Posts Tagged ‘Niagara Wine Route’

Tawse – Be Inspired!

Posted by Susan

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Tawse Winery

–  June 2015 –

In the 13 years since starting Savvy Company, I’ve met numerous fascinating people in the wine industry. Beyond their love of wine, the common thread is that everyone enters into the wine world from a different route. Each month we share these stories in the Savvy Selections eZine. The following pages hold tidbits that would start an interesting conversation at a cocktail party or around a dinner table.

My introduction to this month’s winery – Tawse Winery – would begin with the exciting news that they have been named ‘Canadian Winery of the Year’ by Canadian Wine Access Magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2012. And they are the only Ontario winery so far to achieve this acclaim.  The people that have built this reputation have interesting routes that make up the story that we are eager to share with you this month.  Naturally, Tawse’s beginning has not changed since we last featured the winery in 2011, yet the story of their growth and constant commitment to put Canada on the world wine map has evolved.

The story of Tawse Winery is all about a young man, Moray Tawse from Alberta, who worked at a resort where he ‘fell’ into the role of wine steward…and his route into the wine world.  Eventually in 1988, he co-founded (and continues today to lead) a financial services firm while dreaming of owning a vineyard in Burgundy, France. Luckily for the Canadian wine industry, fate kept this dream on Canadian soil.

Enamored with Burgundian wines, he was amazed by the outstanding Chardonnays made in Niagara (Sommelier tip: white Burgundy wine is 100% Chardonnay). After researching the Niagara wine scene, he purchased property in 2001 and his winery dream began to take shape.

Our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins has a keen personal interest in organic and biodynamic wineries. She naturally gravitated to the Tawse story.  With all of the intricacies of the subject of organic and biodynamic, we’re sharing with you her interview with the Tawse team from our 2011 issue of the Savvy eZine because no one can eloquently explain organic like Susan can! Pop open the Spark bubbly or crack open the seal on the wines in this month’s Savvy Selections & enjoy the wines while you read more about Tawse.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Limestone Ridge ‘Spark’ Riesling VQA 2013, $19.95 – Tawse’s signature sparkling wines – refreshing, dry bubbly that would is perfect enjoyed as you relax on your deck or your dock.

Quarry Road Vineyard Gewürztraminer VQA 2013, $24.95 – a BIG, beautiful, white wine loaded with concentrated aromas & flavours.  You’ll thank us for including this gem.

Gamay Noir VQA 2013, $18.95 – Medium bodied with warm smoke & red fruit flavours that would be perfect for simple BBQ fare like burgers, sausages & ribs.  At this price, they are giving this wine away!

All of the awards & recognition has drawn the attention of wine lovers like you & me to Tawse wines. At one time the price tags of their wines were untouchable (several wines still are!), yet recently, it appears that more of their wines are at an accessible price point.  We are confident that you’ll be impressed with this month’s selection.  At these prices, if you would like to stock up…simply give us a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to arrange a special delivery for you.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

Introducing….
Tawse Winery

 Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

To visit Tawse is to be inspired. Their uncompromising commitment to the vines, the grapes and the soil, respect for the environment and their stewardship of the land will be rewarded with the excellence of outstanding wines.

When Moray TawseMoray Tawse (in photo) purchased the estate in 2001, he obtained existing vineyards – some with vines planted in the 1970s and 1980s. As he built his new winery with the old vines, he selected sites that offered unique terroir, for instance the Quarry Road site which is at the top of the Niagara escarpment, where the limestone in very accessible and minerality shines through. (try the Gewürztraminer we included to find these minerality notes)

As he was building the winery, he called on renowned winemaker Deborah Paskus to lead the winemaking team because her Chardonnay single-handedly changed his mind about establishing a winery in France and lay down his roots in Niagara instead. Paul Pender, fresh from Niagara College’s Winery & Viticulture program, joined as assistant winemaker. When Deborah decided to move to Closson Chase Winery in Prince Edward County, Moray then called on his long-time friend, internationally renowned consulting winemaker Pascal Marchand to assist with the 2005 vintage. With the French influence & more experience under this belt, Paul soon took the helm and brought in Rene van Ede from Australia with a palate extraordinaire. Paul and Rene are still the dynamic winemaking team today and the industry recognized their talent in 2011 when Paul was named Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards.

Known for his ‘non-interventionist as far as possible’ approach to winemaking, Paul has overseen both Tawse’s organic and biodynamic certification processes. His is a steward, watching over the vines and grapes, ‘keeping them safe and then letting the wine express its sense of place’.

Moray repeatedly explains in media interviews that the vineyard location is critically important. He is proud of the terroir that he has as it is similar to the region of Burgundy, France…and is one of the reasons he believes to invest in vineyards in Niagara.

Growing a Biodynamic Business

The state-of-the-art building is nestled into the Beamsville Bench along the Niagara Escarpment, housing an impressive six-level gravity flow winemaking operation. Underground cellars maintain the ideal temperature and humidity for barrel aging, while minimizing its impact on the environment. The geo-thermal energy system has reduced consumption of traditional energy by 80%, and the wetland bio-filter system ensures that all sanitary and winery waste water is recycled.

Biodynamic farming – as we explained in last month’s Savvy eZine featuring Southbrook Vineyards, is referred to as “extreme organics” – is the practice of ever increasing ecological self-sufficiency on the property (similar to last month’s featured winery – Southbrook Vineyards). The Tawse estate is farmed organically with everything done by hand. Biodynamic farming and winemaking techniques have been implemented – Ecocert and Demeter seals appear on all Tawse wines made from biodynamically cultivated fruit (note the Gewürztraminer).

The biodynamic approach has the principal focus on treating the vineyard as an ecosystem where all the components are a self-contained integrated whole, dependent upon each other for long-term health and vitality. Those components include biodiversity, soil fertility, crop nutrition and disease/pest control.  As an example, hedgerows are planted to attract specific insects, while cover crops are planted in the vineyard to prevent erosion and compete with the vines for nutrients, driving the roots down into the mineral layers of the soil. Various farm animals roam through the vineyards to eat weeds or excess vine foliage, their manure providing natural enrichment for the soil. And periodically horses are used for harvest to minimize soil compaction.

In the winemaking process, the guiding principal is to celebrate the terroir. With the changing weather of each vintage, Paul spends much of his time in the vineyard monitoring the health and quality of the fruit, sugar and acidity levels. Flexibility and quick reaction time is required, given the unpredictable climate – but this is what makes each vintage unique. In addition to the gentle process ensured by the gravity-flow system, wild yeasts are used wherever possible, and the same type of oak is applied in aging wines so that the unique qualities of the vineyard come through. The Tawse winemaking staff rejoices in the nature of cool-climate wines: ‘We’re an acidity-friendly winery,” states Rene, the assistant winemaker. Their goal: to create elegant, bright, pure ‘old world’ style wines.

And Moray’s dream of making wine in Burgundy is now coming to fruition as his friend Pascal Marchand has begun to operate a cuverie (winespeak: vat room) and cellars in Nuits-St-Georges, France.

 

 

 ~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling VQA 2013, $19.9513_Spark_Limestone_Ridge_Riesling

Tawse was one of the first Ontario wineries to make a bubbly using Riesling grapes…and their sparkling wines grace many restaurant wine lists. Respecting the Riesling grape, Paul continues with his non-interventionist approach from hand harvesting the grapes to leaving the wine to create itself.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Zippy with notes & tastes of lime, white grapefruit, crab apple & minerality tied up with a brioche aroma (think raisin Danish pastry) makes this bone dry bubbly refreshing.  The persistent and elegant mousse makes you yearn for another sip…then another bottle!

Suggested Food Pairing: “All you need is a hot day”, remarked one of our Savvy Sommeliers.  Chilled down before popping the cork, this bubbly will be fantastic on its own, with summertime , sushi, oysters, lacey parmesan cheese crisps…or a picnic!

Cellaring: Pop the cork now or cellar for 2-3 years

 

13_QuarryRoad_Gewurz_LargeTawse Quarry Road Gewürztraminer VQA 2013, $24.95

We are excited to showcase this wine as not many wineries in Ontario grow Gewürz grapes nor make a good wine.  The vines are grown in an area where the soil is uniquely composed of both limestone & clay soils.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bursting from the glass with absolutely delicious and pretty aromas tropical fruits (think mango, guava, pineapple), white flowers and juicy apricots.  These continue in the taste with loads of pear, honey (or is it marmalade?) and smooth mouthfeel.

Suggested Food Pairing:  A dish with heat will be softened with this wine. Fish tacos, Phad Thai, or Indian red curry.

Cellaring: No need to wait – enjoy now

 


Tawse Gamay Noir VQA 2013
,
$18.9513_Tawse_Gamay_Noir

In its 3rd vintage & only 5000 bottles made, mark my word that this wine could be sold out by the time you want more! Perfect for summertime enjoyment as Gamay grapes produce a light to medium bodied wine ready to pair with anything off the grill or slipped into a picnic basket.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Fire engine red in colour, this warm red wine, ‘reminds me of roasted red peppers’, stated Debbie during the panel tasting. There is a race between the tannins & acidity as you swirl it in your mouth while tastes of cherry, pomegranate & smoke develop. A medium bodied red wine with a long delicious finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ! This is perfect with anything off the grill – vegetables, burgers, spicy sausages or saucy ribs. Rather than one BBQ recipe, we are giving you 10 rub recipes to try over the summer.

