Posts Tagged ‘Niagara Beamsville Bench’

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Canada Day is just around the corner and what better excuse to stock up. I just returned from working abroad and when I went to my local LCBO to indulge in a few delights, I was astounded at the selection and choices: from reds to whites to fruity spirits and rosés, the sky really is the limit.

Vintages june 25thI was also reading in an LCBO publication that Ontario VQA whites account for more than 30 per cent of total summer sales. I’m so glad that many of us are enjoying our Canadian whites and my focus in this release is mostly Canadian.

If you are firing up the barbecue on Canada Day don’t forget the great selection of beers that most LCBO stores now offer; lighter, fruitier beers and ciders. And, if you happen to be exploring Ontario, make sure to stop at the small town breweries that showcase local artisan beers not to be found elsewhere. I also know of a great local company that delivers different craft beers every month 😉 How cool is that?

Have a Happy Canada Day and remember there’s no place like home.

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday June 25, 2016


Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2013Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2013

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$ 17.95 (Vintages # 302059) 13.5% alcohol

Cave Spring did it for us – talk about bottling aromas. I can see this beautiful winery nestled along the main street in Jordan and can hardly wait to visit in July. Deliciously aromatic does not begin to describe this nectar. Intense white blossoms mingle with rosewater. Soft gentle tastes of lychee and tree fruit, smooth as silk on the palate and very easy to drink. It’s a gentle, pretty wine with lots of intermingling fruit flavours. Guaranteed there is no one who would not like this wine. I would chill it well and bring it out one summer afternoon or to enjoy with some sushi for an easy summer lunch or dinner. Perhaps not descriptive but it’s really nice.


Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2014Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2014

VQA Beamsville Bench Niagara Peninsula
$23.95 (Vintages 183491) 10.5% alcohol

 Make sure you pick up more than one bottle since once this is on the shelves, it will go fast. Loads of minerality, stone and flint dash the palate creating a zesty earthy taste. Grapefruit, lemon-lime and green apple flavours coat the palate with lively acidity. It is refreshing and a great example of a Niagara Riesling. Deliciously clean and fresh, well-balanced and one lovely wine. With lighter summer fare or just on its own.



Domaine De La Baume Elisabeth Viognier 2014Domaine De La Baume Elisabeth Viognier 2014

IGP, d’Oc, Midi, France
$16.95 (Vintages #438796) 14.6% alcohol

 For those of us who love to sniff and swirl, this is another aromatic floral power bomb. Lots of ripe fruit swirl on the palate, some lemon and tangerine create a soft interplay of tastes with a noticeable seam of acidity, smooth and plain delicious. It’s elegant and rich but maintains it’s freshness on the long juicy finish. Sends you back for one more sip and another easy quaffing afternoon or evening wine. Would be a great partner for seafood or summer salads and roast chicken.


Kacaba Cabernet:Syrah 2013

Kacaba Cabernet/Syrah 2013

VQA Niagara Escarpment
$18.95 (Vintages #317925) 13.1% alcohol

So much personality, violet aromas, layers of blackberries, complex ripe black cherries, framed in ripe velvety tannins, that just about sums it up. I have always been a big fan of Kacaba wines, they are consistently structured and well made. Years ago I met winemaker, John Tummon and recall him telling me the story about Air Canada losing some grapes he’d sourced from a California vineyard. They were eventually found – whew. This Cab/Syrah would be great for (Canada Day) barbecued burgers or steak or any grilled meat. With a 55% Cabernet and 45 % Syrah blend, there’s loads of currants and berry flavours, black pepper all wrapped up with a rustic, lingering finish. I intend to pick up a couple of bottles to keep for hearty winter fare.


