Posts Tagged ‘Riesling’

We’re expanding! Now featuring BC & NS wines too

Posted by Susan

Sunday, July 30th, 2017
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In this month’s Savvy Selections to celebrate Canada’s 150th, we are expanding our scope to include wineries from across the country – from coast to coast.  We are SUPER excited to start this wine soaked trip across Canada with the acclaimed wines of Benjamin Bridge from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. The closest town is Wolfville – home of Acadia University.

This family-owned winery dedicates itself to the production of world-class ‘méthode classique’ sparkling wines (winespeak: Champagne style) and aromatic whites.

The vision of Gerry McConnell, the heart of his late wife Dara Gordon, and the commitment of his twin daughters Ashley and Devon melded to create an unparalleled success in ‘The Valley’. The McConnell-Gordon family, with their noted international consulting team of Peter Gamble & Ann Sperling (you’ll recognize her name from our features with Southbrook Vineyards & Malivoire Wines in Niagara), selected a well-protected micro-climate at the head of the Gaspereau Valley. They turned their attention to producing sparkling wines from classic Champagne grapes, unlike the pioneers of the early wine industry, who planted hardy hybrid grape varieties that could withstand the cool climate rigors. The result – Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve 2004 outscored Roederer Cristal 2004 in a blinding tasting of 15 sommeliers and wine writers hosted by Canoe Restaurant in Toronto in August 2013!

 

World Class Wines

With their partner grape growers, the McConnell-Gordon family has gone on to make wine with other vinifera grapes, including Cabernet Franc and Riesling. They participated in the creation of the Nova Scotia appellation of Tidal Bay, a standard for vibrant aromatic white wines requiring rigorous adherence to quality, blending and taste. The goal of this appellation – to showcase the excellence of Nova Scotia’s best hybrid white blend.  Yes, you get to taste a sampling of all these in this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

Get ready to pop the cork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

To get the Canada 150 celebration started, we selected:

Brut NVan elegant bubbly wine, reflecting the particular style of Benjamin Bridge, to sip and savour or pair with appetizers, salads and light summer meals.
Riesling 2015 – the sea breeze in a glass, this is silky yet lively and clean.
Tidal Bay 2016 – a blend unique to Nova Scotia, light, bright and refreshing!

 

An optional wine many of our subscribers asked us to include in their delivery is the signature Nova 7 – a lightly effervescent, low in alcohol with clean tangy & sweet fruit flavors that makes it an ideal sipping wine or a match for soft cheese or a lemon tart. This is the only NS wine currently available in LCBO Vintages so we did not include it in the Savvy Selections… however it quickly sells out.  If you can’t find it in Vintages (LCBO product #256289) – let us know and we’ll order it for you… it is hands down delicious!

 

More NS at your table . . . At anytime you would like more Benjamin Bridge wines, call us at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca and we will make the special arrangements for you.

 

Introducing…
Benjamin Bridge

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

Gerry McConnell and Dara Gordon’s move to the Wolfville area in the late 1990s, when their twin daughters Ashley and Devon began high school, meant the commute to their law practices included driving through the Gaspereau Valley. On this daily drive, Gerry noticed Hans Christian Jost – one of the pioneers of the Nova Scotia wine industry – planting his Gaspereau Vineyards estate. Through their work Gerry and Dara, had also been to some of South Africa’s acclaimed wine regions, and had tasted some of the excellent sparkling wines from the Stellenbosch appellation. As he drove, the proud Maritimer mused “What would it take to produce world-class wines in Nova Scotia?” That question was about to be answered when in 1999, they purchased the 60-acre Westcott farm. Located at the head of the Gaspereau Valley, on a south-facing slope beside the river, the family quest began to develop and showcase the best of Nova Scotia wines – with Benjamin Bridge the imprimatur on every bottle.

 

The Early Years

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of Benjamin Bridge wines, it could be said that it took a family, experienced committed experts and a willing local industry to launch this unique venture. Ashley , now a Vice President with Benjamin Bridge, laughs as she says “I remember spending summers of high school clearing the fields and planting vines.”

Gerry sought out Hans Christian Jost, who willingly shared his experiences with grape varieties, local growers, growing conditions and the many other factors influencing the wine industry in Nova Scotia.  Recognizing he needed help to implement his vision, Gerry approached renowned Canadian wine consultants, Peter Gamble and his partner Ann Sperling, to advise on the shape the winery should take. With Ashley and Devon’s help, the first 5 acres were planted in 2001, with a focus on grapes for sparkling wines and aromatic white wines. At the recommendation of the Gamble/Sperling team, Gerry approached renowned Champagne expert Raphael Brisebois to meet with them, tour Nova Scotia wine estates, and assess the potential for making world-class sparkling wines.

Impressed with the potential, Brisebois agreed to consult and in 2002, the first experimental sparklings were made to assess terroir, varieties, structure and aromatics. More acres were planted, more experiments undertaken. 2004 was the coolest growing season in a couple of decades, yet the quality of the grapes met Brisebois’ exacting standards – and this vintage later became the winery’s inaugural release.  And the risks that the Benjamin Bridge team was willing to take opened the door for other Nova Scotia wineries to pursue a sparkling wine program.

 

The Unique Terroir

The Benjamin Bridge estate sits at the relatively sheltered, narrow head of the Gaspereau Valley, a mere 4 kilometres from the Minas Basin. At the heart of a cool, maritime climate, the valley benefits further from the massive tidal shifts in the Minas Basin, which bring cool breezes and moisture to the vineyards in the summer, and create an open body of water in the winter that helps protect the more delicate vinifera varieties grown on the estate. The narrowness of the valley and its slight westward tilt mean that ambient temperatures can be up to 2C higher than other sites, providing more degree days for optimal ripening.

While this is a region of high rainfall, the autumn tends to be dry, causing stress in the vines which leads to better development of chemical components that enhance flavours. Fall temperatures extend the growing season, maximizing the aromatic intensity and the bright acidity of the grapes.

The young alluvial soils include deposits of sand, gravel, pebbles and cobbles, unlike the Champagne region, where chalk is dominant. However, at deeper levels, there is a layer of clay veined with sand and gravel that provides a water-holding capacity similar to the chalk found in the Champagne landscape.

This is, however, a cool climate that challenges growers on a regular basis. At times, humidity in the evening can reach 100%, so downy mildew is a key challenge. And the uncontrollable weather is a major factor. For instance, the extreme cold of the winter of 2006 meant a minimal harvest of the vinifera grapes – there was no classic sparkling wine made during that vintage.

The Team

After a long search, Jean-Benoit Deslauriers (in above photo left with Gord McConnell– credit Chronicle Herald)  )was hired in 2008 to join the winemaking team – he is now head winemaker. Jean-Benoit had prior experience with organic and biodynamic viticulture and winemaking in Chile’s maritime-influenced Casablanca Valley, as well as in Monterrey, California, where cold Pacific Ocean currents have a significant influence on growing conditions and create ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

During my phone interview, Ashley and viticulturalist Scott Savoy talked about Jean-Benoit’s unique contribution to Benjamin Bridge:

“Jean-Benoit is a genius at what he does. He brought experience with bio-dynamic winemaking, but also a sensitivity to the terroir and a commitment to letting the grapes speak for themselves – a commitment to transparency of the terroir. There’s a sense of craftsmanship to everything he does. He has embraced the brightness, the acidity, and the freshness of the styles of wine produced in Nova Scotia.”

In 2009, Dara had wound down her legal practice and was taking on responsibility for the development and operations of the winery, working closely with Jean-Benoit. But a crushing blow occurred with her terminal diagnosis in that year. Ashley and Devon were just completing university, and rushed back to the estate to be with her. Dara transferred as much knowledge as possible to them prior to her untimely death in the fall of that year. The twins took on the role of partner with Jean-Benoit as the winery prepared for the 2010 release of its inaugural Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique sparkling wines, the 2004 Brut Reserve and the 2004 Blanc de Noirs.

