Posts Tagged ‘Martha Stewart recipes’

No black sheep here! 100% creamy sheep milk cheese

Posted by Vanessa

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Spring has sprung …and hopefully you will feel the same sunny vibe when you open this month’s parcel of Savvy Cool Curds.  Bright colour cheeses & bundles of delicious-ness are there, waiting to be enjoyed.  This month, we shine the spotlight (or should I say ray of sunshine) on Best BAA Diary located in the small town of Fergus, Ontario.

Best Baa Dairy is a family run business that makes stunning cheese with local sheep milk. Not only do they make artisan cheese, their yogurt and ice cream is fantastic too…and it’s 100% sheep’s milk!  “The days are long but this tremendous family effort is rewarded by happy consumers of our delicious sheep milk products”, says Nicole Bzikot, the dairy’s second-generation owner.


In your Savvy Cool Curds you will find…

… these rare artisan cheese beauties:

Eweda Cru
Sheep in the Meadow
Mouton Rouge


Nicole and Peter – like Elisabeth and Eric before them – fundamentally believe that the viability, as well as sustainability, of the family farm is the backbone of rural communities.  Nicole and Peter continue the family mantra and are committed to the Five Freedoms of farming practiced by farming communities in the UK:

Freedom from hunger and thirst.
Freedom from fear and disease.
Freedom from discomfort.
Freedom from pain and injury.
Freedom to express natural, normal behaviour.

By providing the herd with these five freedoms, they tend to be healthier and the need for medication rare.


Special gift from us!

In your package this month you’ll find a little something extra from Savvy Company.  Our marketing wizard, Karen, let me in on a wonderful product she recently discovered; an all natural and reusable food wrap made from beeswax!  This Canadian invention keeps cheese much fresher and longer than plastic wrap can.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!  Learn how to use and care for the wrap at

Enjoy your cheese!

Would you like more cheese from this month’s Savvy Cool Curds?  If we have extra chunks of cheese, you are welcome to it. Just call our Savvy Team & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you.  Put us on speed dial – Savvy Cool Curds Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or


Vanessa & the Savvy Team



20 Questions with Nicole Bzikot

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

We’ve finally left winter behind, and we are ‘lighten-ing’ it up on these pages too.  Time to try something different to keep things fun & to dig a bit deeper and get some interesting ‘dirt’ (sorry for that corny pun) on the dynamic people behind the cheeses that we send you.   Not only are they great cheesemakers, they are incredibly interesting people with neat stories to tell about how they got into cheese biz!

So,  let’s pose some questions and put Nicole on the “Savvy Hot Seat”, shall we?

Current Job:
My husband Peter and I are the owner operators.  Peter’s parents started the biz & in January they retired. Honestly though, everyone does a bit of everything!

It’s Wine O’clock. What wine & cheese combo would you like right this minute?
My go-to is the Mouton Rouge, yet it needs a robust red to go with it and with the sun pouring into the cheese shop, I am thinking more along the lines of Rose wine right now.  So that definitely would be best with the Ramembert.

When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The funny thing is that my background is in textile art.  I met Peter when I bought cheese at the St Laurence Market.  Interestingly, I was selling art supplies and hand made craft items at the time. I never EVER dreamed that I would be living on a farm. The craft part of me stays true as we are crafting cheese here.

What is in a name?
Around here, product names are often highly debated. We take the approach of using silly Sheep-related puns to make memorable.

What is it about cheese that got you hooked?
Cheese can be political, romantic, and when you travel there is always different types to try.

What lead you down the path to becoming the cheesemaker you are today:
Cheesemaker wasn’t my dream job, but now I realize that I love eating cheese and it is such meaningful work .  It is definitely physical work, I use my hands to create.  The best part is that our customers write regularly to thank you for the products we make.  That fills my soul.

Is there music playing in the cheesemaking facility right now?
Absolutely.  We mix it up all the time.  We have satellite radio and usually we listen to the channel called Spectrum.  It plays a mix of the 70s-80s-90s.

