Posts Tagged ‘Savvy experiences with wine’

Nyarai Cellars – virtual winery in Ontario

Posted by Cathy

Friday, July 25th, 2014
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 Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Nyarai Cellars

– July 2014 –

In Vino Veritas, in wine there is truth… and truthfully Nyarai wines are to be experienced. Overlooking the Georgian Bay, lounging in an Adirondack chair that is bright red cherry colour reminiscent of Pinot Noir wines, while sipping on a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier or Veritas from Nyarai Cellars is just about as perfect as it gets! And our Savvy Sommelier Cathy Law did exactly this.

What is a virtual winery?

Steve ByfieldWhile the setting is absolutely glorious, you will not find any of Nyarai vineyards here. Not even a building with a sign stating Nyarai CellarsSteve Byfield (left) is the owner and winemaker of a virtual winery.  Never heard of that? It is essentially a winery within a winery.

In this case, Nyarai resides within the scenic Coffin Ridge Winery near Meaford, Ontario in the Georgian Bay area. In a co-operative manner, Steve uses the facilities at Coffin Ridge to produce his delectable wines. He is a part of a growing industry of winemakers ‘without walls’ who source their grapes from hand selected grape growers to ensure that Nyarai wines are made from the finest quality grapes available. Rather than draining the financial resources to erect beautiful buildings and tasting rooms, winemakers of virtual wineries lease, share or use the equipment and facilities of an already existing winery. No doubt this keeps their overhead low and creativity high.

Our Savvy Sommelier Cathy Law spent a lovely afternoon interviewing Steve who lives in Hamilton and makes a bi-weekly visit to Coffin Ridge to check on his wines.  Steve surprised Cathy with a story about his musical background then serenaded her with Gleeful tales of his winemaking journey. Since his debut with Savvy Selections in 2008, Steve has delighted Ontario wine enthusiasts with a symphony of notable wines.  You will see exactly what I mean when you open one of the bottles in this month’s Savvy Selections.

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

Sauvignon Blanc 20012 $19.95 – the flagship wine  that was awarded Bronze Medal at the National wine Awards of Canada.
Viognier 2012 $21.95 – a hard to find grape variety in Ontario & we were so excited to introduce you to this elegant wine.
Veritas Reserve 2010 $26.95 – a highly sought after wine that we made sure that there was enough to include in the Savvy Selections.  Now it is almost all gone!

Cheers & enjoy your Nyarai wines!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Nyarai Cellars

Presented by Cathy Law

 

Nyarai (Nah-Rye) is a word from a South African dialect that means humility. This aptly named winery epitomizes Steve in every sense of the word.  From my visit with him, I think that he exudes humility in all aspects of his winemaking journey.

Steve explained to me that he chose the name in consultation with his business partner Rod Ingram as it is an expression that encompasses all that he believes in. I can see it in Steve’s eyes that he is humbled by the land and how we should respect what we have by letting nature take its course.  As an aside, Steve mentioned that Nyarai is often a name often given to first born girl in the African American community.

And all that jazz…

Steve’s passion for wine began with a part time summer job while he was studying music. He first worked at one of the “make your own” wine shops.  It was there where he developed an interest in the process and the chemistry of winemaking. Completing his degree in music performanc, all the while beginning a teaching position as well as entertaining people with his jazz band did not diminish his desire to be part of the wine industry.  Steve began a natural progression from entertaining people with music to tantalizing their palates with his burgeoning vintners ability.

In the fall of 2000, Steve joined Southbrook Vineyards (in their original location near Richmond Hill) as a consultant where he began his winemaking career. In 2006, he moved on to the Beamsville Bench region where he has since worked as Assistant Winemaker at Ridgepoint Wines, Calamus Estates Winery and as Winemaker at Thomas and Vaughn Estates Winery (now Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery.  In 2008, through a chain of circumstance and chance meetings with the owners of Coffin Ridge Winery, Nayarai Cellars became a reality. 

Creating a co-operative community

steve-hands_208x198Steve is all about sourcing his grapes from conscientious growers who show respect for the vine and the land. The grapes are sourced from Redfoot Vineyards Beamsville and Watson Vineyards Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Steve explains, “Everything happens in the vineyard. We simply extend the process in the cellar. The goal of Nyarai is to convey a sense of place.”

Steve believes in a minimal intervention from “bud to burst”.  “Ninty percent of the winemaking journey takes place in the vineyard.  From grape, to bottle, to your table, I want you to enjoy what the terroir -land, water, sunshine, region – has to offer.  I strive to create a sense of place”, offers Steve.

Virtual vs. Reality

Steve’s virtual winery allows for an ever expanding exploration in creativity with regards to wine making techniques and varietals. He is striving to continue to grow his wine business in a sustainable way, cautiously without diluting the quality of his product. In the upcoming months, Steve will release Cadence VQA 2011 a delectable red blend. Cadence, a word showing the lineage to music indicates the tempo of song, everything coming together to act as one. Steve tips his musical hat by blending of 42% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah grapes (different proportions than Veritas).  “It is a bright and full bodied wine.” comments Steve.  Hint: As with all Nyarai wines, this will be a small lot wine (aka limited stock). If you would like some of this wine, simply call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to arrange a shipment for you. 

“My passions are music and wine”

One of the most exciting moments in Steve’s winemaking venture was finding out that he was congratulated on his product in the Wall Street Journal. As you would expect, Steve said with a smile, “Now, that was really cool”. 

Here’s to Steve & his wonderful wines!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

sauv blanc2012 Sauvignon Blanc VQA $19.95

This wine is the essence and flagship wine of Nyarai Cellars. Sauvignon Blanc is Steve’s favorite grape to make into wine.  “Sauvignon Blanc is my passion.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Beautiful aromas,  good acidity with some mineral on the palate. This is a refreshing wine for summertime sipping.  With its long citrus finish, it is a well-balanced and extremely well made wine.

Food Pairing Suggestions:Classic pairings with Sauvignon Blanc include asparagus,  fresh-from-the-garden peasand white fish.  Cathy offers a recipe of Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken  that would do the trick!

Cellaring: This wine is best served young …so open it up now to enjoy the crisp & refreshing tastes.

 

viognier2012 Viognier VQA $21.95

I have a love affair with Viognier, based on what Mother Nature has given us this year should be something special.   This hard-to-find grape variety (in Ontario vineyards) was originally grown in France & is becoming increasingly popular around the world.  Few Viogniers are made in Ontario…and when the Savvy Team finds them, they are shared & are usually met with a big smile.  Once you like Viognier, you will be on the lookout for more – guaranteed.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Made with an interesting & artistic blend of Viognier grapes that 62% were fermented in stainless steel tanks while the remaining 38% was fermented in oak barrels.

The result we all agreed is a well balanced and elegant white wine. Orange peel, lemon and apricot aromas come to mind that continues through into the taste. “this is a humdinger” said our Savvy Selections tasting panel with a smile.

Food Pairing Suggestions: A versatile white wine is delicious on its own, with shellfish, chicken or with the summer classic of Cedar Planked Salmon with a ginger and fruit jam glaze – recipe follows.

 

veritas2010 Veritas Reserve VQA $26.95

“I love the anticipation and expectation just prior to the harvest, walking through the vines, looking at the grapes”, says Steve with a smile.

This one-of-a-kind blend is made with 40% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah grapes.  This wine showcases the amazing 2010 growing season that Mother Nature provided. “Oh WOW!” was said by everyone in the Savvy Selections Tasting Panel.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A full bodied red that is loaded with red and black fruit.  A velvet & plush texture (aka tannins) with every sip. “Fire up the BBQ for this wine” suggested Amanda during the tasting.

Food Pairing Suggestions: “Anything with dark chocolate would be perfect” commented Debbie.  Sunday Roast Beef dinner with all the trimmings, game meats, BBQed ribs or a thick rib eyed steak. Cathy offers the recipe of Mushrooms Stuffed with Parmesan Cheese and Almonds that would be a hit with this wine.

Cellaring: Ready to be enjoyed now or can be cellared for upwards to 5 years…but when it is this good, why wait?

 

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Nyarai Sauvignon Blanc….

Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken

From the Canadian Living Light and Healthy Cookbook
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups buttermilk (500 ml)or low fat yogurt
¼ cup lemon juice (50ml)
4 chicken quarters
2 ½ pounds-1.25 kg total
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Lemon slices

Method

In a heavy plastic bag, combine buttermilk and lemon juice; add chicken and a few rosemary sprigs. Close bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least 2 or up to 8 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Remove chicken from the buttermilk mixture, scraping off excess. Place on greased grill over medium-high setting; cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Turn the chicken over; top each piece with 2 or 3 lemon slices and rosemary sprigs. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes longer or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Serve garnished with more lemon and rosemary.

 

With Nyarai Viognier ….

Cedar Planked Salmon à la Cathy

From Savvy Sommelier Cathy Law’s Kitchen
Serves 4 to 6 (depending on size of filet)

Ingredients

1 fresh fillet of salmon
2 tbsp. fresh ginger chopped
Enough ginger infused peach or apricot jam to spread evenly over the salmon
Cracked pepper and salt fish to taste

Method

Submerge your cedar plank in water with a little of the Nyarai Viognier (if you dare! Alternatively, use another white wine). Let the plank soak for about 2 hours. The longer the plank soaks the better as there will be less burning of the wood.

Heat your BBQ or Smoker to medium high.

Place the salmon on the plank skin side down. Set the plank on the pre heated grill and close the lid.

Grill salmon for 10 to 20 minutes until it starts to flake easily. Carefully remove the plank from the grill.

Serve with your choice of accompaniments and a luscious glass of Nyarai Viognier.

 

With Nyarai Veritas Reserve …

Mushrooms Stuffed with Parmesan Cheese and Almonds

The Wine and Food Lovers Diet Cookbook by Dr. Phillip Tirman, M.D

Ingredients

1/3 cup almonds finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon olive oil plus more for brushing
¼ cup chopped yellow onions
1 egg
½ cup freshly grated parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 large button or cremini mushrooms (about ½ pound total ), stems removed

Method

Preheat oven to 350F

Lightly oil a baking sheet. In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring constantly, until they just begin to turn light brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately pour them into a small bowl to allow to cool.

Chop the almonds finely and set aside.

In a skillet over medium high heat, warm the oil until it simmers. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until softened and slightly brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Stir in the almonds, eggs, Parmesan, mustard, and nutmeg until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Brush the mushroom caps all over with oil. Spoon the cheese mixture into the caps, dividing evenly. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms stuffed side up, on the prepared sheet. Bake until the filling is lightly browned and the mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Enjoy these mushroom delights with a brilliant glass on Nyarai Cellars Veritas.

 

Have some Veritas in your glass left to enjoy with chocolate?

Good dark chocolate (from Belgium especially) is a perfect pairing with this fruit driven red blend. Also, play with this pairing with a chocolate infused with chilli or a cherry truffle filling  – a unique pairing experience!

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Heavenly wines made at Devils Wishbone

Posted by Patti

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring The Devils Wishbone Winery & Vineyard

– May 2014 –

 

Did you know there are so many wineries are right in our back yard? It’s true the Savvy Team is always travelling great distances to discover new wine regions for Savvy Selections and yet only 270km from Ottawa and 240km from Toronto we find Prince Edward County (PEC) on the shores of Lake Ontario and seemingly surrounded on all sides by water. This emerging region – a recognized VQA wine region since 2007 – offers a tremendous variety of wines from a new breed of winemakers who have built a community of collaboration to craft fine wines. When speaking to these winemakers and owners about what it is they do, their passion oozes. And, passion creates wonderful wines!

Come & get lost in The County

One of the joys of  Prince Edward County is getting lost on the country roads. A few years ago, I was coming from Some Where, going Some Where-else when low & behold, I came across The Devils Wishbone. Their winery and vineyards sit along County Road 7 and you reach them by wandering along a road with rock and shale outcroppings on one side of the road and views of Adolphus Reach on the other. It truly is a beautiful location.

What’s in a name?

The Devils Wishbone seems like a curious name for a winery but it is one rooted deeply in the history of the county. Back approximately 15,000 years ago when the glaciers retreated from this area they left a soil comprised of clay and loam on a limestone substrata. The amount of soil varies greatly from approximately 2” – 10” and the area where we find The Devil’s Wishbone, when allocated to one of the early settler’s, was actually in the shape of a wishbone. Because the soil was so poor for farming, those settlers called this area “The Devils Wishbone”.

Paul Gallagher, a retired accountant from Toronto, will tell you more of the story when you visit.  Savvy Sommelier Patti Petty had two interviews & remembers Paul stating, “We may be in concert with the Devil but we make heavenly wines”!

Paul calls the vineyards his “children” and the grapes are his “babies”. All of The Devils Wishbone wines are personal to Paul and he won’t pick a favorite…he loves them all. Our Sommeliers tasted them all…and loved them too. But we had to make a choice for you.

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

2012 Riesling VQA, Prince Edward County – a heavenly wine that… Dances with the Devil

2012 Cabernet Franc VQA, Prince Edward County –  a beautiful ruby, ripe and well-balanced wine that will age well. We suggested holding on to it for a couple of years.

2012 Pinot Noir VQA, Prince Edward County“This wine is devilishly delicious.  It makes me smile” I remarked when I first sipped it.

The Devils Wishbone makes such a small amount of wine that none are available at the LCBO. If you would like additional bottles of your favourite Devils Wishbone wine, call me on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange an additional delivery. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…

The Devils Wishbone

Presented by Sommelier Patricia Petty 

Paul worked for 35 years as an accountant in Toronto and during those years, between the early 1980’s and the mid 1990’s he traveled frequently to France with restaurateur clients where he would spend time talking to the winemakers. In 1997, while on a trip to Burgundy he tasted Michel Lafarge’s Pinot Noirs from a small single vineyard. And, a passion was born.  

Paul discovered The County in 2002. He was looking for a place to slow down and to get his strength back after suffering a stroke in 1998 and then having open-heart surgery after several heart attacks. Coming to The County felt right for Paul; it was a place to heal, to breathe and to play in the dirt.

The Barn is the cornerstone

Savvy Company - Devils Wishbone barnThe property had an old barn and restoring it was crucial to creating the winery. Paul will tell you it is the cornerstone of the winery and that “he just had to save her”. Interestingly, Paul claims that it was the barn that helped bring his strength and improve his health.

The barn now houses the wine cellars (aka Paul’s domain), the tasting room and retail operation (aka his partner Jennifer’s domain), and a beautiful space upstairs to sit and enjoy the view and sip a glass of their wine. Roy, the vineyard manager, takes care of the farming side of things. And growing grapes after all is just that…farming!

I asked Paul about his approach to crafting his wines.  “It is simple,” Paul explains, “I want to create both approachable and affordable wines that reflect the terroir of The County”. He believes in sustainable practices in the vineyard, yet his vineyards are not organic. That’s a difficult path to follow, yet he confirms that he uses neither insecticides nor pesticides.

Like so many winemakers, he states without any hesitation that, “The grape is the place where it all starts.” He told me he wasn’t striving to be the best there is; he didn’t feel that was doable. What he wanted to do was to create wines that reflected that “sense of place” and ones that his visitors and customers would enjoy and he certainly has achieved that goal.

Farmers First

Paul speaks passionately about being part of a much bigger idea. Prince Edward County is a new frontier for viticulture and winemaking and is growing as a destination for wine lovers. He wanted to be a part of the agricultural environment in The County and not an interloper. These winemakers for the most part were not “farmers first” but have become farmers. And, there is a sense of, “we’re all in this together” amongst all the different wineries…of which there are now almost 40! Even the largest winery in PEC is a boutique producer, so he believes they are all a part of the same fraternity.

