Posts Tagged ‘Pondview Estates Winery’

Wine & Art – a natural match

Posted by Debbie

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

For years, Ottawa was well known for rolling up the streets at 5 o’clock. Not anymore! This city is hopping with interesting events and cool new venues around town. Whether it is a ‘cinq à sept’ or a cocktail reception or an elaborate fundraising dinner, the venues around towncan be just as interesting as the people you meet.

Cool spots to host a party

Savvy-Company-Event-Erin-Sue-Bolling-serving-Denise-Yaternick-709x532When I started Savvy Company over 13 years ago, I intentionally built the business without our own venue, taking the approach of seeking out unique places in Ottawa to host our wine, craft beer and food events. Finding these hidden gems where we can host private & corporate events or large scale Taste and Buys is becoming less of a challenge in our city.

This week alone – and it is only Wednesday – I have discovered four places that I’ve never set foot inside the door. I eagerly returned to our office and exclaimed to my team “Wait till you see the amazing place I’ve discovered. I can’t wait to host do an event there!”

A working brewery, a private revolving room showcasing the entire city, a TV studio, cool art galleries, a loft packed from floor to ceiling with boxes of board games, Ottawa’s oldest wooden building, the best venue to see the sunset over the Ottawa River, a fire hall transformed into a gourmet kitchen, a new museum at a working farm, the most striking roof top patio in the city and a bank vault that is 7 stories underground. Have you been to an event at any of these places?

Mark my words, Ottawa definitely has more than hotel ballrooms and restaurant backrooms when you are looking for venue with cachet that will impress your guests. Call me if you need tips!

What’s new with Orange Art Gallery




One of the newest places on my list is Orange Art Gallery. It’s located amongst the community of hip new businesses in the City Centre and when I walked into the gallery I knew instantly that I wanted to host a Savvy Event there….and soon!

1aOrange Art Gallery quickly outgrew their original space near the Parkdale Market. A year ago, owners Ingrid Hollander and her husband Matthew Jeffery hung out their shingle at a 100 year old building that was once the bank for CN Rail. “When we found this place we knew it was going to be perfect for our gallery”, remembers Ingrid. “The building is full of history which adds to the cool character of the space – perfect for art and special events.”

A perfect place for a pop-up wine shop!

While old on the outside, the rooms inside are now full of stunning contemporary artwork. “When Debbie shortlisted venues to host our portfolio wine tasting in Ottawa, the Orange Art Gallery fit perfectly”, stated Marcel Morgenstern, director of sales at Pondview Estates Winery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. “They showcase the talent of local artists and our wine event was all about showcasing the winemaking talent at our winery.This venue was a natural choice.”

Tasting with family wineries

Sue Ann Staff of Sue Ann Staff Estates WineryPondview Estates Winery and Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, also located in Niagara, made a special trip to Ottawa to host an evening where 250+ consumers were invited to sample their wines and order their new favorites.

Few of the wineries’ products are available at the LCBO, so this event organized by Savvy Company provided ticket-holders with the opportunity to meet the winery owners and winemakers, try their hard-to-find-wines and order their favorite wines to be delivered to their home or office.

What’s a Taste & Buy?

Marcel Morgenstern - Jennifer Hanniman and Mathieu Deshaies“It is the new way to buy Ontario wine. It is like trying on clothes, you feel the material, try on various sizes, then buy what you like and what fits you best.

At our events you can sample any of the wines – sparkling, whites, roses, reds and dessert wines, even barrel samples of wines that are not released yet,talk with our winemaker and then order the wines you really liked. It is definitely a more personal and enjoyable way to shop than buying wines at the LCBO by reviews or reading shelf talkers,” Morgenstern (in photos at right) explains.

Most importantly, guests at this Savvy Taste & Buy Event enjoyed being at the Orange Gallery too. “I’ve never been here before and coincidentally, my office is nearby. It’s a cool space, there is free parking, it’s near Little Italy and Chinatown so we went to dinner after having enjoyed all the great wines”, raved Don Cook, investment advisor at RBC Wealth Management. “I’m definitely keeping this place in mind to host an event for my investment clients.”

More about Orange Art Gallery
290 City Centre Avenue, Ottawa (steps away from Artisan Bakery)

Savvy Events

We always have fun events scheduled so Savvy Events for what’s happening with Savvy Company.  If you’d like help organizing your next event at a cool venue in Ottawa, email



Meet the winemakers of Pondview & Sue-Ann Staff wines

Posted by Amanda

Friday, April 17th, 2015

From fruit trees to vineyards  – over generations, their family farms have become wineries. Meet two families who have been fruit farmers in Niagara for many generations &now their land produces internationally award-winning wines. They’ve grown up on the farm & certainly know what it’s like to get their hands dirty. Join us on Wednesday April 22 for the Portfolio Tasting featuring Pondview & Sue-Ann Staff Wineries to sample these outstanding wines.

