Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Life Magazine’

Malbec. Tango. Steak.

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018
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I confess.  I have a glass of big bold Malbec red wine from Argentina beside me while I write this article.  What. A. Fabulous. Place.  The wines – both red & whites.  The steak.  The landscape.  The history.  I have told everyone since my trip that if you have the opportunity, jump on a plane and GO!

Argentina holds many mysteries.  Before I embarked on this trip, I did not know what to expect. I did not expect that I would learn about the wine industry while riding horseback in the Andes Mountains.  Nor did I expect that I would be touring the wine regions in a classic Citroen ‘Slowkar’ that was nearly the same age as me! I did not expect that I would be treated like a rockstar at one of Argentina’s largest wineries – Zuccardi Valle de Uco.  I did not expect that most days breakfast with coffee would cost more than a delicious steak dinner.  I also did not expect to see couples dancing tango under a tree that has been the meeting spot in Beunos Aires for over 300 years. And never did I imagine that the blue skies would dramatically turn into a hail and rain storm that pelted down so hard that collapsed the roof in the Buenos Aires airport.  Click here to see my travel photos >>

“Come and visit me at my winery anytime”.  Those words was all that I needed.  When Jose Zuccardi, Owner & President of Familia Zuccardi invited me to his homeland over a 3 hour lunch when I met him at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, I knew that this was a business card that I was going to keep.

The name Zuccardi may ring a bell, and so it should.  Like Yellow Tail and Jacobs Creek, Zuccardi’s wine – FuZion – quickly became a household name in Canada when it WOWed everyone of its quality as well as its incredible price of $7.45.  It still to this day baffles me the economics of how a bottle of delicious Malbec-Shiraz red wine can be made in the southern hemisphere, travel the world by boat and still land in my hands for less than $8.

 

“Malbec is Argentina’s emblematic grape because it is like a friend who will never let you down” – Edgardo del Pópolo, Argonomist

 

Winemaking in Argentina has a deep-rooted history.  For over 400 years, various grape varieties were grown for domestic consumption.  In the 1960 and 1970s Malbec wine was jug wine that was considered rustic.  Winemakers focused on quantity production not quality. This all changed in the mid-1980’s when famous consulting winemakers – Paul Hobbs from California, Michel Rolland and Herve Joyaux-Fabre from Franc, Roberto Cipresso and Alberto Antonini from Italy – recognized how they could dramatically adjust the existing winemaking processes to craft fine Malbec wines that could compete on the world stage. With their Midas touch, Argentinean Malbec took the world by storm.

Wines of Argentina reports that by the turn of the 21st century, there were over 1,500 wineries. Swiftly, Argentina has become the main producer of Malbec, with vines covering with nearly 40,000 hectares, compared to its neighbour Chile with about 6,000 hectares, France 5,300, South Africa about 4,000, New Zealand 80 and California has barely 45.

This stat is particularly interesting as Malbec originally stemmed from France where it was grown as a grape typically used for blending. The name Malbec was attributed to the French ‘mal bouche’ translates to ‘bad taste’, referring to the rustic characteristics of the grape that was used in small proportions in wines with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is amazing how a ‘bad thing’ in France, eventually turned into an incredibly good fortune for Argentina.

In 1852, Malbec vines were brought to Argentina by Michel A. Pouget, a French agronomist who was hired by the Argentine government.  Less than 10 years later, the phylloxera bug decimated and destroyed the majority of the European vineyards (hit especially hard was France) and Malbec instantly disappeared.  The silver lining though is that half a world away, this grape variety was alive and flourishing. Today, with the popularity of Malbec, French winemakers are buying back Malbec vines from Argentina.

Taking a sip of my wine beside me, this Malbec wine begs for a BBQed steak, hearty stew or grilled mushrooms. Most are full bodied and heart warming – great for winters and BBQ seasons.  Winemakers in Argentina are experimenting different styles of Malbec wines to make it a wine to enjoy year round.  I have to admit, while in Argentina, temperatures soared to 38C and for me, a cold beer (not wine) was the best reprieve.

Winemakers are experimenting in every way to Malbec grapes be on everyone’s lips while they are in Argentina.  “Would you like your Malbec chilled?” we were asked at a bistro in Mendoza.  My Spanish is limited but I knew I heard the question right.  Fresh Malbec is a new style of young red wine that has not been aged in oak barrels and best enjoyed within a year.  Chilled like a white wine, this new way to drink Malbec is intended to quench the thirst as a cold beer does on a hot summer day.  “We are trying to encourage this style of wine so that people continue to drink red in heat,” explains Panos Zouboulis winemaker Bogeda Krontiras, one of the few certified biodynamic wineries in Argentina.

Visit a wine shop in Argentina, you will find shelves overflowing with Rose wines of all shades of pink made from Malbec grapes.  White, rose and red sparkling wines made with 100% Malbec are plentiful too.  This style will rapidly grow and take the world by storm with international companies such as Chandon (France), Codorniu (Spain) have established operations in Argentina and bring their talented sparkling winemakers with them.

Sweet late harvest and fortified port style wines and spirits like grappa are made with Malbec. Even Blanc de Malbec crafted by Vincentin Family Wines has turned heads when they launched in 2014 the first-of-its kind white wine made with 100% Malbec and aged in oak barrels. I would have jumped at the chance to try a white Malbec.  When you are at the LCBO or SAQ, periodically these rare Malbec wines are exported, so be on the look out!

 

Raise a glass to the rise of Malbec

Today – April 17 – is Malbec World Day.  Established in 2011 by Wines of Argentina, this is the day in the wine world when we uncork countless bottles of Argentinean Malbec wines at special wine events in over 70 cities around the world.

You can have your own Malbec celebration!  Here’s some of my top picks of Malbec wines at the LCBO:

 

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2013
$19.95

This is a classic expression of Malbec. Deep and dark in colour with violet, blueberry, blackberries aromas wafting from the glass. On your first sip, there is evidence that the wine has soft tannins, juicy black fruit, black pepper tastes with a little dark chocolate on the finish.   Uncork this Malbec to enjoy with a herb encrusted pork tenderloin or Sunday roast beef with all the trimmings.

One of the things that impressed me when I visited the winery was that they are using concrete tanks rather than the typical stainless tanks commonly used in winemaking.  And there are only a few oak barrels in the cellar….the winemaking team focuses on creating wines to bring out the natural flavours without the help of oak. That is incredible and the result is pure and outstanding.

 

BenMarco Expresivo 2014
$39.95

This wine will draw your eye to its stunning label.  A topnotch blend of 80% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Franc, loaded with fruit – pomegranate, boysenberry, ripe & juicy blackberries.

