Posts Tagged ‘Niagara Wines’

Got your tickets? BC, Ont, Quebec & NS wineries are coming to town!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

The countdown to Canada150 & Ottawa2017 celebrations is on!  We’re celebrating in a BIG way this year – by showcasing wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia at our upcoming event: Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White in Ottawa on Thursday, June 22 – next week!

100% Canadian wines.  You read that right…wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia will be available for you to Taste & Buy….then have your favorites delivered to your doorstep.


Don’t miss it!  Celebrate Red & White 

Corks will be popping at this all-Canadian Taste & Buy as we celebrate winemakers who have worked incredibly hard to put our country on the world wine map. Meet these Canadian wine rockstars, taste their wines that are WOWing the world…then order your favs to enjoy at home.


It’s THE event you have been waiting for…

The #1 question we get asked: Can you buy from BC, NS & Quebec wineries as well those in Ontario?  YES you can!  Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White Taste & Buy event is all about ordering wines from BC, NS, Quebec and Ontario…then have them delivered directly to your home or office to enjoy all summer long.


Show your colours!  Buy a $80 ticket & bring a friend for FREE OR $150 for a foursome of Canadian wine lovin’ friends

Canadian cheese too!

What goes best with Canadian wines?  Canadian artisan cheese of course! Cheesemakers & our Cheese Sommelier will be serving samples of award-winning cheeses that you can buy onsite too.


Look who is coming:

From British Columbia…

Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Sperling Vineyards

From Niagara…  

Legends Estates Winery
Reif Estate Winery
The Good Earth Food & Wine Co.
Two Sisters Vineyards
Westcott Vineyards
Vieni Estates 

From Prince Edward County…

Casa-Dea Estates Winery
Huff Estates
Karlo Estates
Keint-he Winery & Vineyards
Kinsip House of Fine Distillers
Trail Estate Winery

From other corners of Ontario & Ottawa…

Copper Tree Creative Studio
Mariposa Dairy
Pure Bread Bakery
Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.
St-Albert Cheese Co-op
The Merry Dairy
Top Shelf Preserves

From Quebec…

Ferme Guy Rivest
Fromagerie Montebello
Fromagerie Nouvelle-France
Fromagerie du Presbytere
Vignoble Carone Wines

From P.E.I…

COWS Creamery

From Nova Scotia…

Gaspereau Vineyards
Jost Wines


Wine Shopping Heaven! 

At this Taste & Buy event, EVERYTHING is 100% Canadian.

Create your own combo of Canadian wines to have delivered to your home after the event. You won’t find any of the featured wines at the LCBO – the wines will be delivered straight from the winery anywhere in Canada directly to you.  AND…there’s FREE shipping on 6 or more bottles of your top picks.

Bring a picnic basket & fill it up with artisan cheeses & gourmet treats too.


TIP: Be a V.I.T!

What’s a V.I.T? A Very Important Taster.  With 100+ wines, cheeses & goodies to try, purchase your tickets then upgrade each person for an additional $25 to get a V.I.T. Pass.   

You’ll enjoy red carpet treatment with advance access from 5 to 7pm to spend more time sipping & meeting the makers.  Stay as long as you like for the main event.

Buy your Ticket & V.I.T. Pass >>


Don’t miss this all-Canadian celebration! 

Buy your tickets >>   Event Deets

DATE: Thursday June 22 – next week!
VENUE: Horticulture Building @ Lansdowne Complex in Ottawa

V.I.T. Reception – 5 to 7pm ($25 upgrade pass per person is required)
Main Event – 7 to 9pm

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY: $80 + bring a friend FREE  OR  Group of 4 people for $150
IDEA: Take the bus.  OC Transpo is FREE – simply show a printout of your ticket.


Wear Red & White…Win $50

Be a proud Canadian  – come to this Taste & Buy event dressed head to toe in red & white and we’ll automatically give you $50 off your ticket to our next Savvy Event.


Unable to make it, but want to order?

Don’t sweat it!  The Savvy Team will help you stock up on featured wines showcased at this event. Call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email us & we’ll send you the complete list of wines & online order form.  You too can get FREE shipping – your order needs to be received by midnight on Sunday June 25.


WIN TICKETS!  Go on the Savvy Scavenger Hunt…

Find this video on our Facebook or Instagram pages, then…LIKE it & POST the name of your favorite Canadian wine.  On Monday, we’ll pick 2 lucky people to receive a pair of tickets & V.I.T. Passes to join us at Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White.  It’s easy to win!  On your mark…Get Set…GO!!!


Psst…it’s Father’s Day weekend!

Yikes…totally forgot? Our #1 Father’s Day gift is a subscription to our Savvy Hip Hops beer-o-month club.