The foreign affair AmaroseForeign Affairs Amarosé

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #388702) 12.4%

 Definitely not your ordinary Rosé, this has to be the most delicious I have tasted and that covers a lot of territory. It is made in the Amarone style undergoing the appassimento or dried grape method. In short, the grapes are dried losing their natural water but this results in super concentrated berry flavours. The juice from the 57% Pinot Noir, 22% Riesling and 21% Chardonnay create enticing aromas that are reminiscent of stepping into a field of over ripe strawberries begging to be picked. Luscious raspberries and cherries also play on the palate with a slightly tangerine finish. It is smooth, loaded with flavour and slightly off dry. The ripe berry flavours in this rosé are dazzling and impressive. From start to finish, it is generous rosé.

Grand Total – $96.75


GreenLane Estate Winery

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring GreeenLane Estate Winery
–  October 2015 –


The inviting entrance and patio at GreenLane Estate Winery became even more so when I noticed a large water dish for dogs at the access to the fenced patio. They think of everything here to make their guests – of all kinds – feel welcome. It was a warm, quiet day at the winery, so Dianne Smith, General Manager and Winemaker, insisted that our Brittany Spaniel be taken out of the car and provided a shady spot near that never-ending water dish. Once settled, she shared her dog stories about her rescued red Doberman, who has patrolled the vineyards these last 4 years scaring off the birds. Unfortunately, Oskar (named for Oscar Schindler of the famous Schindler’s list) is recovering from a hind leg injury at the moment, but assistant winemaker, Gavin Paton’s Labradoodle named Barley was in the vineyard ensuring that no small mammals became grape tasters. Having exchanged credentials as dog lovers, we then moved on to sample the full range of GreenLane’s wines in the spacious and beautifully renovated tasting room.

Dianne SmithIndependently owned, GreenLane is a boutique winery that was inspired by a passion for fine wines and a conversation with a childhood friend over a glass of such wine. The vision for creating a local winery producing high quality small-batch fine wines was realized in 2009 with the purchase of the Beamsville property at the intersection of GreenLane and Cherry Avenue in Vineland. Named after the bordering Green Lane, the winery embodies the essence and country charm of the area and the ideals of the vision. Although the site included established vineyards, the early days of winemaking began in a small clapboard farmhouse with newly arrived winemaker Dianne Smith focused on producing outstanding wines.

I visited the winery in its first year of operation, and so impressed with the quality and finesse of the wines that I have spent the last 5 years convincing Dianne Smith to let us introduce her wines to our Savvy Selections subscribers. As a boutique winery, production levels were also so small that the large size of our subscriber base was a challenge. Now however, we are delighted to have the opportunity to introduce you not only to Dianne’s fabulous white wines, but also to her plush reds from the warm 2012 vintage.

In your Savvy Selections you will find…

GreenLane Chardonnay sur Lie VQA 2010 – a creamy full bodied elegant wine

GreenLane Cabernet Franc VQA 2012 – the opulent, fruit-forward red wine

GreenLane Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2012 – a bold, powerful wine that is definitely ‘cellar worthy’.

Pop in with your pooch…

The team at GreenLane are always at the winery to welcome to you – and your well-behaved pooch – to their small winery. When your travels take you to Niagara, be sure to pop in for a visit to try many of the other wines produced from the fruit of both the original and the new estate, including Pinot ‘Grieving’ from Dianne’s newly introduced band, Betrayed. Due to their size and growing popularity of their wines, you rarely find GreenLane’s wines at the LCBO.

Looking for more wine trip tips?

Our friendly Savvy Team (minus an office dog) is ready to help you with travel ideas and wine tips too. Give us a call anytime on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team



GreenLane Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins


Originally from a small seaside village in North Wales, Dianne Smith travelled the world with her family as her father’s job brought many transfers. “The wine bug hit me while I was studying Geology in Florida…and waiting on tables at a wine bar”, Diane recalls. “I finished up my degree, then looked for a post grad opportunity. The Brock University and Niagara College in their Oenology & Viticulture programs hit the mark. Once graduated, attempted to learn as much about the wine industry as I could, working for the LCBO and wine bars, in marketing and production at other local wineries such as Tawse, Hillebrand and Southbrook Vineyards too.

