Posts Tagged ‘Niagara College Teaching Winery’

Niagara College teaches the best in Canada!

Posted by David

Saturday, September 17th, 2016
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Niagara College Teaching Winery
–  September 2016 –

Hard to believe that it was almost six years ago when we first introduced YOU – our Savvy Selections subscribers – to the incredible wines from Niagara College Teaching Winery. Since then, we have watch enrollment into the winemaking program grow in unison to the growth of the Canadian wine industry.  Along the way, the winery has won numerous awards – in Canada and internationally – for their wines.  The college has provided the career opportunities for many of their students in the Canadian and international wine industries.  And their graduates are so well trained and have extensive experience that Niagara College recently hired one of their own alumni – Gavin Robertson – as their winemaker.  Isn’t that a wonderful full circle?

We’re excited to offer outstanding wines from this amazing facility, where students and faculty work together on every stage of winemaking from harvest to packing up the boxes for this month’s deliver.  With the 2016 harvest now underway with grapes picked to make sparkling wine and white wine grapes now being collected this week, the students are getting their hands right into real life vineyard experience!

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find these INCREDIBLE wines. They are all food-friendly and ready to drink!

BalaNCe Brut – Sparkling wine made in the traditional method, with subtle fruit and a fine bubbly mousse.

2011 Dean’s List Pinot Noir – an earthy and flavourful, a premium Pinot Noir that WOWed our Savvy Team.

2011 Dean’s List Meritage – Your friends will think that wine came from Napa when they taste this big, well-aged blend!

Chosen by your personal Sommeliers….just for you

With every sip, it is easy to forget that Niagara College Teaching Winery is a classroom. The wines the students make are meticulously hand-crafted, using the best grapes, equipment and barrels available. After all, they aren’t just making wine, they’re teaching students how the best wines are made.

Want to stock up?

Call on us at any time you would like additional bottles of your favourite Niagara College Teaching Winery wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  We’re your Wine Hotline! Reach us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Niagara College Teaching Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

The beginning of September is a busy time for Ontario winemakers. Grapes are being harvested, the first crush has begun and the weather needs to be watched continually.  Gavin Robertson, though, has double-duty: while overseeing the harvest, he’s also overseeing dozens of new students as they get ready to learn how to make wine.

Gavin is the winemaker at the Niagara College Teaching Winery (NCTW) – Canada’s first and only commercial teaching winery. He makes beautiful wine (as you will discover with your Savvy Selections), all the while he is introducing a new generation of students to the art, science, and work of winemaking.

“I’m here at the outset of their careers,” Gavin says of his students.  “Their first harvest, first time pruning a row, first ice wine harvest.

“When the temperature drops to minus eight in January, all of our first and second year students as well as our faculty are out at 5 am harvesting.  And it’s terribly cold and wonderful  magical all at once!”

Slowing down the pace…

Gavin (in photo left) grew up in Almonte in the Ottawa Valley.“I knew more about maple syrup than wine,” he laughs. He joined a wine tasting club while at university, and later moved to Europe for two years. While there, he got to know the culture of wine in France and Spain. “I worked odd jobs back in Toronto and found I was missing the physical craft of wine. Having been raised in the country, I wanted to slow the pace down a little bit.

“It was a series of fortuitous events. I went for a bike ride through Niagara-on-the-Lake and discovered their wines and how great and developed the industry was. I applied to the Niagara College program and realized it was a mix of science and art and agriculture. It was holistic.”

Loads of Opportunities

Gavin says working at a teaching winery has brought new opportunities. The college has assisted Gavin in working at wineries in Central Otago, New Zealand, and Tasmania, Australia to help refine his wine knowledge and gain experience. While things slow down at other wineries, we’re busy with research projects and cider and beer,” he said.

NCTW has been an active participant in the Canadian Oak Project, which is evaluating the use of Canadian oak wine barrels, and comparing the results with American and French oak. “Canadian oak tends to be a bit robust in terms of taste profile. It has a very fine grain and needs a decently ripe fruit to stand up to it. It really showcases the cooperage”.

Just wait til you try the 2011 Dean’s List Pinot Noir in your Savvy Selections  – it is a fantastic example of Canadian oak-aged wine.

International Impact

Asked what he takes the most pride in, Gavin immediately returns to talking about his students. “You can walk into virtually any winery in Ontario and many in Nova Scotia and British Columbia that have our grads in them. NCTW graduates are working in Portugal, France, even the South of England. “This little school in southern Ontario is having a big impact internationally”, Gavin explained.  “Recently, the goal is to involve the students in the vineyard more. The winemaking is the more romantic side but it’s important to have truly skilled labour in the vineyard. We’ve advanced in terms of science and technology and it’s important that we extend that to the vineyard.

“Any winemaker will tell you that good wine is made in the vineyard. It’s great to be involved in the thirty-three acres we have on the college grounds. “

Here’s to the many hands involved in learning to make great Canadian wines like the ones you have in your Savvy Selections.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Let’s get tasting! We picked a sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method along with two absolutely stunning red wines from the excellent 2011 vintage. The reds were released just this year, so they’ve had lots of time to mellow and age. Just make sure you drink them soon!

BalaNCe Brut VQA Niagara Peninsula $24

Made in the Traditional Method (second fermentation occurs in the bottle as done with making French Champagne), this lovely Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend  is the perfect accompaniment to a celebration or first course, or just for lovers of good sparkling wine. Notice the label has accentuated the NC in the word Balance…as in Niagara College.  Clever isn’t it?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The wine offers a good, fine mousse. It has striking lemon, peach, and wet stone notes, and we detected grapefruit, mint, and apricot on the finish. It’s very dry but very delicate.  An absolute delight!