Made by one of the top female winemakers in Argentina –  Susana Balbo – this medium to full bodied red wine has a long dark chocolate and coffee finish can be enjoyed with the full range from meatloaf to prime rib.

Versado Reserva Ancient Malbec 2012
$59.95

You might think that Malbec is a wine that is typically under $25, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you splurge on this one.  A group of renown Canadian winemakers and winery owners joined forces to purchase a vineyard with plantings of 100 year old Malbec vines. Winemaker Ann Sperling (who is head winemaker at Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara & from Sperling Vineyards in British Columbia) makes incredible Malbec wines with the grapes that she has salvaged from this old vineyard.

This wine was just released. Wine writer Tony Aspler sampled a pre-release bottle and scored it an impressive 93 points: “Dense ruby colour; spicy, floral, blackberry nose with vanilla and cedar notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, ripe blackberry and blackcurrant flavours with a mineral thread and a lively spine of acidity; silky mouth-feel finishing firmly with a chocolate note.”

 

This article appeared in the March/April 2017 issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

 

Travel photos of Debbie’s trip can be seen on Savvy Company’s Facebook page – click here>>

 

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THE Coolest Canadian Gifts

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
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With a year of celebrating Canada’s 150th milestone, there are a number of nifty gifts that would make any Canadian beam with pride. Here’s a quick shopping list – and the neat part is that you don’t even have to get out of your comfy couch or battle parking lots to get them.  A few clicks is all that it takes to get your holiday shopping done.

Shake up a good cocktail

Whether vodka, gin, rye, rum or whisky is the potion of choice, there are a handful of artisan distilleries with different small batch creations that will can be easily wrapped up with a bow. Take a drive to get the taste of place or, be on the look out for these rare finds at the LCBO:

 

Add a dash or splash of this neat treat

Move over maple syrup, the grapes are coming! Typically used for icewine, Vidal and Cabernet grapes grown in Niagara are now being crushed to make a unique, one-of-kind Ice Syrup.

Drizzle on pancakes or use as a marinade or add a dash to salad dressings, Ice Syrup has unlimited uses for any cook.  You can even add a splash to a sparkling wine to make a truly Canadian Kir Royale.

$20 each at www.icesyrup.com or fine grocers.

 

Go crazy for Canadian craft beer 

Back by popular demand, the one-of-a-kind Hoppy Holiday Advent Calendar will make any beer fan smile from ear to ear.  This is the grown-up version of an advent calendar when we were kids.

Rather than filled with chocolates or toys, there are 24 hard-to-find craft beers from every corner of Ontario to create a unique assortment spanning the full gamut of styles of beer.

Check out www.savvycompany.ca/advent for price & to order.

 

 

Serve Canadian Cheese – please!

Vanessa Simmons has been called Canada’s famous Cheese Sommelier because she is knows how to put together a cheese board that will WOW.  She has made it super easy for you this holiday season by hand-picking an assortment of artisan cheeses – from across Canada – for you to give as a gift or serve at a holiday party.

Simply order her Savvy Cool Curds Holiday Pack and Vanessa will send you 5 ready-to-eat cheeses in wedges and rounds that are not available at grocery stores.

$55 plus delivery anywhere in Canada www.savvycoolcurds.ca

 

Everyone will love this book!

This coffee table book is 178 pages with the best photos, essays & stories from across Canada during our big birthday year including many memories of the Ottawa 2017 celebrations. Each page defines what it means to be Canadian.

A perfect gift for proud Canadians or to have on hand when visitors come to town.

$50 available online only – click here >> 

 

This article written by Debbie Trenholm appeared in the November-December issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

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Prost! It’s Oktoberfest

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, September 21st, 2017
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Did you know that Oktoberfest actually starts in the middle to late September and runs through to about the first week of October? It is the world’s largest Oktoberfest in Germany meaning ‘folk fest’, is a beer festival or travelling funfair. The history books stated that Oktoberfest originated in Munich, Germany on the 12th of October in 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig (later to become King Ludwig I) married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. Since then, it has become an annual festival and celebration accompanied by attractions, fun moments with old and new friends, traditional Volkfest food…..and of course a lot of German beer.

Oktoberfest attendees experience a 16 to 18 day festival loaded with amusement rides, side stalls, games, and most obviously: tons and tons of beer is consumed. In fact, in 2013, a whopping 7.7 million litres of beer were served over the 16 days. You do the math!

It isn’t solely focused on drinking beer. Food is just as important. Festival-goers enjoy traditional foods such as Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick),  Käsespätzle (cheese noodles),  along with Bavarian delicacies like Obatzda (a spicy cheese-butter spread) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

“It’s a huge fun fair and there are a bunch of food vendors who most often sell roasted chicken and shredded radish. At the beginning of the festival, there’s a huge parade where each brewery gets a float which has their first beer barrels on the back,” recounts Dave Bradly who experienced Oktoberfest and lived in Munich, Germany for 7 years. Dave now resides in Ottawa, Ontario and at this time of the year longs to be hollering “Prost!” with his friends in the beer tents.

Photo credit: InterNations Blog

The Oktoberfest experience

“Prost” is German for “cheers”. Alternatively, you could also say “Zum Wohl” (“To your health”). Oktoberfest visitors like having a toast before drinking, a so-called “Prosit”.

We asked Dave about his favourite parts and memories of Oktoberfest. “It’s beer drinking with your friends in the late summer at a beautiful location. The whole city and country come together to celebrate the beer harvest, production, and tasting. Attendees range from infants to ancients!”

On the first day of Oktoberfest, the decorated floats parade into the large fields where the beer tents are equally decorated and at the strike of noon, the first barrels are ‘cracked’ to start the celebrations.  Beer continues to flow for 18 days….

The scale of Oktoberfest is hard to imagine, Dave explains, “There are usually about 11 breweries and each brewery had a tent which was about the size of a football field. Each ‘Bierzelt’ (beer tent) has a different vibe to the next and even though they’re big name breweries, they still feel local.” The serving staff are dressed in traditional Bavarian dress and are able to carry six heavy 1 litre glasses in one hand each! Dave mentions that, “It’s a neat concept. You can go from tent to tent as you sample the different beers. The tents are filled with benches that you simply grab a spot to sit with your friends or strangers and make many new friends as you go.”

 

Celebrating Oktoberfest Locally

Oktoberfest is now celebrated all around the world. Here’s a handful of local breweries that we think are worth raising a beer stein & shouting out “Prost!”

Four Degrees Brewing Company

Just opened this summer, this craft brewery is located in Smiths Falls, Ontario. With 4 beers on tap, we thought the True North of 7 and True South of 7 would be perfect for Oktoberfest. Named for Highway 7 which runs through Ontario, extending from Quebec to Detroit.

