Posts Tagged ‘Henry of Pelham’

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

Posted by Julie

Monday, November 30th, 2015
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Holiday Finery has hit the LCBO Vintages shelves…and you all know what that means. Finally you can head out for one-stop Christmas shopping at Vintages.  The choices are vast: from single barrel rye whisky to Champagne cognac to Far Niente Estate Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 from the Napa Valley at $196.95 a bottle, there is something for everyone. I was afraid to taste the super- Tuscan, Sassicaia 2012 at $199.95 a bottle, in case it would leave me in a state of nirvana when I had other wine to taste. In any case, you get the drift.

There’s also an exceptional display of Ontario Icewine from proud producers such as Cave Springs, Henry of Pelham, Inniskillen and Chateau des Charmes; I wanted to put them all in my basket and who wouldn’t want to receive any of these as a gift? Some of these were bottled in 2014, remember how cold is was last winter?

But if you are looking for some variety for your Christmas dinner feast, for $100.00 the below choices are my promise of bringing interest and a variety to the table. These selections are MY finest!

Cheers,
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday November 28, 2015

 

Miravel Rose 2014Miraval Rosé 2014

AP Côtes de Provence
$22.95 (Vintages #342584) 13% alcohol

Don’t ever think that Rosé is just a summer drink. Hollywood icons Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie own the winery and estate Château Miraval, even though there is no reference to either of them on the label.

This is a classic French style Rosé, pale salmony pink in colour that is as pretty to look at as it is to drink. Fresh floral aromas waft from the glass, classy and elegant, fresh and well-balanced, loaded with wild strawberry and ripe pear flavours, some tangerine and other citrus at the end. It’s a great match with phyllo appetizers as the acidity in the wine cuts through any buttery richness. I also love to serve rosé with turkey and this beautiful bottle is worthy to sit on the finest of linen. Just watch me!

 

Santa Carolina Gran Reserva ChardonnaySanta Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #928580) 13.5% alcohol

While not new to Vintages, some wines are like old friends. If you haven’t picked one up for awhile when you taste it, it’s like you never parted. Such is this well-made solid Chardonnay with a lovely seam of acidity that balances perfectly the baked apples and buttered toast flavours from start to finish. Lately, I have been paying close attention to Chilean wines, generally there’s lots of value packed wine in the popular price range (well, mine) and they don’t disappoint. This is a versatile crowd pleaser with any white meats, pasta or just on its own with some toasted nuts. (surprise your company and warm up the nuts, you’ll get lots of oooh’s). This tried and true white wine is in my basket.

Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha 2012Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha 2012

DO Camp de Borja, Spain
$33.95 (Vintages #173211) 15.5% alcohol

This is a monster wine ! Inky, with “legs”, (winespeak for the lovely streaks on the side of a glass after you swirl) the aromas deserve a big bowl glass to savour the power. Dark berries, dried blueberries tease the nose and the palate bursts with the rich flavours of 100% Grenache grapes aged in some French and American oak. A red wine silky and layered with some cocoa or mocha on the very long fruit finish. Some licorce, cassis, black currants persist throughout the lingering moments of escape. Just close your eyes.

Aside from its’ enormous structure, it is beautiful table bling with a label that looks like it came straight from the Prado, the largest art gallery in Spain. Worth the splurge for the season.

 

Cave Spring Indian Summer Select Late Harvest RieslingCave Spring Indian Sunmer Select Late Harvest Riesling 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$24.95 (Vintages # 415901) 12.5% alcohol

Luscious, ripe pears and apples with a hint of citrus and minerality on the finish. There’s a little marmalade in the palate and lots of lemon-lime in the aftertaste that makes you salivate for one more sip. Smooth and creamy it’s one yummy wine to complete dinner with style.

 

GRAND TOTAL – $97.80

 

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All set! New Year’s Eve Dinner with Wine Shopping List

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, December 25th, 2014
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You’ve been planning, shopping, baking, cooking, decorating, and mailing (phew!) to get ready for the Holidays…so let us help you create a great dinner for the last day of the year. This take-home New Year’s Eve Dinner from Thyme & Again is an elegant menu prepared by their creative chefs using local ingredients. All you have to do is call the great folks at Thyme & Again by noon on Monday December 29th. Avoid the crowds, the kitchen and the stress!

