Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Wine & Food Festival’

Raise a glass – it’s the holidays!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
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Is your calendar overflowing with holiday parties all across town? Or are you going to host your own soiree for neighbours & friends this year?  However you deck the halls, here are some savvy tips & recipes that will make your season bright

Pop the corks!

wine_tasting_sparklingI always like to serve bubbly when the guests arrive.  In fact, you will notice that we always do this at every Savvy Event. The sound of popping corks sets the mood and the rush of bubbly wine overflowing the flute glasses easily brings on a smile. Sparkling wine is fun and you don’t need to break the bank by serving fine French Champagne either.  Here are some Ontario sparkling wines to have in the fridge for any occasion during the holidays:

Casa Dea Cuvee Rosé $17.95 – a glass of this dry bubbly from Prince Edward County adds WOW power with its gorgeous pink colour.  Available directly from the winery or make it a reason for a getaway to The County!

Palatine Hills Estates Prestige Sparkling $20.00 – a crisp, dry bubbly from Niagara-on-the-Lake that won gold at this year’s Ottawa Wine Challenge – the wine competition associated to the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival. Look for it in Vintages at the LCBO.

Serve up Seasonal Sparkling Sippers…

Both of these sparkling wines are ideal (and the right price) to make into cocktails with a holiday flare.

SOMMELIER TIP: serve bowls of potato (Ms Vickies is my favorite) or vegetable chips laced with sea salt for your guests.  The salt magically reacts with the bubbles of the sparkling wine making it feel like fireworks in your mouth!

Sparkling Red Poinsettia Cocktail

Makes 8-10 glasses
Ingredients
1 bottle of chilled sparkling wine – either white or rosé
½ cup (125 mL) of either Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, chilled
1 cup (500mL) cranberry juice, chilled

To make the cocktail…
Mix all ingredients together in a jug and pour into champagne flutes.

Garnish with fresh cranberry or sugared rim

Ginger Snap

Makes 8 – 10 glasses
Ingredients
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
½ cup sugar
1 bottle of chilled sparkling wine – white is preferred 

To make the cocktail…
In a small saucepan, boil ginger, sugar and ¼ cup of water until syrupy (about 2 minutes).

Place a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl.  Pour syrup through sieve, discarding solids. (at this point, you can store syrup in airtight container in fridge for a week)

When ready to make cocktails, pour 1 tablespoon of ginger syrup into champagne flute glasses.  Top with sparkling wine & gently stir

Garnish with a festive swizzle stick or curl of citrus rind (mandarin or orange).

Shaking it up this year with craft beer & gin

Cocktails made with craft beer & gin are trending high this year.  There are over 12 craft breweries in Ottawa and small distilleries are cropping up in Prince Edward County & Niagara too.  These cocktails will WOW your friends with the chic look in the glass as well as the delicious taste.

Blue Spruce

Makes 1 cocktail
A creation by Dillon’s Small Batch Distillery located in Niagara www.dillons.ca

Blue Spruce CocktailIngredients
2 ounces of your favorite gin (Why not go local? Buy a bottle of Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22 at the LCBO or direct from the distillery)
1 package fresh blueberries
Squirt of simple syrup to taste (or use blueberry syrup/juice)
Juice & rind from lemon wedge
Tonic Water
Stem of fresh rosemary
Ice

To make the cocktail…
Place a handful of ice in a tumbler glass.

Pour in gin, lemon (juice & peel), a few blueberries (Feel free to give the blueberries a little mashing), syrup and top with tonic.

Give a little stir with the rosemary stem & serve

Festive Fizz

From the fine folks at www.drinkcraftbeer.com
Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients

1 part of your favorite gin
1 part grapefruit juice
2 parts craft beer (try Perth Brewery Hopside IPA, Covered Bridge Brewery Dirty Blonde or Dominion City Brewery Earl Grey & Marmalade Saison)
1 tsp simple syrup (adjust to taste if you prefer a sweeter drink)
Sprig of mint
Wedge of grapefruit

To make the cocktail…
Shake gin, juice and simple with ice.

Pour into glass and top with beer.

Add sprig of month and wedge of grapefruit to the glass.

Can you believe it…just 2 weeks till Christmas!