Introducing…Sue-Ann Staff

Sue Ann at tasting bar-001Mention the family name ‘Staff’ and everyone in the Ontario wine industry knows exactly who you are talking about. Sue-Ann Staff is the first of 6 generations of fruit farmers to become a winemaker…and an international award-winning one too!

Making her mark at Pillitteri Estates and megalomaniac, Sue-Ann has always been one to lend a hand at neighbouring wineries because ‘we are a small community & everyone pitches in’. She recently took the plunge to focus solely on her namesake winery where the tasting bar is in the kitchen of her grandmother’s farmhouse.

Introducing…Lou Puglisi

pondview_family_3jpgThe Puglisi family grew grapes for many generations in Italy. When they immigrated to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1964, they naturally planted vineyards as pioneers of the Ontario grape growing industry.

By the age of 19, Lou had saved enough money from working on the farm & construction jobs to buy his dream sportscar – a red Camaro. His father wisely convinced him to use his savings to buy the property beside the family farm that has since transformed into Pondview Estates Winery. Now, Lou is continuing the family tradition by raising his 3 boys surrounded by the vineyards. Lou drives a minivan & hasn’t yet bought a Camaro.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday April 22
Talk around the Kitchen Table – 5:30pm
Portfolio Tasting – drop in between 6:30 & 9 pm
Location: Orange Art Gallery, 290 City Centre, Ottawa (free parking available)

Special pre-event talk

In every farmhouse, the kitchen table is the hub of the family. Sue-Ann and Lou invite you to their ‘kitchen table’ to learn first-hand about the synergies of grape growing to winemaking while you taste previous vintages & barrel samples of Sue-Ann’s Riesling (her signature grape variety) and Pondview’s Cabernet Franc. Limited to 40 people.Purchase of a pre-event ticket is required.

Advance Tickets Only

Talk around the Kitchen Table:$25 per person
Portfolio Tasting Only:$25 per person*
*This amount will be deducted from your purchase of a mixed case of wine.

Ordering is EASY & Shipping is FREE!

Only at this portfolio wine tasting, you’ll have the unique opportunity to try wine futures (not-yet-released), recently-released wines & barrel samples. you can order ANY assortment of the featured wines from Pondview Estates and Sue-Ann Estates to be delivered by courier to your home or office. You won’t find these wines at the LCBO.   And…when you order 12+bottles from the wineries, shipping is FREE.

Click to order now any of these Pondview or Sue-Ann Staff wines >>


pondview logo

Pondview Wines to Taste & Order…

White Wines

2012 Harmony White $12.95 (regular $14.95)
2013 “GR” Gewürztraminer Riesling $13.95
2012 Unoaked Chardonnay $15.00 (regular $17.00 – end of Vintage Sale)
2014 Riesling $15.95
2013 “Dragonfly” Pinot Grigio $16.95
2014 Viognier $16.95

Rosé Wine

2014 Cabernet Franc Rosé $14.95

Red Wines

2013 Harmony Red $14.95
2013 Cabernet Merlot Reserve $18.95

Bella Terra Reserve Wines

2013 Pinot Gris $19.95
2012 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay $25.00
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $34.95
2012 Cabernet Franc $34.95
2012 Meritage $39.95

Dessert Wine

2012 Vidal Select Late Harvest $18.95

Future Wines

Minimum 6 bottle order – any combination of these wines.
Expected delivery date: end of August 2015
2013 Bella Terra Cabernet Franc $30.00 (regular $34.95)
2013 Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon $30.00 (regular $34.95)



sue-ann logo

Sue-Ann Staff Wines to Taste & Order…

Sparkling Wine

2011 Sparkling and SASSY $25.95 (regular $27.95)

 White Wines

2012 Riesling Loved By Lu $16.95
2012 Pinot Grigio $18.00
2012 Grace’s Dry Riesling $18.95
2011 Robert’s Block Riesling $26.00
2011 Viognier Riesling $35.00

Red Wines

2014 Baco Noir $14.95
2011 Cabernet Franc $21.95

NEW! Fancy Farm Girl

2012 Frivolous White $14.95
2012 Flamboyant Red $14.95

Dessert Wine

2012 Vidal Icewine 200mL $19.95 (regular $24.95)

Future Releases

2013 Fancy Farm Girl Foxy Pink $17.00
2013 Fancy Farm Girl Flirty Bubbles $27.95
2014 Robert’s Block Riesling $26.00 –A VERY Special wine
Only 7 cases will be released of this ultra-premium Riesling for special orders. Remaining bottles will be released for Sue-Ann’s 10th anniversary.