Cellaring: Enjoy now and stock up on several bottles…

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~


With Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling…

Rosemary & White Bean Dipwhite bean dip - serious eats
From Serious Eats
Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

1 (15 ½ ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Photo credit: Joshua Bousel, Serious Eats

Method

Place beans, garlic, and lemon juice in the work-bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until beans are roughly chopped

With motor running, slowly pour 1/4 cup of oil through feed tube. Process until mixture is smooth.

Transfer bean mixture to a small bowl. Stir in rosemary, lemon zest, and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Serve with Greek pita wedges or pita crisps.

 

With Tawse Gewürztraminer

Firecracker Shrimp & Mango Avocado Dip

From the kitchen of Debbie Trenholm

Serves 4 to 6

This was served at a cocktail party and after the first bite, it of those “I got to have this recipe” moments. The exotic ingredients playfully complement each other and Gewürztraminer wine will enhance the flavours this appetizer to rave reviews!

Firecracker Shrimp – Ingredients

Freshly ground black pepper
Sesame oil
Sambal sauce (a Thai/Vietnamese red chili sauce – sold in bottles)
Salt
Sugar

Method

Quickly cook shrimp in boiling water and then cool under running water.  Remove shells.

Toss with sesame oil, pepper, salt, a sprinkle of white sugar and Sambal.

Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Ingredients – Mango & Avocado Dip

1 ripe mango, peeled and roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
1-2 tablespoons of liquid honey
Juice of 3-4 limes
1 teaspoon salt

Method

 In food processor combine grated ginger (or chop knob of ginger in food processor first), mango, jalapeno, honey, avocado and lime juice.

Add vegetable oil and salt.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Chef Tip: Try to achieve a balance of ginger, acid (lime) and sweetness.

 

With Tawse Gamay Noir…

10 Top Rubs for BBQ-ingMemphis_style_Rib_Rub
www.aboutfood.com

Everybody has a favorite way to prepare meats for BBQing.  Many of these recipes aren’t written down, rather by feel. To break away from using your ‘tried and tested’ marinade or rub, in true Letterman style, here are the top 10 recipes that are consistently favorited on aboutfood.com’s web site:

  1. Kansas City Rub
  2. A Carolina BBQ Rub
  3. A Sparerib Rub
  4. Memphis Rub
  5. Best Odds Brisket Rub
  6. Magic Dust
  7. Memphis Style Rib Rub
  8. Basic Pork Rub
  9. Best Odds Pulled Pork Rub
  10. Brisket Brown Sugar Rub

Photo credit: Regarding BBQ Inc.

Check them out at http://bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/tp/aatp042607a.htm.
There is a recipe there for everyone!

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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Southbrook has a ‘Dynamic’ story!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Southbrook Vineyards

–  May 2015 –

I don’t know where to start… This month we are featuring Southbrook Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake & they have quite a story to tell. I’ll admit that I was first introduced to Southbrook with a sip of their Framboise raspberry wine. Fruit wine you say – yes!  As the expression goes…’you have come a long way baby!’ Southbrook is now less known for their fruit wine and they are more recognized for their commitment to biodynamic practices at every level in their business. They are also the only winery that we have featured in Savvy Selections who has appeared on Dragon’s Den….more about that on the following pages!

What is Biodynamic you ask?
“It’s extreme organics!” explains Southbrook’s winemaker Ann Sperling.  Her vineyard & winemaking Southbrook winery at nightteam creates wines that express the story both of the grapes & the ground that nourishes them.  Mark our words, with each sip of any wine from Southbrook, you’ll taste their commitment to the biodynamic grape growing & winemaking practices. “We want people to taste the purity in the wines we make,” explained owner Bill Redelmeier.

In your Savvy Selections parcel  you will find an amazing assortment from Southbrook:

Triomphe Chardonnay VQA 2013, $22.95 – an absolutely easy drinking Chardonnay with the refreshing fruit showing through interlaced with oak

Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2013, $21.95 – fire up the BBQ!

Whimsy! Married Young VQA 2009 – $34.95 – this 6 year old wine has aged at the winery & is now ready for you to enjoy.

This selection shows that organic does not need to be expensive.  Our Savvy Selections tasting panel were impressed with the quality & readiness of these wines.  No need to cellar or decant, just twist the cap or pull the cork to enjoy fine Ontario wine.  “I simply want people to say – these wines have character,” states Bill. Let us know what you think.

Read all about it in your Savvy eZine!
While you relax on your dock or deck chair waiting for your BBQ to warm up, flip through the following pages to learn more about biodynamic grape growing & winemaking (I promise not to get technical!), the winery’s fascinating architecture, our Savvy Sommeliers’ tasting notes & recipes provided from Southbrook’s kitchen.

Want more Southbrook wines?
You may have noticed a few Southbrook wines in the LCBO, yet there is so much more available through us or when you visit the winery.  To stock up on any of the Savvy Selections wines, simply call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to make a special delivery for you.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…
Southbrook Vineyards

Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

“I thinkBILL AND MARILYN of wine like a talking stick”, shares Bill (right in picture). “You buy the wine because there is a story that you are eager to share with friends.” Bill & I have known each other for many years, yet during our phone conversation we commented that most of the time spent together was seeing each other at wine shows, in meetings at the winery or when Bill flies in to participate in a Savvy Taste & Buy event.  “Let’s make a point to go out for beers next time we see each other”, we said in unison.  It is a well-known fact that the drink of choice by most in the wine industry is beer!

On Dragon’s Den…

After a few beers I will endeavor to real dirt about Bill’s experience on Dragon’s Den in 2012. He explained the audition process and how one hour of filming with 8 cameras was unnerving enough then boiled down into 5 quick minutes we see on TV.  “Over 9,000 people audition and 200 pitches were selected to go before the Dragons,” explains Bill. “I was really hoping that Arlene or Jim would say – I’m in!” While the winery was mentioned several times, Bill’s focus was on pitching Bioflavia –a health bioflaviaproduct used made from the dried and crushed skins of red grapes from their organic vineyards.  This ‘wine waste’ contains high levels of natural and powerful antioxidants.  Bioflavia can be added as an ingredient in smoothies, cooking or baking.  “With the snap of Jim’s fingers, the dough of every Boston Pizza made could be enriched with a teaspoon of our product.” What happened in the Den?  Click to watch the video>>

Biodynamics 101

Bill & Marilyn are the driving force behind the winery’s organic and biodynamic practices. They are the first to tell you that they are fundamentally agriculturalists. Bill explained that his grandfather had a Jersey dairy farm in Richmond Hill.  Growing up, he’d always been surrounded by farmers.  Initially, Bill wanted to start an ice cream company using the rich Jersey milk from his grandfather’s dairy.  grapesThe hurdle came when he discovered that his family’s milk could not be separated out from other Jersey farms – unlike a winery. Long story shortened, Bill shelved the ice cream idea and ventured into the winery business.  “I wanted people to taste the terroir – the exact place where the fruit was grown.”

“We were drawn to biodynamics as it is a way to fully express the vineyard’s character in our wines. I did not want to make low end wines. There is no appeal or talking stick in making 2 buck chuck!”

If biodynamic is a new wine term for you, Southbrook’s winemaker Ann Sperling, puts it simply: ‘extreme organics’.  Biodynamic agricultural promotes the ecological self-sufficiency and internal harmony of the land while taking into account the cycles of nature (ie. various stages of the moon) and there is a philosophical and spiritual aspect woven in too.

Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins (also a trained horticulturalist) explains more.  Growing practices are quite similar to organic agriculture, but a specific calendar is followed to help determine when activities such as pruning and fSouthbrook sorting grapesertilizing should be undertaken in the vineyards. In addition, a variety of treatments are applied to the soil, generally using ingredients that are derived from plants or animals that are integral to the property. Other approaches include planting cover crops between the vines that attract beneficial insects and using lambs to ‘mow’ these areas. Southbrook has 80-90 ewes in their herd.

Ann explained to Susan, “Biodynamics says the farm is an entire ‘living system’. The resulting practices are about quality – quality in the bottle and quality of life.”

Southbrook is the first biodynamic winery in Canada.  They keep company of other well-known wineries including Chapoutier and Domaine Leflaive of France. “Many of the wineries in the great wine regions of France are biodynamic”, Bill explains. “Like Southbrook, their wine labels do not herald their biodynamic certification.  You can tell just by the taste that the wine has soul.”

What is in Bill & Marilyn’s cellar?

There’s about 1800 – 2000 bottles mainly old Bordeaux, ports and Chardonnay. “Nothing fancy to look at but it is well organized with IKEA shelving and like most cellars, there are always cases of wine on the floor.”

 I’ll raise a glass to that! Enjoy your Savvy Selections.

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Since 2008, all of the yeast used in the winemaking process is natural yeast.  “We sold all of our commercial yeast and now use what is naturally in the air. Our vineyard is alive!” proudly explains Bill.

 

Triomphe Chardonnay 2013 VQA, $22.95southbrook chardonnay

Made with Chardonnay grapes picked at various times throughout October from 5 different organic vineyards in Niagara.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our tasting panel raved about this lively Chardonnay.  Notes of fresh juicy peach, grapefruit & apples follow through into the taste with a hint of nutmeg & vanilla.  A rich wine that is beautifully balanced, laced with subtle oak with a zip of acidity.  The soul of the wine definitely shines through!

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine is simply delicious on its own (I am enjoying as I write this eZine!), with pork tenderloin, sushi, crabcakes or fish. The Savvy Selections tasting panel had so many good recipes to share and so did the winery, that we have not one…but three recipes that hit the mark! Peach Pizza, Sunshine Salmon & a unique recipe for Banana Leaf Tilapia with Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 3-5 years.

Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA 2013, $21.95triomphe cabernet franc

Ontario continues to impress us with Cabernet Franc wines.  And this one is a fine example of how a big red wine can be made in a cold climate wine growing region. This wine contains 95% Cabernet Franc with a splash (5%) of Merlot to give it finesse.

Winemakers Tasting Notes: The wine presents a nose of red currant with notes of raspberry, savoury herbs and cedar wood. The palate echoes the fruit aromas supported by medium toast and firm tannins. The finish is of medium length and is driven by both fruit and savoury notes.

Note: our Savvy Selections panel tasted a different vintage, so the above notes are provided by the winery.

Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ!  Ribs, burgers or spring lamb chops would be a perfect pairing.

Cellaring: Ready now or can be cellared a further 3-5 years.

 

Whimsy! Married Young 2009 VQA $34.95Southbrook married young

As you might imagine, there is no end to experimenting at Southbrook. The Whimsy label is where Ann and the winemaking team stretches their talent and winemaking techniques to play!  Wines are made in small lot batches (so there are no big mistakes).  On the label, each dab of paint represents a different varietal in the Southbrook palette to make an interesting design element that is…simply whimsical.

Winemaker Notes: This blend is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc.  The juice of the two varieties were fermented separately, then blended prior to barrel aging (in French oak) in order to “marry” and create a wine of more complexity, depth and completeness.  Released in February 2015 after several years aging at the winery. 138 cases were produced….and Savvy Selections subscribers took many of them!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Gorgeous! A smooth, delicious deep red wine that has blackberry, boysenberry, black licorice, leather, cedar and forest floor (think of walking in the woods after a rain). Tannins have mellowed with age, with a zip of acidity that will smooth out with food (we tried it with old cheddar), and long lingering smoky finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Beef, beef, and beef! If you are vegetarian, then grilled mushrooms will be delish!

Cellaring: Ready now, no need to wait any longer.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay

Peach Pizza

From Southbrook’s Kitchen
Serves 4

Ingredients

flatbread
fresh peaches – from Niagara of course!
goat cheese
2 tbsp organic honey
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
olive oil
fresh basil

Method

Combine balsamic vinegar and organic honey with olive oil to taste. Stir until combined.

Half peaches and lightly brush with oil, to prevent sticking on the BBQ.

Place flesh side down on BBQ on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Brush flatbread with olive oil and kosher salt. Put on BBQ on medium heat for a couple minutes.

Remove peaches and flatbread.

Cut peaches onto the flatbread and sprinkle cheese onto pizza. Drizzle balsamic honey dressing on top.

Cook on top rack until cheese is melted. Remove and sprinkle chopped basil on top.

Cut and enjoy!

 

Another recipe to serve with

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay

Sunshine Salmon

From Kitchen at Publix
Serves 4

Ingredientssunshine salmon - Publix

2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
2 oranges
½ cup sweet white wine (or chicken broth)
4 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin removed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Method

Cut ½ orange into ¼ inch-thick slices (rounds), then cut slices into quarters. Squeeze remaining 1 ½ oranges for juice (about ½ cup).

Place wine, orange juice, garlic, dill, and orange slices in large sauté pan and cover; bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered 7 minutes.

Check fish for bones. Season salmon on both sides with garlic seasoning and pepper. Add salmon to wine mixture; simmer 3–4 minutes on each side or until salmon is opaque and separates easily. Transfer salmon to serving dish.

Add marmalade and mustard to wine mixture; cook and stir 1 minute or until marmalade dissolves and sauce thickens. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter (being gentle while stirring, so fruit stays intact). Pour sauce over salmon & serve.

 

Even more recipes to serve with Triomphe Chardonnay!

Spicy BBQ’d Banana Leaf Tilapia with Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

From Southbrook’s Kitchen
Serves 4

 Ingredients for Tilapia

4 pieces of tilapia
4 pieces of banana leaves
¼ Spanish onion
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili
1 tsp tumeric
½ tsp sea salt & cracked pepper
2 stalks of lemon grass
1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
¼ cup butter
8 wood skewers

Ingredients for Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

½ cup white wine
1 cup 35% cream
2 lemons – juiced
1 cup butter
4 pieces of baby bok choy
egg noodles
1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes

Method for Banana Leaf Tilapia

Finely dice Spanish onion, garlic, red chili (seeds removed) and lemon grass. Add salt, pepper, tumeric, vegetable oil and butter. Mix well.

Place tilapia on the banana leaf and spread marinade over fish. Wrap the banana leaf around the tilapia and secure with skewers.

Heat one side of the BBQ to high. Place wrapped fish on direct heat. Sear 2 minutes per side and then move wrapped fish off direct heat and finish cooking for 10 minutes with BBQ closed. Should reach 375°F.

Method for Lemon Beurre Blanc Egg Noodles

In a large sauce pan, combine wine, cream and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until ½ of the volume remains.

Add 1 cup of butter. Stir constantly. Sauce will thicken with the addition of butter. Continue stirring until desired consistency is reached.

In a separate pot, steam baby bok choy. At the same time, cook egg noodles. Drain noodles.

Add baby bok choy and uncooked, diced cherry tomatoes. Slowly add Beurre Blanc and stir. Serve with Banana Leaf Tilapia on top of the noodles.


With Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc

BBQ Smoky Pork Ribs with Asian Slaw

From: Regan Kapach – Southbrook’s Assistant Winemaker

Serves several rib lovers!

Ingredients for RibsWINERY

1 side pork ribs
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, halved
1 to 2 litres beer
1 to 2 litres water
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp each salt & pepper
1 Tbsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp cloves
2 inches fresh ginger
1 cup homemade BBQ sauce

 Method for Ribs:

Portion ribs into ‘four-rib’ pieces for easier cooking and serving.

Parboil the ribs for 2 hours in mixture of half water/half beer (enough of each to just cover the ribs), plus the onion, garlic, ginger, bay leaf and spices. Remove from pot and refrigerate for half and hour.

Leftover boiling mixture can be strained and reduced to make an amazing beef/pork stew stock!

Fire up the barbie! Cook ribs until done to your liking.

Ingredients for Slaw

½ head of Chinese cabbage, shredded
1 good sized carrot, grated
1 handful of sweet peas, julienned
3 green onions, julienned
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
fresh cilantro to garnish

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Ingredients for Dressing

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over slaw.

 

 Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Ridgepoint Wines, a brother and sister team!

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Ridgepoint Wines

–  April 2015 –

At Ridgepoint Wines, it’s a family affair of a brother and sister.  The division of labour between the siblings is clear with Anna recreating her mother’s home-style recipes for the restaurant. Mauro Scarsellone is focused on producing wines that honour his grandparents and his Italian heritage.

signHe laughed when I asked him about his family’s involvement in the making of Ridgepoint wines. ‘Actually, they stay as far away as they can from the whole process.  Anna though, insists on tasting the wines.’ As he hurried toward me in the tasting room, Mauro explained that he was late for our meeting because he was putting out fires.  He was trying to fix a fermenter that had gone into a funk, and was dealing with the issue of having to re-create some labels because his naming proposal to the AGCO had been rejected. “You know, I’m an accountant by training, but I really just want to be a farmer.’

What inspired Ridgepoint’s successful combination of winery and restaurant? Mauro and Anna grew up experiencing their grandparents’ passion for wine and food. “They made wine in Italy from the grapes they grew on a small parcel of land.  When they moved to Canada, they kept making wine. As kids, we were thrilled to help them. I’ll never forget my grandfather’s comments when he started making wine from local Niagara grapes – he couldn’t understand why the wine wamauro and annas so awful’, recounts Mauro. (A side note: Mauro was using Ontario grown Italian Labrusca grapes. Typically, these grapes have a ‘foxy’ taste that results in not the most enjoyable characteristic for a table wine!)

As for Anna, the recipes she uses were learned from her mother, passed down from her grandmother…and they are passing along one to you in this blog.  Eating at Ridgepoint is like going to a typical family-owned ‘trattoria’ in a small town in Italy. The aromas are mouthwatering, the dishes classics of simple, tasty Italian cuisine. Wine and food complement each other, as do Mauro and Anna.

The tasting I did at the winery this past autumn, followed by our Savvy Selections Sommelier panel tasting recently, made it clear we were going to share with our subscribers a selection of the fabulous reds that Mauro crafted from the outstanding 2010 vintage:

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico VQA 2010 – a unique blend resulting in a velvety Appassimento-style wine

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot VQA 2010 – supple with notions of chocolate-coated cherries

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage VQA 2010 – carefully crafted from the fruit of select low-yield vines

On your next visit to Niagara, be sure to visit Ridgepoint.  You’ll probably find Mauro roaming the vineyards or entertaining in the tasting room. Then wander into the restaurant to meet Anna as you enjoy a meal of her Italian pasta or pizza. You’ll think you were in Italy.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…
Ridgepoint Wines

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

For Mauro and Anna, it was a long road from the joy of helping their grandparents to make wine through their traditional business careers to being proprietors of their own winery and restaurant. ‘Our parents discouraged us from having anything to do with farming. They remembered how difficult it was in Italy, and the inevitable dependency on the whims of Mother Nature,’ remembers Mauro. This advice seems particularly prophetic this year, as we emerge from one of the most frigid winters on record.