Click here to subscribe your Dad for 4 or 6 months & his fridge will auto-magically be filled with the best craft beers from a different Ontario brewery each month – bottles, growlers & cans not available at LCBO or The Beer Store.  100% guaranteed to make your Dad smile from beer to beer!


We’re hiring…

We have cool summer job opportunities for a high school or university students to work with the Savvy Team at Savvy HQ in Ottawa. We’re looking for creative & savvy students who are keen to learn about Canadian wine, artisan cheese, craft beer & cider.

Interested?  Contact us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send your resume to


Happy Birthday Canada!
Debbie & the Savvy Team


Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

Keep in touch with us…



100+ hard-to-find wines, craft beers, ciders & cheeses too!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

This is THE hottest ticket in town…and you’re invited to join us & bring a friend for FREE. We’re hosting the always popular 5th annual Outstanding in their Fields Taste & Buy event where you will meet the makers of the finest wines, craft beers & ciders from across Ontario…and gourmet artisans too!


Sip & Stock up for the holidays

On your mark….get set…Power Shop! To prep you for this special Taste & Buy night, we’ll send you the list of featured products AND our Savvy Sommeliers & Cicerones will be at the event ready to share ‘must try’ tips.

There’ll be wines of all kinds – sparkling, white, red & even port, PLUS a variety of craft beers & ciders too. You won’t find any of the featured bevvies at the LCBO or grocery stores.

Special PROMO
Buy a $70 ticket + bring a friend FREE


Look who is coming from Niagara, The County & Ottawa region too!

Amazing Wines * Aure Winery * Chateau des Charmes * County Cider Company * Fielding Estates Winery * Legends Estates Winery * Karlo Estates * KIN Vineyards * Melville Winery * Trail Estates Winery * Tuque de Broue Brewery * Veini Estates * Vineland Estates Winery …and more will be announced!


FREE Shipping

This is an OUTSTANDING offer! At this event, order 6, 12 or more bottles of ANY of your favorites & we’ll deliver by courirer to your home or office – absolutely FREE.


Event Deets

DATE: Thursday December 1st
NEW VENUE! Horticulture Building @ Lansdowne, Ottawa
V.I.T. RECEPTION: 5 to 7pm – special passes required


Shop for cheeses too

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons will be shining the spotlight on hard-to-come-by cheeses from Ontario & Quebec that we’ve featured in our Savvy Cool Curds cheese-o-month-club. You can buy your new cheesey favorites to take home for the holidays.


Get the red carpet treatment….be a V.I.T.

Buy a Very Important Taster Pass (V.I.T.) for an additional $25 & enjoy advance access from 5 to 7pm…then stay on as long as you like for the main event. Limited to 150 passes.

This OUTSTANDING event always sells out quickly.
Buy your tickets >>


Hold on!!! There’s MORE…

For the Love of Cheese

Did you know it’s Cheese Month at the Canadian Agriculture & Food Museum? We are co-hosting these cheese-y activities every Tuesday evening – join us!
Nov 15: Wine & Cheese with a TWIST
Nov 22: Holiday Cheese Boutique
Nov 29: Fondue Fest & Racelette Rendez-Vous


Email us your favorite Canadian cheese & we’ll add your name to our draw for 2 tickets to any of these events. Need some help with pickin’ cheese? Check out our monthly Curd on the Street Magazine.

A FUNdraiser not to miss…

The Canadian Nurses Foundation called on us to create Sip & Savour FUNdraising event to help raise $1 million in one year to develop educational & special health care programs that will increase the number of nurses in Indigenous communities.

Join us on November 16 at The Westin Ottawa where Executive Chef Kenton Leier will be pulling out all of the stops to prepare an incredible menu paired with fine Ontario wines. It will be a delicious night with chefs & winemakers. Only 150 tickets….and selling quickly!

Don’t miss this event. Click to get your tickets >>


See you at all of these OUTSTANDING events…
– Debbie & the Savvy Team

Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

Keep in touch with us…


Deeply rooted Sue-Ann Staff & her wines

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012


Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery

– January 2012 –

Cruise up the vine lined slopes above Jordan village, as I did last summer, and you’ll find Staff Avenue and Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery. My curiosity was piqued – what was the story behind Sue-Ann Staff’s newly opened winery, housed on her family’s historic farm? The dramatic white barn and family home come into view, a large cold-weather bell crafted in mid-1800s England gracing the entrance, ready to ring you onto the property. Exit the car and you will be greeted by a friendly, well-mannered Bernese Mountain dog named BRIX, who will lead you to the side entrance of the house. There you head into the relaxed, welcoming tasting bar that Sue-Ann and her family have set up in their farmhouse kitchen. Sue-Ann offers a warm welcome, sharing her passion for the wine, the vineyards and her family’s history.