Favorite thing about the local cheese industry:
I love the fact that we know the people & family behind the milk we purchase.  It provides a significant income that allows them to stay on their family farm.

Favorite thing about making cheese:
By the end of the day you have a product that people need & want to keep them healthy. Something tangible.

What is the unglamorous thing about cheesemaking?
I find it funny that anyone thinks this is glamourous. Everyday we wear something just short of being called PJs & a hairnet.

Why did you choose yellow and green wax for your cheeses?
They are happy colours. Green = grass. Yellow = sunshine.

Industry Mentors:
We are humbled by what the cheese that is coming out of Quebec. While we grow, we are always trying to raise our own standards.

What wine region do you want to visit next?
Italy. But honestly, it is hard to get away.

One surprising thing that I’m really good at:
I have always enjoyed leadership through comraderie.  In addition to Peter and I, there are 8 people on staff.  They are all local (not relatives!).  The interesting thing is that we are all friends outside of work too.

When is your birthday (no year required!):
March 22 – and wouldn’t you know it…my Zodiac symbol is a ram!   

My Birthday “Favorite Meal”
That is easy….spaghetti.  Or fresh lobster, but that is hard to come by here in Fergus.

A funny moment you remember about visitors coming to the cheese shop:
People are shocked when they meet me after chatting on the phone or online.  I am 6 feet tall & have a young face.  I usually get “you can’t possibly be the owner….you are too young!”

What does you daughter think?
She is 9 years old and is very proud of what we do.  She stamps the bags or is on the front line ready to offer samples at Farmers Market. I think she might like to be a shepherdess, like her grandmother.



~ Cheese Tasting Notes ~

Typically, Vanessa offers her tasting notes…but for this issue we are mixing it up a bit and have asked Nicole to share her thoughts on the special cheeses in this month’s Savvy Cool Curds.



This traditional Greek style feta is made from pasteurized and raw sheep milk.  The flavour in both versions is tangy and full, with hints of lemon.  The flavour is more abundant in the raw milk version with greater nutritional value preserved (cheese speak: flavour loss through pasteurization).

It takes upwards of 3 weeks to make this feta, then it is packaged in brine made from the whey.  This delicious cheese can stand on its own or enhance your favourite dish.


Eweda Cru

Beginning with a traditional gouda recipe, this raw milk cheese is aged for a minimum of 9 months.  Each wheel is marked with information pertaining to the producer of the milk used.

Each round of this semi-hard cheese weighs approx. 3 kgs.  Why is the wax green?  To represent the grass.  Cut inside and you will find the paste (cheese speak: the cheese) is pale yellow with many small holes.  The texture is slightly crumbly yet smooth on the tongue.  Its rich, earthy aroma leads beautifully towards an explosive, complex flavour.

When savoured, Eweda Cru is nutty at first, then grassy with a lingering finale of creamy freshness.


Mouton Rouge

It’s playful name; this firm cheese is mild yet pleasing, and full of surprises.

The reddish tinged rind encases a pale, creamy yellow paste, dotted with small holes.  The aroma is fresh and grassy.  The nutty rind contrasts beautifully with the mild, slightly buttery inner paste.  A lingering creaminess remains on the palette.  Made in rounds of 1 to 3 kgs that have aged for upwards of 60 days.



Get it?  This cheese is Best BAA’s version of Camembert.  “We love using puns for our product names…it makes you remember them better” says Nicole, laughing at her own joke.

This small, bloom ripened cheese, has an exterior that is fluffy and white, concealing an ivory white interior.  The paste is creamy and smooth with an earthy, mushroomy aroma.  The cheese is at its best when the sides yield easily to pressure.  Then the cheese oozes goodness!  Store in the fridge when ripe and serve with a crisp baguette, a few grapes and any bold red wine.