16,500 children

Savvy Company - Devil's Wishbone vineyard 2For Paul, his favorite part of the year is now – when the green starts to show in the spring. Paul describes his vines as 16,500 children and the grapes they produce as his babies. And, when he sees that green he knows they have made it through the winter. For him it is a very personal experience. Paul is very much a pragmatist when it comes to growing the grapes. “You take what you get…that’s farming.”

I asked Paul if he had ever made a mistake when crafting his wines and the answer was, “of course”. His most memorable – he let his 2007 Pinot Noir “get away”. He blended two tanks of his Pinot. Although a simple action, it had a bad reaction as the new blend separated. The wine had to be “tossed” and he lost 400–500 litres. What it taught Paul was a lesson he already knew and that was to slow down. As he says, “He learned by doing!”

Paul doesn’t want his operation to grow too large nor too fast. Currently they are producing approximately 1,100 cases of wine. He talks about growing to a 1,500 case threshold to maintain his original concept of affordability and approachability. He sees his whites – Pinot Grigio (to be released in June), Riesling, and Chardonnay as having achieved this point.  For his reds, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, these wines continue to come along. In Devil’s Wishbone wines, all are made with County grapes (the exception is the Merlot which is sourced from a Niagara grape grower who practices the same sustainable methods as Paul). He creates a few blends – Wicked White, a Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend and a Rosé using Pinot Grigio.

A Perfect Dinner Party

Paul talks about his 4 Keystone Wines. Those are the Pinot Grigio and Riesling whites and the Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc reds. Those are his “Perfect Dinner Party”. I would love to sit and partake of that party. After tasting his wines I am certain you will agree!

Famous Visitors?

For Paul it was the impressions of his son Sean and his daughter Sara. He sent Sean his 4 Keystone Wines thinking that his son would just “show” them to his Vancouver friends who are all BC wine lovers. Instead Sean served them at a dinner party and when asked where the wines are from, Sean declared with great pride, “My Dad made them”.

And for Sara, those Keystone Wines, along with embossed glasses, were a part of her engagement party. It was with great pride that she served her Dad’s wines to rave reviews.

Definitely stop for a visit!

Savvy Company - Devil's Wishbone - Paul in vineyardPack a picnic lunch or enjoy a glass of wine in the old barn or sit back & relax in one of gazebos on the property overlooking the lake. The Devil’s Wishbone should definitely be on your list of places to visit this summer!  

How does the vineyard look? 

Debbie visited Devils Wishbone last weekend (May 3rd) and Paul had just finished his first pass of ‘Hilling Down’ the vines.  This is the process of removing the 2 foot high mounds of soil around the rootstock to protect them from the harsh temperatures of winter. 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

2012 Riesling VQA PEC $22.00

“Riesling is a variety that is 500 years old. The vines were planted in 2002 and this year we were able to coax out plenty of tanginess balanced with lots of lovely citrus fruits”  – Paul 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  We couldn’t agree with Paul more! During our Savvy Selections tasting panel, Sommelier Debbie’s first comment was that it “Dances with the Devil”. Clean, crisp, a full-bodied wine. Notes of pears, ripe peaches, and citrus (think white grapefruit).

This is a refreshing wine with an underlying essence of minerality, perfect for a warm summer evening.

Suggested Food Pairing: Paul loves pickerel and this wine would pair beautifully with any firm white fish. We think it would be lovely with pan-seared scallops as either an appetizer served with micro-greens or as a main. We would also suggest serving this with a chicken curry with a hint of heat.

 

2012 Cabernet Franc VQA, PEC $26.00

“Aged in 2 year old French oak for the past year, imparting a delicate finish”. – Paul

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A beautiful ruby color, with light tannins, clean fruit flavors and well balanced. There are aromas of dark red fruit and perhaps roasted red peppers. You will find flavors of cherries, cranberry and a hint of red candy.

 Suggested Food Pairing:  Our Sommeliers agree, this wine is best with food. Paul suggests lamb chops with a herb crust. With its heartiness, we crave pasta tossed simply with olive oil and crumbled blue cheese. Better yet, try our ‘Drunken Pasta’ recipe on the following pages.

 

2012 Pinot Noir VQA, PEC $29.00

“This Pinot offers lingering aromas accompanied by subtle layers of black current, black cherry and a hint of pepper.” – Paul

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: When Debbie first tasted this wine her comment was, “This wine is devilishly delicious. It makes me smile”.   There are aromas of red fruit and cranberries, pepper, and hints of oak. On the palate it is a soft, smooth, luscious and elegant wine. It is an approachable wine and that is something that Paul strives for in all of his wines. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Like so many Pinot Noirs, this wine would pair beautifully with salmon on the grill, grilled portabella mushrooms and grilled asparagus…a perfect summer pairing.  Paul suggests serve this wine with small birds such as a Cornish hen, simply roasted and accompanied with seasonal veggies.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With The Devils Wishbone 2012 Riesling VQA…

Scallops with Apple Pan Sauce

From Bon Appétit Magazine, May 2013
Recipe by Lake Austin Spa Resort
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 large sea scallops (about 1 pound), side muscle removed
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoonunsalted butter
1/4 cup hearty sprouts (such as daikon or sunflower) or pea shoots

Method

Core 1 apple; cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a blender with lemon juice and 1/4 cup water; purée until smooth. Strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl.

Peel, core, and cut remaining apple into 1/4-inch cubes. Add to bowl. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook scallops until golden brown and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.

Add butter to skillet along with the diced apples. Cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan.

Add reserved apple mixture and cook, stirring often, until juice is thickened and apple pieces are tender, about 4 minutes.

Spoon over scallops; top with sprouts or pea shoots and season with salt and pepper.

Savvy Company - Devils Wishbone - Paul and Jennifer

In photo at left Paul (centre) & Jennifer (right) at Savvy Company’s County in the City Taste & Buy event, held in Ottawa on April 10.

 

 

 

 

With The Devils Wishbone 2012 Cabernet Franc VQA…

Drunken Spaghetti (in Italian: Spaghetti Ubriachi)

From David Rocco’s Dolce Vita Cookbook
Serves 4

Ingredients

1lb. (500 grams) spaghetti
1 bottle red wine (a bold style wine – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc , Malbec or Merlot)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
Chilli pepper flakes to taste
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ cup crumbled blue cheese, or to taste

Method

In a large pasta pot, put your wine and bring to boil. Add pasta & a splash of oil so the noodles don’t stick together.

In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil. Add garlic, anchovies and chilli flakes if using and cook on medium heat until the anchovies melt into the oil and the garlic is softened. Set aside.

Now, add your spaghetti to the boiling wine, give it a good stir and finish cooking the pasta until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.

Savvy Company - Drunken PastaWhen the pasta is ready, the wine will have infused the spaghetti, giving it a gorgeous ruby color. Don’t worry about the wine being too strong for the sauce. The alcohol will burn off and leave a sweet delicate taste.

Drain spaghetti from the wine, toss in the skillet with the garlic, anchovy sauce and finish cooking for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with a bit of the parsley and the blue cheese. Finish with a few toasted pine nuts if desired.

Note: if blue cheese isn’t for you this dish would work beautifully with a freshly grated pecorino or asiago cheese. Don’t be shy to add vegetables such as grilled asparagus, broccoli or beef it up with thinly sliced grilled meat or sausages.

Serving tip:  This stunning and colourful pasta dish will present well on a simple white plate or pasta bowl, giving it a very bistro style look!

 

With The Devils Wishbone 2012 Pinot Noir VQA…

Roasted Salmon with Lentils

From Bonnie Stern, The Best of HeartSmart Cooking
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 ½ cups dried Puy (green) lentil
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 cup canned plum tomatoes, with juices, pureed
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste
1 ½ lb. salmon filet, cut in 6 pieces, skin removed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Method

Place lentils in a large pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil and cook gently for 25 – 30 minutes, or just until tender. Rinse and drain well.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. oil in large, deep non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add cumin and hot pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add carrot, celery and tomatoes to skillet. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until carrots are just tender and liquid from tomatoes has reduced.

Add drained lentils, parsley and pepper to skillet. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt if necessary. Keep warm.

Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil in separate non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with rosemary. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes per side or until slightly browned and crusty.

Transfer salmon to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or leave in skillet if it is ovenproof). Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 7 – 9 minutes or until just cooked through.

Serve salmon on bed of lentils.

This dish would be equally delicious with a simple grilled salmon served over the lentils. Serve with roasted asparagus as a side dish for either version of the salmon.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

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Discover why Ravine Vineyard is unique

Posted by Giancarlo

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

– April 2014 –

 

Back by popular demand, this month we feature Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery of Niagara-on-the-Lake. When we first introduced this winery in December 2011, our Savvy Sommelier Julie Stock shared with you the history & lore of the property.  In this edition, our newest member of the Savvy Team – Giancarlo Nadasio – invites you to get to know contemporary winemaker: Martin Werner, who shares with us his passion, his winemaking style & his lifestyle involved in the process of creating unique wines.  As Giancarlo found out in his interview, Martin makes wine “with an aim to capture what a 22,000 year old soil wishes to express, along with his favorite food recipe to pair with his wine.”

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2012 – Are you ready for spring? This aromatic clone is perfect for enjoying outside – on a deck, a dock or a picnic.  This is the reason for the half bottle format.

Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012 – Just released: Martin’s signature wine!

Merlot VQA 2011– Get your BBQ ready!

Our newest Savvy Sommelier, Giancarlo has been working in the hospitality business for over 10 years, recently at Ottawa’s Brookstreet Hotel.  To pair these wines, he called on some of his friends ‘in the business’ in Ottawa to share their recipes to match with the wines in this month’s Savvy Selections & please let them know if you tried your hand at their creations!

Clifford Lyness, Executive Chef at Brookstreet Hotel
Josh Gillard, Chef & Owner of MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar
Amy Brown, Brookstreet Hotel Culinarian Professional

Ordering hard-to-find wines is easy!

logoRavine has a broad portfolio of wines including some ‘uber premium’ wines. If you would like to order some of these wines or any of your favorite Savvy Selections, simply email me to make the arrangements for a special wine delivery.

A MUST on your next visit to the Niagara region

winery and restaurantWhen you plan your next visit to Niagara, be sure to stop in at Ravine to discover their full range of wines and try to have lunch or dinner at their award winning restaurant (tip – you will need reservations!)   Or plan ahead & meet the Ravine Winery Team at their annual Harvest Dinner on November 8th 2014.  It promises to be a fun dinner hosted by Martin & the Harber family (winery owners).

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Ravine Estates Winery

Presented by Giancarlo Nidasio

“What gets me up in the morning? Making the decision to create a nice bottle of wine that I’ve seen from start to finish that will be enjoyed & shared with everyone I care about….It makes my work not feel like work” 

Martin at Ravine VineyardAs a teenager, Marty (in photo as a family man with 2 year old daughter & wife) grew up working on a 60 acre family owned vineyard where he was an avid tractor driver among many other skills.  He got bitten by the travel bug & figured out that a good way to work & explore the world, would be working at wineries.

And so it was…Marty traveled to New Zealand where he worked for a couple of years at Cloudy Bay Winery and for Mahi Winery – both located in the Marlborough area.  It was here where Marty got the hands on experience that eventually lead him to make his own Estate Sauvignon Blanc many years later at Ravine.  Before that, his plane ticket took him to California, where he worked for a year with Justin Winery in Paso Robles.

Now bitten by both the travel & winemaking bug, once back in Niagara, Marty worked at Hillebrand & Hidden Bench wineries before deciding to enroll in to the Winemaking program at Niagara College.  This is where Marty had the opportunity to meet someone that would open his eyes in the winemaking world – Thomas Bachelder.  It was Thomas who was the first person to speak to him about sense of place. “It made me understand that Niagara can do great wines”, recalls Marty.

All this experience has led Marty to create wines that are in tune with both a sense of time & place, that reflect the influence of Lake Ontario & the various types of soils found at Ravine.

Winemaking & the Vineyard

red grapesThe wine making style at Ravine, could be described as having a Burgundian influence for white wines & a Bourdeaux style for the reds; where the assemblage (winespeak: referring to the winemaker’s art of blending) plays a key role.

Marty & his team classify the wines that were made from different batches from either the same or different grape varietals that were planted on different sections of the vineyard, picked at different times depending on their level of ripeness & fermented in different types of barrels made from different types of wood.  This is one of the reasons why Marty really loves the style of Bordeaux Blends (winespeak: A Bordeaux blend is usually referred to the blend of three main grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and sometimes adding Malbec & Petit Verdot to this blend).  With blends, the winemaker put his own fingerprint onto the wine.

This hard work ties in with the Viticultural & Biodynamic practices of Ravine. These include taking the extra time to do shoot & fruit thinning to gain proper concentration in the grapes while allowing the plant to build its own resistance in order to avoid the use of chemicals as pesticide.  “The goal is to have a vine that is in balance with nature which will bring a fruit that is alive!” explains Marty. 

Out of the entire winemaking process Marty gets most excited (and it’s the most crucial time too) when he makes the decision to pick the grapes.  As he puts it, “this is the make or break your season moment”.  It is the tipping point of the season when Marty can get a perfect snapshot of the vineyard by tasting the grapes every two days (then closer to harvest Marty will taste daily) to determine the acidity & sugar levels. “It’s the most intimate time in terms of a vineyard”

What’s next?

Ravine has its heart in the past & its eyes towards the future and is now preparing for the newest addition to their portfolio with an exclusive 75 case release of a first year 2013 Pinot Noir.  It is a wine with great anticipation, “We are already counting down the days.”  Ravine’s Pinot Noir will feature a limited exposure to new oak so it serves as a complement letting the wine express what the land has to give.

Ask for Marty when you visit!

Marty welcomes all of our Savvy Selections subscribers to stop by & ask for him when you visit the winery. Visit in winter when the ravine on the estate becomes an ice rink where family & friends skate surrounded by the vineyard or in the warmer season when you can simply take a stroll through the vines – just as Marty does with his wife Rachel, his daughter Dani and his two dogs.

Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections now knowing more about Ravine’s down to earth winemaker.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2012, $14.00

What is Chardonnay Musqué? Marty explains: It is an aromatic clone of Chardonnay, with a musky character & a slight spritzness that is achieved during the fermentation process.  We do this by closing the lids of the stainless steel tanks where the wine is being fermented to preserve its freshness. The cooling systems is then turned on in the tanks so the CO2 that is naturally produced as a by product of the fermentation, can be trapped inside the wine where   the cold temperature aids the wine to accept the CO2.For this reason, the Chardonnay Musqué is bottled in a 375 mL format, in order to preserve its spritz once the bottle has been opened.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A bright refreshing crisp wine, with aromas of cantaloupe, lime & tropical fruits (think kiwi) along with a hint of toasty notes.  These continue through onto the taste with added notes of clementine.  A well-balanced refreshing wine with enough acidity to provide structure. 

Suggested Food Pairing:  Created to be shared among friends & family – preferably outside –  at only 9% it is ideal on its own or with light summer salads. Try it with a Spiced & Grilled Shrimp, with Mango Gazpacho, a creation by Amy Brown, culinarian professional at Brookstreet Hotel.  She shares this recipe on following pages. 

Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012, $32.00

Marty’s signature wine.  This Estate Sauvignon Blanc is aged in oak for 6 to 8 months, developing smoky notes while perfectly matching the linear crispness & freshness that the variety retains in a cool climate region like Niagara. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A great structured wine, with tropical notes on the nose with hints of pear, green papaya, melon & wildflowers following through the palate with a soft creamy mouth-feel.

