Place lentils in a large pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil and cook gently for 25 – 30 minutes, or just until tender. Rinse and drain well.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. oil in large, deep non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add cumin and hot pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add carrot, celery and tomatoes to skillet. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until carrots are just tender and liquid from tomatoes has reduced.

Add drained lentils, parsley and pepper to skillet. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt if necessary. Keep warm.

Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil in separate non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with rosemary. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes per side or until slightly browned and crusty.

Transfer salmon to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or leave in skillet if it is ovenproof). Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 7 – 9 minutes or until just cooked through.

Serve salmon on bed of lentils.

This dish would be equally delicious with a simple grilled salmon served over the lentils. Serve with roasted asparagus as a side dish for either version of the salmon.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

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Discover why Ravine Vineyard is unique

Posted by Giancarlo

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

– April 2014 –

 

Back by popular demand, this month we feature Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery of Niagara-on-the-Lake. When we first introduced this winery in December 2011, our Savvy Sommelier Julie Stock shared with you the history & lore of the property.  In this edition, our newest member of the Savvy Team – Giancarlo Nadasio – invites you to get to know contemporary winemaker: Martin Werner, who shares with us his passion, his winemaking style & his lifestyle involved in the process of creating unique wines.  As Giancarlo found out in his interview, Martin makes wine “with an aim to capture what a 22,000 year old soil wishes to express, along with his favorite food recipe to pair with his wine.”

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2012 – Are you ready for spring? This aromatic clone is perfect for enjoying outside – on a deck, a dock or a picnic.  This is the reason for the half bottle format.

Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012 – Just released: Martin’s signature wine!

Merlot VQA 2011– Get your BBQ ready!

Our newest Savvy Sommelier, Giancarlo has been working in the hospitality business for over 10 years, recently at Ottawa’s Brookstreet Hotel.  To pair these wines, he called on some of his friends ‘in the business’ in Ottawa to share their recipes to match with the wines in this month’s Savvy Selections & please let them know if you tried your hand at their creations!

Clifford Lyness, Executive Chef at Brookstreet Hotel
Josh Gillard, Chef & Owner of MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar
Amy Brown, Brookstreet Hotel Culinarian Professional

Ordering hard-to-find wines is easy!

logoRavine has a broad portfolio of wines including some ‘uber premium’ wines. If you would like to order some of these wines or any of your favorite Savvy Selections, simply email me to make the arrangements for a special wine delivery.

A MUST on your next visit to the Niagara region

winery and restaurantWhen you plan your next visit to Niagara, be sure to stop in at Ravine to discover their full range of wines and try to have lunch or dinner at their award winning restaurant (tip – you will need reservations!)   Or plan ahead & meet the Ravine Winery Team at their annual Harvest Dinner on November 8th 2014.  It promises to be a fun dinner hosted by Martin & the Harber family (winery owners).

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Ravine Estates Winery

Presented by Giancarlo Nidasio

“What gets me up in the morning? Making the decision to create a nice bottle of wine that I’ve seen from start to finish that will be enjoyed & shared with everyone I care about….It makes my work not feel like work” 

Martin at Ravine VineyardAs a teenager, Marty (in photo as a family man with 2 year old daughter & wife) grew up working on a 60 acre family owned vineyard where he was an avid tractor driver among many other skills.  He got bitten by the travel bug & figured out that a good way to work & explore the world, would be working at wineries.

And so it was…Marty traveled to New Zealand where he worked for a couple of years at Cloudy Bay Winery and for Mahi Winery – both located in the Marlborough area.  It was here where Marty got the hands on experience that eventually lead him to make his own Estate Sauvignon Blanc many years later at Ravine.  Before that, his plane ticket took him to California, where he worked for a year with Justin Winery in Paso Robles.

Now bitten by both the travel & winemaking bug, once back in Niagara, Marty worked at Hillebrand & Hidden Bench wineries before deciding to enroll in to the Winemaking program at Niagara College.  This is where Marty had the opportunity to meet someone that would open his eyes in the winemaking world – Thomas Bachelder.  It was Thomas who was the first person to speak to him about sense of place. “It made me understand that Niagara can do great wines”, recalls Marty.

All this experience has led Marty to create wines that are in tune with both a sense of time & place, that reflect the influence of Lake Ontario & the various types of soils found at Ravine.

Winemaking & the Vineyard

red grapesThe wine making style at Ravine, could be described as having a Burgundian influence for white wines & a Bourdeaux style for the reds; where the assemblage (winespeak: referring to the winemaker’s art of blending) plays a key role.

Marty & his team classify the wines that were made from different batches from either the same or different grape varietals that were planted on different sections of the vineyard, picked at different times depending on their level of ripeness & fermented in different types of barrels made from different types of wood.  This is one of the reasons why Marty really loves the style of Bordeaux Blends (winespeak: A Bordeaux blend is usually referred to the blend of three main grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and sometimes adding Malbec & Petit Verdot to this blend).  With blends, the winemaker put his own fingerprint onto the wine.

This hard work ties in with the Viticultural & Biodynamic practices of Ravine. These include taking the extra time to do shoot & fruit thinning to gain proper concentration in the grapes while allowing the plant to build its own resistance in order to avoid the use of chemicals as pesticide.  “The goal is to have a vine that is in balance with nature which will bring a fruit that is alive!” explains Marty. 