Sheep in the Meadow

This lactic cheese has a bloomy rind sprinkled with Herbes de Provence from France. Rosemary and thyme dominate the aroma while mushroomy undertones also are noticed.  Close to the rind, the texture is creamy, and you will find it increasingly firm towards the centre.  Luxuriously smooth, the creamy paste is imbued by the herbs.

It is a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed in its early, fresh cheese stage or in its later ripened state.  Savour it your way!

Photo credits:



 ~ Recipes to enjoy with the featured cheeses ~

Asparagus Eweda Tart

from Martha Stewart’s kitchen



Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Eweda cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet.

With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with cheese. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.



Lamb and Feta Chili

From Nicole & Peter’s Kitchen – Best Baa Dairy
TIP: This makes a BIG batch to feed a hungry crowd or to store in your freezer for a quick an easy meal later!


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
250 grams of fresh Feta cheese
1 medium yellow pepper
1 medium red pepper
1 kg of ground lamb
3  16 oz. cans of tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste



Brown the ground lamb in a large pot.  Salt and pepper the meat while it is cooking.  Drain the lamb and set it aside in a second, medium size pot.  Saute the onions, garlic and peppers in the same pot used for browning the meat (without cleaning it!)  If there isn’t sufficient fat left in the pot, you may want to use a little olive oil.

Return the lamb to the large pot.  Add the tomato sauce and chili powder.  Cook on medium heat for approximately one and a half hours.

Serve up the chili in your favourite bowls and garnish with a few spoonfuls of the fresh sheep milk cheese curd or sheep milk creme fraiche.




Curry Potato and Cheese Patties

From Nicole & Peter’s Kitchen- Best Baa Dairy


8 medium potatoes, peeled
1 cup of Eweda Cru cheese, grated
1 egg
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons of curry powder
½ cup of flour



Boil potatoes till tender.  Mash and cool.  Add egg, cheese, onion and salt. Form mixture into golf ball sized balls.

In separate bowl, mix flour and curry powder.  Roll potato balls in flour mixture.

Over medium heat, press in frying pan with olive oil and fry until lightly browned.  Add more grated cheese on top if desired and serve!



“Dad…Dad…buy a winery!”

Posted by David

Monday, March 13th, 2017

When you have generations of winemakers in your family tree, the word “tradition” takes on a new meaning. This month in Savvy Selections, we feature fabulous wines from Niagara’s  Di Profio Wines. A family run operation that specializes in small batch, hand-made wines, Di Profio has quickly built a reputation for their excellent products. You can read all about their approach to winemaking in our Di Profio profile, below.


Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Di Profio picks. We love how they offer a variety of flavours and styles!

2015 Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie Light and lively are the key words for this bubblegum pink sparkling wine.

2015 Kitchen Zinc – Blended from seven grape varieties, you’ll love how pretty and well-balanced this white wine is.

2013 Zinc-tastic – Here’s an example big red wine Fred Di Profio has become famous for: Cab-Merlot in perfect harmony!


Wines with power & elegance

Di Profio is making wines that will entice the most discerning of palates. Each one is unique, offering flavours and aromas that you would expect only from much more expensive products. These wines are read to drink, though most of them can handle cellaring for a few years, too. Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Di Profio wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to

-Debbie & Savvy Team




Di Profio Wines
presented by Sommelier David Loan

“Traditional” is a word we like to use a lot in the wine industry. It calls to mind the ancient history of winemaking, and connects the New World to the Old. But only a few Ontario wineries have the family roots to show that winemaking is a family legacy, a true tradition that forms part of the winery’s heritage.

Deep Roots

At Di Profio Wines, the winemaker’s roots go as deep as his vineyards. “My father’s family for generations were farming in a well-known region of Italy called Abruzzi,” Di Profio’s winemaker Fred Di Profio remembers. “My grandfather, Giuseppe, left and they eventually sold off their vineyards, but he continued making wine as many Italian immigrants do, in his cellar.” Fred’s father, Joseph, watched his own father make wine, but didn’t have much interest in the process when he grew up.