Suggested Food Pairing:  It calls for a great aperitif or paired with fresh fish dishes.  Want to roll up your sleeves & let your inner gourmand out? Try the Tuna Carpaccio, diakon cress, fuji apple & ponzu recipe created by Executive Chef Clifford Lyness. The smokiness of the wine makes it a great pairing. 

Cellaring: Ready to be enjoyed now or to be aged for several years up to 2023. This is achievable due to its acidity & the concentration of fruit flavors in the wine that with time will make the wine fade out the tropical flavor profile to evolve in to brighter and biscuity profile, also known as Tertiary Flavors, which develop in the bottle.

 

Merlot VQA 2011 $34.00

Merlot is the most planted varietal at Ravine where they use 4 different clones of Merlot that are planted separately on the Top side and on the Hill side of the Estate.  These are picked in 4 different blocks and then Marty blends them together create the final blend that is finished by aging in barrel for 8 to14 months.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright red cherry aromas, with hints of tobacco, coffee, molasses & big red ripe berries that follow through the palate with additional hints of chocolate & a smooth minerality almost like wet stone or crushed rock due to the heavy influence of clay soils that lay beneath the vines of the Merlot grapes.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine screams smoke & BBQ.  It is a great summer companion for gatherings with dishes like smoked pulled pork, BBQ ribs or lamb shank on the BBQ with a nice reduction sauce on top of mashed potatoes. Superb!!  Why not try MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar Executive Chef & Owner Josh Gillard’s Mint Rubbed Lamb Racks or Chef’s Clifford Lyness free form braised Veal Ravioli, Roast Cipollini with onion jam, seared sweet bread and white truffle and chive butter tension.  These recipes are on the following pages.

Cellaring: With its well integrated tannins, this Merlot is ideal for drinking now or to be cellared up to 2020.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay Musqué…

Spiced & Grilled Shrimp, with Mango Gazpacho

Created by Culinarian Professional Amy Brown at Brookstreet Hotel, Ottawa
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cardamon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
12 8″ wooden skewers
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 mangos, peeled
3 yellow bell pepper, seeded
1 English cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 jalapeño, seeded
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes

 Method

Preheat grill to medium high heat & preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine ground spices, salt, pepper and oil. Pour over shrimp and set aside.

Roast peppers in oven until tender.

Dice mango, cucumber, peppers, and jalapeno. Mix with ginger, juice, yogurt, vinegar and cilantro. Using a blender or food processor, puree mango mixture until smooth.

Skewer shrimp and grill. Grill until tails are pink and shrimp is firm.

Garnish with any extra yogurt and or cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. 

 

With Ravine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc…

Tuna Carpaccio, Diakon cress, Fuji apple, Ponzu

chef lioness - brookstreetFrom Executive Chef Clifford Lyness, Brookstreet Hotel, Ottawa (photo at left)
Serves: 4 persons

 

Step One: Pounded Tuna Carpaccio

4oz freshest, most vibrantly red sushi grade tuna you can find and afford
salt and pepper

Method

Ask your fish monger to cut you a piece of tuna, closer to the neck of the fish and further away from the tail. As you move closer to the tail of the fish, more white sinew will marble the flesh. This sinew of silver skin is chewy and unpleasant when eaten raw. Using meat towards the neck of the fish will be free of this connective tissue and provide for a smooth velvet texture. The piece of tuna your fish monger gives you should be rectangular in shape weighing approximately 16 ounces.

Using a sharp knife, slice 4 equal pieces of tuna, each weighing 4 ounces. This can easily be accomplished by cutting the initial piece in half, and then halve the 2 pieces, resulting in 4 equal pieces.

Place 1 piece of tuna in between a piece of Saran wrap. Using a mallet, or a heavy sauce pot, gently begin to pound the flesh flat making sure not to tear the flesh. Rotate the wrap periodically to ensure the tuna is pound equally in all directions and has a common thickness. Place in fridge and keep as cold as possible until ready to assemble dish. Carpaccio and tartare dishes taste profoundly better when chilled to the max.

Step Two: Ponzu sauce

50ml light soy
50ml mirin
50ml freshly squeezed lime juice
50ml sake50ml instant dashi

Method

Mix together all ingredients. Balance should be achieved between salty, sweet, and sour, with an alcohol undertone coming from the sake. Not one flavor should be dominant in a classic ponzu sauce, but this can be altered to cater to individual preferences. Chill until ready to use. 

Step Three: Fuji apple & diakon salad

1 package diakon cress
2 Fuji apple
2 scallions
25 ml pickled ginger
1 teaspoon togarashi
2 Tablespoon tobiko
1 piece of lotus root

Method

Clip diakon cress and place a damp paper towel over top to prevent wilting. Using a Benriner mandoline, shave apple and julienne into matchstick. Do not shave and julienne to thin, you are looking for a pleasant thickness to ensure that there is some crunch and juiciness from the apple. Do this step as close to plate assemble as possible to prevent apple from discoloring.  Julienne scallion on a bias using a very sharp knife and place in ice water. This will dilute some of the strong onion flavor.

Slice a peeled lotus root and fry in oil until crisp. Drain on paper towel and reserve 

Plate Assembly

Drain the scallion and place in a bowl along with the apple, diakon cress, and pickled ginger. Add a small amount of ponzu to the salad and do not toss.

Remove the tuna from the fridge. Remove one piece of Saran wrap, exposing one side of the pounded tuna.

Place the exposed side in the middle of a large white plate, and peel the remaining Saran off.

Toss the salad gently and place in the middle of the tuna. Spoon the ponzu over top of the pounded tuna. Sprinkle with togarshi and tobiko. Drizzle with a really good olive oil, and place a few crispy fried lotus root chips on top.

Garnish with a lime cheek so the guest can squeeze fresh lime.

 

With Ravine Vineyard Merlot…

Individual Lamb Racks, mint rubbed and grilled, with tzatziki &  curry sauce

From Executive Chef and Owner MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar Josh Gilliard

Ingredients for mint rub

3 Tbsp dried mint
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepperpinch of sugar

 Method

Must NewZealandLambRub all above ingredients together

Take a frenched rack of lamb and cut in between each rack to get individual bones. Then apply the bu on both sides of each piece.

Grill on med/high heat until desired level of preparation.

While lamb is cooking, make the sauce:

Ingredients for Tzatziki & curry sauce

4 Tbsp tzatziki
1 Tbsp mild curry paste
1/2 cup Demi or cream
salt and pepper to taste

Serve over top of a pool of mint jelly.        

                     

With Ravine Vineyard Merlot…

Free form braised veal ravioli / roast cipollini onion jam, Seared sweet bread / white truffle and chive butter tension

From Executive Chef Clifford Lyness, Brookstreet Hotel

Step One: Braised veal shank

Ingredients for Braised veal shank

4 veal shanks, about 1 pound each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 liter chicken stock
1 can (14.5 ounces) whole tomatoes,crushed with fingers, with juices
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350° F. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Dust lightly with the flour. Heat an ovenproof sauté pan large enough to hold the shanks in one layer over high heat then add the olive oil and heat.

Add the shanks and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and reduce heat to medium-high.

Place the onions, carrots, celery in the pan. Sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes then add the garlic and sauté one more minute. Pour in the wine and broth. Return heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon juice, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper.

Cook, uncovered, until reduced by about one-third. (There should be enough liquid to come about half way up the sides of the shanks.) Return the shanks, and any accumulated juices, to the pan. Cover tightly and place in oven. Cook until the meat is very tender and starting to fall off the bones, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove the shanks from the pan. Let stand 10 minutes and pull all the lean away from bone and residual fat. 

Step Two:  Pasta             

Yield about 10 oz of dough, enough for 3-4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup flour
½ cup semolina flour
Pinch salt large eggs
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Method

Add the eggs and olive oil and mix together.

Beginning in the center, mix with a fork in a circular motion until the flour is combined with the eggs. Mix until soft and then you can add more flour if needed. You want your dough not too stiff because then it will be too hard to roll out. Not too wet because it will stick to everything. The best time to roll the pasta is when you let it rest for 1 hour after.                

Step Three: Roast cipollini onion jam

100g butter, cold and cubed
100 mL olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
10 pieces cipollini onions, unpeeled
3oz white wine                 

Method

Place the cipollini onions in a foil pouch with some olive oil & bake in a 370 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The jackets of the onion should be quiet brown, the insides will be creamy with the sugars inverted. Allow to cool & remove the skin and pestle and mortar the roast onion to a smooth paste.

In a small sauce pot cook the Onion jam along with a touch of sugar, deglaze the pan with white wine reduce to a 1/3.  Finally add the butter (cold and cubed) and slowly incorporate until thickened.  Reserve to the side               

Step Four: White truffle & chive butter tension

100g butter, cold and cubed
150 mL chicken stock
1 piece lemon, juice only
salt and pepper – to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon truffle oil
1/2 bunch chives

Method

In a sauté pan sweat the shallots to a translucent state no color. Deglaze the pan with the Riesling wine allow to reduce to a 1/3. Next deglaze  the pan with chicken stock  again reduce to a 1/3.

Start to slowly add the cubed butter to thicken the sauce. Finish the sauce off with the truffle oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and olive oil.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Rosehall Run: County pioneer & international champions

Posted by Erin

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Rosehall RunVineyards

– March 2014 –

 

When you think of the saying “To make a living in wine, you should start with a fortune”, do you think many people would trade in their successful home-reno business in busy Toronto to move to Prince Edward County to start a winery?

vineyardIt sounds like an adventure to me, and perhaps a risky one…especially when at the time, the viability of ‘The County’ as a wine region was still questionable. Now, 15 years later, Dan Sullivan and his partner Lynne have built (and also expanded) their winery – Rosehall Run Vineyards – and have become pillars of The County as they continue to pioneer and champion the wines of their region.  They are certainly amongst the “Go To” people for the culinary and cultural scene in the area.

During a recent trip, our Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling visited Rosehall Run and chatted with Dan who is the winemaker and co-owner.  Now, let it be said that this was not a quick visit, because I can attest that Dan can talk your ear off about all things involving The County and wines!

In this issue of the Savvy eZine, Erin shares with you some insight into the evolution of Rosehall Run and what has changed at the winery since we last featured them back in March 2010.  And you will read that plenty has changed for Rosehall!

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Rosehall Run Pixie Rosé – $17.95 As the name denotes this unique Rosé is purely magical. A light sparkling rosé will add a bit of fun to any mid-winter celebration or add celebration to any mid-winter night!

Rosehall Vineyard Chardonnay JCR  VQA 2011 – $29.95 A terrific example of what Prince Edward County Chardonnay with its tropical aromas and county minerality that make wines from this area so distinct.

Pinot Noir Cuvée County VQA 2010 – $22.65 This Pinot Noir is so consistent and of incredible value at this price that we easily recommended year after year. When we previously featured Rosehall Run in the March 2010 Savvy Selections, subscribers received a bottle of this wine from the 2008 vintage. This 2010 vintage comes from a scorching hot summer and delivers a lovely medium body pinot with a balance of acidity and fruit.

OPTIONAL WINE

rosehall run JCR Pinot NoirPinot Noir JCR Rosehall Vineyard 2010$39.00 – An award winning Pinot Noir reminiscent of Burgundy that is lush and fruity.

Similar to other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections, some Rosehall Run wines are on the LCBO shelves. However, there are many of their wines that are not. 

If you would like additional bottles of your favourite Rosehall wine – or other featured Ontario wineries – just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange an additional delivery for you. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines…especially from The County! 

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Rosehall Run Vineyards

Presented by Erin Bolling

I’m from a culture (and family!) that puts a lot of emphasis on food and we are honestly expected or required to drink wine at certain times of year to mark certain holidays and occasions. As many of you may expect it was an absolute pleasure to speak with Dan Sullivan at Rosehall Run and commune with him about the pleasures of food & wine.

terroir2011v4.cdrDuring our interview…well more like a chat amongst friends, he filled me in on coming plans for his property, as well as some tips for people attending Terroir County Celebration on May 3rd.

A HUGE pat on the back!

Since the Olympics were just on recently and Canada did so well it is easy to understand how great winning awards feels. Dan and I spoke about the numerous awards his wines have garnered over the last decade. Does he like winning awards…of course!

awardsTo his surprise and delight Rosehall Run has recently won recognition for the JCR Chardonnay (that is included in your Savvy Selections) by The Drinks Business  – an international magazine based in the UK. This was surprising since Rosehall Run stepped back from entering competitions in 2013 so that the team could put their energies into their newest event – ‘Red, White & Blues in the County’. That aside it is quite an accomplishment to be one of only 2 Canadian wineries recognized amongst hundreds from around the world.  As you would expect, the Rosehall team are over the moon with this international recognition.

dan and lynnEntering competitions is time consuming and costly…so why do it? Dan, Lynn (in photo) and the entire staff are dedicated to raising the Canadian and ‘County’ flag whenever possible.  They enjoy getting the word out about their wines and helping consumers to understand that the wines offered by Rosehall Run are able to stand up to international competition. For instance, Rosehall Run enters their wines in the Pinot Shoot out and Intervin competitions pinning their wines with international wines. “Competitions are measuring sticks for what the bottle will offer the consumer. A medal will give them a reasonable confidence that the wine is good”, Dan explains.

He also recognized the importance of local competitions. Rosehall Run has been a contender for years in Canadian competitions such as: Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards, Ottawa Wine Challenge and the Artevino Wine Awards. Regardless of the competition or award, Dan says the most rewarding accolades come from personal compliments. He does a lot of winemaker dinners and interacts with customers at every opportunity. I remember Dan’s jubilant personality at a winemakers dinner I worked at back in 2008 and how it inspired me to work more with Savvy Company.

Gourmet Picnics – Yes please!

rosehall run and foodThe Greer Road Grocer is another feature at Rosehall Run. This is the inspiration of JJ Syer who is Rosehall’s hospitality professional. Dan praised her ability to work with local producers and help grow Rosehall’s focus on showcasing local products. You can find everything from local cheeses to charcuterie and chocolate….anyone up for a gourmet picnic? I’ll sure be sharing this travel tip with my family and friends!

If you’re in the market for local art, you’ll find it at Greer Road Grocer as well. Dan especially loves the bottle openers an artist has made out of old spikes from the local train tracks that were ripped up last year. He says they are very functional so get them while you can! This fills a niche for visitors by exposing them to fabulous local products but offers a dine-in option (on site) or to go with you as you continue to drive along the back roads of The County.

Looking Ahead…

As you can tell there is always something changing at Rosehall Run. The winery may be best known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but that does not restrain Dan from experimenting and breaking new ground with what is planted. The annual Terroir festival which is the County’s chance to showcase their new wines will see Rosehall release a Méthode Traditionelle Blanc de Blanc Sparkling wine (winespeak: sparkling wine made in the classic French Champagne method using 100% Chardonnay grapes). 

There are also estate grown Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc wines coming soon. In fact Rosehall has the oldest plantings of Sauvignon Blanc in The County. “I am excited to tell you that we have also started to grow Tempranillo. The type of soil in PEC is similar to where this grape is grown in Spain and I am confident the grapes will adapt well” explains Dan. Not surprisingly Tempranillo is one of Dan’s favourite types of wine!

As a parting question I asked what the most memorable reward has been for Dan. Of course there are many he says but bringing his daughter with him to London England in 2010 to showcase Rosehall Run Chardonnays for the European wine critics. Accolades and awards aside, Roshahall Run is a big family run endeavor. Next time you are in PEC drop by and say hello to the team or join the Savvy Bus to visit them at Terroir in May.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Rosehall Pixie Sparkling Rosé – $17.95

Sometimes a look says it all. After an initial sniff and sip of this bubbly Savvy Team member Amanda had an almost punch drunk smile! A glass of this wine will makes any person happy.