In 2011, Ontario had its first opportunity to taste a Benjamin Bridge wine – Nova 7 was made available for a private tasting in the spring of that year, and that is when I first learned of this Nova Scotia winery. The room was buzzing as we tasted this unknown wine – winemakers from across Canada couldn’t wait to taste it, amazed at the unique flavours and texture, the quality of the wine. I was delighted to see it released by LCBO Vintages in August, where I reviewed and rated it at 4.5/5. But more accolades were to follow, with an outstanding review of the 2004 Méthod Classique Brut Reserve from Beppi Crosariol of The Globe and Mail, who described the wine as ‘a sparkler that rivals Champagne.’ More accolades followed and, as they say, the rest is history . . .

But not really, because Gerry, Ashley, Devon and the Benjamin Bridge team will never be satisfied with the status quo.

While their sparkling wines often spend 5 or more years on the lees, they continue to experiment with other methods of achieving the distinctive creamy texture and richness of the wines, as an example, testing the use of neutral oak with some small batches to see if aging in this medium will produce comparable texture and richness.

Viticulturalist Scott Savoy, who joined the team in 2015, is working with Chris Westcott (who stayed on as vineyard manager after the McConnell-Gordon family bought his farm in 1999) to push the limits of viticulture in the valley. They have implemented a program of high-density planting that should allow them to crop less, while giving the vines the opportunity to ripen wood and set reserves (making them sturdier and more resistant to climate extremes).

They recently purchased the vineyard of Dr. Al McIntyre, who had been one of their principal growers, providing Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grapes. While they currently have almost 70 acres planted to vine, their goal is to expand that to 90, with the majority being vinifera plantings.

As Ashley says, “It’s a never-ending process of experimentation, risk-taking and incremental change, with the goal of delivering world-class wines that showcase Nova Scotia’s winemaking potential.”  Enjoy this unique opportunity to sample the clean, fresh taste of Nova Scotia, brought to you by Benjamin Bridge and the McConnell-Gordon family!

In photo: Devon and Ashley walking with Jean-Benoit.
Photo Credit: Wines of Nova Scotia

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Savour this unique opportunity to sample 3 classic & unique Benjamin Bridge wines from Nova Scotia – the Méthode Classique Sparkling non-vintage presents a blend of wines from vintages reaching back to 2002, with extended periods of time on the lees; the Tidal Bay appellation wine gives you an opportunity to taste the quality of a blend that includes hybrid grape varieties; the Riesling displays the classic features of a grape variety that thrives in a cool climate.

 

Méthode Classique Brut Reserve NV, $27.95

This sparkling brut is made from a proprietary blend of wines crafted from l’Acadie Blanc, Vidal, Seyval, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. They were all hand harvested from the Benjamin Bridge estate, while the wine spent extended time on the lees (winespeak: on yeast) to achieve the classic creamy texture and richness that characterizes this ‘house’ style.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This harmonious blend of vintages and grapes shows lifted aromas of pear, citrus, biscuit, fine herbs and mineral. Underpinned by an expressive honed acidity, its ebullient, creamy texture is accented by the fine, persistent mousse. Refreshing flavours of lemon cream biscuits, grapefruit and lemon zest mingle with subtle notes of sour cherry and green apple. Dry, mid-weight, with a long-lasting slightly pithy finish, this is an impressive signature wine from Benjamin Bridge.

Suggested Food Pairings: Sparkling wine offers such versatility – serve it chilled to whet your guests’ appetites, pair it with a range of appetizers, especially fresh seafood, or enjoy it with poached salmon, grilled white fish, or a chicken Caesar salad.

Cellaring: Enjoy now and cellar up to 10 years.

 

Tidal Bay 2016, $21.95

This wine is a blend produced from unique hybrid grapes (l’Acadie Blanc, Seyval and Geisenheim) known for their resistance to the challenging climatic conditions in Nova Scotia. Wineries across the province producing this wine must meet specified blending requirements: l’Acadie Blanc (the signature grape of Nova Scotia) being the majority grape for the blend, and go through a rigorous technical assessment.

What is L’Acadie Blanc?  It is a Canadian hybrid created in Niagara in the early 1950s by crossing Cascade with Seyve-Villard grapes. While the residual sugar in the wine is relatively high, the vibrant acidity assures that the wine tastes dry.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Displaying an exotic, pungent nose of earthy mineral, tangy citrus and ripe stone fruit, the clean flavours of this light-medium bodied wine are framed by vibrant acidity.   The taste of grapefruit, passionfruit and crunchy apple paired with fine mineral and saline qualities really freshen up your palate.

Suggested Food Pairings: You’ll enjoy this bright, lively Nova Scotia classic wine with a goat-cheese and asparagus quiche, fresh oysters or shrimp, or with pan-fried halibut with a lemon-caper reduction.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now and cellarworthy for a further 5 years.

 

Riesling 2015, $30.95

This is the very first commercial release of a Riesling from Benjamin Bridge. The grapes were sourced from three distinct vineyards on the Bay of Fundy, each lot bringing its unique character from its own microclimate with soils ranging from gravel and clay to deep, sandy loam. The wine is wild fermented, meaning that the indigenous yeasts from the vineyards initiated the fermentation of the wine. Low in alcohol, with a relatively high residual sugar that gives it a nice fruity finish, it nevertheless showcases the cool climate with its clean fresh texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The ocean and the land blend on the nose, notes of mineral, sea breeze, quince and citrus dominating. Dry on the palate, the first impression is of the silky texture, quickly followed by the bright acidity underlining the lively flavours of citrus, green apple and mineral. The finish is long and zesty, crisp and clean like a bite of a ripe green apple.

Suggested Food Pairings: Pair this wine with smoked trout or salmon canapés or salad, with stuffed pork tenderloin, or with chicken in all its manifestation.

Cellaring: Enjoy now or over the next 5-7 years.


 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

Do it the Benjamin Bridge way!  Ashley explains, “We often have a ‘cinq à sept’ with friends (like Happy Hour), where we taste wines & have interesting appetizers.”

Consider preparing these 3 appetizers and inviting a few friends to sample all 3 of these fabulous Benjamin Bridge wines at your own cinq à sept.  If you and friends find some new favorites, call the Savvy Team to order more for you. . . Cheers!

 

With Benjamin Bridge Brut NV…
Roasted Mushroom and Brie Tart

Recipe & Photo credit: FoodlandOntario.ca
Serves 4-8

Ingredients

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp dried thyme (or 1 ½ tsp fresh)
½ tsp each salt & freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. mixed fresh Ontario mushrooms
½ C thinly sliced Ontario shallots
Half package (375g) frozen puff pastry, thawed
½ C Ontario Brie cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Ontario parsley or Cilantro

Method

Preheat oven to 400F.

In medium bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt & pepper. Add mushrooms & shallots; toss to coat. Place in single layer on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast in 400F oven for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Let cool & slice mushrooms. (You can slice the mushrooms first if you wish & roast for slightly less time).

Meanwhile, on lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into 10X12” rectangle. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fold dough edges over ½” and crimp with fork. Prick dough inside border every ½”. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Gently flattening baked pastry if necessary, top with mushroom mixture, leaving any liquid behind. Scatter Brie on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown & cheese is melted. Let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Cut into pieces.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a frothy glass of sparkling!

Watch the recipe being prepared on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym6gdsm5I80

 

 

With Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay…
Goat Cheese 
Marinated with Lemon & Herbs

Recipe & Photo Credit: finecooking.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 oz. log fresh goat cheese, sliced into 6 equal rounds (or you can keep the log whole)
2 tsp loosely packed, freshly grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp finely chopped, drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
½ tsp minced capers
1 tsp coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt
3 small rosemary sprigs
½ C extra-virgin olive oil, more if needed
Crostini or good-quality crackers for servings

Method

In a small, shallow dish (about 1 ½ C) capacity, preferably straight sided, arrange the 6 pieces of goat cheese in one layer. Don’t worry if some of the cheese pieces crumble; just tuck them into the dish. Sprinkle the lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, capers & thyme over the cheese. Sprinkle a little of the sea salt over the cheese & tuck the rosemary sprigs into the dish.