Out of the entire winemaking process Marty gets most excited (and it’s the most crucial time too) when he makes the decision to pick the grapes.  As he puts it, “this is the make or break your season moment”.  It is the tipping point of the season when Marty can get a perfect snapshot of the vineyard by tasting the grapes every two days (then closer to harvest Marty will taste daily) to determine the acidity & sugar levels. “It’s the most intimate time in terms of a vineyard”

What’s next?

Ravine has its heart in the past & its eyes towards the future and is now preparing for the newest addition to their portfolio with an exclusive 75 case release of a first year 2013 Pinot Noir.  It is a wine with great anticipation, “We are already counting down the days.”  Ravine’s Pinot Noir will feature a limited exposure to new oak so it serves as a complement letting the wine express what the land has to give.

Ask for Marty when you visit!

Marty welcomes all of our Savvy Selections subscribers to stop by & ask for him when you visit the winery. Visit in winter when the ravine on the estate becomes an ice rink where family & friends skate surrounded by the vineyard or in the warmer season when you can simply take a stroll through the vines – just as Marty does with his wife Rachel, his daughter Dani and his two dogs.

Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections now knowing more about Ravine’s down to earth winemaker.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2012, $14.00

What is Chardonnay Musqué? Marty explains: It is an aromatic clone of Chardonnay, with a musky character & a slight spritzness that is achieved during the fermentation process.  We do this by closing the lids of the stainless steel tanks where the wine is being fermented to preserve its freshness. The cooling systems is then turned on in the tanks so the CO2 that is naturally produced as a by product of the fermentation, can be trapped inside the wine where   the cold temperature aids the wine to accept the CO2.For this reason, the Chardonnay Musqué is bottled in a 375 mL format, in order to preserve its spritz once the bottle has been opened.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A bright refreshing crisp wine, with aromas of cantaloupe, lime & tropical fruits (think kiwi) along with a hint of toasty notes.  These continue through onto the taste with added notes of clementine.  A well-balanced refreshing wine with enough acidity to provide structure. 

Suggested Food Pairing:  Created to be shared among friends & family – preferably outside –  at only 9% it is ideal on its own or with light summer salads. Try it with a Spiced & Grilled Shrimp, with Mango Gazpacho, a creation by Amy Brown, culinarian professional at Brookstreet Hotel.  She shares this recipe on following pages. 

Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012, $32.00

Marty’s signature wine.  This Estate Sauvignon Blanc is aged in oak for 6 to 8 months, developing smoky notes while perfectly matching the linear crispness & freshness that the variety retains in a cool climate region like Niagara. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A great structured wine, with tropical notes on the nose with hints of pear, green papaya, melon & wildflowers following through the palate with a soft creamy mouth-feel.

Suggested Food Pairing:  It calls for a great aperitif or paired with fresh fish dishes.  Want to roll up your sleeves & let your inner gourmand out? Try the Tuna Carpaccio, diakon cress, fuji apple & ponzu recipe created by Executive Chef Clifford Lyness. The smokiness of the wine makes it a great pairing. 

Cellaring: Ready to be enjoyed now or to be aged for several years up to 2023. This is achievable due to its acidity & the concentration of fruit flavors in the wine that with time will make the wine fade out the tropical flavor profile to evolve in to brighter and biscuity profile, also known as Tertiary Flavors, which develop in the bottle.

 

Merlot VQA 2011 $34.00

Merlot is the most planted varietal at Ravine where they use 4 different clones of Merlot that are planted separately on the Top side and on the Hill side of the Estate.  These are picked in 4 different blocks and then Marty blends them together create the final blend that is finished by aging in barrel for 8 to14 months.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright red cherry aromas, with hints of tobacco, coffee, molasses & big red ripe berries that follow through the palate with additional hints of chocolate & a smooth minerality almost like wet stone or crushed rock due to the heavy influence of clay soils that lay beneath the vines of the Merlot grapes.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine screams smoke & BBQ.  It is a great summer companion for gatherings with dishes like smoked pulled pork, BBQ ribs or lamb shank on the BBQ with a nice reduction sauce on top of mashed potatoes. Superb!!  Why not try MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar Executive Chef & Owner Josh Gillard’s Mint Rubbed Lamb Racks or Chef’s Clifford Lyness free form braised Veal Ravioli, Roast Cipollini with onion jam, seared sweet bread and white truffle and chive butter tension.  These recipes are on the following pages.

Cellaring: With its well integrated tannins, this Merlot is ideal for drinking now or to be cellared up to 2020.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay Musqué…

Spiced & Grilled Shrimp, with Mango Gazpacho

Created by Culinarian Professional Amy Brown at Brookstreet Hotel, Ottawa
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cardamon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
12 8″ wooden skewers
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 mangos, peeled
3 yellow bell pepper, seeded
1 English cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 jalapeño, seeded
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes

 Method

Preheat grill to medium high heat & preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine ground spices, salt, pepper and oil. Pour over shrimp and set aside.

Roast peppers in oven until tender.

Dice mango, cucumber, peppers, and jalapeno. Mix with ginger, juice, yogurt, vinegar and cilantro. Using a blender or food processor, puree mango mixture until smooth.

Skewer shrimp and grill. Grill until tails are pink and shrimp is firm.