He saved for a sportscar…but bought a vineyard instead

Posted by Derek

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Pondview Estates Winery

–  September 2013 –

In Italian “Bella Terra” means beautiful earth and for this month’s Savvy Selections we are excited to be bringing to you a winery with some Italian heritage. Pondview Estates of Niagara-on-the-Lake is owned by Lou Puglisi & his cousin Joseph Barbera. Both are of Italian decent, Sicily to be exact. The Bella Terra term is reserved by Pondview for their premium brand wines which are only produced in exceptional vintages (wine speak for years). This month, we bring you two wines from the Bella Terra portfolio, both from 2010 – an exceptional vintage in Ontario.

Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath had the opportunity to talk with Lou who prefers to be called ‘Pondview’s Chief Wine Drinker’. Lou has been a long time friend of all of us in the Savvy Team and he keeps us in stitches with his down to earth humour. If you have not already met Lou from your visits at their winery or at our Savvy Events, rest assured that in 2014 we are creating many more ways for you to meet him…over a glass of their fine wines.

During Labour Day weekend, I visited the winery and was treated to a wonderful tasting in the barrel room (photo left). Lou & Joseph are wonderful gentlemen pulling out rare vintages, barrel samples & a gourmet antipasti spread to enjoy with their wines. During our conversation, they commented that they were grape growers first (the vineyards are 39 years old) and only since Lou was crowned Grape King was he inspired to open a winery….and we are glad that they did.

Shortly after they opened their doors, we featured them in Savvy Selections. We are delighted to shine the spotlight on them again and taste how far they have come. Especially with recent BIG news about their top end red wine – Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 – just won a GOLD medal in the National Wine Awards of Canada. We are thrilled that we can offer this to you as an optional wine before it all sells out.

As you read this month’s Savvy eZine, I hope you will get a chuckle when you learn about Lou’s brush with Royalty or how some fatherly advice steered him – pardon the pun – away from a sports car towards his future in the wine industry.

As with every month, the Savvy Selections tasting panel convened to undertaken the arduous task – it is a tough job! – of selecting the wines from Pondview that will shortly be arriving on your door step. As challenging as the work is, we find this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about Ontario wines and most of all about the winemakers.

In your September Savvy Selections you will find:

Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA – a refreshing summer sipper

Pondview Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA – rich and wonderful

Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA – big and bold red wine

OPTIONAL WINE: Pondview Bella Terra Meritage 2010 VQA – gold in a glass

Pondview are hard to find wines! Ordering additional bottles of this month’s selection or past Savvy Selections is easy. Simply e-mail me at or call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926). We will make all of the arrangements for your special delivery. How is that for easy?!?

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team


Pondview Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath

“If I had bought the sports car, we would not be having this conversation”, that’s what Pondview owner Lou Puglisi (left) told me with a chuckle when we got into the part of the interview about how he ended up in the wine business. You see, Lou felt he could be doing better things with his time than sitting in school. So at the young age of 19 he decided that he would get a job in construction while continuing to work on his father’s farm.

After a few years of savings, Lou had some cash that was burning a hole in his pocket. He was thinking about getting a car when his father took him aside and let him in on a tip: the parcel of land beside the family farm was coming up for sale. Insightfully, Lou’s father explained to him that in 5 years the car would be worth nothing, whereas the parcel of land might double in value. After some reflection, instead of buying a Chevrolet Z28 Camaro, Lou opted for the 20 acre parcel of land.

Unbeknownst to him at the time, this was the first step to planting the seeds of what would become Pondview Estate Winery. Lou never did buy a Camaro. In 2008, he bought a silver Corvette for a few years. And now as a new winery & business owner, he owns a Honda CRV.

The story behind the name

I always love hearing the story of how a winery’s name comes about because picking the name is not an easy – it is like selecting a name for your child. A great deal of research goes into a name to make sure that it is not being used by another winery and that the name has meaning to the owners. How the name Pondview came about is no exception.

Lou told me that he and his wife Adriana (on left in photo) went through at least 18 possible names with all 18 being discarded for one reason or another. It was on attempt 19 that success was achieved. Just like many other evenings Lou and Adriana went for a stroll on their acreage. It was around the property’s pond that Lou looked and said to Adriana “what a great view of the pond’. After some toing & froing the name Pondview stuck.

The Grape King & Royalty

The Grape King” is a highly sought after title that is awarded annually by the industry association Grape Growers of Ontario. All of the grape growers in the province select one grower who maintains the best vineyard in the province. With rigorous criteria and being judged by your peers, this award is significant in the industry. In 2008, Lou was the recipient of this prestigious title and as part of his duties as “King of Grapes” he served as the ambassador for the industry.

During his reign Lou attended the opening of the post graduate certificate program in Wine Business Management at the Niagara College Teaching Winery. It was during this opening that Lou was to meet Prince Charles. When it came time for Lou to shake the Prince’s hand, Lou confidently said to Charles, “it’s an honour to meet you sir. You may be the Prince, but I am the King…of Grapes”. Lou definitely has a lively sense of humour! And with that Lou has pictures of more royalty on his wall of fame in his office along photos of him with the King of Hockey – Don Cherry and the King of Canada’s nightly news – Peter Mansbridge.

