Posts Tagged ‘SAQ’

“Dad…Dad…buy a winery!”

Posted by David

Monday, March 13th, 2017
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When you have generations of winemakers in your family tree, the word “tradition” takes on a new meaning. This month in Savvy Selections, we feature fabulous wines from Niagara’s  Di Profio Wines. A family run operation that specializes in small batch, hand-made wines, Di Profio has quickly built a reputation for their excellent products. You can read all about their approach to winemaking in our Di Profio profile, below.

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Di Profio picks. We love how they offer a variety of flavours and styles!

2015 Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie Light and lively are the key words for this bubblegum pink sparkling wine.

2015 Kitchen Zinc – Blended from seven grape varieties, you’ll love how pretty and well-balanced this white wine is.

2013 Zinc-tastic – Here’s an example big red wine Fred Di Profio has become famous for: Cab-Merlot in perfect harmony!

 

Wines with power & elegance

Di Profio is making wines that will entice the most discerning of palates. Each one is unique, offering flavours and aromas that you would expect only from much more expensive products. These wines are read to drink, though most of them can handle cellaring for a few years, too. Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Di Profio wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

Di Profio Wines
presented by Sommelier David Loan

“Traditional” is a word we like to use a lot in the wine industry. It calls to mind the ancient history of winemaking, and connects the New World to the Old. But only a few Ontario wineries have the family roots to show that winemaking is a family legacy, a true tradition that forms part of the winery’s heritage.

Deep Roots

At Di Profio Wines, the winemaker’s roots go as deep as his vineyards. “My father’s family for generations were farming in a well-known region of Italy called Abruzzi,” Di Profio’s winemaker Fred Di Profio remembers. “My grandfather, Giuseppe, left and they eventually sold off their vineyards, but he continued making wine as many Italian immigrants do, in his cellar.” Fred’s father, Joseph, watched his own father make wine, but didn’t have much interest in the process when he grew up.

Fred, however, decided to study winemaking and began to work as a “cellar rat” at a variety of wineries in Niagara and elsewhere. He eventually took over as winemaker at Pondview Estates Winery (the winery we featured in Savvy Selections just 3 months ago – December 2016). 

Family Business

That’s when his dad, Joseph, got interested, too. “My father saw how gratifying it was for me to make wine and he thought, I should rekindle my childhood memories of MY father making wine,” Fred said. “He had a great time and learned something new and together we naturally found our family roots.” With Fred’s advice, Joseph bought some vineyards near Jordan Station in the Niagara Escarpment. Of course, he immediately enlisted Fred to run the operation.

Building Up

Joseph spearheaded building a new winery and tasting room. One of his biggest concerns was the bar. “Fred was looking for an interesting material for the tasting bar top,” Joseph said. “And he found a wine bar in Italy with a zinc countertop. Zinc oxidizes in a really neat way. Spilled wine produces a really nice patina – the older and more used, the more personality it develops. Joe got some zinc sheets and used them to cover our beautiful tasting bar.”

Joseph liked the material so much, in fact, that the tasting room is called The Zinc. And some of the wine labels playfully use the word, too.

Ready for Reds

Fred has developed a reputation for making big, bold red wines.  In the cool climate region like Niagara, Cabernet Sauvignon can be challenging for those grapes. Fred explained to me that extra time spent in the vineyard makes all the difference. “We always adapt to the climactic conditions. Even in the cooler growing seasons, there are a number of tools we can use in the vineyard to accommodate to any climate, which can vary from year to year,” he said. “Crop thinning to give the vines a helping hand, canopy management to vary the shade levels – more leaves in hot seasons, less in cooler seasons. The secret is patience and good vineyard practices.”

We’re Convinced!

Since Di Profio Wines opened in 2012, the father and son duo (and mother Carollynn had her hand in it too running the B&B next to the winery), Joseph and Fred have quickly built a reputation for high-quality wines. Dedicated to small batch production, and producing only wines from estate vineyards, they are leading a new movement in Niagara winemaking, one that looks to the future while embracing, yes, the traditional.