Suggested Food Pairings: BalaNCe Brut will go well with any of the usual Champagne pairings, such as oysters, lobster, or other seafood. But we think it will work beautifully with a Niagara peach, arugula & prosciutto pizza (recipe below) – oh my!

Cellaring:  Drink at 7-9ºC. Can be cellared for up to a year.

 

Dean’s List Pinot Noir (Canadian Oak Project) VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 2011 $20

We love the fun report card labels on the Dean’s List wines! These premium wines include notes by famed Canadian wine writer Tony Aspler, who tasted the wine when it was still in the barrel. his report card reveals his tasting notes back then….compare to our notes your impressions to see & taste how aging has changed the wine since Tony first tasted it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “Absolutely Stunning!” said Debbie. We are confident you will same the same thing. A tawny red, it’s load with flavour: sour cherry, cedar, spice, leather, cigar, and blackberries. The tannins are moderately high – more so than we’ve ever tasted from an Ontario wine – and it’s a big, bold wine that’s ready for food.

Suggested Food Pairings: This wine has so much flavour, it can easily stand up to big red meats. How about grilled lamb chops (recipe below)?

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, and don’t try to hold it for more than 12 months. Serve between 11-14ºC.

 

Dean’s List Meritage VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 2011 $25

Winespeak: Did you know that the wine term “Meritage” is a portmanteau of the words “merit” and “heritage? The word is an American invention, to provide a term that reflects blends similar to those in Bordeaux. It’s pronounced the American way, rhyming with “heritage”.

 A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot & 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, we loved this full-bodied, food-friendly, beautifully rich wine. And we loved it’s low price even more. This is a steal – after you taste this wine & you want more bottles…call us to arrange additional bottles for you!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Loads of dark fruit, black pepper, plum, raspberry, and earthy notes balance the high (13.5 per cent by volume) alcohol. It’s velvety smooth, juicy, with soft, warm tannins. The flavours reflect the nose, and add in some fantastic cigar box and black olive notes.

Suggested Food Pairings: We see this with a rich Autumn stew, such as a French hunters’ stew (recipe below).

Cellaring: At its peak right now, we recommend drinking it within two years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With NCTW BalaNCe Brut…

Peach & chevre pizza with arugula & prosciutto

Serves: 2 medium-sized pizzas
Recipe & Photo credits: Five and Spice
Originally adapted from Shutterbean

Ingredients

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1⅓ cup warm water (just gently warm to the touch, not hot)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cups bread flour
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 peaches, pitted and cut into eighths
8 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups arugula
slices of prosciutto – as much as you like!
sea salt

Method

Make the pizza dough early in the morning of the day you want to eat the pizza. Or make it the night before. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer with a bread hook (or in a large mixing bowl, if you’re going to knead by hand). Let it sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast has started to become foamy.

Add 3 cups of the flour, stir until it’s just sort of mixed together, then let it sit for 10-20 minutes to autolyse (this step is optional, but it helps develop the gluten). Next, add the salt and the olive oil and start the mixer stirring on low speed (or squeeze the olive oil and salt in using your hands, until worked into the dough). Knead the dough with the bread hook, or by hand on a lightly floured surface, for 5 minutes. Add just enough extra flour so that the texture of the dough is lightly tacky, but not completely sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, put in the fridge and let rise for 8-12 hours. It should double or even triple in size.

When ready to bake the pizza, heat your oven to 500F, preferably with a pizza stone in it if you have one. Take out your pizza dough and divide it in half. On a well floured surface, stretch each half of the dough into an approximately 12-inch circle (or rectangle, as the case may be), then let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, toss the sliced red onion with the balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes to lightly pickle the onions. Then, gently stir in the peach slices.

When the dough has finished resting, stretch each half further into a circle as thin as you can make it without breaking the dough – if the dough does tear, just press it back together.

Transfer each stretched piece of dough to a parchment lined baking sheet or a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.

Top each of the pizzas with half of the peaches and onions, making sure to leave the remaining balsamic vinegar in the bowl because you’re going to toss the arugula in there. Break the chevre into small chunks and scatter half of it evenly over each of the pizzas. Sprinkle the pizzas well with sea salt.

Bake each pizza one at a time, either directly on the pizza stone or on the baking sheet you have it on, in the hot oven until the crust is nice and golden brown (mine took only about 8 minutes, but the time depends on how thin your dough winds up being). While the pizzas are baking toss the arugula & prosciutto with the remaining vinegar and the 1 Tbs. olive oil plus a pinch of salt. After each pizza comes out of the oven, top it with half of the arugula. The arugula should wilt a bit with the heat.

Let the pizzas cool at least 5 minutes before slicing, then slice and serve.

 

With NCTW Dean’s List Pinot Noir …

Grilled Lamb Chops

Recipe and photo: FoodNetwork.com
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick

Method

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

 

With NCTW Dean’s List Meritage…

Beef Chasseur

Recipe & Photo credit: Food.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves, crushed, divided
1 1⁄2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 (8 ounce) filet mignon steaks, 1-inch thick
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
2 Tablespoons brandy
1⁄2lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
3⁄4 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1⁄2 cup beef broth
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons currant jelly

 

Method

Combine half the garlic, the seasoned salt, and the pepper. Pat the meat dry and rub with the garlic mixture.

Sear the steaks in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of the butter until brown on the outside with the center raw. Arrange the steaks in a 13 X 9 inch baking dish.

Pour the brandy into the skillet and stir over moderate heat, scraping up the brown bits. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and reduce heat to low. Stir in the tomato paste and remaining garlic.