Garnish with any extra yogurt and or cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. 

 

With Ravine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc…

Tuna Carpaccio, Diakon cress, Fuji apple, Ponzu

chef lioness - brookstreetFrom Executive Chef Clifford Lyness, Brookstreet Hotel, Ottawa (photo at left)
Serves: 4 persons

 

Step One: Pounded Tuna Carpaccio

4oz freshest, most vibrantly red sushi grade tuna you can find and afford
salt and pepper

Method

Ask your fish monger to cut you a piece of tuna, closer to the neck of the fish and further away from the tail. As you move closer to the tail of the fish, more white sinew will marble the flesh. This sinew of silver skin is chewy and unpleasant when eaten raw. Using meat towards the neck of the fish will be free of this connective tissue and provide for a smooth velvet texture. The piece of tuna your fish monger gives you should be rectangular in shape weighing approximately 16 ounces.

Using a sharp knife, slice 4 equal pieces of tuna, each weighing 4 ounces. This can easily be accomplished by cutting the initial piece in half, and then halve the 2 pieces, resulting in 4 equal pieces.

Place 1 piece of tuna in between a piece of Saran wrap. Using a mallet, or a heavy sauce pot, gently begin to pound the flesh flat making sure not to tear the flesh. Rotate the wrap periodically to ensure the tuna is pound equally in all directions and has a common thickness. Place in fridge and keep as cold as possible until ready to assemble dish. Carpaccio and tartare dishes taste profoundly better when chilled to the max.

Step Two: Ponzu sauce

50ml light soy
50ml mirin
50ml freshly squeezed lime juice
50ml sake50ml instant dashi

Method

Mix together all ingredients. Balance should be achieved between salty, sweet, and sour, with an alcohol undertone coming from the sake. Not one flavor should be dominant in a classic ponzu sauce, but this can be altered to cater to individual preferences. Chill until ready to use. 

Step Three: Fuji apple & diakon salad

1 package diakon cress
2 Fuji apple
2 scallions
25 ml pickled ginger
1 teaspoon togarashi
2 Tablespoon tobiko
1 piece of lotus root

Method

Clip diakon cress and place a damp paper towel over top to prevent wilting. Using a Benriner mandoline, shave apple and julienne into matchstick. Do not shave and julienne to thin, you are looking for a pleasant thickness to ensure that there is some crunch and juiciness from the apple. Do this step as close to plate assemble as possible to prevent apple from discoloring.  Julienne scallion on a bias using a very sharp knife and place in ice water. This will dilute some of the strong onion flavor.

Slice a peeled lotus root and fry in oil until crisp. Drain on paper towel and reserve 

Plate Assembly

Drain the scallion and place in a bowl along with the apple, diakon cress, and pickled ginger. Add a small amount of ponzu to the salad and do not toss.

Remove the tuna from the fridge. Remove one piece of Saran wrap, exposing one side of the pounded tuna.

Place the exposed side in the middle of a large white plate, and peel the remaining Saran off.

Toss the salad gently and place in the middle of the tuna. Spoon the ponzu over top of the pounded tuna. Sprinkle with togarshi and tobiko. Drizzle with a really good olive oil, and place a few crispy fried lotus root chips on top.

Garnish with a lime cheek so the guest can squeeze fresh lime.

 

With Ravine Vineyard Merlot…

Individual Lamb Racks, mint rubbed and grilled, with tzatziki &  curry sauce

From Executive Chef and Owner MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar Josh Gilliard

Ingredients for mint rub

3 Tbsp dried mint
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepperpinch of sugar

 Method

Must NewZealandLambRub all above ingredients together

Take a frenched rack of lamb and cut in between each rack to get individual bones. Then apply the bu on both sides of each piece.

Grill on med/high heat until desired level of preparation.

While lamb is cooking, make the sauce:

Ingredients for Tzatziki & curry sauce

4 Tbsp tzatziki
1 Tbsp mild curry paste
1/2 cup Demi or cream
salt and pepper to taste

Serve over top of a pool of mint jelly.        

                     

With Ravine Vineyard Merlot…

Free form braised veal ravioli / roast cipollini onion jam, Seared sweet bread / white truffle and chive butter tension

From Executive Chef Clifford Lyness, Brookstreet Hotel

Step One: Braised veal shank

Ingredients for Braised veal shank

4 veal shanks, about 1 pound each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 liter chicken stock
1 can (14.5 ounces) whole tomatoes,crushed with fingers, with juices
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350° F. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Dust lightly with the flour. Heat an ovenproof sauté pan large enough to hold the shanks in one layer over high heat then add the olive oil and heat.

Add the shanks and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and reduce heat to medium-high.

Place the onions, carrots, celery in the pan. Sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes then add the garlic and sauté one more minute. Pour in the wine and broth. Return heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon juice, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper.

Cook, uncovered, until reduced by about one-third. (There should be enough liquid to come about half way up the sides of the shanks.) Return the shanks, and any accumulated juices, to the pan. Cover tightly and place in oven. Cook until the meat is very tender and starting to fall off the bones, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove the shanks from the pan. Let stand 10 minutes and pull all the lean away from bone and residual fat. 

Step Two:  Pasta             

Yield about 10 oz of dough, enough for 3-4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup flour
½ cup semolina flour
Pinch salt large eggs
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Method

Add the eggs and olive oil and mix together.

