Posts Tagged ‘Jason Sharpe’

Savour, Relax & Explore at Huff Estates

Posted by Patti

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
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Savvy Selections - Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Huff Estates Winery

– January 2015 –

 

Prince Edward County – known by many as ‘The County’ – is a quick & easy getaway – for a day or two, even a weekend.  Have you been?  About 2.5 hours from either Ottawa or Toronto, there are 30 plus wineries awaiting your visit.  A must stop is at the junction of Highway 62 & County Rd. 1.  This crossroads is known by the locals as Huff’s Corner.  Wine tourists know this location on their GPS as Huff Estates Winery.

logoHands down, Huff is a destination to SAVOUR fantastic wines, RELAX in the comfort of the boutique inn surrounded by vineyards & to EXPLORE the Oeno Gallery exhibiting contemporary art & a unique sculpture garden on the fringe of the vineyard. And this is just one of The County’s wineries. It is no wonder that MacLean’s Magazine has named this wine region as “One of Canada’s Great Escapes”.

Lanny & Catherine Huff have deep roots in The County as they were both born and raised here.  They also share a passion for fine wines. When apple orchards were being transformed into vineyards at the turn of the century (aka in year 2000), a special opportunity existed for them to return to The County & harmonize their two passions.  Lanny will tell you that, “once you have Prince Edward County in your blood, you are bound to return. It is a very special place with a long tradition of growing & an exciting new future in fine wine production.  When my passion for wine could no longer be put aside, I decided to return to The County.”

Huff BottlesHuff Estates will continue to share its family’s history of the land by producing exceptional wines source from its well-maintained vines & complemented with the wine making expertise of Frederic Picard who was lured to The County from Burgundy France. ”We aim to create a unique destination & provide not only fantastic wine, but also accompany great food, fine art, luxurious accommodations offering a memorable experience”, Lanny explains.

Ready for a roadtrip?

After you enjoy the following bottles in your Savvy Selections, we are certain that you will want to visit Huff:

2012 Cuvée Janine – a rosé sparkling crafted in the traditional French Champagne method

2012 South Bay Chardonnay – a new style for Huff: an unoaked Chardonnay that “dances on your palate”

2012 Gamay  –  a full bodied wine that surprised us with big flavours!

OPTIONAL WINE:
2013 First FrostThe latest release of Huff’s signature “sweet & playful” wine that has become a favorite with the Savvy Team.  If you would like some of this wine, just let us know.

You won’t find these Huff Estates wines at the LCBO

Huff makes such a small amount of these wines that none of them are at the LCBO. If you would like additional bottles of your new favourite Huff wine, call me on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange an additional delivery. Savvy Selections is all about introducing you to wonderful Ontario wines!

Cheers!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Huff Estates Winery

Presented by Sommelier Patricia Petty

 

This past October, I spent two wonderful weekends exploring the back roads of The County & tasting some incredible wines. There was definitely a buzz in the air wineries were in the midst of harvest. 2014 was an exceptional year for growing grapes & there is expectation that the wines will be fantastic too – stay tuned!

There is a saying amongst wine growers that, “September makes the vintage”.  A burst of sunny, dry weather is what the winemakers hope for…and this year, that is exactly what Mother Nature delivered. An abundance of clean fruit bursting with flavor was picked, and while fermentation continues in the cellars, vineyard crews have hilled up (winespeak: put the vines to bed under a protective layer of soil – only done in PEC) for another winter. Added to that, this week’s snow squall have insulated the vines even more.

Oak trees protect the vineyards

Prince Edward County is a wine region that is less than 10 years old.  Many were skeptical at first, yet the soils & growing conditions of The County lend themselves to crafting great wines. Lanny Huff believed in the region’s potential & wanted to be part of the growing industry.

In addition to the estate on Huff’s Corner, he has 150 acres of land on the quiet South Bay shore guarded by ancient oak trees towering over the vineyard.  Lanny explains that, “Oak & wine are linked together from earliest wine making traditions. We are dedicated to the production of only the finest wines that this age old relationship of oak & grape can create”.

Add experienced people to craft the wines

Success at a winery is created with the vines as well as the individuals who have both the skill & the passion to transform those grapes into great wines. The team at Huff comes to The County with a wealth of worldly experience.

Lanny’s first business is in the plastics industry.  When wineries were breaking ground in The County, Lanny ceased the opportunity to combine his passion for travel & wine along with his desire to return to his roots.

