Posts Tagged ‘Savvy Company Team’

A warm County welcome at Karlo Estates

Posted by Debbie

Monday, April 29th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Karlo Estates
–  April 2013 –

 

The month of April has been all about Prince Edward County for us at Savvy Company.  We are delighted to be hosting the 2nd annual County in the City wine tasting showcasing a number of County’s winemakers and their latest wines.  In addition to this Taste and Buy event, in this month’s Savvy Selections, we are shining the spotlight on the rapidly growing County winery: Karlo Estates

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Pinot Gris VQA 2012 you are the first to enjoy this wine as it was bottled just in time to be included in Savvy Selections.

Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 Christen your 1st BBQ of the season by uncorking this red wine.

Quintus VQA 2010 – a unique blend of five Old World grape varietals; Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec & Petit Verdot. This can be cellared for 5+ years.

OPTIONAL WINES: Karlo makes The County’s only port wines.  If you requested a bottle or two of the VanAlstine Red or White port in your delivery…you’re in for a treat!

During the harvest last year, we were hired by a corporate client to organize a day tour of The County.  Many of the Sommeliers in our Savvy Team have visited ‘The County’, so, I invited our Marketing Co-ordinator Amanda Jackson to join me on this day trip as she hadn’t visited yet. Enthusiastic & enchanted by the place & the people we visited, I also invited Amanda to write this month’s Savvy eZine with me.

On the following pages, Amanda gives you her first impressions of The County & of her visit to Karlo Estates.  You will find my sommelier tasting notes along with recipes from my  kitchen that would pair with the featured wines.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Karlo Estates Winery 

Presented by Amanda Jackson

 

Rarely a day goes by at the Savvy Company office without someone mentioning Prince Edward County…or ‘The County’ as it is also fondly known.  This rapidly growing wine region is flourishing with many family run & boutique wineries.  Due to the small supply of wines made (at the moment!), it is not common to find County wines in the LCBO, unless you come to our Savvy Events or occasionally you might see them on a restaurant wine list. Personally, I have not tasted many County wines so when Debbie invited me to join her on a private tour, I jumped at the chance – I like meeting new people and tasting new wines, so this was a real day out for me!

My first impression of The County

I was AMAZED. Starting with the brief & beautiful ferry ride across the Bay,  driving along the main streets of the quaint town of Picton, enjoying the scenic countryside , meeting the down-to-earth winemakers who welcomed us at each stop….and of course the impressive wines.

Karlo Estates was the last winery we visited during our action-packed tour.  Debbie often talks about Karlo Estates and now I understand why it’s on her ‘must visit’ list when clients ask her for trip tips.

“Watch out, Richard’s laugh is infectious! You will hear him before you see him.” Debbie described the larger-than-life and genuine character of none other than winery owner and winemaker Richard Karlo.

This wine maker started young

Richard grew up making wine – literally.  He began at the young age of 8 watching his father make wine at home.  Fast forward many years, Rich joined the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario (AWO) knowing far too well that crafting wine would become more than just a hobby.  While the group is called “Amateur” they are really anything but.  The AWO is where like-minded winemakers get together to learn new techniques from one another & exchange ideas about the winemaking process.  And Richard did not stop there.  He has gone on to achieve the designation of Master Winemaker – his father must have been proud.

…and became a wine achiever!

During our visit, I learned that Richard has been winning awards for his wines long before he had his own winery.  He turned heads when his first release of the 2008 Van Alstine Port was named by Master Sommelier John Szabo as one of the “Top 10 Cutting Edge Wines of the World”. What an honour!  If you had requested a bottle of this port to be included in this month`s delivery – enjoy this world class wine. It is a favorite in my home and I make a point of recommending it to my friends who enjoy port And Richard is winning awards for his business too.  While we were on the tour, he was excited to  share his most recent news: he was just named a 2012 finalist of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Obviously Karlo Estates Winery is one to watch on many levels!

The pride that everyone involved in the winery has for their wines, as well as their growing business is evident.  The large red barn, dating to the Loyalist settlement in the early 1900s, has wine barrels tucked into every corner.  The warm lighting in the barn was inviting, and made me feel more like going into someone’s living room because the ambiance that Richard and his partner Sherry Martin made us feel so welcome to be in this beautifully preserved barn that they have lovingly revitalized over the years.  “We intentionally left the barn rustic because we didn’t want to change the character and charm of the building”, Sherry explained as she lead our group up to the second floor into her art studio that doubles as a private tasting bar.

Tasting our way through the Karlo wine list

As we sipped & enjoyed each and every one of the wines on Karlo’s wine list (all eight of them!), Sherry had a personal story for each wine as well as offering us tips of her never fail wine appreciation how to’s using our Eyes, Nose and Mouth.

My first wine tour of The County including our lovely afternoon spent visiting Karlo Estates was definitely a  memorable one – and soon to be repeated!.  I couldn’t wait to share stories with friends & family and others in the Savvy Team of allf the new discoveries we had made that day. I am confident that you too will enjoy your Karlo wines that Debbie and our Sommeliers selected for you.  I highly recommend you visit Karlo Estates on your next getaway to The County.

An accomplished winemaker and bridge builder

When you visit Karlo, be sure to take a walk to the middle of the vineyard to admire the bridge that arches over the creek running between two vineyards. This bridge was a ‘weekend project’ hand built by Rich, stonemasons & friends in 2007. And as if one project was not enough, they also built the stone wall around the heritage barn using pieces of limestone from the property. Both were constructed using a technique known as dry stone construction – hand built by fitting stones together – no mortar (or glue) is used. This is the connection to the keystone with the ‘K’ on the top of each cork & on the wine label.

 Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Pinot Gris VQA 2011, $21.00

This wine is not even available yet at the winery! Bottled just in time to be included in your Savvy Selections, this is a delicious spring time sipping wine. If you see a light copper hue to the wine, don`t be alarmed as more winemakers are crafting Pinot Gris leaving them on their skins for a bit longer than typical for making white wine.

Fully ripened Pinot Gris grapes have a bronze like colour to them, so winemakers sometimes leave the juice in contact with the skins for longer than usual white wine making techniques to extract a warm hued colour that adds to the character of the wine. Taking this approach, you find Pinot Gris from clear pale white to those that will remind with a salmon colour of a Rosé wine. Either way it comes in the glass you will enjoy the crisp, dry & refreshing taste.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Refreshing aromas of crunchy apple (or perhaps it is apple sauce?), fresh juicy pear with a warmth of nutmeg. With each sip, the apple & pear continues with honey, bees wax & a nice acidity in the texture that gives it a zip in the finish. And that finish doesn`t go away! It lingers forever.

Suggested Food Pairing: As mentioned before, this is a great sipping wine & can be enjoyed on its own after being chilled for 30 minutes in the fridge.  Serve with hors d’oeuvres, pork chops or the Pistachio Crusted Sea Scallops – recipe follows.


Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 $24.00

From the outstanding 2010 vintage, this wine will not disappoint. Rich shows his talent in this wine as it is delicious & extremely well crafted. Enjoy!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: ‘This wine makes me hungry’, Savvy Sommelier Debbie declared as she swirls & sips this Cabernet Franc.  Plush aromas of dark plums, warm spices & wood that carries into the taste adding in dark chocolate, ripe juicy cherry with some roasted red pepper. There are subtle tannins that will fall into the background as soon as you introduce food – especially grilled meats hot off the BBQ.  This is a well balanced medium bodied wine with a long finish that begs you to have another sip…and another…and another.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Winter is behind us, it is time to fire up the BBQ and grill everything under the sun! Debbie offers her Coffee Steak Rub recipe to kick start your BBQ season.  Yes…coffee! Double the recipe & keep in a jar in the fridge for anytime you fire up the BBQ.

Cellaring:  This wine is ready to be enjoyed now or will continue to soften if you lay down in your cellar for 2 to 3 more years.  But why wait?

 

Quintus VQA 2010 $35.00

Ready for something BIG? Made with grapes that Rich sources from vineyards throughout the province (this is why it states VQA Ontario on the label), this is a unique blend of grapes from the impressive 2010 vintage.  This is a blend of 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot and 10% Malbec. This wine has the staying power to last in your cellar for many years to come.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Everything about this wine in black – ink in colour then continues into the heavy aromas of black fruit (think dried figs, prunes, dates) with tastes of fresh earth (the smell of turning over the soil in your garden in the spring), freshly ground black pepper, Austrian black licorice with a punch of blackberry cassis. Full bodied with good tannins and a long deep & warm finish.  Gorgeous!  A real treat to drink.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Bring on the beef! Prime rib or roast beef with all of the trimmings.

Decanting & Cellaring:  Recommend to decant for 2 hours before serving.  Drinks well now & it will also cellar 4-6 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~  

With Karlo Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2011…

Pistachio Crusted Sea Scallops

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm 
Serves 4

Ingredients

8 Large Sea Scallops (size U-10)
200g unsalted pistachios, shelled and lightly toasted
150g fresh bread crumbs
4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 lemon, juiced
75 ml grainy mustard
75 ml sour cream
Ground black pepper, to taste
Sea salt – to taste
100ml Canola oil

 

Method
Preheat oven to 375 F

Place chilled scallops on a paper towel for 2 minutes to absorb any surface liquid.  Season liberally with salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes.

Blend toasted pistachios in a food processor until fine.  Mix with bread crumbs and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Coat pan with oil and heat until very hot.  Sear scallops on one side until brown and crisp (2 minutes).  Remove scallops from pan and place on parchment lined baking sheet, seared side up.

Mix sour cream, mustard and lemon juice and spoon over each scallop.

Press the seared side into the bread mixture to form a crust.  Bake for 2-3 minutes.

Serve as an entree or over a salad of spring greens.

 

With Karlo Estates Cabernet Franc VQA 2010

Coffee Rub for BBQ steak

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm 
Serves 4

Savvy Sommelier Debbie first enjoyed this recipe at a backyard BBQ at Charlie Pillitteri (of Pillitteri Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake). Think coffee on steak is strange? Think again! The coffee beans caramelized while BBQing, offering a rich earthy flavour that will be enhanced with this robust wine.

Ingredients

½ cup whole coffee beans
¼ cup black peppercorns
¼ cup Montreal Steak spice
Steaks – any type of cut – as you like them!

 Method

With an electric coffee grinder, whiz coffee beans and peppercorns lightly.  The result should be a coarse mixture.
In a bowl add ground mixture with Montreal Steak spice. This recipe can be doubled and stored in a jar or Ziploc container in the fridge.
When ready to BBQ, rub ample amount of mixture on both sides of steak.Set aside for 20-30 minutes before putting on the grill.
Cook steak to your liking & serve with grilled asparagus & other springtime vegetables.

 

With Karlo Estates Quintus VQA 2010…

Dijon Herbed Prime Rib

Farm Boy weekly recipes
Serves 4 to 6 – depending on the size of meat

Ingredients

1Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper ,to taste
1 bone in rib roast (2.5KG/6LB)
6 medium garlic cloves, quartered lengthwise

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 F
Make small incisions all over the roast & insert the garlic into the holes. Then place the roast in a roasting pan.
Mix the remaining ingredients into a paste and rub enire roast evenly.
Roast for 25 minutes then reduce heat to 350 F and continue cooking for about 1 and a 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 135 F(for rare).
Transfer roast to a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with your favorite mashed potatoes recipe or buttered beets!

 

With Karlo Estates VanAlstine Ports…

Hazelnut Torte

It is not often that we include a dessert recipe, yet both the Karlo Estates ports would be great with this nut & slightly sweet dessert.

From Debbie’s kitchen – a perfect make ahead dessert that adds WOW factor to any dinner party
Serves 8 to 10
This recipe doubles well & cake layers can be frozen until needed.

Ingredients

Torte

4 eggs
¾ c white sugar
2 T flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 c hazelnuts

Mocha filling

2 T butter
½ t vanilla
1 c icing sugar
1 tsp cocoa – heck, put more in!
2 T strong hot coffee

Icing

325 mL container of 35% cream – whipped with a drizzle of Tia Maria (or white sugar) folded in at the end to lightly sweeten.

 

Method – Torte

In processor/blender whirl eggs & sugar until thoroughly mixed.
Add flour, baking powder and hazelnuts.  Whirl away.
Chop nuts – but not too fine! Keep some chunky bits.
Pour into 2 well greased & floured layer pans (circular) and bake at 350 for 20 mins.

 

Method – Filling & Finishing

Cream icing sugar & butter.  Add strong coffee, cocoa & vanilla and mix until smooth
Spread between layers. (Lick beaters until absolutely clean that you don’t need to wash them!)
Cover top & sides with whipped cream. Decorate as you like
TIP: Best if cake is made a day ahead to allow flavours to mellow.

 

 Debbie’s tasting notes for the unique ports made in The County…

WHITE Van Alstine Port 2010 – A unique wine is a blend of Frontenac Blanc & Gewürztraminer grapes, this lightly sweet wine has aromas of fresh apricots, mandarin & flowers leap from the glass that continues through in the taste with a refreshing acidity combined with toasted nuts (hazelnut perhaps?). Serve slightly chilled with light & refreshing desserts such as fruit salad, lemon tart or pound cakes…or this torte!

 

RED Van Alstine Port 2009 – A delicious dark colour with concentrated aromas of black cherry, blackberry, dark fruit cake & warm spices that continue along with tastes of red liquorice & cedar. Aged in French & Hungarian oak barrels, this delicious port has a finish that warms you up with each sip.  Bring on desserts with dark chocolate or enjoy with a plate of artisan cheeses & roasted nuts.  This torte has just the right combination of nut and chocolate tastes without going overboard with sweetness.  You might want to chill the port for 15 minutes in the fridge before serving.  Notice how the taste changes as the port warms up.

  

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

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You’re invited to a Wine & Cheese with a TWIST

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 10th, 2013
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Shake off the winter blues & join our team of Savvy Sommeliers for a fun wine tasting the “coolest” wines from Niagara & Prince Edward County boutique wineries.