Includes a Wine Shopping List too…

To make your New Year’s festivities extra easy, our Savvy Sommeliers  have provided wine recommendations from fine Ontario wineries to pair with these festive dishes. All of these wines are available at various LCBOs in Ottawa. For more wine recommendations from Savvy Sommeliers, call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) www.savvycompany.ca

Here’s to a delicious dinner & exciting 2015!

 

 

Special New Year’s Eve Menu with Wine Pairings

 

 

sparkling wine closeup of glasses

HORS D’OEUVRES

Coffee Poached Pears; Chèvre with Candied Walnut & Orange on Seed Crackers (V, GF)

Mini Perogie with Braised Shortrib & Cheese Curds

North of Seven Vodka Flambée Lobster stuffed Gruyère Profiterole

Kick off the festivities with a bubbly! Savvy Sommeliers recommend:

Casa Dea Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling, Prince Edward County $18.95
13th Street Cuvée Sparkling Brut Rosé, Niagara $24.95
Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Brut, Niagara $29.95

 

ED wine bottle and corkscrewSTARTERS

Acorn Creek Sunchoke, Apple and Chestnut Soup with fresh Thyme

Bluegrass Farms Baby Arugula; Smoked Tofu “Bacon”; Parmesan Tuille; Crouton;Lemon Garlic Dressing (V, GF)

Confit Duck and Shiitaki Mushroom Phyllo Pastry, Baby Greens and Honey Soy Drizzle

Crowd pleasing wines recommended by Savvy Sommeliers:
Rosewood Süssreserve Riesling, Niagara $14.95
Malivoire Gamay, Niagara $16.95
Kacaba Cabernet Merlot Syrah, Niagara $18.95

 

MAIN COURSESED glasses of wine

Oil Poached Striploin with Le Coprin Mushroom Tapenade
Rosti Potato with Zucchini Ribbon
Wine to serve: Huff Estates South Bay Merlot, Prince Edward County $29.95
*Will be featured in Savvy Selections wine of the month club in January 2015

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Shrimp and Alliums stuffed Roasted Chicken Breast and Sherried Tomato Cream
Duck Fat “Confit” Fingerling Potatoes with Thyme Roasted Carrots
Wine to serve: Lailey Sauvignon Blanc, Niagara-on-the-Lake, $19.95

~

Seared Black Cod with Lemongrass and Scallions
White and Bamboo Rice Pilaf with Miso Glazed Bok Choy
Wine to serve: Pondview Bella Terra Chardonnay, Niagara-on-the-Lake $24.95

~

Mixed Wild Mushroom and Brandy Ragout Stuffed Portobello with Cauliflower Purée (V, GF)
Rosti Potato with Thyme Roasted Carrots
Wine to serve: Rosehall Run Defiant Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County $18.95

~

Pork Two Ways: Hall’s Apple Cider Braised Pork Belly and Pan Seared Chard Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Medallion with Calvados Apple Butter
Duck Fat “Confit” Fingerling Potatoes with Miso Glazed Bok Choy
Wine to serve: Fielding Estates Pinot Gris, Niagara $18.95

DESSERTS

dessert Thyme & AgainSalted Caramel Crème Brûlée with Smoked Chili Truffle, Triple Chocolate Biscotti, Fresh Raspberries (GF available without biscotti)

Callebaut Dark Chocolate Mousse Cakelette with Drunken Cherries, Toasted Marshmallow, Espresso Cream, Fresh Strawberries (GF)

Key Lime & White Chocolate Cheesecake with Dulce de Leche, Parisian Macaron, Fresh Blueberries (GF)

Lemon & Raspberry Tart with Raspberry Coulis, Ginger Biscuits, Meringue Kisses, Fresh Blackberries

Our Savvy Sommeliers recommend to serve with these delicious desserts:
Southbrook Vineyards Framboise, Niagara $15.95 (dessert wine made with raspberries)
Cave Springs Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling VQA 2008, Niagara $24.95
Tawse Riesling Icewine VQA 2009, Niagara $34.95

 

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

Your dinner order includes:

hors d’oeuvre
starter
entrée
locally baked bread
dessert


Price per person:

Beef: $48
Chicken: $45
Pork: $48
Cod: $45
Vegetarian: $38

Please contact Thyme & Again Creative Catering directly to place your order.
1255 Wellington St W.
Ottawa ON  Tel: 613-722-0093
www.thymeandagain.ca

Have a very happy New Year’s Eve with friends & family, from all of us at Savvy Company.
Debbie & the Savvy Team

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FreshTAP moving into Ontario with wine-on-tap

Posted by Debbie

Monday, November 17th, 2014
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Every glass of wine should taste exactly as the winemaker intended. Wine Industry Leaders Allan and Brian Schmidt in partnership with Cameron West expand wine-on-tap category.