Saw an ad in the paper…

In March 2010, while working for Southbrook, I answered an ad for winery staff for a new, start up winery in Niagara. Five years later, I run GreenLane, juggling winemaking duties with my amazing assistant winemaker, Gavin Paton, and developing the GreenLane brand into one known for beauty and quality. In such a small, tight-knit team, we all wear quite a few hats!” Spoken like an entrepreneur!

Dianne Smith - in the vineyardGreenLane’s first vineyard location was chosen for its proximity to Lake Ontario, which offers a long growing season with cool evenings that effectively maintains the acidity in the Riesling and Pinot Gris and the quality of its very rocky clay loam soils, benefits the established plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, as well as the Riesling and Pinot Gris vines.

The new winery location offers accessibility to visitors meandering through Beamsville and a space five times that of the original old farmhouse.  In addition to a beautiful retail area and extensive production space, the site offers a lovely enclosed patio. The building has been extensively renovated to provide the perfect space for a boutique winery such as GreenLane. The new site is more sheltered, offering temperatures as much as 5F warmer than the original, as well as somewhat rocky clay loam with high iron content. Dianne has planted Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay, following the advice of trusted wine industry friends, who indicated the site had an ideal terroir for Bordeaux varieties.

Moving = Surprises

Moving to the new winery has brought many benefits, but also some challenges for the team. Dianne tells an entertaining story of her first vintage at the new site. Hot weather meant that the Pinot Gris had to be harvested. Renovations were barely completed and the newly poured crush pad barely dried. An electrician from Toronto had installed the new press. As the Pinot Gris arrived – picked by a willing crew borrowed from another winery – the grapes sat on the skins as Dianne tried to start the press. Yikes, it wouldn’t work! Frantic calls to winemaker friends and neighbors brought a local electrician who declared, as he brought the press on line, that ‘those Toronto electricians really don’t know anything about winemaking equipment’.

greenlane estate wineryBy this time, the juice was a lovely deep pink colour. Into the fermentation tanks it went, as Dianne brought all her skills as a winemaker to bear to – as naturally as possible – filter the wine to a delicate peach hue. The 2013 Pinot Gris is her most popular wine and, if you’ve seen and tasted it, you’ll agree that she was very successful in her ‘rescue’ of the wine!

Dianne’s prior experience has led her to eschew conventional farming. Organic and biodynamic practices are followed in the vineyards and cellar, while a sustainable/herbicide-free approach is used in the vineyard. Says Dianne, ‘We are proud to farm sustainably and try to loosely follow the biodynamic calendar. We hope to farm the new site organically and to obtain certification in due course.’

Dianne is an enthusiastic host in the tasting room; her commitment to GreenLane and to her craft is almost tangible. Asked to describe her philosophy of winemaking, she says, “‘We pursue a vineyard first philosophy, embracing vintage variations in both aromatic and flavour profiles in our resulting wines. Winemaking is a labour of love. We strive to craft wines that speak truthfully of their vineyard origins by paying close attention to the terroir and allowing the fruit and the vintage to determine how the wines evolve. During harvest, the fruit is our dictator of style and our process allows the true flavours of grapes to shine.”

Love for Mother Nature & Old Man WinterGreenlane estate

Dianne is also true to her philosophy in the new brand she has created, Betrayed. Two brutal winters destroyed portions of both the delicate Pinot Gris and GreenLane’s 25-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vines. In response, Dianne, “Betrayed by Mother Nature and Old Man Winter, we launched a sassy new line and named it Betrayed. Our first wine, Pinot Grieving, tells this story with the front label denoting Old Man Winter as a shadowy man, lurking in the background, wreaking havoc while the grapes (shown as a woman) weep. The 1950’s Pop Art styled label was designed by Niagara College students.”

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!