Battling with Old Man Winter & Mother Nature

Brock University’s Cool Climate Viticulture program does annual assessments of bud survival, and the early results for the 2014/2015 winter are distressing, particularly in vineyards on the escarpment. Bud (on the vines) survival rates may be as low as 10% for some varieties, while others may reach 70-80%. ‘Our most significant challenge has always been trying to get our vines through the winter. While Ontario’s growing season is long enough and warm enough to ensure grapes ripen, the varieties that we most enjoy producing wine with, such as Nebbiolo and Merlot, are the ones with the lowest survival rates’, Mauro explains.

Ridgepoint wineryWith the many sleepless nights he experienced through this past January and February: ‘This year, Lake Erie is frozen, so the strong westerly winds are not moderated in any way as they make their way over the Niagara Escarpment. Those strong winds also make it difficult for us to use our wind machines, which are the usual defense against these conditions. So, sometimes, we just have to pray…’

As we discussed this winter’s impact, Mauro came back to his love of Niagara and winemaking. ‘My sister and I both graduated from York University with business degrees. I went on to become a Chartered Account with Price Waterhouse Coopers. I was on a business trip to the Niagara region when I first experienced the local wine industry. It was love at first sip! I was so impressed with the work being done to improve wine quality. After doing some research, we thought we could contribute something to the industry by planting varieties that we really enjoy drinking, including Nebbiolo.’

mapThe Ridgepoint property was purchased in 1995. ‘We were attracted to the Beamsville Bench partly because this area brings us back to our roots—the hillside vineyards of Italy, where the highest quality grapes are usually grown. We felt the bench offered the same potential.’ The vineyards were planted in 1997, about half of the 18 acres dedicated to Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the balance to Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and, of course, Nebbiolo.

The first to plant Nebbiolo

Ridgepoint has the distinction of being the first Ontario winery to produce a commercial bottling of Nebbiolo.  Says Mauro, ‘As an artisanal winery, we are passionate about what we do and are involved in every step of the process, from the vineyard to bottling to retailing, and to savouring our wine with typical Italian cuisine. True to our Latin blood, we’re stubborn in our belief that Ontario can make great red wines. To this end, we continue to innovate with the introduction of our Ripasso and Appassimento wines’ (using dried grapes in fermentation to add depth and intensity to the wine).

MauroandSteve2jpegIn this quest for great wines, Mauro has worked with a number of assistant winemakers and winemaking consultants. Steve Byfield, of Nyarai Cellars, worked with Mauro as assistant winemaker earlier in his career. Steve and Mauro re-established their winemaking partnership in 2013, with Steve acting as a consultant. What does Mauro look for in a winemaker? “We desire and appreciate the creativity that Steve offers, helping to research and use new techniques, yeasts and enzymes that will help us create wines with greater fruit, color, structure and balance. We value the opportunity to work with someone who shares our goals and winemaking style.”

Eat, Sleep & Dream about Wine

Mauro and Anna share the characteristics of all entrepreneurs – their absolute commitment to their endeavour, and their willingness to deal with disappointments and move forward. ‘We eat, sleep and dream about Ridgepoint. We are not focused on making wines that critics worship. Rather, we’re excited about making wines that can be enjoyed on any occasion and shared with friends and family. Our pride has taken a few bumps over the years, mainly from Mother Nature as she provides us with yet another harsh winter this year. But we persevere and keep bouncing back to continue to push the envelope.’

While Mauro’s goal may not be to create ‘worshipped’ wines, I know you’ll agree that the wines in this Savvy Selection are worthy of contemplation, cellaring and sharing with your friends.

Here’s to Mauro and Anna… and bring on those great reds!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico 2010 VQA, $20.00

Ridgepoint bottlesThis small-batch wine is aged in aged French and American oak for up to 24 months. It’s predominantly Merlot, with a small portion of Cabernet Franc and fully air dried (almost to the point of raisins) Aglianico grapes added for depth and intensity in aromas and flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our tasting panel loved this unique wine, with its rich, ripe berry and plum notes, hints of dried fruit and spice. It’s full bodied, generous and velvety, the texture warm and spicy, the tannins supple, with a clean acidity that lifts the tasty fruit flavours.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this unique blend with classic Italian meat pasta dishes.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years.

 

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot 2010 VQA, $25.00

Only in vintages that produce ‘super ripe’ grapes is this Merlot produced. Fermented on the skins for up to 2 weeks, the wine in then aged in French and American oak for up to 24 months. Each barrel is tasted, and only those meeting Mauro’s exacting standards are selected for this Reserve.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Aromas of red fruit, plum, cedar, spice and vanilla are predominant on the nose.  “Its outstanding!”, comments Velma during the panel tasting.  Dry, medium-full bodied, the wine shows great integration—supple tannins and fine acidity establish the framework for ripe plum and cherry fruit, notes of chocolate-coated cherry and spiced vanilla adding to the savoury taste experience. Reflecting the excellent vintage, the wine finishes warm, spicy and fruit filled.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with duck or pork roast.

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 3-5 years.

 

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage 2010 VQA $30.00

Equal parts of the Cabernets and Merlot were harvested at 2 tons/acre from specially selected rows, fermented together, then aged in new French oak for about 14 months to create this powerful, cellar-worthy wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The special care taken with this wine has created a dry, full bodied wine with great complexity, a velvety texture and beautiful balance of fruit, supple tannins and clean acidity. Cassis, plum and red berry, floral and earth notes, vanilla and spice layer and mingle on the nose and palate. Warm on the finish, the ripe berry flavours shine through.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine will sing when it is served with a prime rib or roast with all of the trimmings.

Cellaring: Ready now, it will cellar 3-7 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico…

Potato Cake with Soppressata

From www.bcliquorstores.com
Serves 12

Ingredients

4 large eggs
½ C homogenized milk
¼ C ricotta cheese
½ tsp dried oregano, crushed
4 lb. russet potatoes (about 6 large)
1 ½ C freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano, Pecorino or Grana Padano cheese
½ lb soppressata, prosciutto or salami, cut into 1” pieces
¼ C finely chopped flat leaf parsley
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ C fresh bread crumbs
¾ lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼” slices

 Method

Preheat oven to 450F. In mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add milk, ricotta and oregano, mix well and set aside. Boil whole potatoes until tender, 30-40 minutes. Drain & peel potatoes. While still warm, pass through a food mill or grate into large mixing bowl. Fold in Parmesan, then stir in soppressata and parsley. Gently mix in egg mixture. Do not over-mix or potato starch will make mixture tough.

Butter 9” springform pan with 2 Tbsp butter & dust with some bread crumbs. Transfer half potato mixture into pan and gently smooth I to edges. Spread mozzarella slices over potato mixture to within ½” of edge. Top with remaining potato mixture and carefully smooth over with wet spatula. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs dot with remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Bake until light golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to stand 15 minutes before unmolding. Serve in wedges with a green salad. Can be made the day before, covered and refrigerated. Reheat at 350F uncovered for 30 minutes.

 

With Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot

Ridgepoint Bolognese

from the Chef at Ridgepoint WineryRidgepoint bolanese
Serves a crowd!

Ingredients

2.5 lbs each ground beef & pork
Canola oil for browning
1 lb. carrots, peeled and diced
2 small white onions, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
1 ½ cup red wine
Quality Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar reduction

Method

Using a large frying pan, heat canola oil on medium-high heat and brown meat, in portions if necessary, until cooked through about 80%.

Add vegetables and wine, reduce heat and simmer until wine is reduced and sauce achieves desired thickness.

Dress your choice of fresh cooked pasta with a light tomato sauce, spoon over the Bolognese, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar reduction.

Steve & Mauro in the barrel room

 

With Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage…

Garlic Prime Rib

www.allrecipes.com
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

1 10lb. prime rib roast
10 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme

 Method

Ridgepoint restaurantPlace the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, letting the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than 1 hour.Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325F and continue roasting for an additional 60-75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 135F.

Allow the roast to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving, so the meat can retain its juices.

Serve with roast potatoes and a medley of roast vegetables.

 Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Big Bold Reds from Kacaba Vineyards

Posted by Debbie

Friday, November 14th, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Kacaba Vineyards

– November 2014 –

 

November.  I can’t believe it.  Winter is around the corner.  In vineyards around the northern hemisphere, the grape harvest is almost complete, yet closer to home, stores are overflowing signs of Christmas holidays.  To warm up all thoughts of winter, this month we are featuring Kacaba Vineyards of Niagara’s 20 Valley (aka Beamsville Bench).

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

This month you will find 3 BIG BOLD red wines. Just the thought of sipping on these wines should melt away thoughts of snow.  Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid skier & I am eager for the snow to fall.  When the Savvy Team tasted these Kacaba wines, I imagined enjoying them by the fire after a day of hard core skiing. However you enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections wines….you are in for a treat and will enjoy the special prices too!

2011 Terrace Vineyard Syrah -a wine we frequently showcase during Sommelier led wine tastings our team hosts 

When I visited Kacaba in August this year, they offered me samples straight out of the barrel.  That is always a treat.  A few months later, I sampled the same wines again and was equally impressed. I am confident that you will like these wines.  You are amongst the first to receive them as they were just released at the winery in time to be included in Savvy Selections. These wines are Just released!

