Posts Tagged ‘MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar’

Discover why Ravine Vineyard is unique

Posted by Giancarlo

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

– April 2014 –

 

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

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

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

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

Merlot VQA 2011– Get your BBQ ready!

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

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

Ordering hard-to-find wines is easy!

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

A MUST on your next visit to the Niagara region

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

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Ravine Estates Winery

Presented by Giancarlo Nidasio

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

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

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

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

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

Winemaking & the Vineyard

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

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

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

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

What’s next?

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

Ask for Marty when you visit!

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

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

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2012, $14.00

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

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

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

Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012, $32.00

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

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

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

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

 

Merlot VQA 2011 $34.00

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

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

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

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

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay Musqué…

Spiced & Grilled Shrimp, with Mango Gazpacho

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

Ingredients

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

 Method

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

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

Roast peppers in oven until tender.

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

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

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

 

With Ravine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc…

Tuna Carpaccio, Diakon cress, Fuji apple, Ponzu

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

 

Step One: Pounded Tuna Carpaccio

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

Method

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

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

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

Step Two: Ponzu sauce

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

Method

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

Step Three: Fuji apple & diakon salad

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

Method

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

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

Plate Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

 

With Ravine Vineyard Merlot…

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

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

Ingredients for mint rub

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

 Method

Must NewZealandLambRub all above ingredients together

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

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

While lamb is cooking, make the sauce:

Ingredients for Tzatziki & curry sauce

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

Serve over top of a pool of mint jelly.        

                     

With Ravine Vineyard Merlot…

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

From Executive Chef Clifford Lyness, Brookstreet Hotel

Step One: Braised veal shank

Ingredients for Braised veal shank

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

Step Two:  Pasta             

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

Ingredients

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

Method

Add the eggs and olive oil and mix together.

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

Step Three: Roast cipollini onion jam

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

Method

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

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

Step Four: White truffle & chive butter tension

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

Method

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

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

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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These Canadian cheeses are medal worthy!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
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This week our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons is one of 10 judges in the first Canadian Cheese Awards Surrounded by over 250 wedges of cheeses & sampling all day long is hard job. . .  but Vanessa is happy to do it!

“I am delighted & honoured to be a judge for this brand new competition of Canadian cheeses.  There are many Canadian artisan cheeses that win international awards, the time is ripe to have the Canadian Cheese Awards,” shares Vanessa.

Neal's Yard Dairy: Mecca for cheese lovers. Photo: Julia Rogers.Georgs Kolesnikovs from CheeseLover.ca and the organizer of the Great Canadian Cheese Festival is the main man behind the scenes of this ground breaking competition.   While organizing the awards, Georgs called out to his cheese industry friends (including Vanessa) asking them for their top cheese picks of the year.  Here’s the Best Bites: Outstanding cheeses of 2013 as published on CheeseLover.ca.

Only one imported cheese – Taleggio – made the 2013 most memorable list, Julia Rogers offers this ‘shopping tip’, “As far as international picks go, I’d suggest that any cheese lover make a pilgrimage to Neil’s Yard Dairy in London (photo left ). The pleasures are too many to enumerate, but this is mecca, without a doubt. And, yes, I tasted virtually everything in this photo! – Julia Rogers, Cheese Educator, Cheese Culture

 

Drumroll please…Outstanding cheese of 2013

The cheeses are listed in alphabetical order, so consider this as your ABC’s of artisan cheese!

Alfred Le Fermier (24 months), Fromagerie La Station de Compton
Alfred Le Fermier is a true, rustic, organic, raw cow’s milk farmstead cheese made in small batches, pressed and cooked, washed/turned by hand, as a way of life on the farm. It has a European style, but with local terroir, as a result of choosing closely the hay from their local Estrie region. Note heavy woodsy, herbal and mild floral aromas, with layers of milky, grassy and buttery complexity on the palette, more pronounced when aged for 24 months. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Beau’s Abbey Style Cheese, Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese
A delicious marriage of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese of Woodstock, Ontario, with Beau’s All Natural Brewing of Vankleek Hill, Ontario. This sumptuous semi-soft cheese is washed with a seasonal beer from Beau’s. Beer and cheese together, pure bliss! – Gurth Pretty, Senior Category Manager, Deli Cheese, Loblaw Companies