Frederic PicaHuff frederic picardrd (left), Huff’s winemaker has helped put The County on the world wine maps. He studied in Beaune, France & crafted wines in many wine regions around the world before joining Lanny in 2001 to open the doors at Huff. Jason, the General Manager returned to Huff after studying wine in Australia. Alex is the vineyard manager and when not in the fields, he can be found in the cellars assisting Frederic. During my visit, he was feverishly cleaning the tanks in preparation for the harvest.

Brian Hanna, the winery’s Sommelier & Angela Braun, the Retail Manager, will make you feel right at home when stop by. Be sure to ask for a winery tour with Brian – he is passionate about wine, food & most importantly how the marriage of these two can create a unique experience – he certainly “WOWed” me!

Connected to the family

Jason HuffAfter a lovely stay at Huff Estate’s Inn, I spent a good part of the day with Jason (right) & Brian. Jason confessed, ”while he is my uncle, I am proud to call Lanny my mentor”. The property where the winery sits was originally owned by the Huff family. It changed hands many times over the years & reverted back to the family when Lanny purchased it. Jason proudly told me, “Growing up, Lanny introduced me to this industry. He taught me the important lesson of constantly driving the business from the ground up – from farming, through manufacturing to sales.”

Years ago while in the Barolo region of Italy, I remember a young winemaker named Aldo, who told me that in the wine industry, you “learn by the seat of your pants”. Coincidentally, Jason said the same thing, “there is an element of calculated risk yet, you learn best simply by doing.” Going into its 13th year of business, Jason feels the winery is at a sustainable point in its growth & sees the production of new products & innovation as the path to growth on a moderate scale. Jason explained that Frederic is intentionally moving his winemaking style to use less oak for some of their wines. An example would be the unoaked Chardonnay that you have received in your Savvy Selections. 25% of the wine was aged in oak barrels & this is notably significantly less than what has been used in previous vintages. Brian, explains that Frederic wants to showcase the natural characteristics of The County grapes “unencumbered by the straight-jacket of lumber”.

Grab your corkscrew & get ready for a delicious experience. Here’s to you discovering your own perfect pairings with Huff wines.

Cheers!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

It is clear that Brian loves what he does in his ‘retirement’. If you enjoy the game of pairing wine with food as much as we do, get ready for a delicious time with Brian when you visit the winery. He often says that the wine would be best paired with “whatever comes out of the kitchen”, meaning no special occasion, fancy meal or complex recipes are needed to enjoy Huff’s wine.  We have featured some of Brian’s wine & food pairings, while others were ‘a-ha!’ moments from the Savvy Sommeliers.

Cuvée Janine, VQA 2012 $29.95

Frivoulous Fizz” is how Huff describes this wine. A sparkling Rosé created with 100% Pinot Noir grapes from nearby Hillier vineyards. Kick up your heels with as glass or two of this beautiful red crabapple hued sparkling wine created in the traditional method and allowed to sit on the lees  (winespeak for the process of leaving the yeast used for fermenting with the wine as it ages to impart more flavours) for 12 months to further develop its flavors.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This crab apple coloured bubbly on the nose shows a subtle smoky, sweetness accompanied with slightly salty notes on the palate. In addition, there is a subtle tartness and hints of white pepper on the palate as well as refreshing cranberry/apple, watermelon, strawberry, pomegranate and raspberry notes.

Suggested Food Pairings: This is a refreshing sparkling wine with a perfect affinity for a wide variety of foods. Brian commented that this wine would be fantastic with “whatever comes out of the kitchen.”

Our Savvy Sommeliers agreed with its versatility. We saw this bubbly being served with everything from salmon or crab cakes, smoked trout or Peking Duck or even BBQ spareribs would be a fantastic pairing.  Surprise your dinner guests & serve this rosé bubbly at the end of a meal with a Pavlova dessert with ripe strawberries, raspberries and blackberries or a bowl of beautiful ripe cherries. YUM!

 

South Bay Unoaked Chardonnay, VQA 2012 $21.95

“Vintage after vintage, the quality of the wines have improved remarkably and despite the cold climate and the challenges that growers have to face, the terroir in The County is unique. Elegant, mineral, floral, fresh and linger are the words that now define the wines I make at Huff and these descriptions are fitting for The County wine region too.” Frederic Picard, Huff winemaker. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright yellow color and on the nose we find refreshingly ripe fruit with both lemon and tropical notes. There are floral accents, orchard fruit (think apples or pear), fresh baked brioche and roasted almonds. The subtle notes of oak showed through with butterscotch and a distinct creaminess from the lees. Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm commented that the slight oak “gently dances on your palate”. This is an elegant, full, clean, round and smooth wine which truly showcases the winemakers expertise.