From the peachy pink colour to the fruity tenure of the wine this blended rose will have you think spring has sprung.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:   A blend of Riesling, Chardonnay and Zwiegelt grapes combine in this mouthwatering offer. Fruits such as strawberry, watermelon and hints of lime and roses were present. The finish is a lingering crisp and dry one.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Pop open a bottle for any occasion. The panel imagined this as an excellent wine with take-out sushi. It is also a great starter to any meal and therefore we have a watermelon & feta skewer salad to accompany it. Not only will this taste good together but it is colour coordinated!

 

JCR Chardonnay  VQA 2011 – $29.95

This wine is made from the premium lots of Rosehall Run’s North Estate and bears the initials of the winery’s co-founder John Campbell Reston.

Congrats to the winery team on the distinguished recognition of this wine as one of the 2013 Chardonnay Masters of the World….we are thrilled to include this wine in your Savvy Selections.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: When tasting this wine during a snow-storm in February we were transported to tropical daydreams by toasty hints of coconut, brioche and tropical fruit. The wine is medium to full bodied an slightly sweet with a lovely zesty lemon finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  The Savvy Selections tasting panel thought a lot about what to match this with. Finally we agreed on a recipe for Coconut crusted chicken with mango ginger mint salsa by Chef Michael Smith.  

 

Pinot Noir Cuvée County VQA 2010 $22.65

It is widely accepted that Prince Edward County is a great place for making Pinot Noir due to its limestone and Burgundy like soils. This particular Pinot is comprised of grapes from all over the county and is the result of an exceptionally hot summer.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A typically light translucent garnet colour this Pinot shows the hallmarks of its varietal. The wine is woodsy on the nose with hints of roses, violets, dark cherry, raspberry and sweet spice. These descriptors follow through in the palate as well with a medium mouth feel and balanced acidity. A juicy finish will stick with you.

Suggested Food Pairing: Smoked or baked salmon would be a great match for this wine. Our panel thought that since this is a crowd pleasing wine our subscribers might like a recipe that feeds a crowd – Greek Moussaka from Canadian Living. This recipe calls for lamb which matches the suggestions on the winery site. Let us know what you think of the recipe on our Savvy Selections Facebook page!

There’s an anniversary on the horizon!

rosehall run winesIt seemed almost a surprise to Dan that there is a 10 year anniversary coming up in 2016. Since planning the first acreage in 2001, releasing estate grown wines in 2005 and opening the tasting room in 2006, Rosehall Run has been constantly improving on an already good thing. Dan and Lynn are committed to offering quality wines and experiences to their customers and this dedication will be sure to raise the ratings of Rosehall on Trip Advisor! Dan filled us in on plans to expand the tasting room in order to offer more hospitality. He looks forward to being able to host bigger groups. They will also be covering the crush pad to offer more relaxation space.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

Rosehall Pixie Sparkling Rosé…

Watermelon Feta Mint Skewers

From ServingSeconds.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

Half of one small seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
8 oz feta cheese, cut into cubes (room temperature)
12 mint leaves
12 skewers or toothpicks

Method

Prepare the ingredients in assembly line fashion.

Skewer watermelon first, then mint then feta.

Repeat as you like.

 

 With Rosehall Run JCR Chardonnay VQA 2011 …

Coconut Crusted Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen: 100 of my favorite recipes

Ingredients

Salsa

1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup of mint sprigs, tightly stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced
The zest and juice of one lime
1 Tbsp of grated frozen ginger
1 Tbsp of honey
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Coconut Crust

1 cup of all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 cups of flaked or shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
A sprinkle or two of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and patted dry

Method

Make the salsa first by simply tossing together the mango, green onions, red pepper, mint, lime zest, lime juice, ginger, honey, olive oil, and salt. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

Put the flour, eggs, and coconut into three separate bowls and season the flour.

Working with one breast at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, coating it evenly and shaking off any excess. Dip the chicken into the egg, coating it evenly and letting any excess drip off. Finally, dip the chicken into the coconut, turning, pressing, and sprinkling as needed so the crust adheres.

Place the crusted breast on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Bake until the breasts are golden brown and crusty, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted in its thickest part registers 160°F.

Arrange on a serving platter and top with the salsa

 

With Cuvée County Pinot Noir  VQA 2010…

Moussaka

From www.CanadianLiving.com

Ingredients

6 large Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large eggplant
3Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded kefalograviera cheese or Gruyère cheese

Bolognese Sauce

2 lbs lean ground lamb or lean ground beef
2 onions chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 can tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 can( 2 oz/156 mL) tomato paste

Béchamel Sauce

2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pinch grated nutmeg

 

Method

Bolognese Sauce

In shallow Dutch oven, sautée lamb over medium-high heat, breaking up with spoon, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Drain fat from pan.

Add onions, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, salt, pepper and allspice to pan; fry over medium heat until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, mashing to break into small pieces. Add wine and tomato paste; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until space does not fill in after spoon is drawn across bottom of pan, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes and eggplant; cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick slices. Arrange in single layer on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets. Brush both sides with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in 450°F (230°C) oven, turning once, until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Béchamel Sauce

Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; cook, whisking often, until boiling and thickened enough to coat back of spoon, about 12 minutes.Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

To Assemble

Spread 1 cup of the Bolognese Sauce in 13- x 9-inch glass baking dish then layer with half of the potatoes, 2 cups of the Bolognese Sauce, all of the eggplant, 2 cups of the Bolognese Sauce, remaining potatoes and remaining Bolognese Sauce.

Spread Béchamel Sauce over top and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until browned and bubbly, about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes; cut into squares

Make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold; cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Add 40 minutes to baking time.

 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Stunning wines from Stratus Vineyards

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
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SS stamp lo res

Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Stratus Vineyards

– February 2014 –

 

Stratus Vineyards brings together the traditions of winemaking along with the values of innovation and commitment to environmental sustainability. The story of this unique winery caught the attention of our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins who was eager to learn more the winery’s focus on precision design – in both the architectural design and in the vinification. When you visit Stratus – as Susan recently did – you will experience first-hand the importance of the honouring the environment at the winery’s estate, in the vineyard and in the cellar.

Being at the leading edge

The commitment to sustainable practices is noticeable at every turn when you visit Stratus. This winery is intentionally leading edge. On arrival, native plants grace the xeriscape (haven’t heard of this term before? It’s a style of sustainable garden with plants that do not have heavy reliance watering, fertilizer, etc.).

Stratus Vineyard exteriorThe dramatic glass, steel and wood structure sits lightly on the land and is the first building in Canada as well as the first winery in the world to be LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).  To achieve this first-of-its-kind status, the building that houses the winery, tasting room and cellar is constructed with a high percentage of recycled materials and super-insulation, the orientation of the windows optimize passive solar heat and light and there is a geothermal heating/cooling system. In the cellar, a pump-less wine-flow system assures gentle handling of the wine while the temperature and humidity in the 1000-barrel cellar are intricately managed through the geothermal system. But the genius behind Stratus wines lies with the winemaker: J.L. Groux.

As an aficionado of fine wines and CEO of Teknion, Stratus founder David Feldberg had a clear concept for the winery: “We had a vision to make wines of outstanding quality right in our own backyard in Niagara. We wanted a wonderful environment for people who visited our winery to taste our exceptional wines, so they would have a total experience that was out of this world. And we wanted . . . [everything] to operate in accordance with the most sustainable and environmentally friendly practices possible”. To bring this vision to life, David wooed J.L. who was at the time the winemaker at Hillebrand.  J.L. consulted with David on the winery concept and design, then joined Stratus in 2004 – a year before its official opening. In addition, J.L. brought to Stratus his expertise and passion for the art of assemblage – the synergistic blending of varietal wines to create unique, sophisticated and premium wines.

Taste the Talent

You will taste J.L.’s talent in this month’s Savvy Selections wines. Given the demand for Stratus wines, we are excited to showcase a fine selection from the 2011 vintage. Each wine represents one of the winery’s brands:

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

Stratus Gewürztraminer VQA 2011 – exotic & crisp – a classic Gewürztraminer loaded with aromas & flavour

Wildass Merlot VQA 2011 – ripe, fruity & lip-smackingly good red wine

Tollgate Red VQA 2011 (available only to restaurants) – mellow & earthy yet complex blend 

OPTIONAL WINE: Stratus Icewine Red VQA 2012 – not a typical icewine in so many ways – colour, acidity with savoury not sweet notes. Will create ooohs and aahs when you serve it at the end of a Valentine’s Day dinner. It’s alluring and luscious with a lively fresh finish! Like everything else that Stratus does…it is one-of-a-kind!

The cult following of Stratus wines

With excellent wines as the Savvy Selections, you will taste for yourself the reason why Stratus wines sell quickly.  Periodically their wines will grace the shelves at Vintages….but they sell out quickly. If you would like additional bottles of any of the Savvy Selections wines or other favorite Stratus wines, call on us to arrange a delivery for you. 

Cheers & Enjoy…and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Stratus Vineyards

Presented by Accredited Sommelier Susan Desjardins 

JL in Mesquite with Red_lowrezJ.L. (Jean-Laurent) Groux is a native of Loire, France who pursued oenology studies in Burgundy and Bordeaux before ‘touring the world’, stopping in a variety of places, including Niagara, to work in wineries and vineyards. He originally visited a family friend in Niagara in 1981, a time when the growth of the wine industry was just beginning. J.L. returned to Niagara several times, increasingly captivated by the changes he saw occurring.

Eventually, J.L. felt compelled to stay, joining Hillebrand, where he worked as winemaker for 15 years. His experience in Bordeaux was the inspiration behind Hillebrand’s highly sought after Trius Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot blends. With these wines, his talent for assemblage began to show.

The Artist

Assemblage is the art of creating a unique blend of wine, selected from the best barrels, to deliver the elusive character of the vintage and the vineyards. “David gave me an irresistible opportunity to be in on the ground floor and be involved in the creation of Stratus. And to focus on creating premium wines by taking the art of the blended wine to another level using a wider array of grapes that bring their character to the glass”, explains J.L. Each vintage is unique as reflected in Stratus’ flagship wines: Stratus Red and Stratus White. Once the signature blends have been defined, J.L. turns his attention back to the wines he has sampled to then determine those that will be released as small-batch varietal wines.

Status Vineyard Savvy SelectionsJ.L. marshalls outstanding raw materials to craft his complex, layered wines and he is very clear about the ultimate source of excellent wine: “Le vin se fait dans le vignoble” (the wine makes itself in the vineyard). When acquired, the 62-acre Niagara-on-the-Lake property was focused on growing grapes for yield rather than quality. While a limited number of vines were retained by the Stratus team – providing fruit from some of the oldest vines in Niagara region – all hybrids and many acres of low producing vitis vinifera vines were ripped out to make way for varieties personally selected by J.L. to craft unique Stratus blends.

A total of 11 red and 7 white grape varieties are now grown on 55 acres of the Stratus estate, Bordeaux varieties joined by the less-commonly seen – Viognier, Marsanne, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Tannat. Great attention has been paid to variations in soil and moisture, as well as the microzones (mini-microclimates in the vineyard) to determine where each will flourish on the estate.

Location. Location. Location

Stratus estate is located on the southeastern border of the Niagara Lakeshore sub-appellation where it benefits from some unique properties. The vineyards are far enough away from Lake Ontario that grapes requiring warmer summer temperatures consistently ripen well, yet, still close enough that the ‘lake effect’ protects the vineyard from early fall frosts. The clay loam sits over a limestone bed, is rich in organic matter and drains what limited rainfall occurs, so the Stratus vines reach deep for moisture in the soil, putting down roots that draw the true essence of the vineyard into the ripening grapes.

Recognizing that the site is conducive to prolific growth, J.L. ensures concentration and quality in the fruit through a variety of ‘low-yield’ practices. These include a modified open-trellis system, cluster management and aggressive fruit thinning. And Status commitment to the environment finds its way into the vineyard as well, with farm equipment run on bio-diesel, residue composted for fertilizer, and the vines grown free of herbicides.

The vines are hand trained and trimmed, the fruit hand picked and sorted by Stratus’ small team of vineyard workers. Once pressed, the wine begins its gentle journey through the pump-free and gravity-flow system into steel tanks and/or barrels. J.L. reiterated several times during the interview, “We are patient with our grapes”.

The story of the 2011 vintage

2011 was a difficult vintage. J.L. did not craft any of the Stratus signature red or white blends. The best grapes from the estate were used for varietal wines in the Stratus, Wildass and Tollgate brands – as you will taste with your Savvy Selections.

How does 2013 vintage look?

J.L. explains, “I was concerned about the rain during flowering and a cooler summer. We did some vigorous crop reduction in August and September, but the fall was long and warm, so we were able to begin harvest later and let the reds hang long into November. I am very happy with the results based on initial tasting.”

Be sure to visit Stratus next time you are in Niagara-on-the-Lake…the experience at the winery is like no other!

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Stratus Gewürztraminer 2011 VQA, $32.00

Stratus Vineyards Gwertztraminer postGreat care is taken in the vineyard to ripen to a higher sugar level that results is subtle aromas, then the wine is aged sur lie (winespeak: remains in contact with the yeast) in well-seasoned barrels. “The complex aromas of this wine really evolve in the bottle”, explains J.L.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Beautifully crafted and proffering tantalizing rose petal aromas, notes of tropical fruit, melon and exotic spice, this is a dry, spicy, juicy medium-bodied wine. The palate is silky with a touch of warmth, the rich, ripe tropical fruit complemented by clean, fresh acidity that flows through the long, cleansing finish. Absolutely lovely!

Suggested Food Pairing:  Classic matches are spicy Asian foods Phad Thai or curries. Susan suggests to enjoy with the roast chicken – with a twist.


Wildass Merlot 2011 VQA, $27.95

The fruit for this wine reflect the warm summer months of the vintage – full ripeness with concentrated sugar and displaying good tannins and acidity. This Merlot was aged 2 years in oak and is a blend of wines from the fruit of original and more recently planted vines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Ripe fruit, sweet spice and hints of smoke waft from the glass of this attractive Merlot. Dry, medium bodied, it’s complex, with oodles of black cherry, black berry and plum notes, spice, vanilla and white pepper mingling with a touch of dried herbs. There’s underlying structure for balance and cellaring, well-integrated oak, and juicy acidity for verve at the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Lamb or other roast meats will be a fine match. Susan selected a Lamb Shoulder recipe she enjoyed at a Tinhorn Creek winery on a recent BC wine tour.

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


Tollgate Red 2011 VQA, $26.00

This blend is a unique assemblage of separately vinified and aged Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Malbec – all grown on Stratus estate. Aged 12 months in barrel, it is designed to be paired with food.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Here’s a wonderful red blend that offers intriguing aromas of woodsmoke, cherry/berry, earth and mineral. It’s dry, yet mellow on the palate, offering dark fruit, dried fruit, rich, toasty oak and notions of five spice and dried fruit. Subtly structured, it displays great balance, depth and impact, with a long, full finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Sip away, or serve with veal chops with a mushroom sauce.

Cellaring: Ready now, it will cellar 3-5 years.

Curious about the Stratus names?

The name Stratus is inspired by a high-atmosphere cloud, as represented on the premium label.

Wildass
is the second tier label, is a bit irreverent – as the back label says “full of personality and best enjoyed with friends”.

Tollgate
is the restaurant brand, was named for a tollgate historically operated near the winery’s property.

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

With Stratus Gewürztraminer…

Classic Roast Chicken with a Twist

A Matter of Taste Cookbook by Lucy Waverman & James Chatto
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil)
4 lb. chicken, butterflied
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp cracked black pepper

Gravy

2 C. chicken stock
21 tsp tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
½ tsp chopped tarragon
2 Tbsp butter, diced

Method

Preheat oven to 400F and brush melted butter (or oil) over chicken skin.