Savvy Selections iconSavvy Hip Hops beer of the month clubIf you still haven’t found that perfect gift that will make a WOW impression this year, keep Savvy Company top of mind. Our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew are ready to design a one-of-a-kind wine, craft beer and artisan cheese events for your family, clients & friends. And our Savvy Selections wine-of-the-month club is the largest in Ontario.

Did we mention that Savvy Hip Hops is the only club featuring craft beers brewed in Ontario???

Call on us ANYTIME! Savvy Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Happy Holiday Cocktails to you & yours!

 

 

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Dear Debbie…Answering your questions about wine

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, November 15th, 2012
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Corks were continuously popping last week with non-stop celebrations on all around Ottawa.  Restaurant birthdays (congrats Atelier on 4 years!), Savvy Company marked 10 years in business, Unquenchable, the book by Ottawa writer Natalie MacLean was honoured at the Taste Canada Food Writing Awards and the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival had record breaking attendance and back-to-back delicious events!

Throughout the week, I was asked many interesting questions that I am sharing with you in a ‘Dear Abby’ style.  Send me your wine related questions to cheers@savvycompany.ca and I will publish them in this column.

Don’t be shy!
-Debbie

 

Dear Debbie….
What wines did you discover at the Ottawa Food and Wine Festival?

From Wanna a Wine Tip

 

Dear Wanna a Wine Tip,

I went on Sunday (tip – no crowds or line up then) and was on the hunt for wines I have heard of, but never actually tried.  Some highlights:

Yellow Tail Pink Bubbles (Australia) – crisp, dry, pretty in the glass. I can see why this sparkling rosé won a medal.

Stanner Vineyard Chardonnay (Prince Edward County) – O.M.G… Delicious!  Truth be told, I went back to their booth several times for a top up of this beautifully crafted oaky wine that reminded me of Cracker Jack – caramel crunch popcorn.  Decadent. I even posed for the Style Magazine cameras with a bottle of it in my hand (and Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa was at the photo shoot with a round of Québec cheese!)

Lailey Vineyard Cabernet-Merlot (Niagara) – Only available at restaurants – all the more reason for a night out.  Promise me that you’ll look for it (or request it!) – it’s the only way you will get another chance to enjoy this big, bold & smooth red wine from Niagara.

-Debbie
PS – my favorite food discovery…chocolate cheese made by renowned Chef Clark Day fromKingston.  Now I have yet another reason for quick trip to K-town!

 

Dear Debbie…
Lots of winemakers were talking about 2012 being the best harvest ever.  When will the wines be ready to buy?

From Ready to Shop

Dear Ready to Shop,
I too have heard the same thing about this year’s stellar harvest. Now with all of the grapes picked (except for icewine as it has not been cold enough), the juice is fermenting in stainless steel tanks in the winery cellars.  White wines are usually ready to be bottled and sold the following spring – watch for white wines in April and May 2013.  Red wines typically need more time.  Usually, reds are released in the summer/fall or the following year. My tip, when you see a Canadian wine with 2012 on the label, stock up quick.  It’ll be a sure bet – I’ll put my money on it!
-Debbie

 

Dear Debbie…
I’m confused.  I saw many labels with the word Meritage – what is it?

From Label Looker

Dear Label Looker,

Ever had a Bordeauxwine from France?  Meritage is the same thing (but not from France) – a blend of any proportion of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes to make a medium to full bodied red wine.  The word Meritage (pronounced to rhyme with Heritage) is the term the wine industry outside ofFrance established to refer to the same blend of grapes as used to make Bordeaux wines.  Like Champagne, wineries from the renowned Bordeaux region of France will put Bordeaux on their label.  The rest of the wine world uses ‘Meritage’.  Hope this isn’t too confusing!
-Debbie

Dear Debbie…
When a wine goes on sale, is the wine still OK?

From Dollars and Cents

Dear Dollars and Cents,

You may have noticed that wines don’t often go ‘on sale’. When they do, it is usually because the winery has remaining inventory and they want to move it to make room for the next vintage that is ready to be enjoyed.  Certainly the discounted wine is fine to drink. In fact, it is usually at its prime, so it is a good idea to stock up and drink up!  In the wine world, wine on sale is called ‘Bin Ends’.  If you are looking for a good deal on wine, Savvy Bin Ends has a different Ontario wine ‘on sale’ every 2 weeks. Check it out www.savvycompany.ca OR email me on debbie@savvycompany.ca to be the first to get the inside scoop on deals and discounts.
-Debbie

 

 

 

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