We are proud to offer you our favourite picks from the Di Profio portfolio. We’re confident that every bottle in the Savvy Selections that you open will leave you wanting more!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that demonstrate the powerful elegance of Di Profio wines.  We know that you’ll love the subtle flavours of these stunning wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink.

 

2015 Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie (VQA Creek Shores)
$25

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Named for Joe’s mother, Rosie (and bearing her image on the label), this Gamay sparkler is perfect for a romantic evening! There’s so much going on here: candied citrus, cherry gumdrops, pink marshmallows. It’s dry and refreshing, and finishes on the palate with watermelon and strawberry notes. The mousse is light, with fine bubbles.

Suggested Food Pairings: Our tasters agreed that this will go well with fish and seafood. We think a nice Trout Almandine will be a perfect pairing. (Recipe below.)

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within a year.

 

2015 Kitchen Zinc (VQA Ontario)
$18

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Want to know what grapes this is made from: Chardonnay Musque (a cousin of the Chardonnay we know and love); Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Chardonnay, Vidal, and Pinot Gris.

Pretty and aromatic, it has fresh floral and orange notes, with flavours of rose and honey. Medium acidity balances the light sweetness.

Suggested Food Pairings: Off-dry wines pair beautifully with spicy food, and this is no exception. We suggest a chipotle black bean chili. Recipe follows.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 2 years. Serve between 10-14ºC.

 

2013 Zinc-tastic (VQA Niagara Peninsula)
$23

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Sixty-four per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and Thirty-six per cent Merlot, the Zinc-tastic showcases Fred Di Profio’s talent with making big red wines.

With loads of dark fruit flavours and aromas of cigar box, coffee, and chocolate, this has medium, elegant tannins and medium acidity. Our tasters all thought that this is a steal at the price!

Suggested Food Pairings: We want to pick up on the fruit and smoky flavours of the Zinc-tastic. So, we turned to one of our favourite culinary regions – Provence – and a very old stew recipe: Daube de Boeuf Jeannette.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With Di Profio Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie…

Trout Almandine

Recipe & Photo credit: MarthaStewart.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
4 trout fillets
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

 

Method

Lightly toast the almonds in a saute pan. Reserve. Combine the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small, flat dish. Pour the milk into another one. Place the trout fillets in the milk.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. Dredge the fillets in the flour mixture on both sides. Add to the pan and increase heat. Put the garlic cloves in the pan and swirl it around.

Turn the trout after 2 minutes and remove the garlic (you don’t want it to brown). Cook until the fish is cooked through and lightly golden brown, about 1 or 2 more minutes. Scatter the almonds over top. Serve immediately.


With Di Profio Kitchen Zinc…

Chipotle black bean chili

Recipe and photo: MyRecipes.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

 

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients (chili powder through green chiles); bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Ladle chili into individual bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Serve with corn chips or corn bread.

 

 

With Di Profio Zinc-tastic…

Daube de Boeuf Jeannette

Recipe: Chicago Tribune
Photo credit: SAQ
Serves 5-6

Ingredients

8-10 canned anchovy fillets, optional
3 1/2 pounds lean beef stew, preferably top round, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 ounces lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, mashed

Peel from an orange, dried
1 onion, studded with 3 cloves
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
Beef broth, or water and bouillon cubes
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
Large bouquet garni (2 small celery ribs tied with a bunch of parsley sprigs, a few thyme stalks, and a bay leaf between)
Salt, pepper to taste
4 ounces tiny Nicoise olives, pitted
1 Tablespoon minced basil or parsley

 

Method

If you choose to use the anchovy fillets, insert a small piece in each beef cube, using a pointed knife, then set aside. Plunge the bacon into rapidly boiling water for 6 to 7 minutes, rinse under cold water, then drain and dry on paper towels.

Heat half the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet. When very hot, add the diced bacon and stir until it begins to brown, then remove and let drain on paper towels.