Pour the olive oil over the cheese so it just covers it (use a little more if necessary). Let the cheese marinate in the refrigerator 2-6 hours (you can serve it sooner if you wish). Bring the dish to room temperature (about 45 minutes) before setting it out with a small hors d’oeuvre knife & a plate of crostini or crackers.

Spread a teaspoon or so of the cheese (with some of the marinade ingredients) over a crostini or cracker to serve.

 

 

With Benjamin Bridge Riesling…
The Oceanaire Seafood Room’s Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

Recipe & Photo Credit: Oceanaire.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 C mayonnaise
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
1 ¼ tsp Old Bay Seasoning, divided
¾ tsp chopped fresh tarragon
¼ C finely chopped onion (or shallot)
1 Tbsp finely chopped celery
¼ lb (scant 2 C) crustless cubed white bread, cut into small cubes
1 lb jumbo lump crab meat, drained of any liquid
2 Tbsp butter, a room temperature

Method

Heat oven to 400F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, ¾ tsp Old Bay Seasoning, tarragon, onion & celery to make a dressing.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread with half of the dressing, mixing until the dressing is absorbed by the bread and the cubes are slightly broken up. Add additional dressing if the cubes are too dry.

Gently mix in the crab, being careful not to break up the lump pieces. The mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball with your hand. If it is too dry, add additional dressing until the mixture comes together. You might not use all of the dressing.

Divide the mixture & form into 8 crab cakes. Place the cakes on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.

In a small bowl, stir the butter together with the remaining ½ tsp Old Bay Seasoning. Top each cake with a small dollop of the seasoned butter.

Bake cakes until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

Happy Canada 150!

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We discovered a new Niagara winery – Di Profio Estates

Posted by Eva

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Di Profio Wines
–  May 2013 –

 

Di Profio Wines is unique in that it is one of few wineries surrounded completely by neighbours.  Residences meet with edges of farms.  The vineyards grow down from the escarpment on flat land running north & south on 12 acres.  They are so flat that a viewing platform was built to view the u-shaped vineyards. They enjoy the best of both worlds with their vines. The south clay loam vineyards were planted 17 years ago with Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay (1 of 7 in Ontario) & a little Vidal, whilst north vineyards are sandy loam where Riesling, Pinot Gris & Merlot  thrive for their 4th season.  And there are still 5000-6000 vines yet to plant.  Both north & south vineyards drain directly into Lake Ontario just  1km away.

In your Savvy Selections delivery, you will find:

Riesling 2011 enjoy this easy-drinking summertime sipper

Gamay Noir 2011 chill this slightly for a Beaujolais-style Gamay

Cabernet Merlot 2011 match this fresh & lively Cab Merlot with hamburgers

OPTIONAL WINE: If you asked me to add a bottle or two of the Select Late Harvest Vidal 2011 in your delivery then you are indeed in for a treat! 

Fred’s winemaking style is described as alive, vibrant and mellow (not sharp!).  The Gamay Noir is so drinkable.  Joe exclaims that having mature Gamay grapes in the fields is unique.  The new 2011 Cabernet Merlot is their fastest seller – so mellow without heavy tannins.  The gravity flow process is very efficient in its methodology.  Last year, they produced 535 cases, which will grow to 1000 cases this year.  Their goal is 3000-5000 cases but they will always remain a small winery supplying wine to restaurants, their own Zinc wine boutique & internet sales. 

On the following pages, Éva encourages you to visit Di Profio Wines as well as their Bed & Breakfast, Among the Vines. You will find her sommelier tasting notes along with recipes to would pair with the featured wines. 

Among the Vines Bed & Breakfast

Joe & Carollynn’s Bed & Breakfast is nestled between Jordan Village & Jordan Station amongst the vines of the Mia Cara Vineyard & next door to Di Profio’s winery.  They welcome you with open arms to join them to enjoy wine & improve their knowlege. They promise to make you feel as welcome as old friends.

Similar to other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections, Di Profio wines are not on the LCBO shelves. If you would like additional bottles of your favourite Di Profio wine – or other featured Ontario wineries – just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange an additional delivery for you. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…
Di Profio Winery 

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Eva Nagy

 

It all began with Guiseppe Di Profio known as “Peppe”, who like many Italians living in Canada imported his grapes from California in the ’40’s and ’50’s & experimented with different varieties & barrels to create the quality reminiscent of Italy.   The winemaking bug skipped a generation & landed on his grandson Fred, who studied Oenology & Viticulture at Brock University. 

During my interview with Joe, he affectionately said that his son Fred `bothered` him into buying a vineyard complete with a house on the property that they converted into Among the Vines Bed & Breakfast.  Now in its 4th year of operation, Joe & his wife Carollynn welcome 225 people each year.  

When Fred`s parents purchased the vineyard, it was completely abandoned. In its 12 years, it had overgrown & the dead vines never been replaced & replanted. Joe & Carollynn were advised to completely flatten the vineyard & begin again, but they retorted with, “we are not millionaires”.  In fact, they retired as teachers only 4 years earlier! They both felt it was time to change gears, even with no experience as farmers and `a green thumb only good enough to grow dandelions` laughs Carollynn.  They pruned an absolute forest.  They knew that at minimum each vine needed to produce two suckers to grow healthy vines and eventually bunches of grapes. Carollynn decided that she would “coax the vines with a lot of talking”. Much to Joe`s chagrin. It worked though as some of the vines had not 2 but 14 suckers!  A lovely forest of green ensued. 

There is always something to laugh about

Indeed it seems crazy to come out of retirement to purchase a vineyard with absolutely no farming background.  No doubt, it has been a steep learning curve yet, Carollynn & Joe did receive lots of help.   `There is a peacefulness to the vineyard`, explains Joe. `We both enjoy being completely involved from roots to bottle, for there is a story behind every one. 

Is that bottle shock?

Carollynn once thought that they could sell a bottle of wine immediately after it had been bottled, however, Fred quickly taught her about bottle shock.  Carollynn jokes that her bottle shock is the sore back as result of bottling!  Joe & Carollynn have coined all of this learning as `their anti-Alzheimer’s Project`.  At the winery, visitors learn about growing grapes in their vineyard rather than terroir or the technicalities of brix. `Sure, there are the technical details, but one must enjoy the grass roots`, explains Joe. And having a good time is indeed infectious in the DiProfio family. 

Everything is hand-done

All of the grapes are select & hand-picked, then double hand-sorted & hand-processed.  The DiProfio team prides themselves on the quality of their fruit, compared to the mush of grapes that have been machine-processed.  `We once supplied Gamay grapes to a nearby winery. One time, upon delivering the grapes, the winery staff came out to admire the beautiful hand-picked grapes.  Simply gorgeous they exclaimed!“ It is obvious that Joe loves the harvest when he can see the fruition of what his years of work. “Great wine, great grapes”. 

1 year and counting…

Based on Fred’s design, an architect created a striking looking structure that does not resemble a typical winery, rather a striking burgundy & black twisted & angular cube. Inside, the 3 floor building operates with gravity flow winemaking process. Joe, Carollynn & Fred  celebrated their 1st anniversary of the new building on June 15th. This year also brings celebration of 100 years of winemaking in their Italian family.  In Peppe’s honour, they will release an Appassimento-style Cabernet Sauvignon, aptly named “Peppe’s Pride” due to be released by the end of the year – we will be on the look out for this wine! 

Joe is very proud of his wines and the medals they have earned so quickly for their wines. It reminds him that all of the hard work is being recognized. In early spring,   there are no leaves on the vines yet, but Joe is out in the vineyard feverishly spraying trunks & canes to avoid black rot & to keep down fungus growth.  Mildew is another headache in the spring as it can quickly spread throughout vineyard with the gentle winds blowing off of the nearby Lake Ontario.  Managing Mother Nature in his vineyard, Joe jokes that this is where his biology degree comes in handy.  `Every day is different & I love the challenge of getting out there to grow grapes`. 