Fred, however, decided to study winemaking and began to work as a “cellar rat” at a variety of wineries in Niagara and elsewhere. He eventually took over as winemaker at Pondview Estates Winery (the winery we featured in Savvy Selections just 3 months ago – December 2016). 

Family Business

That’s when his dad, Joseph, got interested, too. “My father saw how gratifying it was for me to make wine and he thought, I should rekindle my childhood memories of MY father making wine,” Fred said. “He had a great time and learned something new and together we naturally found our family roots.” With Fred’s advice, Joseph bought some vineyards near Jordan Station in the Niagara Escarpment. Of course, he immediately enlisted Fred to run the operation.

Building Up

Joseph spearheaded building a new winery and tasting room. One of his biggest concerns was the bar. “Fred was looking for an interesting material for the tasting bar top,” Joseph said. “And he found a wine bar in Italy with a zinc countertop. Zinc oxidizes in a really neat way. Spilled wine produces a really nice patina – the older and more used, the more personality it develops. Joe got some zinc sheets and used them to cover our beautiful tasting bar.”

Joseph liked the material so much, in fact, that the tasting room is called The Zinc. And some of the wine labels playfully use the word, too.

Ready for Reds

Fred has developed a reputation for making big, bold red wines.  In the cool climate region like Niagara, Cabernet Sauvignon can be challenging for those grapes. Fred explained to me that extra time spent in the vineyard makes all the difference. “We always adapt to the climactic conditions. Even in the cooler growing seasons, there are a number of tools we can use in the vineyard to accommodate to any climate, which can vary from year to year,” he said. “Crop thinning to give the vines a helping hand, canopy management to vary the shade levels – more leaves in hot seasons, less in cooler seasons. The secret is patience and good vineyard practices.”

We’re Convinced!

Since Di Profio Wines opened in 2012, the father and son duo (and mother Carollynn had her hand in it too running the B&B next to the winery), Joseph and Fred have quickly built a reputation for high-quality wines. Dedicated to small batch production, and producing only wines from estate vineyards, they are leading a new movement in Niagara winemaking, one that looks to the future while embracing, yes, the traditional.

We are proud to offer you our favourite picks from the Di Profio portfolio. We’re confident that every bottle in the Savvy Selections that you open will leave you wanting more!


For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that demonstrate the powerful elegance of Di Profio wines.  We know that you’ll love the subtle flavours of these stunning wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink.


2015 Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie (VQA Creek Shores)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Named for Joe’s mother, Rosie (and bearing her image on the label), this Gamay sparkler is perfect for a romantic evening! There’s so much going on here: candied citrus, cherry gumdrops, pink marshmallows. It’s dry and refreshing, and finishes on the palate with watermelon and strawberry notes. The mousse is light, with fine bubbles.

Suggested Food Pairings: Our tasters agreed that this will go well with fish and seafood. We think a nice Trout Almandine will be a perfect pairing. (Recipe below.)

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within a year.


2015 Kitchen Zinc (VQA Ontario)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Want to know what grapes this is made from: Chardonnay Musque (a cousin of the Chardonnay we know and love); Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Chardonnay, Vidal, and Pinot Gris.

Pretty and aromatic, it has fresh floral and orange notes, with flavours of rose and honey. Medium acidity balances the light sweetness.

Suggested Food Pairings: Off-dry wines pair beautifully with spicy food, and this is no exception. We suggest a chipotle black bean chili. Recipe follows.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 2 years. Serve between 10-14ºC.


2013 Zinc-tastic (VQA Niagara Peninsula)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Sixty-four per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and Thirty-six per cent Merlot, the Zinc-tastic showcases Fred Di Profio’s talent with making big red wines.

With loads of dark fruit flavours and aromas of cigar box, coffee, and chocolate, this has medium, elegant tannins and medium acidity. Our tasters all thought that this is a steal at the price!