Remove from the heat; whisk in the wine, chicken broth, beef broth, and water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by a third.

Add Worcestershire and currant jelly. Adjust seasonings to taste and thin the sauce to a coating consistency.

Cool and pour over steaks. (At this point steaks may be covered and refrigerated overnight. Allow them to come to room temperature before cooking.).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the filets, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes for rare, 20-25 for medium to medium-well.

 

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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Daniel Lenko boasts Canada’s oldest Chardonnay & Merlot vines

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Daniel Lenko Estate Winery
–  August 2013 –

 

A visit to Daniel Lenko Estate Winery is like a casual stroll over to your neighbour’s house, where you sit down at the kitchen table for a chat over a cup of coffee, tea or in this case, a glass of wine! Our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins visited the winery to meet Daniel Lenko & hear the wonderful story of this boutique winery.

Daniel’s story

This is the tale of a Ukrainian family that emigrated to Manitoba in 1934 and established themselves as farmers, then moved to the Niagara Peninsula in 1947. Daniel`s family story began when his grandparents came to a wedding in Ontario and after one look at the fall colours, the flowers and the peach trees, his grandmother said “That’s it!! We’ve already had snow on the ground back home in Manitoba. I want to move here.” And so they did, purchasing property in Niagara where they established themselves as farmers growing tree fruit and some of the first grape vines in the region. And that’s how his family ended up on the Beamsville Bench.

Vines over 50 years old!

By 1959, Bill Lenko, Daniel’s father, was planting his first vitis vinifera vines, which provided the Chardonnay grapes for the wine included in your Savvy Selections. In the 1960s, he ripped out all his non-vinifera vines (winespeak: hybrid grapes) to make way for Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and other sought-after varieties. He continued to cultivate fruit trees until 1985, while selling his grapes to some of the best-known wineries in the area. 

Bill was honored Grape King in 1990 – a highly acclaimed award of top viticulturalists in Ontario. And in 2006, Bill was honoured with the Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence, the first grape grower to receive this recognition. A few years ago, Bill passed away at the age of 85. While he was a hard working farmer and a hands-on man, his son Daniel carries on the Lenko tradition in a similar manner. Like father like son. 

With this Savvy Selections arriving in the midst of summer, our Team of Accredited Sommeliers purposely chose wines that you can enjoy from  your deck chair or serve with anything off the BBQ. Daniel Lenko wines are available only from the winery, generally by the case (12 bottles), or at select restaurants. We are delighted to feature the wines this month to give you the unique opportunity to purchase these limited production wines by the bottle. 

In your Savvy Selections. you will find:

White Cabernet VQA 2011 – very aromatic and crisp Rosé wine – like you have never had before!

Old Vines Chardonnay VQA 2010 – a classic, finely-balanced Chardonnay barrel aged in French oak

Old Vines Merlot 2008 – a BIG fruit filled red wine. 

OPTIONAL WINES: There were many wines that impressed our Sommeliers. We also offered the 2008 Gewürztraminer for its satiny texture and medley of tropical fruits, and the 2009 White Merlot, which offers a crowd-pleasing balance of sweet fruit and fresh acidity. These optional wines are still available to you – just let me know & I will make the arrangements.  Don’t wait long as Daniel Lenko wines sell out quickly. 

These are hard to find wines!

Daniel Lenko wines quickly sell out at the winery and rarely you will find them at the LCBO.  Once you have been wowed by this month’s Savvy Selections & you would like additional bottles of your new favourite, let me know & I will arrange a special delivery for you.  Simply email me or call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing… 

Daniel Lenko Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins 

As I sat tasting wines in the Lenko family farmhouse kitchen, Daniel made suggestions of what I should taste in the wines, his intense pride in his wines an almost palpable presence. He’s particularly proud to have the oldest Chardonnay and Merlot vines in Canada.  The Chardonnay was planted by his father in 1959 followed by the Merlot vines in 1974. 

Daniel grew up on the family farm, where the work ethic is strong and the passion for the land is high. What drew his grandparents to Niagara wasn’t just the more temperate weather, it was the opportunity to grow fruit. His grandparents were very excited about growing peaches. Around the kitchen table, Daniel shared stories about his grandparent’s move to Ontario: “When my grandfather told his friends he was selling his two large farms out in Manitoba, they told him he was crazy to leave. His response was that when they move to Ontario, they would have a paved road in front of their house.” And so it was and ever since then, the Niagara area has flourished, while on the other hand, the small town in Manitoba they left, has unfortunately not seen the same success. 

It started with Concord grapes, then Chardonnay

The Lenko family farm produced 50% soft fruit and 50% grapes, including table grapes such as Concord. Bill sold his grapes to the local processors and wineries of the time and eventually developed a relationship with the field manager at one of the wineries. This fellow suggested planting the experimental French vines (the Chardonnay), and committed that his winery would always buy them. So with this hand shake, Bill immediately planted five acres and the following year, another five. 

As the fruit industry became less financially viable and the demand for high quality wine grapes grew, the Lenko family had a major decision to make. In 1985, Bill Lenko (right) tore out all his tree fruit and planted more vines – this time all vitis vinifera varieties – such as Merlot & Chardonnay.  

The notion of a winery was in the back of Bill’s mind, but it was Daniel, the third generation grape grower, who realized that vision in 1999 with the opening of Daniel Lenko Estate Winery.  Daniel has lived on the farm most of his life. He worked as a mechanic for a while and has a large investment in machinery on the farm, for his own use and for his business, which includes installing drainage systems for other wineries. 

