Posts Tagged ‘Sauvignon Blanc’

If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, November 11th, 2016
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About this time every year LCBO Vintages showcases ‘Star Quality’ as a feature of the release. We all know what this also means…’star prices’.   Icewine, French Champagne and sparkling wines flow prominently on the pages. I wish I could buy one of each however with my blog budget of $100, I’ll have to leave the Champagne for another time.

vintages-nov-12However, there are some star quality wines that I’d recommend to stock up on.

Also, there are several great wines coming out in large sized 1500 mL bottles. It sounds like a lot of wine, but if you are having a dinner party or a holiday feast, they are super easy to decant at the table and good value too. In particular, I’m thinking of the J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 at $44.95 or Catena Malbec 2014 at $39.95.  Both red wines are heavy duty crowd pleasers and great accompaniments to lasagna, roasts or ribs.

No shortage of star quality in this release.

Enjoy,
-Julie

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday November 12, 2016

 

dog-point-sauvignon-blanc-2015Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$24.95 (Vintages #677450)  13.5% alcohol

I wouldn’t recommend wines with animals in the name unless it was star quality and this white wine is definitely one that gets top marks. Any easy sipping white wine that is pale in colour but packs a punch in taste and texture.  Aromatic white flowers start the senses with peachy apricots, tree fruit on the palate and a crisp lemon lime finish. It is a light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc with gentle finesse and one mouthwatering taste. Enjoy it on its own, with appetizers or light meals.

 

 

clayhouse-cabernet-sauvignon-2015Clayhouse Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Paso Robles, California
$17.00  (Vintages #057869) 13.5% alcohol

Paso Robles is known for its abundance of olive oil, hot springs, almond orchards and wineries.  Mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco the landscape is mainly dry grassland. Roughly 24 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the climate is almost Mediterranean with long hot summers and brief cool winters. This landscapes allows the grapes to reach their absolute maximum potential which we then can enjoy in such vintages as the above. It tastes much richer than its’ terrific price point. Dark and opaque, black currant and plum flavours, smooth as silk with a some pencil shaving oak on the finish. Fruity but structured makes for easy drinking red wine. I’d pair it with any grilled meat or a prime rib roast. Delicious.

 

clos-de-los-siete-2013

Clos de los Siete

Mendoza, Argentina
$23.95 (Vintages #622571) 14.5%

Since returning from a trip to Argentina this past February, a wine from Mendoza always makes its way to my shopping basket. This red wine blend nearly reaches nirvana for me. Predominantly Malbec (57%) with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in the follow up. Dark ruby with aromas and flavours of ripe blueberries, black cherries, currants with some mocha on the finish. This nectar  integrates soft tannins with fabulously smooth intensity and depth. Pair with the usual red meat suspects but worthy of a veal chop splurge.

 

reif-vidal-icewine

Reif Vidal Icewine 2014

VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake
$24.95  (Vintages #544791) 10% alcohol

Reif Estate Winery has been a long time producer of fine Canadian icewine. This one is harvested from a 12 acre block planted in 1981. Those grapes have had lots of time to think about their future! The average picking temperatures range from -10 to -12 C and this vintage was harvested in January 2014.  Lusciously sweet with honey, toffee, apricots and peaches fill the senses with a memorable creamy mouthfeel. There is a little marmalade on the finish and it is a divine expression of icewine.  With some soft blue cheese it would be over the top.

 

Grand Total = $90.85

 

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Wine class #3 – What’s the story behind these bunches of grapes?

Posted by Amanda

Monday, September 9th, 2013
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From working with the Sommeliers at Savvy Company, I have noticed that there seems to be a story behind every bottle of wine and history about the thousands of different grape varieties too.  In this Wine 101 blog, we share with you the background on some interesting wines & grape varieties.  These are tidbits that you can drop into any dinner party conversation!

In fact, over a glass of wine, Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm told her friend Dale Morris of Ascribe Marketing about these 4 grape varieties.  Here are the notes Dale captured in her napkin!

Wine 101 – A few white grapes with a story

Viognier

Viognier (pronounced Vee-on-yeah!) is a grape variety that has a deeply rooted heritage in France. Debbie fell in love with this unusual white while at wine school (aka the Sommelier accreditation program). Expecting to find some while she touring France, Debbie was disappointed there was no Viognier to be had: it seems the French enjoy it so much they often keep it for themselves. Now that word has gotten out about this hidden gem, winemakers in Argentina, California, Australia and Canada are taking up the cause, growing and crafting elegant wines full of delicious aromas.

In Australia, Viognier is often blended with Shiraz to add a little body and sweetness to reds. Some winemakers have told Debbie that Viognier could become the next it white – “If only people could pronounce it correctly.”

Only a few wineries in Niagara are growing this varietal. Prepare to be WOWed by Fielding’s wine. But be warned: if you like it, you’ll be hooked!

TIP: Fielding Winery in Niagara currently has their Viognier wine on sale for $19.95 (that is $5 off per bottle). This special price is only available through our Savvy Bin Ends.  Click here to order >>

Sauvignon Blanc

Lailey Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc (pronounced So-veen-yon Blah-nk) – is a family affair – sort of. Created by winemaker Derek Barnett, the son of a brewmaster, from Kent, England, Derek is renowned throughout the Canadian wine industry for his innovative styles and impressive flavours.