The Pondview Mantra…

“Great wine is a harmony of earth and vine”. Everyone at the winery operates under this mantra. Lou explains that, “you achieve harmony by balancing what is done in the vineyard, by not stressing the vines with excess pesticides or fertilizers. My team is always looking at the vineyard in order to determine what is required to be done of the vines. If things are healthy then we leave our vineyard alone. Overall let Mother Nature tend to her vines”. In Lou’s opinion a minimalist approach will allow for better quality grapes. This month’s tasting panel sure thinks that this approach works well.

So if you are in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area, I suggest that you stop by Pondview, stroll the grounds meet with Lou, have your picture taken with Royalty and try some of their award winning wines.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!



Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA, $14.95

For this Rosé wine, Pondview’s winemaker Fred Di Profio crushed and de-stemmed the fruit, then allowed the skins to remain in contact with the juice for 6 hours, thus creating its gorgeous colour and wonderful concentration of flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pink salmon in colour with refreshingly youthful aromas of cranberry and strawberry. The cranberry aroma also comes across on the palate along with pink grapefruit and a hint of rose petals. This medium bodied wine has great acidity along with a crisp mouth feel and a medium length cranberry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will remind you that summer is not over! Enjoy on its own or pair this wine with a fresh salad tossed in a citrus vinaigrette dressing. The tasting panel is recommending pairing this wine with the Chicken Tarragon Salad – recipe follows.

Cellaring: Drink now!

Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA, $19.95

This is a Bordeaux blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot grapes. Instead of opting to call it a Meritage, Lou chose to use Cabernet, to cover off both the Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Sauvignon that are predominant in this red wine blend.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright and beautiful garnet red core (winespeak: middle of the wine) that fades to a ruby red colour as it approaches the rim of the glass. Great intensity of flavours with vanilla, cherry, cedar and prunes are discernible on the nose, while baked fruit, cedar and clover come through on the palate. This medium bodied wine has noticeable tannins, balanced acidity and a medium length red-fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine ain’t no chicken wine! commented Savvy Sommelier Doug during the tasting panel. This wine is a well rounded red that can be served with rare to medium rare red meats, with BBQed steak or roast beef, or event roast lamb with a peppercorn crust. Read on to discover this gem of a recipe.

Cellaring: The tannins are young and therefore need time to settle and integrate into the wine. This wine could easily cellar for 4 to 6 years and those that are patient will be rewarded.

Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA $34.95

This is one wonderful wine. In fact, Derek awards this wine with his triple B rating…BIG, BOLD & BEAUTIFUL. As Pondview’s premium label that is only produced in exceptional years, which 2010 definitely has gone down in Ontario wine industry history, this single varietal wine is impressive.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The colour is a stunning garnet red that extends out from the core to the rim. The nose is clean with aromas of red current, dried figs and wet stone all discernible. On the palate this full bodied dry wine has noticeable flavours of red current, oak and clover spice. It ends with a medium length red current finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This red is not for the faint of heart. Pair this wine with bacon wrapped beef tenderloin in a red wine reduction. The tasting panel is suggestions you try it with roasted flank steak with parmesan panko stuff…OMG it’s a delicious pairing – read on for this wonderful recipe.

Cellaring: This wine can be cellared for 5 to 7 years.


OPTIONAL WINE: Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 $39.95

Meritage is the North American term for a Bordeaux blend made using any combination of Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Pondview Meritage is a blend of 50% of each of the best barrels of their Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A deep burgundy colour, this opaque wine has California Zinfandel like characteristics. Aromas of smoke, espresso, dark chocolate, black licorice & cedar (it was not heavily oaked) that transform into tastes of super juicy black plums, overripe blackberries & black cherries. Each sip warms you up with the heat, a zip of acidity (that will mellow out with cellaring) and the light tannins.

Well balanced, stunningly complex it is no wonder that this wine won gold in the National Wine Awards of Canada.
Congratulations to Lou & his Pondview team for achieving this highly acclaimed award.

Suggested Food Pairing: What did the September tasting panel suggest you pair with this wine? Well I will give you a hint…beef, beef and beef. Do you get the idea? Barbeque season still has a good 2 or 3 months left so barbequed sirloin steak with a smoky paprika rub or lamb chops with a rosemary mustard rub would both pair well. The tasting panel is recommending you try this wine with pan-fried sirloin steak with a Chianti butter.

Cellaring: This wine is enjoyable now or can be put down for up to 10+ years.