Our Savvy Brew Crew member & Sommelier, David Loan, describes True North of 7 as “a Helles Lager, defined as a mildly sweet, low bitterness Munich-style lager with very little foam and notes of honey. Indeed, it’s slightly sweet. A perfect accompaniment to spicy food, with no bitterness, clean and easy drinking.”

True South of 7 is a red ale and has a little lacy foam on top. David describes it as a beer with “flavours of toasted wheat, caramel, and medium bitterness. Lots of sweet malt notes and light effervescence. It’s refreshing a crisp, and very sessionable!”

Photo credit: Four Degrees Brewing Company

 

 

Calabogie Brewing Co.

An hour’s drive west from Ottawa, this brewery located in the heart of the village of Calabogie three friends and an ‘imported’ brewer, opened the doors to this brewery, which has been so popular, they are expanding their production facility into Kanata this fall.

Calabogie crafts a Kölsch-Style Ale called Front Porch. Did you know that “Kölsch” is an acknowledged regional designation and only two dozen brewers can legally call their beer “Kölsch”? This is why beers like Calabogie’s 4.2% ABV (Alcohol by Volume), 32 IBU (International Bitterness Units) Front Porch are often called Kölsch-styled – to protect the designation (much like French Champagne).  This ale-like lager pours a brilliant yellow with nice aromas of lemon with a slight honey malt note. There’s a good amount of biscuit malt base in the flavour with a complimentary herbal hop note ending with crisp citrus.

Photo credit: Calabogie Brewing Co.

 


Kichesippi Beer

Brand new this summer, Commissariat Old Stock Ale celebrates a milestone birthday for one of Ottawa’s oldest cultural attractions – 100th anniversary of the Bytown Museum. Kichesippi co-owner Paul Meek, explains that the inspiration for this beer “was a style that we feel would have been enjoyed back in 1917.  The Bytown Museum is a gem hidden in plain sight in our city and we hope this beer will help bring some well deserved attention to the museum.”

Commissariat Old Stock Ale is currently available in a limited run at the Kichesippi retail store, and it will also be available at special events at the Museum especially in October when it celebrates its official birthday.

Photo credit: CanadianBeerNews

 

 

 

Tuque de Broue

Does it take a family to make a beer? Founder Nicolas Malboeuf has involved in his entre clan at the brewery…including his mom! Located in Embrum, the beers are unique and are always made with local ingredients.

Tuque Dorée Canadian Pale Ale is a flagship beer is intended to be served very well chilled. It asserts itself as a “Canadian Pale Ale”, a new term that’s still being defined. Think about it as the craft brewer’s answer to Molson Canadian! As the name suggests, this is a clear golden colour. The head is thick and foam, with great retention. There’s a lot of flavour here, lightly bitter, a bit malty, and with a silky mouthfeel. With moderate alcohol (4.5% alcohol by volume), this is a terrific session ale. Overall, a great argument for the Canadian Pale Ale style! Pick up a can at the LCBO or The Beer Store.

Photo credit: The Beer Store

 

 

Waller St. Brewing

It still holds the bragging rights as Ottawa’s smallest brewery.  And despite its size, it doubles as a speak easy too– go see it for yourself!

“Hefeweizen is a German-style wheat ale, unfiltered and cloudy from the suspended yeast. Higher temperature fermentation increases the production of the flavour molecule (called an “ester”) isoamyl acetate, which tastes strongly of bananas. As a beer flavour, it can be challenging for some people. But many people DO love it, as seen by the amount produced these days by craft breweries everywhere”, explains David.

Waller St.’s beer Hideaway Hefe lives up to its name: lager coloured, with light foam. “The banana is strong from the beginning – more like over-ripe banana or even those yellow banana candies we used to get as a kid. There’s some yeasty brioche, here, too, along with cloves and bubble gum. It’s certainly an unusual beer!”, states David.

Photo credit: Beer O’Clock Blogspot

 

 

Local Oktoberfests

 

Beau’s Oktoberfest

Friday, September 22nd and Saturday, September 23rd at Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds.
http://www.beausoktoberfest.ca/  Photo credit: Good Food Revolution

 

Captital Oktoberfest Ottawa

Wednesday, October 4th
A fundraiser for Ottawa Heart Institute organized by the Bier Markt at 156 Sparks Street.

http://donate.ottawaheart.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=2017_Oktoberfest_Home#.WZcKbT6GPIU

Creemore Springs Oktoberfest Ottawa

Thursday, September 28th to Saturday, September 30th at Myers Volkswagen Auto Haus at Clarke Fields Park in Barrhaven.
Beer, food & live music.

http://www.oktoberfestottawa.com

 

And of course…. there is always the epic Kitchener-Waterloo annual 9-day festival from October 6 to 14. Over 700,000 people make the pilgrimage to  Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival, which turns out to be the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world…to Munich that is!

The annual Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

 

The annual 9-day festival has attendance of 700,000 people – now that’s a party! It is billed as Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival, and is the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world. This event runs from October 6-14, 2017.

http://www.oktoberfest.ca

 

This article appeared in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

 

 

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I’ll raise a glass to that!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017
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Smooth.  Round.  Smells like a field of wildflowers. With descriptors like this, I bet you don’t think that I am talking about gin.  Certainly not the mass produced Heindricks or Gordons gin that is.  Rather, it is exactly how I would describe my first sip of Juniper’s Wit Gin made by Prince Edward County’s first (and only) craft distillery Kinsip House of Fine Spirits.  For fans of The County, you might jump in to correct me, “Hold on…there IS another distillery there.”  Well the big news is that the 66 Gilead distillery was the original business run by a husband & wife team, was recently sold to a sister & brother team with their spouses ready to lend a hand. Jeremiah Soucie is the proud new owner and self taught master distiller with 3 very supportive partners – his wife Sarah Waterston her brother, Michael and his wife Maria.

These two siblings see each other more than I see my own brother…and they live further away! You see, Sarah & Jeremiah live in Ottawa while Sarah’s brother Michael & his wife Maria reside in Toronto.  Both couples have 2 children of the same age: 2 & 6 years old. For years, the two families have been rendez-vousing in The County for weekend getaways and family holidays. “The County is a perfect place to meet in the middle”, acknowledged Sarah.

Their jaunts to Prince Edward County were certainly not with the intent of starting a business there – let alone a distillery. This foursome has busy lives & careers.  In Ottawa, Sarah is a pediatrician and Jeremiah is an Orange Critical Care Paramedic.  Maria is an executive in a high tech company based in Toronto. Michael is also involved in the medical field.

