Posts Tagged ‘National Wine Awards of Canada’

6 wines for under $100!

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 15th, 2017
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In Niagara Falls, every August, the judging for the Intervin Wine Competition takes place. These wine awards are designed to recognize the very best of international wines available to Canadian consumers.

Although the 2017 results will not be released until November it is fitting that LCBO Vintages is showcasing Ontario wines and Flagship In-Store-Discoveries (FISD) in this release.  Most of these “Flagships” are too pricey for my budget, but I had no difficulty finding some other gems at incredible price points.

My go to wine is always Ontario. This province has the VERY best of everything: from farm to table food, to sports and entertainment; our wine selection is unbeatable and incomparable. Harvest time will soon be here and I hope you’ll be inspired to pick up a few bottles you’ve not tried before. I can almost guarantee you may find a new favourite.

Here’s to Ontario wine shopping, a place to stand, a place to grow, Ontario-ario- ario !

That jingle never grows old!
– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 16, 2017

 

Creekside Marianne Hill Riesling 2015

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$20.95 (Vintages #443572) 10.5% alcohol

Stunning and expressive, well deserved for the Gold Medal winner at the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada.

I can’t wait to see what other accolades may be in store for Creekside and this gem. Beautifully balanced with flavours of green and yellow apples, peaches and flinty wet stone which shows in many Niagara escarpment Rieslings.

Light-weight with gentle fruit flavours, a perfect afternoon wine to sip or to try with crab cakes, sushi or lighter lunch fare. Mellow and delicious.

 

Featherstone Four Feathers 2016

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #341586) 12.5% alcohol

I have written previously on different Featherstone Estate Winery wines and this one is so lovely I could not neglect it in this release.

The blend of  Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc brings out the very best in each of these varietals. Slightly off-dry, delicate and aromatic, well structured and layered with flavours of apples and stone tree fruits that decorate the palate in one lovely wash. It has a lingering fruity finish.

Perfect for salads, grilled shrimp or fish tacos; an easy sipper and a wine that has something for everyone.

I cannot imagine anyone who could not like this wine.

 

 

Firebird Legend Pinot Grigio 2016

PGI Vulcansti, Moldova
$12.95 (Vintages #74351) 12% alcohol

The very odd time I feature a wine that I was not able to taste and this is one of those. Moldova is a country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania in the Black Sea basin where the vines grow.

Historically, there are over 112 thousand hectres of vineyards and over 30 types of varietals so I assume these folks must have achieved some finesse somewhere along the lineage.  One website boasted tropical fruit flavours with zippy acidity, so for that price point, for me, it is worth a try.

 

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.35 (Vintages #172643) 12%  alcohol

Not just any Rosé, this blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay makes a lively entry with it’s handsome cranberry colour and aromas of ripe cherries and a pinch of white pepper. On the palate are impressive strawberry and watermelon flavours.  It’s driven by lively acidity and some rhubarb on the elegant finish.

Bone dry which makes it a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, salmon or just on its own with some soft cheeses.

Always a class act.

 

13th Street Red Palette 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$15.95 (Vintages #244558) 13 % alcohol

13th Street Winery has to one of the prettiest wineries along the Niagara Escarpment I think. Not only is there a spacious tasting room with floor to ceilings windows, but upon entry, the long spectacular table gives it an art gallery feel. The bakery farmhouse next door also makes it a worthwhile stop for lunch or to grab an outstanding butter-tart.

This Red Palette blend is so juicy; bursting with red cherry and ripe raspberry flavours with just a hint of green savoury spice on the finish. Medium bodied, the varietals of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc make it a perfect accompaniment to turkey, ham or salmon (I am already thinking about Thanksgiving!). Well rounded and perfectly balanced with soft tannins and a hint of smokey acidity on a decent cherry finish. You could partner this alongside just about anything from fish to pork/veggie kebabos or mild Thai take-out. Simply delicious.

 

Traipiche Fina Las Palmas Gran Reeserva Malbec 2014

Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages # 186668) 14.5 % alcohol

Malbec is Argentina’s signature grape and no one grows it better than Traipiche. At altitudes higher than the CN tower, Trapiche was one of the first Argentinian wineries to enter the international scene. In 1889, the winery received its first international award in Paris.