While the winery and their vineyards are only a few years old, the wines are easy drinking and ready to be enjoyed now. As each year passes, the vines will produce more grapes that with Joe & Carollynn`s care, will continue to impress with quality wines. 

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections! 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Riesling 2011 VQA $16.15

If you are looking for an easy-drinking summertime sipper then you have found it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Light gold in the glass. Fresh aromas of apple, pear, citrus, mineral, slight petrol & floral with slight hint of sweet ripe fruit on the long finish. Mouth-watering acidity is immediate but quickly mellows to white grapefruit & lime flavours. Very well balanced.

Suggested Food Pairing: Smitten Kitchen’s French Onion Tart.

Decanting & Cellaring: Rieslings are often consumed when young.  Rule of thumb with Rieslings is 5-10 years aging for dry Rieslings with such acidity.

 

Gamay Noir 2011 VQA $16.55

Vigorous & youthful.  Are you looking for a refreshing Beaujolais-style Gamay?  Chill this slightly for a very refreshing red.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Vibrant purple ruby in colour. Aromas of fresh strawberry, rhubarb & cranberry waft from the glass & replay on the palate with the addition of red cherry, cocoa & chocolate flavours.  So fresh!

Suggested Food Pairing: homemade thin-crust Margherita pizza or mushroom tarts.

Cellaring: Enjoy this lively Gamay Noir now. 

 

Cabernet Merlot 2011 VQA $18.00

A blend of 53% Cabernet Franc and 47% Merlot creates a terrific wine for sipping alongside hamburgers.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dark plum in colour.  Earthy & herbaceous flavours give way to berries, dark plum, black cherry, cola, clove & cinnamon with a distinct figgy-ness.  Aromas replay on the palate with the addition of smoke.  Young vines create such a fresh & vital red wine.

Suggested Food Pairing: As previously mentioned, this is a great sipping wine & can be enjoyed on its own or with BBQ-ed hamburgers given its smoky flavour.

 

OPTIONAL WINE: Select Late Harvest Vidal 2011 VQA $18.55

A sweet treat delightful on its own as dessert or alongside a fruit tart or soft cheeses.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour.  Floral, stone fruit, mineral & sweet citrus aromas.  Sweet, crisp & fresh with honey, super-ripe stone fruit, tangerine, pineapple & grapey flavours.  The acidity balances the sweetness perfectly.

Suggested Food Pairing: Di Profio’s Select Late Harvest Vidal can easily be served as dessert.  If you wish to further indulge then a fruit tart or soft cheeses would match perfectly. 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Di Profio Riesling VQA 2011 …

French Onion Tart

From Smitten Kitchen
Serves 6 

Below is (roughly) the recipe for a savory tart shell recommended by Larousse Gastronomique. If you have a go-to crust that you love, feel free to use it here. If you can’t be bothered making one, there’s no shame in buying one at the store.

Ingredients

Crust

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 113 grams) chilled butter, in cubes
3 tablespoons cold water

Filling

1 1/2 pounds yellow onions (about 4 medium), halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
S
cant 1/2 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of sugar
1 cup low-sodium beef, veal or mushroom stock/broth
2 teaspoons cognac, brandy or vermouth (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces or 60 grams) grated Gruyere, Comte or Swiss cheese
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream (half-and-half and milk work too, but cream tastes best)

Method

Crust

Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl or the work bowl of a food processor. Add butter; either rub the butter bits into the flour with your fingertips, with a pastry blender or (in the food processor option) by pulsing the machine on in short bursts until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle in cold water and mix it with a spoon, a few more cuts with a handheld pastry blender, or by pulsing the machine a couple more times. The mixture should form large clumps. Knead it gently into a ball; it will be on the firm side but should be easy to roll. 

Lightly butter a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable base. Don’t have one? Try a standard pie dish or even a 9-inch cake pan. The second two options will be hard/impossible to unmold later, but there’s no harm in serving the tart from its baking pan.

Roll your dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap until it is about 11 inches in diameter. Peel the top plastic layer off and reverse the dough into the prepared tart pan, lifting the sides to drape (rather than pressing/stretching the dough) the dough into the corners. Press the dough the rest of the way in and up the sides. Trim edges, which you can leave ever-so-slightly extended above the edge of the tart pan, to give you some security against shrinkage. Chill for 15 minutes in your freezer.

If par-baking the crust (see notes up top for pros/cons): Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a piece of foil and press it tightly into your firm-from-the-freezer tart shell. Fill tart shell with pie weights, dried beans or rice or pennies and blind bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven, carefully remove foil and weights, and return to oven for another 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly golden at edges. Set aside until needed.

Filling

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the onions to the pan, toss them gently with the butter and oil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pan. Cook the onions for 15 minutes, then remove the lid, stir in the salt and sugar and saute without the lid for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are fully caramelized and have taken on a deep golden color. Pour in cognac, if using it, and the stock, then turn the heat all the way up and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the pan.

Simmer the mixture until the broth nearly completely disappears (wetter onions will make for a wetter quiche), about 5 to 10 minutes.  Adjust the salt, if needed, and season with freshly ground black pepper.  Let cool until warm. You can hasten this process by spreading the onions out on a plate in the fridge, or even faster, in the freezer.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg and cream together. Gently stir the lukewarm onions into the custard.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Assemble & bake tart

Fill prepared tart shell with onion-egg mixture. Ideally, this will bring your filling level to 1/4-inch from the top, however, variances in shells, pans, pan sizes and even onion volume might lead you to have a lower fill line.

You can beat another egg with cream together and pour it in until it reaches that 1/4-inch-from-top line if you wish. Sprinkle cheese over custard and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted into the filling and turned slightly releases no wet egg mixture.

Serve hot or warm, with a big green salad.

 

With Di Profio Gamay Noir VQA 2011…

Mushroom Tart

From LCBO recipes by Lucy Waverman, Autumn 2003
Serves 6

Onions can be substituted for mushrooms, if desired. The pastry is very rich and needs to be patted out, not rolled. With the addition of 1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar, the pastry can be used for mini butter or fruit tarts. Use foil tart tins, if desired. These tarts freeze well and will keep for a month.

Ingredients

Pastry

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) cold butter, diced
1 cup (250 mL) cream cheese, diced 

Filling

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
8 oz (250 g) fresh mushrooms, chopped
8 oz (250 g) wild mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped green onion
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method 

Place flour and salt in food processor. Scatter over butter and cream cheese.  With on-off motion, pulse together.  Remove from processor and form into ball.  Chill for 30 minutes.

Pinch 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls from pastry and pat into small tart or muffin tins. Chill until needed.

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Heat butter in skillet, add mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes until juices disappear. Add garlic and cream, bring to boil, add lemon juice, green onion and parsley and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon into pastry cases.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is edged with gold, and mushroom filling is hot. Turn out of tins and cool 10 minutes.

These may be frozen on cookie sheets, placed in freezer containers and reheated from frozen state at 350°F (180°C) for 15 minutes or until filling is hot.

 

With Di Profio Cabernet Merlot VQA 2011…

Chris’ Bay Area Burger

From allrecipes.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
4 hamburger buns, split

Method

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Mix together the ground beef, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil.

Divide into four balls, and flatten into patties. Cook the patties for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness.  The internal temperature should be at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). 

Remove from grill and place onto hamburger buns.  Top with desired toppings & condiments.

 

With Di Profio Select Late Harvest VQA 2011…

Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

From Brown-eyed Baker

Ingredients

For the Pastry Cream
Serves 10 

2 cups half-and-half
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
Pinch of salt5 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Crust

1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

For the Fruit

2 kiwis, halved lengthwise, and cut into half-circles about 3/8 inch thick
2 cups (about 9 ounces) raspberries
1 cup (about 5 ounces) blueberries

Method

Pastry Cream

Heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.

Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.

Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer, gradually whisk the simmering half-and-half into the yolk mixture to temper.

Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.

Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.

Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Crust

Whisk together the yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bow; set aside.

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and process briefly to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds.

Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until workable).

Unwrap and roll out between 2 lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9- to 9½-inch tart pan.

Ease the dough into the pan corners and press the dough against the fluted sides of the pan; if some sections of the edge are too thin, reinforce them by folding the excess dough back on itself. Run the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to remove the excess dough. Prick the bottom and sides of the dough all over with a fork.

Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes. (The dough-lined tart pan can be sealed in a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag and frozen up to 1 month.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Set the dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a square of foil into the frozen tart shell and over the edge, and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.

Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Set the baking sheet with the tart shell on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Assemble the Tart

Spread the cold pastry cream over the bottom of the tart shell, using an offset spatula or large spoon. Arrange the kiwi slices in an overlapping circle around the inside edge of the pastry.
Arrange the raspberries in rings just inside the kiwi. Mound the blueberries in the center. (The tart can be refrigerated, uncovered, up to 30 minutes.)

Remove the outer ring of the tart pan and place the tart onto a serving platter; serve.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Easy as Pie!

Posted by Patti

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
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One of our Savvy Selections wine of the month subscribers invited me to dinner & served this dessert.  It is OMG delicious!  And while he fessed up that he doesn’t usually make desserts, this recipe is no sweat at all. His tip – be watchful that the pie pastry doesn’t brown too quickly.

Quick Apple Tart

Ingredients

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
3 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp white sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon (or so) of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup apricot jam, melted

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold pastry on parchment paper (do not skip this step!)
  3. Using the tines of fork, pierce 1/2-inch border around edge of pastry, then pierce center all over
  4. Arrange apples atop pastry in 4 rows, overlapping apple slices and leaving border clear.
  5. Brush apples with melted butter; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 30 minutes.
  6. Brush melted jam over apples. Put the tart back into the oven until golden, about 8 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

What bottle of wine to uncork?

When you pair a dessert with a wine, the rule of thumb is to select a wine that is sweeter than the dessert. Nothing goes better with an apple dessert than Ontario ice wine. Chill a glass of icewine made with Vidal or Riesling or even Gewürztraminer and you have a heavenly match. See our list of suggested Ice wines

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Fielding Estate Winery

Posted by Julie

Thursday, August 30th, 2012
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Fielding Estate Winery
– August 2012 –

 

Outstanding Riesling, Pinot Gris and Meritage and down home hospitality are what come to mind when we think of Fielding Estate Winery located on the Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment). Twelve years and countless awards later, the Fielding family is continuing to work their magic in the vineyards. It is no wonder that Fielding has been named among Canada’s Top 10 wineries.  In the following pages, Savvy Sommelier Julie will tell you some of the reasons why.

Julie caught up with Heidi Fielding when she was visiting Ottawa for an interview by CTV for the annual Graze the Bench that runs on June 9 & 10th to celebrate the growing season. Good wine paired with delicious hors d’oeuvres flowed all weekend. At Fielding, Pulled Duck Sliders with Warm Potato Salad created by August Restaurant was served at the winery paired with Fielding’s Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2011 and Cabernet Franc VQA 2010.

It’s only August but are you starting to think about a dinner party this fall with all of the fresh produce? We can make it easy for you with this month’s Savvy Selections. At the panel tasting, our Savvy Sommeliers easily agreed that Fielding Estates wines are top-notch & we are excited to introduce you to them this month.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Fielding Estate Sparkling Riesling VQA – joy in a glass!

Fielding Estate Vineyard Rock Pile Pinot Gris VQA 2011 – refreshing & simply outstanding

Fielding Estate Meritage VQA 2007 – stunning is an understatement

OPTIONAL WINE: Fielding Estate Cabernet Sauvignon VQA $34.95 regularly $44.95

In the following pages of this Savvy eZine, Julie shares history about the family run business along with the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s notes with a dinner party in mind.

Outstanding wine & prices

Fielding Estates has offered us $35 off the regular prices of their featured wines in this month’s Savvy Selections.  Once you have opened them & would like to have additional bottles, contact me directly to re-order.  Heads up that there are only a few bottles of the Pinot Gris left and by the time I finish this sentence, they may all be gone!  In any case, contact me & I will gladly make the arrangements for additional Fielding or other Ontario wineries that we have featured to be delivered to your home, office…or even cottage!

Save the date: Thursday November 8th

You are the first to know! Our 5th annual Savvy Sip, Swirl, Savour & Selebrate wine evening will feature winemakers who we have showcase in the Savvy Selections. This fun reception style event will take place again this year at the National Arts Centre on Thursday November 8th.  This is our annual wine tasting party to celebrate our 9th year in business with you & our winery clients.  For now, pencil the date into your calendar…more details to come!

From all of us at Savvy Company, we thank you for continuing to be a subscriber to Savvy Selections.

Cheers & Enjoy!


Debbie & Savvy Team




Introducing…

Fielding Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Julie Stock

 

In year 2000, Ken & Marg Fielding, purchased 53 acres of peach & pear orchards.  While recently retired, their sole intention was to plant grapes & building a winery. Looking back 12 years later with their son Curtis (right), a former race car driver & his wife Heidi (left), the family have seen the vineyards have come to fruition. The winery is a family affair & most importantly, Ritchie Richards, whom the family had known for years prior to joining Fielding, is now the talented & highly awarded winemaker.

The property was first planted with Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah vines. In 2002, the harvest was small, but the results proved rewarding. In 2003, Mother Nature blasted Ontario with a harsh winter.  No doubt as an apology, 2004 was a fabulous year & the Fielding family produced their largest harvest of approximately 8000 cases of wine. At this point, they were well on their way to producing premium wines, not to mention winning impressive Canadian wine awards.

My husband, Doug, (also a Sommelier on the Savvy Team) & I met up with the whole family in June while doing our annual Niagara pilgrimage. We were toured around the nooks & corners of the winery like royalty.

Ritchie works his magic!

Educated at nearby Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute, Ritchie honed his experience at other local Niagara wineries – one being Stratus Vineyards – before being hailed to Fielding. Mark my words that we will be reading about Ritchie’s talent for a long time to come. He believes in extrapolating the best of the unique characteristics of the soil & climate. With each sip, you will recognize his talent too. It is no wonder that Ritchie’s took home a motherload of medals at this year’s Cuvee (Ontario wine industry’s equivalent of Academy Awards) including Gold for his Estate Bottled Pinot Gris VQA 2010, Viognier VQA 2010 & Cabernet Franc VQA 2010. Congrats Ritchie!

The Vineyards


Fielding has two main vineyards – The Jack Rabbits Flats Vineyard on the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation comprises 40 acres of stoney deposits in sandy loam soil which holds the warmth of sun exposure. Curtis & Heidi explained that the red grape varieties do really well on this parcel of land giving the wines a complexity of rich dark fruit flavours. From this vineyard, they won the Cuvee 2012 Gold medals for their 2009 Red Conception & 2012 Cabernet Franc. As well, they explained the white Pinot Gris grapes also develop very impressive flavours from this mature soil. As an aside, I asked where the name “Jack Rabbits” comes from & they laughingly said “well aside from there used to be the tons of jack rabbits in the vicinity, it used to be a “parking spot”, at which they smiled & left the rest to my imagination. Similar story for the reason the wine is called Conception.

The other 13 acres – called the Fielding Vineyard – are located on the eastern slope of the Beamsville Bench. The bench provides clay loam soil with a deep limestone base to promote good natural drainage. The growing season is a little longer & more suited to Riesling; the wine ultimately features the unmistakable crisp minerality of their birthplace. This seems like the right time to mention that in 2010 their Riesling was in named one of the top ten wines in Canada. Congrats!

Hot enough for ya?

The most asked question at wineries this summer is the impact of the unforgiving heat. As Heidi put it, “we are not committed to doing one particular method with any one varietal, rather we will do the best to showcase the grapes in any given year & see how it all turns it out.” That is the beauty of winemaking.