2013 Cabernet Franc A gorgeous wine full of aromas & tastes of red roses, well balanced with a smooth texture.

2013 Merlot Completely different from the Cabernet Franc, this Merlot is jammy loaded with black fruit flavours. 

OPTIONAL WINE

2012 Reserve Syrah $44.95 (reg $66.95).  This wine is not yet released at the winery, but available to Savvy Selections subscribers.  Heralding from the incredible 2012 vintage, it is pure velvet!  Amazingly, it drinks well now or will continue to improve as it is cellared for 10+ years.  This wine & special price is still available – just call us to arrange a shipment for you.

You won’t find these Kacaba wines at the LCBO

We have done it again!  Our Savvy Sommeliers have found wines (and great prices) that we are confident you will enjoy…every sip!  Kacaba has a few wines available at the LCBO, yet as a small winery, there are loads more that are only available from the winery.  Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Kacaba wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Kacaba Vineyards & Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

kacaba winery colour

“I love my job”, quietly states Kacaba’s winemaker John Tummon. And making wine is his second career.  John had been an amateur winemaker inspired by those in the Kitchener Waterloo Winemakers Guild.  “With this group, I was able to switch my mind off from my day job in the fitness industry to focus on learning and fine-tuning my winemaking skills.”  As a result, John’s wines won international wine competitions.  Surrounded by many incredible amateur winemakers & wine judges, like John, doors began to open with opportunities to new wineries in Ontario.

Did you say Fitness industry?

john tummonWhen I interview winemakers & winery owners, I always find it fascinating to learn how that person came to the wine world.  In John’s case, in the mid-1970s he established & operated Wynne International – North America’s largest and oldest distributors of fitness equipment including some products you may already own:  BodyCraft, Polar heart rate monitors, Health O Meter, Tunturi rowing machines and the list goes on.  Additionally, Wynne manufactured exercise equipment under its own label too.  30 years later and 600 fitness stores later, at the age of 56, John stepped out of the fitness industry.

Why wine?

It was natural.  John explains, “I grew up on a farm – we grew all of our own vegetables. I began making wine when I was in university all because I wanted to make my own food – wine included.  At Waterloo, I was working on my Honours Science degree and everyday I applied science to making food and wine”.

Fast forward several decades…when John met Michael Kacaba, there was instant synergy.  Kacaba Vineyards had already had completed a couple of vintages.  Michael was on the lookout for a winemaker.  It was a bonus when he found a seasoned businessman who wanted to make wine professionally.  Since then, both men combined their extensive business experience and passion for fine wines to grow the winery…and most importantly build a reputation for quality wines, especially for red wines.

Syrah you say?

Michael had a dream of planting Syrah grapes. Neighbouring winery owners cautioned him, but he was determined to prove them wrong.  Kacaba was one of the first to plant Syrah in Ontario.

The story goes that Michael did extensive research to find vines that should survive the Niagara climate.  He found these vines in California of all places.  He ventured out to west & brought them back in his luggage.  “It gets better,” says John with a laugh, “of all the luggage aboard that flight, the airline lost his suitcase full of ready-to-plant vines.  The suitcase was sent back to California while Michael arrived back in Niagara safe and sound.”  How did this adventure turn out? “Well, it’s a longer story that Michael should really tell.  Let me just say that Michael’s skills as a lawyer came in handy and eventually the suitcase reappeared and the vines were quickly planted”, laughed John.

Today Kacaba has 3 distinct Syrah vineyards and John reports that, “I am happy to say that the vines have survived. Our neighbours who have since planted Syrah have not necessarily had the same success.” He is making particular reference to this past winter.  The harsh conditions and the cold spring wiped out many vineyards of Syrah vines.  Some wineries in Niagara lost upwards to 80% of their vines. Kacaba’s vineyard was not affected.

John explains that the land around the winery slopes along the Niagara Escarpment and weaves by a stream all the while being protected by very large trees forming a microclimate. And of course, coupled with the John’s winemaking magic, Kacaba wines continue to impress.

The high point so far?

Kacaba wines are continuously winning awards & proudly post a road sign announcing their latest medal. Which is the award that means the most to John so far?  “Wine Access Magazine picked our Reserve Syrah 2009 as the best red in Canada.  To me, that is like winning the Stanley Cup.  It was the first time this top award was given to a winery in Ontario for best red wine”.

We are delighted to introduce you to Kacaba’s fine red wines….and at least one Syrah!

Oh and…how do pronounce the winery name?
Ka-sah-ba…or delicious!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


Whenever I encounter a person stating that Ontario red wines don’t impress like those from California, Argentina or Chile, I shrug my shoulders and remind them that our vineyards are in cooler climates. Yet Kacaba has shown that they can make red wines using Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot that will turn heads.  Kacaba’s winemaker John (in photo) explains that “growing grapes in temperatures of 28-32C is difficult.  At these high temperatures (like they experience in the southern hemisphere), the vines actually shut down. In cooler climates like Niagara, our grapes actually ripen slower creating greater fruit flavours, violets, black fruit in the wines”.

Terrace Vineyard Syrah VQA 2011

$22.95 special Savvy Selections price
(regular $24.95)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This garnet coloured wine has aromas that remind us of a bouquet of red roses.  This elegant smell is further enjoyed with flavours of vanilla, black fruits (think black berry & cherry) with a layer of dark chocolate.  Rich, smooth & well-balanced, during our panel tasting one of our Savvy Sommeliers stated that, ‘this reminds me of a Black Forest Cake’.

Suggested Food Pairings:  “Hands down, this wine is equally good with lamb or saucy ribs”, says John.   It is definitely a meaty wine, also serve with spicy sausage, steak or roast beef…with all the trimmings of course!

Cellaring: It is ready to be enjoyed now, or cellared for 5 years.  No real reason to wait!

 

Merlot VQA 2013

$20.95 special Savvy Selections price
(Reg $24.95)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Fire engine red in colour, there are aromas of red & black plums, licorice, pencil shavings, even a bit of molasses. Then when you sip it, “this wine reminds me of boysenberry jam.  There is a sweet fruit & warm spice combo going on”, one of our Savvy Sommeliers remarked during the Savvy Selections panel tasting.

Suggested Food Pairings: Another red wine for BBQed meats, hearty stews or rich cheeses.

Cellaring: This wine has just been bottled.  We recommend to wait a few weeks so that it can settle out the bottle shock.  Additionally, it will continue to evolve if you lay it down for 2 -5 years.

 

Cabernet Franc VQA 2013

$16.95 special Savvy Selections price
(Reg $18.95)

Kacaba Cabernet Franc 2013 Barrel SampleJohn explains that with Cabernet Franc, the trick is to allow the fruit to hang on the vines as long as possible.  In our vineyard, we leave them on 2 weeks or so after our neighbours have already picked.  The benefit is that the wines are bigger & bolder with loads more extraction of ripe fruit.” John reports that in 2013, the Cabernet France vines were very rigorous and that he had 30-40% over regular yields. More ripe fruit means more great wine! 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:   You are the first to try this wine as this wine was just released in time to be included in your Savvy Selections. The aroma is beautiful full of red roses and different from the Syrah, red cherry.  With each sip, the flavours intensify of juicy pomegranate, smooth texture and some grippy tannins that will subside with food or with more aging in your cellar.

Suggested Food Pairings: Fire up the BBQ and enjoy pork tenderloin, grilled kebabs even hamburgers.  For something completely different, enjoy with a steaming bowl of French Onion Soup – recipe follows.

Cellaring: This wine has just been bottled.  We recommend to wait a few weeks so that it can settle out the bottle shock.  Additionally, it will continue to evolve if you lay it down for 2 -5 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Kacaba Cabernet Franc…

Classic French Onion Soup

Fine Cooking Magazine – October 2009
Serves 6

Served with a tartly dressed green salad, this soup is hearty and filling enough for a light supper. I like th convenience of using chicken broth, but if you have a good beef broth on hand, feel free to use it for even deeper flavor.

Ingredients

4 Tbs. unsalted butter
6 large yellow onions (about 3 lb. total), sliced about 1/8 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine (not oaky), such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
8 cups homemade chicken or beef broth, or low-salt canned chicken broth
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley, 1 sprig fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf tied together with kitchen twine
1 baguette, cut into as many 3/s-inch slices as needed to cover six soup crocks
1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) grated Gruyere cheese

Method

In a large, wide soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. (It might seem like you have far too many onions, but they’ll cook down to about one-quarter of their original volume.)

Cook the onions gently, stirring frequently, until they’re very soft and have beg u n to turn a dark straw color, 35 to 45 min.

When the onions are ready, stir in the flour and cook for 3 to 4 min, stirring frequently. Pour in the wine and increase the heat to medium high, stirring and scraping to loosen any caramelized juices, until the liquid is mostly reduced, 5 to 8 min.

Add the broth, toss in the tied herbs, and bring to a simmer.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to infuse the broth with onion flavor; the onions should be soft but not falling apart.

Remove the herb bundle and taste the soup for seasoning.

The soup can be made ahead to this point and then cooled and refrigerated for a few days.

To serve

Heat the oven to 350°F, put the baguette slices on a rack, and toast lightly (7 to 10 min).  Set aside.

Increase the oven temperature to 450°F. Bring the soup back to a simmer.

Set six ovenproof soup crocks on a heavy baking sheet and ladle the soup into the crocks. Float a few toasted baguette slices on top, enough to cover the soup surface without too much overlap.

Top the bread with a handful (about % cup) of the grated Gruyere. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and just browning in spots, 10 to 12 min.  Serve immediately. 