These back to back events will take place in small & intimate venues so that you can spend the evening chatting with the winemakers & winery owners about their vineyard, winemaking styles & all the goings on at the winery during the winter months….and stock up on your favorite wines too!

 

ROCKCLIFFE PARK

Tuesday January 29 @ 7pm
Rockcliffe Community Hall – 380 Springfield Rd

BUY TICKETS > >

~ OR~

WESTBORO

Wednesday January 30 @ 7pm 
Exposure Gallery
– 1255 Wellington St West (2nd floor of Thyme & Again)

BUY TICKETS > >

 

What is the TWIST?  

At these Taste & Buy events, there will be a wide selection of hard-to-find wines that are not available at the LCBO.  This gives you the unique opportunity to a taste a variety of sparkling, white, red & dessert wines that you can order your new favorite wines that will be delivered directly to your home or office – within a week!


Feature wineries include:

Casa Dea Estates Winery (Prince Edward County) – one of the first wineries in The County will showcase their new range of wines.

Fielding Estates Winery (Beamsville Bench – aka Niagara Escarpment)  – from sparkling to reds, their wines are fantastic!

Lighthall Vineyards (Prince Edward County) – one of the newest boutique wineries in The County…and their wines are turning heads!

Palatine Hills Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake) – one of the oldest vineyards in the region makes spectacular reds, whites & bubblies

Pondview Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake) – they’ll be serving their Bella Terra Reserve wines

Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery (Beamsville Bench) – outstanding white wines & a lovely Pinot Noir awaits…and meads too (winespeak for wine made with honey)

Sue-Ann Staff Winery (Beamsville Bench) – international winemaking star will charm you with her vivacious personality & her impressive wines.

 

You can purchase your favorite artisan cheese too!

And as wine & cheese is a classic pairing, Vanessa – our Cheese Sommelier – will be on hand at the Artisan Cheese Bar serving handcrafted cheeses from Ontario & Québec that may be purchased to take home with you that night.

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY

HELD OVER! $55 per person before January 25 (regular $65)

$200 for a group of 4 people (save $15 per person)

Only 50 tickets available per event.  Click to buy yours …

ROCKCLIFFE PARK event on January 29 >>

WESTBORO event on January 30 >>

Price includes wine tasting, cheeses, HST & a special Savvy wine tasting glass

Share this invitation with your friends – everyone is welcome.

 

These events are hosted in partnership with:

 

 

 

 

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Wine-making and film-making at Long Dog Winery

Posted by Velma

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Long Dog Vineyard & Winery
–  December 2012 –

 

When IMAX filmmaker James Lahti, his wife Victoria Rose, and his good friend Steven Rapkin bought property in Prince Edward County in 1999, it was not with the intention of growing grapes or making wine. The purchase of one of the oldest deeds in the County was meant to be a weekend getaway from their hectic lives in busy Toronto.

Two years later, inspired by others in the region who were successfully growing grapes, they planted 1000 vines and, three years after that, produced their first vintage – three barrels of Pinot Noir. Although the vines were young, James produced a Pinot that reminded him of his first incredible taste of this grape 40 years before in Burgundy, France. His first thought, as he recalls the memory, was “Wow! If we can produce this kind of wine with three year old vines, what are we going to be making in 10 to 15 years?”  This was the seed that started Long Dog Vineyard and Winery.

Fast forward ten years, to 2012, and the Savvy Team can answer James’ question: James can make great wines! Five of us from the team conducted a tasting several weeks ago and, I have to say, we had a hard time selecting the wines to be named Savvy Selections from the four Pinot Noirs and two Chardonnays that James sent us to sample. It was a tough job, but what can I say – someone had to do it, and I’m awfully glad it was us!

Our Savvy Sommelier Velma Leblanc also talked with James about his first taste of Pinot Noir wine in the early 1970s, about the similarities between winemaking and filmmaking, and where the name “Long Dog” comes from. Read all of these stories in the following pages of this month’s Savvy eZine.

In the end, our tasting panel selected, for your enjoyment this holiday season, three wonderful wines that have been created, as all Long Dog wines are, with 100% of grapes grown on the property of this boutique Prince Edward Country vineyard.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Bella Chardonnay Riserva 2008 – a medium-bodied, well-balanced, cool-climate white, with
just a hint of oak

Otto Pinot Noir 2009an aromatic, classic Pinot Noir with a cherry finish  

Top Dog Pinot Noir 2009 – a beautiful rich red Pinot Noir that one member of the panel described
as having a velvety Santa Claus finish and that others simply described as “yummy”
 

Ever tried a vertical?

Vertical is wine speak for having the same variety from one particular winery from consecutive years. Long Dog has Pinot Noir from 2007, 2008 & 2009 and our Savvy Sommeliers had a delicious vertical experience during the Savvy Selections tasting panel.  We selected our top favorites for you to enjoy, yet if you would like to order additional bottles to have a Long Dog vertical, just let me know & I will arrange for additional bottles to be sent to you.

OPTIONAL WINES – Long Dog Pinot Noirs:

Top Dog Pinot Noir 2008, $30 – in the glass it looks like a light red wine, but that is totally misleading.  The aromas & taste will surprise you & blow you away! Medium bodied with BIG aromas & tastes of ripe cherries, raspberries, blackberries with velvety tannins. Ready to drink now.

Otto Pinot Noir 2007, $36 – loads of black cherry aromas that follow into the taste with lots of acidity & tannins that should mellow as it is cellared for a few more years.  This Pinot is definitely well made & will continue to evolve as it ages.  Afterall, it was from the highly acclaimed 2007 vintage.

Cheers & have a wonderful holiday!
Debbie & Savvy Team 

 

Introducing…
Long Dog Vineyard & Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Velma LeBlanc

 

It happened 40 years ago, but it was a moment James Lahti has never forgotten.  He was 19 years old, travelling across Europe on a motorcycle, and was in the heart of wine country: Burgundy, France. He had picked up a bottle of wine at a local store, a baguette and some cheese and had stopped by the side of a river to enjoy his purchases. He opened the bottle and – at a time when most Canadians back home were sipping Baby Duck – tried his first-ever Pinot Noir red wine.

“I couldn’t believe wine could taste so good,” he said.  “Pinot has been following me around ever since,” he laughed.

Today, James is a well-known and respected IMAX filmmaker who has been in the movie business for more than 30 years.  For the last 13 years, he’s also been in the wine business.

In 1997, James (left), along with his wife Victoria Rose (middle), also a filmmaker, and a good friend Steven Rapkin, a lawyer (right), bought a 300-acre property in Prince Edward Country as a vacation getaway. It housed eight buildings, including a 150-year old home, and was meant to be a place to retreat to on weekends.

Within a year, however, James and Victoria moved their film-making business to their new property and James caught the grape-growing bug.  Inspired by others in the County who were successfully growing grapes – and after much research, soil sampling, and consultation – they planted 1000 vines: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Blanche.

Three years later they produced their first vintage: a Pinot that exhibited some of the characteristics of the great Pinot James had tasted in Burgundy 40 years before. His first thought, was “Wow! If we can produce this kind of wine on three-year-old vines, what are we going to be making in 10 to 15 years?”