Dark and inky in colour, rich and expansive on the nose your senses are fillled with luscious black and ripe red fruits that flow through on the palate. Everything Traipiche produces is worth picking up and their wines are a great price point. This Malbec is full-bodied and not for the faint-hearted, structured with layers of blueberry and ripe plum favours, some spice and tobacco on the finish. It’ll be forever in memory with braised short ribs and spicey sausages.

I can’t wait to pick this up and head to the butcher.

 

Grand Total = $ 99.10 
6 wines – now that is VALUE !!

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Wines from the Bosc family to you

Posted by Bethany

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
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Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Château des Charmes Winery
–  February 2016 –

 

Type ‘Château des Charmes’ into a Google search and you’ll find yourself being redirected to fromtheBoscfamily.com. That’s because everything about this celebrated Niagara winery—from designing labels to trimming the vines—is a labour of love on the part of the entire Bosc family.

paul stPaul Bosc Sr. started out in the 1970s with a vision to craft top-shelf, European-style wines from vitisvinifera grown right here in Ontario. He was undeterred by naysayers and equally deaf to any words of caution about what he should & shouldn’t plant in the hard, stony soil, in a country known for its bitterly cold winters & short growing season. He toyed with different varietals, re-imagined vineyard structure and rolled the dice on how consumers would receive his wines.

A pioneer of the Canadian wine industry

To say he succeeded would be an understatement. Over the course of two decades, his wines have garnered widespread acclaim (and hardware) at the national &international levels, including the Ontario Wine Awards, the National Wine Awards of Canada and the internationally renowned Vinexpo.

That doesn’t mean the Bosc family is resting on their laurels. Far from it: read more about what they’re up to at the winery, including details about the largest renovation in its history.

paul jr and micheleWe are confident that this month’s Savvy Selections from Château des Charmes will surprise and delight you. We even went so far as to ask Michele (in photo at left with her husband Paul Bosc Jr) which wine she thought was the best.“It’s like asking someone with two kids to choose a favourite – it’s not fair!” she laughs. “That’s the thing about our wines that I love. No matter what mood I’m in, or what I’m feeling, or eating or not eating, there’s a wine for that. Sorry for stealing the Jackson-Triggs line, but it really is true.”

Our Savvy Sommeliers have shared their tasting notes with you, along with some pairing tips and recipes to help you enjoy each wine to its fullest.

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In your Savvy Selections you will find…

Gewürztraminer VQA 2013 St. David’s Bench Vineyard – A fragrant & succulent sipper that will have you dreaming of spring.

Chardonnay VQA 2012 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard– A hands down classic.

Cabernet Franc VQA 2012 St. David’s Bench Vineyard – Full, ripe red fruit explodes out of the glass.

Most not at the LCBO

Your Savvy Selections, along with many other gems from Château des Charmes, are not stocked at the LCBO. If you would like to order additional bottles or other Ontario wines, call me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926)or drop me a line at debbie@savvycompany.ca. We’ll be happy to arrange a special delivery for you!

Enjoy this great selection of wines from Château des Charmes.

Cheers,
Debbie & Savvy Team

 Introducing…

Château des Charmes Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Bethany Harpur

 

weddingIt was late in the day when my husband and I stopped at Château des Charmes in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Ten minutes before the tasting room was due to close. The harried server at the bar gave us a look; we flashed a few guilty smiles as we quickly sniffed and swirled.

Then the door opened, and a silver-haired gentleman walked in, wearily removing dusty work gloves. He pulled a bottle out from under the counter and poured some of its deep purple contents into a glass. Just before it touched his lips, he saw us. “Would you like to try some of this, while you’re here?”

A captivating man

That “quick stop” turned into a long, leisurely hour of sampling off-the-menu wines and engaging in deep discussion with none other than Paul Bosc Sr. himself (left in photo below), the patriarch of the Bosc family and the pioneering winemaker of Château des Charmes.

bosc familyIt’s no surprise to find the elder Bosc chatting up visitors at the impressive building on York Road. Hospitality and approachability are key in this thriving family business, where job titles tend to be malleable, depending on the season, event schedule or guest experience.

Bosc’s daughter-in-law, Michele (in black blouse in photo), wears several hats at the winery: marketing director, social media guru, welcoming committee, wedding planner. “I get to do a lot of different, fun things,” she says. “I think it’s great to interact with customers, to hear what they have to say, whether it’s on social media or live and in-person. That interaction, it’s about bringing our family story to the consumer.”