FreshTAP bottles & steel

FreshTAP is growing fast. With its newest expansion into Toronto and the Ontario market, British Columbia-based FreshTAP Pouring Systems promises wine lovers across the province a carefully curated range of Smarter, Fresher, Friendlier local VQA wines on tap, by the glass to an ever more discerning community of restaurateurs and wine lovers.

From its 5,000 square foot facility in the Niagara Peninsula, FreshTAP Ontario kegs wines from Creekside Estate Winery, Henry of Pelham Estate Winery, Mike Weir Winery, Stoney Ridge, Reif Estate Winery, and Vineland Estates into 19.5L stainless steel kegs—the equivalent of 26 bottles or 130 five-ounce glasses.

Held under the gentle pressure of an inert gas, each wine is perfectly preserved from oxidation for up to eight months once tapped, ensuring that the last glass is as fresh as the first. FreshTAP is currently featured in Toronto at popular restaurants such as Rock Lobster, Drake 150, Montage and Walhburgers, and ONE Restaurant by Mark McEwan. FreshTAP has also installed seven, five-tap systems and a portable wine-on-tap unit at the new 5,300 seat Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.

FreshTAP set up in restaurant

Latest trend in wine

“Wine-on-tap is the hottest trend in restaurant wine service across North America right now,” says FreshTAP Ontario’s  Cameron West, who, alongside Vineland Estates Winery’s Allan and Brian Schmidt, has brought FreshTAP to Ontario. The sons of a third-generation winemaking family whose father founded B.C.’s Sumac Ridge Winery, the Schmidts have been pioneers and industry leaders in the Niagara wine region for over three decades.

“We knew of the high-quality standards developed and practiced by FreshTAP in B.C. for premium wine kegging and restaurant wine-on-tap installations,” says Allan Schmidt. “That made it easy for us to partner with them to expand the brand and to make that same premium service available to all of Ontario’s wineries.”

From the point-of-sale perspective, FreshTAP ensures the utmost quality in wine-on-tap by-the-glass, with less spoilage and waste, greater efficiency for restaurants, and a more positive environmental impact.

FreshTAP into the glass

Waste not…want not

Based on current clients and licensees, FreshTAP Ontario estimates it will keg over 100,000 liters of wine in its first year (2014-2015), thereby eliminating more than 15,000 lbs of cardboard waste and diverting some 130,000 bottles, caps and corks from Ontario’s recycling and waste streams. Since launching in British Columbia in 2011, FreshTAP has kegged over 320,000 liters of wine, eliminated 52,201lbs of cardboard waste and kept 429,052 bottles, caps and corks from entering that province.

“It’s been an exciting three years since we launched in B.C., and we couldn’t be happier partnering with such esteemed industry professionals in Ontario to elevate FreshTAP to the national level,” said FreshTAP Co-Founder Mike Macquisten. FreshTAP at hockey game“There is an incredible consumer demand and the momentum keeps building for wine-on-tap. We’re thrilled to be at the vanguard of this category in the Canadian market.”

In addition to its Ontario vendors, FreshTAP is also available at over 150 restaurants and public venues across Western Canada such as Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, Delta Hotels, and 14 of The Keg Steakhouse locations throughout British Columbia and Alberta.

For more information on FreshTAP, visit: www.freshtap.com

 

ABOUT FRESHTAP

Business partners Mike Macquisten and Steve Thorp founded FreshTAP in February 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Wine-on-tap from stainless steel kegs provides a sustainable, environmentally friendly wine delivery system and FreshTAP enables the wine and hospitality industries access to this uniquely green category. With more than 150 wines now available via FreshTAP stainless steel kegs, this system provides hospitality locations throughout Canada with an easy solution for delivering wine-on-tap to their customers. In 2014, FreshTAP saw a new operational expansion into Ontario making the brand both the pioneer and leader in the wine-on-tap movement in Canada.