Today, Long Dog is producing some excellent wines and the 1000 vines have expanded to 25,000. More than half are Pinot Noir. Seventy percent of the other half are Chardonnay and the remainder Pinot Gris and Gamay.

“Winemaking and film-making are both creative processes, which is why I think so many people in the film business end up owning wineries,” he explained.  “As a producer and film editor, a lot of stuff gets dumped onto my desk and I say ‘OK, let’s make a movie’.  Making wine is a similar process. You have 25,000 vines giving you different fruit from virtually every vine and you say ‘OK, how am I going to make the best wine out of this?’”

James believes that a great wine starts with great grapes and, as such, takes pride in producing the best grapes possible.  A lot of it has to do with terroir – the soil and environment in which the grapes grow. “You can take the exact same grape variety and grow it and ferment it the same way, but if one vine is grown in clay soil and the other in stony limestone, you get totally different wines.”

Winemaking is as easy as A, B, C & D 

The Long Dog Vineyard is divided into four blocks – A, B, C, and D – each with a different soil type. “I keep everything separate. All my blocks (wine speak: parcels of property) are separate. All my clones are separate. And, now with the progress of the vineyard, I’m actually down to keeping some rows separate.”

The reason?  It offers him flexibility and variety when it comes to blending those grapes to make the best wines possible.  “The science is the real fun of it.”

To also guarantee great grapes, James is a “real stickler” for picking and harvesting, ensuring that no more than 30 minutes go by from the time a grape is picked to when it reaches the cool room (monitored at 5 to 6 degrees Celsius). “The minute you pick the grapes, they start to break down. The quicker you can get them cooled, the better your chances of making a good wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.”

James is also a great believer in a French expression that says “the road to a great wine starts with small footsteps in the vineyard”.  He takes this quite literally and, every night, at 6 p.m. with a glass of wine in hand, 10 legs go walking – his and those of his and Victoria’s two wire-haired dachshunds dogs: Bella and Flora.

Why the name?

“Bella” is the name on the label of one of the wines from this month’s Savvy Selections, as is “Otto,” the name of the dachshund that James and Victoria had when they first moved to Prince Edward County.

Their love of dachshunds inspired the name of “Long Dog” for the winery, which James says puts a smile on many peoples’ faces when they finally come to the end of the winding country road & lay their eyes on the quaint picturesque winery & historic buildings.

“And, that’s what it’s all about,” says James, “the satisfaction of putting a smile on someone else’s face and knowing they’re enjoying your wine and your labour.

continued….

It’s the satisfaction you get when they come up to you or send you an e-mail that says ‘Hey, we just had a bottle of your wine last night and it was fantastic.”

“And, from my experience in traveling, and tasting Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from around the world, we are producing some fantastic wines here in Prince Edward County and Niagara. We can hold our heads high, and it’s only going to get better.”

 ~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Long Dog Bella Riserva Chardonnay 2008, $18.00

Savvy Sommelier & Savvy Company founder Debbie fondly remembers her first visit to Long Dog and walking through the vineyard with James on a cool summer day.  James repeatedly called the Chardonnay vines “his girls”. Tall, trimmed with a great canopy of leaves at the top like an umbrella shading the grapes from the harsh sun.  This ensures that the grapes are slow & evenly ripen.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A well-balanced, medium-bodied, cool-climate Chardonnay that offers classic hints of butterscotch, vanilla, and tropical fruit. Very rich, smooth, and warming, with a long finish, that could be enjoyed on its own or with food.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Delivered to you in time for the holiday season, this wine would be a lovely sipping wine and would pair exceptionally well with such appetizers as savoury shortbreads (see recipe below), spicy nuts, or parmesan crisps.

Cellaring: No need to wait – enjoy it now!

 

Long Dog “Otto” Pinot Noir 2009 $28.00

James has 3 tiers of his Pinot Noirs – Otto is the mid-tier with Top Dog being the premium – of course! Crafting a good Pinot Noir is considered by winemakers as the pinnacle of winemaking. Pinots are difficult to grow in the vineyards and in the cellar, the wine can change so fast – for the better or worse – as it ages in the barrel.

James does an incredible job each year with his multiple Pinot Noirs – very impressive undertaking!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This aromatic, well-balanced Pinot Noir has aromas and flavours of dried and fresh cherries. Its tannins are velvety and its finish long.

Suggested Food Pairing: The Savvy Team imagined that mushroom risotto would be absolutely delicious with this wine.  Enjoy the recipe below, mushroom crêpes, and grilled salmon. All are classic food pairings with Pinot Noir wines and this Otto is definitely a classic!

Cellaring: Enjoy the wine now or cellar it for 2-3 years.

 

Long Dog Top Dog Pinot Noir 2009

$35.00 (special price for Savvy Selections subscribers)

Wines named as “Top Dog” are a blend of the James’ favourite barrels.  Each wine is vinified separately according to age, location, and clone. The result is the best wine possible – naturally.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Stunning red in colour, with hints of violet, cardamom warm spice and leather.  This earthy Pinot Noir has smooth tannins and a velvety finish. To enjoy it at its best advantage, we recommend to decant for 10-15 minutes.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve this wine with baked trout.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this wine will cellar 2-3 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Long Dog Chardonnay…

Savoury Parmesan Shortbread Rounds

Bon Appétit Magazine, December 2007
Makes 24

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
½ small garlic clove, mincedPinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix flour, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic, and cayenne pepper in processor. Add butter and, using on/off turns, process until dough begins to come together. Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into 12-inch log, and cut each log into 1-inch pieces.

Roll each piece into ball. Arrange dough balls on prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Press each ball into 2-inch-diameter round. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over.

Bake shortbread rounds until tops are dry and bottoms are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer shortbread rounds to rack and cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Shortbread rounds can be made 1 week ahead. Store rounds in airtight container at room temperature, or freeze up to 1 month.

 

With Long Dog ‘Otto’ Pinot Noir

Mushroom Risotto

Gourmet Magazine, April 2005 (Velma has edited slightly)
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 cup dried porcini – optional
3 ¾ cups hot water
5 ¼ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 lb Arborio rice (2 1/3 cups)
2/3 cup dry white wine
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

Soak porcini (if using) in 1 ½ cups hot water in a bowl until softened, about 20 minutes. Lift porcini out, squeezing liquid back into bowl. Rinse to remove any grit and coarsely chop. Pour soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a coffee filter or a dampened paper towel into a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, then add broth, soy sauce, and remaining 21/4 cups water to pan and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté onion, stirring, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and fresh mushrooms and sauté, stirring, until mushrooms are browned and any liquid they give off is evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in porcini and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Stir 1 cup simmering broth into rice and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, about 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy looking but still al dente, 18 to 20 minutes. Thin with some of remaining broth if necessary. (You will have about 1 cup left over.) Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and remaining 5 tablespoons butter until butter is melted.

If reserving some risotto to make one of the following recipes, set aside 3 cups and cool to room temperature, then chill, covered with plastic wrap.

Stir parsley into remaining risotto and serve immediately.