GreenLane Chardonnay sur Lie 2010 VQA, $35.002010 Chardonnay Sur Lie FRONT

Handpicked and sorted, this small-batch wine from the hot 2010 vintage is produced from the fruit of just 3-year-old vines – hard to believe given the depth and intensity of the flavour. This wine spent 22 months in a nearly new barrel and 3 neutral oak barrels, stirred twice weekly to integrate the flavours of the lies.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brilliant gold, the complex aromas include toasted nut, butter pastry, pineapple, spiced vanilla, pear and apple tart. Dry, medium-full bodied, the power and intensity of the fruit is balanced by a creamy yet fresh texture, the flavours of caramel apple, pineapple and subtle nutty notes caressing the palate through a long, spiced finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Rich and flavourful, it’s a match for Thanksgiving turkey or ham, pasta with a creamy seafood sauce or roast pork.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years


GreenLane Cabernet Franc 2012 VQA, $23.95

From the wonderfully warm 2012 vintage, this Cabernet Franc was handpicked from 8-year-old vines in the Antonio ds Silva-Ribeiro vineyard. It was then aged 9 months in French oak, 20% of which was ne2012 Cabernet Franc FRONTw.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This opulent Cabernet Franc tantalizes with a whiff of pencil shavings mingling with lifted aromas of roses, dark ripe berries and black cherry, cloves and chocolate. Showcasing ripe fruit on the palate, the wine is harmonious and well integrated, the tannins velvety, the balancing acidity subtle. The chocolate and spice notes join a chorus of lush fruit on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with roast lamb, pork or rare breast of duck.

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 2-3 years.


GreenLane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 VQA $32.952012 Cabernet Sauvignon FRONT

Produced from the fruit of 22-year-old vines that was hand harvested and sorted in different stages – some as late as the first week of November during this warm vintage. The wine was then aged 19 months in French oak barrels, gently punched down 4 times per day to increase extraction and intensity.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This inky, powerful wine offers great intensity and extraction. On the nose, the aromas of cassis and berry are rich and ripe, traces of vanilla, dark chocolate and spice merging and mingling with the fruit. Ripe yet firm tannins and refined acidity frame the concentrated dark fruit, hints of smoke, dried herbs, spice and pepper adding depth and complexity. Long and intense on the finish, the wine will cellar well.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with rack of lamb or rare prime rib.

Cellaring: Ready now or it will cellar nicely for another 4 to 5 years



With GreenLane Chardonnay sur Lie…

Sausage & Exotic Mushroom Turkey Stuffing
By Emily Richards, LCBO Food & Drink Magazine
Serves 8-10


1 lb. fresh pork sausage (consider using 1 chorizo for a smoky flavour)
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 small carrots, finely chopped
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage or 1 Tbsp dried sage
¼ C butter
2 cups sliced oyster mushrooms
2 cups small chanterelle mushrooms or sliced shitake mushroom caps
½ cup dry white wine
Salt & freshly ground pepper
8 cups cubed rustic bread (French or Italian)
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
¾ cup chicken stock


Preheat oven to 325F.

Remove casings from sausages. Cook sausage meat in large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up into small pieces with wooden spatula, for 8 minutes or until cooked through. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of fat from the skillet.

Add shallots, garlic, celery, carrots and sage. Sautée for 8 minutes or until golden. Add butter and stir until melted.

Add oyster and chanterelle mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are softened. Add white wine and boil until wine evaporates. Season with salt & pepper. Scrape into a large bowl. Add bread and parsley. Toss to combine.

Drizzle chicken stock over stuffing mixture to moisten. Pour into greased 10 cup casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes or until crisp and golden.


With GreenLane Cabernet Franc

Duck Breasts with Blood Orange Salsa
By Lucy Waverman, The Flavour Principle
Serves 4
photo credit:

Ingredientsblood oranges

3 duck breasts (about 12 oz. each)
1 tsp cracked fennel seeds
1 tsp cracked coriander seeds
Salt & freshly ground pepper


½ cup chopped fennel
½ cup chopped blood orange flesh (or use Cara Cara oranges)
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
2 tsp chopped, seeded jalapeño pepper, or to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp blood orange juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped chives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
¼ tsp granulates sugar


Combine fennel, blood orange flesh, red onion, jalapeño, olive oil, blood orange juice, lemon juice, chives, cilantro, sugar and salt to taste. Reserve

Preheat oven to 450F.