Suggested Food Pairings: We want to pick up on the fruit and smoky flavours of the Zinc-tastic. So, we turned to one of our favourite culinary regions – Provence – and a very old stew recipe: Daube de Boeuf Jeannette.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.





With Di Profio Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie…

Trout Almandine

Recipe & Photo credit:
Serves 4-6


1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
4 trout fillets
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled



Lightly toast the almonds in a saute pan. Reserve. Combine the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small, flat dish. Pour the milk into another one. Place the trout fillets in the milk.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. Dredge the fillets in the flour mixture on both sides. Add to the pan and increase heat. Put the garlic cloves in the pan and swirl it around.

Turn the trout after 2 minutes and remove the garlic (you don’t want it to brown). Cook until the fish is cooked through and lightly golden brown, about 1 or 2 more minutes. Scatter the almonds over top. Serve immediately.

With Di Profio Kitchen Zinc…

Chipotle black bean chili

Recipe and photo:
Serves 4


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cilantro sprigs (optional)



Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients (chili powder through green chiles); bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Ladle chili into individual bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Serve with corn chips or corn bread.



With Di Profio Zinc-tastic…

Daube de Boeuf Jeannette

Recipe: Chicago Tribune
Photo credit: SAQ
Serves 5-6


8-10 canned anchovy fillets, optional
3 1/2 pounds lean beef stew, preferably top round, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 ounces lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, mashed

Peel from an orange, dried
1 onion, studded with 3 cloves
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
Beef broth, or water and bouillon cubes
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
Large bouquet garni (2 small celery ribs tied with a bunch of parsley sprigs, a few thyme stalks, and a bay leaf between)
Salt, pepper to taste
4 ounces tiny Nicoise olives, pitted
1 Tablespoon minced basil or parsley



If you choose to use the anchovy fillets, insert a small piece in each beef cube, using a pointed knife, then set aside. Plunge the bacon into rapidly boiling water for 6 to 7 minutes, rinse under cold water, then drain and dry on paper towels.

Heat half the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet. When very hot, add the diced bacon and stir until it begins to brown, then remove and let drain on paper towels.

Without crowding the pieces, add the beef cubes to the hot oil. Turn the pieces when nicely browned. When all sides are evenly browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and reserve. Add more oil and the sliced onions, and cook slowly, stirring, until tender but not browned.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Return the meat and bacon to the skillet, and add garlic, orange peel, onion with cloves and wine. Heat to boil, then add broth to cover, stir in tomato paste, place bouquet garni in the middle, and season with more pepper than salt, as the olives will provide salt.

When the mixture begins to simmer, cover with parchment paper and the lid. Bake until the meat is tender, at least 1 1/2 hours. Turn the beef cubes halfway through cooking. A few minutes before serving, remove the onion with cloves; add olives, taste and correct the seasoning. Serve in a warmed shallow serving dish, accompanied by boiled potatoes or rice, sprinkled with minced basil or parsley.


Enjoy the season with your Savvy Selections!


They’re one bee-zy family at Rosewood

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013


Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Rosewood Estates
– February 2013 –


While working as a high-tech executive, Eugene Roman was also developing his skills as a master beekeeper & dreaming big about creating a winery and meadery in Niagara. In 2000, he & his wife Renata, purchased 40 acres on the Beamsville Bench, backing onto the Niagara Escarpment – interestingly, a designated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. A further 45 acres was purchased in the nearby village of Jordan.

Soon followed the construction of the winery designed to reflect the family’s European heritage with exquisite rose gardens. 2006 marked the first harvest and vintage, as well as the year that Eugene & his winemaker started to make mead, which is produced by fermenting honey & water. Get the low-down on mead.

Rosewood Estates is a family affair. Daughter Krystina Roman has taken on full responsibility for Marketing & Sales, while son William (Wills), who is a graduate of the Viticulture and Oenology program at Niagara College and also has a business degree, can be found amongst the grapes in the vineyard, in the wine cellars & working at the apiaries with his father.