MEDIA CONTACT

For interviews, imagery, or more information:
Kate MacDougall
Camber Communications
+1 (604) 862-5191/ kate@cambercomm.com

 

 

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

Posted by Susan

Friday, September 26th, 2014
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The September 27 LCBO Vintages release features New World Ground-breakers, wineries known for their innovative practices and outstanding wines. As suggested in the catalogue and demonstrated by the founders of these historic wineries, “the wine visionary starts with an unplanted vineyard and creates something amazing.”

LCBO Vintages magazine Sept 27

Visionaries in the wine world

Included in this feature is the iconic Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Wagner family ; Chile’s Errazuriz, where Eduardo Chadwick is pushing the cool-climate envelope in the country’s coastal regions; and Argentina’s Catena, where Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura are producing vibrant, concentrated wines from their high-altitude vineyards. South Africa presents its cool-climate gem, the Hamilton-Russell Pinot Noir, Cloudy Bay is recognized for putting New Zealand on the wine world map, and, of course, Australia’s success with the Shiraz grape variety is featured in Two Hands wines from McLaren Vale.

…and ground breakers close to home

Canada has not been left out! You’ll find Niagara’s Rockway Vineyard’s well-balanced ‘Small Lot’ Meritage and Organized Crimes’ Sauvignon Blanc among the mix. Don’t miss the creamy Chardonnay and powerful, concentrated Cabernet Franc from the south Okanagan’s Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, recognized as a leading producer of quality B.C. wines. Hardly surprising, these wineries exemplify long family traditions of commitment to the land and excellence in winemaking.

A Passion for Portugal

The old world is not to be forgotten, as the secondary feature focuses on Portugese wines—the country is not just known for Port—including well-known light and fresh Vinho Verde (vinified from the Alvarinho grape) and a series of intense, flavourful blended red wines produced from native grapes made famous by Port, such as Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz and Touriga Franca. Portugal has a long history of grape growing and wine making; it exported wine to the Roman and British Empires! And the Douro is one of the oldest designated wine-making regions in the world. Take advantage of the great value to be found among these wines, one of which is included in our selection.

Ready for Thanksgiving?

It’s just around the corner so this release ensures that you have an array of wines to serve with ham, turkey, roast beef or a vegetarian option. You can choose from flavourful Riesling, ripe Pinot Grigio, lush Chardonnay, earthy Pinot Noir, classic Chianti, or robust Cabernet Sauvignon. For something a little different, consider the a Touriga Nacional or a fresh Stoney Ridge Cranberry Wine!

Cheers,

Susan
susan@savvyselections.ca

 

 If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

September 27, 2014

  

Henry of Pelham Estate RieslingHenry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2012

VQA Short Hills Bench, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages 557165) 11.5% alcohol

Pale straw, this white wine offers lovely mineral notes mingling with orchard fruit and citrus. Dry, medium bodied, dashing clean acidity underlines the flavours of lime zest, ripe apple and pear. The fine silky texture and crisp refreshing finish make it a must-have wine, and a great choice for Thanksgiving ham or turkey. Pick up a few bottles!

 

Bestheim Pinot GrisBestheim ‘Réserve’ Pinot Gris 2012

AOC Alsace, France
$15.95 (Vintages 315143) 13.0% alcohol

This off-dry award winning white wine is loaded with rich stone fruit and melon aromas and flavours. The ripe fruit is nicely balanced by a backbone of lively acidity, while a hint of sweet grapefruit and a touch of pithiness add a lift on the finish. Enjoy chilled with gently spiced Asian dishes or ginger-maple marinated salmon.

 

 

Versado MalbecVersado Malbec 2013

Luján de Cuyo, Argentina
$25.95 (Vintages 317008) 14.8% alcohol

Canada’s Ann Sperling and husband Peter Gamble are the magicians behind this big, bold Malbec. Inky, opaque, the basket of aromas includes a bevy of black fruits, sweet spice and notions of cedar. Dry, full bodied, the palate is awash with plush, velvety black fruit, while fine-grained underlying tannins and fine acidity create balance. There’s warmth on the finish and appealing notes of vanilla, toast, dried fruits and white pepper adding to the intensity of the wine. Savour and serve with rare grilled meats.