With Pondview Estates Cabernet Franc Rosé…

Tarragon Chicken Salad

From: Recipes for Healthy Heart Cooking – The Lighthearted Cookbook by Anne Lindsay
Serves 4


3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 ½ cups sliced celery
¼ cup chopped chives or green onions
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
¼ cup light sour cream or light mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp dried tarragon
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds


In a large bowl combined chicken, celery, chives or onions, yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise and tarragon; mix lightly
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
Just before serving add almonds season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pack your picnic basket with this salad and the Rosé


With Pondview Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve…

Roast Lamb with Peppercorn Crust

From: The Silver Plate Cookbook, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Serves 6 to 8


3 tablespoons crushed dried peppercorns, an equal mix of white, black and green
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1½ tablespoons dried
½ cup fresh mint leaves
5 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dry red wine
1 boned but untied leg of lamb, about 5 lbs (weight after boning)
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard


Combine 1 tablespoon of crushed peppercorns, rosemary, mint, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and red wine in a shallow bowl; then marinate the lamb in the mixture for eight hours, turning occasionally.

Remove roast from marinade and drain: reserve marinade. Roll the roast, tying it with kitchen twine. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread mustard over meat and pat 2 tablespoons of crushed peppercorns into the mustard. Set the roast in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably and pour reserved marinade carefully around but not over the roast.

Bake 1½ hours or 18 minutes per pound, basting occasionally for medium rare roast. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes for well-done meat. Let roast stand for 20 minutes before carving.

Serve pan juices in gravy boat along with the lamb


With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon …

Roast Flank Steak with Parmesan Panko Stuffing

From Food & Drink Magazine Early Autumn 2010
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients – Steak

1.5 lbs flank steak
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or basil or a mixture
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Kitchen twine

Ingredients – Sauce

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1½ to 2 cups beef broth or stock
½ cup dry red wine


Butterfly steak lengthwise using a horizontal cut (do not cut all the way through to opposite side). Open up on butcher paper; cover with plastic wrap and whack with smooth side of meat pounder until ¾ inch thick

Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium frying pan, add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Toss panko bread crumbs with Parmesan, pine nuts, herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl & add onion mixture and toss until well-combined.

Preheat oven to 375°F & lay pounded steak so grain of meat goes left to right in front of you. Leaving 2 inches uncoated on far long side, pat filling over meat. Beginning near you, tightly roll up the steak forming a neat roll. Cut 5 pieces of twine, each about 20 inches long and beginning at the middle, tie roast, spacing ties evenly apart. Trim twine ends and discard then roll tied steak into flour until heavily coated – be sure to discard flour that does not cling to meat.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil (med-med/high heat)  in a large heavy frying pan capable of going into the oven & add steak to pan, turning 8 to 10 minutes in total until lightly browned on all sides. Turn roast seam-side down in pan. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 130°F.

Remove steak to cutting board, cover meat with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

For sauce, add flour to hot pan; stir over medium heat 1 minute or until absorbed. Pour 1½ cups broth and wine; gently whisking, bring to boil. Sauce should be nicely thickened; if too thick add more broth as needed; add seasoning as needed. Strain into a warmed container.

Slice steak width-wise into 1/2–inch-thick slices, removing strings as encountered. Serve slices napped with a bit of sauce; garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs. Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed cauliflower florets tossed with bits of roasted red pepper.


With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Meritage 2010…

Pan-fried Sirloin Steak with Simple Chianti Butter Sauce & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

From Cook with Jamie My Guide to Making You a Better Cook
Serves 2

Ingredients – Mashed Potatoes

14 oz potatoes, peeled and halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a knob of butter

Ingredients – Steak

2 x 7oz sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick fat scored
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 knobs of butter
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 large wineglass of Chianti
A few sprigs of watercress
Good-quality of extra virgin olive oil


Put the potatoes into a large pan of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft and tender. Drain them in a colander and allow them to sit for 4 minutes to steam away any excess moisture. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash them up, stirring in a 2 glugs of olive oil, the Parmesan and butter. Taste, season and then transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place over a pot of simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy frying pan, large enough to book both steaks at once without them touching. Season your steaks and brush them with olive oil. Using a pair of tongs, hold the steaks fatty-edge down in the frying pan to render and colour the fat. When the fat is golden, fry the steaks for 8 minutes in total for medium-rare, turning them every minute. Remove from the pan to rest.

Turn the heat down and add a knob of butter to the pan. Fry your shallots and thyme for 4 minutes, then add the wine and reduce by half. Pour in the resting juices from the meat, add the 2 remaining knobs of butter and take the pan off the heat. Stir around to emulsify and make a really simple red wine sauce.

Taste, season and serve with your steak and lovely olive oil mashed potatoes with a scattering of watercress and a drizzle of quality olive oil.

Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!