Brebichon, Les Fromages du Verger
I simply adore Brebichon, a farmstead sheep milk cheese that is oh so creamy, delicate and lucious. This apple juice washed cheese is an absolute must buy on every stop I make at Fromagerie Atwater in Montréal. – Wendy Furtenbacher, Blogger, CurdyGirl, Cheesemonger, Sobeys Queensway

Chemin Hatley, Fromagerie La Station de Compton
Made with organic raw milk from a closed herd of fourth-generation family-farmed cows, this cheese readily fulfills its potential. Supple and fragrant, with yeasty and savoury aromas, and a long layered finish. – Julia Rogers, Cheese Educator, Cheese Culture

Crottin à ma Manière, Fromagerie L’Atelier
The goat’s milk cheese Crottin à ma Manière from Simon Hamel at Fromagerie l’Atelier in the Bois-Francs region of Québec surpasses famed Chavignol of France, is much cheaper and it’s federally licensed. – Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater and Aux Terroirs

Dragon’s Breath Blue, That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm
A rare find and 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix finalist, Dragon’s Breath Blue is a closely guarded family secret. Unique in shape and size, these small cylinders of blue cheese are aged only a few weeks then coated with wax for ripening another 2-6 months. The flavor and texture varies by season, more buttery/creamy in the summer months with higher fat content in the milk. Note sharp blue flavor, moist texture with fruity notes, and little blue veining depending on exposure to air. More than worth the shipping charges! – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Figaro from Glengarry Fine Cheese. Photo: Vanessa Simmons.

Figaro, Glengarry Fine Cheese (left)
I choose Figaro from Glengarry–not that I don’t love (and love the Global award!) for the Lankaaster Aged but I kind of forgot about the amazingly fresh and delicate qualities. And we found each other again this year–lucky for me. – Sue Riedl, Cheese Columnist, The Globe and Mail 

Fleur des Monts, La Moutonnière
Not as consistent as one might want, though still an ambitious and expressive farmstead cheese modeled loosely after Manchego, but more floral, bright and pungent. – Julia Rogers, Cheese Educator, Cheese Culture 

Grizzly Gouda, Sylvan Star Cheese
I’ve served the Grizzly Gouda from Sylvan Star many times at events or at home this year and it is outstanding in its complexity, looooong finish and “ability to wow” factor. – Sue Riedl, Cheese Columnist, The Globe and Mail 

La Sauvagine Réserve, La Maison Alexis de Portneuf
Somehow the cheesemakers at Alexis de Portneuf improved their already mouth-watering, soft, mixed rind La Sauvagine cheese. What did they do? Add cream to it, making it a triple crème. Grab some of this cheese while you can. A limited amount of this OMG mouth experience was created. – Gurth Pretty, Senior Category Manager, Deli Cheese, Loblaw Companies

Laliberté, Fromagerie du Presbytère,
 I have to start with Laliberté from Fromagerie du Presbytere–the triple cream that I could not stop eating, and made from organic milk to boot. – Sue Riedl, Cheese Columnist, The Globe and Mail

Lankaaster Aged, Glengarry Fine Cheese
Supreme Global Champion at the 2013 Global Cheese Awards, this firm to hard cow’s milk cheeses comes shaped in a loaf or wheel, covered in a waxy rind, and is a Gouda-style after Dutch farmstead cheeses. It’s a rich, dense, chewy cheese with intense buttery, fruity, caramelized nutty flavors that linger forever. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Le Vlimeux, Fromagerie Le Mouton Blanc
It’s not hard to see how this multiple Caseus award-winning cheese is smokin’ hot! Vlimeux is a firm, pressed, uncooked raw sheep’s milk cheese, with a hard, waxy, glossy, caramel-hued rind. Smoke, salt and nut permeate the interior overlaying the cheese’s natural sweet milky flavors in a perfect complement. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Maple Cheddar, Black River Cheese
 What could be more Canadian than Black River’s Maple Cheddar? This cheese provides a bite that is perfectly balanced between sweet and savoury, and just —Wendy Furtenbacher, Blogger, CurdyGirl, Cheesemonger, Sobeys Queensway

Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds
Okay, this is part of the cheese but my wife and I cannot resist adding small cubes of it into our soups, chili, tomato sauce and risotto. The dried rind softens in the broth, releasing its flavour and becomes chewable. We love it so much that we actually have to buy some from our local grocery store. – Gurth Pretty, Senior Category Manager, Deli Cheese, Loblaw Companies