“My dad wasn’t too keen on turning over his farm to me” Daniel explained, “but I’m the oldest son, and all my brothers and sisters have followed other careers. I had a fairly major car accident that really gave my folks at jolt. Right after that, my parents said ‘We’re selling you the farm’. And that same year, I opened the winery.” 

No turning back…

Daniel’s efforts were rewarded with a Gold Medal at the Cuvée Wine Awards for his 1999 Old Vines Merlot. Then in 2002, following in his father’s footsteps, Daniel was named Grape King. 

What is his greatest achievement? “In 2006, Jancis Robinson (highly acclaimed international wine critic from England) blind tasted about 300 Canadian wines at George Brown College. She named our 2002 Syrah as the best red wine in Canada.” 

Small, but making a big impression

The winery operates on a small scale, each year producing about 3500 cases of wine from estate-grown fruit, grown by Daniel and his vineyard manager, Abraham Fehr – everything is bottled on site. When Daniel first opened the winery, he consulted with Jim Warren (renowned amateur and professional winemaker who co-founded Stoney Ridge Winery and was instrumental in initiating the winemaking program at Niagara College). Jim advised Daniel that ‘if you have good grapes, then you have at least a good chance of making good wine.’ Daniel has taken this to heart, focusing on viticultural management, low yields and a winemaking approach that lets the fruit quality shine through. 

“I’ve made 10-12 wines over the last 15 years. In some cases, the first attempt produced the results we wanted, in others we needed to experiment a bit, develop the process to create the style we were looking for. We’re artists, building a unique business that has value to it.”  Daniel is in and out of the tasting room on the weekends, chatting up customers while during the week, he’s managing the farm and his construction business. But at harvest time, he’s 100% dedicated to the vines and the wine: “You’re watching the pot all the time when you’re making wine.” 

Daniel is the now the primary winemaker with a winemaking consultant at his side.  As he says “from vine to glass, you know, when you uncork a bottle of Daniel Lenko wine, I’ve touched that bottle many times!” 

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
 

 

Daniel Lenko White Cabernet 2011 VQA $23.15

“This is what we should do with our Cabernet in Niagara” says Daniel. Cold-fermented for 4 weeks, the wine is treated like a white to retain the wonderfully pure fruit flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: An elegant, dry, medium-bodied salmon-hued wine, this is crisp and juicy with hints of dried herbs and flavours of cherries and berries. Smooth and silky, it finishes dry and tangy.   .

Suggested Food Pairing: Rosé wines are remarkably versatile, pairing with light meats, salads, charcuteries and cheese. Try this one with our beef & strawberry salad – recipe follows.

Cellaring:  Enjoy it now!


Daniel Lenko ‘Old Vines’ Chardonnay VQA $30.15 

And we mean old – the first vines were planted by Daniel’s father Bill in 1959. The vines were cropped back to 2 tonnes per acre to ensure highest quality fruit.  The wine was aged in French oak for 18 months. Stunning!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry, medium-full bodied and beautifully balanced, this wine offers subtle alluring nutty aromas, notes of pear, ripe apple, vanilla and butter pastry. It’s warm, round and lush with a lovely toasty finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: An ideal match for seafood, pork or chicken.

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


Daniel Lenko ‘Old Vines’ Merlot 2008 VQA $30.15

From the cloudy, wet 2008 vintage, Daniel has managed to create an intensely flavourful wine. The vines are almost 40 years old, also cropped to 2 tons/acre, hand harvested and aged 12 months in French oak.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Ruby red, this is a tasty, dry mid-weight wine with loads of flavour. Black cherry, ripe red berries, vanilla, and hints of pepper, toast and dark chocolate mingle on the palate. It’s well structured with fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity pacing the ripe fruit. It finishes dry, toasty and fruit-filled.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with grilled meat, sausages or try your hand at our rib recipe on the following pages.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, it will cellar a further 2 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Daniel Lenko White Cabernet…

Teriyaki Steak & Berries

Foodland Ontario
Serves 4

 

Ingredients 

Dressing

3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

2 tsp each finely minced ginger & liquid honey
Freshly ground black pepper 

Salad

12 oz. top sirloin grilling steak
4 C torn spinach leaves
4 C torn romaine leaves
3 C halved strawberries
2 C sliced brown mushrooms
2 green onions, diagonally sliced
4 tsp toasted sesame seeds 


Method

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together dressing ingredients.

Sprinkle both sides of steak with pepper to taste. Place on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid & grill for about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare or until desired doneness. 

Let stand for 5 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain. 

In large bowl, combine spinach, romaine, strawberries, mushrooms & green onions. 

Set aside 2 Tbsp of dressing; toss salad with remaining dressing. Arrange on platter or salad plates; toss with beef, drizzle with reserved dressing; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

With Daniel Lenko Old Vines Chardonnay

Steamed Lobster Tails

www.allrecipes.com
Serves 4

When the Savvy Selections tasting panel tried this wine, we all thought immediately that it would be perfectly paired with lobster.  Whether you cook the lobster yourself – whichever way you prefer – or use already steamed lobster tails, this wine will be delicious. 

Ingredients

1 Tbsp sea salt
4 (or more!) lobster tails
Butter & lemon juice to taste 

Method

Using kitchen shears, cut the lobster shell (only the shell) down the middle to the tail. Pull the shell up and away from the flesh.

Pour about 1” of water in a large pot & bring it to a boil.
Add the salt & place a steamer insert into the pot so it is just above the water level.
Put the lobster tails on the rack and cover the pot. Steam for 8-10 minutes, until the flesh is opaque.
Melt butter & squeeze in lemon. 