 

 

Rockway Estate ‘Small Lot’ Meritage 2011

Twenty Mile Bench
$19.95 (Vintages #388262) 13.0% alcohol

Evocative and complex aromas of sweet black fruits, vanilla, earth, smoky toast, spiced rose and herbs tantalize the nose. Dry, medium-full bodied, this blend of the Cabernets and Merlot flows across the palate like velvet, offering power and harmony, a fresh texture and supple tannins to balance the savoury ripe fruit, and lovely notes of dark chocolate and dried herbs through the long, flavourful finish. An excellent value, this finely crafted candidate for the cellar will pair well with full-flavoured meat dishes.

 

Quinta da PancasQuinta de Pancas Seleccão do Enólogo 2010

DOC Lisboa, Portugal
$18.95 (Vintages #380931) 13.5% alcohol

This award-winning blend is dense and inky, offering tantalizing aromas of vanilla, smoke, fresh black berry and dried fruits. Dry, medium-full bodied red, it’s smooth and velvety in texture, substantial and rich on the palate.  The ripe fruit flavours are framed by ripe tannins and fine acidity, and enhanced by well-integrated oak. Notes of exotic spice extend through the full-flavoured finish. Serve with hearty meat dishes.

 

 

GRAND TOTAL $98.75

 

 

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Ole! Sommelier picks of Spanish wines at Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, January 18th, 2013
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Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins started her year off right – tasting an array of Spanish wines and was treated with some wines from BC too.  In this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release (January 19) features on the wines of Spain – a country that as Susan tells you in this blog – has a long history of winemaking, varied terroir, and winemakers who work with traditional native grapes while also creating powerful blends using international varieties.

History of Spanish wine making 101 . . .

Archeologists have found evidence of wine cultivation dating back to the 3rd and 4th millennia BC. And the tradition carried on through the Roman empire, with evidence of winemaking in this period to be found throughout the country. Much of Spain is barren plateau, where strong winds, scorching sun and limitations on irrigation led to the cultivation of bush vines. These can be seen, for instance, in Jumilla and Yecla, where one finds many vineyards displaying old, gnarled Monastrell vines. These conditions have led to widely spaced planting, making Spain the country with the largest amount of land under vine, although it traditionally falls behind France and Italy in volume of production.  However, since irrigation was officially permitted in the mid 1990s, vineyard owners and winemakers have also planted international grapes varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot using more common wire trellising and spacing systems. There’s great value to be had from Spanish wines, and a delightful range to choose from: finely crafted ‘methode traditionelle’ sparkling Cava, crisp tangy whites made from Albariño, full-bodied Tempranillo or flavourful native Mencía, tasty Garnacha blends, and the famed Sherry from Jerez.

All of these are on offer in the release, along with a small but focused selection of BC wines (I have visited all of these wineries and unreservedly recommend their wines, if your budget allows). Then, there is the main release . . . an opportunity to compare Henry of Pelham’s Riesling with that of Alsace’s Joseph Cattin, to sample Opawa’s well-priced New Zealand Pinot Noir, to enjoy the luxurious Cline Cellars Cashmere, or to select Les Hauts de Castellas Vacqueyras for the cellar. So many wines, so little time, but we hope you have the opportunity to appreciate the selection of 5 wines below.

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

Alvarez de Toledo Godello 2010

DO Bierzo, Spain
$13.95 (Vintages #308049) 12.4% alcohol

From an estate established in the XVth century, this straw-hued white wine offers richness and complexity of aromas and flavours. On the nose, a touch of slate, apple, ripe citrus and floral notes. Dry, mid-weight, it beguiles with a round, ripe texture, lightly spiced peach, citrus and mineral nuances riding a wave of fresh acidity through a flavourful, fruity finish. Enjoy now and add a few bottles for the short-term cellaring.

 

Gray Monk Gewürztraminer 2011

VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$19.95 (Vintages #321588) 12.6% alcohol

Brilliant pale gold, this wine is fragrant with floral notes, lychee, stone fruit, citrus and spice. Off dry, lusciously fruity, the tropical aromas replay on the palate, the spice extending through the fruit-filled, delicately pithy finish. This pioneering Okanagan winery once again delivers a sumptuous wine to pair with lightly spiced dishes.

 

Borsao ‘Tres Picos’ Garnacha 2010

DO Campo de Borja, Spain
$19.95 (Vintages #273748) 14.5% alcohol

Produced from low yielding old vines, the inky dense color of the wine portends the weight and substance in the glass. First the sweet aromas—vanilla, cedar, leather, spice and berries ripe to bursting. Dry, velvety and full bodied, this wine delivers a mouthful of juicy ripe fruit garnished with exotic spice, dried herbs and subtle oak. Soft ripe tannins underpin the fruit, the richness of the flavours persisting through the lengthy finish. A great value to enjoy now or cellar medium term.