With Top Dog Pinot Noir…

Maple Salmon on Asian Inspired Greens

Canadian Living Magazine
Serves 8

Ingredients

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 lb Pacific salmon
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 Tbsp soy sauce
2/3 cup rice vinegar
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 whole red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp finely minced gingerroot
2 lbs assorted mushrooms
6 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
6 to 8 cups baby spinach
2 Tbsp sesame seeds

 

Method

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.

Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 20 minutes, turning once.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, mustard, onion and gingerroot; set aside.

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 10 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

Pile mushrooms in centre of large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce. Fold edges and ends to seal well. Place in over for the last 10 minutes to which the salmon in cooking.

Warm up the dressing which was set aside earlier in a sauce pan just until boiling.

Divide baby spinach evenly among 8 dinner plates. Top with steaming mushrooms and drizzle with warm dressing. Place 1 of salmon piece over each plate of spinach. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds for presentation.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections

 Happy Holidays to you & your family!

 

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13th Street Winery awakens your “13th sense”

Posted by Julie

Thursday, November 15th, 2012
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring 13th Street Winery
–  November 2012 –

 

Sometimes you never know what to expect when you visit a winery – a visit to 13th Street Winery definitely awakens your all of senses as there is so much to enjoy – fine wines, delicious gourmet foods, immaculate grounds and stunning original art. It is very hard to just ‘pop in’ to the winery – a few hours is definitely a must.

The Savvy Team always has the tough job of choosing just three wines for each month’s Savvy Selections and this month was certainly no exception. In fact, one of the Savvy team member made the comment after having tasted all of the 13th Street wines from the sparkling wine to the dessert wine that once again, she’d have all the wines needed for a delicious dinner party.

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

Premier Cuvee Sparkling VQA 2008 $34.95 – this will rival any French Champagne!

Viognier VQA 2011 $19.95 – almost sold out at the winery & I made sure that they kept enough for us to include in this month’s Savvy Selections. If you would like more, be sure let me know quickly

Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010 $21.95 – a steal for this great quality medium bodied red wine

OPTIONAL WINE: 13 Below Zero Riesling VQA 2011 $19.95 – I think this is liquid apple crisp

In the following pages of this Savvy eZine, Julie shares stories about her visit to 13th Street along with the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s tasting notes and autumn inspired recipes to serve with the wine selection.

And Julie shares with you one of her favorite Latin proverbs: “It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one’s present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason.”

We are turning the big 1-0!

Where does time go? This month we embark on our 10th year in business.  It has been an incredible decade of opportunities, fascinating people and outstanding adventures.  Many thanks to you for your un-ending support to our growing business and for making Savvy Selections become Ontario’s largest wine of the month club featuring Ontario wines not available at the LCBO.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing . . .
13th Street Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Julie Stock 

 

This past June, during our annual pilgrimage to the Niagara region, my husband Doug (also a Savvy Sommelier) and I visited 13th Street Winery. I knew this visit would be in part to prep for this month’s Savvy Selections feature, yet I easily became side-tracked away from the wine & enjoyed the exquisite original Canadian art, the farm fresh garden produce, artisan cheeses and charcuterie, and handmade treats in the café housed in the converted barn.  An hour easily slipped away and I hadn’t even tasted any wine yet! When you next visit Niagara, be sure to include 13th Street on your must visit list to wander through the statue collection on the grounds, learn more about the experimental vineyards and enjoy lunch on the patio. You will definitely have a farm to table experience – just as the winery owners had envisioned.

You will find when you uncork this month’s Savvy Selections that 13th Street wines are outstanding.  The people involved at winery are equally outstanding. Peter Bodnar Rod, Director of Sales, Marketing and Hospitality is one of the dynamic people involved the Canadian wine industry. In addition to working at the winery, Peter is one of Canada’s top sommeliers, he was recognized by the industry with the prestigious VQA Promote the Promoters Award for Education and his current project is developing an International Sommelier Guild (ISG) masters level specialization course – a busy man indeed!

During our visit, Peter took us on a tour of the fields and gardens. With each step, he reminded us that the importance of the land is fundamental to the philosophy at 13th Street. “Great wine starts with great grapes; next comes the talent of a winemaker who knows how and when to harvest”, explains Peter. “Whether it be Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay or Syrah, if the grapes are exceptional along with the well-honed skills of the winemaker – something extraordinary is going to transpire.”

Peter explained that 2009 was a benchmark year for them yet it was also somewhat risky, since they waited long into November to harvest. But in the end as he says, “we won  and ended up with some impressive reds at 14% alcohol with great depth, layered with complexity.”             

The winemaker & the vineyard

Winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas is a man in demand as he is the primary winemaker at 13th Street as well Vignoble Rancourt Winery, located in the Niagara Lakeshore sub-appellation which follows the shorelines of Lake Ontario.

Jean-Pierre has a long winemaking career of over 45 years – the past 9 years was at Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery in Niagara. Years prior, he spent decades in the notable Domaine Laroche in Chablis, France.  In 1998, he was awarded a rare score of 99 points for the Wine Spectator’s White Wine of the Year (for his Domaine Laroche Grand Cru Les Clos 1996). And shortly after his move to Ontario, he was awarded Winemaker of the Year 2006 at the Ontario Wine Awards. He has also worked in Chile and New Zealand, throughout the United States and Québec. It is no wonder that 13th Street is making world class wines.

The grapes of distinction grown on the 40 acres vineyards include Riesling and Chardonnay, Gamay, small parcels of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Syrah. The grapes are always hand harvested because it ensures Jean-Pierre to have complete control of the quality of the fruit as well as the grapes are sorted on tables that further refine the selection of the fruit. Jean-Pierre also believes in experimentation to enable him to expand his artistry of winemaking.

The Gallery

Fine wine can be a complement to fine art.  Within the renovated turn of the century farmhouse houses the spectacular Gallery Room. It is breathtaking with its focal point being the 18 foot, 1300 lb table made from one piece of Indonesian hardwood. This room is graced by original Canadian artwork.

The large windows overlooks the gardens and shady hillsides where throughout the years over 40,000 trees have been planted in the valley. The property could almost be a heritage site with its natural habitat being home to numerous birds, wild life and the natural beauty surrounded by acres of well tended vineyards.

Enjoy & enjoy your Savvy Selections! 


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Premier Cuvée Sparkling VQA 2008, $34.95

Sparkling wines are 13th Street’s signature. They typically craft 3 to 4 different styles each year with varying blends of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Savvy Sommelier Debbie selected 13th Street’s Sparkling Rosé to be served at a private luncheon for HRH Queen Elizabeth II when her royal tour stopped in to Ottawa for the opening of the Museum of Nature two years ago.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Your glass will be filled with lively and fine mousse (winespeak: bubbles) with elegant aromas of fresh bread, light floral & refreshing tastes of citrus and apple that dance on your tongue leaving a delightful mouthfeel. There’a little grapefruit pith which gives the tastebuds a squirt of acidity. We all “mmmed” as we sniffed, swirled and savoured this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – the primary ingredients of Champagne.

Suggested Food Pairing: There was no end of ideas to match with this bubbly. Cheeses such as brie, goat cheese or parmesan, sushi, paté and even creamy soups…or simply enjoy sipping on its own.