With Daniel Lenko Old Vines Merlot…

Baked Ribs with Whitehouse Sauce

Adapted from the White House Restaurant recipe, Winnipeg
Serves 6

From: ‘Flower of the Flames’ Rub
K. Putnam, Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food 

Ingredients

Rub

½ C sweet Hungarian paprika
3/8 C fine kosher or sea salt
¼ C freshly ground black pepper
¼ C chili powder
¼ C ground cumin
¼ packed brown sugar
¼ C garlic powder
1/8 C granulated sugar
1/8 C ground celery seed (optional)
1 Tbsp ground oregano 

Ingredients

Rib sauce

1 C tomato ketchup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt (optional)
¾ C brown sugar
½ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp cayenne
½ Tbsp chili powder

Method
Remove membranes from 2 racks baby back ribs. Cut the racks to fit a high-sided pan.

Mix all spices in the rub into a bowl.  Using as much of the mixture that you like, generously coat & rub both sides of the racks. Any remaining rub mix can be stored in a jar in the fridge.  Set ribs aside to tenderize for up to 1 hour. 

To prepare the sauce, whisk all ingredients in a small sauce pan & bring to a boil. Cover & simmer gently about 20 minutes. Cool. 

Preheat oven to 375F. Place ribs in the pan, in a single layer if possible. If not, overlap slightly. Cover tightly with aluminum foil & bake ribs 90 minutes in pre-heated oven. Allow the ribs to cool slightly, still covered. Cover the cooked ribs generously with the sauce. Ribs may be covered & refrigerated until ready to BBQ.

Barbeque the ribs on low heat, brushing generously with the sauce on both sides, for about 15 minutes, or until the ribs have a nicely-browned coating of sauce. Alternately, the ribs can be cooked under the broiler in the oven – watch carefully!

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Order the best wines from Niagara-on-the-Lake

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
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Another SOLD OUT Savvy Event!

Back by popular demand, One Unforgettable Taste & Buy provided the opportunity for guests to order any combination of their favorite wines.  The featured wines are not available at the LCBO or Vintages.  As an extra bonus, free shipping by courier will be offered for orders of 12 bottles or more.  This is a perfect opportunity to stock up for summer entertaining.

Go to our Facebook page to see some photos of the event.

While the event is over for another year – don`t despair! Anyone can still order Niagara-on-the-Lake wines online using a new service we have created – Savvy Sip & Shop. 

Click here order Niagara-on-the-Lake wines! 

It is that easy to have your favorite Niagara-on-the-Lake wines delivered – within a week.


One Unforgettable Taste & Buy is about tasting, discovering & ordering …  

Have a look below at the large selection of outstanding wines that will be uncorked to enjoy.  None of these wines are available at the LCBO.

Exclusive at this event – You can order ANY combination of outstanding wines from ANY of the featured wineries & they will be delivered by courier to your home or office. Free shipping on all orders of 12 bottles or more!  Now you can order your ANY of these wines online  

Featured wineries & wines:

Between The Lines Estate Winery

2011 Gewürztraminer $14.95

2011 Cabernet Franc $15.95

 

Cattail Creek Estate Winery

2012 Simply Stainless Chardonnay Estate $16.95

2010 Pinot Noir Estate $18.95

 

Château des Charmes

2010 Chardonnay Musqué Estate Bottled $16.95

2010 Gamay “Droit” St. David’s Bench $14.95

 

Coyote’s Run Estate Winery

2011 Red Paw Pinot Gris $17.95

2011 Red Paw Pinot Noir $19.95

 

Diamond Estates Winery

2012 Lakewiew Cellars Syrah Rosé Reserve $16.95

2010 Lakeview Cellars Baco Noir Reserve $19.95

 

Hinterbrook Winery

2011 Riesling $18.00

2011 Rosé $16.00

 

Inniskillin

2012 Discovery Series P3 $19.95

2011 Merlot Reserve $22.95

 

Jackson-Triggs Winery

2012 Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc $19.95

2010 Grand Reserve Shiraz $19.95

 

Joseph’s Estate Wines

2010 Pinot Gris $13.95

2009 Baco Merlot $10.95

 

Konzelmann Estate Winery

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $12.75

2012 Shira$12.75

 

Lailey Vineyard

2012 Chardonnay Unoaked $15.00

2011 Pinot Noir 3.7 $30.00

 

Niagara College Teaching Winery

2010 Dean’s List Chardonnay $27.95

Pinot Noir Balaance $18.95

 

Palatine Hills Estate Winery

2011 Riesling $12.85

2010 Cabernet Franc Neufeld Vineyard $19.95

 

Peller Estates

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Private Reserve $18.95

2011 Cabernet Franc Private Reserve $21.95

 

Pillitteri Estates Winery

2011 Chardonnay Barrel Fermented $15.00

2011 Dry Rosé $15.00

 

Pondview Estate Winery

2011 Riesling $16.00

2011 Chardonnay Barrel Fermented $25.00

 

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

2011 Chardonnay Estate $24.00

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate $39.00

 

Reif Estate Winery

2012 Fortune Cabernet Rosé $12.95

2011 The Magician Pinot Noir/Shiraz $19.95

 

Riverview Cellars Winery

2012 Sauvignon Blanc $16.95

2011 Salvatores Malbec Reserve $29.95

 

Small Talk Vineyards

2011 Sauvignon Blanc $14.95

RSVP White Blend $14.95

 

Southbrook Vineyards

2012 Triomphe Chardonnay $21.95

2008 Triomphe Cabernet Merlot $23.95

 

Stratus Vineyards 

2012 Wild Ass Rosé $19.95

2009 Tollgate Fumé Blanc $24.95

 

Strewn Winery

2012 Fumé Blanc Terroir $18.95

2011 Meritage Canadian Oak $18.95

 

Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery

Burgundy Plum $23.95

Chocolate Embrace (375 mL) $24.95

 

Trius Winery at Hillebrand

2012 Riesling Ghost Creek Vineyard $25.00

2012 Trius Rosé $15.75

 

One Unforgettable Taste & Buy – details

DATE: Tuesday May 28, 2013
EVENT STARTS: 7pm
EVENT ENDS: 9pm
LOCATION: The NEW Agriculture & Food Museum, 361 Prince of Wales Drive, located on the Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa

 

Buy your tickets >>

Can’t make it but want to order wines?

