Posts Tagged ‘Savvy experiences with wine’

Daniel Lenko boasts Canada’s oldest Chardonnay & Merlot vines

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Daniel Lenko Estate Winery
–  August 2013 –

 

A visit to Daniel Lenko Estate Winery is like a casual stroll over to your neighbour’s house, where you sit down at the kitchen table for a chat over a cup of coffee, tea or in this case, a glass of wine! Our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins visited the winery to meet Daniel Lenko & hear the wonderful story of this boutique winery.

Daniel’s story

This is the tale of a Ukrainian family that emigrated to Manitoba in 1934 and established themselves as farmers, then moved to the Niagara Peninsula in 1947. Daniel`s family story began when his grandparents came to a wedding in Ontario and after one look at the fall colours, the flowers and the peach trees, his grandmother said “That’s it!! We’ve already had snow on the ground back home in Manitoba. I want to move here.” And so they did, purchasing property in Niagara where they established themselves as farmers growing tree fruit and some of the first grape vines in the region. And that’s how his family ended up on the Beamsville Bench.

Vines over 50 years old!

By 1959, Bill Lenko, Daniel’s father, was planting his first vitis vinifera vines, which provided the Chardonnay grapes for the wine included in your Savvy Selections. In the 1960s, he ripped out all his non-vinifera vines (winespeak: hybrid grapes) to make way for Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and other sought-after varieties. He continued to cultivate fruit trees until 1985, while selling his grapes to some of the best-known wineries in the area. 

Bill was honored Grape King in 1990 – a highly acclaimed award of top viticulturalists in Ontario. And in 2006, Bill was honoured with the Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence, the first grape grower to receive this recognition. A few years ago, Bill passed away at the age of 85. While he was a hard working farmer and a hands-on man, his son Daniel carries on the Lenko tradition in a similar manner. Like father like son. 

With this Savvy Selections arriving in the midst of summer, our Team of Accredited Sommeliers purposely chose wines that you can enjoy from  your deck chair or serve with anything off the BBQ. Daniel Lenko wines are available only from the winery, generally by the case (12 bottles), or at select restaurants. We are delighted to feature the wines this month to give you the unique opportunity to purchase these limited production wines by the bottle. 

In your Savvy Selections. you will find:

White Cabernet VQA 2011 – very aromatic and crisp Rosé wine – like you have never had before!

Old Vines Chardonnay VQA 2010 – a classic, finely-balanced Chardonnay barrel aged in French oak

Old Vines Merlot 2008 – a BIG fruit filled red wine. 

OPTIONAL WINES: There were many wines that impressed our Sommeliers. We also offered the 2008 Gewürztraminer for its satiny texture and medley of tropical fruits, and the 2009 White Merlot, which offers a crowd-pleasing balance of sweet fruit and fresh acidity. These optional wines are still available to you – just let me know & I will make the arrangements.  Don’t wait long as Daniel Lenko wines sell out quickly. 

These are hard to find wines!

Daniel Lenko wines quickly sell out at the winery and rarely you will find them at the LCBO.  Once you have been wowed by this month’s Savvy Selections & you would like additional bottles of your new favourite, let me know & I will arrange a special delivery for you.  Simply email me or call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Introducing… 

Daniel Lenko Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins 

As I sat tasting wines in the Lenko family farmhouse kitchen, Daniel made suggestions of what I should taste in the wines, his intense pride in his wines an almost palpable presence. He’s particularly proud to have the oldest Chardonnay and Merlot vines in Canada.  The Chardonnay was planted by his father in 1959 followed by the Merlot vines in 1974. 

Daniel grew up on the family farm, where the work ethic is strong and the passion for the land is high. What drew his grandparents to Niagara wasn’t just the more temperate weather, it was the opportunity to grow fruit. His grandparents were very excited about growing peaches. Around the kitchen table, Daniel shared stories about his grandparent’s move to Ontario: “When my grandfather told his friends he was selling his two large farms out in Manitoba, they told him he was crazy to leave. His response was that when they move to Ontario, they would have a paved road in front of their house.” And so it was and ever since then, the Niagara area has flourished, while on the other hand, the small town in Manitoba they left, has unfortunately not seen the same success. 

It started with Concord grapes, then Chardonnay

The Lenko family farm produced 50% soft fruit and 50% grapes, including table grapes such as Concord. Bill sold his grapes to the local processors and wineries of the time and eventually developed a relationship with the field manager at one of the wineries. This fellow suggested planting the experimental French vines (the Chardonnay), and committed that his winery would always buy them. So with this hand shake, Bill immediately planted five acres and the following year, another five. 