Despite their city addresses, both couples longed for their children to grow up in a rural environment.  And Jeremiah was exploring various avenues in The County to see where he could make a dramatic career move.  He considered being a chef.  He took a cheese making course. “It’s funny, I initially thought in terms of food not the drinks side”, Jeremiah explained in an interview for The County’s ‘Build a New Life’ site that profiles dynamic people leaving the cities for The County.  In this situation, this foursome are calling Ottawa, Toronto AND Prince Edward County home.

“Prince Edward County is a community of people who are committed to excellence of food and drink,” proudly shares Sarah.   “Now with Kinsip, we bring people together in a wonderfully welcoming and beautiful setting.”

 

Handing over the keys….

Encouraged by the craft beer explosion in Ottawa, Jeremiah got his wheels in motion to add to the craft scene with an small batch distillery.  Still in the back of his mind though, he wanted his kids to experience living in the country like he enjoyed during his childhood.  Then fate stepped in.  The owners of 66 Gilead – Sophia Pantazi and Peter Stroz – were selling their business. “They laid the ground work”, explained Sarah. “66 Gilead is the second craft distillery in Ontario.  They have been dealing with all of the uphill battles with alcohol regulators.  They have paved the roads for other craft distilleries to flourish.” Recently, North of 7 Distillery opened its doors in Ottawa and Top Shelf Distillers is established in Perth. “When the opportunity to purchase 66 Gilead presented itself, we were very fortunate for this opportunity.”  Respecting hard work of Sophia and Peter, the foursome have slightly tweaked the recipes of the portfolio and rebranded to Kinsip House of Fine Spirits to put their mark on the product. Dillon Reynolds, the distiller from 66 Gilead, continues to work his magic with the still and lives onsite to manage day-to-day operations.

Small batch vokda, gin, rye and rum remain the core of their portfolio.  Everything is distilled onsite.  They purposely use local ingredients in their concoctions including honey, maple syrup, berries, cherries and black currants. Plans are afoot to grow their own grains on the 40 acre farm. “We have found a secret spot to forage wild juniper berries for our gin.” Sarah says with a I-am-not-going-to-tell-you-anything-more smirk.

 

Bitters make cocktails even better!

While artisanal cocktails rising in popularity, handcrafted bitters are skyrocketing.  Sarah smiles as she pulls out the dozen plus bottles of bitters that Jeremiah makes to give cocktails made with his spirits added pizzazz. The combinations remind me of Baskin & Robbins ice cream flavours – Coffee Pecan, Lavender Lemon, Hibiscus Rosehip, Vanilla Rye and my personal favorite – Chilli Espresso.  Visit the distillery on the weekends and Sarah will teach you her tricks in the Mixology classes she offers onsite. All in the effort to perfect a cocktail with a splash and dash of their magic bitters.

“We came to this adventure from the love of food.  Now we taste together and celebrate life together around the table,” shares Sarah.

Now you have YET another reason to hit the road this summer bound for The County.

 

Travel Info:

Kinsip House of Fine Spirits
66 Gilead Road, located outside of village of Bloomfield
(613) 393-1890
Tasting Room is open from Thursday to Monday 10am – 5pm
www.kinsip.ca

 

 

~ Gin Cocktail Recipe ~

Lit Wit

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 ounces of Kinsip Juniper’s Wit Gin
1 long cucumber
1 ounce of Simple syrup
4 oz. sparkling wine (Preferably from The County!)
Kinsip Lemon Lavender Bitters

 

Method

Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin ribbons from cucumber.

Cut 6″ of cucumber into small pieces. Muddle in a cocktail shaker, then add gin and simple syrup and fill shaker with ice. Shake and strain into 2 ice-filled rocks glasses or large wine glasses.

Top each with 4 oz. of sparkling wine, garnish with 3 cucumber ribbons and gently stir together. Apply 2-3 drops of bitters to the top and serve.

 

 

~ Tasting Notes ~

Kinsip’s Duck Island Rum

Impression from a Rum Fan: A heavy caramel nose laced with citrus overtones when served warmed & no ice. Very light initially on the tongue with gentle vanilla and molasses, it matures to a more robust navy rum feel in the mouth. All the citrus colours and dripping sugars running out to join the party with some hot buttered toast! Delightful sweet and salty finish that lingers pleasantly. When ice is added, the melted water allows more molasses type flavours out in a rounder finish while giving the sip a pleasant maple syrup length. Stunning

 

 

Crimson Rye Whisky

Impression from a Scotch Drinker: Unusually dark.  When poured neat & rolled in the hand, it liberates an intense smokiness reminiscent of Highland peaty malts. When rolled in the mouth, it opens to a wonderful wide palette of flavours, interestingly dried grapes come to mind with characteristics of ice wine (without the sweetness) or Amarone wine. A drier finish than expected but standout good and different. When ice is added, the character shifts delightfully in to something altogether more playful. Some brandy-esque notes are released also allowing am almost port like first taste on the tip of the tongue. This mellows beautifully to sweeter sugars and a light smokiness. Very pleasant.

 

This article appeared in the Ottawa Life Magazine – May/June 2017 issue

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Gotta give these gifts!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
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I visited ‘the mall’ in hopes that I would find a long list of ‘must buy’ gifts for this article. After 2 fruitless hours, I am back at my screen now shopping online. What to get? What to give? This is the never ending question as the holiday season ramps up. Is it getting harder to find a gift for those hard-to-buy-for-people on your list? I agree!

Drumroll please…here are my top gifts for 2016. Hopefully by the time you read this they are not all sold out!

 

For the Foodie…

GIFT IDEA: Spice of the Month Club

spice-clubThe brainchild of Jodi Samis, owner of Cardamon and Cloves mails to you on the 15th of each month an assortment of three different freshly ground spice blends along with recipes using each spice. Each package includes recipes for the featured spices. Three month subscription ($8 per month), six months ($7.50 per month) and 12 months ($7 per month). http://cardamomandcloves.com/monthly-spice-subscription

 

ottawa-cooksFor the Cook…

GIFT IDEA: Ottawa Cooks

They may already have stacks of cookbooks, but the hottest new cookbook in town is Ottawa Cooks written by food writer and restaurant critic Ann DesBrisay. This stunning cookbook is a testament that Ottawa has talented chefs with varying styles of cuisine. Each of the 41 chefs provided two recipes that have been tested by Ann, her sisters and friends in their home kitchen to make sure that all secrets have been revealed.

This book is worth picking up to see how Supply & Demand Food & Raw Bar makes their famous Kale Salad that I always order! Purchase at the featured restaurants, book shops and online.