Taste a glass…buy a bottle!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Everything is all set for our next wine tasting events: Wine & Cheese with a TWIST! Tuesday January 29th in Rockcliffe Park & Wednesday January 30th in Westboro.  We are delighted to be hosting 7 wineries from Prince Edward County and Niagara-on-the-Lake who will showcase their best wines.

Are you interested in joining us? A limited number of tickets are left!

Here is a sneak peak of the wines that are ready for you to enjoy – most you will not find at the LCBO – so this is a perfect evening out sipping and stocking up on new wine discoveries.  There will be over 30 different outstanding wines ranging in prices from $15 to $40 – sparkling wines, lots of white and red wines & a dessert wine.  There’s definitely something for everyone.

Taste a glass…buy a bottle

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

With so many wines and so little time, members of  our Savvy Sommeliers will be there to help you sharing wine tips & recommendations to find wines that you will undoubtedly enjoy.

We’re hosting 2 back-to-back wine tastings!

If you can’t attend either event, don’t despiar…you can still place your order with us.  Have a look at the list of wines that will be showcased and email us or call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) & we’ll be happy to make the arrangements for your order.

Debbie & the Savvy Team

Featured wineries & wines:

Casa Dea Estates Winery from Prince Edward County

  • 2011 Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling Wine $18.95
  • 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay $15.95
  • 2010 Pinot Noir $19.95
  • 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve $24.95

Fielding Estates Winery (Beamsville Bench – aka Niagara Escarpment) 

  • 2011 Viognier $19.95     Special price (regular $25.95)
  • 2010 Merlot $29.95
  • 2010 Syrah $34.95
  • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon $34.95     Special price (regular $44.95)

 Lighthall Vineyards (Prince Edward County)

  • 2009 Chardonnay $25.00
  • 2010 Chardonnay $25.00
  • 2011 Gewurztraminer $25.00
  • 2010 Pinot Noir $25.00

Palatine Hills Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc $18.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay $22.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Cabernet Franc$19.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Meritage $29.95

Pondview Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

  • 2010 Cabernet Merlot $18.95
  • 2011 Bella Terra Pinot Gris $29.95
  • 2010 Bella Terra Cabernet Franc $29.95
  • 2010 Bella Terra Meritage $39.95
  • 2011 Select Late Harvest18.00 (375ml)

Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery (Beamsville Bench)

  • 2011 Long Rows White $13.00
  • 2011 Mimas Block Riesling $20.00
  • 2009 Merlot Reserve $32.00
  • 2008 Mead ROYALE $15.00

Sue-Ann Staff Winery (Beamsville Bench)

  • 2011 Sparkling and SASSY $27.95
  • 2011 Grace’s Dry Riesling $21.00
  • 2011 Pinot Grigio $21.00
  • 2010 Baco Noir $14.95



Savvy Selection for April: Pondview Estates Winery

Posted by Susan

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Pondview Estate Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep

Following a trip to the Niagara Peninsula early last fall, we are pleased to introduce you to one of Ontario’s newest family-owned wineries, Pondview Estate Winery, located in the Four Mile Creek appellation (in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area). A family business honoring the memory of patriarch Giuseppe Puglisi, you’ll find Luciano (Lou) Puglisi in the vineyard and the barrel cellar; Adriana (Lou’s wife), and Paula (his sister) greeting visitors in the tasting room; while Joseph Barbera, (Lou’s brother-in-law), handles marketing and sales.

On the following pages of this Savvy eZine, read about the story of the Pondview expansion. Joseph recalls, “Lou had saved up enough money to buy a Camaro, his dream car. But his dad (Giuseppe) strongly recommended that he buy land instead . . .” And the rest is history!

The Puglisi family has been growing grapes for more than three decades and selling them to other wineries in the region. In 2008, Lou was crowned Grape King – a highly acclaimed recognition from the Ministry of Agriculture award for the finest vineyard & grape grower in Ontario. In addition to the ‘fame’, the award included a trip to British Columbia, visiting family-owned estates and meeting local winery owners. This experience was just what Lou needed to launch the move from grape grower to winemaker & winery owner. With the assistance from consulting winemaker, Fred di Profio, Lou set out to implement his vision – to offer quality wines from estate-grown fruit that is reflected in Pondview’s philosophy – “Great wine is a harmony of earth and vine.”

Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins visited Pondview in September last year – just a few weeks after the official opening of the tasting room. In true Italian tradition, visitors can enjoy Pondview’s food friendly wine with platters of local cheese and antipasto. Although a small winery (approx. 5000 cases produced last year), the quality and value of Pondview’s wines impress: the 2008 Cabernet blend sold out in three weeks, and the outstanding Cabernet Franc Rosé WOWed the buyers at the LCBO & they have bought it all (tip: be on the lookout for this wine in Vintages this spring).