Suggested Food Pairings: If you are a lover of seafood, look no further than linguine with lemon garlic shrimp or fettuccine with baby clams in a white wine sauce. Roast chicken with garlic and fresh herbs and a touch of lemon in the accompanying gravy would be delicious as would pork scaloppini with a lemon and caper sauce. Or, once again surprise your guests and serve with desert – a classic French Apple Tarte Tatin.

 

Gamay, VQA 2012 Ontario, $24.95

My New Year’s Resolution: drink more Gamay! This one is a beautiful expression of this varietal that hails from a dry, sunny vintage of 2012.  The grapes were grown in Niagara and shipped to Frederic to work his magic. (note –  Gamay grapes are hard to grow in The County as they are not a hardy grape variety.)  Jason describes this wine as a “Bistro Beauty” and we couldn’t agree more. Certainly a food friendly wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Cherry-plum in color and with notes of black berry, dark plum, oak, spice, leather and dark chocolate infused with cherry. Gamay wines tend to be light bodied – this one surprised us.  Full flavours & soft tannins provide both structure and roundness to a fresh acidity present that makes it a beautifully food friendly wine. In France, Gamays are typically served slightly chilled, so shock your guests and throw it in an ice bucket for 10 minutes or pop in the fridge to chill slightly (15 mins should do the trick). Have fun with this wine – as the wine warms up to room temperature notice how the tastes & flavours change.

Suggested Food pairings: This Gamay would pair beautifully with a cheese and charcuterie board – include pate, terrines, cold cuts; tomato based pasta dishes; rustic and simple dishes – a simple Shepard’s Pie, Moussaka, your favorite meat loaf or chili, cabbage rolls (my favorite); Spanish-style chicken or sausage dishes; grilled pork in the summer; roast chicken in the winter. I think it is evident that this wine will go with so many of your favorites. 

Cellaring: Drinking well know, can cellar for up to 5 years or more.

 

OPTIONAL WINE

First Frost, VQA Prince Edward County, 2013 $24.95

winter harvestNew Release and a fan favorite at Huff Estates! “This wine teases the palate with white peach and aromas of beeswax, honey and floral notes. A delicate balance of sweetness and acidity, it delivers a thirst quenching finish. Made with Vidal grapes and hand harvested from our estate vineyard…our fruit”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This unique wine is created with 2/3 normal dry Vidal wine and 1/3 wine created from grapes harvested after the “first frost” and between 7 – 8 degrees Celsius. The result is a hint of natural sweetness in the wine. Described as “sweet and playful”, lemon in color with a golden hue. It is a light dessert wine that features whit floral notes and honeyed aromas. Baked apple, apricot and stewed stone fruit will fill your glass. There is a perfect acidity that follows through.

Suggested Food Pairings: Easily served with a pan-seared Foie Gras accompanied by poached pears and a simple reduction of the wine accented by fresh thyme. Hungry yet? But, if you want to stick to a dessert theme, how about a simple Vanilla panacotta; a lemon tart; a poached pear with a hazelnut mouse or a nectarine crostata…all desserts which would enhance the flavors found in this very special dessert wine. Or after dinner it would pair well with a light blue cheese!

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Huff Estates Cuvée Janine…

Mixed Berry Pavlova

From Ina Garten – The Barefoot Contessa
Serves 6
The components for this dessert can all be prepared ahead of time and assembled just prior to serving. You are going to WOW your guests!

IngredientsHuff icebucket

Pavlova

4 extra large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Sweetened whip cream
Fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
Fresh blueberriesFresh raspberries

Triple Raspberry Sauce

½ pint fresh raspberries
½ cup sugar
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 Tbsp raspberry framboise liqueur

 

Method

Pavlova

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan and draw a 9” circle on the paper using a plate as a guide. Turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.

Place egg whites and salt in a bowl and beat on high speed until firm, about 1 minutes. With mixer on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes fir, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes. Sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly with a spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 ½ hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed and allow the meringue to cool completely for about an hour. . It will be crisp on the outside and keep soft on the inside.

Invert the disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with the sweetened whipped cream. Combine the berries and toss with about ½ cup of the raspberry sauce or enough to coat all the berries completely. Spoon berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.

Triple Raspberry Sauce

Place the raspberries, sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam and framboise in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Chill.

 

With Huff Estates South Bay Unoaked Chardonnay…

Creamy Parsnip, Celery & Apple Soup

From Canadian Living Magazine 40th Anniversary Edition
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 leek (white & light green parts) sliced
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 pinch salt
1 lb parsnips, peeled and sliced
3 ribs celery, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cups chicken broth (use low-sodium if desired)
3 cups water
¼ cup whipping cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp cider vinegar 

Method

In Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat; cook leek, ginger and salt, stirring occasionally until softened, about 8 minutes .