Sue-Ann’s family emigrated from England in the late 1700s, her ancestor Robert Staff acquiring the current property over 2 centuries ago. The first vineyard was planted in 1898 by her great-grandfather comprising of 3.3 acres of Concord grapes located at the corner of Staff Avenue and 17th Street. This vineyard may be the oldest productive one in Niagara and continues to be retained by the family as a living legacy. You may in fact taste these grapes in Welch’s grape juice, as the fruit is shipped annually to the company’s processing plant in Pennsylvania. Through the generations, the Staff farming and agricultural operations have evolved. Historically, it was the largest private fruit-growing operation in Canada, with over 800 acres of grapes. And at one time, 5% of the estate was reserved for research by Jordan Wines.

Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery & Winemaker

 The prospect of a family-owned winery was often discussed at family gatherings, yet the idea became fruition one day while Sue-Ann was thinning crop with her father. ‘What are you doing?” her father asked. “I’m thinking,” replied Sue-Ann, “…I’m thinking there’s no reason I couldn’t start my own winery.” Soon after, in 2009, Sue-Ann Staff Winery opened. Sue-Ann describes the excitement as well as the terror of releasing wines under her name, aware of the significant investment she made while wondering how her wines would be received by the public. This was a fleeting moment now a couple of years later, as success has shown with several wines already sold out!

Our feature of Sue-Ann Staff Estate wines ensures Savvy subscribers have the opportunity to sample a unique selection of Sue-Ann’s wines:

      • – Staff Cabernet Franc VQA 2010the velvety, earthy laced with balsamic characteristics
      • – Megalomaniac Cabernet Frank VQA 2009 –  a BIG treat for our subscribers!
      • Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2008 – full bodied red that she made as a consulting winemaker for winery owner John Howard


Riesling Icewine VQA 2007a luscious, beautifully balanced honeyed fruit extravaganza,

– Pinot Gris VQA 2010previous vintages quickly sold out.  Given the quality of the 2010 vintage, it is anticipated that this wine will fly off the shelves

We are delighted to introduce you to Sue-Ann & her wines.  Be sure to visit the Staff farm to experience the warm welcome offered by Sue-Ann, her family & BRIX too!

Debbie & Savvy Team


From a suitcase of dirt: Konzelmann Estate Winery as October’s Winery of the Month

Posted by Susan

Thursday, September 29th, 2011



A successful restaurateur, knowledgeable about food and wine, Friederich Konzelmann was a man of foresight, always willing to try out a new idea. As demand for his homemade wines increased in his restaurants in Germany, he determined it was time to branch out into commercial winemaking creating Konzelmann Estate Winery in 1893, and a storied winemaking family was established.

Friederich was soon producing over 200,000 litres of wine, and the successful business was passed from one generation to the next. Great grandson, Herbert Konzelmann joined the family business in 1958. It continued to grow, almost doubling production levels, but as time went on, grapes became harder to source, urbanization and industry increased the demand for land, and vineyards became more expensive to acquire. As a consequence of a hunting trip to the western Canada, Herbert began planning in the early 1980’s to move Konzelmann Estate Winery to Canada. He returned to Canada – to Niagara this time – asking a real estate agent to show him some available land on the lakeshore. As the agent was regretfully stating there was no available land, Herbert noticed a peach orchard – ‘What about that?’ he said via his interpreter. Herbert took a suitcase of dirt from the intriguing orchard back to Germany for analysis.

The results showed that the combination of mineral-rich soil, available sunlight and heat units far greater than in Germany, convinced Herbert to purchase the property in Niagara and sell his operation in Germany. Similar to other entrepreneursin his family before him, Friederich was breaking new ground in the Ontario wine industry alongside with pioneers Don Ziraldo, Karl Kaiser (both from Inniskillin), Ewald Reif (Reif Estates Winery) and Joseph Pohorly (Joseph`s Wines).

We are delighted to share with you the results of Herbert’s emphasis on quality. Konzelmann Estate Winery has won hundreds of awards for its wines around the world. They were the first Canadian winery to make Wine Spectator’s Top 100 in 2008 with their highly acclaimed Vidal Ice Wine VQA 2006. More recently, the 2008 Vidal Ice Wine was awarded the Gold Best in Class at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in the UK, and the 2008 Gewürztraminer won Silver at the Ontario Wine Awards.