 

scotchFor any Whisky Lover …

GIFT IDEA: Lagavulin 8 year old Single Malt

To commemorate its 200th anniversary, Lagavulin has released a limited edition 8 year old single malt. Never been done before – look for it at the LCBO $99 for 750mL bottle.

This just-released whisky commemorates Alfred Barnard, the first ever whisky journalist back in the late 1800s. The lore is that he sampled an 8 year old Lagavulin during a visit to Islay, Scotland. He described it as ‘exceptionally fine’ and went on the declare Lagavulin to be ‘one of the rare distilleries that could produce single malt of quality.’

Remarkably a pale colour with easy drinking personality, soothing texture and well balanced. A combination of apricot with smoke, then hints of dark chocolate, mint & sea salt with each sip. Dry & light, it is a whisky that any beginner or collector would enjoy to receive as a gift under the tree.

 

december-vintagesFor the Wine Lover …

GIFT IDEA: Assortment of Sommelier taste tested wines.

The LCBO stocks their shelves extra high during the holiday season. Mesmerized by all of the bottles, it is far too easy to pick up a pre-made gift pack. Instead, buy wines recommended in our If I had a $100, I would buy at Vintages’ blog. This shopping list has our Savvy Sommeliers’ top picks after tasting countless bottles before they go on the shelves in Vintages. Grab a basket, cool tote or a wooden crate and pack up your picks. TIP: periodically Vintages has used wooden crates at the cash for $5 (that will be donated to a local charity).

The latest list of our top picks is at savvycompany.ca/category/if-i-only-had-100/

 

savvy_coolcurds_ColourFor the Cheese Lover…

GIFT IDEA: Cheese of the Month Club

This is a gift that is guaranteed to bring a smile to their face. Like wine and beer clubs, the monthly deliveries contain chunks, wedges and rounds of artisan cheeses that are not readily available at grocery stores. There are two cheese clubs to consider:

Jacobson’s Fine Foods features cheeses from around the world and delivers them to homes in Ottawa. www.jacobsons.ca/products/cheese-of-the-month Subscription is $60 per month plus delivery

Savvy Cool Curds offers monthly subscriptions or one-off shipments containing a variety of Canadian artisan cheeses. To be delivered to a home or work address across Canada. www.savvycoolcurds.ca  Holiday subscription special $55 per month plus delivery

 

For the Entire Family…

GIFT IDEA: Museum Membership

experimental-farm

Did you know that Ottawa has a museum all about food? Located on the Experimental Farm, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum has neat exhibits, special events and family activities year round. In November they are hosting “For the Love of Cheese” with special programming for all ages. In addition, food themed events and exhibits include Baconpalooza, Taking Care of Beesness, A Piece of Cake & Food Preservation an countless hands on kids weekend programs, this museum is one of the city’s best kept secrets. Family membership starts at $90 & includes membership to Canada Science & Technology Museum as well as Canada Aviation & Space Museum!

 

Now let’s get shopping.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Savvy Company!

 

This article appears in the November – December 2016 issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

 

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Cheers to Cool Craft Ciders!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
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There was a buzz this summer that was different from other summers.  It was the buzz about craft cider. Now available at grocery stores, the LCBO stocked shelves wide and high with different styles by local cider makers, and neat new ciders were taking over taps at restaurants.  No longer is the alternative for those who are not partial to wine or beer, craft cider becoming the new discovery for everyone.

Move over Somserby & Strongbow you have company. The Canadian hard cider industry has been growing since 1990s.  In the past 2-3 years, the market has exploded. The Ontario Craft Cider Organization (OCCA) says the demand for Ontario ciders has grown upwards of 60%.  Since 2013 and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) recently reported that Ontario cider sales have more than quadrupled over the last three years.Savvy_in-cider - cropped

Adding to that, this summer saw 60 Loblaw stores in Ontario who added ciders to their fridges that have recently been stocked with craft beer.

“With Loblaw’s commitment to Ontario Craft Cider products they are supporting not only the Ontario Craft Cider makers, but the Ontario farmers who grow the apples we use,” said Thomas Wilson, Chair of the OCCA. 

A research study conducted by The George Morris Centre at the University of Toronto projected that Ontario craft ciders have the potential to be a $35-million industry by 2018. Mark my word, the buzz will be getting louder.

Cideries are cropping up everywhere.  County Cider is the largest cidermaker near Ottawa.  “The County Cider Company was established in 1996.  Since then, the craft cider industry has exploded. We pride ourselves in growing our own apple cider varieties now create a unique range of ciders from  Traditional English Style Dry to sweeter flavoured ciders”, explains Jenifer Dean co-owner of County Cider Company located in Prince Edward County. 

And wineries are getting into it too.  Lighthall Vineyards in Prince Edward County, along with Tawse Winery, Ravine Vineyard and Vieni Estates in Niagara have all added hard apple cider alongside with their wine portfolio.  

 

So many ciders, where to start? 

With the dizzying abundance of craft ciders, it is only natural as a Sommelier, to dive in and discover all of the different styles and flavours. Classic hard apple cider, peach, pear and berry flavoured, even root beer cider, there is definitely a cider that will quench your thirst.  I discovered that we are on the brink of 100 different ciders made in Ontario.  With so many and so little time, Savvy Company has launched In-Cider Picks, a different assortment of Ontario made ciders each month during the summer that is delivered to your deck or dock.  This trumps going to the LCBO or the grocery store. Savvy Sommeliers have taken the guess work out of which of the many ciders to buy & hand delivering the best bottles for you.  If you missed In-Cider Picks this summer, be on the lookout for it next year!

“Making hard apple cider is a new venture for Tawse Winery. Savvy’s In-Cider Picks is an excellent way for our small batch craft cider get into the glasses of Ontario cider enthusiasts”, beams Paul Pender, principal winemaker for Tawse Winery.

This is not just a summer fling with cider, the buzz will continue year round. Here are some to give a try when you see them on the store shelves or call Savvy Company 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to arrange for your special delivery.

 

~ 3 craft ciders you must try ~

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County Cider Blood Orange

Inspired during a trip to Normandy, France, this is a hard apple cider blended with blood orange juice and essences.  

An eye catching orange Lifesaver colour that looks more like a cocktail than cider. Each sip has refreshing tastes of mandarin with a tangy acidity like Starburst candy. Warning: you’ll want more than just one glass of this cider.     

Price: $6.90 (500mL bottle)

 

 

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Tortured Path Cider

For die-hard cider fans. Always quick to sell out at County Cider Co. shop in Prince Edward County, this is made in a Traditional British Dry Style made with bittersharp and bittersweet apple varieties that has been blended in with Gold Russet apples grown on farm. Bone dry with mineral tastes with constant stream of bubbles that your glass could be mistaken for French Champagne.