Season both sides of chicken with tarragon, lemon zest, salt & pepper then lay chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.

Bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until skin is crisp and juices run clear. Transfer chicken to carving board to rest 10 minutes while you make the gravy.

Remove all fat from roasting pan. Add stock, tomato paste & tarragon to pan, scraping up any bits from bottom of pan.

Bring gravy to boil over medium heat & boil for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat & stir in butter until absorbed.

Season with salt & pepper to taste. Cut chicken into 4 pieces & serve with gravy, roast baby potatoes & asparagus. 

 

With Wildass Merlot

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

From the kitchen at Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery located in British Columbia
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 large bone-in lamb shoulder
1 tin anchovies
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ C grainy mustard
½ C extra virgin olive oil

Method

In a blender, purée anchovies, garlic, parsley, mustard and oil.

Season lamb with the mixture, rubbing it all over. Place in a baking dish & cover with foil then bake 3-5 hours at 225F, or until the meat falls off the bone.

Serve with roasted root vegetables.

 

With Tollgate Red…

Roasted Veal Chops with Mushroom Sauce & Truffle Oil

A Matter of Taste Cookbook by Lucy Waverman & James Chatto
Serves 2
WOW your Valentine’s sweetie with this recipe!

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 French-cut Veal chops (about 1 ½” thick)
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Mushroom Sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz wild mushrooms, trimmed & sliced
1 Tsp finely chopped garlic
¼ C mushroom or beef stock
½ tsp truffle oil

Garnish

½ C olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves

 

Method

Preheat oven to 450F. Heal oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season veal with salt & pepper.

Cook chops for about 2 minutes per side, or until browned then transfer to a metal baking dish & bake for 8-12 minutes, or until just pink.

To prepare mushroom sauce (while veal is cooking), heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms & sauté for about 3 minutes, or until limp. Add garlic & sauté for 1 minute longer. Add stock & bring to a boil. Drizzle with truffle oil

Heat oil for garnish in a small skillet over high heat. Add sage leaves & sauté for about 30 seconds or until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Serve chops with mushroom sauce & sprinkle with sage leaves.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Hosting a dinner party? Relax…we’ll select the wines!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 24th, 2014
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With the cold weather, it is perfect for warming the house up with the delicious smells wafting from the oven.  Hosting a dinner party can be hectic & unnerving.

fielding-logo
While you have picked out the dishes for each course of the menu, our Savvy Sommeliers have selected 6 bottles of outstanding wines from Niagara’s Fielding Estates Winery that will WOW your guests.

The best part – this Savvy Dinner Party Pack is only available from us.  Order now to save over $25 & shipping by courier is included. 


Sparkling Wine 
an elegant crisp bubbly to serve on arrival

Fielding Brut

White Wines – enjoy with soup, salad… and save some for dessert!

Melt away any thoughts of winter with these refreshing white wines
Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling VQA 2011
Fielding Viognier VQA 2011

Red Wines – Why not have a mini wine tasting over your main course?

From the outstanding 2010 vintage, these red wines will WOW your guests:
Fielding Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2010
Fielding Merlot VQA 2010
Fielding Cabernet Franc VQA 2010

Fielding winesORDER this special Savvy Dinner Party Pack > >

Now with the wines enroute, all you have to do is invite your guests….and set the table!

Grab your favorite recipe book or make your menu with these tried & tested recipes that the Fielding family, winemaker & Savvy Sommeliers recommend to serve with the selected wines.  Enjoy the meal and most of all the time with your friends & family around the dinner table.

 

Let’s get the party started!

Seafood Chowder

Here’s an idea – welcome your guests with a mug of this chowder rather than passing around platters of hors d’oeuvres before dinner. This sets a relaxed tone to the dinner party…and will be delicious with a glass of Fielding sparkling wine. 

Ingredients
8 slices bacon, chopped fine
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, chopped fine (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup flour
3 cups clam juice or seafood stock (or vegetable stock)
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound shucked clams
1/2 pound cod, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound scallops
1/2 pound shucked oysters
4 cups half-and-half
Fresh parsley, for garnish 

Method
In a large stockpot over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned. Add the butter and onions, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the flour and stir until well combined. Add 2 to 3 cups broth.

Then add the potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are almost fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the clams, cod, shrimp, scallops, and oysters and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the half-and-half and heat through (do not bring to a boil or the chowder will curdle).

When finished add parsley and serve.

 

It’s time to gather everyone at the table…

When your guests see the dinner table set with glasses of Fielding’s white wines & plates of refreshing melon & scallops, the sight will get taste buds going! 

Grilled Sea Scallop with Honeydew & Soy Glaze

Ingredients
½ small honeydew
½ English cucumber
½ long red chili
1 sprig mint, picked about four or five leaves)
1 sprig basil, picked (about four or five leaves)
1 lime
Olive oil
1 bunch arugula leaves to garnish
Salt & Pepper

Soy Glaze
¼ cup light soy sauce
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon sherry vinega
r½ teaspoon sesame oil

Method
Finely dice the honeydew, cucumber and chili and mix in a bowl. Finely chop the basil and mint. Set in a separate bowl in the fridge.

In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, honey, vinegar and sesame oil.

Lightly oil the scallops with vegetable oil, season them with salt and pepper and cook over a hot grill until just cooked through, about four to six minutes.While the scallops are cooking, combine the herbs with the melon mixture and season with a pinch of salt and a couple drops of lime juice and olive oil.

In a bowl dress the arugula with a few drops of lime juice and olive oil.

To serve, spread the arugula out on four dishes then remove the scallops from the grill and place on the arugula. Dress each scallop with a generous spoonful of the honeydew mix and spoon some soy glaze around the plate.

 

For the Main Attraction….

fielding - curtis kingHere’s another novel idea: Have a mini wine tasting!  Just before you arrive with plates of the main course, give each guest 3 wine glasses with a sampling of the Fielding red wines in each.  Which wine is best with the dish will become a lively conversation!

A wine trivia or interesting tidbit to get the conversation started:  Did you know that Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc are the 3 grape varieties used in crafting French Bordeaux & or what the rest of the wine world calls ‘Meritage’ (pronounced Mary-tidge)?

Here are 2 recipes to consider serving for your main course.

Recipe #1:  Bacon wrapped Veal Tenderloin with Leeks & Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 veal tenderloin portions
1 package good quality smoked bacon, the thinner the better
2 medium leeks, trimmed and washed
1 pint button mushrooms, trimmed and washed
1 pint oyster mushrooms, trimmed and washed
1 small package dried porcini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
300 ml of cream (35%)
1 lemon
Salt & pepper 

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees

Spread out four pieces of cling film (about 1 ½ feet by 3 feet each) on a large clean surface. On the cling film lay a piece of bacon lengthwise away from you about three inches from the left hand edge of the cling film.

Working from left to right repeat with another piece of bacon, slightly overlapping on the right side of the first piece. Repeat until you have laid out 5 strips on each piece of cling film.

Lightly season the veal with salt and pepper and place lengthwise across the bacon at the end closest to your body. Roll the bacon around the veal until it can be tucked under, then trim any excess bacon.

Place the bacon wrapped veal seam side down on the cling film at the end closest to you and wrap the cling film around the veal. Twist the ends to tighten and place in the fridge for at least one hour to firm up.

Cut the leeks in half and finely slice into half-moon shapes. Slice the button mushrooms and tear the oyster mushrooms into strips, removing the stems.

Soak the dried porcini in warm water. Once they are re-hydrated, chop them and strain the water through a fine sieve and reserve.

Place a large pan on the stove on high heat. Add a knob of butter and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the butter sizzles, add the mushrooms, toss to coat and put the pan back on the heat to get some colour.  Season with salt and pepper. If the pan looks dry, add a bit more oil and butter.

After a couple minutes you can toss the mushrooms. Again, if they are dry add a bit more oil and/or butter. Once they are nicely golden, turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and the leeks. Sweat these for four to five minutes then add ¼ cup of reserved porcini water. Allow this to reduce to half its volume and then add the cream. Allow to simmer.

While this is reducing heat another large pan over medium high heat. Carefully remove the cling film from the veal. Once the pan is hot, sear the veal in oil on all sides until nicely coloured. Place the pan in the oven and cook, turning frequently until medium rare (about 6-8 minutes). Allow the veal to rest.

Once the cream has reduced to coat the back of a spoon, check the seasoning and add a few drops of lemon juice. Place a large spoonful onto the middle of four plates. Carefully carve each piece of veal in two and place onto the mushrooms mixture.

Recipe #2: Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom & Stilton Sauce

Serves 6-8

One of the Savvy Sommeliers Patti Petty loves to cook.  When she took a sip of the Fielding Cabernet Sauvignon & also a sip of the Merlot, she said “I have the perfect recipe to pair with both of these wines.”  Enjoy! 

Ingredients
¼ cup butter
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2-3 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied

Reduction Sauce
1 tbsp butter
4 oz. crumbled Stilton cheese
1 cup beef broth
¼ cup Maderia wine
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup green onions 


Method
Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a skillet melt ¼ cup butter until sizzling; stir in pepper and garlic. Place tenderloin in skillet. Cook over medium high heat until browned on all sides (7 – 9 minutes).

Remove from pan; reserve pan juices and browned particles in skillet. Line a 9×13” baking pan with foil; place tenderloin in pan.

Bake 35 – 50 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160 F (medium). Remove from oven and let rest, tented for 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in same skillet with reserved pan juices and browned particles until sizzling; stir in blue cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted (4 – 5 minutes). Stir in beef broth and wine; add mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients.

Serve over carved tenderloin.

 

A sweet way to finish off…

Whether your guests have a sweet tooth or not, the team at Fielding certainly do!  Here are some of their favorite desserts – make one…or treat your guests to both!  They are classics.

Recipe #1:  Ken’s Favourite Apple Pie

From the kitchen of Ken & Marg Fielding (winery owners) 

Ingredients

Use your favorite pastry recipe for a 9 inch double crust pie

Filling
5 to 6 firm apples (Ken prefers to use Spy apples)
juice of 1/2 lemon
sugar – white or brown if you like
1 Tbsp. butter
ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. of Rum – yes you read that right!  (alternately 2 Tsp. vanilla extract)

Method
Wash, peel and core apples, but do not discard peel and cores.

Slice apples thinly on the side of a kitchen grater or in a food processor.  Place slices in a bowl and sprinkle very lightly with lemon juice, tossing apples over with a fork.  Starting with 1/2 cup or so, sprinkle sugar over apples, again tossing gently to coat.  From time to time taste a slice.  When it seems sweet enough for you, stop adding sugar.

Roll pastry into two rounds and fit one into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate.  Fill the shell with apple slices, mounding them well into the centre. Roll out top, cutting a 1/2 inch round hole in the middle of the top, rather than making slits all around.

Dot apples with butter and grate about 1/2 tsp of nutmeg over them.  Sprinkle rum or vanilla over all, wet edge of bottom crust and lay top pastry over apples.  Seal and crimp.

Bake in a 425 degree F. oven 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degree F and bake 35 minutes.

 

fielding familyKen & Marg’s BIG Trick

Ken & Marg (far left & right in this photo) pass along their big secret to making this pie a delicious conversation piece…

While pie is baking place peel and cores in a small saucepan and cover with water.  Add 2 tbsp. sugar, place over low heat and simmer uncovered while pie is in oven.  After 5 minutes of cooling strain the liquid. This syrup has all the flavour from just under the apple peel.

When pie is baked, place on a rack in a location where there is good air circulation.

Pour 2-4 Tbsp of the syrup through the hole in the top of the pie as it cools and tip the pie gently from side to side to distribute the syrup evenly.  You may want to add more syrup.  As the peel is full of pectin, you don’t need to worry that this will make the filling runny.  It will tend to gel and give the filling a firmer texture.

 

Recipe #2:  Mom’s Rice Pudding

From the kitchen of Ray Cornell (Fielding’s winemaker)
“This is my Moms’ recipe. It’s really good, but not for the calorie conscious!” – Ray

Ingredients
3/4 cup short grain (arborio) rice
5-6 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (brown or white) – Ray prefers using brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla  –  “I like vanilla so I always use 2 teaspoons” – Ray
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter

Method
Cook rice, milk, and salt in top of double boiler (approx. 1 hour).

Beat eggs and sugar.  Stir some of the pudding into eggs and stir all back into the pudding with the vanilla, nutmeg and butter (Tip from Ray – at this point you can also incorporate the raisins, but I omit them).  

Stir well, the heat of the pudding will cook the eggs.  Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours

Garnish with a dash of ground cinnamon or shaved almonds.

fielding cheers
Bon Appétit & Cheers!

 

Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month clubRe-ordering your favorite Fielding wines is easy…

After you have enjoyed the wines we’ve selected for this Savvy Dinner Party Pack, you and your guests can re-order any of your favorites by contacting our Savvy Team directly on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca   We will gladly arrange a special shipment for you.

Here’s to another great dinner party!

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Château des Charmes make Canadian wine history

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
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Savvy Selections - Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Château des Charmes Estates Winery

– January 2014 –

 

The impressive entrance to Château des Charmes Winery with the formal gardens and the classic façade are reminiscent of an ancient French estate. Hardly surprising, as Château des Charmes has a long history of winemaking, dating back seven generations to Alsace. In the 1840s, the Bosc family ancestors were granted land in Algeria, which at that time was a French colony.

Paul Bosc at Chateau des Charmes WineryPaul Bosc Sr. was born in Algeria and built his career in the wine industry, eventually working as General Manager of one of the country’s largest and most successful wine co-operatives. With the revolution that led to Algeria’s independence in 1962, the family was forced to leave all behind and start anew back in France. It was at this time that Paul Bosc Sr. uprooted his family (his son is pictured left) and started a new life in Canada, settling first in Montreal, where he worked at the SAQ. Eventually, he met a senior representative of Château-Gai wines, who invited him to move to Niagara to apply his knowledge as an oenologist.

Working as winemaker and the Director of Research & Development Château-Gai, Paul became convinced that Ontario had to transition from growing native grapes (Concord & others) to planting vitis vinifera (winespeak: common wine grape varieties grown in Europe) to create world-class wines. By the early 1970s, Paul was crafting Ontario wines that surprised many in the wine world. In 1978, he established Château des Charmes as a 60-acre estate winery and planted the first commercial Canadian vineyard growing only vitis vinifera grapes….this is truly Canadian wine history in the making.

We’re pleased to start the year with fine wines from Château des Charmes. For many of you, this winery is a household name, yet with Savvy Selections you will be treated to their wines that you probably have not yet discovered as they are not available at the LCBO.

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

St David’s Bench Vineyard Gewürztraminer VQA 2012 – a soft silky white wine that our tasting panel of Savvy Sommeliers oohed and aahhed over with each sip.

Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir VQA 2010 – concentrated & highly structured red wine from an incredible vintage & the winery’s top vineyard.

St David’s Bench Vineyard Merlot VQA 2010 – an outstanding complex, round, full bodied red wine.

How does 2013 look?

Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins caught up to the ever busy Michèle Bosc before the holidays to find out how the 2013 vintage is coming along in the early stages. Michèle explains, “Every year Mother Nature throws something new our way. If you were to ask my father-in-law (Paul Sr), he would say no vintage is perfect, but that’s true anywhere in the world. Those like him, with years of experience, can draw on that experience to make the most of any situation.” The talent of the winery team will undoubtedly impress us as they have done in the past 20+ years. Until then, we are confident that you will enjoy the outstanding wines our Savvy Sommeliers have selected for you this month.