Without crowding the pieces, add the beef cubes to the hot oil. Turn the pieces when nicely browned. When all sides are evenly browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and reserve. Add more oil and the sliced onions, and cook slowly, stirring, until tender but not browned.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Return the meat and bacon to the skillet, and add garlic, orange peel, onion with cloves and wine. Heat to boil, then add broth to cover, stir in tomato paste, place bouquet garni in the middle, and season with more pepper than salt, as the olives will provide salt.

When the mixture begins to simmer, cover with parchment paper and the lid. Bake until the meat is tender, at least 1 1/2 hours. Turn the beef cubes halfway through cooking. A few minutes before serving, remove the onion with cloves; add olives, taste and correct the seasoning. Serve in a warmed shallow serving dish, accompanied by boiled potatoes or rice, sprinkled with minced basil or parsley.

 

Enjoy the season with your Savvy Selections!

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Looking for a job in the wine, craft beer & spirits business?

Posted by Debbie

Friday, October 17th, 2014
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Want to know what people are always asking me?  Since I began working in the wine industry over 10 years ago, there are two questions that I am constantly asked:

“I was away on holidays in ‘wherever’ and discovered X Wine that isn’t at the LCBO.  How can I get it shipped into Ontario?” 

“I want to get a job in the wine and beer business. Any tips on where to start?”

If I had a loonie…no, make that a toonie….for each time these questions come up in a conversation while I have a glass of wine in hand, I would be drinking Champagne every day!

Opportunity Knocks

Importing for pleasure or profit

With the rapid growth of the wine, craft beer and premium spirits too, there are countless opportunities to either join an established agency or to start your own.  You just need to be ‘in the know’ about them.  Additionally, you can get in on the ground floor at local wineries, craft breweries and distillers who are staffing up before they open their doors.  Still you need to be ‘in the know’ as rarely are these job posted on Workopolis or Monster.

Keeping your ear to the ground approach may not conjure up many job opportunities quickly.

 So how to get a jump start?

The Answer: attend the informative seminar ‘Importing Wine, Craft Beer & Spirits for Pleasure & Profit’ led by industry expert Steven Trenholme.

Event info

This seminar is hosted three times a year (twice in Toronto & once in Ottawa). The next seminar takes place in Ottawa on November 1st, 2014.  For details and to register for the Ottawa event click here.  You can also attend the Toronto seminar on November 7th, 2014.

Can’t make this date?  Email cheers@savvycompany.ca to receive information once the next dates once they are set.

Introducing…Industry Guru Steven Trenholme

Steven he knows everything AND everyone in the industry. In his 30+ year career, he has been a wine agent, a brand manager for Mosel wines (of Germany), the Canadian representative for South African Wines, a ‘head hunter’ for wine and beer companies and a manager of a national agency.  Steven definitely has the ‘how tos’ for the above two questions that I am always asked!

“As Canadians thirst for more diversity in the alcoholic beverages that they consume, this presents a very real opportunity for new agents and importers,” states Steven. “There are hundreds of wineries around the world actively looking for importers to represent them in Canada, so there are many opportunities to develop a full or part-time career in the industry.”

What’s What at the LCBO

The statistics validate these opportunities too. During 2011-2012 fiscal year, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario  reported sales of over $3.2 billion worth of imported alcoholic beverages – a 6% increase over the previous year.  During the same year, the LCBO reported that overall beer sales hit $908.8 million – a 4% (or $35 million) increase of the previous year.

If you are intrigued about the wine, beer or spirits industry – whether importing it or getting involved in the growing Canadian industry, you will find Steven’s seminar invaluable.  The knowledge he will share will add credibility to your job application as it is THE ‘must attend’ seminar in the beverage alcohol business.  After this seminar, you’ll definitely have a head start on your job search or might even be inspired to go out on your own.  That is what happened to me. I attended it twice to keep up on the changing rules of importing wines, as well as the operations and processes of the LCBO and the SAQ in Quebec.