Your Savvy Selections offers you a combination of premium wine, well priced and outstanding quality.We are confident that you will enjoy every sip of:
Pinot Grigio Reserve VQA 2009 – alluring & silky
Four Generations Barrel-Aged Pinot Noir VQA 2007 – big spicy & plush
Four Generations Heritage 2007 – a complex full-bodied red blend
OPTIONAL WINE: Winemaster`s Barrel Aged Chardonnay VQA 2007

Your invitation to these upcoming Savvy Events

September 22-25 – Savvy Company is pleased to be organizing the food & wine events in Ottawa’s Little Italy for La Vendemmia harvest celebration. This 4 day festival is chock o block full of free and ticketed events showcasing art, wine and food . Check out the full event listing, at We will see you there!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

Konzelmann Estate Winery
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

At 74 years of age, Winemaster Herbert Konzelmann (far left) continues the family tradition of adventure and innovation, planting new varieties, experimenting with different styles of wines and, above all, continuously improving quality from one vintage to the next.

He recognizes that expectations have changed over the generations. “In the old days, there was little competition and wine was made locally using the old methods of our ancestors.” Now, with the wide range of wines available to consumers, wine purchasers expect high quality. Herbert’s focus is on German-style wines with softer structure, as his customers prefer. The acquisition of advanced equipment, the availability of precision instruments and acquired know-how contribute to the quality of the wines. In addition, he has purchased a second property inland, where the growing conditions and terroir favour the big red varietals as well as Riesling. Winemaker Eric Pearson explains, “Rieslings from this particular vineyard display more petrol notes, while those from our lakeshore vineyard are notably fruitier.”

The Winemaster’s Collection wines – in our Savvy Selection – receive particular focus, and are produced only in excellent vintages (winespeak: years). Only vines of a certain maturity are harvested for these wines, cropped to a low yield the equivalent of the fruit of 2 vines per bottle of wine. Using extended skin contact and slow fermentation, these wines offer soft tannins, balance, concentrated fruit flavours and ageability. With each sip of the wines in this month`s Savvy Selections, we anticipate that you will taste the difference.

When Herbert was looking for an assistant winemaker, he approached Eric Pearson, a bio-chem grad from Brock University who had done his thesis under the supervision of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Program and who had worked in the Konzelmann vineyard during his university years. After 2 years at Stratus, Eric was delighted with the opportunity to rejoin Konzelmann. “I love wine and I love what I’m doing. My nonno made wine and as a child I used to help him. Growing up in St. Catharines, I used to run through the vineyards with my friends having Concord grape fights – our parents weren’t too impressed!”

Since he started working with Herbert, the two of them work as a team. “Our palates are similar, which is critical in this relationship. And Eric’s education in bio-chemistry brings a unique set of skills to our partnership and to experimentation,” Herbert explains. Eric continues, “We taste together, and Herbert always asks my opinion – usually we’re very close in our assessment. And when we discuss how to create a wine stylistically, there’s good compatibility on the direction.”

Eric has grown into the position as winemaker, while he continues to work with Herbert on experiments in the vineyard and in the cellar. For instance, they are trying different techniques of crop thinning to enhance the depth of flavour of their wines while also experimenting with different aging techniques to craft the soft yet structured wines that Herbert wants to create. The 2010 vintage will no doubt offer some assistance! Eric reports, “2010 looks very promising. The aromatic whites are outstanding, and the big reds are looking really powerful. It was a good vintage right across the board.”

Looking back, Herbert explained that he moved his family to Canada was at a time when the wine industry was in its infancy stage. They arrived with ten 40 foot containers brimming over with winemaking equipment plus the family household possessions. “We took a big risk coming here. When I went to the Canadian Consulate for our visas, I explained that we were immigrating to Canada to start a winery in Niagara. The officer laughed and told me to go ahead and help make Canada famous”. Herbert smiled in reflection. “I am very glad I bought our property and have great pride that I have created wines that have helped to put Canada on the world stage.”

Herbert’s Four Generations series wines honor his ancestors, and the future is bright as his grandson returns from Germany later this summer, ready to work alongside his grandfather, just as Herbert did many years ago, to continue to build on Konzelmann’s successful foundations.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!



Pinot Grigio Reserve VQA 2009, $17.20

Produced from fruit harvested from the property located inland, this wine underwent an extensive skin soak to extract body and structure – resulting in a faint hint of peachy pink colour. The fermentation process was designed to create a satiny texture and to bring out the floral, fruity notes.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Subtle, alluring and beautifully balanced, this is a dry yet fruity mid-weight wine has loads of pineapple, spiced apple, fresh citrus and a delicate floral note. A silky texture is matched with refreshing acidity and underlying minerality, the persistent finish juicy and fruity.

Suggested Food Pairing:A versatile wine that would pair well with chicken, pork or fish, or just enjoy it on its own!

Cellaring:A great wine to enjoy now or in the next couple of years.