We had not been long at the winery before we start to feel like part of the extended family. Heidi’s infectious warm personality is so representative of the Fielding hospitality. From ‘The Lodge’, on a clear day, you can see Toronto beyond Lake Ontario, yet it is easy to feel like you are in the Haliburtons comfortably sitting in their infamous Muskoka chairs on the grounds as well as on their wine label – all in effort to depict a relaxed style of the Fieldings. Hiedi sums it up best, “when people come to visit our winery, we want their experience to be fulfilling & leave with a wonderful and memorable experience.”  I can assure Heidi, Curtis, Marg & Ken that a visit to their winery, left Doug & I with great memories & a closer connection to the Fielding family & their wines. Cheers!

Discoveries in the cellar

When touring the cellars at Fielding Winery, amongst the typial stacks of French & American oak barrels, Doug & I also saw something amazing, not before seen in our wine travels. Three stainless steel tanks on top of one another each containing about 26,000 litres of different wine. The picture does not do it justice but it was quite a sight!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Sparkling Riesling Brut VQA Ontario, $27.95

We often see the term “charmat method” on bottles of sparkling white wine. Similar to the way that Champagne is made in France, the charmat method is basically taking the grape juice through two fermentations. The first one turns the grape juice into wine (without bubbles), the second fermentation takes place in large stainless steel pressurized containers or tanks which, when the winemaker adds yeast and sugar to the wine this create carbon dioxide (CO2) which in turn creates the bubbles. The tiny bubbles create a “mousse” and can give the wine a yeasty and toasty mouthfeel. The charmat method receives its’ name after a Frenchman named Eugene Charmat who invented the process.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: No doubt about it, all the Savvy Sommeliers were impressed with this “sparkler”. Pale gold, bright and clear with aromas of honey and pear, peaches and almonds. The aromas follow through on the palate with a pinch of minerality, petrol and lemon drop candies. The wine is dry and well-balanced. It has beautiful acidity with fruit flavours that linger in the aftertaste.

Suggested Food Pairing: The Savvy team had no difficulty matching this with all kinds of appetizers or just enjoying it on its own. Proscuitto wrapped melon, salty crisps, sushi, puff pastry bites, buttery lobster all came to mind.

Cellaring: No need to wait for a special occasion – uncork now!

Fielding Estate Rock Pile 2011 Pinot Gris VQA, $24.95

There is a distinct pile of stones in the Jack Rabbit Flats Vineyard that marks a mature block of Pinot Gris vines, planted nearly 20 years ago. Although the vines are low-yielding they are carefully hand-picked which results in a wine full of character.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This golden hued baby was reminiscent of tropical fruit; peaches, pears, bananas, pineapple and was unlike any other Pinot Gris’s we have tasted in the past.  There is alot happening in the medium body wine that sip after sip brought more to the surface and the crisp acidity brought out lemon-lime flavours. The wine is slightly off-dry with an aftertaste of butterscotch that reminded one Savvy sommelier of luscious icing covered Turkish delight candy on the finish. We urge you not to serve this beauty too cold since the flavours open up like a flower after it has sat for awhile. Take it from the fridge about 15 minutes prior to serving – simply yummy!

Suggested Food Pairing: There were umpteen food ideas that came to mind to the point we were all getting hungry!  There is enough body in the wine to handle grilled pork tenderloin with a fruit salsa, plank salmon, or a summer salad with seafood. The flavours make it so versatile that we even thought it would even be delicious with lemon meringue pie. Definitely a wine for all seasons.

Cellaring: Again…no reason to wait. Drink now or within the next two years.

Fielding Estate Meritage 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 
$34.95

(regularly $59.95 – a special discount for Savvy Selections subscribers)

A red Meritage is made from a blend of at least two or more varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, or Petit Verdot with no varietal comprising more than 90% of the blend. In this Meritage, the components of the final blend were vinified separately following eighteen months aging in barrels on lees (winespeak for the grape skins) then selected through a series of tastings and trial blends. It is no surprise this wine received GOLD MEDAL 2009 – Canadian Wine Awards (ranked best red blend in Canada).

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: After one sip, we all looked at each other and went “ummmmmm”, oh my where to start. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc sifts aromas of chocolate, warm spices, black plums almost reminiscent of Christmas cake. The velvety silky texture coats the inside of the mouth with fine tannins and luscious dark berry flavours. This full bodied wine is concentrated and complex that finishes with the above flavours plus a hint of coffee and caramel.

Suggested Food Pairings: Prime rib roast beef, beef tenderloin, baby back ribs, steak topped with blue cheese and horseradish all come to mind. It is definitely a red meat wine.

Cellaring: Enjoy now and will drink best 2012 to 2018. Decant in its youth.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

For this month’s selection of recipes we decided to offer you something different …

When the Savvy Sommeliers finally decided on which wines to feature (it was a difficult decision), one said the selected wines would be ideal to serve at a dinner party.

Depending on the size of your dinner party you may want to have more than one bottle of each, but we all thought that the following recipes would make a fabulously elegant dinner party, many of the dishes can be prepared ahead.

We hope you agree and would be thrilled with your feedback.

With Fielding Sparkling Riesling …

Parmesan Crisps

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Julie



There are so many versions of this recipe but nothing could be simpler, or more delicious to match with this sparkling wine. The fruity bubbles in the wine compliment the saltiness in the cheese and just send you back nibbling for more. I sometimes serve them a little red pepper jelly on the side.
A perfect hors d’oeuvres – beware, folks inhale these!

Ingredients
1-1/12 cups of grated Parmesan depending how many crisps you would like to make.
Should yield about 20 small crisps.

Method
Preheat often to 400 degrees and put a heaping tablespoon of the Parmesan onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I would space the spoonfuls about an inch apart.

Bake about 8 minutes or check them after 5 and they should be just slightly golden.

With Fielding Rock Pile Pinot Gris …

Arugula & Hazelnut Salad

www.chatelaine.com

Ingredients
2 Tbsp (30 mL) white-wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each dried thyme leaves and salt
Pinch of granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil
1/4 cup (50 mL) snipped chives
3 pink grapefruits or tangerines
1 fennel bulb
12 cups baby arugula
6 slices of prosciutto (optional)
3/4 cup (175 mL) toasted hazelnuts

Method

In a bowl, whisk vinegar with Dijon, garlic, thyme, salt and sugar. Slowly whisk in oil and stir in chives.

Cut off the top and bottom of grapefruits then slice off and discard remaining peel, including all white pith. Carefully slice segments out, leaving membrane that separates them behind. Set segments aside and discard membrane.

Trim the feathery fronds from fennel and discard the core & slice fennel into thin strips.

Place arugula, grapefruit segments and fennel in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Toss to mix. Divide between plates.

Tear prosciutto and scatter overtop. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.

If making ahead, prepare dressing, fennel and nuts. Dressing will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Cover and refrigerate grapefruit and fennel up to 1 day. Store nuts in an airtight container up to 1 week.

With Fielding Meritage …

Recipe #1 – To serve with the Main Course

Rib Roast with Garlic Mustard Rub

Bonnie Stern’s Friday Night Dinners 

Serves 10

TIP: Use a meat thermometer to make sure the roast is cooked to medium-rare. (Don’t take a chance after paying so much for such a gorgeous roast).

Ingredients
1/4 cup (50 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp (25 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary; or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme, or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
1 tbsp (15 mL) kosher salt
1 tbsp (15 mL) pepper
1 6-lb (3 kg) standing rib roast, boneless rib boast or strip sirloin roast
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3/4 cup (175 mL) dry red wine
1 cup (250 mL) beef stock

Method

In a small bowl, combine mustard, oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and smear roast all over with mustard rub.  Then place in a shallow roasting pan, fast side up. 

Roast meat in a preheated 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) over for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and continue to roast for 1 1/4 to 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer reaches 130 degrees F (55 degrees C) for medium-rare.