“There are still hundreds of wine suppliers around the world actively looking for importers to represent them in Canada, so there are certainly opportunities to develop a full or part-time career in the wine industry”, reports Steven.

Curious about the wine industry?

Rest assured that your head will be spinning from all of the information you collect at his seminar, yet Steven is only a few clicks away to help you get started or answer additional questions. He is a wealth of knowledge and THE man to know if you are curious about working in the wine industry or importing your favorite wines back after a trip abroad.

I have taken a few courses where ‘the business of wine’ has been a required component, but NOTHING has compared to the relevancy of Steven’s content. If you are considering a career in the beverage alcohol business in Ontario, you need this information. Steven is experienced, professional and he offers sound advice delivered succinctly in one day,
offers  Alyson Carmichael, LCBO Manager & Product Consultant in Oakville.

Only a few spots left…Sign up now & see you there!

Ottawa Seminar on Nov. 1 & Toronto Seminar on Nov. 8

 

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Looking for a job in the importing wine, beer & spirits business?

Posted by Debbie

Saturday, March 15th, 2014
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Since I began Savvy Company 10 years ago, there are two questions that I am constantly being asked:

“I was away on vacation in ‘wherever you’ve just been’ and found this outstanding wine. Is there a way that I can order more & have it shipped to Ontario?
The winery owner said that they would do it no problem!”

“I would like to get involved in the wine industry.  How do I become a wine agent?”

If I had a loonie…no, make that a toonie….for each time these questions come up in a conversation while I have a glass of wine in hand, I would be drinking Champagne every day!


The wine industry is fascinating.  I have found that the people involved are typically interesting, well-traveled and have a joie de vivre that is contagious. There are so many wine events for the genereral public, such as the Gourmet Food & Wine Show in Toronto or recently-hosted in Ottawa, County in the City where winemakers from Prince Edward County were showcasing their wines  – white wines, red wines, sparkling wines, you name it they make it.

While you are at these events to enjoy wines, the winemakers are often looking for people to help them sell their wine.  Becoming a representative of a winery while holding down your day job or starting a wine agency from the ground up are two ways to be a part of the rapidly growing wine industry.

 


Let’s crunch the numbers…

During 2011-2012 fiscal year, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) reported sales of over $3.2 billion worth of imported alcoholic beverages – a 6% increase over the previous year – even in a challenging economic environment. More than any other consumer product, the alcoholic beverage industry has the ability to weather periods of slow or negative economic growth. There is the saying that ‘people will drink in the good times and they will need a drink in bad times too.’

Statistics Canada recently reported on April 11,2013 that net income among the provincial and territorial liquor authorities rose 3.6 per cent to $6.1-billion. More than half this amount is from the sale of imported wine, beer & spirits.

There is no ‘how to’ manual about working in the wine industry.  In fact, there are rarely job postings on Workopolis or Craig’s List either.  Those who know of wine jobs are often ‘in the biz.’ In fact, just last week two wineries contacted me asking if would recommend an agent to sell their wines.

So how to get a jump start on a job in the wine industry? 

Each year we host 3 seminars (2 dates in Toronto & 1 takes place Ottawa) entitled ‘Importing Wine for Pleasure and Profit’ by renowned industry expert Steven Trenholme.  Steven he knows everything AND everyone in the wine industry.

The next seminar will take place in Toronto on June 7th , 2014.  For more details & to register, click here >>

In his 30+ year career, Steven has been a wine agent, a brand manager for Mosel wines (of Germany), the Canadian representative for South African Wines, a ‘head hunter’ for numerous wine companies to recruit people as wine agents and to top it all off, manager of a national wine agency.  Steven has the ‘how tos’ for the above two questions that I am always asked!

“As Canadian’s thirst for more diversity in the alcoholic beverages that they consume, this presents a very real opportunity for new agents & importers,” states Steven Trenholme.