As the fruit industry became less financially viable and the demand for high quality wine grapes grew, the Lenko family had a major decision to make. In 1985, Bill Lenko (right) tore out all his tree fruit and planted more vines – this time all vitis vinifera varieties – such as Merlot & Chardonnay.  

The notion of a winery was in the back of Bill’s mind, but it was Daniel, the third generation grape grower, who realized that vision in 1999 with the opening of Daniel Lenko Estate Winery.  Daniel has lived on the farm most of his life. He worked as a mechanic for a while and has a large investment in machinery on the farm, for his own use and for his business, which includes installing drainage systems for other wineries. 

“My dad wasn’t too keen on turning over his farm to me” Daniel explained, “but I’m the oldest son, and all my brothers and sisters have followed other careers. I had a fairly major car accident that really gave my folks at jolt. Right after that, my parents said ‘We’re selling you the farm’. And that same year, I opened the winery.” 

No turning back…

Daniel’s efforts were rewarded with a Gold Medal at the Cuvée Wine Awards for his 1999 Old Vines Merlot. Then in 2002, following in his father’s footsteps, Daniel was named Grape King. 

What is his greatest achievement? “In 2006, Jancis Robinson (highly acclaimed international wine critic from England) blind tasted about 300 Canadian wines at George Brown College. She named our 2002 Syrah as the best red wine in Canada.” 

Small, but making a big impression

The winery operates on a small scale, each year producing about 3500 cases of wine from estate-grown fruit, grown by Daniel and his vineyard manager, Abraham Fehr – everything is bottled on site. When Daniel first opened the winery, he consulted with Jim Warren (renowned amateur and professional winemaker who co-founded Stoney Ridge Winery and was instrumental in initiating the winemaking program at Niagara College). Jim advised Daniel that ‘if you have good grapes, then you have at least a good chance of making good wine.’ Daniel has taken this to heart, focusing on viticultural management, low yields and a winemaking approach that lets the fruit quality shine through. 

“I’ve made 10-12 wines over the last 15 years. In some cases, the first attempt produced the results we wanted, in others we needed to experiment a bit, develop the process to create the style we were looking for. We’re artists, building a unique business that has value to it.”  Daniel is in and out of the tasting room on the weekends, chatting up customers while during the week, he’s managing the farm and his construction business. But at harvest time, he’s 100% dedicated to the vines and the wine: “You’re watching the pot all the time when you’re making wine.” 

Daniel is the now the primary winemaker with a winemaking consultant at his side.  As he says “from vine to glass, you know, when you uncork a bottle of Daniel Lenko wine, I’ve touched that bottle many times!” 

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
 

 

Daniel Lenko White Cabernet 2011 VQA $23.15

“This is what we should do with our Cabernet in Niagara” says Daniel. Cold-fermented for 4 weeks, the wine is treated like a white to retain the wonderfully pure fruit flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: An elegant, dry, medium-bodied salmon-hued wine, this is crisp and juicy with hints of dried herbs and flavours of cherries and berries. Smooth and silky, it finishes dry and tangy.   .

Suggested Food Pairing: Rosé wines are remarkably versatile, pairing with light meats, salads, charcuteries and cheese. Try this one with our beef & strawberry salad – recipe follows.

Cellaring:  Enjoy it now!


Daniel Lenko ‘Old Vines’ Chardonnay VQA $30.15 

And we mean old – the first vines were planted by Daniel’s father Bill in 1959. The vines were cropped back to 2 tonnes per acre to ensure highest quality fruit.  The wine was aged in French oak for 18 months. Stunning!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry, medium-full bodied and beautifully balanced, this wine offers subtle alluring nutty aromas, notes of pear, ripe apple, vanilla and butter pastry. It’s warm, round and lush with a lovely toasty finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: An ideal match for seafood, pork or chicken.

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 2-3 years.