Beginning in the center, mix with a fork in a circular motion until the flour is combined with the eggs. Mix until soft and then you can add more flour if needed. You want your dough not too stiff because then it will be too hard to roll out. Not too wet because it will stick to everything. The best time to roll the pasta is when you let it rest for 1 hour after.                

Step Three: Roast cipollini onion jam

100g butter, cold and cubed
100 mL olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
10 pieces cipollini onions, unpeeled
3oz white wine                 

Method

Place the cipollini onions in a foil pouch with some olive oil & bake in a 370 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The jackets of the onion should be quiet brown, the insides will be creamy with the sugars inverted. Allow to cool & remove the skin and pestle and mortar the roast onion to a smooth paste.

In a small sauce pot cook the Onion jam along with a touch of sugar, deglaze the pan with white wine reduce to a 1/3.  Finally add the butter (cold and cubed) and slowly incorporate until thickened.  Reserve to the side               

Step Four: White truffle & chive butter tension

100g butter, cold and cubed
150 mL chicken stock
1 piece lemon, juice only
salt and pepper – to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon truffle oil
1/2 bunch chives

Method

In a sauté pan sweat the shallots to a translucent state no color. Deglaze the pan with the Riesling wine allow to reduce to a 1/3. Next deglaze  the pan with chicken stock  again reduce to a 1/3.

Start to slowly add the cubed butter to thicken the sauce. Finish the sauce off with the truffle oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and olive oil.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Newsletter April 2014 -Tickets ON US to County in the City wine tasting

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
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It might be April’s Fools Day. . . but there’s no foolin’ around here!  The Savvy Team has been hard at work to line up the largest County in the City event that Ottawa has ever seen on Thursday April 10th. This Taste & Buy event features 15 wineries along with The County’s only craft brewery Barley Days Brewery & hard apple ciders made at The County Cider Company.

NEW this year! Cheesemakers from Black River Cheese & Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. along with hand made pasta from the region’s new Pasta Tavola will be treating you to gourmet goodies.

Buy 1 ticket & bring a friend – on us! 

We are so excited to host the biggest ever County in the City Taste & Buy event that we don’t want anyone in Ottawa to miss out. We’re not joking! This incredible ticket offer is only available when you buy a ticket for $55 on April 1 & 2. Buy yours now > >

How is this done? For each $55 ticket you purchase online before midnight on April 2nd at www.countyinottawa2014.eventbrite.ca, we will email you a complimentary ticket for your friend. It is that easy!

Meet the cool people from The County. . .

Come & discover over 60 wines, craft beers & ciders that you won’t find at the LCBO. Order any combo of 12 bottles of your County favorites & shipping by courier is FREE. Cheese & pasta will be available for purchase onsite. Discover these delicious delicacies & get insider tips on ‘must visit places’ in The County from those who live there & are involved in growing the reputation of the region.

Here’s a list of all the wineries coming to County in the City:

Round up your friends & get your tickets!

Buy one ticket, you’ll get one ticket on us! Buy 2 tickets, we’ll give you 2 complimentary tickets for your friends. Hurry, this special offer runs out on April 2nd at midnight.

Buy your tickets now > >

EVENT DEETS . . .

Advance Tickets Only

Date: Thursday April 10

Time: 7 to 9 pm

Location: Canada Agriculture & Food Museum – on the Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa

 

More event info at www.savvycompany.ca/events

We look forward to seeing you at County in the City next week!

Cheers,
Debbie & the Savvy Team

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Stunning wines from Stratus Vineyards

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
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SS stamp lo res

Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Stratus Vineyards

– February 2014 –

 

Stratus Vineyards brings together the traditions of winemaking along with the values of innovation and commitment to environmental sustainability. The story of this unique winery caught the attention of our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins who was eager to learn more the winery’s focus on precision design – in both the architectural design and in the vinification. When you visit Stratus – as Susan recently did – you will experience first-hand the importance of the honouring the environment at the winery’s estate, in the vineyard and in the cellar.

Being at the leading edge

The commitment to sustainable practices is noticeable at every turn when you visit Stratus. This winery is intentionally leading edge. On arrival, native plants grace the xeriscape (haven’t heard of this term before? It’s a style of sustainable garden with plants that do not have heavy reliance watering, fertilizer, etc.).

Stratus Vineyard exteriorThe dramatic glass, steel and wood structure sits lightly on the land and is the first building in Canada as well as the first winery in the world to be LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).  To achieve this first-of-its-kind status, the building that houses the winery, tasting room and cellar is constructed with a high percentage of recycled materials and super-insulation, the orientation of the windows optimize passive solar heat and light and there is a geothermal heating/cooling system. In the cellar, a pump-less wine-flow system assures gentle handling of the wine while the temperature and humidity in the 1000-barrel cellar are intricately managed through the geothermal system. But the genius behind Stratus wines lies with the winemaker: J.L. Groux.