Four Generations Barrel-Aged Pinot Noir VQA 2007, $30.20

The focus on this wine started in the vineyard with the selection of 2 blocks right by the lake of different Pinot Noir clones which are known for delivering complementary characteristics. Longer hang time increased the depth of flavour, while an extended maceration extracted further flavour, pigmentation and structural components.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is a wine with great depth and breadth of flavour. Ruby in colour, its rich, ripe, aromatic, it’s loaded with plush spiced berries, cherries, vanilla and a subtle earthiness. Robust, powerful and satiny, it displays a masterful balance of acidity, fruit and supple tannins, offering lingering notes of dark chocolate on the finish. Wow!

Suggested Food Pairing:This wine calls for a substantial meat dish – our Savvy Sommeliers recommend beef, lamb or duck.

Four Generations Heritage VQA 2007 $25.20

A blend of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, each varietal was aged separately, with the goal to create a top-tier wine to celebrate the Konzelmann family history. After extensive barrel tasting by Herbert and Eric, the three varietal wines were combined in the proportions deemed to create the desired style, then further aged as a blend.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Full bodied and complex, this blend entices with beautifully integrated aromas – plum, cassis, spice and a wisp of smoky toasty herbal notes. Velvety on the palate, it’s plush with rich ripe dark fruit elegantly balanced with ripe tannins and defined acidity. There’s a hint of pepper and cocoa on the long warm finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:This wine would be delicious with a herb encrusted roast leg of lamb, or savour it with aged hard cheeses.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this wine will cellar for 3-5 years.

OPTIONAL WINE: Winemaster`s Barrel Aged Chardonnay VQA 2007
$14.00 (reduced from $16.00)

We couldn`t believe it when we discovered within the premium portfolio a wine that is outstanding & only $14 – a steal!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Dry, medium to full bodied, this elegant wine would be perfect to enjoy as summer rolls gently (I hope!) into fall. In the aroma and taste there are notes of warm spices, fresh baked apple pie and a hint of orange at the finish. Its creamy texture has just-enough-oak that make it an absolutely pleasant wine to enjoy.

Cellaring: Heralding from the outstanding vintage of 2007, this wine is ready to enjoy now.


With Konzelmann Pinot Grigio…

Warm Dijon Salmon Salad
Susan adapted from the original recipe that appeared Ottawa Citizen
Serves 4


2 salmon fillets, approx. 8 oz each
1 C thin green beans, trimmed
½ C toasted slivered almonds
4 C mixed greens
1 Tbsp ground white pepper, or to taste


1 tsp Dijon mustard

½ lemon, juice of
4 Tbsp olive oil

Sea salt to taste


1.Gently poach or grill salmon.


2.Meanwhile, cook beans in boiling water until bright green & tender. Drain & reserve with salmon, keeping both warm.


3.Mix dressing ingredients together. Portion greens on 4 plates and place beans, then salmon on top. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.


4.Drizzle dressing over each salad and serve.

With Konzelmann Four Generations Pinot Noir

Duck Breasts with Dried Cherries
Lucy Waverman & James Chatto, A Matter of Taste Cookbook
Serves 4


4 single boneless duck breasts (approx. 10 oz each)
2 tsp finely chopped gingerroot
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp cracked peppercorns
2 tsp cracked coriander seeds
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp granulated sugar

¼ C red wine

1 ½ C chicken stock

¼ C dried cherries

2 Tbsp butter, diced




1.Score duck at ½” intervals. Combine ginger, garlic, peppercorns & coriander seeds. Rub into duck. Place breasts skin-side down in a large cold skillet. Turn heat to medium & cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low & cook for 15 minutes, or until fat is rendered. Drain fat as it accumulates in pan. Turn duck breasts and cook 2 minutes longer.


2.Preheat oven to 400F. Place breasts skin side up on a rack in a baking pan. Roast for 7-10 minutes, or until pink. Discard fat from skillet while breasts are roasting. Increase heat to high and add vinegar & sugar. Cook for about 30 seconds or until sticky. Add wine & cook 2 minutes longer. Add stock, bring to a boil & boil for 3-4 minutes, or until sauce is thickened & reduced. Add cherries & simmer for a few minutes.


3.Remove skillet from heat & stir in butter.


4.Slice duck & serve with sauce. Enjoy!


With Konzelmann Four Generations Heritage…

Umbrian Slow-Cooked Lamb with Pecorino
Lucy Waverman & James Chatto, A Matter of Taste Cookbook
Serves 6


3 lbs. boned lamb shoulder, cut in 6-oz pieces
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves, crumbled

4 cloves garlic, sliced
½ tsp hot red pepper flakes

¼ C olive oil
1 C chopped onions

½ C red wine

1 C beef or chicken stock

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1 C grated Pecorino cheese



1.Toss lamb with rosemary, bay leaves, garlic, red pepper flakes and 2 Tbsp oil. Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally. Remove garlic & reserve

2.Pre-heat oven to 300F. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp oil in an ovenproof casserole over high heat. Brown lamb in batches for about 2 minutes per side, or until meat is a rich brown color. Remove to a plate.