 

With Terrace Vineyard Syrah …

Molasses Rum Grilled Pork Tenderloin

From Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

½ cup of molasses
¼ cup of spiced rum
2 Tbs of grainy mustard
1 Tbs soya sauce
1 teaspoon of ground allspice
1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
2 pork tenderloins (trimmed)salt & pepper to taste

 

Method

In a large Ziploc bag, put in the molasses, rum, mustard, soy sauce, all spice & hot sauce.  Seal bag and with your hands mix ingredients in the bag.

Add to the bag the pork tenderloins. Seal & massage the marinade into the meat, distributing evenly. Refrigerate for atleast 1 hour (or overnight).  At this point, you can freeze the meat with marinade so that it is a snap to cook at a later date.

Prepare your BBQ to the highest setting.

When BBQ (or oven grill) is ready, place the tenderloins diagonally across the grates of the grill.  Grill turning once or twice until done.  This will take about 15-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.

Transfer the pork to a serving platter and loosely tent with foil to let rest for a few minutes.

While meat is grilling, pour marinade into a small saucepan.  Boil on medium heat to reduce to a decadent sauce.

Slice pork and arrange on plates.  Drizzle sauce over each.  Serve with grilled vegetables, rice or couscous.

 

With Kacaba Merlot …

Mom’s Pot Roast & Dumplings

From Debbie Trenholm’s family kitchen
Serves 8 or more

Note from Debbie: This recipe is what my brother & I would always ask Mom to make when we came home from university – a true comfort food. Now we make it for her!

Kacaba Merlot 2013 Barrel SampleIngredients

5 lb blade or cross rib roast
2 Tbs oil
3 or 4 onions, chopped
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup water (or more)
1 can (796 ml) tomatoes (diced with spices is good)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup raisins
2 to 3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp celery seeds (or celery salt)
salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a large Dutch oven, brown all sides of meat in oil. Remove meat from pan and brown the onions in the drippings. Add carrots, tomatoes and remaining ingredients including meat. Cover and simmer 5 to 6 hours until tender. Can also be done in a slow cooker: cook for 8 hours or more.

Note: Serve with dumplings (see below) on the first day as it thickens the “gravy”, then serve with potatoes. I also cook my vegetables separately – cabbage, turnip, carrots, cauliflower etc. and serve with pot roast.  After several meals, the leftover roast and gravy makes a wonderful base for soup – just add water to desired consistency, add veggies, lentils/beans, pasta or rice.

My Great Grandmother’s Dumplings

Ingredients

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 to 2 tsp fresh or dried parsley (optional – looks nice!)
approx. 1 cup milk

Method

Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir in milk slowly to make the batter thin enough to take up by rounded spoonful with a wet tablespoon.

Bring finished stew or pot roast to the boiling point. The gravy should be shallow enough so that the dumplings rest on the meat or vegetables as they cook. Put spoonfuls of batter on the stew. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes without looking.  Makes 6 to 8 dumplings.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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“Reif for Life” is a story of 13 generations of winemakers

Posted by Debbie

Monday, October 27th, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Reif Estate Winery

– October 2014 –

 

All of us in the Savvy Team hope your Thanksgiving was a great one!  To celebrate the bounty of this year’s harvest, this month’s Savvy Selections features a variety of wines from Reif Estate Winery.  Located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake, this winery is one of the pillars of the Ontario wine industry. Reif PortfolioThere are many hidden gems at Reif – in particular those wines that are only available at the winery – or with your Savvy Selections!

There are so many to enjoy that Reif’s winemaker Roberto (Rob) DiDomenico says with a laugh, “I honestly have lost track of exactly how many wines we have in our portfolio!” Our Savvy Sommeliers specifically have chosen this trio of fine Reif wines for you to enjoy:

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Reserve Gewürztraminer VQA 2012– this refreshing wine will be delicious with appetizers before dinner or enjoyed with ham & your family’s favorite trimmings

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2012– you are the first to receive this red wine from the incredible 2012 vintage.  If you are taking a break from turkey this weekend, this red wine is ready for prime rib or a leg of lamb…or put away in your cellar for your next family feast!

The Magician VQA 2012 – This is our red wine pick for Thanksgiving turkey (yes red wines pair well!)

How does this year’s harvest look?

As the season changes, typical long weekend plans involve getting together with family & friends, tackling long to do lists to close down the cottage & pack away the pool.  Not so for winery owners and winemakers.  They are busy with one thing: the grape harvest.  With the warm September days we have enjoyed, 2014 harvest in Ontario has just started in the last few days and by all accounts looks promising.  “This spring was slow.  Then with the cool summer we had, we will give the grapes a long hang time so that they can ripen as much as possible with the autumn heat.

This extra time will show in the aromas & flavours of the final wine,” explains Rob.  And Rob knows.  He has over 30 grape harvests under his belt – all at Reif Estates. Read more about Reif and this year’s harvest in the following pages.  You will also find some delicious autumn recipes that our Savvy Team have chosen for each of the featured wines to consider including in your Thanksgiving feast (or enjoy with leftovers).

You won’t find these Reif wines at the LCBO

Reif Estate WinesEach month we delight in introducing you to new Ontario wineries & their hard to find wines. While Reif has a handful of wines available at the LCBO, call on us if you would like additional bottles of your favourite Reif wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections – simply give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.  It is always my pleasure to introduce you to new Ontario wines!

Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…
Reif Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

‘Reif for Life’.  This great slogan showcases the longevity of the wines as well as a subtle reminder of the correct pronunciation of the name of the winery.  “We’ve heard it all,” says Rob DiDomenico (right in the photo) with a laugh & shaking his head.  “The best is when a visitor to the winery corrected me, stressing that the winery’s name is R-E-E-F.  He proceeded to tell me that he personally knows the winery owner.”

Reif Estates - Klaus and Roberto 2With over 200,000 visitors each year to the winery, everyone – including the winemaker – are all hands on deck in the tasting room to ensure that everyone has a memorable wine & food experience. “We put so much effort into making the tasting room a safe place to learn about our wines rather than feel like a store”, explains Rob.

“We have an interactive Sensory Garden full of herbs where people can go smell different aromas that they will find in our wines. We also have a Sensory Wine Bar to give our visitors the opportunity to enjoy our wines along with plates of artisan cheeses, charcuterie, even chocolate while watching all the-goings-on at the winery.”

Breaking new ground…

The Reif tradition of winemaking can be traced back to 1636 in Germany’s Rheinphalz region where winemaking is generations deep…to be precise, 13 generations. The story is told that as an agriculture student in Germany, Ewald Reif listened with great interest as one of his instructors spoke of his travels to Niagara.

Years later, in the 1960s, intrigued by Canada, Ewald followed his teacher’s footsteps & embarked on a trip to Niagara to specifically visit orchard fruit and grape growers. In 1977, Ewald was invited back to Niagara by Karl Kaiser (one of the founders of Inniskillin Winery & a forefather of the Canadian wine industry).  On this trip, Ewald bought a former fruit orchard on the fertile banks of the Niagara River.  Here, he planted select grape varieties, along with some French hybrids.

Then 6 years later, in 1983, Reif Estate Winery opened its doors to the first of its visitors. Ewald’s nephew – Klaus Reif – visited & spent the summer of 1978 planting some of those first vines with his uncle.  Fast forward to today, Klaus (left in the above photo) is now the President of this winery that now comprises of over 130 acres planted with more than 17 grape varieties.

Impressively small yet big

Reif logo“There are 5 of us managing everything in the wine cellar” explains Rob.  This is pretty impressive when you consider that their current portfolio amounts to over 50 wines. In the wine industry, a winemaker’s career often involves working at several wineries around the world.

In Rob’s case, he began his career at Reif on a co-op term while studying in University of Guelph.  “My eyes were opened to the Canadian wine industry by my prof at Guelph while I was studying Microbiology.  Keep in mind this was in the late 80s & there were not many wineries in Niagara nor specialized oenology programs that there are today.” His co-op experience evolved  into a job offer, and Rob has stayed ever since. “We continue to do research with my prof at Guelph University on many levels.

Recently, we worked on developing the appassimento method (winespeak: making wine with dried grapes – a method used in Italy for Ripasso & Amarone wines) using modified tobacco kilns from Southern Ontario.”  Now in addition to Reif, a handful of Ontario wineries are making wines using this new process.  You will taste & enjoy the fruits of their research with The Magician red blend wine in your Savvy Selections as it was made using the appassimento method.

An Italian at a Germany winery

Rob is first generation Canadian.  While his Italian roots are strong, he shares that, “the Reif wine business has existed for 13 generations. The Reif family have always treated me like one of the family. In fact, this carries on to the staff too – most have worked here for many years. I think that this speaks volume of our company.” Seems that the ‘Reif for Life’ applies to the business culture too!

What’s for dinner?

I always like to ask: If I came over for dinner, what would you make?  I have discovered that many winery owners & winemakers are good cooks too when they have time to take charge in the kitchen. Rob explained that Thanksgiving is not a big celebration in his Italian family, “It’ll be a feast of Italian proportions!  There will be 30 relatives with lots of food & wine.  For us, wine is food.  We have at every occasion; it’s not an alcoholic beverage.”

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Once our Sommelier Team chose the 3 wines for your enjoyment, Rob was delighted.  All of the wines are from the 2012 vintage. “2012 was one of the most impressive years we ever had.” 