If you are intrigued about the wine industry or are already an agent, you will find Steven’s day-long seminar invaluable.  Many of Ontario’s top wine importers and agents started their careers after attending this seminar. Several Savvy Sommeliers on my team – myself included – have gained valuable insight to importing wines, as well as learning the ins and outs of the operations and processes of the LCBO & the SAQ in Quebec.

“There are still hundreds of wine suppliers around the world actively looking for importers to represent them in Canada, so there are certainly opportunities to develop a full or part-time career in the wine industry”, reports Steven.

Rest assured that your head will be spinning from all of the information you collect at his seminar, yet Steven is only a few clicks away to help you get started or answer additional questions. He is a wealth of knowledge and THE man to know if you are curious about working in the wine industry or importing your favorite wines back after a trip abroad.

“I have taken a few courses where ‘the business of wine’ has been a required component, but NOTHING has compared to the relevancy of Steven’s content. If you are considering a career in the beverage alcohol business in Ontario, you need this information. Steven is experienced, professional and he offers sound advice delivered succinctly in one day,” offers  Alyson Carmichael, LCBO Manager & Product Consultant in Oakville.

 

Interested in taking this seminar?  The next seminar will take place in Toronto on June 7th , 2014.  For more details & to register, click here.

Have more questions about importing wine, spirits & beers, we will gladly help.  Simply email cheers@savvycompany.ca. Cheers!

 

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Looking for a job in the wine industry?

Posted by Debbie

Saturday, October 20th, 2012
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Since I began Savvy Company 10 years ago, there are two questions that I am constantly being asked:

“I was away on vacation in ‘wherever you’ve just been’ and found this outstanding wine. Is there a way that I can order more & have it shipped to Ontario? The winery owner said that they would do it no problem!”

“I would like to get involved in the wine industry.  How do I become a wine agent?”

If I had a loonie…no, make that a toonie….for each time these questions come up in a conversation while I have a glass of wine in hand, I would be drinking Champagne every day!

The wine industry is fascinating.  I have found that the people involved are typically interesting, well-travelled and have a joie de vivre that is contagious.  Just step into the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival (November 6-12 at the Ottawa Convention Center) during the afternoon while it is typically full of industry folks and you can talk to winemakers and winery owners all over the world who have come to Ottawa to showcase their wines – white wines, red wines, sparkling wines, you name it they make it.  Or closer to home, attend Outstanding in their Fields wine tasting event this Friday October 19 at the National Arts Centre where 23 winemakers from Niagara will be showcasing their hard to find wines.

While you are at these events to enjoy wines, the winemakers are often looking for people to help them sell their wine.  Becoming a representative of a winery while holding down your day job or starting a wine agency from the ground up are two ways to be a part of the rapidly growing wine industry.

Let’s crunch the numbers…

During 2011-2012 fiscal year, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) reported sales of over $3.2 billion worth of imported alcoholic beverages – a 6% increase over the previous year – even in a challenging economic environment. More than any other consumer product, the alcoholic beverage industry has the ability to weather periods of slow or negative economic growth. There is the saying that ‘people will drink in the good times and they will need a drink in bad times too.’

There is no ‘how to’ manual about working in the wine industry.  In fact, there are rarely job postings on Workopolis or Craig’s List either.  Those who know of wine jobs are often ‘in the biz.’ In fact, just last week two wineries contacted me asking if would recommend an agent to sell their wines.

So how to get a jump start on a job in the wine industry? 

Every year we host a seminar entitled ‘Importing Wine for Pleasure and Profit’  by renowned industry expert Steven Trenholme.  Steven conducts this seminar in Toronto twice a year and it sells out quickly because he knows everything AND everyone in the wine industry. In his 30+ year career, Steven has been a wine agent, a brand manager for Mosel wines (of Germany), the Canadian representative for South African Wines, a ‘head hunter’ for numerous wine companies to recruit people as wine agents and to top it all off, manager of a national wine agency.  Steven has the ‘how tos’ for the above two questions that I am always asked!