3.Reduce heat to medium and add onions and reserved garlic slices to casserole. Sauté for 2 minutes. Pour in wine, scraping up any little pieces from bottom of pan. Bring to a boil. Add stock & combine well.


4.Return lamb to casserole, cover & bake for 1 hour. Uncover & continue to bake for 1 hour longer, or until meat is tender & glazed with sauce. Depending on size of casserole, sauce may reduce too much; add more stock if necessary. Sauce should be rich & slightly thickened.


5.Remove lamb & keep warm. Skim any fat from sauce. Strain sauce into a pot, pressing on any solids. Reheat & add salt & pepper if necessary.


6.Serve lamb with a little sauce. Liberally sprinkle lamb with cheese.




Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!



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

Posted by Wayne

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your invitation to Savvy Events..

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

Debbie & the Savvy Team

Angels Gate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Wayne Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers and Enjoy!


Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay VQA 2006 $23.95

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

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

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

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

Angels Gate Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2005 $19.95

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

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

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

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

Angels Red III VQA 2007 $35.00

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

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

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

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

OPTIONAL WINE: Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling VQA 2008 $19.95

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

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

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

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



With Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay…

Grilled Sweetbread and Chicken Thigh Skewers

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

Serves 4


4 chicken thighs

1.5 lbs veal sweetbreads

2 cups white wine

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp canola oil

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 cups salt water

½ cup Dijon mustard

1 tsp sea salt

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

With Angels Gate Red III…

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

Serves 8


2 lbs lean ground beef

½ lb bulk Italian Hot sausage

½ large red onion, chopped

2 Hot chili peppers

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ lb Muenster Cheese

1 egg

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste


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

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

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

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

With Angels Gate Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling….

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


1 cup butter

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 to 3 lbs raw jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 Tbsp dry sherry or white wine

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley


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

2.Add shrimps and cook until they turn pink.

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

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

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


Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!




A Virtual Winery of Real Excellence: Nyarai Cellars & Calamus Estate Winery

Posted by Derek

Monday, July 11th, 2011


If you ask Nyarai Cellars owner & winemaker Steve Byfield where his winery is located, he might tell you “Nowhere”. This might appear to be an odd response, especially when much of the wine world is focused on the concept of terroir, which is about creating wine that illustrates a place. In fact, terroir is often described as “somewhereness”. Steve’s winery indeed has a location – it is found within the walls Calamus Estate Winery in Niagara. On our winery visits, we are discovering more “virtual wineries” like Steve’s. The word “virtual” might conjure ideas of only existing in cyberspace, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, at a virtual winery, the winemaker independently grows or purchases grapes, while using the facility & equipment at an existing winery. This alleviates the large startup investment of purchasing property, vineyard & winery. The result of Nyarai Cellars is impressive wines, as you will discover in this month’s Savvy Selections.

To give you a better taste of the partnership between a virtual winery & host winery, you will find wines from Nyarai along with wines from Calamus Estate Winery. The wineries’ common thread is Steve Byfield, owner & winemaker of Nyarai Cellars while he is also the Assistant Winemaker at Calamus. This is the first time Savvy Selections is featuring two wineries side by side! You will experience the wines from Calamus where Steve has honed his talents alongside the equally accomplished winemaker, Arthur Harder, as well as the progression of Steve’s career to his own Nyarai Cellars.

For this month’s Savvy eZine, Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath talked with Steve to learn how Nyarai has changed since they were last featured in Savvy Selections in July 2009 – their first month in business!

To select the wines for this month, Derek, along with 4 other Savvy Sommeliers: Julie, Doug, Velma and Erin, sampled the finest wines from Calamus Estate Winery and Nyarai Cellars.This tasting panel is pleased to present the following wines:

·Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2010 – Steve has a growing reputation for fine Sauvignon Blancs

·Nyarai Cellars Viognier VQA 2010 – a medal winner in this year’s Ontario Wine Awards

·Calamus Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2007 – a Bordeaux blend from a remarkable vintage

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO…

With Savvy Selections, we feature wines that are not available at the LCBO. When you discover a favorite wine that you would like additional bottles of, (our tasting panel bets that you will be WOWED by Nyarai’s 2010 Viognier & will want more!), simply call or e-mail me to make arrangements and wines will be shipped to any location within Ontario – home, office or even your cottage.

Wine Tour Anyone?