Reserve Gewürztraminer VQA 2012 $19.95 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Gorgeous classic Gewurz.  Off-dry with concentrated aromas of lychee, pear, apricot, beeswax & flowers.  These aromas continue in the taste with a summer-is-not-over-yet refreshing zip of acidity & a lime (or is it white pepper?) finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Gewurz is usually paired with spicy foods – Mexican, Indian curry (made with leftover turkey perhaps?) or Pad Thai (a great recipe follows).  The Savvy Selections tasting panel thought that it will be remarkable with a roast turkey feast & the trimmings.  Or take a break from the harvest laden fare and serve with garlic shrimp or BBQed pork tenderloin with mango chutney.  

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2012 $25.95
special Savvy Selections price (Reg $29.95)

Reif Charcuterie Red Wine Experience LRMark my words…you will thank me for including this in your Savvy Selections!  And if you don’t believe me, then hear it from Rob “just released, this is an absolutely beautiful wine – great texture, lots of cellaring ability.  I am blown away with it.” 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A BIG red wine that shows how incredible the 2012 vintage is.  You are the first to try this wine as it not even released yet. It is ready to be enjoyed now, or cellared for 5 years.  No real reason to wait! This is a complex wine with aromas of warm spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon), black plums, blackberries & figs that carry through the taste.

Suggested Food Pairings: The smooth velvet texture will mellow even more with age or with food…like prime rib or as Rob says, “Lamb, lamb, lamb!”

The Magician VQA 2012 $29.95

You will be amazed with this wine as it is a one-of-a-kind blend of Shiraz & Pinot Noir.  It is an experiment that Rob tried in 2009 and turned A LOT of heads.  He was playing with blending & different drying techniques to create a unique appassimento style wine with concentrated aromas & flavours.  “Remarkably, Pinot Noir & Syrah seem to be feeding off each other.” The percentage varies each year depending on the grape harvest.  In 2012, the blend is 70% Shiraz & 30% Pinot Noir. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Warm aromas of campfire, field berries & smoke that provokes fall like weather.  When you have a sip, everything about it reminds me of black – black currants, blackberries, figs, even licorice.

Suggested Food Pairings: The jam like texture this medium bodied wine would be great with lamb burgers, bacon wrapped meatloaf or a pork tenderloin roast (recipe follows).  Looking for a red wine to serve with your turkey?  This is it!

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 With Reif Reserve Gewürztraminer…

Pad Thai

From Debbie’s kitchen
Serves 4

A good friend of mine taught me how to make Thai food and now I always make sure that have the ingredients for Pad Thai on hand….including a bottle of Gewurztraminer like this one from Reif.

Pad Thai Sauce 

Ingredients

1 cup water
1 ½  cups sugar  (less if you rather not as sweet)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 piece of tamarind (approx 1″ x 1″)
½ cup ketchup

Method

Combine ingredients in a saucepan, stir and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for approx. 30 minutes.

Strain sauce to collect remaining bits of tamarind (pits, skins etc).  Makes about 2 cups.

This sauce can be stored in the fridge for weeks.  Reheat when ready to make Pad Thai dish.

Pad Thai noodle mixture

Ingredients

1 package of rice noodles (medium width)
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove of garlic minced
2-3 teaspoons of fish sauce
1 lime
1-2 eggs
2 chicken breasts cubed (TIP: try with leftover cooked turkey too!)
a couple of handfuls of bean sprouts (washed)
2-3 green onions finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped peanuts or cashews
2-5 sprigs of fresh coriander (chopped – by scissors is easiest)

Optional
1 cup of cubed deep fried tofu
10-15 shrimp (cooked or raw)

Method

Soak noodles in warm water to soften. (approx 30 minutes or longer); this part of the assembly takes on 8-10 mins so have everything chopped and ready to go!

Heat wok. Add oil and garlic. Break eggs into oil and scatter fry then add chicken and stir until cooked.  If using raw shrimp add when chicken is almost done.

Drain water from noodles and add to wok. Toss continuously.

Pour Pad Thai sauce onto noodles.  Add green onions, tofu and cooked shrimp (if using) then add fish sauce to taste.

Keep tossing noodles until completely coated with sauce and food is really hot.

To Serve

Place a handful of bean sprouts on side of plate.

Mound noodles beside sprouts.

Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, coriander and squeeze lime juice over top.

Serve immediately with spring rolls.

Reif Estate Wines

 

Klaus Reif tending to the vineyard throughout the growing season

 

 

With Reif Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve…

Rack of Lamb with Chimichurri Sauce

From the kitchen of Chef Roger Weldon
Serves 2 or 3 people

Ingredients

1 frenched 6-rib rack of fresh local lamb (Chef Roger prefers Lanark County lamb)

For the chimichurri sauce:

1/4 cup (125 ml) olive oil
2 tablespoons (25 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (15 mL) red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 clove shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (5 mL) crushed black peppercorns
1 bunch fresh spinach, well washed
1/2 bunch each fresh parsley, cilantro, mint and basil

Method

Process sauce ingredients in food processor until minced. Let rest at least 2 hours before serving.

Place lamb rack on hot barbecue grill about 2 minutes per side to sear surface. Reduce heat or move rack to a cooler part of grill to roast about 10 to 15 minutes per side, using meat thermometer for rare (about 120 F/50 C) or medium (about 150 F/65 C).

Serve with sauce drizzled over the rack of lamb & serve.  

With The Magician…

Marinated Pork Loin Roast

From Fare for Friends Cookbook
Serves 10 (recipe can be halved)

Ingredients

4 to 5 pork tenderloins
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup sherry
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon thyme, crushed

Sauce

1 10 ounce jar of black currant jelly
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2  Tbsp sherry  

Method

Place meat in a plastic bag.  In the bag, add soy sauce, sherry, garlic, mustard, ginger & thyme. Seal bag & massage meat with sauce ingredients until completely covered. Marinate for 5 hours or overnight

When ready to cook remove from plastic bag & place meat in a roasting pan. Preheat oven to 325 F.

Roast uncovered with any extra marinade on the bottom of the pan for 1 hour basting frequently until testing shows the meat is done.

To make sauce, combine all the ingredients & heat for 2 minutes.  Drizzle over top of meat & serve with vegetables

TIP: try putting fresh apple wedges on the bottom of the pan while meat cooks.  Serve roasted apples with meat.  

 

Happy Thanksgiving & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

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Tee off for a round of golf & wine at Rockway Vineyards

Posted by Susan

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Rockway Vineyards

– September 2014 –

 

If your passion is golf and you love to spend the 19th hole with a fine glass of wine paired with a delicious lunch, Rockway Vineyards is the place for you. This property has a fascinating history that starts with founder Bruce Strongman’s love of golf and wine.

Enter the entrepreneur…

Bruce started making paint in his family-run paint store in Toronto, and built the business into the largest paint and wallpaper chain in Canada – Colour Your World. Bruce had time for more golf when the company was sold, and like many entrepreneurs, he followed his dream. It wasn’t just about shooting a perfect round, his dream included owning a golf course.

Take one golf enthusiast…

Rockway VineyardsYears of travelling to his golf course through vineyards along the Niagara Wine Route, which was increasing in popularity, led Bruce and his son Reid to hatch the idea of establishing a golf course associated with a vineyard and winery. The current property – originally a Concord grape vineyard – was purchased and construction of the course began in 1982, with the official opening in 1984. The father and son team were convinced that many of the 25,000 golfers coming to the Niagara region would too be interested in purchasing a bottle or two of wine.

Buy grape juice…

In 2000, they set the wheels in motion, purchasing juice from Reif Estate Winery and gaining the helpful winemaking expertise of Klaus Reif.  Right from the get go, it paid off as their first ice wine was selected as the ‘best of the best’ on the menu at Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Now that is impressive!

Planting of the vines began on a 50-acre vineyard adjacent to the winery.

And last but not least, purchase the vineyard!

wine-hero1When the vineyard across the street was for sale, Bruce purchased it to provide a total of 150 acres. The rapidly growing business became the only 18-hole championship golf course with a fully functional estate winery in Ontario. Bruce is now 92, and can still be seen out at Rockway for his weekly golf game, followed by lunch and a glass of wine in the restaurant. Reid continues to be involved in the business, as are several other family members.

We’re delighted to have this opportunity to offer to you a collection of Rockway Vineyards wines, crafted by winemaker David Stasiuk’s signature ‘minimalist touch’.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Small Lot Block 12-110 Wild Ferment Chardonnay VQA 2013 – a well-balanced wine with complex nose & flavours.  You are the first to receive this wine as it is not yet released at the winery.

‘The Outcast’ VQA 2011– a red Rhône-style blend that will intrigue you as it is Syrah blended with Riesling. Daring, peppery and flavourful

Small Lot Block 11-140 Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 – perfectly well-ripened, smooth, sauve & showcasing all that Cab Franc can be.

If you’re an avid golfer like our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins, after visiting Rockway for both the winery and the golfing – you will make this a regular stop when you visit Niagara. Be sure to make time for a round, wines tasting, lunch or dinner at the excellent restaurant, then take a stroll through the Rockway museum, that includes a selection of authentic French winemaking antiques.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team 

Introducing…
Rockway Vineyards

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins

 

Rockway Vineyards family photoAs I talked to Bryce Carruthers (far right in photo) – Rockway’s Sales Manager as well as Bruce’s nephew – he emphasized the recent transition that has taken place at Rockway. With tee off bookings at the golf course being steady and the banquet hall is regularly booked with weddings and golf tournaments, the family wanted to shift the focus to growing the winery and the creation of distinctive wines.

In 2009, the name was changed to Rockway Vineyards, and Bruce (centre with white shirt) instructed his then-wine consultant to find the best possible winemaker in the region. “If it’s not the best wine we can make, we’re not going to bottle it!”