Transfer roast to a cutting board and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

While roast is resting, place roasting pan on stove over medium-high heat and skim off fat.  Then add shallots and wine and cook until reduce to 2 tbsp (25 mL) and add stock and cook until reduced to a 1/2 cup (125 mL).

To carve, remove string from roast and cut off bones in one piece by cutting between meat and bones. Cut bones apart and serve with meat (to guests who want them the most!). Turn roast over on carving board so it is sitting boned side down and carve into slices. Spoon juices over roast when serving.

I would also serve some simple green beans or snap peas and mashed potatoes with the roast. To make it extra dressy, try the yorkshire puddings (below).

Individual Yorkshire Puddings

Yorkshire pudding is a traditional accompaniment for roast beef, and many people can’t do without it.

Method

Place muffin pan in oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) all-pupose flour and 1 tsp (5 ml) kosher salt in a large bowl.In a second bowl, whisk 11/2 cups warm milk (or soy milk) with 3 eggs and whisk into flour mixture. Do not overmix or worry about little lumps.

Brush hot muffin pan with roast dripping and spoon about 1/4 cup (50 mL) batter into each cup.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and browned. Serve hot. (You can also bake the batter in mini muffin pans. Use 2 tbsp / 25 mL batter per cup and bake for 25 minutes). Makes 12 puddings.

 

Recipe #2 – To serve with Dessert course along with a glass of Meritage …

Bittersweet Chocolate Terrine

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Patti

Ingredients
14oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup    plus 2 tbsp. Unsweetened cocoa
5 tbsp.strong espresso coffee (cooled)
2 tbsp. brandy
6 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream chilled

One loaf pan, 8½” x 4½” x 3”, greased and lined with baking parchment
Heat oven to 325 degrees

Method

Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl with the cocoa and coffee. Set over a pan of barely simmering water and melt gently, stirring frequently.  Once it has melted, remove the bowl from the heat, stir in the brandy and let cool.

Meanwhile put the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until frothy. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and very thick.

In another bowl, whip the cream until it holds a soft peak. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs. When combined, fold the whipped cream in.Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, then stand the pan in a bain-marie.Bake in a preheated oven at 325 for about 1 hour to 1 ¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the center of the mixture comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the bain-marie for about 45 minutes, then lift the pan out of the bain-marie and leave until completely cold. Chill overnight then turn out.

Serve dusted with confectioner’ sugar or alternately prepare a bittersweet chocolate ganache and smooth over entire surface.Store, well wrapped in refrigerator.


Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Palatine Hills Estate Winery

Posted by Susan

Thursday, August 30th, 2012
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Palatine Hills Estate Winery
– July 2012 –

 

John Neufeld and his wife Barbara are the proud owners of Palatine Hills Estate Winery, named after a local gristmill dating back to the late 1700s. John, a history buff, has created a display case of small artifacts from the War of 1812, found on the farm that holds a prominent place in the tasting area. This year is the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and John is leading the charge to commemorate the war in Niagara. He has created two wines called ‘1812’ – a Merlot/Cabernet and a Chardonnay, that have become the official wines of the bicentennial celebration. Approachable, appealing and affordable, these wines are available in the LCBO. In fact, they were the official wines of the recent royal visit of Charles and Camilla. A percentage of the sales proceeds goes to support local historical societies staging 1812 commemorative events. And if that weren’t enough, these commerative wines are being served on all Via Rail trains.

John and Barbara purchased their property in 1972, and set about converting it from a fruit orchard to a vineyard. With 140 acres under vine, their focus is on vitis vinifera grape varietals, such as the Cabernets, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, along with some hybrid varietals such as Vidal. John explains, “producing grape juice for local winemakers, as well as bulk wine has always been and will remain part of our business”. His grape juice and wine finds its way to Québec and Nova Scotia, as well as to the northern United States. His venture into winemaking was serendipitous – with an excess of icewine juice in 1998, John and Barbara decided to try their hand at winemaking. Their first attempt at icewine won Wine of the Year at the 2003 Ontario Wine Awards! Just like that Palatine Hills was on the map. When our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins asked during the interview which he was going to be – grape grower or a winemaker – John shared that he would go his own way. “I like to make my own decisions, so decided I would be a winemaker, and continue my business of producing grape juice and bulk wine”. As demand for this award-winning icewine sky-rocketed, a tasting room was hastily created and Palatine Hills Estate Winery opened its doors in 2003. In 2006, the winery was named Canadian Icewine Producer of the year.

The winery has come a long way since then – Susan recalls that her first sampling of Cabernet Sauvignon icewine was at the modest tasting room and the icewine is still as luscious as ever! Now the winery produces 35,000+ cases of wine, including fabulous reds such as the 2007 ‘Proprietors Reserve’ Merlot, recently awarded gold and best red wine at 2012 Cuvée (the Academy Awards of the Ontario wine industry).

It was a difficult task indeed to choose three wines—so, we haven’t! Yes, they are all that good, and great value. In your Savvy Selections, you will find:
Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2011 – suave & satiny
Cabernet Franc VQA 2010 – a well-rounded red wine
Meritage VQA 2010 – a full-on wine layered with delicious complexities.

Some of the subscribers added the luscious Gewürztraminer VQA 2010, elegant mouth filling Chardonnay VQA 2010, and the ‘bring me to the BBQ’ mid-weight Cab/Merlot VQA 2010. And you can’t forget Romeo – the Pinot Noir Sparkling. If you would like more of your favorite Palatine Hills wine, simply call on me to arrange a delivery as you won’t find these wines at the LCBO!

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)



Palatine Hills Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

After 40 years on this property, and many years as the Chair of the Ontario Grape Growers, John Neufeld is at ease discussing all aspects of the business at Palatine Hills. “The property is what’s known as Vineland clay loam, from sandy loam to light stony clay. It offers excellent drainage and allows the roots to penetrate deeply, creating very vigorous vines. We use the Scott Henry training system (cordons are trained horizontally along wires) to control vigor and reduce shading. Shoot positioning and leaf removal are used to maximize sunlight, with a focus in on creating flavour intensity.” If this is too technical for your liking, you can be assured that one thing is for certain, John is a highly respected grape grower.

Learning more about the War of 1812

When asked about the ‘1812’ wines, a twinkle appears in John’s eye. ‘When I found artifacts on the property, my interest in War of 1812 piqued.” For me to learn more, I delved into a recent article in The Globe & Mail that provided me a history lesson, explaining how the war started, in June 1812, when the Americans declared war against Great Britain. The British had established a blockade, preventing U.S. ships from reaching French ports during the Napoleonic wars, while the Americans were threatening to take territory from the British and to drive them out of North America. Canada became the theatre for this war, which included skirmishes and engagement over 2 ½ years and stretched along Lakes Erie and Ontario and up the St. Lawrence to Montreal. The G&M article highlights significant events of the war: “Sir Isaac Brock led English Canada and its native allies to victory [over the Americans] at Queenston Heights in 1812. Charles de Salaberry did the same for French Canada at Châteauguay, near Montreal, in 1813.” And some claim this war helped create a national identity and led to the Canada we know today.

Back to the wine …

While John focuses on growing the best possible fruit in the vineyard, Jeff Innes (left), who joined Palatine Hills as winemaker in 2010, focuses on a subtle winemaking process that is creating award-winning wines. After tasting a dozen wines, mostly from the 2010 vintage, Jeff’s wines have a distinctive style characterized by incredibly satiny textures, outstanding balance and the very subtle use of oak.

Jeff’s father wandered into the tasting room as we began sampling the red wines. He commented, “I’ve always loved being an amateur winemaker and entering my wines into various competitions.” This interest and dedication to his craft rubbed off on his son, who helped his dad from a young age. “My career started at Reif Estates, and from there I went to Vineland Estates. I was also involved in the first vintages for Harbour Estates and Peninsula Ridge. I eventually joined Harbour Estates as winemaker in 2000, then went down to Georgia to Three Sisters Vineyard for a year—yes, there is at least one vineyard in Georgia! I came back to Canada in 2003 and took on the role of winemaker at The Grange of Prince Edward, where I worked until joining Palatine Hills.”  Jeff’s dad says under his breath, “He’s far outstripped me now!”