 

 

 

Jackson-Triggs ‘Niagara Estate Grand Reserve’ Shiraz 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #317941) 13.5% alcohol

Inky ruby, this is a substantial wine with alluring aromas of mint, pepper dancing over rich ripe red and black fruit. Dry, full bodied, the menthol comes through on the palate mingling with succulent spiced black fruit, a hint of coffee bean and a dazzling peppery note. Fermented in French and American oak for 12 months, the firm structure complements the ripe fruit, while the peppery garnish persists on the finish. A fine value to serve with rare roast beef, or cellar medium term. 

Château de Puisseguin Curat 2010

AOC Puisseguin St-Émilion, France
$19.95 (Vintages #307140) 14.5% alcohol

From a celebrated vintage, this is another award-winning wine that offers great value. Aromas include ripe black cherry, plum, spice and a whiff of smoke. Dry, medium-full bodied, the texture is very smooth, the red fruit ripe, the notes of spice and pepper building across the palate. Fine tannins and acidity along with subtly-integrated oak balance the rich fruit flavours, while the warm, spicy finish makes this a great wine to serve on a cold winter day. Or cellar medium term.

Grand Total: $93.75

 

Worth the splurge:

Mission Hill ‘Family Estate’ Quatrain 2008

VQA Okanagan Valley, BC
$44.95 (Vintages #218636) 13.5% alcohol

This blend of Merlot, Syrah and the Cabernets is composed from some of the estate’s best south-Okanagan fruit, fermented separately, aged in French oak. Highly aromatic and intense, the nose offers boysenberry, black cherry, spiced floral notes, and sweet cedar. Built on a firm frame, this dry, full-bodied blend delivers depth and complexity, flavours of cassis, black plum, spice and herbs with notes of toast carrying through the long finish. Serve with robust meat dishes; drink now to 2019.

 

 

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People are talking…about Ontario Wines

Posted by Julie

Thursday, September 13th, 2012
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It is no wonder that the world has started to notice Ontario wines. As seen in this week’s release at LCBO Vintages (September 15), we have much to be proud of. The recent count at the end of 2011, there were just over 130 wineries in Ontario.  And I noticed many new wineries in my recent trips to Niagara and Prince Edward County this summer.

And there is a great buzz amongst wine lovers across the province who are being constantly amazed with the wine made in their own backyard.  Read some of these discoveries on www.lcbogolocal.com or on follow the tweets on #LCBOgoLocal

Most winemakers agree that great wine starts in the vineyard and it’s the soil content that places Ontario wines on the international map. We often see tasting notes on Riesling that mention the zippy minerality in the wine. This is largely due to the soil. Last fall, I spoke at a seminar at the “Taste” festival in Picton and I learned there were over 10 different soil types in Prince Edward County alone. Talk about a challenge for the winemaker.

Ontario wineries produce largely wines made from the Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. With these varietals, sometimes blended with other less known ones,  come some great sparkling wines. The Peller Estate Ice Cuvee Sparkling Rosé, (featured this month at Vintages $35.95) was a winner of a gold Medal at Wine Access 2011 Canadian Wine Awards. Hinterland Winery in Prince Edward County specializes in sparkling wines and most wineries feature a sparkling wine. I recently tasted the Fielding Estates and13th Street “sparklers” which I can only describe as “seriously yummy”.

Niagara’s Stratus Vineyards is the world’s first winery to be given the coveted LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green certification. Southbrook Winery’s  “Framboise” can be found at the prestigous Harrods in London, England. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth requested 6 bottles of icewine during her Jubilee Visit to Canada in 2002 from Canada’s Icewine Specialists at the Royal DeMaria Winery in Beamsville.  Ontario produces 75 % of all Canada’s ice wine which can be risky business since production requires the availability of a large enough work force to pick a whole crop within a few hours, often on a moment’s notice.

Niagara’s Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery is Canada’s first fruit winery specializing in wines made from 100% Niagara Peninsula grown tree fruit and berries. We even have a winery that, thanks to its location on Pelee Island, offers a Bird Observatory and another winery that offers tastings in an old caboose, not to mention the one in a converted convent. Many Ontario wineries also have taste-rooms in original homestead barns some of which are architecturally signficant dating back to 1815.