Enter David Stasiuk . . . and the accolades keep coming. (David is middle of left group in photo)

David’s excitement at his role is palpable. A graduate of the Niagara College Winery & Viticulture program, he came to winemaking through the hospitality industry. “In the various roles I held in the restaurant industry, I met many winemakers, attended tastings and played a role in the selection and management of wines for the restaurants. I quickly realized that my passion for wine was too great to play second fiddle to opening a restaurant!”

Attracted to the practical components of the Niagara College program, he initiated his studies in 2007, soon realizing that the scope of a winemaker’s duties is broad.  At Rockway, David is a grower, a chemist, a taster, a people manager, a marketer, a media relations agent and, as he says, a life-long student.

Hands-on experience across Canada & beyond

During and after the College program, he ventured to gain hands on experience locally and around the world. At Le Clos Jordanne (in Niagara), he worked with Thomas Bachelder, learning the importance of site and terroir and how that translates into each wine. “Thomas was a great mentor. I learned so much—that passion for winegrowing is a must and plays a key part in the impression left on every wine crafted; the methods of wild yeast fermentation, barrel program design and so much more—I could go on forever”, explained David.

He wanted to experience winemaking in Canada’s other major winegrowing region, and was able to secure a position at Sumac Ridge. What better place for David to cut his teeth in the industry, than at this seminal Okanagan property, where Harry McWatters established his first vineyard by planting vines on what were the first few holes of his golf course! Through this experience, David worked with Sumac Ridge’s signature product –  sparkling wine – as well as still wines and developed an understanding of the BC wine industry.

Next, David moved on to Australia and New Zealand, staying true to his cool-climate roots, working at Moët Chandon in Australia’s Yarra Valley and with Villa Maria Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. Here, he worked with grapes varieties such as Pinot Noir and Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay – all highly relevant to the Ontario wine industry.

Europe was his next destination, yet life and his wife’s career intervened, so he headed to BC to work with Darryl Brooker at Cedar Creek, before moving back to Niagara. “Darryl’s approached to winemaking really affected how I look at things—always a focus on the highest quality with an honest hands-off approach, and the determination to go the distance to achieve the best results, no matter what”, tells David. 

5 years and counting…

David Stasiuk - taken by Savvy CompanyWhen David joined Rockway Vineyards 5 years ago, he combined his love for food and golf with his passion for wine.

He was given a clean slate and the opportunity to re-define the style of Rockway wines. Asked what he feels gives his wines their unique style, he focuses on two keys factors: the site and state-of-the-art equipment.

“We are located on the furthest eastern border of the Twenty Mile Bench sub-apellation. We are farther away from the lake than the bench wineries (winespeak: wineries along the Beamsville Bench), yet still benefit from the lake-effect wind and temperature modulation. Because of the way the escarpment wraps around our site, we tend to have funneling winds that promote good air flow through the grapevine canopies.” David continues, “we have diverse soils and are on a gradual slope that, with the winds, helps reduce the risk of settling frosts. Most of our vines were planted 10-30 years ago, so we have some mature vines and are focused on Chardonnay and Riesling, as well as Cabernet Franc and Syrah.”

With the winery onsite, there is minimal time from picking to processing and the winemaking equipment includes state-of-the-art cooling tanks and processing equipment.

Making wines he likes

When I asked about his philosophy and the type of experience he would like you to have when you taste his wines, David is poetic. “We try to preserve the flavours developed in our vineyards by being gentle with the fruit and not obscuring the taste of the vineyard by over oaking. I want people who taste our wines to have the same experience I look for in a wine”. David shares his personal impression, “I want to be intrigued at the first smell from the glass. I want to sense depth and layers of aromas. Then I want the wine to have life on the palate. I want it to be fresh and approachable but firm, with a distinct personality.”

Let me ask you…what more could YOU want!?!

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


‘Small Lot Block 12-110’ Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 VQA, $32.00

The fruit for this wine was hand harvested, a portion of the juice placed in a warm room to start a natural inoculant, then was tasted and added back to the barrels. The wine was aged in French oak for 7 months.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Attractive notes of butter, vanilla and toasted nut mingle with aromas of ripe orchard fruit. This dry, medium-bodied wine offers a tantalizing taste experience, showing complexity & verve with sound fruit flavours, good structure and a pleasant touch of buttery toast on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Enjoy the creamy texture  & lively acidity of this wine with roast chicken, pork or grilled salmon.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years.

 

‘The Outcast’ 2011 VQA, $19.95

Move over Shiraz/Viognier blends, David is introducing his own creation: Syrah/Riesling. It’s common practice in Australia to add 5% Viognier to Shiraz for aromatics and minerality. David in turn, is adding 5% Riesling to this northern Rhône-style Syrah for the subtle acidity and residual sugar it brings to the texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Dry, medium bodied, this unique blend has a firm structure and fresh texture, with a peppery nose, spicy floral notes and lovely red & black fruit.The spicy peppery notes mingle with a hint of earthiness and juicy ripe fruit, while a subtle note of coffee bean (resulting from the Syrah juice that spent 18 months in oak) lingers on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:Lamb is a classic pairing or enjoy with other roast meat are a perfect match.

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

 

‘Small Lot Block 11-140’ Cabernet Franc 2011 VQA $24.95

The fruit for this wine benefited from ideal ripening conditions – warm days and cool nights heading into harvest, assuring depth of flavor and smooth tannins. Fermented with a native Bordeaux yeast, then aged 18 months in French barrels.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Here’s a well-ripened Cabernet Franc offering a fine nose of spicy chocolate, lavender, dried herbs, ripe berry and plum. Dry, medium-full bodied, it has great presence on the palate, a fresh yet rich texture, well-defined structure and flavourful fruit flavours. Attractive peppery notes & a hint of mocha persist on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with Beef Bourguignon, Coq au Vin or leg of lamb.

Cellaring:  Ready now, it will cellar 3-5 years.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~


With Rockway Wild Ferment Chardonnay…

Salmon with Lemon Quinoa & Corn Salsa

From Radius Café, Hamilton Ontario
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups dried quinoa
2 lemons
6 Tbsp olive oil
½ C chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cobs corn
½ red pepper, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
4 portions fresh Atlantic salmon

Method

In 2 litres of boiling water, cook quinoa until tender, 8-10 minutes. Strain in a colander & transfer to large bowl. While it’s still hot, add zest & juice of 2 lemons & 2 Tbsp olive oil. Stir & let cool in refrigerator. Once cool, add 2 Tbsp parsley & set aside.

Husk corn & grill on high, rotating cobs until nicely charred on the outside. Stand corn upright on cutting board & run knife along cob to remove kernels. (alternatively, do the same process by boiling corn)

Transfer kernels to bowl. Add red pepper, shallot, remaining olive oil, white wine vinegar & remaining parsley. Season this corn salsa with half the salt & pepper & set aside.

Season salmon with remaining salt & pepper & brush lightly with oil. On hot grill, cook salmon for about 6 minutes per side or until moist & flakey.

Make a bed of quinoa on each plate. Lay grilled salmon on it & top with corn salsa. 


With Rockway ‘The Outcast’

Leg of Lamb with Syrah Marinade

Adapted from Cooking with BC Wine Cookbook, T & C-L Townsin
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 leg of lamb
1 cup Syrah
2 tsp minced horseradish
2 cup ketchup
2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp shallots, minced
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped

Method

David Stasiuk in cellar - taken by Savvy CompanyCombine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container. Trim excess fat from lamb and marinate overnight for best results. There should be extra marinade to be saved for later.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove lamb from marinade and sear on all sides in pan over medium high heat.

Transfer lamb to ovenproof dish, cover and roast for 45 minutes for rare or 1 hour for well done. Or grill on barbeque. Serve with baby roast potatoes and seasonal fall vegetables.

 

 

What a treat! David gave us a barrel tasting of his 2012 red wines of Syrah & Cabernet Franc. Not ready just yet, but they will be worth the wait!

 

With Rockway Cabernet Franc…

Grilled Hanger Steak with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa

From The Flavour Principle Cookbook, L. Waverman, B. Crosariol
Serves 6

Ingredients for Steak

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbp chopped garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp honey
¼ cup olive oil
one 2 lb. hanger steak
salt & freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for Salsa

3 ears corn, shucked
3 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 red pepper, cut in quarters
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
¾ cup chopped red onion

Ingredients for Dressing

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp coriander seeds
¾ tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

 

Method for Steak

Combine mustard, vinegar, thyme, garlic, chili powder & honey in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Pour marinade over steak & marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Remove steak from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat grill to high. Season steak with salt & pepper & grill for 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare (depending on thickness) or until desired degree of doneness.

Remove from grill & let rest for 5 minutes. Slice against grain & serve with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa.

Method for Salsa 

Preheat grill to high. Brush corn, tomatoes & red pepper with oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Grill corn for about 3 minutes per side or until kernels are golden. Also grill tomatoes until skin is shriveled and flesh is soft, about 2 minutes per side. Peel charred skin from tomatoes & discard; then grill peppers for about 4 minutes per side or until skin is blackened. Set aside & cool. Peel skin from pepper & discard. Dice pepper & transfer to medium bowl.

Slice corn from cobs & add to pepper with red onion.

Place tomatoes in food processor with oil, lemon juice, coriander seeds & paprika. Process until smooth. Stir in cilantro. Toss vegetables with dressing.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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