Renovations underway

Right now the family is adding a new chapter to the narrative as they expand the Château’s massive cellar. The renovation marks the first major capital investment since the winery opened. It will double the available space for barrels and create more “breathing room” for workers. “We want to be sure we have all the tools we need to make the best possible wine that we can,” says Michele.

reno spaceExpanding the cellar meant digging up the Château’s popular vineyard courtyard, where countless weddings, parties and concerts have been held over the years. “Now’s the opportunity to re-imagine it,” Michele says. “When we first built it and when we first opened, there was no concept of hosting 35 weddings a year, or welcoming 100,000 visitors a year—it just didn’t exist. Now we get to build it the way the business wants it. I can’t wait to see it done.”

A late start to winter and mild temperatures in the Niagara region have kept the renovation running on schedule, with the revamped space scheduled to open in May of this year.

Even better than before

After two decades, the Bosc family is eager to get people excited about their brand again—and get new Château des Charmes fans on board. “Our wines have never been better,” Michele proclaims. “We’ve been around a long time, we know what we’re doing. If you haven’t tasted our wines in a while, try us again. I think you might be surprised.”

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Here’s to Château des Charmes team!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


St David’s Bench Gewürztraminer VQA 2013 $19.95

“We planted these vines in 1996 &we feel they are just now hitting their peak, flourishing, producing fantastic, hand-harvested grapes that are making very interesting wine”, Vineyard manager Miguel Fontalvo.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A brilliant, clear pale-gold shines in the glass. Wave after wave aromas of clover honey, nectarines, grapefruit and honeysuckle inundate the senses. A bit of sweetness carries evenly with lingering acidity on the palate, to balance out the creamy mouthfeel. That same acidity lingers a bit on the finish, where subtle hints of woody smoke come through.

Suggested Food Pairing: Gewurztraminer is always a classic match for spicy dishes. Pair this with Mexican, Thai or Indian food, like the Quick Chicken Korma recipe included below.A perfect meal for a wintery day.

Cellaring: This beautiful wine has gorgeous aromas & flavours that are ready to enjoy right now!

 

Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2012, $21.95

A classic Chardonnay for even the pickiest ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) enthusiast. It’s the very definition of balance: all the aromas, flavours and textures carry through on an even keel from start to finish, without any sudden spikes or dips in the quality, making for an all-around elegant wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Up front, creamy butterscotch and exotic coconut, followed by butter and brioche on the palate. Finishes with subtle almost restrained oak and a muted essence of dried herbs.

Suggested Food Pairing: The smooth texture of oaked Chardonnay lends itself well to dishes dripping with butter, cream and cheese.A delicious wine to enamour your sweetheart over a Valentine’s Day meal with seafood, Pasta Alfredo, cheese fondue or cuddled by the fireplace enjoying a cheese platter and roasted nuts. For something completely different, try Roasted Chickenpeas recipe that we offer.

Cellaring: Ready to drink, but has the staying power to evolve further in the bottle over the next 2-3 years.

 

St. David’s Bench Vineyard Cabernet Franc VQA 2012 $25.95

This special parcel of land – St David’s Vineyard – is located high up against the Niagara Escarpment, the fruit has more time to mature and ripen in the summer sun. 2012 was spectacular vintage in Niagara, so with these 2 elements – the location of the land plus the ideal grape growing season – this red wine is outstanding.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Complex nose of blackberry, dark chocolate and dried cherries with a lifted note of violets and rosewater. The powerful fruit carries right through the finish, buoyed by velvety tannins and a soft texture.

Suggested Food Pairing: Cabernet Franc is a winner with all kinds of red meats – beef, lamb, game. Try it out with this Venison Ragout recipe from Bearbrook Farms.

Cellaring: Can be opened now, but if you have will power & patience, this red wine will age nicely over the next 5-10 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With St David’s Bench Vineyard Gewürztraminer …

Quick Chicken Korma

Recipe & photo credits: Canadian Living Magazine

Ingredients

Quick-Chicken-Korma13811536451/3 cup unsalted raw cashews
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 onions, sliced
2 green hot OR jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 ½teaspoons each ground coriander and garam masala
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch each ground nutmeg, salt and saffron (optional)
450 grams boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
1 ½ cups no-salt-added chicken broth
3 tablespoons fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons lime juice

Method

In large skillet, toast cashews over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to food processor. In same skillet, heat half of the oil over medium heat; cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add to food processor; puree until smooth.