If you are intrigued about the wine industry or are already an agent, you will find Steven’s day-long seminar invaluable.  Many of Ontario’s top wine importers and agents started their careers after attending this seminar. Several Savvy Sommeliers on my team – myself included – have gained valuable insight to importing wines, as well as learning the ins and outs of the operations and processes of the LCBO & the SAQ in Quebec.

“There are still hundreds of wine suppliers around the world actively looking for importers to represent them in Canada, so there are certainly opportunities to develop a full or part-time career in the wine industry”, reports Steven.

Rest assured that your head will be spinning from all of the information you collect at his seminar, yet Steven is only a few clicks away to help you get started or answer additional questions. He is a wealth of knowledge and THE man to know if you are curious about working in the wine industry or importing your favorite wines back after a trip abroad.

We are currently planning for the 2014 calendar for this seminar.  To be notified of the seminar dates once they are set, email us cheers@savvycompany.ca  Cheers!

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France’s Southern Rhone – soaked in wine history

Posted by Susan

Thursday, November 19th, 2009
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As far back as the Greeks and Romans, the great Rhone river has been a route of cultural and commercial dispersal, bringing new people and practices to what some would consider an ideal climate.  Certainly, grape vines took to the dry, wind-swept plains and hills of the south.  Over the centuries, the wine industry evolved to produce some of the great wines of the world—Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, among others. Last month, I had the pleasure of visiting wineries near the historic cities of Orange and Avignon in Provence, France.  Perfectly timed, some of the wines that I enjoyed are following me back to Ontario as they will be in the November 21 LCBO Vintages release.

Chateau de Beaucastel, owned by the Perrin family since 1909, is one of the largest single properties in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  It was granted to Pierre de Beaucastel by Louis the XIV and has remained an intact estate to the present.  The Perrin family acquired the property just after phylloxera had devastated the area.  Undeterred, their son Jacques began replanting all 13 grape varieties authorized in the appellation.  The family believes firmly that a blend of varietals produces the best wines in the southern Rhone.

Over the years, they became convinced “that to produce a great wine, the vine must grow in as natural a way as possible.”  Consequently, they have been certified organic growers since 1994, but have been growing their grapes organically since the mid-1960s.  Amazingly, all work in the vineyard is done by hand.  And this approach applies to their other vineyards in the southern Rhone in such appellations as Gigondas, Vinsobres, Cairanne, etc.   Grandmother Perrin still lives in the house on the property, and a family member is directly involved in the management of each of their primary vineyards, including La Vieille Ferme and the property across the highway from Beaucastel, where the Perrin wines are produced. 

 There are some unique processes at Beaucastel.  For instance, Jacques patented a process by which, after destemming, the grapes are sent through pipes which quickly heat them to 70C and then cool them to 20C.  This process destroys the enzymes which cause oxidization, therefore eliminating the use of sulfites at this stage.  Syrah and Mourvedre grape varieties – they use a large percentage – are fermented in large oak tanks, while the other 11 varieties ferment in cement tanks.  All the varietals begin aging together in large casks rather than small barriques, “in order to provide an exchange between air and wine without adding further tannins from the wood.”  In February, the five members of the family get together to begin tasting the wines from the varieties in order to determine the proportion of each grape to be used to make the final blends.  The wine finishes aging as a blend and spends at least one year in bottle prior to sale.

We popped the corks in the tasting room with the outstanding 2007 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a blend of 30% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 6% Syrah, complemented by the remaining 8 varietals of the appellation (a secret that is kept close to their chest!).  The wine displayed fresh ripe fruit, complexity, structure and power (acclaimed wine critic Robert Parker rates the wine 93-95+).  It will be available at the LCBO Vintages as of November 21, 2009 (LCBO product code #711317, $89.95).  Consider it a special purchase for that special occasion in the future.

Among the other wines we had the pleasure of tasting were the 1998 and 1990 vintages of the Chateau de Beaucastel, as well as  the Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 2007, produced with grapes from 85-year-old vines, aged 50% in barrel – a subtle, aromatic, beautiful full-bodied white wine. 

