Posts Tagged ‘recipe for Bolognese sauce’

Ridgepoint Wines, a brother and sister team!

Posted by Susan

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

–  April 2015 –

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

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

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

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

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

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

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

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

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

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

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…
Ridgepoint Wines

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

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

Battling with Old Man Winter & Mother Nature

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

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

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

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

The first to plant Nebbiolo

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

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

Eat, Sleep & Dream about Wine

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

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

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

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico 2010 VQA, $20.00

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

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

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

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

 

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot 2010 VQA, $25.00

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

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

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with duck or pork roast.

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

 

Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage 2010 VQA $30.00

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

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

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

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

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Ridgepoint Merlot Cabernet Aglianico…

Potato Cake with Soppressata

From www.bcliquorstores.com
Serves 12

Ingredients

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

 Method

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

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

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

 

With Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Merlot

Ridgepoint Bolognese

from the Chef at Ridgepoint WineryRidgepoint bolanese
Serves a crowd!

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

Steve & Mauro in the barrel room

 

With Ridgepoint ‘Reserve’ Meritage…

Garlic Prime Rib

www.allrecipes.com
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

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

 Method

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

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

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

Serve with roast potatoes and a medley of roast vegetables.

 Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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