Price $7.95 (500mL bottle)

 

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Tawse Bottle Fermented Cider

Just released in July from a winery who has been named ‘Winery of the Year’ for the past 4 years by WineAlign, this vraft cider is their first foray expanding beyond winemaking.

Un-filtered and unpasteurized, this cider was aged on the lees (in contact with the yeast) to give it a complex and rich taste. Each sip will remind you of fresh-out-of-the- over homemade apple pie. Absolutely delicious.

Price: $14.95 (750mL bottle)

 

What to serve with craft cider?

Just like wine, the taste of craft cider can be augmented with certain foods.  Our Sommeliers would recommend to select foods that would not overpower the flavours found in the cider, so save the steak to enjoy with red wine and serve cider with steam seafood, grilled salmon, sushi, pork chops, salads loaded with fresh garden vegetables or hard cheeses, popcorn & kale chips….or simply on its own!

 

This article will appear in the 2016 fall issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

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Beat the heat bevvies

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 11th, 2016
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Question: What drink make you think of summer?

A) Refreshing Rosé
B) Mouth-watering Cider
C) Cold Radler Beer
D) Big bold Cabernet
E) Fruity Sangria
F) All of the above!

This is a multiple choice quiz that none of us can get wrong! With more sun-filled days, long weekends and lazy afternoons lounging on your deck or dock, summer brings more time to relax & unwind with a glass in your favorite beat-the-heat bevvy.

To help you shift from winter warming drinks to summer sippers, here are some tips from our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew:

 

Fielding RoseFielding Estate Rosé VQA 2015

from: Niagara, Ontario

Nothing says summer like a glass of chilled Rosé wine. There are plenty to choose from all parts of the world, ranging in colour from a hint-of-pink to bright candy floss. With a sip, you will discover tastes from bone dry to a touch of sweetness.   To tip you off on just one Rosé to buy is difficult. When the Savvy Sommeliers got together for our spring kick-off, we were impressed with Fielding’s Rosé wine. A soft pink colour with aromas and tastes that will remind you of ripe strawberries and rhubarb. It’s a lovely wine that will be delicious with fish (poached or grilled), prosciutto wrapped asparagus, lemon roasted chicken, corn chowder or even a summer salad.

$15.95 per bottle available at the LCBO all summer long.

County Cider Pear bottle shotCounty Cider Co. Pear Cider

from: Prince Edward County, Ontario

County Cider Company is a family-run operation that has been crafting ciders in The County since 1995 – long before the region became known for its wines. The Pear Cider was inspired when the cidery owners Jenifer & Grant Howes visited Normandy, France – an area renowned for Cavardos (Pear and Apple Brandy). For this summer sipper, pear juice has been blended with carefully selected apple cider – for a dry, delicious quench thirsting summer drink.

$7.95 per bottle – available when you visit The County this summer or contact Savvy Company to deliver some to your doorstep.

radler-can_2048x2048Kichesippi Brewery Radler

from Ottawa, Ontario

Last summer, it seemed that every craft brewery was making a Radler! They are not a new creation, rather a resurgence of a summertime beer that was first introduced in Deisenhofen, Germany back in 1922. Intentionally made to be lower in alcohol (typically 3%), this is a great beer to enjoy during lunch on the patio, or to pop into your panier to quench your thirst during a bike ride. Kichesippi’s Radler is a blend of their lager with grapefruit soda. Be sure to try plenty of Radlers this summer to find your favorite.

$2.85 per can – available at the LCBO throughout Ottawa only for the summer.

 

13th Street Meritage13th Street Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2012

from Twenty Valley (Niagara), Ontario

A powerhouse red blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot & 33% Cabernet Franc. Get out your largest wine glasses as this BIG red wine is begging to be served with anything off the BBQ. Think thick steak, lamb chops, spicy sausages with loads of fresh grilled veggies. A very special wine as only 220 cases were made. Every sip will remind you of black cherry, dark chocolate , black plum with a dash of fresh ground pepper and warm spices (think cloves, Chinese 5 Spice & steak spice). At $34.95 per bottle, this extra special wine is only available when you visit the winery this summer. Alternatively, subscribe to Savvy Selections wine-o-month club & the wine will auto-magically arrive at your home or office.

 Summer won’t last forever, so mix it up with a pitcher of sangria. Whether you make it with red wine or take a new approach and use white wine, this fruit ladened cocktail make your summertime Happy Hour, even happier!

 

Debbie’s Secret recipe for Sangria

from Debbie’s kitchen to yours…

Photo from www.goodtaste.tv

Makes 1 large pitchersangria-3

1 bottle of red wine (select something under $18…afterall you will be adding fruit to it!)
10 to 15 strawberries, sliced
A handful of blackberries
1 lemon, sliced & quartered
1 lime, sliced & halved
1 orange, sliced & quartered
½ of a tin of frozen Five Alive juice concentrate
½ to a full can of Club Soda or 7-Up (optional – if you want a little spritz to your sangria. 7-Up will make your sangria sweeter.)

Place fruit into a large pitcher or jug. Pour in Five Alive concentrate, club soda or 7-Up (if using). Fill with red wine. Stir until well mixed. Chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving to let the fruit marinate. Pour into a tall glass with lots of ice. Garnish with a slice of fruit on the rim. Enjoy.

 

Love Rosé wines? You’ll love this…

bouquet-of-rosesWe make it easy to Clink & Drink Pink! Each month throughout the summer, our Savvy Sommeliers will select a different assortment of six Rosé wines from across Ontario. These are extra special as you won’t find them at the LCBO.

Order a small bouquet (a parcel of 6 different Rosé wines) or a full bouquet (a parcel containing 12 bottles – 2 of each of the featured Rosé wines).

There is a different bouquet of Rosés each month!

Next to the taste, the best part of this new way to buy hard-to-find rosé wines is free shipping.

Order yours or give as a gift at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

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 It Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 8th, 2016
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cheese-board-slider

Are you often mesmerized by the number of different cheeses? There are so many interesting wedges and rounds that it is hard to know where to start. In the latest issue of Ottawa Life Magazine, our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons advises, “Try it all! Good cheese shops in town will offer you a small slice to sample.”

And you don’t have to look farther than our own backyard for artisan cheese that rivals any around the globe. A few months ago, Glengarry Fine Cheese located in Alexandria (35 minutes from downtown Ottawa) was awarded Best of Show for its Celtic Blue Reserve at the 2015 American Cheese Society Awards. In November at the World Cheese Awards, Prince Edward Island’s Cow’s Creamery won Super Gold in the Vintage Cheddar category for its Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. To add to this high acclaim, this unique cheddar was named one of the top 16 cheeses in the world.