For those who love well-crafted wines made with integrity, Perrin offers a range to meet the tastes and pocketbook of every wine lover – from the great Chateau de Beaucastel through to the Perrin Reserve or Perrin Nature (certified organic), and on to their brand, La Vieille Ferme.  Available in Vintages on November 21 is the Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone-Villages l’Andeol Rasteau 2007 (LCBO product code #976845, $19.95).   How to best enjoy these wines?  These are food wines, of course, and best enjoyed with friends and a great meal!

Not far from Chateau de Beaucastel, I stopped in to visit Domaine Galevan, a small property near Courthezon owned by the Goumarre family.  Daughter Coralie, is the first woman in the family to be winemaker.  She works with her father and, judging from his grudging admiration and his wife’s slight shrug of the shoulders, there are lively discussions between them about both grape growing and winemaking!  At the time of my visit, Coralie was away picking up her children from school, but her mother mentioned that while wineries around them had already harvested their grapes, Coralie insisted that they be left a bit longer on the vine.  A shake of the head from her father; nevertheless, said he, you can’t argue with success!  Coralie’s 2007 Paroles de Femme Cotes du Rhone  will also be available in the LCBO Vintages this weekend, product code #125930, $15.00. It is a full-bodied fruity blend of Grenache, Mouvedre, Cinsault and Carignan grapes, with hints of the wonderful herbs of the garrigue.  It flew off the Vintages shelves in June, and will no doubt do so again – don’t miss out!

I also had the pleasure of visiting the Domaine de la Presidente near Ste-Cecile-les-Vignes.  This small domaine produces wines within the appellations of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cairanne and Cotes du Rhone, some of which are available through the SAQ (look for the Galifay Cairanne, the Nonciature Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and the Cairanne Cotes du Rhone Villages).  Their Galifay Blanc 2007, a blend of Viognier and Grenache Blanc grapes, is a full-bodied wine redolent of sweet tropical fruit balanced with a fresh seam of acidity.  Their Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre, has great depth of fruit and hints of vanilla with fine tannins and a long satisfying finish.

Cheers to you all!  I hope you enjoy these special wines from the sun-drenched reaches of the southern Rhone valley.

Susan

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Drumroll please! The winners are….

Posted by Debbie

Monday, November 2nd, 2009
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When you walk into a wine store, there are rows of wines awaiting your discovery.  But how do you to select the right one?  There are many factors to consider, and often the mention of winning a medal at a wine competition can influence your choice and your wallet.  For this reason, wineries compete in wine competitions hoping to win a medal that they can promote in order to influence your purchase.

At this year’s Ottawa Wine & Food Show (dates Nov 6 to 8, 2009 at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa) 100+ medals will be given to shine the spotlight on the winners of the Cellars of the World Wine Competition.  This prestigious wine competition that attracts wineries from all corners of the world, was managed by the Savvy Team including Debbie, Wayne, Erin & Vanessa along with a great group of volunteers.

The weeks leading up to the competition day, required hours of receiving, categorizing and logging 360+ bottles of wines.

On the day of the competition, swirling and sipping took place behind closed doors. This year, a panel of 24 judges, consisting of wine writers, professional wine judges, LCBO and SAQ product consultants and accredited Sommeliers from Ottawa’s acclaimed restaurants, were teamed based on their wine styles preferences.  Each group judged 60 plus wines ‘blind’ without knowledge of the winery, country or vintage year.  The categories for this competition are based on style and grape variety then further broken down into three price points; $0-14.99, $15-19.99 and over $20.  All exhibitors at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show were invited to participate in the competition entering wines that they intend to serve at the show.

And the drumroll please….this year’s winners are….

Download Cellars of the World Wine Competition 2009 – Medal Standings or view the wine competition results online

Interested about wine competitions?  Read Debbie’s article that appeared in the Ottawa Business Journal

Cheers & see you at the Wine & Food Show this weekend.

-Debbie

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