No problem! Simply call our Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) to make the arrangements for you.  Place your order before June 1st and you can take advantage of the free shipping offer on a case of wine.

We look forward to seeing you at One Unforgettable Taste & Buy.
Everyone is welcome to join us!

 

Contact Savvy Company for more information about other Savvy Events
www.savvycompany.ca
613.SAVVYCO
613.728.8926
Cheers!


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School never tasted this good!

Posted by Derek

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Niagara College Teaching Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep
 

My comments may have been lighthearted in past editions of the Savvy e-Zine, yet frankly, the truth is that selecting the wines to be featured in the Savvy Selections is a job that the Savvy Team of Sommeliers take very seriously.  The featured winery usually provides a choice of six or seven wines.  From there, our goal is to choose the best three wines that are sent to all of our subscribers across Ontario.  On some occasions, the range of wines are so impressive that it is hard to decide on just three wines.  Instead of settling the dispute over a good old fashioned arm wrestling competition, we let you make the decision by suggesting a fourth wine as an available option to add to your monthly delivery of wine.  November is definitely a different story.

 

 

 

This month Savvy Selections features wines from the Niagara College Teaching Winery.  The professional winemaking school opened its doors in 2000 and from this point onwards, the wine industry of Ontario took a quantum leap forward.  Steve Gill, the General Manager of the Winery and Viticulture program at Niagara provided us a selection of nine wines to sample. Selecting three wines from six is challenging enough, but selecting three wines to feature from nine was next to impossible (wink, wink).  Much discussion was had and the arm wrestle decision making technique was considered!

 

We are delighted to introduce you the following wines in your Savvy Selections:

·         Unoaked Chardonnay VQA 2009

·         Meritage VQA 2005

·         Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2007

 

We couldn’t stop there. The wines crafted by the students were simply remarkable. A+ in fact. The wines were certainly more than a class project. When I emailed you to see if you would like optional wines added to your delivery, I was overwhelmed with the positive response. If after reading this Savvy eZine you would like more of these great (and hard to find wines), simply email or call me to make the arrangements for a delivery. The optional wines included:

·         Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2006

·         Meritage VQA 2007

·         Savant Ice Wine VQA 2007

 

This month is unique in that we are able to offer two mini verticals (winespeak: two wines of the same variety from different years). Sampling the Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 & 2007 side by side will give you a taste of how the difference in weather during the growing season impacts the final product. Sampling the Meritage 2005 & 2007 at the same time will give you an idea of how the blend evolves as it ages. In the following pages, Derek spends some time describing vintage variation to further your enjoyment (and knowledge!).

 

If you are curious about the concept of vintage variation and did not order the optional 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon feel free to contact me so that I can arrange to have a bottle (or two) shipped to you or any of the other Savvy Selections featured wines for that matter.    

 

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 


Introducing…

Niagara College Teaching Winery

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

 

When I finished high school, pursuing an education in the field of viticulture and winemaking was just not possible and pursing a career in that very field would have been out of the question.  In the famous words of Bob Dylan, “The Times they are a-Changin”. 

At Niagara College, Steve Gill is the main man on campus. He is the General Manager of Wine Operations at the College’s Teaching Winery.  I spent a few hours with him earlier this month to learn about the program and what the courses entail. 

A very cool school
The Niagara College program is dedicated to teaching the real life skills and developing the skills required to produce premium wine.  In addition, the program teaches its students the business side of the wine industry. 

The Teaching Winery is a state of the art and fully operational winery within Niagara College, but I found out that it was not always that way.  When it first began in 2000, the students would visit wineries throughout the Niagara Region in order to attain the required hands-on experience.  To strengthen the program, the College applied for and was granted a winery license by the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission.  By having its own winery on premise the students now have direct and convenient access to a functional winery.

At anytime there are 55 to 60 students enrolled.  When the winery opened the College had 5 acres under vine.  In a few short years its vineyard has expanded to 38 acres, planted primarily with Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay vines.

Vintage Variation
Aside from the wine, one of the many benefits of belonging to the Savvy Selection club is the monthly Savvy eZine. One of my goals in writing these eZines is to provide you with insight & knowledge about selected wine.  November is an ‘educational’ treat in that two wine varietals are available that showcase the concept of vintage variation.  

In the wine world, Ontario is considered to have a marginal climate.  What does this mean?  Well, unlike California or Australia where the climate is consistent year over year, the growing climate in Ontario is relatively unstable as it is prone to significant climactic changes.  For example, in some years, an early frost can significantly damage the crop, whereas, in other years frost does not rear its cold ugly head.  These climatic swings will produce variations in the fruit both in quantity and quality.  This difference in the fruit will in turn produce noticeable differences in the final wine.  The term used to describe the changes in wine as a result of changes in the climate is known as vintage variation.  