Combine hot peppers, garlic, ginger, coriander, garam masala, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and salt. Add chicken; toss to coat.

Heat remaining oil in same skillet over medium-high heat; brown chicken, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp water, scraping up browned bits. Stir in broth, saffron (if using) and cashew puree; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 5 minutes.

Stir in yogurt and lime juice; heat until warmed through but not boiling.

 

With Paul Bosc Vineyard Chardonnay…

Crispy Cider Vineyard & Sea Salt Roasted Chickpeas

Recipe & photo credits:Constantly Cooking

Light, crispy and full of flavour, these protein packed snacks are great on their own or as a garnish for soups or salads. Play around with other spices if you like – a few shakes of chili powder or smoked paprika, for example. You can use dried chickpeas, which you’ll need to soak and cook, but for this recipe, the canned ones are just as good plus a whole lot faster and easier.

Ingredientsroasted chickpeas

1 can (19 oz / 540 mL) chickpeas, rinsed well
1 ½ cups (375 mL) cider vinegar
1 ½ Tablespoons (22 mL) olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 mL) coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground pepper

Method

Pour the vinegar into a medium-sized saucepan. Cover pot with a lid and place on high heat. As soon as the vinegar is boiling, add the rinsed chickpeas to the pot and remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Drain chickpeas, discarding vinegar. Pour chickpeas out onto a clean dish towel and roll them around gently to dry thoroughly.

Put chickpeas in a clean bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss gently to coat evenly.

Spread chickpeas out onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in oven for 40 to 45 minutes, jiggling the baking sheet occasionally.

The chickpeas will turn a dark golden brown and get crunchy. If you take them out of the oven too soon, you can always put them back in the oven for a few more minutes later.

Serve warm or at room temperature. These will keep for 2 weeks in a Ziploc bag stored in the fridge.


With St David’s Bench Vineyard Cabernet Franc

Venison Ragout in Red Wine

Recipe Source: Bearbrook Farms
Photo Credit: Chart Farm

Ingredients

venison1 shoulder/leg (2-3 lbs) venison
5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
4 slices bacon, cut into strips
10 juniper berries
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar cup dry red wine
1 cup game or beef stock
3 tablespoons cranberry or red currant jelly

Method

Cut meat into bite-sized pieces.

Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.Brown meat on all sides. Do 1/3 at a time and remove from pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Fry bacon a few minutes and add thyme, juniper berries, tomato paste and flour. Fry for 2 minutes longer.

Pour in vinegar and red wine. Bring to boil, scraping solids from bottom. Add stock and cook until sauce is thickened.

Add meat with juices, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Add jelly and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper & serve over mashed potatoes or with wild rice.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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He saved for a sportscar…but bought a vineyard instead

Posted by Derek

Monday, September 30th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Pondview Estates Winery

–  September 2013 –

In Italian “Bella Terra” means beautiful earth and for this month’s Savvy Selections we are excited to be bringing to you a winery with some Italian heritage. Pondview Estates of Niagara-on-the-Lake is owned by Lou Puglisi & his cousin Joseph Barbera. Both are of Italian decent, Sicily to be exact. The Bella Terra term is reserved by Pondview for their premium brand wines which are only produced in exceptional vintages (wine speak for years). This month, we bring you two wines from the Bella Terra portfolio, both from 2010 – an exceptional vintage in Ontario.

Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath had the opportunity to talk with Lou who prefers to be called ‘Pondview’s Chief Wine Drinker’. Lou has been a long time friend of all of us in the Savvy Team and he keeps us in stitches with his down to earth humour. If you have not already met Lou from your visits at their winery or at our Savvy Events, rest assured that in 2014 we are creating many more ways for you to meet him…over a glass of their fine wines.

During Labour Day weekend, I visited the winery and was treated to a wonderful tasting in the barrel room (photo left). Lou & Joseph are wonderful gentlemen pulling out rare vintages, barrel samples & a gourmet antipasti spread to enjoy with their wines. During our conversation, they commented that they were grape growers first (the vineyards are 39 years old) and only since Lou was crowned Grape King was he inspired to open a winery….and we are glad that they did.