Spend your time searching for good cheese

Like wine and craft beer, not everything that the cheesemaker creates is readily available at your local grocery store. Farm Boy, Whole Foods, Metro and some Loblaws locations all have decent Canadian cheese selection. Specialty stores like Jacobsons (New Edinburgh), Nicastro’s (Westboro & downtown), Serious Cheese (Kanata) and The Piggy Market (Westboro) have even a greater selection of hard-to-come-by artisan cheeses.

CoolCurds_mail-2Or…have it delivered to your door!

Rather than running around all these stores, you can have cheese delivered. There is a new ‘whey’ to discover artisan cheeses made across Canada…subscribing to Savvy Cool Curds artisan cheese-of-the-month club. “It is our way of forging a connection between the dynamic people who make artisan cheeses and the consumers who enjoy it at home”, explains Simmons. Each month a different Canadian cheesemaker is showcased and Simmons curates 4 to 5 different cheeses in a parcel that is delivered to the subscriber’s home or office. “To add to the enjoyment of each bite of cheese, I share the stories behind the uber-talented, passionate, creative and often eclectic cheesemakers. Each person has an interesting story that makes their cheese even richer.”

Meet Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons

Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese SommelierThere is no one better suited than Vanessa Simmons to select the best in Canadian cheese to discover each month. Savvy Cool Curds is hands-down a great idea. I see it each year at our festival, consumers want local…they want Canadian!” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

What’s in the box?

Every month subscribers will receive a parcel hand-delivered containing 4 to 5 different wedges and rounds between 200 to 250 grams each. The assortment of farmstead and artisan cheeses are at their peak ripeness and ready to simply be unwrapped and served. From fresh to washed or aged, made using  cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and on occasion – buffalo milk; all told, the parcel will be approximately 1 kilogram of delicious Canadian artisan cheese.

Coming soon

Cheese lovers will be in heaven when their monthly parcel arrives from these cheesemakers: Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Cow’s Creamery (PEI), Back Forty Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères (Quebec), and new on the scene in Prince Edward County Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy (Ontario). And that is just the beginning.

To top it all off, in each issue of the monthly Curd On The Street Magazine, Simmons’ shares her tasting notes, tips & tricks, along with cheese-laden recipes.

Seriously…Canadian artisan cheese delivered to your doorstep. Does life get any better than this?

 

This article will appear in the Feb/March 2016 Ottawa Life Magazine

 

 

 

 

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Have you tried this AMAZING wine?

Posted by Debbie

Sunday, September 20th, 2015
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Amazing Wine labelHave you ever had a glass of amazing wine? A wine that is so remarkable that it sends you to a place, a memory or even triggers an emotion. Now there is another amazing wine that you should put on your ‘must try list’. The name is easy to remember: Amazing Wine.

It is truly amazing for several reasons – it is a quality wine made in Ontario, it is less than $15 AND with each bottle purchased, $1 dollar is donated to charities that send young people from Ottawa to help build schools around the world.

Amazing PeopleKimothy Walker

This amazing initiative is the brainchild of Kimothy Walker. During her 25 year career at CTV Ottawa anchor of the Weekend News and reporter for News at 6, Walker was continuously interviewing incredible people in the city, “I wanted to create a way to share the positive stories about the generous work that these inspirational people were doing – right here in Ottawa.” It took only a matter of seconds for the news director at CTV to create Amazing People – a special segment every Thursday evening profiling a different person and their amazing story.

JonTamJonathan Tam was one of the first Amazing People profiled. A successful businessman who sold everything to devote his time to SchoolBOX – a not-for-profit organization based in Almonte that builds schools in Nicaragua. “People like Jon deserve more than just 8 minutes of airtime for the hours that they devote to their community,” commented Eric Collard, Eric CollardWalker’s friend and partner in the newly formed Ottawa Media Group.

“I wanted to extend the brightness of the spotlight with a gala and celebrate them.” Without hesitation, Walker and Collard along with the help of friends organized the first Amazing People Gala in 2011 which was intended to be a small event to support SchoolBOX. The Amazing People Gala exploded to 550 people raising over $50,000.

The money raised goes towards Ottawa-area teenagers who will learn about their ability to make a difference.  Over the past few years, two groups have travelled to Nicaragua where they were involved in building schools and interacting with communities.  They learned to be leaders and experience first-hand their impact on the world.

SchoolBOX logo“Amazing People is a celebration of the human spirit”, radiates Walker. “People want to be part of something – a movement – that is positive. Thousands of CTV viewers vote for the Amazing People to be honoured at the Gala.“ Now in its fourth year, the Amazing People Gala will be hosted on Saturday October 24 at the Delta Ottawa Hotel. The goal is to raise $150,000 this year for SchoolBOX as well as well as other charities associated to Amazing People who have been profiled.

Toast Amazing People with a glass of Amazing Wine

Breaking away from the normal process of contacting wineries for donated wine for their event, the Amazing People Gala organizing team took the approach of creating the Amazing Wine product line. Château des Charmes Estates Winery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake was thrilled to be asked to create Amazing Wine. “We liked the positive vibe of all those involved in Amazing People and wanted to be a part of this Ottawa event,” explained Michele Bosc, Marketing Director at Château des Charmes. “Selling the Amazing Wine at our Ottawa store is a natural fit as it makes it easy for anyone to pick up a bottle or a case of the special wine any day of the week.”The winery will donate $1 for every bottle of the white and red wines to the Amazing People charities.

Peggy & DevlinHERA Mission logoAmazing Wine is now my house wine. Clients, family, friends and neighbours will be getting bottles of these wines for their birthday and for Christmas. ” states Peggy Taillon, founder of the Hera Mission of Canada for her dedication to supporting orphans in Kenya. Taillon was named the 2011 Amazing Person and her charity is a recipient of this year’s fundraising efforts. Guest charities who are benefiting are Ryan’s WellMiracle League and Project North as their founders have been honoured as Amazing People.

Make Amazing Wine your house wine!

Buy at Château des Charmes store located at 407 Laurier Ave West (next to Minto Suites Hotel), or order it online at www.amazingwine.ca or call Savvy Company 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).

 

Amazing Wines Tasting Notes

Amazing Wine bottles Sept 20152013 Chardonnay

Delicious tastes of apple, pear and warm spices fill the glass. Aged in French oak barrels to create a medium bodied smooth and crisp wine that will complement many foods from roasted chicken to a seafood feast….or simply enjoyed while unwinding with friends.

2012 Cabernet Franc

Stunning red in colour with juicy tastes of red plums, raspberry and blackberry laced with a hint of smoke and ground pepper. This is a medium bodied wine ready for anything off the BBQ, gourmet pizza, hearty stew…oropen when friends drop by.