On the following pages read more about the Bosc family, find our tasting notes & recipes to use to enjoy when you uncork your Savvy Selections wines. You won’t find these Château des Charmes wines at the LCBO

There are a handful of Château des Charmes wines on the shelves at the LCBO. Yet, many of their wines are not.  If you would like additional bottles from Château des Charmes or other featured Ontario wineries – just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange a special delivery for you. Here’s to a great year filled of delicious wine discoveries together!

Debbie & the Savvy Team


Introducing…
Château des Charmes Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins 

Twenty years ago, Château des Charmes opened its current winery, creating a unique landmark in the Niagara. Paul Bosc designed the building with a green roof, to pay homage to Canadian landmarks such as the Château Laurier & the Château Frontenac, which embodied strength & perseverance to the young immigrant family.

Bosc Family - Savvy SelectionsA true pioneer of the Canadian wine industry, Paul Bosc Sr. (second from left in photo) was honored for his impact & vision with an Order of Canada in 2005.  Recently he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, recognizing his extensive contribution in putting the Canadian wine industry on the world wine map.

Château des Charmes is truly a family business in every sense of the word. Paul’s wife Andrée (far left) is the winery matriarch & ambassador, while son Paul Jr. (far right) is the president, daughter-in-law Michèle (second from right) is director of Marketing & the third generation – Paul & Michèle’s 7 year old son Alex – is often seen walking the vineyards with his grandfather & father. Everyone at the winery is focused on extending the warm Bosc hospitality to each guest that visits.

Akin to many family-owned businesses, there is always someone ready to help out wherever needed. During my interview with Michèle, she explains, ‘During harvest, Paul Sr. is in and out of the winery at all hours of the day. We’re farmers, after all. We all pitch in to do what has to be done’.

A taste of the place

The wines featured in your Savvy Selections are made with grapes harvested from two of the four vineyards within Niagara-on-the-Lake that comprise of the 280 acres owned by the Bosc family.

The founding property

Chateau des Charmes Vineyard Savvy Company wine of the month clubPaul Bosc Estate Vineyard caught Paul Sr.’s attention due to the land’s proximity to the Niagara Escarpment and the distance from Lake Ontario. He understood these were critical conditions in the area, and recognized that these characteristics were similar to those of the Rhône valley in Burgundy France where he studied oenology.

Spanning 60 acres of clay loam, the vines on this estate were initially planted in the early 1980s, with the first grape harvest in 1988. (Five to 10 years is quite typical for wineries to wait until the grapes grown are of quality to use in winemaking).

In this vineyard there are several classic French grape varieties, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, producing wines described as earthy and masculine. This vineyard is also where Paul Bosc Sr. conducts his research of pioneering new grape varieties, as well as the location of the Bosc family home and horse farm.

And across the street…

St. David’s Bench vineyard is located on the other side of the road from the Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard.  Extending over 85 acres, its silky clay loam (‘Halimand clay loam’) provides excellent growing conditions for a broad range of grapes varieties including Château des Charme’s own Gamay Noir ‘Droit’, (the first vitis vinifera discovered & registered in Canada by Paul Bosc Sr), Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer along with other classic Bordeaux varieties. This property sits at a relatively high elevation – 145 to 150 meters above sea level. Its bluff shelters the north-facing vineyards from cool south-westerly winds that predominate in the spring. While the spring is somewhat warmer on this vineyard, the shelter of the Niagara Escarpment creates a tendency to slightly cooler weather during the late ripening season, providing an opportunity to grow fruit full of character that shows through finely crafted wines.

Several shallow, seasonal streams run through the vineyard that provides drainage for the escarpment ground water, bringing limestone-rich water to the roots of the vines and creating the more mineral character found in the wines from this site. To ensure appropriate drainage at the time the vineyard was planted in 1990, they installed the then most extensive under-vineyard drainage system in the world!

An extension of the family

The Vineyard Manager, Miguel Fontalvo, comes from a family of farmers in Columbia & has a distinguished degree in Agricultural Engineering. He comments, ‘The St. David’s Bench is an incredible site, while the Paul Bosc Estate vineyard has some rare south-facing slopes.’

Stewards of the land

Sustainable agriculture practices are extensively used as part of their commitment to be stewards of the land. These laborious practices include tilling under the weeds between the vines to provide additional nutrients (rather than using herbicides), hand-thinning & hand harvesting the grapes, using geothermal energy in the cellar, ensuring no air conditioning or heating is required.

Let’s raise a glass to pioneering spirit of the Bosc family!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


St. David’s Bench Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2012 VQA, $19.95

The grapes for this wine were hand harvested from vines planted in 1996 on the west side of the Château. This wine is vinified with a touch of residual sugar to, says Paul Bosc, ‘round the mouth feel’. Can you feel it when you sip on this wine?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Flourishing that touch of residual sugar, this perfumed ‘Gewürz’ offers lovely floral notes, honey, tropical fruit and sweet spice. It’s silky, well balanced, tangy and slightly pithy, on the finish – as it should be! 

Suggested Food Pairing: Raclette, charcuterie or lightly spiced Asian & Indian foods are classic matches for Gewürztraminer wines.  Susan offers a recipe for Citrus Spiced Chicken to enjoy with this wine.

Cellaring: No need to cellar, uncork & enjoy!


Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 VQA $35.00

Produced only in years in which the vintage warrants (2010 was considered a stellar vintage), this big, structured Pinot Noir also benefits from the sustainable practices in the vineyards & use of geothermal energy in the winery’s cellars.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Intensively aromatic and structured with the intention to lay down this wine, this red wine displays aromas and flavours of cherry, berry and blackcurrant matched to an underlying earthiness. The tannins make their presence felt, followed by a rush of ripe fruit mingling with notes of spicy toast and dried herbs that persist on the mouth-wateringly long finish. Elegant yet powerful. We recommend to decant for 2-3 hours before serving. 

Suggested Food Pairing: Michèle suggests pairing this with herb-crusted lamb (recipe below) or enjoy with a hoisin-glazed planked salmon. 

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 5-8 years. 


St. David’s Bench Vineyard Merlot 2010 VQA $29.95

Akin to the Pinot Noir, this wine is made only in the best vintages.  It is no wonder why this wine is award winning. Fermented in temperature-controlled conditions, aged 12 months in French oak and crafted for you to stash away in your cellar.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This is a robust, complex wine with flavours of black cherry, plum, berries, black licorice, vanilla and a whiff of cedar. Dry, medium-full bodied, it’s round and fruity, yet well-framed by ripe tannins and fresh acidity. There’s a touch of mineral on the palate, clean juicy fruit, pepper and notes of toast and dark chocolate through the long dry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Try this with pepper steak (recipe below) or garlic & herb pork loin rack.

Cellaring: This wine is drinking well now & it will cellar a further 5-8 years. 


~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With St. David’s Bench Vineyard Gewürztraminer…

Citrus Spiced Chicken

Dinner Tonight Cookbook by Lucy Waverman
Serves 4

Ingredients

Grated rind & juice of 1 orange
Grated rind & juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander (optional)
2 lb. chicken thighs (may use boneless/skinless) or 4 boneless chicken breasts
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp butter

Method

Combine rind and juice of orange & lime, mustard, hot pepper flakes, cumin, soy sauce & 2 Tbsp coriander.

Place chicken in dish & pour half of marinade over chicken. Reserve remaining marinade.

Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F & remove chicken from marinade, draining well and season with salt & pepper and discard marinade.

Heat oil in skillet on medium-high heat, then fry chicken, skin side down, for 3 minutes. Turn & fry second side for 3 minutes.

Place chicken in baking dish & bake for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear. Combine remaining marinade, honey & balsamic vinegar in small saucepan and bring to boil on high heat & simmer 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low & whisk in butter, then stir in remaining 2 Tbsp coriander.

Pour sauce over chicken & serve on rice, couscous, or noodles. 

With Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

Herbalicious Rack of Lamb

The Flavour Principle by Lucy Waverman & Beppi Crosariol

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 ½ C fresh bread crumbs
¼ C finely diced seeded tomato
½ C chopped fresh thyme
½ C chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
Salt & freshly ground pepper
¼ C butter, melted
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 lamb racks (8 chops each), frenched
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Method

Combine bread crumbs, tomato, thyme, parsley, rosemary, garlic, salt pepper and melted butter.

Mix well & transfer to a shallow dish then put aside. Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat & add oil. Season lamb with salt & pepper. Sear lamb, fat side down, for 2 minutes. Turn over & sear for 2 more minutes. Upend racks & sear meaty ends. Turn racks bone side down & place skillet in oven.

Roast racks for 7 minutes then remove from oven & brush mustard over meat. Roll racks in bread crumb mixture & return to pan, bone side down.

Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until just pink.Let lamb rest 5 minutes before carving.

 

With St. David’s Bench Vineyard Merlot…

Bistecca Fiorentina

The Flavour Principle Cookbook by Lucie Waverman & Beppi Crosariol
Serves 2-3 – Let the wine shine with this simple recipe!

Ingredients

1 porterhouse Steak (2 lb., 2” thick)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 1 Tbsp olive oil (optional) & Maldon, or other finishing salt

Method

Preheat grill to high and brush steak with oil & season with salt & pepper.

Grill for 7-8 minutes per side for rare, turning once then let sit for 10 minutes.

Carve off both the filet & the sirloin. Slice both the filet & the sirloin into ½” slices.

Drizzle a little olive oil on steak if desired & season with Maldon salt.

Bistecca can be finished as follows:
-served with lemon quarters
-drizzled with a drop of balsamic vinegar
-served with an arugula salad, or
-sprinkled with chopped garlic & parsley.

Roast vegetables would make an excellent side dish with this special steak & wine.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

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Taste the different terroir makes

Posted by Velma

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Coyote’s Run Estate Winery

–  November 2013 –

Coyote’s Run is a small, family-owned vineyard, situated in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region, which has been blessed with two very distinct and geographically separated types of soil – a heavy black clay loam and a rich red one.  When you’re talking about wine with other wine enthusiasts, a topic that ultimately comes up at some point is that of “terroir” – wine speak for the influence that the environment can have on grapes and, ultimately, the wine created from them.

What is Terroir?

It’s all about the environment & the grapes and how they work together, particularly as it relates to the soil in which the grapes are grown. This is of great interest to Jeff Aubry, the president and founding partner of Coyote’s Run Estate Winery, this month’s featured winery. Having two different soils on the same property (where other environmental factors such as sun and temperature remain the same) has made it possible for the winery to experiment with terroir. 

Jeff, who has planted the same grape varietals on both the “Red Paw” Vineyard and the “Black Paw” Vineyard, knows from first-hand experience that terroir certainly can make a difference.  During our Savvy Tasting Panel of Coyote’s Run wines last month, we had the opportunity to taste two 2011 Cabernet Sauvignons – one from the Red Paw Vineyard and one from the Black Paw Vineyard. Needless to say we had a lot of fun with the ‘dirty’ experiment. After a lot of discussion about terroir, our Sommeliers were able to make their short list for you.

In your your November Savvy Selections you will find:

2012 Dave Sheppard Vintage 30 Gewurztraminer – This premium wine celebrates winemaker Dave Sheppard’s 30th vintage & is now sold out!

2011 Red Paw Vineyard Chardonnay – A class act.

2011 Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon  – This is the first Cabernet Sauvignon from the Black Paw Vineyard. Hearty stews or Sunday roasts – here we come!

OPTIONAL WINES: Have your own mini-wine tasting!

Coyote’s Run of NOTL has a unique property. Half of their vineyard is grown in red soil & the other half in black soil.   Taste the difference the soil makes by trying these 2 wines (Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Paw Cabernet Sauvignon)  side by side. They are similar in weight & texture, yet noticeably different.  Warning: it will spark great dinner party conversations!

2011 Red Paw Cabernet Sauvignon  – Similar to Black Paw Cab Sauv in weight & texture, yet noticeably different. 

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

Cheers!

Debbie & the Savvy Team 

 

Introducing…
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Velma LeBlanc 

 

I remember the first time I came across Coyote’s Run Estate Winery. It was at a Taste and Buy event that Savvy Company was hosting at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa several years ago. At the time, I was new to the Savvy Team and Debbie encouraged me to take a ‘tour’ around the event & talk to the winemakers – Coyote’s Run stood out for me. 

In front of the wine bottles on the table were two handfuls of dirt from its vineyards – one red and one black – and I thought to myself “what a great way to engage people in conversation about the influence that soil and other elements in nature have on wine production”. 

I had the opportunity to catch up with Jeff Aubry, the co-founder, while he was in Ottawa. Here’s what I learned about Jeff and his family-owned winery that prides itself on producing wines that reflect its unique terroir and microclimate. 

The wine business is so unique

When Jeff was laid off from a high-tech company for the second time in three years, he decided it was time to change careers. 

“I had had my fill of working for other people and big companies and not being able to do what I wanted to express my excitement and energy. My father and I were talking one day and I said ‘You know, I really dig the wine business. I think it would be fun.’ My father said, ‘Let’s do it’.” 

And do it, they did. In April 2003, after a six-month search, they purchased an existing vineyard in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region, about 20 minutes from St. Catherine’s – where Jeff now lives. By September, less than six months later, Coyote’s Run Winery was up and running, and Jeff hasn’t looked back. 

“What intrigued me most about the wine business was the uniqueness of the product. In the high-tech business, you are selling minutes or packets on a network and those minutes and packets are undifferentiable. A Cisco packet is the same as a Nortel packet which is the same as a Juniper packet. At the end of the day, they are all the same. 

“The wine business is the complete opposite. We create and sell a product that is entirely unique. No one else can reproduce the wines we make from our property. Ours are unique to what we do in the vineyard, to the ground we have, to what we do in the cellar, to the winemaker we have. And, for me, that’s attractive.” Savvy Sommelier & founder Debbie Trenholm visited Coyote’s Run Winery just before harvest this year, in the photo at left they are inspecting the grapes at Coyote’s Run.

‘Red Paw’ vs ‘Black Paw’ soil…can you taste the difference?

The uniqueness of the soil that’s found in the vineyards also attracted Jeff. The property boasts two very different kinds of soil that are geographically separated from each other. The red Trafalgar clay loam, which is quite scarce in the region, is stony, iron-rich, and rather infertile, creating ideal conditions for premium grapes. The heavier black Toledo clay loam contains more organic matter than the red soil, which means it holds more water and heat. That combination makes it more challenging to grow grapes (which thrive more in austere conditions) but that also produce rich, robust wines. Wines produced from grapes grown in the red soil are marketed as “Red Paw” and those grown in the black soil as “Black Paw”. 

“I knew going in that the soils would be really interesting and would add some complexity to the grapes, but I didn’t really understand at the time just how profound that difference would be. Wine derives a lot of its flavour and structure from the soil, so when the soil changes, you get a different wine.” 

Over the years, the winery has experimented with the impact of soil on the grapes by planting the same grape varietals in both types of soil and then comparing the results. To date, they’ve done comparisons with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. 

“We see the terroir effect shining through each and every time. For us, that’s exciting.” 

Naming the winery

In addition to the different soil types at the vineyard, another key point of interest that people want to know about is the name of the winery. 

Jeff says he had no interest in naming the winery after himself and didn’t feel the property featured anything geographically or historically significant that would lend itself obviously to a name. “We don’t have any rivers or lakes or streams or hills or mountains. What we do have, though, are coyotes – and lots of them – running from one side of the property to the other. So, naturally, we called it Coyote’s Run”. 

Although the coyotes are primarily out in the evening or early morning, Jeff has occasionally come in close contact with them while out in the vineyards walking his dog.