When asked about influences on his career – other than his dad! – Jeff immediately mentions Brian Schmidt, the winemaker at Vineland Estates. “He has been my mentor for years, and helped me map out my career path. In fact, he’s still my sounding board!”  Brian’s mentoring coupled with the various work experiences have strongly influenced Jeff’s approach to winemaking. “A good varietal wine shows off the true character of the grape, and maintains that character through the aging process. Blends, for me, are all about balance and texture—when you taste the wine, you want the flavours to coat the palate and to maintain their consistency through the finish.”

Smooth as silk

Jeff’s great passion for his craft and his very hands-on approach to the winemaking process comes through as we taste the wines. Not only does he respect the traditions of old-world winemaking, he looks to meld those traditions with new technology and techniques, and to optimize the quality of the wine from the vineyard to your glass. A good example is the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, where he has used subtle oaking with a combination of one new and several neutral barrels on optimally ripened fruit from an outstanding vintage to create an incredibly flavourful, silky wine. He laughs and says “I think you’ve defined my style!”

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!


~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~


Neufeld Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011 VQA, $18.00

Jeff held his breath as we tasted this wine . . . then let us in on the secret. Sixty percent of the wine was barrel fermented – only one new barrel was used, the balance 5+ years seasoned – while 40% was fermented in stainless steel. Subtly handled oak provides the lovely satiny texture.|

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Offering attractive aromas of new-mown hay, tropical fruit and citrus, this fabulous wine caresses the palate with its suave, satiny texture. Crisp yet round, with flavours of passion fruit, tangerine and lemon-lime, it has a vibrant fresh finish with just a touch of butterscotch.

Suggested Food Pairing: There’s weight here for chicken or pork, or a spinach salad with goat cheese and grilled shrimp.

Cellaring: No need to wait! You’ll want to open this wine right now!

Neufeld Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2010 VQA, $19.95

Displaying the rich well-ripened fruit and intense extraction of the vintage, this savoury Cabernet Franc was initially barrel-aged for 10 months. Jeff explains, “For this varietal wine, my assistant and I tasted each barrel, then chose select barrels for further aging in French and American oak (50/50).”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Inky and perfumed, the notes of lavender and violet mingle with mixed berry fruit, vanilla and smoke. Dry, medium-full bodied, this well-rounded wine offers complexity of flavours–black cherries and berries, pepper, sweet spice, black olive and coffee bean. Subtly structured, lively, there’s great presence on the palate and a fruity, peppery finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Grilled lamb chops or a rare steak would be a good match. Given the War of 1812 theme, we couldn’t resist sharing the ‘Going into Battle Lamb Stew’ recipe!

Cellaring:  Enjoy now or cellar 3-5 years.

Neufeld Vineyard Meritage 2010 VQA, $29.95

The grape varieties for this intense classic blend (the Cabernets and Merlot) were aged separately in seasoned and neutral French and American oak (80/20) for 10 months, blended, then finished a further 6 months in oak.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Garnet hued, this outstanding blend offers layered aromas and flavours. Think dark fruit, smoke, cedar, vanilla and dried herbs. Dry, full bodied, smooth and round in texture, yet firmly structured, this wine is rich with mouthfilling dark berries and cherries, garnished with hints of sweet spice, pepper, dark chocolate and balsamic. There’s great balance and integration, and a lasting finish tantalizing the palate with notes of dark toast and coffee bean.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this wine with rare red meats.

Cellaring:  Drinking well now, this wine will cellar 5 to 7 years.

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Palatine Hills Sauvignon Blanc …

Orzo Salad with Grilled Veggies & Shrimp

Food & Drink Magazine

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 red onion
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 red pepper, quartered
1 yellow pepper, quartered
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb jumbo raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 cup orzo pasta
3 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 clove garlic, mined
Pinch hot pepper flakes (or Tabasco sauce)
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp each chopped fresh mint & basil
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cut onion into 6 wedges; place in a large bowl. Add zucchini, peppers & 2 Tbsp oil. Place on a greased grill over medium-high heat and grill, turning once, for about 10 minutes or until golden and tender-crisp. Remove to cutting board and when cool enough, chop into bite-size pieces & place in large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling salted water, cook orzo for about 8 minutes or until tender but firm. Drain & rinse & drain. Then add to grilled veggies.
  3. Toss shrimp with 1 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp of parsley, garlic & hot pepper flakes. Place on greased grill over medium-high heat & grill, turning once, for about 5 minutes or until firm & pink. Add to bowl.
  4. Whisk together remaining oil & parsley, white wine vinegar, mint, basil, salt & pepper to taste. Pour over salad & toss to combine.

 

With Palatine Hills Cabernet Franc …

Going into Battle Lamb Stew

Lorin Cook, from San Jose Mercury News

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil, or more as needed
6 slices bacon, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup flour
2 lb. boneless leg of lamb, trimmed & cut into 1” pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 C red wine
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp horseradish mustard
6 small red potatoes, peeled
3 small carrots, cleaned & sliced
½ C cranberries
1 C dried plums

Method

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat, then cook diced bacon until almost crisp. Remove to plate, leaving bacon fat in pot.
  2. Combined flour, pepper, salt in large bowl. Add lamb & toss to coat.
  3. Add an additional tsp of oil, if needed, to the bacon fat, and brown the lamb on all sides. Add onion, mushrooms, garlic & wine.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, oregano & mustard; stir well. Pour over stew. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat, cover & simmer for 1 ½ hours.
  5. Add cooked bacon, potatoes, carrots, cranberries & plums to the pot. Cover & simmer 2-3 hours more, or until tender. Serve on a bed of wild rice.



With Palatine Hills Meritage …

Grilled Sirloin of Beef

A Matter of Taste, Lucy Waverman & James Chatto

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 boneless sirloin steak (~3 lbs.), 2” thick, trimmed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp dry seasoning rub

Dry Rub (combine ingredients):
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp kosher salt

Garnish:
1 bunch arugula, trimmed
1 C finely chopped red onions
1 ¼ C finely chopped parsley
1 Tbsp fleur de sel or kosher salt
1 Tbsp cracked peppercorns

Method

  1. Brush steak with oil on both sides & sprinkle rub over. Grill beef over high heat for 10 minutes. Turn and continue to grill for 5-10 minutes longer for medium-rare, or until steak reaches desired degree of doneness.
  2. Place steak on a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Carve steak against grain into thin slices.
  3. Fan beef slices on a serving platter over bed of arugula & sprinkle with onions, parsley, fleur de sel & peppercorns. Serve with grilled mushrooms & potatoes.

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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2027 Cellars wows our Sommelier!

Posted by Eva

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
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One of Savvy Sommelier Susan’s recent wine finds!

Winemaker Kevin Panagapkos has been involved in the Ontario wine industry over 10+ years, with a brief stint in New Zealand. In 2007, he decided to start his own ‘virtual winery’ named 2027 Cellars. Why 2027? Kevin owns a small Pinot Noir vineyard in Beamsville & it has the registration number 2027!  He focuses on making wines using three grape varietals – Riesling, Pinot Noir & Chardonnay  – to create a clear expression of the terroir.

Cheers & Enjoy!

 

2027 Cellars ‘Falls Vineyard’ Riesling VQA 2008

$18.95
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This Mosel-style Riesling has clean crisp aromas of citrus, mineral & a whiff of petrol. Dry, juicy & definitely mouth-watering, the fresh flavours of lemon-lime, stone fruit & green apple complement racy acidity & minerality. Great balance & a lasting finish – a fantastic wine find!

Suggested food pairings: A great choice for fish or pork tenderloin.

 

Want to buy this wine?  We can arrange for it to be delivered!

2027 Cellars will be a feature winery in next year’s line up in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Like this wine? Subscribe & it’ll be delivered to your home or office!

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