As you know from the Savvy Selections wine deliveries each month, there are numerous wineries to visit. If you are looking to enjoy a weekend get away at one of Ontario’s wine regions then give us a call. Our Team of Sommeliers can help you plan a wine tour; make recommendations on wineries to visit or even accompany you on your tour. And before you go, be sure to read my blog Summer Roadtrips – Savvy tips for winery visits.

And the Savvy Team are traveling too this summer.Check our website as we might be involved in a event near you or are hosting an event for wine, artisan cheese & craft beer lovers – and we would like to meet you!

Cheers & Enjoy the summer!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

A virtual winery is one without the “sticks & bricks”: instead of purchasing land and developing a modern winemaking facility, virtual wineries lease space and capacity from existing wineries. By doing so the proprietor, who is typically the winemaker too, is able to avoid the large upfront investments in land, building and equipment required to open a winery. Virtual wineries are a relatively new breed in Canada, but their numbers are growing at home and abroad.

Steve Byfield (left) is a trail-blazer in the Ontario wine industry. He is one of the original winemakers to establish his own virtual winery. In fact, Savvy Selections launched Nyarai Cellars in 2009 & our subscribers were Steve’s first customers!

I was curious to know how things at the winery were progressing since the beginning. “So far…so great! Not only have I been able to increase production, but I also expanded my portfolio to include other grape varietals,” Steve reports. “Aromatic whites are the foundation of the Nyarai label. These elegant wines can be released to the market relatively quicker than reds and therefore these refreshing wines can be enjoyed earlier.” (Steve is a modest type, Nyarai’s reds are outstanding too.)

During our conversation, Steve also mentioned that wine lovers as well as the industry have been extremely supportive of his winery. Most notably the incredible support from Calamus Estate Winery. Steve has been Assistant Winemaker at Calamus since 2006. Familiar with the space, Derek Saunders, co-owner of Calamus leases the cellar & winemaking equipment to Steve in order to produce Nyarai wines.

The Nyarai Philosophy
A virtual winery does not necessarily have a vineyard. Steve explains that he sources his grapes from the best growers in the Niagara region. The result is wines that are a bit of a melting pot with characteristics from many locations throughout the Niagara Region.

A Favourite Grape Variety
Sauvignon Blanc is Steve’s favourite grape variety to work with because “the grape has a lot of valuable attributes and you should be able to get consistent flavour profiles year over year.”

Sauvignon Blanc is conducive to Ontario’s manic climate of cold winters and erratic hot & thunderstorm prone summers. Steve explains that the consistency of the grape allows him to demonstrate his talent as a winemaker year after year. As he describes, Nyarai’s Sauvignon Blanc is somewhere between the herbaceous “in-your-face” New Zealand style and the more subtle elegant French style from Sancerre. We are delighted to give you the opportunity to enjoy one of Steve’s signature Sauvignon Blanc wines.

An Ever Expanding Portfolio
One of Steve’s goals when he established Nyarai was to create a core portfolio of wines. Well, since Nyarai was last profiled by Savvy Selections, his portfolio has expanded from three wines to six. His Viognier has made quite an impression along with his Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Bordeaux based red blends.

The latest vintage of Viognier VQA 2010 that is included in your Savvy Selections – won the gold medal at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards under the Dry White Varietal category.

This Viognier was a hands down favorite of the Savvy Selections tasting panel too. Remember that this wine is not available at the LCBO, so you may want to consider stocking up on this impressive wine, especially for summer entertaining. Nyarai’s red wine fans are patiently waiting for the 2010 reds to be released. A Syrah as well as a Bordeaux blend are still in barrel…we are anxiously awaiting until 2012 get our hands on those.

A Winning Streak
While the Viognier took home a gold medal at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards, at the 2011 Cuvee Wine Awards – considered the Oscars of the Ontario Wine Industry –
Nyarai Cellars brought home the Best Red Assemblage award for its Veritas VQA 2007 – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.

Congratulations to Steve on these awards & keep up the great wine work at both Nyarai and Calamus.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!


Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2010, $19.75

This is not your typical Sauvignon Blanc. Steve mixed things up by adding 8% of Sauvignon Blanc that has been barrel ferment (winespeak: wine that has spent time in barrels to pick up creamier characteristics).Aging Sauvignon Blanc in barrel is a technique first created by Robert Mondavi in California known as Fumé Blanc. The result is a creamer mouth feel & tones down the zippy acidity which is characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. What do you think?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Pale straw in colour with aromas of citrus, gooseberry and melon which carry on through to the palate. The wine is dry with lower than expected acidity due to the addition of some barrel fermented wine that provides for a richer, fuller mouth feel. The finish is medium in length with lingering citrus and melon notes.

Suggested Food Pairing: A great summer sipper that would pair wonderfully with ceviche or bacon wrapped grilled scallops. The Savvy Selections tasting panel recommends a Sun-dried tomato & dill cheese cake – a simple & tasty appetizer (recipe follows).