Cellaring: Great to drink now. As its ages, more nut tastes & aromas will prevail.

Viognier VQA 2011, $19.95

Viognier is indigenous to France’s Rhone Valley, where it is regionally known as ‘Condrieu’. Only recently, wine regions in other countries began experimenting with Viognier in the vineyards.  Argentina, Australia, California and now Canada are producing outstanding Viognier wine.  When Savvy Sommelier Debbie visited 13th Street this past August, this Viognier was just released.  After a few sips and without hesitation, she requested that the wine is set aside until November to ensure that there was enough bottles for all of our Savvy Selections subscribers to enjoy this delicious wine.  Heads up – there are only a few cases left at the winery.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The Savvy Team was very impressed with what the winemaker did to make this beautiful wine. Aromas of pears, apricots, almonds, beeswax, pineapple waft from the glass. Rich flavours burst on the palate giving a luscious, creamy texture but with a pinch of acidity that balances the fruit flavours with each sip. We found that the wine opens up the more it sits and we recommend not serving it too cold; you want to enjoy all those flavours and aromas! A classy elegant wine awaits you!

Suggested Food Pairing: The Savvy Team went wild with
food pairing ideas; roasted chicken with various fruit marinades, blackened tuna, pork tenderloin with mango chutney, white fish with a lemon sauce.  With such a flavourful, it will be an easy food match.

Cellaring: Chill & enjoy – no need to wait!

Cabernet Merlot VQA 2008, $21.95

13th Street often strives to be different.  Their signature red wine is Gamay, yet when the Savvy Sommeliers tasted the variety of red wine candidates for the Savvy Selections feature, this Cabernet Merlot was a hands down favorite.  A one off at the winery, this classic red wine blend is great value for the price tag.  It certainly tastes like a $30 wine. Enjoy!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A classic Bordeaux blend with firm tannins of the Cabernet Sauvignon mixed with the soft tannins and complexity of Merlot. Dark ruby in colour, with aromas of violets, ripe berries, plums, cassis, dark fruit cake and sweet warm spices (think cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg) with tastes of ripe dark berries, green pepper, ground pepper & soft tannins that balance out the ripe fruit flavours making this a big juicy red with a little campfire or woodsy taste, beautiful long dark finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  We continued lively conversations around the table about pairing this wine with beef stir fry, hearty meatloaf, roast beef, braised rabbit with rosemary and garlic, beef stew, leg of lamb, tenderloin wrapped in bacon. How’s that for a wine to go with everything?

Cellaring: Ready now or before 2015.

OPTIONAL WINE: 13 Below Zero Riesling VQA 2011, $19.95 

A unique light bodied sweet wine that is made after the first frost has kissed the Riesling grapes that are still hanging on the vine.  The result is a wine that with a velvety mouthfeel (not cloying like icewine) with light sweetness.  One of our Sommeliers declared that it was ‘liquid apple crisp’.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A beautiful medium golden colour has concentrated aromas and tastes of apricot, marzipan with tastes of ripe peaches and pears, almonds, warm spices (cinnamon & nutmeg) with a little acidity at the end. It would be a fabulous desert match with any fruit crisps or cobblers.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~ 

 

With 13th Street Premier Cuvée Sparkling

Smoked Salmon Tortilla Spirals

From Bonnie Stern’s Appetizers
Makes approximately 32 spirals

Ingredients
8 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp Russian-style mustard
1 tbsp mayonnaise or sour cream
4 9-inch (23 cm) flour tortillas
12 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
8 leaves Boston lettuce or spinach

Method

Cream together cream cheese, mustard and mayonnaise.

Arrange tortillas on counter and spread evenly with cheese spread then arrange smoked salmon on top of cheese, be sure to leave about 1 inch border at top covered just with cheese so that the rolls will adhere better. Lastly sprinkle salmon with dill and chives and arrange lettuce or spinach on top.

Roll tortillas up tightly, pressing firmly to seal.Wrap well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Trim off ends of rolls (eat them!) and then cut each roll into 8-10 slices. Serve spiral side up.

With 13th Street Viognier VQA 2011…

Cajun Blackened Fish Steaks

From the Kitchen of Jamie Oliver
Serves 4

This is a spicy dish! Basically it’s a bold rub that fragrantly flavors fish and goes dark when it cooks, thanks to the paprika and garlic. Also a great rub with chicken, pork, lamb and even steak.

Ingredients
4 x 1/2-lb white fish fillets – such as seabass, snapper, haddock (approx. 2cm thick). Skin on, scaled & pin boned
1 lemon

For the rub
10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
4 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves picked
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 level Tbsps moked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 level Tbsps finely ground black pepper
2  Tbsps olive oil
1 lemon

Method

To make the rub

Bash up your fresh herbs and garlic in a pestle and mortar until you’ve got a nice coarse paste. Mix in the spices, salt, pepper and olive oil, then squeeze in the juice of half the lemon, making sure not to let any pips get in there, and stir well.

To prepare the fish

Lightly score the skin of your fish in lines about 3/4-inch apart. Using your fingers, smear the rub all over both sides of the fish and into the cuts you’ve made.

Put a non-stick pan or grill pan over a medium-high heat and let it get nice and hot. Place your fish in the pan, skin side down, and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes. It will get quite smoky, so you might want to open a window!

Turn the heat down to low, then, very carefully, flip your fish over and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the second side. Cut your remaining lemon half and your second lemon into wedges for squeezing over.

Serve them with your fish, a nice salad and boiled or steamed new potatoes dressed in good olive oil or butter. 

 

With 13th Street Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010

1770 House Meatloaf

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa – Food Network
Serves 8

Ingredients
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 Tbsp chopped, fresh chives, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
1 Tbsp chopped, fresh thyme leaves, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
1Tbsp chopped, fresh Italian parsley, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups finely ground Panko ( ground with a few pulses in the food processor)
2/3 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
2 cups chicken or beef stock
8 to 10 cloves roasted garlic
3 Tbsps butter, at room temperature

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the veal, pork, beef, chives, thyme, parsley, eggs, Panko, milk, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat and film it with extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the celery and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened then remove the celery and onion from the pan and let cool.

When the mixture is cool, add it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.  Mix the ingredients until well combined and everything is evenly distributed.

Put a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan (it should have sides at least 1 1/2 inches high to prevent grease runoff from the pan) and place the meat on the sheet pan and pat it and punch it down to remove any air pockets. Shape the meat into a loaf (about 14 1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide by 2 inches high) and put in the oven and bake 50 minutes (convection) or until a meat thermometer indicates an internal temperature of 155 to 160 degrees.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.

If you would like to serve with a sauce (optional), combine the broth, roasted garlic and butter over medium-high heat and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Add 1 teaspoon of each of the chopped thyme, chives and parsley. Slice the meatloaf into serving portions and spoon the hot sauce over the meatloaf and serve.