The ‘buzz’ is never far away. Step out behind the winery & you will find a sheltered glade among the trees where hives produce the wildflower honey that is sold in Rosewood’s retail shop. Of course, there are hives elsewhere in the Niagara area to optimize the bees’ access to a range of pollens from the fruit orchards & vineyards.

With its unique meadery – the only in Niagara – Rosewood is definitely a ‘must visit’ when you are in Niagara.

Until your next trip to the Beamsville Bench, with this month’s Savvy Selections you will get a taste of red wines to match the hearty foods of winter along with a lesser known white grape variety – Semillion grapes – rare in Ontario.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Semillon VQA 2011 – medium bodied white wine that is delicious with winter time foods

Merlot Reserve VQA 2009a complex, powerful award-winning red wine that is silky & flavourful

Pinot Noir VQA 2010 – a easy drinking dry & juicy, well-balanced Pinot that will impress anyone


Mima’s Block Riesling VQA 2011 – slightly off-dry, elegant balanced with delicious ripe fruit and lively acidity

Ambrosia Grand Reserve Mead 2007 – smooth uniquely aged in 3+ years in French oak barrels.

Enjoy discovering Rosewood wines.  At any time you would like additional bottles of your favorite Savvy Selections wines, just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to  It would be my pleasure to arrange a delivery for you. Cheers & Enjoy!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Rosewood Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins


Truly a family affair, Rosewood Estates reflects the enthusiasm & passion of the Roman family. Krystina explains, “As a family we fell in love with the Beamsville Bench. When first scouting locations we evaluated different sites all over the Niagara Peninsula. While the purchase was a business decision & we had professional advisors to help us evaluate the properties, as well, we followed our heart. There’s something unique about ‘The Bench’, it’s a small narrow sub appellation with a unique character – both in the wines and the people.”

Planted in 2003-04, the vineyard on the Beamsville Bench, named Renaceau, has deep clay-loam soils from which their Riesling extracts its mineral character. Merlot is planted in the same vineyard, on an iron-rich deposit which, states Wills  “has helped the Merlot develop rich & complex flavours through the years.” The second vineyard, comprising 20 acres in the Twenty Mile Bench appellation just above Jordan features limestone-clay soils. “It has a particularly beneficial aspect that drastically improves airflow, in turn reducing cold air pockets and helping dry any excessive humidity on the vines & fruit.” A significant limestone ridge on this property contributes a mineral character to their many different Riesling wines.

While the properties total 85 acres, only 30 are under vine – planted by them with advice from professionals to ensure the optimum match of grape variety with sub soil. They benefit from being on the Niagara Escarpment, but are also limited by the environmental constraints of this UNESCO Reserve. Where necessary, they work with local grape grower – Marcus Van Ber & Rick Wismer to complement their estate-grown fruit. “Niagara is blessed with amazing grape growers who are very passionate. It’s a pleasure working with such dedicated grape growers and vineyard owners”, shares Krystina.

All in the family

You could say that Krystina & Wills, along with their parents Eugene & Renata, make a dynamite team. “As a family, we always have SOMETHING wine-related to talk about’, comments Krystina.  It’s interesting to hear the mutual respect between siblings, as well as the passion for the business that can typically cause heated discussions. In Wills’ view, their collaboration has helped strengthen the family, as they spend so much time working together. Krystina explains, “I’m very thankful to have a brother who loves to grow grapes, make wine and has as much enthusiasm about the wine industry as I do. He is our Operations Manager ‘Extraordinaire’!” In that role, he oversees the vineyards, the winemaking, honey & mead production. Yet he still finds time to spend in the tasting room. “It’s very rewarding to talk with customers who thoroughly enjoy our wines, mead & honey—it brings a smile to my face & makes all the early mornings & long days worth it!”