Shortly after they opened their doors, we featured them in Savvy Selections. We are delighted to shine the spotlight on them again and taste how far they have come. Especially with recent BIG news about their top end red wine – Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 – just won a GOLD medal in the National Wine Awards of Canada. We are thrilled that we can offer this to you as an optional wine before it all sells out.

As you read this month’s Savvy eZine, I hope you will get a chuckle when you learn about Lou’s brush with Royalty or how some fatherly advice steered him – pardon the pun – away from a sports car towards his future in the wine industry.

As with every month, the Savvy Selections tasting panel convened to undertaken the arduous task – it is a tough job! – of selecting the wines from Pondview that will shortly be arriving on your door step. As challenging as the work is, we find this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about Ontario wines and most of all about the winemakers.

In your September Savvy Selections you will find:

Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA – a refreshing summer sipper

Pondview Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA – rich and wonderful

Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA – big and bold red wine

OPTIONAL WINE: Pondview Bella Terra Meritage 2010 VQA – gold in a glass

Pondview are hard to find wines! Ordering additional bottles of this month’s selection or past Savvy Selections is easy. Simply e-mail me at debbie@savvycompany.ca or call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926). We will make all of the arrangements for your special delivery. How is that for easy?!?

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Pondview Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath


“If I had bought the sports car, we would not be having this conversation”, that’s what Pondview owner Lou Puglisi (left) told me with a chuckle when we got into the part of the interview about how he ended up in the wine business. You see, Lou felt he could be doing better things with his time than sitting in school. So at the young age of 19 he decided that he would get a job in construction while continuing to work on his father’s farm.

After a few years of savings, Lou had some cash that was burning a hole in his pocket. He was thinking about getting a car when his father took him aside and let him in on a tip: the parcel of land beside the family farm was coming up for sale. Insightfully, Lou’s father explained to him that in 5 years the car would be worth nothing, whereas the parcel of land might double in value. After some reflection, instead of buying a Chevrolet Z28 Camaro, Lou opted for the 20 acre parcel of land.

Unbeknownst to him at the time, this was the first step to planting the seeds of what would become Pondview Estate Winery. Lou never did buy a Camaro. In 2008, he bought a silver Corvette for a few years. And now as a new winery & business owner, he owns a Honda CRV.

The story behind the name

I always love hearing the story of how a winery’s name comes about because picking the name is not an easy – it is like selecting a name for your child. A great deal of research goes into a name to make sure that it is not being used by another winery and that the name has meaning to the owners. How the name Pondview came about is no exception.

Lou told me that he and his wife Adriana (on left in photo) went through at least 18 possible names with all 18 being discarded for one reason or another. It was on attempt 19 that success was achieved. Just like many other evenings Lou and Adriana went for a stroll on their acreage. It was around the property’s pond that Lou looked and said to Adriana “what a great view of the pond’. After some toing & froing the name Pondview stuck.

The Grape King & Royalty

The Grape King” is a highly sought after title that is awarded annually by the industry association Grape Growers of Ontario. All of the grape growers in the province select one grower who maintains the best vineyard in the province. With rigorous criteria and being judged by your peers, this award is significant in the industry. In 2008, Lou was the recipient of this prestigious title and as part of his duties as “King of Grapes” he served as the ambassador for the industry.

During his reign Lou attended the opening of the post graduate certificate program in Wine Business Management at the Niagara College Teaching Winery. It was during this opening that Lou was to meet Prince Charles. When it came time for Lou to shake the Prince’s hand, Lou confidently said to Charles, “it’s an honour to meet you sir. You may be the Prince, but I am the King…of Grapes”. Lou definitely has a lively sense of humour! And with that Lou has pictures of more royalty on his wall of fame in his office along photos of him with the King of Hockey – Don Cherry and the King of Canada’s nightly news – Peter Mansbridge.

The Pondview Mantra…

“Great wine is a harmony of earth and vine”. Everyone at the winery operates under this mantra. Lou explains that, “you achieve harmony by balancing what is done in the vineyard, by not stressing the vines with excess pesticides or fertilizers. My team is always looking at the vineyard in order to determine what is required to be done of the vines. If things are healthy then we leave our vineyard alone. Overall let Mother Nature tend to her vines”. In Lou’s opinion a minimalist approach will allow for better quality grapes. This month’s tasting panel sure thinks that this approach works well.