Every year, the serendipity excitment of finding new wine takes me on the Ontario journey. We need not look further than our own backyard. The following wines illustrate that Ontario has it all. I hope you agree.

Cheers and Enjoy,
Julie

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Vineyard Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2009

VQA Beamsville Bench,Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #246579) 13% alcohol

This clean refreshing beauty just glistens in the glass. The Chardonnay Musqué is a clone of the Chardonnay grape which means a completely different taste from the latter. While it has aromas of white blossoms, the grapes were vinified in stainless steel that give the wine some grapefruit and green apple flavours. It is slightly off dry, smooth and supple all the way through to the minerally finish. It has solid medium body that could carry you from the appertif to desert, not to mention a thirst quenching sipper on its own.

 

2027 Falls Vineyard Riesling 2011

VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #294041) 11% alcohol

 

Pale in colour and almost watery in appearance, my first introduction to Falls Vineyard is a delicious one. I adore a light coloured wine. The Riesling is slightly herbaceous, lots of wet stone flavours that are typical in a Niagara Riesling with that pinch of lemon lime citrus that take your taste buds on a salivating roller coaster. It is light bodied, a lovely end of summer drink to enjoy with a field tomato salad, some coarse salt and a French stick. Get those taste buds moving !

 

 

 Lailey Vineyard Chardonnay 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #193482) 13.5% alcohol

Winemaker Derek Barnett has created an elegant labour of love with this Chard. Think of ripe but crisp yellow apples, a pinch of lemon, a tad buttery but fresh, medium bodied with a slightly caramel finish.  Perfect for some baked or grilled tilapia and asparagus and a little soft artisan cheese to finish. It is a beautifully balanced wine, a good price point for this quality and I would be proud to serve this Chardonnay to anyone. A great all season Chardonnay.

Featherstone Cabernet Franc 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #64618) 13% alcohol

 

Nothing like a bright ruby red wine that shows off aromas of sweet and sour cherries. Only 694 cases produced so do grab one while its on the shelf. It is slightly vegetal, red berry flavours, with a hint of green pepper and tobacco with grippy tannins (this is a good thing).  A fabulous bbq wine to have with meaty burgers or kebobs.

 

Henry of Pelham 2010 Reserve Baco Noir

VQA Ontario
$24.95 (Vintages #461699) 13.5% alcohol

I remember having a prof in Sommelier school that said Baco Noir was only good for making jelly. I wish I could find him now to prove him wrong. The wine is dark and inky with aromas of raspberries, cherries and wood smoke.  Slightly vegetal with ripe chewy tannins that lend interest to the wine and give it a  long lingering finish. Would be fabulous with some sausages or pasta to soak up the bone dry tannins.

 

Grand Total: $96.75

The Ontario wines from this release were a really hard pick. I could have listed all Chardonnay’s but knew that would be uninteresting for you as the shopper. Who besides me would like a basket of Chardonnay wine?  I also like to showcase as many Ontario wineries as possible and plan to do so again next month. Some may also be from this release to help talk “turkey”.

If you do however happen to win the lottery, I tried an Inniskillin Riesling Icewine ($69.95) that won the 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines and a Gold Medal for Best Vinifera Icewine at the The Lieutenant Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. The honeyed pear and baked apple flavours with just the perfect balance of acidity was really over the top. I’m trying to think of a special occasion that could warrant such a splurge but there are so many Ontario wines that I want to put in my basket, that one will have to wait.

Happy sipping on the remainder of our summer days and nights. Julie

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If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Susan

Thursday, November 10th, 2011
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If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, November 12, 2011

As the holiday season approaches, premium wines and gifts for that special someone are the theme in the upcoming Vintages releases.

The principal feature in the November 12 LCBO Vintages release includes a range of top-of-the –line wines. Among the whites, a Moet & Chandon Vintage Champagne as well as select Chardonnays from California, New Zealand and Burgundy. Unique blends such as the Jonatas Todos Red, signature Malbec from Argentina and Shiraz from Australia, classic Bordeaux and Italy’s grand slam of Barolo, Brunello and Amarone are but a few of note among the reds. In this selection, several Canadian wines beckon including the Closson Chase ‘Beamsville Bench’ Chardonnay, Flat Rock’s ‘Gravity’ Pinot Noir, and Mission Hill’s ‘Quatrain’.