Score skin of duck breasts at 1” intervals (do not cut into meat). Rub with fennel and coriander seeds. Season with salt & pepper.

Place skin side down in a cold ovenproof skillet & place over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until fat is rendered & skin is beginning to crisp.

Pour off fat & place skillet in oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until duck is medium-rare. Remove from skillet & let rest 5 minutes.

Slice breasts into ½ “ slices. Serve topped with salsa.


With GreenLane Cabernet Sauvignon…

Herbalicious Rack of Lamb
By Lucy Waverman, The Flavour Principle
Serves 4
photo credit:  

 Ingredientsrack of lamb

1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup finely diced seeded tomato
½ cup chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
Salt & freshly ground pepper
¼ cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 lamb racks (8 chops each), frenched
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard


Combine bread crumbs, tomato, herbs, garlic, salt, pepper and melted butter. Mix well & transfer to a shallow dish. Reserve.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat & add oil. Season lamb with salt & pepper. Sear lamb, fat side down, for 2 minutes. Turn over & sear for 2 more minutes. Upend racks & sear meaty ends. Turn racks bone side down & place skillet in oven. Roast racks for 7 minutes.

Remove from oven & brush mustard over meat. Roll racks in break crumb mixture & return to pan, bone side down. Roast for another 10-15minutes or until just pink. Let lamb rest for 5 minutes before carving. 

Bonus Recipes…

GreenLane’s red wine & Chocolate Brownies!

GreenLane’s big bold red wines would be delicious with dark chocolate.  The winery team think that they have died and gone to heaven when Dianne makes these brownies to enjoy with GreenLane’s big red wines.

Old Fashioned Cocoa Brownies
From Dianne’s kitchen to yours
photo credit:


1 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup double-strength hot brewed coffee
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp salt
2 cup sugar
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt


Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together into a large bowl. Add the coffee and corn syrup – whisk until mixture is smooth and glossy. Add applesauce, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk until completely blended.

Add flour and fold in yogurt with wooden spoon just until it is incorporated.

Fold batter into an 8×8” nonstick baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until mixture begins to separate from the edges of the pan and centre is firm to touch.

Remove from oven, place on rack, leave in pan to cool completely. 

Spicy Chocolate-Cayenne Truffle Brownies


8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces (+ more for greasing pan)
4 large eggs at room temperature
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (+ more for dusting)
¾ – 1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare pan with butter and line with parchment.

In sauce pan, melt broken chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring often. Once melted, remove from heat and add both sugars, stir and set aside.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cayenne into large bowl and set aside.

Add eggs one at a time to the slightly warm chocolate, whisk after each.

Add spoonfuls of the flour/cocoa mixture and stir with a spatula until smooth.

Pour batter into 8×8” pan (bake for 35-40 minutes) or 9×13” pan (bake for 20-25 minutes).

Let cool and remove from pan. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and cut as desired. Note: For more fudgy brownies, tester should come out slightly coated.


Enjoy your Savvy Selections!


Heavenly Wine From Angels Gate Winery of Niagara’s Beamsville Bench

Posted by Wayne

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011



Character and the landscape are two features that wine producers spend a lot of time deciding upon, not only for their wineries, but also for their wines. A visit to Angels Gate Winery on Mountainview Road at the base of the Beamsville Bench in Niagara, is the best way to see that where a wine comes from is just as important as how it is made. Not only are the views and the mission-style architecture breathtaking and eclectic, but very unique – a quality that can be experienced and appreciated in all of Angels Gate wines.

Phillip Dowell, the winemaker, is the planner, procurer, and producer of Angels Gate’s Devilishly Good Wines produced behind the walls of the mission-style winery that signifies Angels Gate. Coming from extensive winemaking experience in the Yarra and McLaren Vales of Australia, Philip is very aware of the importance of not losing your identity in the over-production of wines and is very thankful to be the driving force behind the viticulture (Wine Speak for growing of grapes), the viniculture (wine speak: making the wine) and the market profiles of all the wines produced at Angels Gate.