As an aficionado of fine wines and CEO of Teknion, Stratus founder David Feldberg had a clear concept for the winery: “We had a vision to make wines of outstanding quality right in our own backyard in Niagara. We wanted a wonderful environment for people who visited our winery to taste our exceptional wines, so they would have a total experience that was out of this world. And we wanted . . . [everything] to operate in accordance with the most sustainable and environmentally friendly practices possible”. To bring this vision to life, David wooed J.L. who was at the time the winemaker at Hillebrand.  J.L. consulted with David on the winery concept and design, then joined Stratus in 2004 – a year before its official opening. In addition, J.L. brought to Stratus his expertise and passion for the art of assemblage – the synergistic blending of varietal wines to create unique, sophisticated and premium wines.

Taste the Talent

You will taste J.L.’s talent in this month’s Savvy Selections wines. Given the demand for Stratus wines, we are excited to showcase a fine selection from the 2011 vintage. Each wine represents one of the winery’s brands:

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

Stratus Gewürztraminer VQA 2011 – exotic & crisp – a classic Gewürztraminer loaded with aromas & flavour

Wildass Merlot VQA 2011 – ripe, fruity & lip-smackingly good red wine

Tollgate Red VQA 2011 (available only to restaurants) – mellow & earthy yet complex blend 

OPTIONAL WINE: Stratus Icewine Red VQA 2012 – not a typical icewine in so many ways – colour, acidity with savoury not sweet notes. Will create ooohs and aahs when you serve it at the end of a Valentine’s Day dinner. It’s alluring and luscious with a lively fresh finish! Like everything else that Stratus does…it is one-of-a-kind!

The cult following of Stratus wines

With excellent wines as the Savvy Selections, you will taste for yourself the reason why Stratus wines sell quickly.  Periodically their wines will grace the shelves at Vintages….but they sell out quickly. If you would like additional bottles of any of the Savvy Selections wines or other favorite Stratus wines, call on us to arrange a delivery for you. 

Cheers & Enjoy…and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Stratus Vineyards

Presented by Accredited Sommelier Susan Desjardins 

JL in Mesquite with Red_lowrezJ.L. (Jean-Laurent) Groux is a native of Loire, France who pursued oenology studies in Burgundy and Bordeaux before ‘touring the world’, stopping in a variety of places, including Niagara, to work in wineries and vineyards. He originally visited a family friend in Niagara in 1981, a time when the growth of the wine industry was just beginning. J.L. returned to Niagara several times, increasingly captivated by the changes he saw occurring.

Eventually, J.L. felt compelled to stay, joining Hillebrand, where he worked as winemaker for 15 years. His experience in Bordeaux was the inspiration behind Hillebrand’s highly sought after Trius Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot blends. With these wines, his talent for assemblage began to show.

The Artist

Assemblage is the art of creating a unique blend of wine, selected from the best barrels, to deliver the elusive character of the vintage and the vineyards. “David gave me an irresistible opportunity to be in on the ground floor and be involved in the creation of Stratus. And to focus on creating premium wines by taking the art of the blended wine to another level using a wider array of grapes that bring their character to the glass”, explains J.L. Each vintage is unique as reflected in Stratus’ flagship wines: Stratus Red and Stratus White. Once the signature blends have been defined, J.L. turns his attention back to the wines he has sampled to then determine those that will be released as small-batch varietal wines.

Status Vineyard Savvy SelectionsJ.L. marshalls outstanding raw materials to craft his complex, layered wines and he is very clear about the ultimate source of excellent wine: “Le vin se fait dans le vignoble” (the wine makes itself in the vineyard). When acquired, the 62-acre Niagara-on-the-Lake property was focused on growing grapes for yield rather than quality. While a limited number of vines were retained by the Stratus team – providing fruit from some of the oldest vines in Niagara region – all hybrids and many acres of low producing vitis vinifera vines were ripped out to make way for varieties personally selected by J.L. to craft unique Stratus blends.

A total of 11 red and 7 white grape varieties are now grown on 55 acres of the Stratus estate, Bordeaux varieties joined by the less-commonly seen – Viognier, Marsanne, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Tannat. Great attention has been paid to variations in soil and moisture, as well as the microzones (mini-microclimates in the vineyard) to determine where each will flourish on the estate.

Location. Location. Location

Stratus estate is located on the southeastern border of the Niagara Lakeshore sub-appellation where it benefits from some unique properties. The vineyards are far enough away from Lake Ontario that grapes requiring warmer summer temperatures consistently ripen well, yet, still close enough that the ‘lake effect’ protects the vineyard from early fall frosts. The clay loam sits over a limestone bed, is rich in organic matter and drains what limited rainfall occurs, so the Stratus vines reach deep for moisture in the soil, putting down roots that draw the true essence of the vineyard into the ripening grapes.

Recognizing that the site is conducive to prolific growth, J.L. ensures concentration and quality in the fruit through a variety of ‘low-yield’ practices. These include a modified open-trellis system, cluster management and aggressive fruit thinning. And Status commitment to the environment finds its way into the vineyard as well, with farm equipment run on bio-diesel, residue composted for fertilizer, and the vines grown free of herbicides.

The vines are hand trained and trimmed, the fruit hand picked and sorted by Stratus’ small team of vineyard workers. Once pressed, the wine begins its gentle journey through the pump-free and gravity-flow system into steel tanks and/or barrels. J.L. reiterated several times during the interview, “We are patient with our grapes”.

The story of the 2011 vintage

2011 was a difficult vintage. J.L. did not craft any of the Stratus signature red or white blends. The best grapes from the estate were used for varietal wines in the Stratus, Wildass and Tollgate brands – as you will taste with your Savvy Selections.