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Lighthall Vineyard’s One Man Show

Posted by Erin

Saturday, October 20th, 2012
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Lighthall Vineyards
–  October 2012 –

 

We are heading to Prince Edward County this month to discover a boutique winery that typifies what is meant by a one man show. Lighthall Vineyards is owned by Glenn Symonns who is the winemaker, vineyard manager, Sommelier, chief marketer, distributor, tractor driver, creator and sometimes the delivery guy. It is a stark contrast to his previous career as a pharmacist. While both winemaker and pharmacist are connected through chemistry, it is the ability to create that Glenn enjoys the most. ‘I truly think that I have a great job. I get to play in the cellar and make interesting wines.’ And in this month’s Savvy Selections you will certainly taste exactly what Glenn means.

I first met Glenn not at his winery, but rather when he was serving me wine during his final exam for his Sommelier Accreditation. These role playing practical exams can be un-nerving for the Sommelier ‘students’, yet I succinctly recall that Glenn handled the mock situation with panache. When he began demonstrating the 23 step process and etiquette (or is it a ritual?) of opening a bottle of wine, I could not believe my eyes that in his hands was a bottle of Huff Estates Lighthall Chardonnay VQA 2007 from Prince Edward County. Glenn did not know that I was a huge fan of this wine. I was equally amazed the he was serving a $30 bottle of wine while other Sommelier hopefuls where uncorking sub $10 wines as the judges weren`t going to sip and savour the wine – afterall the exams took place at 10am!

Curious and impressed, I commented about his wine choice and Glenn smiled back and proudly announced, ‘I just bought Lighthall Vineyards and I will be building a winery.’ That is not something you hear every day! Intrigued, I kept a lookout for Glenn on my visits to Prince Edward County. This spring, I visited his winery for the first time and have been enjoying his wines ever since.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Lighthall Progression Sparkling VQA 2011 – an easy drinking Spanish cava style sparkling wine made with Vidal grapes

Lighthall Gewurztraminer VQA 2011 – an absolutely remarkable aromatic white wine – get ready to be impressed

Lighthall Pinot Noir 2010 VQA – one word : Stunning!

OPTIONAL WINE : Lighthall Pinot Noir Reserve Particuliere – Les Grands VQA 2009 – Pinot lovers beware – you will fall in love again with every sip

Stock up on these wines!

Like the sparkling? Stock up because it is almost gone…
Lighthall produces an incredibly small amount of wine. You won’t find them in the LCBO. If you would like more, simply drop me an e-mail at debbie@savvycompany.ca or give me a call at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926). Heads up – the sparkling is almost gone!

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Patrick after the crush

Introducing…
Lighthall Vineyards

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling

 

As a lover and student of wine I am excited to have an opportunity to be your Savvy Sommelier and introduce you to Lighthall Vineyards. I think conducting the Savvy Selections tasting panel is a pleasure of the taste buds as well as the mind while we put our heads together to determine recipes to pair with the feature wines. Each time the Savvy Team ‘has to’ work its way through many candidates for the Savvy Selections in order to chose the final selection. Once the wines are chosen, I have the honour to interview the owners and winemakers. This conversation allows me to learn first hand about the wines and am charged with a renewed appreciation for the people behind each bottle of wine.

This month I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Symons of Lighthall Vineyards. Since 2008, Lighthall has been a one man show. Glenn is the owner, winemaker, field manager and marketing ‘department’. You name he does it! Hearing his story made me exhausted. I can only imagine how he feels each day! In all honesty though, Glenn is overflowing with passion and enthusiasm to be a winemaker.
Pharmacist to winemaker…

Glenn bought Lighthall in 2008 after he sold his Pharmacy – yes you read that right. As a graduate of the Sommelier program at Algonquin College and an amateur winemaker (in his own home), he learned more and more about the wines in Prince Edward County (PEC). Glenn’s temptation to buy a vineyard property in PEC became reality, he dramatically change careers.

Since 2008, Glenn has doubled the size of Lighthall’s property. In addition, he changed the business from a grape growing operation where he grows grapes for other wineries, to a winery in its own right. Since then, Glenn claims that there has been no time to look back!
Being September & October, it took Glenn and I a while to connect since it was in the height of harvest. And this year, harvest was 3 to 5 weeks early. When I did finally reach him, he explained that harvest is his favourite time of year. The last of his Vidal grapes were being picked ‘as we speak’ (these grapes are not for late harvest wines). The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir came in to the crush pad the week before.
There was no doubt in our interview that Glenn was enthused about this past growing season since it was the warmest since 1968. Glenn predicts that 2012 will be an exceptional year for PEC wines and for that matter Ontario too and even broader Canadian wines too.
Overflowing with passion!

As stated earlier Lighthall is a one man show. Other than some seasonal workers, for whom Glenn built a house, Glenn does all the work of vineyard management and winemaking by himself. For the past three seasons he has put in 12 to 18 hour days. In the winter, he can be found tending the 25 acre woodlot which he uses to heat the buildings on the premises. And what comes next? Glenn has plans to try his hand at planting vines. He has his eye on a vineyard of 1 acre of just Gruner Veltliner. This varietal is an Austrian staple and is one of Glenn’s favourite types of wine. While Gruner is not planted in PEC, Glenn explains that it would be well suited to The County’s clay soil and environment. We look forward to his results. Cross your fingers!

Lighthall tasting bar

His passion for his winery is obvious in its design. His tasting bar is located in the middle of his production area. This gives Glenn the ability to share and give his visitors the opportunity to ‘see’ all aspects of the winemaking process. What a terrific experience!
Glenn makes harvest a family affair by involving his children in the crush.
The wine Glenn is most proud of (to date!) is Lighthall Pinot Noir Reserve Particuliere VQA 2009 – Les Grands. Our Savvy Team was impressed too & we offered it as an optional wine. It is hard to believe that this wine was the first red wine that Glenn ever produced…and his two eldest sons helped too!
There is no doubt that Lighthall Vineyards is a small operation with big dreams. The purchase occurred in 2008, the winery was built in 2009, the first Lighthall Vineyard wine was produced in 2009 and last year it opened to the public. When you are next in The County, be sure make a visit.

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Lighthall Progression Sparkling 2011 VQA, $20.00

Vidal is a hybrid grape of Ugni Blanc and Rayon d’Or. It’s thick skin and hardiness in cold climates make it an ideal grape to grow in Prince Edward County and Niagara. This particular sparkling wine was made with 100% Lighthall grapes using Charmat method (winespeak: uses a tank second fermentation to create the bubbles).

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Very pale with aromas of white grapefruit and lime with an undertone of minerality. This dry, light sparkler has persistent light bubbles and flavours that mimic the nose with a bit of white peach and apricot thrown in. It is a refreshing wine with a pleasant mouth coating feeling and persistent zesty finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This sparkling wine is a great starter wine on its own, or could be paired with seafood such as oysters. The tasting panel recommends it with a prosciutto and arugula pizza.

Cellaring: An excellent sipping wine that could be enjoyed now or it could be cellared for a year or two for a special occasion.

Lighthall Gewurztraminer 2011 VQA, $25.00

A classic Gewurztraminer made with high quality grapes sourced from Vineland. This is one of Glenn’s favourite grape variety.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine has hallmark Gewurz pale yellow with a hint of pinkish colouring. Its floral and exotic fruit aromas of lychee, rose petals, pineapple and hard candy. “I just want to keep my nose in the glass” stated one of the Savvy Sommeliers during the tasting panel. “I can’t help myself from swirling and sniffing again and again because it smells so good!”