Dance the night away

amazing Gala 2014 picJoin us at this year’s Amazing People Gala. Tickets are still available but they’re selling fast!

Mark your calendars and save the date, as we are celebrating some of Ottawa’s most Amazing People Saturday, October 24, 2015 at the Delta Ottawa City CentreThe Amazing People Gala Committee has been hard at work organizing this year’s event. They will pull out all stops to make sure that it is the biggest, most exciting and inspirational Amazing People Gala to date!

Be prepared for an evening full of laughter, tears and inspirational stories surrounded by  Amazing People and inspirational leaders from the Ottawa Area.  Past Amazing People galas have included incredible flash mobs, incredible singing and crowded dance floors.  The focus for this gala is about celebrating the human spirit and having fun.

You can learn more about Hera Mission of Canada and SchoolBOX by visiting their websites.

 

You don’t even have to get up from your chair to order these wines!
Click & order >>

 

This article was written by Accredited Sommelier Debbie Trenholm and published in the Fall issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

 

 

 

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DIY Wine Tasting – tips from our Sommeliers

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
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Have you been renovating all winter? Show off your new digs by having friends and neighbours over for a do-it-yourself wine tasting?  It does not need to be an overly grand production, rather a novel ‘reason’ to have people over to ooh and ahhh about your handy work.

Like hiring a designer or contractor, you can call on a Sommelier (check out our 17 Savvy Sommeliers who are there to help you) to take care of all the details and work with a caterer to prepare a menu paired with each wine.   Here’s our tips & trick on hosting your own wine tasting:

Savvy Company - GiancarloStep 1 – It’s all about the experience

Depending on how formal and structured you would like the experience to be, a wine tasting can be conducted at a large dining room table with rows of wine glasses waiting to be sampled.  For a more casual experience, try a reception style in your family room, but the reality is that everyone may end up in the kitchen. This way they can help themselves to a table full of different wines and platters of hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening.

Step 2 – What’s your theme?

Your wine tasting event can focus on exploring wines of a certain country or region or can examine one type of wine such as Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnays from various wine regions around the world.

The top 5 themes for wine tastings that our Savvy Sommeliers design & host are:

A Trip Around the World in 5 Glasses
Cheese, Chocolate & Wine!
An Endless Night of Bubbles! (showcasing different styles of sparkling wines)
Passionate about Pinot (featuring Pinot Gris & Pinot Noirs from around the world)
Be Adventurous – wines under $20 you’ve never tried

Step 3 – Wine shopping made simpleCathy Law with glasses

With your theme in mind, now comes the fun part of selecting the wines.  Here are tips from the pros at Savvy Company:

Welcome your guests into your newly-renovated home with a glass of sparkling wine.  The popping of the cork sets the mood for a party (watch that it does not spray onto your freshly-painted walls or hit the ceiling!) and a glass of bubbly cleanses and refreshes your palette, preparing it for the evening ahead of delicious wines and foods.

Feature 5 to 7 wines as too many wines will ‘numb’ your palette. Each sampling of wine should be approximately two ounces (about one inch in an ISO wine tasting glass…more about glasses below).  This equates to serving 10 people per bottle of wine.

Step 4 – What about food?

Wine is made to be enjoyed with food.  At a minimum, offer your guests sliced baguettes and water crackers to cleanse & refresh their palettes between wines.  To augment the food selection, have an artisan cheese board with an assortment of hard, soft and blue veined cheeses.  Go a step further and enhance the wine and food experience by pairing each wine with hors d’oeuvres.

Tip from the pros:  leave pickles, dips & vegetable sticks for another party and serve foods like grilled vegetables, hearty meatballs, chicken satay, roasted nuts & olives …and don’t forget cheese!

Now…Let the fun begin!

Savvy Company - AmandaEnjoying wine engages all of your senses.    There are no rules to wine tasting as everyone’s impression is personal and this makes for interesting conversation. I always say, “Wine tasting is as easy as eyes, nose and mouth.” With each wine, take note of the colour (eyes), the aromas (nose) and the flavours (mouth).

Let’s taste a wine together… Pour approximately two ounces into your wine glass.

Eyes…

Tilt the glass 45 degrees away from you, using a white tablecloth as the backdrop and notice:

The colour and clarity of the wine. 

What colour does it remind you of:
Whites – pale straw or golden
Rosés – cotton candy pink, salmon or terracotta
Reds – garnet, fire engine red, cherry, purple, ink or opaque 

Nose…

Aromas or bouquet, however you call it, Sommelier pros suggest to hold the ISO tasting glass by the stem, swirl the wine in a steady circular motion to introduce air into the wine to release the aromas.

What does the wine smell like? 

Basic descriptors are:
Sparkling wines – nutty, refreshing, crisp
White wines – dry, floral, citrus, tropical fruit, pineapple, pears, apples
Reds – cherry, strawberry, blackberry, earthy, vanilla, leather, dried fruit

Mouth….

And now to taste! Take a sip, chew the wine (as if it were mouthwash) to coat your entire mouth.

Take note:
Is the wine light, medium or full bodied?
Does the wine taste the same as it smells?
Do the flavours linger or disappear?
Try each wine with food and note how the food changes your enjoyment of the wine.

Repeat…Repeat…Repeat!

After an evening of swirling, sipping and perhaps spitting, it is no wonder that a wine tasting is a fun way to explore the world of wines as well as socializing in your newly renovated home.

 

Tools of the trade

ISO wine tasting glasses: These tulip shaped glasses (right) allow you to easily swirl 2 ounces of wine and the narrow rim captures the aromas.  ISO glassesFor a formal tasting, one glass per featured wine is needed per person, or a casual cocktail style event requires one glass per person to re-use throughout the event.

White tablecloth:  drape your table with a basic white tablecloth so that your guests can use it white background to really see the colour of the wines

Pitcher of Water: for rinsing the glasses and refreshing your palette in between wines

Spitoon or bucket: used to empty unwanted wine and rinsing water.

Don’t forget the corkscrew!

 

Savvy Company - ShawnLet the experts do it for you!

If you are DIY-ed out and want a Sommelier to design and organize a fun wine event in your home, call on our Savvy Sommeliers us anytime 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).

Or join us at our Taste & Buy events to sip and sample Ontario wines which are not available at the LCBO.

Next event: County in the Capital – Wednesday April 8th- featuring hard-to-find wines, craft beers & ciders from Prince Edward County. Tickets $65 + bring a friend for $1.  Buy your tickets quickly – this event will sell out fast!>>

Cheers!
Debbie

 

This article appears in the ‘Spaces’ issue of Ottawa Life Magazine – March/April 2015

 

 

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