Pont Blanc, Fromagerie Au Grés Des Champs
Pont Blanc is a soft, lactic, surface ripened cow milk cheese. A rare find outside the farmstead retail store, the skin-like rind on this beauty reminds of intricate ivory lace, while the dense interior has the texture of a soft cream sandwich and moist piece of cheesecake. Note pronounced flavors and aromas of fresh sweet milk, and grass that linger and linger. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company

Ricotta, Quality Cheese
The 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Grand Champion, the humble Ricotta from Quality Cheese reigned supreme, winning against more than 225 of Canada’s best cheeses, a first ever for both an Ontario cheese and a fresh category cheese. Fresh, creamy, melt in your mouth Ricotta (which means re-cooked in Italian, as it’s made from the leftover whey after making other cheese). Very light, but rich, and very versatile as a simple cheese to eat with a variety of garnishes/condiments or used in cooking. – Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, Savvy Company 

Taleggio, Northern Italy
Taleggio (1996 Italian DOP) has and will always be in my Top 10. It’s a semi-soft, washed rind, smear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio where it has been made since the 10th century. The cheese has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavour is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang. – Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater and Aux Terroirs

Water Buffalo Mozzarella, Old West Ranch

James Meservy deserves a medal for perseverance! He has faced many challenges in the last two years in his attempt to bring high quality Old West Ranch Water Buffalo Mozzarella to the artisan Canadian cheese market. When it is in its finest form, it is dense and velvety without being the least bit rubbery and sweetly milky with a tangy underpinning that keeps us reaching for more. – Janice Beaton, Owner, Janice Beaton Fine Cheese, FARM Restaurant

 

 

Flavoured cheeses

It is surprising, even to me, that two of my three faves of 2013 are flavoured cheeses, which to me is a testimony to high-quality cheesemaking. Flavours that meld with the cheese substrate where the cheese and the flavour counterpart do a sublime dance.  – Janice Beaton, Owner, Janice Beaton Fine Cheese, FARM Restaurant

Ruckles, Salt Spring Island Cheese Company David Wood knocks it out of the park, again. In a sea of so many pedestrian offerings of marinated goat cheese, Ruckles is in class all its own. Firm yet silkily textured cylinders of cheese are bathed in grapeseed oil which is speckled with a mix of thyme, rosemary, chives and garlic, in perfect proportion.

Chili Pecorino, The Cheesiry The Chili Pecorino is one of my favourite offerings from Rhonda Zuk Headon’s repertoire. The balance of chilis embedded in this toothsome cheese provides a gentle heat that lingers on the palate while the nutty, olive flavour of this sheep milk cheese still holds its own. Not an easy accomplishment but Rhonda pulls it off!

Cheese fondues

Cheese fondue, the melted-cheese dish popular some years ago, is making a comeback—but without the classic ingredients of Comté, Beaufort, Gruyere or Emmental.

Four new ready-to-eat Cheese Fondues arrived on the market in 2013. All amazing, with either Louis d’Or, 14 Arpents or Victor et Berthold or the one from Charlevoix with both 1608 and Hercule in the box!  – Alain Besré, Fromagerie Atwater and Aux Terroirs

One of my best bites was a fondue made from Victor et Berthold, a beautiful washed rind from Fromagerie Du Champ a la Meule in Québec. This cheese made one of the most delicious fondues of all time. It made me very happy. – Wendy Furtenbacher, Blogger, CurdyGirl, Cheesemonger, Sobeys Queensway

 

Spend a day with Vanessa & learn all about cheese!

Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese SommelierThis is every cheese lover’s dream – join us for a fun-filled day with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons. Nibble & nosh all day as Vanessa introduces you to cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers & show you the ‘whey’ as you learn cheese-y lingo, how artisan cheese is made, tips on buying cheese. . . and loads more!

To top it all off, your tastebuds will be put to the ‘test’ by sampling wines & craft beers to decide which really is the best pairing with cheese.