The wines that display these climatic variations are the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and the optional 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines were harvested at roughly the same time and both wines were crafted in the exact same manner. Both wines were also aged in a combination of American and French oak for approximately the same period of time.  The only variation is the climate that the vines were exposed to.

2006 was a wet, relatively cold year which lacked a great deal of sun.  When these types of conditions occur the fruit (i.e. the grapes) are not able to achieve an ideal level of ripeness.  This is evident on both the nose as well as the palate as the wines will tend to be more herbaceous or earthy in nature.

2007 on the other hand was a fantastic year.  There was a great deal of sun and heat and just the correct amount of rain.  When these climatic conditions occur the berries tend to produce a wine that is fuller in body and more fruit forward in nature. 

If you don’t believe me, taste the differences between the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines are well made, however it is just personal preference as to the style you prefer.  Which camp do you fall into?  The earthy herbaceous style or the fruit forward full body style? 

Cheers!

 

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Unoaked Chardonnay VQA 2009, $14.95
The temperatures in 2009 were cooler resulting in a wine that is fresh and slightly herbaceous.  The 2009 vintages was estate grown as all of the fruit came from St. David’s Bench, a vineyard located on the grounds of the College.  This is the first wine produced by the College that has a Stelvin enclosure (winespeak: screwcap).

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This wine is polished pale yellow in colour.  The nose has intense aromas of citrus, green apple and cut grass which carry through to the palate.  This medium-bodied dry wine has great acidity with a relatively short citrus finish.  As a result of the acidity and fresh flavours this wine could easily be mistaken for a Sauvignon Blanc.  The price of $14.95 is also impressive.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Seafood risotto or poached salmon are potential pairing partners with this wine.  The tasting panel is recommending seared chicken and green beans amandine, which accompanies this e-Zine.

Cellaring: In general white wines are not intended to be aged.  For the 2009 vintage we recommend keeping this for 12 to 18 months.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2007, $18.95

2007 was a hot year with near draught conditions.  These factors will naturally ‘stress’ the vine.  As a result, the vine will produce berries with a greater concentration of sugars and acids. Better berries will help the winemaker in creating a wine that is richer and more-full bodied. 

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of fruit cake and cocoa; accented with herbaceous notes of bell pepper, tobacco leaf and pencil shavings.  On the palate the wine is very fruit forward with flavours of black berry and plum.  The acidity, concentration of fruit flavours and length of finish make this a quality wine at a very affordable price.

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  Grilled bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin or pasta with bolognaises sauce would work well with this wine.  For something different but easy to prepare the tasting panel is recommending Moroccan Spice Beef prepared in a slow cooker – the recipe is on the following pages.

 

Cellaring: This Cabernet Sauvignon is drinking now or if you so desire you could cellar it for 2 to 5 years.

Meritage VQA 2005 $32.95 (special price for Savvy Selections subscribers.  Regular $39.95)
In keeping with other Meritage (pronounced Merry-tage) wines this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.   

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The 2005 Meritage is dark ruby red with a complex nose of dark fruit, dark chocolate and  to the palate as you experience black current, cedar and pepper notes.  This medium-bodied dry wine has soft tannins and a noticeably long complex peppery finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Peppercorn steak or pork tenderloin with fruit chutney and fingerling potatoes would be a great match.  However, try the Beef & Pears recipe provided.  I especially like the fact that the dish is easy to prepare.  In addition to that the variety of flavours and textures nicely complements this wine.

Cellaring: The wine is already 5 years and as such we recommend either enjoying the wine now or if you wish it could cellar for another 3 years.


~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes for Optional Wines~Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2006, $15.95
The climatic conditions in 2006 were not stellar.  In fact, 2006 was a wet year that lacked sunshine and heat.  The resulting fruit tends to lead to wines that are earthy and more vegetal in nature.

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This ruby red wine falls on the herbaceous side of the aroma wheel with notes of bell pepper, leather and wet earth.  On the palate, there are noticeable flavours of cherry and plum along with cedar and leather.  The wine is dry with a medium tannic finish.  It is an excellent example of a Cabernet Sauvignon that is made in the Bordeaux style.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine would pair well with grilled red meats such as steak or lamb chops.

Cellaring: This wine could easily be cellared for another 4 years as the tannins do need some time to soften.

 

Meritage VQA 2007, $47.95
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Almost opaque Ruby red in colour.  It has a great nose of Christmas fruit cake, dark chocolate and stewed fruit with slight undertones of bell pepper.  On the palate it displays flavours of blackberry, dark cherry complemented with notes of smoke and cedar.  This is a full-bodied dry red wine.  The finish is long as the fruit flavours hang in there.

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  The complexity on the nose and palate along with the body of the wine transpire to make this a powerful wine.  We recommend a charcuterie platter of flavourful meats along with artisan cheeses.  For something different; gourmet burgers with blue cheese or feta would also be a great pairing.

 

Cellaring: This Meritage is drinking well now or it could be cellared for up to another 6 years.  

Dean’s List Savant Ice Wine 2008 VQA $69.95
This is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8 % Pinot Noir.  All of the grapes for this wine were harvest from the St. David’s Bench appellation which is part of the College’s campus; therefore the students had direct control over the management of the vineyard as well as the harvesting of the fruit that goes into this wine.    

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Amber in colour this 2008 ice wine displays aromas of lychee, peach cobbler and honey.  The aromas on the nose come through on the palate as you will taste honey and peach as well as hints of strawberry.  The wine is well balanced with a long sweet finish held together with mouth-watering acidity. On our first sip, everyone on the Savvy Selections tasting panel was speechless.  Someone broke the silence with the comment, “OMG this is YUMMMMMMMY”.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine is absolutely stunning on its own.  Alternatively, it would be a great accompaniment to a selection of artisan cheeses from Ontario.