The group of wine lovers that established Angels Gate gave Phillip the creative power and the on-site responsibility needed to produce and develop unique wines on a unique property. “It’s like owning your own winery. I get to keep what is good and develop our future”, he explains.

Three of Phillip’s one-of-a-kind wines are profiled this month as Savvy Selections. Keeping in line with the unique character of Angels Gate, this month’s tasting panel of Wayne, Lorraine, Mitch and myself met on the deck of a sailboat to taste this month’s Selections offerings (Hey, where you are is very important to what you are tasting too!).

We are excited to introduce you to this month’s Savvy Selections – ready for summertime enjoyment:

·Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay 2006 – from the oldest Chardonnay vines in Niagara (planted in the ‘70’s)

·Angels Gate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that is aged to perfection

·Angels Gate Red III 2007 – a rich, elegant blend of Cabernet, Malbec (very rare in Niagara), and Merlot

·OPTIONAL WINE: Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling 2008 – the dry, tropical flavours in this elegant bubbly had the tasting panel wowed! 

Learn more about Phillip and the character and setting of Angels Gate wines in the following pages as well as some great matching recipes and our Savvy Sommelier tasting notes. We are confident that once you have a sip, you’ll be ordering the Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling! As you are well aware, the Savvy Selections wines are not available at the LCBO so to order more of this month’s or previous Savvy Selections simply call or e-mail me to arrange your delivery.

Your invitation to Savvy Events..

Mark your calendar for September 22-25. We are organizing the food & wine events in Ottawa’s Little Italy for La Vendemmia Harvest Festival. Stay tuned for all of the festival events to one of the best Italian celebrations of food and wine – outside of Italy! We hope to see you there.

Debbie & the Savvy Team

Angels Gate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Wayne Walker

Unique and Elegant
On the Beamsville Bench overlooking Lake Ontario, the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Christian Charity erected a convent on the site that is now the setting for Angels Gate Winery. When the property was converted into a vineyard in 1995, the “missionary style” of construction was not lost on the group of entrepreneurs responsible for its conversion and development.

Retaining the character of the property has spilled over into the winemaking at Angels Gate as well. The people responsible for the production of wines still practice traditional winemaking techniques in an effort to produce great wine, but traditional approaches must produce unique wine that is elegant and memorable, not just something different. This mantra is especially true for the winemaker, Phillip Dowell.

Transplanted from Australia
Phillip comes to Angels Gate after extensive experience in Australia where he learned the value of using New World (wine speak: all wine-producing countries outside of the Mediterranean) technologies and traditional winemaking techniques. “The key is to integrate these two influences and create a style that is unique… in our case uniquely Angels Gate”, he explains. According to Phillip, that style centres on ‘elegance’.

He claims that, “not over-reacting… being patient with many of the natural processes of grapes grown on the property” allows wines of “delicate balance, finesse and distinct structure” to evolve.

No better example exists than the Sussriesling produced by Angels Gate, a spectacular, semi-sweet Riesling created with a combination of fermented and non-fermented juices. This gives an unique experience of light thirst-quenching wine at an extremely reasonable price, produced from some of the earliest Riesling vines planted in Ontario.

Under Phillip’s direction Angels Gate has been planting Malbec, used in the Angels Red III – one of your Savvy Selection this month. Presently, the growing of Malbec is rare in the Niagara Region, but it demonstrates the uniqueness and diversity of Angels Gate products.

As well, Selections subscribers were offered (and you can still contact us to arrange a special shipment) the unique Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling which comes highly recommended by the tasting panel. This is a bubbly made in the traditional method (wine speak: made in the same process as Champagne) that our Sommeliers thought that it tastes like a well-made Spanish Cava wine (a Spanish sparkling) with its dry, thirst- quenching, textured experience, which, like many other Angels Gate wines, makes it unique.