Wills first started helping with beekeeping when he was just 4 years old, whether helping his Grandmother pour honey or carrying the smoker in the beeyards. His interest only increased as he grew older. He headed off to university to obtain a business degree with thoughts of working in the high-tech industry. He continued to help out in the apiaries & when the vineyard was purchased, became involved in that as well. It didn’t take long for him to realize his passion was inherently in beekeeping & viticulture, leading him to Niagara College’s program in Viticulture and Oenology. “I found great reward in producing handcrafted goods and loved the idea of working outside with my hands. And I truly love working with my family!” The combination of business training, apprenticeship in beekeeping with his father Eugene, & the Niagara College viticulture program have given him the wide-ranging skills to excel in his role at Rosewood. He credits Luke Orwinski, Rosewood’s winemaker, with honing his practical viticulture & winemaking knowledge, as well as a stint with winemaker Matt Mavety at Blue Mountain Vineyards and Cellars in British Columbia’s Okanagan.

Bees in the Winter

The bees are currently in winter dormancy, in their hives. They create their own heat, moving in a cluster within the hive, consuming honey they stored & vibrating to generate additional heat. Meanwhile, Krystina & Wills are also generating their own heat, dealing the ongoing operations of the winery. They look forward to the spring, when the buzz ramps up again. They will be focused on ensuring the bees & the vines have the best possible conditions to thrive & contribute to the outstanding wines & meads.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!



Rosewood Semillon VQA 2011  $18.00

This wine is produced from grapes that were hand-harvested off of a single vineyard.  The grapes were whole-cluster pressed (winespeak: entire grape bunches are pressed very gently to extract the juice. This is thought to minimize the amount of harsh malic acid & astringent tannins that naturally exist in the skins, seeds & stems) then aged four months in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pale gold, this wine offers aromas of rich stone fruit, zesty citrus, beeswax (of course!), mineral, with a whiff of freshly ground white pepper. Dry, juicy & quite weighty, the white pepper mingles with dried apricot, apple & citrus on the palate. Crafted with fine balance, it has a lasting crisp finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy this wine with fish such as halibut, herbed pork tenderloin, or steamed mussels in a white wine sauce.

Cellaring:  Ready to drink now or cellar 2-3 years.

Rosewood Pinot Noir VQA 2010 $20.00

Produced from hand-harvested fruit from local grape growers (the Wismer Vineyard & the Renaceau Estate Vineyard), this Pinot Noir was aged 11 months in premium new & seasoned French oak barrels to create the smooth & silky texture of this wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Offering aromas of strawberries, sweet spice & earth that are classic to Pinot Noir, this is a dry, vivid wine with a smooth silky texture & well-defined structure. Ripe red field berries mingle with herbal notes & that refined earthiness, the wine finishing long, dry & balanced.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this wine with grilled or planked salmon, or with duck with cherries.

Cellaring: Enjoy the wine now or can be cellared 3-5 years.

Rosewood Merlot Reserve VQA 2009 $32.00

To create this outstanding wine, grapes from low-yielding vines grown on the Rosewood property were handpicked & sorted, then fermented with natural native yeasts. The wine then aged in select new & aged French oak barrels for 13 months to round out the structure & create the smooth, rich texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Deep ruby in colour, this dry, full-bodied wine offers intriguing complexity of aromas & flavours—roasted herbs, concentrated dark fruit (think figs, dates, plums/prunes) & blackberry jam, cedar, vanilla & warm spices. It’s loaded with luscious fruit, notes of dark chocolate & coffee beans. Well structured with fine-grained tannins & subtle acidity, has a long deep finish with dark & toasty notes.

Suggested Food Pairing: For this big wine, Susan thinks that this is hands down wine for beef tenderloin or roast of lamb with all of the trimmings.

Cellaring: Already aged 4 years, this wine is approachable now, yet has the cellar ‘power’ for another 2-4 years.



With Rosewood Semillon…

Steamed Mussels with Wine & Saffron

Serves 4


3 lbs fresh mussels
1 large pinch saffron (about 30 threads)
¾ cup white wine
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about ½ cups)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Holding mussels under cool running water, scrub with a stiff sponge or vegetable brush, then debeard: grip the touch fibers extending from the shell & pull to remove. Discard beards.