To whet your palate, we are excited to feature the following wines in this month’s Savvy Selections:

Pondview Riesling VQA 2009 – elegant & fresh
– Pondview Bella Terra Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay VQA 2009 –
an award winner (and almost sold out!)
Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Franc VQA 2009 – the deliciously intense red wine with cellaring potential.

Enjoy this new wine discovery as the days grow longer and spring flowers come into bloom. And if you’re visiting the Niagara area be sure to stop by & visit Lou, Adriana, Paula & Joseph for a taste of true Italian hospitality – let them know that you are a Savvy Selections subscriber!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Savvy Company

Pondview Estate Winery
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

In 1965, Pondview patriarch, Giuseppe Puglisi, left his native Italy for a better life Canada. He settled in Toronto, but would often drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake on the weekends to see first hand the landscape transforming into vineyards. His Italian roots in the family vineyards in Sicily were calling to him, so when the opportunity arose in 1974, he took the plunge & purchased a 12-acre parcel in Niagara-on-the-Lake (now named as the sub-appellation of Four Mile Creek). Giuseppe planted fruit trees as well as hybrid grape varietals, selling the grapes to local wineries and the fruit in local markets. By the mid-1980s, he decided to convert the hybrid vineyards to vitis vinifera, planting Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc vines as the demand for these varietals increased in the revitalized wine industry.

Over time the estate expanded. Today, the 60-acre property surrounds the winery and includes a broader range of grape varieties selected based on the terroir.

What is special about the terroir?
Situated on a former lake bed, Pondview’s soil has a clay loam base, with some deposits of limestone. Another unique advantage – the Four Mile Creek sub-appellation has the highest heat units in Niagara, ensuring that the Chardonnay and Bordeaux varietals thrive on the property, particularly evident in the notable 2009 vintage – several of the Savvy Selections wines are from this vintage..

What happened in 2009?
Grapes are a crop like any other – they are subject to the vagaries of nature. IN 2009, the weather was challenging, According to VQA Ontario reports, April gave grape growers endless rain while May brought dry yet cool temperatures with a slow steady start to bud break & flowering. June was fairly normal, but July, when farmers are looking for dry heat, was exceptionally rainy with temperatures 2 to 3 C degrees cooler than normal. The rain continued well into August, and as September approached, miraculously the sun and warmth returned ensuring a lengthy period for ripening. Grapes were left to hang longer than usual through the erratic weather in October and early November.

Wine is made in the vineyard
The weather conditions of 2009 were a significant challenge for grape growers and winemakers across Ontario. By mid-summer, Lou and the Pondview team realized that the cool weather and rain were putting the quality of the vintage at risk. With his extensive grape growing experience, Lou focused on low yields and strict canopy management to allow penetration of the sun’s warming rays. They thinned the crop prior to veraison (winespeak: when the grapes begins to change color) to ensure that the remaining grape bunches would ripen earlier, display greater concentration & have a longer period of ripening. These two aspects are critical to ensure optimal ripeness at harvest thereby better quality wine.

VQA Ontario reports the 2009 is a good vintage for all the white varietals at which Ontario excels. Conditions were right for Ontario’s signature Riesling with a clean balance of fruit and racy acidity. . . 2009 was a bit more challenging for the longer-ripening reds—Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. These varieties will have benefited from crop thinning & extra care in the vineyard to ensure the grapes were fully mature at harvest – exactly as Lou implemented.

Taste it for yourself!
With this month’s Savvy Selections, taste the natural impact of the 2009 vintage in the Riesling, the skills of the winemaker in balancing fruit and oak in the Chardonnay, and the experience and expertise of the viticulturalist and winemaker in the Cabernet Franc. ‘We are proud to share some of the Old World winemaking tradition in the New World setting’, states Joseph. ‘We are very proud of the unique fertile terroir (in Italian – Bella Terra) that flows through our wines’. From my visit to the winery, it was evident that the Puglisi family has attained a better life in Canada & they are keen to share it with us.

As they say in Italy – Salute!


Pondview Riesling 2009 VQA, $16.20

Cold fermented in stainless steel to dryness, a portion of the Riesling juice was set aside during the winemaking process, then added back after fermentation, creating a touch of residual sugar & intensifying the fruit flavours in the aromas & tastes.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A fine & subtle wine with lovely floral & stone fruit aromas (think peach, necatarines), mineral and tantalizing sweet citrus notes. Light to medium-bodied, there’s a taste of, green apple & zesty pink grapefruit that nicely balances a lively seam of acidity. “an absolutely elegant white wine“, states Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm during the Savvy Selections tasting panel.

Suggested Food Pairing: Riesling is such a versatile wine – great sipped on its own, with hors d`oeuvres or a match for veal and pork dishes, spicy Asian cuisine (see Thai grilled shrimp recipe below), or seafood.

Cellaring: No need to wait, it’s delightful – you’ll enjoy it now!