The Angels Gate team is constantly breaking new ground. In 2010, a significant planting of Pinot Gris is taking them directly into the groundswell of popular white wine drinkers who are enjoying Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio).

A preview of the winery’s future success at producing white, creamy-textured wines can be experienced in this month’s Old Vines Chardonnay, a product of 40-year-old vines that have developed the ability to reach very deep into the clay and limestone soil for rich nutrients capable of yielding full flavours and textures.

Exporting Excellence
Both Phillip and A.J. McLaughlin (Angels Gate Sales and Marketing Manager) feel that the Ontario market is presently full of dynamism with plenty of expansion. They are looking to take the spirit and their wines beyond Ontario’s borders – across Canada and recently established their first exporting venture into the United States. They both feel they produce “great wine at exceptional value” and expansion will increase demand which will increase diversity and quality as long as they maintain the quality of winemaking. Keeping their eye on “elegance” of their wine and winery is a step in the right direction. Maintaining elegant wines will be the next challenge… one that they feel for certain will be met.

We’d like to invite you experience this ‘elegance’ for yourself as you sample this month’s Savvy Selections and compare your impressions with our Sommelier tasting notes on the following pages.

Cheers and Enjoy!


Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay VQA 2006 $23.95

100% Chardonnay grapes are used in this wine. The 40-year-old vines are hand-picked and the juices are both fermented and aged in barrels on the lees (wine speak: the yeast is left with the wine in the barrel as part of the winemaking process). All of this produces a smoothness and rich creamy texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Butter is the first impression on the nose followed by tropical fruit. The palate is bathed in butterscotch, caramel popcorn, roasted nuts and a hint of herb. A warm, lingering mid palate produces a long coffee bean and roasted nut finish. Smooth and elegant. Savvy Sommelier Wayne Walker compared this to some good California Chardonnays and felt it would be very versatile, but wonderful with shellfish. What do you think?

Suggested Food Pairing:Seafood, and chicken dishes with white cream sauce would be great match. Brie and other soft, young white cheese will pair well too. There is enough tannic structure and acidity to make this a good choice for roasted pork as well. Its versatility would extend into creamy pastas and sticky rice dishes too. Grilled foods should be limited to white meats and fish.

Cellaring:Drink now at 12C to 15C. Cellar for 3 to 5 years to enrich the texture and enhance the elegance.

Angels Gate Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2005 $19.95

Harvested from two properties on the Angels Gate estate, this wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that has spent over 1 year aging in French oak barrels. Our Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm loved the spice finish of this wine and declared ”this would be a hit with anything off the BBQ.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Spices, dark fruit and cedar on the nose are deepened by chocolate and vanilla on the palate. Good tannins and a softened acidic structure bring up the fruit in the mouth and lead into a tobacco and spice finish that lingers.

Suggested Food Pairing:Hearty dishes like grilled red meats, beef and tomato pastas, aged cheeses, stews are good matches for this wine. Spicy poultry and beef, wild game, sausage, pate and blue cheese dishes are other possibilities.

Cellaring:Could be cellared for 3 to 4 years, but it tastes great now at 17C to 20C.

Angels Red III VQA 2007 $35.00

A smooth, elegant and unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (67%), Malbec (22%) and Merlot (11%). Blending is where winemakers showcase their artistic vision with consumers. This blend certainly does not disappoint! It is able to deliver intensity with finesse and still generate elegance. Fully aged varietals (wine speak: for grape types) are removed at the end of their own fermentation and aging processes so that grape specific techniques can be used to fully realize the potential of each separate wine. Then they are blended through trial and error to create the final wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:This release is almost everything anyone could want in a Red Blend. It is delivered with finesse, richness, balance and length. Dark berries and cherries, chocolate, vanilla, toast, and sweet peppers are part of both the nose and the palette in this wine. These experiences are completed by soft, sweet wood, honeyed texture and a long, sweet, smoky finish transported on a medium to full body. Good acidity and elegant tannins complement a very drinkable and memorable wine.