Flying the flag for Ontario wineries

Jeff’s days are busy and varied, ranging from meetings, to managing up to 15 employees at one time, to dumping boxes of grapes into bins. He also engages in many promotional efforts. Jeff explains, “You have to fly the flag. There are thousands of wineries trying to sell wine in Ontario. We are up against a tsunami of subsidized wines from other countries. The wines we make here are as good as, if not better than, other regions of the world.  So, you have to be out there, pouring your wine, and telling your story.” 

Which is something that Jeff loves to do.  “The wine business is unbeatable. I love it. To make this unique product and sell it is good, good fun. I would never go back to anything else.”

In the photo at left, Debbie strolls through the vineyards with Coyote’s Run owner, Jeff Aubry.

 

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!  

    

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~ 

2012 Vintage 30 Gewurztraminer $24.95

As soon as the grapes arrived on the crush pad at Coyote’s Run, the winery team knew they would be producing their white wine of the year. Through the skill of winemaker Dave Shepperd and his ability to give full expression to the fruit, that belief became reality, creating a wine that has sold faster than any other of their wines to date. Savvy Selections subscribers, in fact, are getting the very last of this premium wine, – it has all sold out! 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This slightly off-dry Gewürztraminer is extremely aromatic and well-balanced with floral and fruit notes and a long peppery finish. 

Suggested Food Pairing:  This premium wine can be sipped on its own or enjoyed with Asian and/or other spicy food such as the stir-fried shrimp with pepper sauce recipe below.

 

2011 Red Paw Vineyard Chardonnay $19.95

This full-bodied Chardonnay – the first from the Red Paw Vineyard – gets its subtle oak flavour from Hungarian oak. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Aromas of tropical fruit and butterscotch come through on both the nose and palette, as do hints of vanilla and pear. This subtly oaked Chardonnay also boats a nice buttery finish. 

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine can be enjoyed on its own or with a rich meat or poultry dish that includes butter, oil or cream. Try it with the Chicken Marbella recipe below for lunch or supper on a cold winter day, along with some garlic bread. 

 

2011 Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon  $21.95

This is the first Cabernet Sauvignon from the Black Paw Vineyard, and is extremely food friendly. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: More full-bodied than a typical cold-climate Cab, this is a well-balanced wine that features aromas and tastes of pepper, cloves, cherry, raspberry and mint. 

Suggested Food Pairing: Would pair well with any pork or red meat dish, including a roast or stew. Try it with the meat loaf below and mashed potatoes for a casual Friday night dinner with friends. 


~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Coyote’s Run Gewürztraminer…

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Pepper Sauce

From Foods of the World, TimeLife Books and www.alleasyrecipes.com

Ingredients

1 pound fresh shrimp in their shells (about 26 to 30 to the pound)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped garlic
4 scallions, including the green tops, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or pale dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato catsup
1
 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in2 tablespoons cold chicken stock, fresh or canned, or cold water
2 tablespoons peanut oil, or flavorless vegetable oil 

Method

Shell and devein the shrimp. Then wash them under cold running water, drain and pat them dry with paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Have the shrimp, and the oil, ginger, garlic, scallions, red-pepper flakes, wine, soy sauce, tomato catsup, sugar, salt and cornstarch mixture within easy reach.

Set a 12-inch work or skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds. Pour in 2 tablespoons of oil, swirl it about in the pan and heat for another 30 seconds, reducing the heat to moderate if the oil begins to smoke.

Immediately add the chopped ginger, garlic, scallions and red-pepper flakes, stir-fry for about 20 seconds, and drop in the shrimp.

Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and firm. Add the wine, soy sauce and tomato catsup, sugar and salt; stir once or twice.

Give the cornstarch mixture a quick stir to recombine it and add it to the pan, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and coats the shrimp with a translucent glaze. Transfer to a heated platter and serve at once.

 

With Coyote’s Run Chardonnay…

Chicken Marbella

From Silver Palate Cookbook
Servings 10-12 servings

Ingredients

4 chickens  approx. 2 ½ pounds each, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juices over chicken.

 

With Coyote’s Run 2011 Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon…

Best Ever Meat Loaf

From Canadian Living Magazine
serves 8

Tips from the kitchen: This loaf maybe frozen baked or unbaked if using fresh grd. beef. So it can be made ahead. This is definitely one meat loaf you can serve to company. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten lightly with a fork
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
3 slices fresh bread, crumbled
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup or chili sauce, or both
1 tbsp prepared mustard

Method

Beat eggs in large bowl. Add milk, salt, pepper and crumbled bread; beat until bread disintegrated.  Add onion, carrot, cheese & beef mixing well. Then pack into 9×5″ loaf pan.

Combine brown sugar, ketchup, chili sauce & mustard and spread the mixture over loaf.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hr. Let stand 10 mins., remove from pan. Serve hot or cold. Make 8 hot slices or 12 cold slices.

TIP: A food processor comes in handy as everything can be chopped in it. 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Let the wine do what the wine wants to do…at Casa-Dea

Posted by Eva

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Casa-Dea Estates Winery

–  October 2013 –

It is harvest time! Wineries across Ontario – for that matter across Canada – are all abuzz with harvest.  “Half of the grapes are in” explained Paul Marconi who is one of the principals of this month’s featured winery: Casa-Dea Estates. Visiting wineries during harvest will give you a glimpse of this exciting time of the year & helping with the harvest will give you an even better glimpse.  Getting your hands right into the winemaking process can give you a whole new appreciation that there is little glamour in making wine and a lot of back-breaking work!

Grape-growing pioneers of Prince Edward County

Breaking ground in a new wine region is even more hard work.  Casa-Dea Winery was one of a trio of wineries who pioneered the Prince Edward County wine region.  And since they first opened, the property has switched owners and names too.  The name, Casa-Dea means, “House of the Goddess” and Dea is also the wife’s name of one of the current owner’s.  Casa-Dea is often mispronounced, sounding more like “quesadilla” when, in fact, Dea is properly pronounced as Day-ya.  It is the largest vineyard in Prince Edward County with 65 acres on the property that includes La Pergola restaurant & banquet hall that has been the romantic place for several weddings!

Our Savvy Sommelier Eva Nagy visited Casa-Dea to interview winemaker Paul Battilana & taste through his portfolio of wines to decide which wines to put to the test of the Savvy Selections tasting panel.  In this month’s issue of the Savvy eZine Eva shares with you her conversation with Paul and how winemaking is in fact his 2nd career.  He began as a butcher. Talk about food & wine pairing!

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Dea’s Rosé Sparkling VQA 2012 This stunning dry bubbly is perfect to sip on while you baste the turkey or with appetizers before you bring out the ham

Pinot Gris Reserve VQA 2010 –  Not your typical Italian Pinot Grigio! This medium to full bodied white wine has a delicious texture with aromas & tastes of cooked apple, roasted nuts with a delicious long finish. Perfect with roast turkey or turkey left overs! TIP: be sure to open & let this white wine breathe before serving

Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2009 –  Rather have red with turkey or ham? This is your wine! Medium red wine bodied with aromas & tastes of cranberry, overripe raspberries with black & white pepper finish.  One of our Savvy Sommeliers – Patti – does not like Cab Francs, but this one blew her away…she bought a case!

OPTIONAL WINE:  –  The winemaker is particularly proud of his Riesling VQA 2011 as it JUST won Gold Medal at Intervin – and you are the first to know!  Zippy & refreshing, this Alsatian style Riesling (aka – not sweet at all) makes this a great white wine to serve before dinner with cheese, light hors d’oeuvres or chilled on its own.

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

Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving! 

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Casa-Dea Estates Winery
Presented by Savvy Sommelier Éva Nagy 

 

Rarely does a day go by at the Savvy Company office without someone making mention of Prince Edward County – affectionately known as “The County”.  Some County wines find their way to the LCBO but many are still only available at the wineries & through Savvy Company – either at our Taste & Buy events or with Savvy Selections.

I have visited The County three times this summer – sometimes for just a day, other times for a weekend.  On each trip I discover new wines, wineries and restaurants.  And I have only just got started – there are so many country roads to wander on & shops to stop in.

The County wineries are different from those in Niagara.  There is something special about the minerality from its limestone terroir. With each sip of County wine, this uniqueness makes its way to your nose & palate, you will see what I mean when you uncork this month’s Savvy Selections.

From butcher to…winemaker 

Growing up in an Italian household, wine was always on the table.  After 15 years as a trained butcher, Paul Battilana (left) was fed up with this trade, so back to school he went!  Paul enrolled in the first graduating class at Niagara College.  However, he claims his real education was gained at his first job at Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery where winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas (transplanted from Burgundy, France) was his first mentor… they remain great friends to this day.  Other winemaking mentors Rob Powers & Craig McDonald from Creekside Estate Winery also had a great influence on Paul’s winemaking career. 

In 2009 everything changed! Paul moved to The County to take on the position of head winemaker at Casa-Dea.  As I mentioned earlier, Paul finds something special about The County’s characteristic limestone soil that creates a unique minerality in the wines.  “Oddly, there is phenolic ripeness (winespeak: physiological ripeness in terms of phenolics – i.e. Tannins – in grape’s skin, seeds & stems) usually before sugar ripeness (the measure of sugar accumulation & breakdown of unpalatable acids)”, explains Paul.  If you are lost in all of this winespeak…be sure to ask for Paul when you visit the winery or at an upcoming Savvy Event. 

Paul is a wealth of knowledge. With each year, he learns even more about what to do as well as what not to do in Casa-Dea’s vineyard. The learning process never stops!  He does not over-think or over-work the wine.  He says,   “My wines are not over-manipulated.  I let wine do what it wants to do.” 

What’s in a wine?

While touring his cellar, Paul explained that yeast selection is important in his winemaking.  And oak is never the dominant characteristic in any of his wines.  “Why hide the flavours of the wine with lots of oak?” 

Paul is very proud of all of his wines.  I put him on the spot asking him to choose is favorite.  “It would be my Cabernet Franc. Cab Franc flavours shine without even a hint of the typical characteristic of green pepper”.  When Savvy Sommelier, Patty Petty, visited Casa-Dea this summer, she told Paul quite frankly, “I don’t like Cabernet Franc because of the green pepper taste.”  After tasting Paul’s Reserve Cabernet Franc – that is included in this month’s Savvy Selections – her opinion has completely changed! And Patti has bought 2 cases of this wine and is on the hunt for more Cab Francs.

Appassimento – the Italian winemaking technique 

And to do something completely different, Paul honoured the Italian connection at the winery (the owners are Italian too), by making the first appassimento-style wine in The County using Cab Franc (winespeak: Italian winemaking technique using partially dried grapes to concentrate sugars & flavours.  Amarone & Ripasso wines are made in this fashion).  Paul put 5 cases aside before he went away for a week.  Upon his return, they were all gone!  Now completely sold out, Paul admitted that he will continue to use this winemaking technique with other grape varieties. 

Loving every moment

It took a number of years for Paul to realize that his father was right in saying, “do what you enjoy doing.”  Paul now enjoys going in to work.  Every Monday, he tastes through the wine in the barrel to see how it has evolved.  He jokes that “this is the tough part of the job!”  Rest assured, he has many offers of help…even I offered my assistance when I visited Paul at the winery! 

Tomato vines to grape vines

When I interview winemakers, I make a point to ask for their favorite story about visitors to the winery.  Paul explained that one summer he gave a tour of the winery & vineyard to a grandfather, father & son with ages ranging 14-90.  As a boy, the grandfather recalled that his job was to pick rocks from a property that is now Casa-Dea’s vineyard. At the time, the site was a tomato farm – with rows of tomato plants as far as the eye could see.  The grandfather explained that the farming had dried up but he was now overjoyed to see the farm land being used again as a vineyard.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections! 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~ 

 

Dea’s Rosé VQA 2012 $24.95

This unique sparkling rosé is made with 100% Gamay grapes.  The colour is a beautiful coral pink.  The aromas & flavours will remind you of the days of summer.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:   On the nose & in the taste, this crisp & dry bubbly exudes sweet aromas of citrus (pink grapefruit perhaps?), white flowers, minerality (I told you that it is a County characteristic!), juicy berries & rhubarb. There is lovely mousse (winespeak: tiny bubbles) with a long yet delicate finish. 

Suggested Food Pairing: This is a great sipping wine & can be enjoyed on its own after being chilled for 30 minutes in the fridge.  Pair with oysters or sushi.  For something a little different, match with Beet Risotto (recipe follows). 

Pinot Gris Reserve VQA 2010 $24.95

The characteristics of grapes grown in their vineyard shine through in this Pinot Gris Reserve. Enjoy!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Delightful aromas of floral, sweet ripe apple go hand in hand   with a waft of something a bit smoky. On the palate, you will find tart citrus, green apple, minerality (there it is again!), nuttiness & spice (ginger perhaps?). Our Sommelier tasting panel noticed that aromas changed as the wine breathed in the glass.  Give it a swirl & see if you notice any difference from sip to sip!

Suggested Food Pairing:  Wondering what to do with leftover Thanksgiving turkey?  Why not try turkey quesadillas?!  I simply could not miss the opportunity to play on the oft mispronunced winery’s name – Casa-Dea – with ‘quesadilla’.  

Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2009 $24.95

Fun Fact: this wine was featured at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival!  A signature wine at Casa-Dea, Paul is very proud how this wine is evolving

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful garnet coloured Cabernet Franc. Concentrated aromas & flavours of ripe red fruit & raspberries leading to a lovely jamminess without a trace of Cab Franc’s usual green pepper characteristic.  The ripe red fruit replays on the palate with a hint of spice & tartness. The long finish keeps you coming back for more.

Suggested Food Pairing: Cabernet Franc pairs well with earthy dishes made with wild game or lamb.  Here is a recipe that will be delicious: Lamb Chops with Moroccan Barbeque Sauce. 

Cellaring: This wine is ready now, or can be cellared for 2-4 years

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Dea’s Rosé VQA 2012 …

Beet Risotto

From Food & Wine
Serves 8 

Ingredients

7 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oi
l
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 large beets (12 ounces each), peeled and coarsely shredded, plus thinly sliced beets for garnish
3 cups arborio rice
1 1/2 cups young pecorino cheese, freshly grated
2 teaspoons poppy seeds, plus more for garnish 

Note: “Beets give this creamy risotto stunning colour & delicate sweetness. Grace Parisi suggests wearing rubber gloves and shredding the beets directly into a stainless steel bowl to avoid staining hands and countertops.” 

Method

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer; cover and keep warm.

In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.

Add the shredded beets and cook, stirring, until the pan is dry, 12 minutes. Spoon half of the beets into a small bowl.  Then add the rice to the casserole and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the stock is nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice is al dente and a thick sauce forms, about  22 minutes.

Stir in the cooked beets, cheese and the 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds. Cook, stirring, until heated through; add a few tablespoons of water if the risotto is too thick.

Spoon the risotto into bowls. Garnish with sliced beets and poppy seeds and serve. 

VQA With VQA Pinot Gris Reserve 2010…

Turkey Quesadillas

Star-tested by Jennifer Bain, thestar.com
Serves 8 (24 pieces) 

Ingredients

4 cups shredded, cooked turkey
1 red or green bell pepper, finely diced
35-g package fajita seasoning mix
1/4 cup (60 mL) water
8 large tortillas (each about 9 inches/23 cm), preferably whole grain
2 cups (500 mL) shredded cheddar cheese
Salsa (optional)
Sour cream (optional) 

Method

In large non-stick skillet, combine turkey, bell peppers, fajita mix and water over medium-high heat. Simmer, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently until turkey is warm and peppers soften slightly.

Evenly divide turkey mixture over top half of each tortilla (about 1/2 cup/125 mL per serving). Sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup (60 mL) cheese. Fold over to make half-moon shape, pressing lightly to evenly distribute turkey and cheese.