Stir in parsnips, celery and apple; cook stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until parsnips are tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

In batches in blender, puree soup until smooth; return to pot. Stir in cream, mustard & vinegar. Reheat to serve.

For a definite “Bistro” take on this recipe serve in shallow bowls with Crispy Sage and Proscuitto on top.

To create crispy sage simple heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add fresh sage leaves and lightly sauté until leaves are crisp; drain on paper towels and reserve.

For the prosciutto, simply slice into thin strips and then sauté in the same pan. Drain and reserve.

To garnish the soup, drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top of the soup, place proscuitto and sage on top of the soup and you have a restaurant-worthy version of this soup!

 

With Huff Estates Gamay…

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Dried Cherry Jus

From Patti Petty’s kitchen
Note from Patti:
Don’t be intimidated by using duck breast. It is an easy preparation with results that will WOW your guests. 

Ingredients

1 Mallard or Muscovy Duck Breast, 450g
4 oz. Roasted Chicken Demi-glaze Jus
1 bottle of medium bodied red wine (Huff Estates Gamay will be perfect!) – go ahead & drink while cooking what you don’t use in the recipe!
3 tablespoons dried cherries

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Trim some of the fat from the duck breast, leaving about ¼” on. Trim any sinew or silver skin from the meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a small frying pan, turn heat to medium high. Place breast in pan, skin side down. Fry for several minutes, until fat is slightly rendered and browning.

Place pan with breast in the oven, still skin side down and roast for 7 minutes.

While the duck is in the oven, macerate the dried cherries in the red wine to allow them to plump slightly and take on the flavours of the wine.

Remove duck from oven, cast off rendered fat. Turn the breast over in the hot pan and let rest for 1 minute (skin side up). After a minute, remove the breast from the pan and let rest.

While the duck rests add cherries with some of the wine and the chicken Demi-glaze to the pan. Over high heat reduce to a sauce like consistency (about ½). Not too runny or too thick.

Before serving, warm duck breast in the oven. Slice thinly against the grain, which runs length-wise down the breast. Fan out on plate, pour sauce over and serve.

This method is per duck breast so multiple by the number of guests you are serving.

Serve with local in-season vegetables for this very simple yet memorable dish.

 

With Huff Estates 2013 First Frost…

Rustic Nectarine and Blackberry Crostata with Cornmeal Crust

From Epicurious
Serves 8

A crostata is simply an Italian free form tart or a type of pie. This recipe can be made with any type of stone fruit in season or what you can find in your favourite store.

Ingredients

Crust

2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)*
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon (packed) grated orange peel
3/4 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup (or more) ice water

Filling and baking

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
4 medium nectarines, each pitted and cut into 16 slices
1 1/2-pint basket of fresh blackberries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
Raw sugar crystals
Peach preserves, heated
Vanilla ice cream

Method

For the Crust

Combine first 5 ingredients in processor and blend 5 seconds. Add butter; using on/off turns, blend just until butter is reduced to pea-size pieces. (To ensure a flaky crust, be careful not to overwork the butter.) Add 1/3 cup ice water. Using on/off turns, blend until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap; chill at least 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)

Roll out dough on lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to 14-inch round, turning dough occasionally to prevent sticking. Slide rimless baking sheet under parchment. Transfer dough on parchment to refrigerator. Chill until dough firms slightly, about 30 minutes. 

For Filling and Baking

Stir sugar and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend. Mix in fruit and vanilla. Let stand until juices are released, stirring fruit occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer baking sheet with dough to work surface. Let stand 8 minutes to allow dough to soften slightly if too firm to fold. Spoon fruit and juices into center of dough. Arrange fruit in even 10-inch-diameter layer in center. Brush 2-inch border of dough with egg glaze. Lift about 2 inches of dough border and pinch to form vertical seam. Continue around tart, pinching seam every 2 inches to form standing border. Fold border down over fruit (center 6 inches of fruit remain uncovered). Brush folded border with egg glaze; sprinkle with raw sugar.

Place baking sheet with tart in oven. Bake until crust is golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling at edges, about 55 minutes. Remove from oven; slide large metal spatula under tart to loosen from parchment. Brush fruit with preserves. Slide tart onto rack. Cool 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.

* Available at Italian markets, natural foods stores, and some supermarkets.

 

Bon Appetite & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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