To achieve them, Derek takes the unusual step of a ‘double-harvest’ of grapes. The first picking is done when the grapes are just ripe – this gives his wine its refreshing and crisp aromas and tastes. Derek then lets the remaining ‘Sauv Blanc’ grapes hang on the vines until they‘re well over-ripe – almost brown – before picking the bunch. This gives them nice tropical-fruit notes. Grown from the same patch of vines, these two diverse grapes are blended together for a very complex and delicious summer sipping wine.

 Wine 101 – A few red grapes with a story

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir (pronounced PEE-no Nwar) is often referred to as the “Prince of Grapes” or the “heartbreak grape.” Why? This grape varietal needs care and nurturing around the clock. It’s difficult to grow, and the wine it produces has a tendency to actively evolve in the cellar. As a result, crafting a good Pinot Noir is the pinnacle of any winemaker’s personal achievement.

In New Zealand, some winemakers go so far as to have helicopters hover over their vineyards to warm the air on cool nights! Many also babysit their barrels, 24/7.

There are two classic styles of Pinot – cherry or earthy. Depending on the winemaker’s preference, the Pinot can be crafted to emphasize the terroir.

For a classic combination, you can lightly chill a Pinot Noir and enjoy a glass with grilled salmon. 

Carmenère

Carmenère (CAR-men-yere) is a relative newcomer to North American palates. Recently, it was determined to be a long-lost grape varietal from Bordeaux, France, and not just a Merlot, as was previously believed. Grown only in Chile, it has quickly become the region`s signature wine, with winemakers using it to craft excellent, big and bold flavours. Once you’re exposed to Carmenère, you’ll be hooked.

This wine is begging to be served with something hearty off the barbecue – steak, lamb, burgers and grilled mushrooms come to mind.

Savvy Sommelier Debbie recommends you save your last sip for desert, to enjoy with some dark chocolate cake.

 

Reviewing the Week’s ‘Wine’101 Lessons

 

I hope you had a little fun with our 3 back-to-back Wine 101 ‘Classes’ in what can be a stressful time for everyone. You can consult our Wine 101 – Pairing Food & Wine to help you with some quick & easy meals all year long; check the rules & regs in Wine 101 – Tasting, Storing & Ordering Wine and lastly in Wine 101 – The Story Behind the Grapes you can now pass the test when it comes to grape varietals.

I hope you have enjoyed being back at school this week with Savvy Company– and perhaps learned a thing or two!

Cheers!

Amanda

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C is for Chile!

Posted by Susan

Monday, September 3rd, 2012
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This week we feature Chilean wines that Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins recently discovered when she was invited to a wonderful tasting hosted by Wines of Chile.

While Susan learned about the country & the culture while sipping & sampling on a range of Chilean wines, the host, Lisa Ulrich of Andros Communications, focused the tasting on Chile’s regional diversity. Susan shares what she learned about this country that is 4,300 km in length and only 177 km at its broadest point & offers recommendations of wines to purchase that are readily available at the LCBO for you to explore Chile too.

Wines of  Chile – Quality and Value in One Great Package

The tasting was held at Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar in Ottawa’s Byward Market where chef Jonathan Korecki wowed the guests with the visually stunning and fabulously tasty food matches he created for the Chilean wines.

Chile is protected by the Atacama desert to the north, the Pacific to the west, the Andes to the east, and the Patagonian ice fields to the south. These natural features protect the vineyards from pests and disease and provide a geographic diversity that allows for tremendous variation in terroir.  Variations in altitude, the cooling effect of the Pacific currents, healthy well-drained soils all contribute to the success of the wine industry in this country. As a result of a benevolent climate and these natural barriers, Chile has become a centre of sustainability and organic viticulture.

A commitment has been made to a Sustainability Program, which includes close attention to the environment, the people and the economic bottom line. The goal is to be the number one producer of premium, sustainable and diverse New World wines by 2020. Fourteen Chilean wineries have now been certified in the first segment of the Sustainability Code, which pertains to vineyard management processes and management.

With many wines to choose from, here are two Sauvignon Blanc white wines that Susan recommends to pick up at the LCBO:

Errazuriz ‘Max Reserva’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Aconcagua Valley
$15.95
LCBO#273342
13.5% alcohol

Sourced from a hillside estate only 12 km from the Pacific Ocean, the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged 3 months on the lees, providing a silky texture and good volume on the palate. Fragrant with tropical fruit and citrus aromas, this wine also proffers subtle herbal notes. Dry, medium bodied and tangy, the wine offers a lovely balance of refreshing acidity, soft texture and fine underlying minerality. Flavours of passionfruit and fresh herbs mingle on the lasting fresh finish.

 

Quintay ‘Q’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Casablanca Valley
$14.95
LCBO#276493
13.0% alcohol

More in the classic New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc, there’s bright pungency on the nose with aromas of nettles, herbs, fresh-mown grass mingling with citrus and tropical fruit. Zesty, fresh and vibrant in texture, the grassy notes replay, while grapefruit and passionfruit mingle on a pithy energetic finish. This was a great match to chef Korecki’s Papaya salad with torched albacore tuna sashimi.

 

 

Enjoy!
Susan

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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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