Date: Saturday March 22 – 10:30am to 4:30pm
Location: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar – Ottawa
Savvy Special: $140 before March 15 (reg $155).  Includes everything as well as gourmet lunch

This Cheese ‘Class’ will sell out fast! > >

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Newsletter February – Win GOLD with these Valentine’s Day gifts

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
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Looking for THE perfect way to say ‘I love you’? or ‘Will you be my Valentine’? or ‘I’m falling head over heels for you’?If your love is crazy about craft beer, wine or artisan cheese, look no further – these gifts are golden!

Pssst: single gals & guys. . .why not treat yourself with a Savvy gift just for YOU?

 

For the Craft Beer Lover . . .

Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month clubA one-of-a-kind gift! Launched just 10 days ago, Savvy Hip Hops is Ontario’s first Craft Beer of the Month ‘Club’ featuring award winning breweries across Ontario.

Each month, our Savvy Brew Crew collaborates with the featured brewmaster to create a unique Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case – an assortment of what’s on tap & in tank. It’s every beer lover’s dream.

The first delivery will be Friday February 28th featuring a 12 bottle pack from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co featuring one of each of their special FeBREWary beers as well as some other hard to find Beau’s brews.

Give a SUDS-cription for 4, 6 or 12 months > >

 

For the Wine Lover . . .

Savvy Selections iconScratch ‘Buy Wine’ off the Honey-Do list! Give your Valentine a subscription to Savvy Selections – Ontario’s largest Wine of the Month Club.

Each month we feature an Ontario winery & send you 3 different wines that you won’t find at the LCBO. Check out the line-up of award winning wineries we’ll be featuring in the upcoming months.

And that is not all! When you uncork a bottle of the wine that our Savvy Sommeliers have hand-picked for you, unwind by reading our monthly Savvy eZine to learn about the people who make the wine you are enjoying, the recipes we’ve paired with each bottle & tasting notes as well as tips on cellaring the wines.

Give a subscription to Savvy Selections & we’ll arrange for a February delivery of incredible wines (1 white & 2 BIG reds) from the highly acclaimed Stratus Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

WOW your Valentine with a 4, 6 or 12 month subscription > >

 

For the Cheese Lover. . .

Vanessa SimmonsThis is every cheese lover’s dream – join us for a fun-filled day with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons on Saturday March 22 for Cheese FUN-damentals 101 ‘Class’. Nibble & nosh all day as Vanessa introduces you to cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers & show you the ‘whey’ as you learn cheese-y lingo, how artisan cheese is made, tips on buying cheese. . . and loads more!

And to top it all off, your tastebuds will be put to the ‘test’ by sampling wines & craft beers to decide which really is the best pairing with cheese.

Date: Saturday March 22 – 10:30am to 4:30pm

Location: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar – in Ottawa’s Byward Market

Savvy Special: $140 before March 15 (reg $155). Includes everything as well as gourmet lunch

This Cheese ‘Class’ will sell out fast! > >

We’re in LOVE with this Red & White wine duo!

We’ve got an amazing combo of red & white wines at amazing prices only available from Savvy Bin Ends.

The secretive Syrah is $19.95 – it’s a secret as it hasn’t been released yet – and the remarkable Reserve Riesling is $15.95 (reg 17.95) both from Kacaba Vineyards in Niagara. Mix & match any combo of 6 or 12 bottles of reds & whites for your Valentine. Be ready for lots of oooohs and aaaahs with every sip of these wines!

HOT Tip: shipping is FREE when you order a total of 12 or more bottles.

Order & it’ll be delivered in 2 days! > >

Planning an extra special dinner for your Valentine?

We’ve got you covered – for wine that is! Our ever popular Dinner Party Pack of 6 different bottles of dyn-o-mite wines from Fielding Winery that will make it easy to entertain. Start by popping the cork on the hard-to-find bubbly, then 2 show-stopper white wines & 3 heart-thumping red wines – you won’t find any of these at the LCBO.

Specially priced at $149 – including delivery to your home or office.

We have recipes to pair with the wines to make a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner:

A Sizzling Starter: Grilled Sea Scallops with Honeydew & Soy Glaze
The Main Attractions: Bacon Wrapped Veal Tenderloin with Leeks & Mushrooms or Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom & Stilton Sauce
A Delectable Dessert: Ken Fielding’s Apple Pie – with WOW factor

Order your Dinner Party Pack > >

Mark these dates in your calendar!

Next Thursday (February 20)Debbie is hitting the airwaves to co-host for the day with Derick Fage on Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV – schedule your PVR!