Slightly effervescent, medium to full wine with a complex palate. You may detect lychee, honey and Turkish Delights taste as the finish lingers.

Suggested Food Pairing: This Gewurztraminer would be perfect with spicy foods such as Indian curry or Asian dishes. ‘Or even with smoked salmon’ commented one of the Savvy Sommeliers. It would also make a tremendous accompaniment to dessert. Enjoy with a pear & cream cheese tart – the recipe follows on the next pages.

Cellaring: This well structured wine is enjoyable now. You can cellar it, however the noteable vibrant aromas and tastes will tone down dramatically.

Lighthall Pinot Noir 2010 VQA, $25.00

Although Pinot Noir is known as the heartbreak grape, this red wine will only bring you joy, proudly stated Glenn.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A clear pale cherry-red colour with a typical Pinot bouquet of tar, earthiness ripe berries and warm spices. This medium-bodied, dry wine delivers sweet flavours of cherry, blackberries, white pepper and a hint a vanilla with a medium finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This is a perfect fall food wine and would pair well with classic stuffed turkey, pork tenderloin or a selection of hearty cheeses. Savvy Sommelier Debbie discovered a new recipe of Roasted Califlower and Swiss Chard that she experimented with for her Thanksgiving feast. The recipe is on the following pages.

Cellaring: With 14.5% alcohol this wine is capable of aging another 3-5 years but drinks very well now.

OPTIONAL WINE: Lighthall Pinot Noir Reserve Particulière – Les Grands, 2009 VQA, $50.00

Glenn’s pride and joy. This rich Pinot Noir was part of an extremely low yield and as you can imagine the wine is in VERY short supply. Members of our tasting panel emailed me the following day after our Savvy Selections tasting telling me they were still dreaming about this wine so we had to offer it as an optional wine!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright ruby colour with a pleasing earthy, smokey, cherry and mushrooms on the nose. The deep flavours give you tart yet ripe cherries, smoke and earthy mushrooms fill your mouth and leaves you with a pleasant woodsy, vanilla finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Everyone agreed that this wine was a must include for October. It is versatile and would make a lovely ‘meditation’ wine on its own or a great food wine with brisket or game meat. Then when the mushroom risotto was suggested, there were many oohs and aaaahs of delight with this pairing.

Cellaring: This medium bodied wine still has time to develop so feel free to lay it down if you like.

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Lighthall Progression Sparkling VQA 2011…

Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

From: Epicurious.com
Serves 4

Ingredients
1/2 cup small to medium arugula leaves
3 very thin slices prosciutto
2 ounces mozzarella (preferably fresh)
All purpose flour for dusting
Pizza Dough for one 9-inch pizza (click here for a good recipe)
1/2 cup Pizza Sauce – recipe below

Method for pizza sauce

Take a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree (about 3 1/2 cups) and mix with 3 Tablespoons of olive oilIn a large non-reactive saucepan bring tomatoes and oil to a simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, simmer for 20 minutes, or until sauce is reduces to about 2 1/2 cup

Season sauce with salt and cool to room temperature. This sauce keeps, covered and chilled in the fridge for 5 days and freezes well

Assemble the pizza

At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put a pizza stone or 4 to 6 unglazed “quarry” tiles arranged close together on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to highest setting (500°-550°F)

Trim any tough stems from arugula and thinly slice cheese.

On a lightly floured surface pat out dough evenly with your fingers, keeping hands flat and lifting and turning dough over several times, into a 9-inch round. Do not handle dough more than necessary and if dough is sticky, dust it lightly with flour.

Dust a baker’s peel or rimless baking sheet with flour and carefully transfer dough to it. Jerk peel or baking sheet once or twice and, if dough is sticking, lift dough and sprinkle flour underneath it, reshaping dough if necessary. Working quickly, top dough with sauce, spreading with back of a spoon to within 1/2 inch of edge. Arrange mozzarella slices evenly over sauce. Line up far edge of peel or baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles and tilt peel or baking sheet, jerking it gently to start pizza moving.

Once edge of pizza touches stone or tiles, carefully pull back peel or baking sheet, completely transferring pizza to stone or tiles (do not move pizza).

Bake pizza 6 to 7 minutes, or until dough is crisp and browned, and transfer with a metal spatula to a cutting board. Scatter arugula over pizza and arrange prosciutto slices on top. 

With Lighthall Gewurztraminer VQA 2011…

Pear & Cream Cheese Tart

From: Desserts by Bonnie Stern
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients
Base
½ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour

Filling
2 ripe pears (preferably Bartlett)
4 oz cream cheese
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup cream
½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup sliced almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 425. Butter a 9 or 10” pie plate with removable sides.

For the shortbread base, cream butter and sugar together until light. Beat in flour and pat into pie plate – no need to roll it out.

Peel, halve and core pears and slice and arrange in circular rows on top of base. Stir cream cheese until smooth then beat in sugar, add eggs one at a time, beating mixture smooth after each addition then add cream and vanilla. Pour over pears & Sprinkle with almonds.

If there is any leftover custard, bake separately with any leftover pears or other fruit for a little treat for the chef.Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until fruit is tender and custard is set.Serve warm or cold.

With Lighthall Pinot Noir VQA 2010 …

Roasted Cauliflower and Swiss Chard Salad

From: Long Nights and Log Fires Cookbook
Serves 4

Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small head of cauliflower, separated into large florets
1 tsp ground cumin
6 large Swiss chard leaves, roughly chopped into 1 inch wide strips
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves chopped
14 oz can chickpeas, rinses and drained
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 Tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
sea salt

Method

Over high heat in a cast iron pan or large skillet, put in the oil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook for 8 to 10 minutes turning often (you will want some brown or burnt looking marks – this is a good sign!). Then add the cumin and cook stirring for 1 minute, add the Swiss Chard, onion and garlic to the pan and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes. Add chickpeas and stir. Season to taste with salt.

In a separate bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice and pepper. Add a little salt to taste. Whisk to combine. Transfer the vegetables into a bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top to serve.

Enjoy as a rustic vegetarian dish or a side accompanying pork cutlets, baked ham or turkey.

With Lighthall Pinot Noir Reserve Particulière – Les Grands VQA 2009 …

Mushroom Risotto

From: The Essential Rice Cookbook
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms
1 litre (32 fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock
2 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ¾ cups risotto rice
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (a variety of mushrooms would be good)
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Method

Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups (500 ml/ 16 fl oz) boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid then chop the porcini and pass the liquid through a sieve. Pour the stock into a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce keeping it at a low simmer.

Heat the oil and butter in a wide heavy saucepan to cook the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Stir in the rice until it is well coated.

Add the fresh mushrooms and nutmeg; season and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Then add the porcini and their liquid, increase the heat and cook until the liquid has been absorbed. Add ½ cup (125 ml/4fl oz) of the stock and stir constantly over medium heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding stock a bit at a time until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender and creamy – which should take about 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley and serve

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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