How does 2013 vintage look?

J.L. explains, “I was concerned about the rain during flowering and a cooler summer. We did some vigorous crop reduction in August and September, but the fall was long and warm, so we were able to begin harvest later and let the reds hang long into November. I am very happy with the results based on initial tasting.”

Be sure to visit Stratus next time you are in Niagara-on-the-Lake…the experience at the winery is like no other!

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Stratus Gewürztraminer 2011 VQA, $32.00

Stratus Vineyards Gwertztraminer postGreat care is taken in the vineyard to ripen to a higher sugar level that results is subtle aromas, then the wine is aged sur lie (winespeak: remains in contact with the yeast) in well-seasoned barrels. “The complex aromas of this wine really evolve in the bottle”, explains J.L.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Beautifully crafted and proffering tantalizing rose petal aromas, notes of tropical fruit, melon and exotic spice, this is a dry, spicy, juicy medium-bodied wine. The palate is silky with a touch of warmth, the rich, ripe tropical fruit complemented by clean, fresh acidity that flows through the long, cleansing finish. Absolutely lovely!

Suggested Food Pairing:  Classic matches are spicy Asian foods Phad Thai or curries. Susan suggests to enjoy with the roast chicken – with a twist.


Wildass Merlot 2011 VQA, $27.95

The fruit for this wine reflect the warm summer months of the vintage – full ripeness with concentrated sugar and displaying good tannins and acidity. This Merlot was aged 2 years in oak and is a blend of wines from the fruit of original and more recently planted vines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Ripe fruit, sweet spice and hints of smoke waft from the glass of this attractive Merlot. Dry, medium bodied, it’s complex, with oodles of black cherry, black berry and plum notes, spice, vanilla and white pepper mingling with a touch of dried herbs. There’s underlying structure for balance and cellaring, well-integrated oak, and juicy acidity for verve at the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Lamb or other roast meats will be a fine match. Susan selected a Lamb Shoulder recipe she enjoyed at a Tinhorn Creek winery on a recent BC wine tour.

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


Tollgate Red 2011 VQA, $26.00

This blend is a unique assemblage of separately vinified and aged Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Malbec – all grown on Stratus estate. Aged 12 months in barrel, it is designed to be paired with food.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Here’s a wonderful red blend that offers intriguing aromas of woodsmoke, cherry/berry, earth and mineral. It’s dry, yet mellow on the palate, offering dark fruit, dried fruit, rich, toasty oak and notions of five spice and dried fruit. Subtly structured, it displays great balance, depth and impact, with a long, full finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Sip away, or serve with veal chops with a mushroom sauce.

Cellaring: Ready now, it will cellar 3-5 years.

Curious about the Stratus names?

The name Stratus is inspired by a high-atmosphere cloud, as represented on the premium label.

Wildass
is the second tier label, is a bit irreverent – as the back label says “full of personality and best enjoyed with friends”.

Tollgate
is the restaurant brand, was named for a tollgate historically operated near the winery’s property.

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

With Stratus Gewürztraminer…

Classic Roast Chicken with a Twist

A Matter of Taste Cookbook by Lucy Waverman & James Chatto
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil)
4 lb. chicken, butterflied
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp cracked black pepper

Gravy

2 C. chicken stock
21 tsp tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
½ tsp chopped tarragon
2 Tbsp butter, diced

Method

Preheat oven to 400F and brush melted butter (or oil) over chicken skin.

Season both sides of chicken with tarragon, lemon zest, salt & pepper then lay chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.

Bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until skin is crisp and juices run clear. Transfer chicken to carving board to rest 10 minutes while you make the gravy.

Remove all fat from roasting pan. Add stock, tomato paste & tarragon to pan, scraping up any bits from bottom of pan.

Bring gravy to boil over medium heat & boil for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat & stir in butter until absorbed.

Season with salt & pepper to taste. Cut chicken into 4 pieces & serve with gravy, roast baby potatoes & asparagus. 

 

With Wildass Merlot

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

From the kitchen at Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery located in British Columbia
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 large bone-in lamb shoulder
1 tin anchovies
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ C grainy mustard
½ C extra virgin olive oil

Method

In a blender, purée anchovies, garlic, parsley, mustard and oil.

Season lamb with the mixture, rubbing it all over. Place in a baking dish & cover with foil then bake 3-5 hours at 225F, or until the meat falls off the bone.

Serve with roasted root vegetables.

 

With Tollgate Red…

Roasted Veal Chops with Mushroom Sauce & Truffle Oil

A Matter of Taste Cookbook by Lucy Waverman & James Chatto
Serves 2
WOW your Valentine’s sweetie with this recipe!

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 French-cut Veal chops (about 1 ½” thick)
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Mushroom Sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz wild mushrooms, trimmed & sliced
1 Tsp finely chopped garlic
¼ C mushroom or beef stock
½ tsp truffle oil

Garnish

½ C olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves

 

Method

Preheat oven to 450F. Heal oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season veal with salt & pepper.

Cook chops for about 2 minutes per side, or until browned then transfer to a metal baking dish & bake for 8-12 minutes, or until just pink.