Thursday March 6 – Calling all Western University Alumni – we’re hosting a fun wine tasting to celebrate UWO’s 136th anniversary. Be purple & proud . . . bring a friend!

Thursday March 20 – Our first ever Taste & Buy featuring 3 wineries – from British Columbia & Nova Scotia. Full details to be announced soon. Can’t wait? Be the first to receive an invitation by emailing cheers@savvycompany.ca

Valentine’s Day can’t overshadow the record-breaking feats of our Canadian athletes at the Olympics. Raise a glass of Canadian wine or craft beer to them. Here’s to making us proud to wave the Canadian flag.

 

GO Canada GO!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

PS – gift enclosures for any of these special gifts are available – just ask us!

PPS – Show us a bit of your LOVE by ‘Liking Us’ on Facebook! Savvy Company or Savvy Selections and our brand new Savvy Hip Hops

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Newsletter Jan 2014 – Happy SAVVY New Year! Don’t miss our Wine & Cheese ‘classes’

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
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Do you want to learn more about wine, artisan cheese & craft beer this year?  Resolutions like this make our team of Savvy Sommeliers smile – BIG time. Like all resolutions, the hardest part (if there is a hard part!) is starting. Don’t despair because we have made it easy to keep your 2014 resolutions and to begin as soon as this month!

Join us for these all day ‘classes’ with a Savvy Sommelier:

Book your spot at either the wine or the artisan cheese class . . . or come to BOTH!

These ‘classes’ will take place in Ottawa’s coolest wine venue: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar in the Byward Market. No need to bring a lunch – the chef will be whipping up a gourmet meal.

These are fun ‘classes’ & you will definitely WANTto do the homework!

Wine Appreciation 101 ‘Class’

Back by popular demand! Join me for my annual Wine Appreciation 101 ‘Class’ on Saturday January 18. It is a fun-filled day enjoying wines from around the world that you may have never tried, learning wine lingo, tasting the difference glassware makes & deciphering a restaurant wine list. And because I absolutely LOVE wine, I will share all kinds of tips & tricks . . . even show you how easy it is to sabre (yes, with a sword) a bottle of bubbly!

Everyone, regardless of your wine knowledge . . . is sure to have fun learning more about the world of wine & have a shopping list of new favorite wines.

Book your spot & SAVE $15 – use promo code ILOVEWINE

Psst . . . Did you see my 5 minute wine ‘class’ on CTV Ottawa Morning last week? Watch it on online or Savvy Company’s Facebook page.

Cheese FUN-damentals ‘Class’

NEW! On Saturday January 25th, come in from the cold & learn about fabulous fromages with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons. She will introduce you to cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers while you learn the ‘whey’ to buy cheese, make a delicious cheese board & talk the talk like a ‘BIG Cheese’!

And there’ll be a pop quiz . . . is artisan cheese better with wine or craft beer? Think you know the answer? Your tastebuds may be in for a surprise!

Book this week & SAVE $15 > >

Set your PVR or tune in to CTV Ottawa Morning this Thursday January 16th at 8:45am. Vanessa will be sharing tips on how to create a delicious cheese board.

 

Want to learn about wine AND cheese?

Your resolution to go on a diet can wait! Join us for a Wine AND Cheese Extravaganza by registering for both classes. Book now & save BIG time! > >

Looking for a craft beer ‘class’?

We are working on it…and we have another announcement ‘brewing’ too! Email us to be the first to get the brew news.

 

Hibernate with these GREAT DEALS on Ontario wines

Our Savvy Bin Ends is a great way to enjoy hard to find wines at super discounts! Our Sommeliers definitely give these wines ‘2 thumbs up’:

AND save even more when you order a case (12 bottles) of these wines – shipping is FREE.

 

Hosting a dinner party?

Relax. . . our Savvy Sommeliers have selected 6 bottles of outstanding wines from Niagara’s Fielding Estates Winery that will WOW your guests. This Special Dinner Party Pack includes a bottle of sparkling wine to start the evening, then 2 whites & 3 red wines to enjoy with dinner. . . and we’ll give you easy-to-make recipes too!

Special price only from Savvy Company: $149 total (shipping by courier is free)

Now, all you have to do is invite your guests & set the table.

Mark my words, 2014 will be an absolutely DELICIOUS year!

 

Cheers,
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

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