Cellaring: This would make wine can be enjoyed now.  As a result of the fruit and acidity in the wine it can easily cellar for 3 to 5 years.

 

~ Recipes to Enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Niagara College Unoaked Chardonnay…

Seared Chicken and Green Beans Amandine
From LCBO Food & Drink Magazine, Holiday 2007

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

½ lemon

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

¾ lb (375g) thin fresh green beans

3 large plum tomatoes

4 oz (125 g) bacon or 4 to 6 slices

½ cup (125 g) slices or slivered almonds, divided

1 tbsp (15 mL) all purpose flour

½ cup (125 mL) chicken broth

½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine

½ tsp (2 mL) pepper

½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream

¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley

Method

1.    Place chicken pieces between plastic wrap; flatten to ¾ – inch (2-cm) thickness using the flat side of a meat pounder or rolling pin.  Arrange in a single layer in a glass 9 x 13 inch (3-L) dish; sprinkle both sides with salt. Zest and juice lemon; sprinkle zest over chicken.  Whisk oil with squeezed juice; pour over chicken.  Let stand at 30 minutes at room temperature, turning once or twice.  (If making ahead cover and refrigerate for up to half a day.)

 

2.    Remove stems from green beans; cut tomatoes lengthwise, seed and dice.  Add 1 inch (2.5 cm) water to a medium saucepan or steamer; place over low heat.  Cut bacon crosswise into ¼-inch (5-mm) slices.  Have all ingredients ready before next step as this is a la minute cooking.

 

3.    Place almonds in a dry large frying pan over medium heat; shake frequently for 3 to 4 minutes or until almonds are golden.  Transfer to a bowl to cool; return frying pan to a heat.  Add bacon.  Fry for 5 to 8 minutes or until browned and crisp; remove bits for pan to a paper towel.  Do not drain fat from hot pan.

 

4.    Drain chicken and discard marinade.  Leaving all fat in pan, increase temperature to between medium and medium-high; add chicken.  Sauté 6 to 8 minutes per side or until golden and firm to touch.  Boil water in saucepan; boil or steam green beans for 4 to 5 minutes or until bright green and barely tender; drain and keep warm.  Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

 

5.    Drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fat in pan.  Add flour to fat in pan; stir to mix.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and white wine; when smooth and just bubbling, add tomatoes and bacon bits.  Cook 1 minute; stir in pepper, cream, half of toasted almonds and parsley.  Let bubble for a minute or 2 or until slightly thickened.  Taste and add pinches of salt if needed.

 

6.    Arrange chicken and beans on warm serving plates.  Nap with sauce and garnish with remaining almonds and additional chopped parsley.  Serve with basmati rice or mashed potatoes.

 

With Niagara College Cabernet Sauvignon…

Moroccan-Spiced Beef
From 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics 
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

2 lbs (1 kg) stewing beef, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes and patted dry

2 onions, chopped

4 large carrots peeled and chopped

4 large parsnips peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick piece

2 tbsp (30 mL) cumin seeds, toasted and ground

2 tsp (10 mL) coriander seeds, toasted and ground

2 tbsp (30 mL) all purpose flour

1 can (28 oz / 796 mL) tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste

1 cup beef stock

½ cup (120 mL) dry red wine

½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper

1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Method

1.  In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds.  Add beef, in batches, and cook, stirring, adding a bit more oil if necessary, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per batch.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

 

2.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add onions, carrots and parsnips to pan and cool, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and toasted seeds and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and red wine and bring to a boil, stirring.  Add salt to taste.

 

3.  Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.  Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until vegetables are tender.  Dissolve cayenne in lemon juice and stir into mixture.  Garnish liberally with parsley before serving.

 

4.  Service with couscous or brown rice.  

 

Note: This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked.  Complete Step 2, heating 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in pan before softening the vegetables.  Cover and refrigerate mixture overnight.  The next morning, brown beef (Step 1), or it you are pressed for time, omit this step and add meat directly to stoneware.  Continue cooking as directed in Step 3. 


 

With Niagara College Meritage…

Beef and Pears in Wine

From Company’s Coming Weekend Cooking,
Serves 4

 

Ingredients
1 to 1 ½ (450 – 680 g) beef tenderloin roast

2 tsp (10 mL) cooking oil
4 tsp (20 mL) cooking oil
4 tbsp (60 mL) finely chopped onion

2 cup (500 mL) dry red wine

4 tbsp (60 mL) red currant jelly

4 tsp (20 mL) Dijon mustard
2 firm medium pear, peeled, cored and quartered

 

Method

1.     Place roast on greased wire rack in small roasting pan.  Drizzle with first amount of cooking oil.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Cook uncovered, in 350°F (175°C) oven for 40 to 45 minutes until meat thermometer reads 140°F (60°C) for medium doneness or until desired doneness.  Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes.

 

2.     Heat second amount of cooking oil in medium saucepan on medium-low.  Add onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft.  Add wine, jelly and mustard.  Heat and stir on medium until jelly is liquid.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.

 

3.     Add pear to wine, jelly and mustard mixture.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pear is soft.  Remove pear and keep warm.

 

4.     Strain wine mixture.  Discard solids.  Return wine mixture to same saucepan.  Boil, uncovered, on medium-high for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.  Makes 1/3 cup (75 mL) sauce.  Drizzle sauce over sliced beef and pear on individual plates.

 

5.     Serve with seasonal vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes

 

 

 

 

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

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