Wipe out skillet. Return to medium heat. Cook quesadillas, in batches, 3 to 4 minutes per side or until tortilla is browned and crisp and filling is hot. Let stand 2 minutes before cutting each into 3 wedges.

Serve with salsa and sour cream for dipping, if desired.

 

With Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2009 …

Lamb Chops with Moroccan Barbeque Sauce

From myrecipes.com

Ingredients

8 lamb loin chops (each about 1 in. thick and 4 oz.), fat trimmed
Mint chutney (recipe follows)
Salt & pepper

Moroccan barbecue sauce (recipe follows)

Method

Photo credit: myrecipes

Rinse lamb chops; pat dry. Place chops in a bowl with about 1/4 cup mint chutney; turn to coat. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

Lift lamb chops from bowl (discard any chutney in bowl) and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Place on a grill over a bed of medium-hot coals or medium heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook chops, turning once, until browned on both sides but still pink in the center (cut to test), 9 to 12 minutes total. 

Place chops on plates and drizzle with Moroccan barbecue sauce; offer remaining chutney and sauce alongside. 

Mint chutney 

In a blender, whirl 1 cup lightly packed rinsed fresh mint leaves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup chopped green onions (white and pale green parts), 3 tablespoons parsley leaves, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 peeled clove garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne until smooth. Makes about 1 cup. 

Moroccan barbecue sauce 

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine 3/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 clove garlic, 1 whole star anise, 1 cinnamon stick (3 in. long, broken into pieces), 3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns & 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground cardamom, whole cloves, hot chili flakes & salt. 

Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. 

Makes about 1 1/4 cups. 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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He saved for a sportscar…but bought a vineyard instead

Posted by Derek

Monday, September 30th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Pondview Estates Winery

–  September 2013 –

In Italian “Bella Terra” means beautiful earth and for this month’s Savvy Selections we are excited to be bringing to you a winery with some Italian heritage. Pondview Estates of Niagara-on-the-Lake is owned by Lou Puglisi & his cousin Joseph Barbera. Both are of Italian decent, Sicily to be exact. The Bella Terra term is reserved by Pondview for their premium brand wines which are only produced in exceptional vintages (wine speak for years). This month, we bring you two wines from the Bella Terra portfolio, both from 2010 – an exceptional vintage in Ontario.

Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath had the opportunity to talk with Lou who prefers to be called ‘Pondview’s Chief Wine Drinker’. Lou has been a long time friend of all of us in the Savvy Team and he keeps us in stitches with his down to earth humour. If you have not already met Lou from your visits at their winery or at our Savvy Events, rest assured that in 2014 we are creating many more ways for you to meet him…over a glass of their fine wines.

During Labour Day weekend, I visited the winery and was treated to a wonderful tasting in the barrel room (photo left). Lou & Joseph are wonderful gentlemen pulling out rare vintages, barrel samples & a gourmet antipasti spread to enjoy with their wines. During our conversation, they commented that they were grape growers first (the vineyards are 39 years old) and only since Lou was crowned Grape King was he inspired to open a winery….and we are glad that they did.

Shortly after they opened their doors, we featured them in Savvy Selections. We are delighted to shine the spotlight on them again and taste how far they have come. Especially with recent BIG news about their top end red wine – Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 – just won a GOLD medal in the National Wine Awards of Canada. We are thrilled that we can offer this to you as an optional wine before it all sells out.

As you read this month’s Savvy eZine, I hope you will get a chuckle when you learn about Lou’s brush with Royalty or how some fatherly advice steered him – pardon the pun – away from a sports car towards his future in the wine industry.

As with every month, the Savvy Selections tasting panel convened to undertaken the arduous task – it is a tough job! – of selecting the wines from Pondview that will shortly be arriving on your door step. As challenging as the work is, we find this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about Ontario wines and most of all about the winemakers.

In your September Savvy Selections you will find:

Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA – a refreshing summer sipper

Pondview Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA – rich and wonderful

Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA – big and bold red wine

OPTIONAL WINE: Pondview Bella Terra Meritage 2010 VQA – gold in a glass

Pondview are hard to find wines! Ordering additional bottles of this month’s selection or past Savvy Selections is easy. Simply e-mail me at debbie@savvycompany.ca or call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926). We will make all of the arrangements for your special delivery. How is that for easy?!?

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Pondview Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath


“If I had bought the sports car, we would not be having this conversation”, that’s what Pondview owner Lou Puglisi (left) told me with a chuckle when we got into the part of the interview about how he ended up in the wine business. You see, Lou felt he could be doing better things with his time than sitting in school. So at the young age of 19 he decided that he would get a job in construction while continuing to work on his father’s farm.

After a few years of savings, Lou had some cash that was burning a hole in his pocket. He was thinking about getting a car when his father took him aside and let him in on a tip: the parcel of land beside the family farm was coming up for sale. Insightfully, Lou’s father explained to him that in 5 years the car would be worth nothing, whereas the parcel of land might double in value. After some reflection, instead of buying a Chevrolet Z28 Camaro, Lou opted for the 20 acre parcel of land.

Unbeknownst to him at the time, this was the first step to planting the seeds of what would become Pondview Estate Winery. Lou never did buy a Camaro. In 2008, he bought a silver Corvette for a few years. And now as a new winery & business owner, he owns a Honda CRV.

The story behind the name

I always love hearing the story of how a winery’s name comes about because picking the name is not an easy – it is like selecting a name for your child. A great deal of research goes into a name to make sure that it is not being used by another winery and that the name has meaning to the owners. How the name Pondview came about is no exception.

Lou told me that he and his wife Adriana (on left in photo) went through at least 18 possible names with all 18 being discarded for one reason or another. It was on attempt 19 that success was achieved. Just like many other evenings Lou and Adriana went for a stroll on their acreage. It was around the property’s pond that Lou looked and said to Adriana “what a great view of the pond’. After some toing & froing the name Pondview stuck.

The Grape King & Royalty

The Grape King” is a highly sought after title that is awarded annually by the industry association Grape Growers of Ontario. All of the grape growers in the province select one grower who maintains the best vineyard in the province. With rigorous criteria and being judged by your peers, this award is significant in the industry. In 2008, Lou was the recipient of this prestigious title and as part of his duties as “King of Grapes” he served as the ambassador for the industry.

During his reign Lou attended the opening of the post graduate certificate program in Wine Business Management at the Niagara College Teaching Winery. It was during this opening that Lou was to meet Prince Charles. When it came time for Lou to shake the Prince’s hand, Lou confidently said to Charles, “it’s an honour to meet you sir. You may be the Prince, but I am the King…of Grapes”. Lou definitely has a lively sense of humour! And with that Lou has pictures of more royalty on his wall of fame in his office along photos of him with the King of Hockey – Don Cherry and the King of Canada’s nightly news – Peter Mansbridge.

The Pondview Mantra…

“Great wine is a harmony of earth and vine”. Everyone at the winery operates under this mantra. Lou explains that, “you achieve harmony by balancing what is done in the vineyard, by not stressing the vines with excess pesticides or fertilizers. My team is always looking at the vineyard in order to determine what is required to be done of the vines. If things are healthy then we leave our vineyard alone. Overall let Mother Nature tend to her vines”. In Lou’s opinion a minimalist approach will allow for better quality grapes. This month’s tasting panel sure thinks that this approach works well.

So if you are in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area, I suggest that you stop by Pondview, stroll the grounds meet with Lou, have your picture taken with Royalty and try some of their award winning wines.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA, $14.95

For this Rosé wine, Pondview’s winemaker Fred Di Profio crushed and de-stemmed the fruit, then allowed the skins to remain in contact with the juice for 6 hours, thus creating its gorgeous colour and wonderful concentration of flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pink salmon in colour with refreshingly youthful aromas of cranberry and strawberry. The cranberry aroma also comes across on the palate along with pink grapefruit and a hint of rose petals. This medium bodied wine has great acidity along with a crisp mouth feel and a medium length cranberry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will remind you that summer is not over! Enjoy on its own or pair this wine with a fresh salad tossed in a citrus vinaigrette dressing. The tasting panel is recommending pairing this wine with the Chicken Tarragon Salad – recipe follows.

Cellaring: Drink now!

Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA, $19.95

This is a Bordeaux blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot grapes. Instead of opting to call it a Meritage, Lou chose to use Cabernet, to cover off both the Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Sauvignon that are predominant in this red wine blend.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright and beautiful garnet red core (winespeak: middle of the wine) that fades to a ruby red colour as it approaches the rim of the glass. Great intensity of flavours with vanilla, cherry, cedar and prunes are discernible on the nose, while baked fruit, cedar and clover come through on the palate. This medium bodied wine has noticeable tannins, balanced acidity and a medium length red-fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine ain’t no chicken wine! commented Savvy Sommelier Doug during the tasting panel. This wine is a well rounded red that can be served with rare to medium rare red meats, with BBQed steak or roast beef, or event roast lamb with a peppercorn crust. Read on to discover this gem of a recipe.

Cellaring: The tannins are young and therefore need time to settle and integrate into the wine. This wine could easily cellar for 4 to 6 years and those that are patient will be rewarded.

Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA $34.95

This is one wonderful wine. In fact, Derek awards this wine with his triple B rating…BIG, BOLD & BEAUTIFUL. As Pondview’s premium label that is only produced in exceptional years, which 2010 definitely has gone down in Ontario wine industry history, this single varietal wine is impressive.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The colour is a stunning garnet red that extends out from the core to the rim. The nose is clean with aromas of red current, dried figs and wet stone all discernible. On the palate this full bodied dry wine has noticeable flavours of red current, oak and clover spice. It ends with a medium length red current finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This red is not for the faint of heart. Pair this wine with bacon wrapped beef tenderloin in a red wine reduction. The tasting panel is suggestions you try it with roasted flank steak with parmesan panko stuff…OMG it’s a delicious pairing – read on for this wonderful recipe.

Cellaring: This wine can be cellared for 5 to 7 years.

 

OPTIONAL WINE: Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 $39.95

Meritage is the North American term for a Bordeaux blend made using any combination of Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Pondview Meritage is a blend of 50% of each of the best barrels of their Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A deep burgundy colour, this opaque wine has California Zinfandel like characteristics. Aromas of smoke, espresso, dark chocolate, black licorice & cedar (it was not heavily oaked) that transform into tastes of super juicy black plums, overripe blackberries & black cherries. Each sip warms you up with the heat, a zip of acidity (that will mellow out with cellaring) and the light tannins.

Well balanced, stunningly complex it is no wonder that this wine won gold in the National Wine Awards of Canada.
Congratulations to Lou & his Pondview team for achieving this highly acclaimed award.

Suggested Food Pairing: What did the September tasting panel suggest you pair with this wine? Well I will give you a hint…beef, beef and beef. Do you get the idea? Barbeque season still has a good 2 or 3 months left so barbequed sirloin steak with a smoky paprika rub or lamb chops with a rosemary mustard rub would both pair well. The tasting panel is recommending you try this wine with pan-fried sirloin steak with a Chianti butter.

Cellaring: This wine is enjoyable now or can be put down for up to 10+ years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

With Pondview Estates Cabernet Franc Rosé…

Tarragon Chicken Salad

From: Recipes for Healthy Heart Cooking – The Lighthearted Cookbook by Anne Lindsay
Serves 4

Ingredients

3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 ½ cups sliced celery
¼ cup chopped chives or green onions
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
¼ cup light sour cream or light mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp dried tarragon
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds

Method

In a large bowl combined chicken, celery, chives or onions, yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise and tarragon; mix lightly
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
Just before serving add almonds season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pack your picnic basket with this salad and the Rosé

 

With Pondview Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve…

Roast Lamb with Peppercorn Crust

From: The Silver Plate Cookbook, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

3 tablespoons crushed dried peppercorns, an equal mix of white, black and green
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1½ tablespoons dried
½ cup fresh mint leaves
5 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dry red wine
1 boned but untied leg of lamb, about 5 lbs (weight after boning)
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard

Method

Combine 1 tablespoon of crushed peppercorns, rosemary, mint, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and red wine in a shallow bowl; then marinate the lamb in the mixture for eight hours, turning occasionally.

Remove roast from marinade and drain: reserve marinade. Roll the roast, tying it with kitchen twine. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread mustard over meat and pat 2 tablespoons of crushed peppercorns into the mustard. Set the roast in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably and pour reserved marinade carefully around but not over the roast.

Bake 1½ hours or 18 minutes per pound, basting occasionally for medium rare roast. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes for well-done meat. Let roast stand for 20 minutes before carving.

Serve pan juices in gravy boat along with the lamb

 

With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon …

Roast Flank Steak with Parmesan Panko Stuffing

From Food & Drink Magazine Early Autumn 2010
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients – Steak

1.5 lbs flank steak
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or basil or a mixture
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Kitchen twine

Ingredients – Sauce

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1½ to 2 cups beef broth or stock
½ cup dry red wine

Method

Butterfly steak lengthwise using a horizontal cut (do not cut all the way through to opposite side). Open up on butcher paper; cover with plastic wrap and whack with smooth side of meat pounder until ¾ inch thick

Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium frying pan, add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Toss panko bread crumbs with Parmesan, pine nuts, herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl & add onion mixture and toss until well-combined.

Preheat oven to 375°F & lay pounded steak so grain of meat goes left to right in front of you. Leaving 2 inches uncoated on far long side, pat filling over meat. Beginning near you, tightly roll up the steak forming a neat roll. Cut 5 pieces of twine, each about 20 inches long and beginning at the middle, tie roast, spacing ties evenly apart. Trim twine ends and discard then roll tied steak into flour until heavily coated – be sure to discard flour that does not cling to meat.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil (med-med/high heat)  in a large heavy frying pan capable of going into the oven & add steak to pan, turning 8 to 10 minutes in total until lightly browned on all sides. Turn roast seam-side down in pan. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 130°F.

Remove steak to cutting board, cover meat with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

For sauce, add flour to hot pan; stir over medium heat 1 minute or until absorbed. Pour 1½ cups broth and wine; gently whisking, bring to boil. Sauce should be nicely thickened; if too thick add more broth as needed; add seasoning as needed. Strain into a warmed container.

Slice steak width-wise into 1/2–inch-thick slices, removing strings as encountered. Serve slices napped with a bit of sauce; garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs. Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed cauliflower florets tossed with bits of roasted red pepper.

 

With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Meritage 2010…

Pan-fried Sirloin Steak with Simple Chianti Butter Sauce & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

From Cook with Jamie My Guide to Making You a Better Cook
Serves 2

Ingredients – Mashed Potatoes

14 oz potatoes, peeled and halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a knob of butter

Ingredients – Steak

2 x 7oz sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick fat scored
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 knobs of butter
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 large wineglass of Chianti
A few sprigs of watercress
Good-quality of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Put the potatoes into a large pan of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft and tender. Drain them in a colander and allow them to sit for 4 minutes to steam away any excess moisture. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash them up, stirring in a 2 glugs of olive oil, the Parmesan and butter. Taste, season and then transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place over a pot of simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy frying pan, large enough to book both steaks at once without them touching. Season your steaks and brush them with olive oil. Using a pair of tongs, hold the steaks fatty-edge down in the frying pan to render and colour the fat. When the fat is golden, fry the steaks for 8 minutes in total for medium-rare, turning them every minute. Remove from the pan to rest.

Turn the heat down and add a knob of butter to the pan. Fry your shallots and thyme for 4 minutes, then add the wine and reduce by half. Pour in the resting juices from the meat, add the 2 remaining knobs of butter and take the pan off the heat. Stir around to emulsify and make a really simple red wine sauce.

Taste, season and serve with your steak and lovely olive oil mashed potatoes with a scattering of watercress and a drizzle of quality olive oil.

Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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