To prepare mushroom sauce (while veal is cooking), heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms & sauté for about 3 minutes, or until limp. Add garlic & sauté for 1 minute longer. Add stock & bring to a boil. Drizzle with truffle oil

Heat oil for garnish in a small skillet over high heat. Add sage leaves & sauté for about 30 seconds or until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Serve chops with mushroom sauce & sprinkle with sage leaves.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Hosting a dinner party? Relax…we’ll select the wines!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 24th, 2014
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With the cold weather, it is perfect for warming the house up with the delicious smells wafting from the oven.  Hosting a dinner party can be hectic & unnerving.

fielding-logo
While you have picked out the dishes for each course of the menu, our Savvy Sommeliers have selected 6 bottles of outstanding wines from Niagara’s Fielding Estates Winery that will WOW your guests.

The best part – this Savvy Dinner Party Pack is only available from us.  Order now to save over $25 & shipping by courier is included. 


Sparkling Wine 
an elegant crisp bubbly to serve on arrival

Fielding Brut

White Wines – enjoy with soup, salad… and save some for dessert!

Melt away any thoughts of winter with these refreshing white wines
Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling VQA 2011
Fielding Viognier VQA 2011

Red Wines – Why not have a mini wine tasting over your main course?

From the outstanding 2010 vintage, these red wines will WOW your guests:
Fielding Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2010
Fielding Merlot VQA 2010
Fielding Cabernet Franc VQA 2010

Fielding winesORDER this special Savvy Dinner Party Pack > >

Now with the wines enroute, all you have to do is invite your guests….and set the table!

Grab your favorite recipe book or make your menu with these tried & tested recipes that the Fielding family, winemaker & Savvy Sommeliers recommend to serve with the selected wines.  Enjoy the meal and most of all the time with your friends & family around the dinner table.

 

Let’s get the party started!

Seafood Chowder

Here’s an idea – welcome your guests with a mug of this chowder rather than passing around platters of hors d’oeuvres before dinner. This sets a relaxed tone to the dinner party…and will be delicious with a glass of Fielding sparkling wine. 

Ingredients
8 slices bacon, chopped fine
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, chopped fine (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup flour
3 cups clam juice or seafood stock (or vegetable stock)
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound shucked clams
1/2 pound cod, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound scallops
1/2 pound shucked oysters
4 cups half-and-half
Fresh parsley, for garnish 

Method
In a large stockpot over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned. Add the butter and onions, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the flour and stir until well combined. Add 2 to 3 cups broth.

Then add the potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are almost fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the clams, cod, shrimp, scallops, and oysters and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the half-and-half and heat through (do not bring to a boil or the chowder will curdle).

When finished add parsley and serve.

 

It’s time to gather everyone at the table…

When your guests see the dinner table set with glasses of Fielding’s white wines & plates of refreshing melon & scallops, the sight will get taste buds going! 

Grilled Sea Scallop with Honeydew & Soy Glaze

Ingredients
½ small honeydew
½ English cucumber
½ long red chili
1 sprig mint, picked about four or five leaves)
1 sprig basil, picked (about four or five leaves)
1 lime
Olive oil
1 bunch arugula leaves to garnish
Salt & Pepper

Soy Glaze
¼ cup light soy sauce
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon sherry vinega
r½ teaspoon sesame oil

Method
Finely dice the honeydew, cucumber and chili and mix in a bowl. Finely chop the basil and mint. Set in a separate bowl in the fridge.

In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, honey, vinegar and sesame oil.

Lightly oil the scallops with vegetable oil, season them with salt and pepper and cook over a hot grill until just cooked through, about four to six minutes.While the scallops are cooking, combine the herbs with the melon mixture and season with a pinch of salt and a couple drops of lime juice and olive oil.

In a bowl dress the arugula with a few drops of lime juice and olive oil.

To serve, spread the arugula out on four dishes then remove the scallops from the grill and place on the arugula. Dress each scallop with a generous spoonful of the honeydew mix and spoon some soy glaze around the plate.

 

For the Main Attraction….

fielding - curtis kingHere’s another novel idea: Have a mini wine tasting!  Just before you arrive with plates of the main course, give each guest 3 wine glasses with a sampling of the Fielding red wines in each.  Which wine is best with the dish will become a lively conversation!

A wine trivia or interesting tidbit to get the conversation started:  Did you know that Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc are the 3 grape varieties used in crafting French Bordeaux & or what the rest of the wine world calls ‘Meritage’ (pronounced Mary-tidge)?

Here are 2 recipes to consider serving for your main course.

Recipe #1:  Bacon wrapped Veal Tenderloin with Leeks & Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 veal tenderloin portions
1 package good quality smoked bacon, the thinner the better
2 medium leeks, trimmed and washed
1 pint button mushrooms, trimmed and washed
1 pint oyster mushrooms, trimmed and washed
1 small package dried porcini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
300 ml of cream (35%)
1 lemon
Salt & pepper 

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees

Spread out four pieces of cling film (about 1 ½ feet by 3 feet each) on a large clean surface. On the cling film lay a piece of bacon lengthwise away from you about three inches from the left hand edge of the cling film.

Working from left to right repeat with another piece of bacon, slightly overlapping on the right side of the first piece. Repeat until you have laid out 5 strips on each piece of cling film.

Lightly season the veal with salt and pepper and place lengthwise across the bacon at the end closest to your body. Roll the bacon around the veal until it can be tucked under, then trim any excess bacon.