Steep saffron in wine for 10 minutes (Saffron is soluble in water, not fat, so won’t release its color or flavour if added directly to the butter.) Meanwhile, melt butter over medium-high heat in a shallow stockpot. Once it’s foamy, add shallots, garlic and ½ tsp salt. Cook until shallots are transparent and garlic is soft, about 3 minutes, stirring every so often to keep garlic from scorching. Pour in wine & saffron, then add tomatoes and return to a simmer, stirring once or twice.

Add mussels & cover tightly. Cook until all mussels open, about 6 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Discard any unopened mussels. If using wild mussels, strain broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve to remove any sand, if necessary. Taste the broth & season with salt & pepper.

Sprinkle with parsley before ladling mussels & broth into bowls.


With Rosewood Pinot Noir

Pan-seared Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives, Oregano & Capers

Chef Michael Smith recipe that appeared in The Globe & Mail
Serves 4


1 Tbsp vegetable oil4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts1 large onion, chopped into large pieces4 garlic cloves, chopped (or to taste)1 Tbsp dried oregano1 tsp salt2 cups red wine1 pint cherry tomatoes1 cup pitted Kalamata olives½ cup capers, drainedFreshly ground pepper


Set a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Swirl in enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Sear the first side until golden brown and crusty, 4-5 minutes or so. Adjust the pan’s heat as needed, keeping it sizzling, but not so hot that the oil smokes.

Flip the chicken breasts over, cooking the other sides until they’re equally golden brown. Add a splash more oil if you think the pan needs it. The goal is not to fully cook the meat but just to add flavour while the pan temperature is high.

Reduce heat to medium and remove the chicken breasts to a plate. Add the onion, garlic, oregano and salt to the pan. Sauté for a minute or two. Add the red wine, tomatoes, olives, and capers. Turn the heat much lower, just enough to maintain a slow, steady simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, nestling the breasts into the stew. Cover tightly and simmer until the meat is cooked through (10-15 minutes). Turn the breasts once, allowing the flavour to fully permeate the chicken from all sides. Sprinkles with pepper to taste and serve.


With Rosewood Merlot Reserve…

Peppercorn Roast Beef with Balsamic Beets

Food & Drink Magazine
Serves 8


8 medium beets, trimmed & peeled, about 1 ½ lbs
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
2 red onions cut into 1” wedges
8 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled (or to taste)
3 Tbsp cracked black peppercorns
1 beef tenderloin, about 3 lbs
2 Tbsp quality balsamic vinegar
Rosemary sprigs for garnish


Preheat oven to 425F.

Cut beets into 1” wedges. In a large shallow roasting pan, toss together beets, 2 Tbsp oil, rosemary and ¼ tsp salt; spread beets out in roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring once.  

Add onions and garlic to roasting pan; stir to combine with beets, breaking up onion wedges as you stir. Roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together peppercorns and remaining salt in a small bowl. On work surface, lay a piece of plastic wrap large enough to enclose beef; sprinkle with half peppercorn mixture. Rub feed all over with remaining oil. Lay beef on peppercorn mixture on plastic wrap; sprinkle evenly with remaining peppercorn mixture. Wrap beef in plastic wrap, pressing so that peppercorns and salt adhere evenly to meat. Unwrap beef; transfer carefully to a wire rack.

Stir vegetables.

Set rack holding beef in roasting pan containing vegetables; roast for 25-30 minutes for rare (125F on meat thermometer), 30-40 minutes for medium-rare (135-140F on meat thermometer).Remove beef to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil & let stand 10-15 minutes.

Stir balsamic vinegar into vegetables; season with more salt & pepper to taste. Spoon vegetables onto a warm serving plate.

Cut beef into slices; arrange on top of vegetables. Garnish with rosemary. 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!