Looking for something sweet to share with your sweetie, or for a special holiday season meal? You’ll appreciate the extensive collection of dessert wines on offer. Consider a 10-year-old Tawny Port, a Trockenberenauslese from Germany, Moniak Mead (honey wine) from the UK, a rich Recioto from Valpolicella, or a luscious and lively Canadian treat such as Henry of Pelham’s Cabernet Franc Ice Wine.

Releases like this can make for a very short list within our target $100, but as always, we’ve found some excellent buys outside the release features as well. Don’t blow the whole holiday shopping budget, as there will be more outstanding fine wines and sparklers in the next November release and the final release of 2011 in early December!

Cheers and Enjoy,

Susan

Lenz Moser ‘Prestige’ Trockenbeerenauslese 2008
Burgenland, Austria
$19.95 (Vintages #729657) 10.0% alcohol 375 ml

Golden tending to amber, produced from select botrytis-affected berries, this harmonious well-balanced dessert wine is rich with aromas of preserved peach, apricot jam and fruit marmalade. Full bodied, luscious and satiny in texture, the apricot replays, tangerine joining the chorus, providing a perfect counterpoint of tang and honey. The underlying structure delivers a refreshing lift on the lengthy fruit-filled finish. Enjoy on its own or match it to apple strudel with crème anglaise.

Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris 2009
Willamette Valley, Oregon
$18.95 (Vintages #940528) 13.0% alcohol
Whole cluster pressed, aged sur lie, blended with a touch of Muscat and Pinot Blanc, this Pinot Gris evokes the sun-ripened fruits of summer. Delicate floral aromas and the scent of ripe orchard fruit drift from the glass. Dry, medium-full bodied, it’s rich, ample yet refreshing, the ripe fruit matched by a seam of fine acidity and a trace of minerality. Smooth yet fresh, delivering a lasting fruity finish, this is a well-crafted wine.

Stalking Horse Shiraz 2008
McLaren Vale, Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #251215) 15.0% alcohol
Aged in new American oak, inky and voluptuous, the aromas of vanilla, sweet spice, rich ripe black fruits, and an elusive smoky note leap from the glass. Fruit forward—think boysenberry jam and blackberries—the wine has a distinctive note of black licorice, a smooth, velvety texture, and a subtle structure. An ample, rich wine offering a sweetly spiced warm finish, enjoy it now and over the next few years.

Delas Frères ‘Saint-Esprit’ Côtes du Rhône 2009
AOC Côtes du Rhone, France
$14.95 (Vintages #729962) 13.5% alcohol
Dominantly Syrah blended with Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre, this deep violet Rhône blend is fresh and vibrant on the nose—raspberry and boysenberry to the fore, a hint of vanilla and a whiff of garrigue that transports. Dry, medium-full bodied, beautifully balanced and structured, it delivers a wash of lively fruit across the palate, a lingering peppery note and a fresh dry crisp finish. At this price, a few bottles are in order!

Duque de Medina Gran Reserva 2000
DO Cariñena, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages #148494) 12.5% alcohol
Ruby with a touch of garnet, this mellow, well-aged wine offers evolved aromas and flavours. Floral and autumnal notes, a hint of leather and subtle sweet ripened fruit drift from the glass. Displaying a velvety texture, dry, medium-full bodied, the taste experience is all about restraint and integration—tannins that melt, acidity that freshens the red fruits, hints of sweet spice and cocoa adding complexity, a lasting slightly warm finish. Very appealing and easy to drink, you could enjoy this with bison bourgignon.

Grand Total: $90.75

Options:

For a premium wine to gift or cellar, consider Mission Hill’s Quatrain!

Mission Hill Quatrain 2008
VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$41.95 (Vintages #218636) 14.0% alcohol

Following on the heels of the 2006 vintage, featured in the March 15 Vintages release, this blend of Merlot, Syrah and the Cabernets is composed from the estate’s best south Okanagan fruit, separately fermented and aged in French oak. Highly aromatic and intense, the nose offers boysenberry, black cherry, spiced floral notes, and sweet cedar. Dry, full bodied, built on a firm frame, the wine delivers depth and complexity, flavours of cassis, plum, spice and herbs, and notes of toast that carry through on the long dry finish. Serve it with robust meat dishes or age 5-7 years.

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