So if you are in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area, I suggest that you stop by Pondview, stroll the grounds meet with Lou, have your picture taken with Royalty and try some of their award winning wines.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA, $14.95

For this Rosé wine, Pondview’s winemaker Fred Di Profio crushed and de-stemmed the fruit, then allowed the skins to remain in contact with the juice for 6 hours, thus creating its gorgeous colour and wonderful concentration of flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pink salmon in colour with refreshingly youthful aromas of cranberry and strawberry. The cranberry aroma also comes across on the palate along with pink grapefruit and a hint of rose petals. This medium bodied wine has great acidity along with a crisp mouth feel and a medium length cranberry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will remind you that summer is not over! Enjoy on its own or pair this wine with a fresh salad tossed in a citrus vinaigrette dressing. The tasting panel is recommending pairing this wine with the Chicken Tarragon Salad – recipe follows.

Cellaring: Drink now!

Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA, $19.95

This is a Bordeaux blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot grapes. Instead of opting to call it a Meritage, Lou chose to use Cabernet, to cover off both the Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Sauvignon that are predominant in this red wine blend.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright and beautiful garnet red core (winespeak: middle of the wine) that fades to a ruby red colour as it approaches the rim of the glass. Great intensity of flavours with vanilla, cherry, cedar and prunes are discernible on the nose, while baked fruit, cedar and clover come through on the palate. This medium bodied wine has noticeable tannins, balanced acidity and a medium length red-fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine ain’t no chicken wine! commented Savvy Sommelier Doug during the tasting panel. This wine is a well rounded red that can be served with rare to medium rare red meats, with BBQed steak or roast beef, or event roast lamb with a peppercorn crust. Read on to discover this gem of a recipe.

Cellaring: The tannins are young and therefore need time to settle and integrate into the wine. This wine could easily cellar for 4 to 6 years and those that are patient will be rewarded.

Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA $34.95

This is one wonderful wine. In fact, Derek awards this wine with his triple B rating…BIG, BOLD & BEAUTIFUL. As Pondview’s premium label that is only produced in exceptional years, which 2010 definitely has gone down in Ontario wine industry history, this single varietal wine is impressive.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The colour is a stunning garnet red that extends out from the core to the rim. The nose is clean with aromas of red current, dried figs and wet stone all discernible. On the palate this full bodied dry wine has noticeable flavours of red current, oak and clover spice. It ends with a medium length red current finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This red is not for the faint of heart. Pair this wine with bacon wrapped beef tenderloin in a red wine reduction. The tasting panel is suggestions you try it with roasted flank steak with parmesan panko stuff…OMG it’s a delicious pairing – read on for this wonderful recipe.

Cellaring: This wine can be cellared for 5 to 7 years.

 

OPTIONAL WINE: Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 $39.95

Meritage is the North American term for a Bordeaux blend made using any combination of Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Pondview Meritage is a blend of 50% of each of the best barrels of their Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A deep burgundy colour, this opaque wine has California Zinfandel like characteristics. Aromas of smoke, espresso, dark chocolate, black licorice & cedar (it was not heavily oaked) that transform into tastes of super juicy black plums, overripe blackberries & black cherries. Each sip warms you up with the heat, a zip of acidity (that will mellow out with cellaring) and the light tannins.

Well balanced, stunningly complex it is no wonder that this wine won gold in the National Wine Awards of Canada.
Congratulations to Lou & his Pondview team for achieving this highly acclaimed award.

Suggested Food Pairing: What did the September tasting panel suggest you pair with this wine? Well I will give you a hint…beef, beef and beef. Do you get the idea? Barbeque season still has a good 2 or 3 months left so barbequed sirloin steak with a smoky paprika rub or lamb chops with a rosemary mustard rub would both pair well. The tasting panel is recommending you try this wine with pan-fried sirloin steak with a Chianti butter.