Place the bacon wrapped veal seam side down on the cling film at the end closest to you and wrap the cling film around the veal. Twist the ends to tighten and place in the fridge for at least one hour to firm up.

Cut the leeks in half and finely slice into half-moon shapes. Slice the button mushrooms and tear the oyster mushrooms into strips, removing the stems.

Soak the dried porcini in warm water. Once they are re-hydrated, chop them and strain the water through a fine sieve and reserve.

Place a large pan on the stove on high heat. Add a knob of butter and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the butter sizzles, add the mushrooms, toss to coat and put the pan back on the heat to get some colour.  Season with salt and pepper. If the pan looks dry, add a bit more oil and butter.

After a couple minutes you can toss the mushrooms. Again, if they are dry add a bit more oil and/or butter. Once they are nicely golden, turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and the leeks. Sweat these for four to five minutes then add ¼ cup of reserved porcini water. Allow this to reduce to half its volume and then add the cream. Allow to simmer.

While this is reducing heat another large pan over medium high heat. Carefully remove the cling film from the veal. Once the pan is hot, sear the veal in oil on all sides until nicely coloured. Place the pan in the oven and cook, turning frequently until medium rare (about 6-8 minutes). Allow the veal to rest.

Once the cream has reduced to coat the back of a spoon, check the seasoning and add a few drops of lemon juice. Place a large spoonful onto the middle of four plates. Carefully carve each piece of veal in two and place onto the mushrooms mixture.

Recipe #2: Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom & Stilton Sauce

Serves 6-8

One of the Savvy Sommeliers Patti Petty loves to cook.  When she took a sip of the Fielding Cabernet Sauvignon & also a sip of the Merlot, she said “I have the perfect recipe to pair with both of these wines.”  Enjoy! 

Ingredients
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 


Method
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 9×13” 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.

 

A sweet way to finish off…

Whether your guests have a sweet tooth or not, the team at Fielding certainly do!  Here are some of their favorite desserts – make one…or treat your guests to both!  They are classics.

Recipe #1:  Ken’s Favourite Apple Pie

From the kitchen of Ken & Marg Fielding (winery owners) 

Ingredients

Use your favorite pastry recipe for a 9 inch double crust pie

Filling
5 to 6 firm apples (Ken prefers to use Spy apples)
juice of 1/2 lemon
sugar – white or brown if you like
1 Tbsp. butter
ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. of Rum – yes you read that right!  (alternately 2 Tsp. vanilla extract)

Method
Wash, peel and core apples, but do not discard peel and cores.

Slice apples thinly on the side of a kitchen grater or in a food processor.  Place slices in a bowl and sprinkle very lightly with lemon juice, tossing apples over with a fork.  Starting with 1/2 cup or so, sprinkle sugar over apples, again tossing gently to coat.  From time to time taste a slice.  When it seems sweet enough for you, stop adding sugar.

Roll pastry into two rounds and fit one into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate.  Fill the shell with apple slices, mounding them well into the centre. Roll out top, cutting a 1/2 inch round hole in the middle of the top, rather than making slits all around.

Dot apples with butter and grate about 1/2 tsp of nutmeg over them.  Sprinkle rum or vanilla over all, wet edge of bottom crust and lay top pastry over apples.  Seal and crimp.

Bake in a 425 degree F. oven 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degree F and bake 35 minutes.

 

fielding familyKen & Marg’s BIG Trick

Ken & Marg (far left & right in this photo) pass along their big secret to making this pie a delicious conversation piece…

While pie is baking place peel and cores in a small saucepan and cover with water.  Add 2 tbsp. sugar, place over low heat and simmer uncovered while pie is in oven.  After 5 minutes of cooling strain the liquid. This syrup has all the flavour from just under the apple peel.

When pie is baked, place on a rack in a location where there is good air circulation.

Pour 2-4 Tbsp of the syrup through the hole in the top of the pie as it cools and tip the pie gently from side to side to distribute the syrup evenly.  You may want to add more syrup.  As the peel is full of pectin, you don’t need to worry that this will make the filling runny.  It will tend to gel and give the filling a firmer texture.

 

Recipe #2:  Mom’s Rice Pudding

From the kitchen of Ray Cornell (Fielding’s winemaker)
“This is my Moms’ recipe. It’s really good, but not for the calorie conscious!” – Ray

Ingredients
3/4 cup short grain (arborio) rice
5-6 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (brown or white) – Ray prefers using brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla  –  “I like vanilla so I always use 2 teaspoons” – Ray
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter

Method
Cook rice, milk, and salt in top of double boiler (approx. 1 hour).

Beat eggs and sugar.  Stir some of the pudding into eggs and stir all back into the pudding with the vanilla, nutmeg and butter (Tip from Ray – at this point you can also incorporate the raisins, but I omit them).  

Stir well, the heat of the pudding will cook the eggs.  Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours

Garnish with a dash of ground cinnamon or shaved almonds.

fielding cheers
Bon Appétit & Cheers!

 

Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month clubRe-ordering your favorite Fielding wines is easy…

After you have enjoyed the wines we’ve selected for this Savvy Dinner Party Pack, you and your guests can re-order any of your favorites by contacting our Savvy Team directly on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca   We will gladly arrange a special shipment for you.

Here’s to another great dinner party!

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