Pondview ‘Bella Terra’ Barrel-Aged Chardonnay 2009 VQA, $24.20

Produced fromThe grapes for this classic Chardonnay were hand-harvested in November. Fermented in French and American oak, it was barrel aged for 9 months, providing great texture and weight on the palate. This impressive wine was a first place winner at the Cuvée Awards this spring (tied for first with Niagara Teaching College Winery – featured in Savvy Selections this past November). Not keen on oaked Chardonnay? Definitely give this wine a chance as the oak is elegantly woven into the taste of the wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Lovely aromas of butterscotch, pineapple and apple-cinnamon crisp waft from the glass. Medium-full bodied with a creamy texture, the flavours are of biscuit (Arrowroot or shortbread cookies perhaps!), exotic spice and baked apple with a dash of lemon rind. The finish is warm with notes of toasty oak and ripe apple.

Suggested Food Pairing: This weighty Chardonnay would pair nicely with the Easter ham, cheese-laden pasta, roast turkey or chicken. Susan offers a pork tenderloin with leeks & fennel to try your hand at with this wine.

Cellaring: Enjoy now or cellar for 3-5 years

Pondview ‘Bella Terra’ Cabernet Franc 2009 VQA, $28.20

Lou’s focus on quality and concentration of flavour, the Cabernet Franc grapes were hand-picked, then aged in new French and American oak barrels for 12 months & was bottled mid-February just in time to be showcased in this month`s Savvy Selections – you are the first to try this wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is a young red wine with enticing aromas of spiced heritage rose, red licorice, plum, black cherry & toast. Dry, medium bodied & well structured, the fruit is vivid—raspberry and cherry. The acidity is vibrant, and the tannins are what Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins describes as “chalky“. The finish is dry & warm, with underlying notes of sweet exotic spice, espresso and chocolate. The Savvy Sommeliers all recommend that it is best to give this wine time to knit together.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with strongly flavoured meat dishes, such as rare prime rib or herbed rack of lamb.

Cellaring: We recommend holding this wine for a few months, or if you can’t wait to try it, decant for an hour before serving. It is designed to cellar for 3-5 years.


With Pondview Riesling…

Thai Grilled Shrimp

Serves 4 to 5


1 ¼ lbs. raw shrimp, peeled (about 40)
¼ C finely chopped onion

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce or Thai fish sauce
1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp finely minced garlic
¼ tsp hot pepper sauce
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Skewers, soaked


· Peel and de-vein shrimp, leaving on tail. Place in a bowl.

· In a blender, combine all remaining ingredients except parsley. Pour over shrimp, add parsley and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

· Reserving marinade, thread 2 shrimp on each skewer and grill for 2 minutes, brush with marinade, turn and grill for 2 minutes or until shrimp is opaque.

· Savour this tasty appetizer with a glass of Pondview Riesling!

With Pondview Chardonnay….

Pork Tenderloin on a Bed of Leeks & Fennel
From A Matter of Taste Cookbook, by Lucy Waverman & James Chatto
Serves 4


1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp cracked peppercorns
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ lbs. pork tenderloin
salt & pepper, freshly ground
1 Tbsp butter
1 bulb fennel, trimmed & thinly sliced
3 leeks, trimmed & thinly sliced
¼ C chicken stock
¼ C white wine
2 Tbsp whipping cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice


· Preheat oven to 400F.

· Combine mustard, 2 tsp tarragon, peppercorns & 1 Tbsp oil. Reserve.

· Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season pork with salt & pepper. Add pork to skillet and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes in total.

· Transfer pork to a baking dish and spread mustard mixture over top & sides. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until just a hint of pink remains in the pork.

· Prepare vegetables while pork is cooking. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel, leeks and remaining 1 tsp tarragon and sauté for 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender.

· Add stock, wine & cream. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

· Uncover, increase heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until liquid is reduced and slightly thickened. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper.

· Cut pork into slices ½” thick. Place overlapping slices on leek and fennel mixture.

With Pondview ‘Bella Terra’ Cabernet Franc…

Beef Stroganoff
From Cooking with BC Wine, by Troy & Cheryl-Lynn Townsin
Serves 4

¾ C red wine
4 Tbsp butter
1 lb. beef tenderloin, cut into strips
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp flour
½ C beef stock
¼ C sour cream
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 package egg noodles (8 oz.)
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ C fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


· Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season meat to taste with salt & pepper and then add to pan. Brown meat & then add onion & mushrooms. Sauté for another 5 minutes, then set aside.

· Prepare egg noodles according to directions on the package.

· In a separate large pan, mix remaining butter with flour over medium heat until well combined. Slowly stir in the stock and red wine. Bring to a boil, then add the beef & mushroom mix. Stir for 1 minute then add sour cream & mustard. Mix through. Remove from heat.

· When egg noodles are al dente, serve on individual plates topped with beef stroganoff mixture. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!