Cellaring: This wine is enjoyable now or can be put down for up to 10+ years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

With Pondview Estates Cabernet Franc Rosé…

Tarragon Chicken Salad

From: Recipes for Healthy Heart Cooking – The Lighthearted Cookbook by Anne Lindsay
Serves 4

Ingredients

3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 ½ cups sliced celery
¼ cup chopped chives or green onions
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
¼ cup light sour cream or light mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp dried tarragon
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds

Method

In a large bowl combined chicken, celery, chives or onions, yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise and tarragon; mix lightly
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
Just before serving add almonds season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pack your picnic basket with this salad and the Rosé

 

With Pondview Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve…

Roast Lamb with Peppercorn Crust

From: The Silver Plate Cookbook, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

3 tablespoons crushed dried peppercorns, an equal mix of white, black and green
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1½ tablespoons dried
½ cup fresh mint leaves
5 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dry red wine
1 boned but untied leg of lamb, about 5 lbs (weight after boning)
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard

Method

Combine 1 tablespoon of crushed peppercorns, rosemary, mint, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and red wine in a shallow bowl; then marinate the lamb in the mixture for eight hours, turning occasionally.

Remove roast from marinade and drain: reserve marinade. Roll the roast, tying it with kitchen twine. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread mustard over meat and pat 2 tablespoons of crushed peppercorns into the mustard. Set the roast in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably and pour reserved marinade carefully around but not over the roast.

Bake 1½ hours or 18 minutes per pound, basting occasionally for medium rare roast. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes for well-done meat. Let roast stand for 20 minutes before carving.

Serve pan juices in gravy boat along with the lamb

 

With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon …

Roast Flank Steak with Parmesan Panko Stuffing

From Food & Drink Magazine Early Autumn 2010
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients – Steak

1.5 lbs flank steak
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or basil or a mixture
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Kitchen twine

Ingredients – Sauce

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1½ to 2 cups beef broth or stock
½ cup dry red wine

Method

Butterfly steak lengthwise using a horizontal cut (do not cut all the way through to opposite side). Open up on butcher paper; cover with plastic wrap and whack with smooth side of meat pounder until ¾ inch thick

Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium frying pan, add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Toss panko bread crumbs with Parmesan, pine nuts, herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl & add onion mixture and toss until well-combined.

Preheat oven to 375°F & lay pounded steak so grain of meat goes left to right in front of you. Leaving 2 inches uncoated on far long side, pat filling over meat. Beginning near you, tightly roll up the steak forming a neat roll. Cut 5 pieces of twine, each about 20 inches long and beginning at the middle, tie roast, spacing ties evenly apart. Trim twine ends and discard then roll tied steak into flour until heavily coated – be sure to discard flour that does not cling to meat.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil (med-med/high heat)  in a large heavy frying pan capable of going into the oven & add steak to pan, turning 8 to 10 minutes in total until lightly browned on all sides. Turn roast seam-side down in pan. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 130°F.

Remove steak to cutting board, cover meat with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

For sauce, add flour to hot pan; stir over medium heat 1 minute or until absorbed. Pour 1½ cups broth and wine; gently whisking, bring to boil. Sauce should be nicely thickened; if too thick add more broth as needed; add seasoning as needed. Strain into a warmed container.

Slice steak width-wise into 1/2–inch-thick slices, removing strings as encountered. Serve slices napped with a bit of sauce; garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs. Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed cauliflower florets tossed with bits of roasted red pepper.

 

With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Meritage 2010…

Pan-fried Sirloin Steak with Simple Chianti Butter Sauce & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

From Cook with Jamie My Guide to Making You a Better Cook
Serves 2

Ingredients – Mashed Potatoes

14 oz potatoes, peeled and halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a knob of butter

Ingredients – Steak

2 x 7oz sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick fat scored
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 knobs of butter
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 large wineglass of Chianti
A few sprigs of watercress
Good-quality of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Put the potatoes into a large pan of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft and tender. Drain them in a colander and allow them to sit for 4 minutes to steam away any excess moisture. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash them up, stirring in a 2 glugs of olive oil, the Parmesan and butter. Taste, season and then transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place over a pot of simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy frying pan, large enough to book both steaks at once without them touching. Season your steaks and brush them with olive oil. Using a pair of tongs, hold the steaks fatty-edge down in the frying pan to render and colour the fat. When the fat is golden, fry the steaks for 8 minutes in total for medium-rare, turning them every minute. Remove from the pan to rest.

Turn the heat down and add a knob of butter to the pan. Fry your shallots and thyme for 4 minutes, then add the wine and reduce by half. Pour in the resting juices from the meat, add the 2 remaining knobs of butter and take the pan off the heat. Stir around to emulsify and make a really simple red wine sauce.

Taste, season and serve with your steak and lovely olive oil mashed potatoes with a scattering of watercress and a drizzle of quality olive oil.

Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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