Suggested Food Pairings:Filet Mignon, Roast Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary, Teriyaki Beef and other grilled red meats are great choices for this gem. Popular choices might include Gourmet Thin Crust Pizza, Mushroom dishes and Gourmet Hamburgers. Bring on the Gorgonzola cheese!

Cellaring: Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.

OPTIONAL WINE: Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling VQA 2008 $19.95

This wine is this month’s optional selection that can be ordered by calling Debbie at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or The tasting panel began by tasting this wine and had to remind themselves to move on to the other selections because it was so light and dry and summertime drinkable.

The Archangel Series are the first of the grapes to be harvested each vintage at Angels Gate. It is very unusual to find a sparkling wine made of 100% Sauvignon Blanc outside of New Zealand.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:A great palette cleanser and thirst-quencher, it is fruit forward, zesty and effervescent. Well-balanced, it can be drunk on its own and enjoyed for its melon, citrus, ripe apple and pink grapefruit notes that are tempered by the subtle sweetness of lime. It is balanced and, like all the other Angels Gate wines, elegant in its very delicate profile.

Suggested Food Pairings:Chill & enjoy.If you want to have with food, we would recommend fresh vegetable appetizers, green salads, Thai shrimp rolls or seafood would be delicious. Creamy cheeses like Havarti are perfect for this type of wine. Don’t forget everyone’s favourite… goat cheese!



With Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay…

Grilled Sweetbread and Chicken Thigh Skewers

Courtesy of Matthew Croncich – Angels Gate Chef
When you visit the winery, plan to nosh on the picturesque patio and say hello to Chef!

Serves 4


4 chicken thighs

1.5 lbs veal sweetbreads

2 cups white wine

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp canola oil

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 cups salt water

½ cup Dijon mustard

1 tsp sea salt

Fresh herbs (thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, majoram, sage)


1.Marinate thighs in white wine, crushed garlic, canola oil and thyme for 3-10 hours.

2.Roast the seasoned thighs in a 400F degree oven until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

3.Gently poach sweetbreads in salted water, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns. They should appear pink, but opaque in the middle. Do not overcook or boil. Check frequently. Once done, plunge into ice water bath.

4.Once cooled, remove outer membrane and exposed veins with paring knife while breaking into chunks equal to size of chunks for chicken thighs..

5.On long metal skewers, alternate chicken and veal pieces so they are touching but not squashed together.

6.Brush the meat skewers with Dijon and sprinkle with favourite remaining herbs. Place finished skewers in refrigerator until grill is hot and ready. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook on grill moderately until meats are coloured and opaque.

With Angels Gate Red III…

Bodacious Burgers
A family favorite recipe from the kitchen of Carly Khonmen Wayne’s daughter

Serves 8


2 lbs lean ground beef

½ lb bulk Italian Hot sausage

½ large red onion, chopped

2 Hot chili peppers

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ lb Muenster Cheese

1 egg

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste


1.Preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.

2.Mix ground beef, sausage, onion, chili pepper, Muenster cheese, egg, Worcestershire Sauce, and chili powder in a mixing bowl until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper and mix again. Form the meat mixture into 8 patties.

3.Cook on the grill until burgers are no longer pink in the centre, about 7 minutes per side. Centre temperature should be about 70C.

4.Serve with Angels Gate Red III at 18C.

With Angels Gate Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling….

Sautéed Shrimp
A family favorite recipe from Wayne’s kitchen
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer


1 cup butter

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 to 3 lbs raw jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 Tbsp dry sherry or white wine

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley


1.In skillet, heat butter, cook garlic over medium-low heat until soft.

2.Add shrimps and cook until they turn pink.

3.Add sherry (or wine) and simmer for another minute.

4.Add cream and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley if you wish.

5.Serve with rice using toast or biscuits as edible spoons or just serve on the toast or biscuits themselves.


Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!