Cellaring: This is a don’t-wait-now kind of wine, so open it up, sit back and enjoy this Ontario treasure.

Nyarai Cellars Viognier VQA 2010, $20.75

Viognier has its roots (pardon the pun!) in the Rhone Valley region of France. The varietal is making a move into the Niagara Region; however the grape is challenging to grow because it is particularly prone to many vineyard diseases. As a result, few Viognier wines are produced in the Niagara area.When you find one that you like – be sure to stock up!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:A bright pale straw colour with a subtle & enticing pink hue. The pink colour is due to the fact that half of the grapes that went into this wine were kept on the skins for 12 hours prior to pressing. The aroma is clean with youthful aromas of peach, white flowers & apricots. This dry, medium bodied wine is loaded with well-defined fruit such as peaches, apricot & lime. The alcohol is warming and the body can be considered supple & creamy.

Suggested Food Pairing: Another summer sipper or it could be paired nicely with BBQ grilled planked salmon or pasta with a gorgonzola cream sauce. We are recommending that you enjoy this wine with grilled honey-basil chicken.

Cellaring:This wine could be cellared for 6 to 12 months Chill and enjoy over the summer.

Calamus Estate Meritage VQA 2007 $27.20

A Savvy Sommelier insider tip: if you ever come across an Ontario wine from 2007, BUY IT! As we have reported in other Savvy eZines, 2007 was an excellent vintage for Ontario. The 2007 Meritage by Calamus is an example of how fruit from an exceptional vintage can be crafted by a skilled winemaker into an outstanding wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Delicious” pretty much sums up the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s impressions of this wine. Deep ruby red in colour with intense aromas of blackberry, fruit cake, clove & chocolate. This is a well structured wine with generous amounts of ripe berry fruit that cling to your palate, balanced acidity and soft-tannins. It is not surprising that this was a Bronze Medal winner at the 2010 Canadian Wine Awards. Congrats Calamus!

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine would pair nicely with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal root vegetables. Our Savvy Sommeliers recommend braised lamb shanks in a tomato red wine sauce – recipe to follow.


With Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

Sun-Dried Tomato and Dill Cheesecake
From 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics, Judith Finlayson

Serves 6


1 cup (250 mL) cracker crumbs, such as wheat thins

2 tbsp melted butter

1 package cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

½ cup coarsely copped dill

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil, drained

2 tbsp finely chopped green onion or chives

¾ cup shredded Emmenthal or Swiss cheese

Method – Crust

1.In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs and melted butter.Press mixture into the bottom of prepared dish.Place in freezer until ready to use.

Method – Cheesecake

1.In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine cream cheese and eggs. Process until smooth.Add dill, sun-dried tomatoes and green onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pulse until blended (do not over mix). Add cheese and pulse just until blended. Pour mixture over crust. Cover dish tightly with foil and secure with a string (if using a springform pan, see TIP, below)Place dish in slow cooker stoneware and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch (2.5cm) up the sides.

2.Cover and cook on High for 3 hours, or until edges are set and the centre is slightly jiggly. Remove from slow cooker and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

CHEF’S TIP: If using a springform pan, ensure that water does not seep into the cheesecake by wrapping the bottom of the pan in one large seamless piece of foil that extends up the sides and over the top. Cover the top with a single piece of foil that extends down the sides and secure with a string.

With Nyarai Cellars Viognier…

Grilled Honey-Basil Chicken

From Great Recipes of the Great Cooks, Arlene Feltman Sailhac

Serves 6


1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split and pounded to an even thickness
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup + 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
¼ cup + 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper


1.Place the chicken in a shallow glass dish.In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, honey, basil, thyme and pepper.Whisk well and pour over the chicken.Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

2.Preheat gas grill and spray the grill with nonstick vegetable spray.

3.When grill is hot, lift the chicken from the marinade and grill for about 4 minutes on each side, or until just cooed through.Do not overcook.

4.Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

5.Pour the reduced marinade over the chicken and serve with seasonable vegetables.

With Calamus Estate Winery Meritage…

Braised Lamb Shanks

Serves 4


2 large white onions, chopped
4 lamb shanks
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed

2 lemons, quartered
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper


1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.Place the onions in a layer in the bottom of a Dutch oven or medium roasting pan with a lid. Arrange the lamb shanks on top of the onions. Pour the wine, balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the lamb. Place a clove of pressed garlic next to each shank, and a quarter of a lemon on each side. Pour the tomatoes over everything, and then season with salt, pepper and basil.

3.Cover and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours. Use juices from the pan to make a nice flavorful gravy.

4.Serve with mushroom risotto and grilled zucchini.

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!