Daniel Lenko ‘Old Vines’ Merlot 2008 VQA $30.15

From the cloudy, wet 2008 vintage, Daniel has managed to create an intensely flavourful wine. The vines are almost 40 years old, also cropped to 2 tons/acre, hand harvested and aged 12 months in French oak.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Ruby red, this is a tasty, dry mid-weight wine with loads of flavour. Black cherry, ripe red berries, vanilla, and hints of pepper, toast and dark chocolate mingle on the palate. It’s well structured with fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity pacing the ripe fruit. It finishes dry, toasty and fruit-filled.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with grilled meat, sausages or try your hand at our rib recipe on the following pages.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, it will cellar a further 2 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Daniel Lenko White Cabernet…

Teriyaki Steak & Berries

Foodland Ontario
Serves 4

 

Ingredients 

Dressing

3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

2 tsp each finely minced ginger & liquid honey
Freshly ground black pepper 

Salad

12 oz. top sirloin grilling steak
4 C torn spinach leaves
4 C torn romaine leaves
3 C halved strawberries
2 C sliced brown mushrooms
2 green onions, diagonally sliced
4 tsp toasted sesame seeds 


Method

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together dressing ingredients.

Sprinkle both sides of steak with pepper to taste. Place on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid & grill for about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare or until desired doneness. 

Let stand for 5 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain. 

In large bowl, combine spinach, romaine, strawberries, mushrooms & green onions. 

Set aside 2 Tbsp of dressing; toss salad with remaining dressing. Arrange on platter or salad plates; toss with beef, drizzle with reserved dressing; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

With Daniel Lenko Old Vines Chardonnay

Steamed Lobster Tails

www.allrecipes.com
Serves 4

When the Savvy Selections tasting panel tried this wine, we all thought immediately that it would be perfectly paired with lobster.  Whether you cook the lobster yourself – whichever way you prefer – or use already steamed lobster tails, this wine will be delicious. 

Ingredients

1 Tbsp sea salt
4 (or more!) lobster tails
Butter & lemon juice to taste 

Method

Using kitchen shears, cut the lobster shell (only the shell) down the middle to the tail. Pull the shell up and away from the flesh.

Pour about 1” of water in a large pot & bring it to a boil.
Add the salt & place a steamer insert into the pot so it is just above the water level.
Put the lobster tails on the rack and cover the pot. Steam for 8-10 minutes, until the flesh is opaque.
Melt butter & squeeze in lemon. 

With Daniel Lenko Old Vines Merlot…

Baked Ribs with Whitehouse Sauce

Adapted from the White House Restaurant recipe, Winnipeg
Serves 6

From: ‘Flower of the Flames’ Rub
K. Putnam, Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food 

Ingredients

Rub

½ C sweet Hungarian paprika
3/8 C fine kosher or sea salt
¼ C freshly ground black pepper
¼ C chili powder
¼ C ground cumin
¼ packed brown sugar
¼ C garlic powder
1/8 C granulated sugar
1/8 C ground celery seed (optional)
1 Tbsp ground oregano 

Ingredients

Rib sauce

1 C tomato ketchup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt (optional)
¾ C brown sugar
½ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp cayenne
½ Tbsp chili powder

Method
Remove membranes from 2 racks baby back ribs. Cut the racks to fit a high-sided pan.

Mix all spices in the rub into a bowl.  Using as much of the mixture that you like, generously coat & rub both sides of the racks. Any remaining rub mix can be stored in a jar in the fridge.  Set ribs aside to tenderize for up to 1 hour. 

To prepare the sauce, whisk all ingredients in a small sauce pan & bring to a boil. Cover & simmer gently about 20 minutes. Cool. 

Preheat oven to 375F. Place ribs in the pan, in a single layer if possible. If not, overlap slightly. Cover tightly with aluminum foil & bake ribs 90 minutes in pre-heated oven. Allow the ribs to cool slightly, still covered. Cover the cooked ribs generously with the sauce. Ribs may be covered & refrigerated until ready to BBQ.

Barbeque the ribs on low heat, brushing generously with the sauce on both sides, for about 15 minutes, or until the ribs have a nicely-browned coating of sauce. Alternately, the ribs can be cooked under the broiler in the oven – watch carefully!

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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‘Pinot geek & a lover of soil’ – winemaker at Keint-He

Posted by Patti

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Keint-He Vineyard
–  July 2013 –

 

We often travel great distances to discover new wine regions; to taste and experience new and exciting wines. And yet 270km from Ottawa and 240km from Toronto we find Prince Edward County (PEC) on the shores of Lake Ontario. This emerging region, designated as a VQA wine region in 2007, offers a tremendous variety of wines from a new breed of wine makers who believe in collaboration and in crafting wines in both new and exciting ways but ones based on traditions from regions long experienced in wine making. I find great passion when speaking to these winemakers and owners about what it is they do. And, passion creates wonderful wines.

The soils and climate of PEC lend themselves to many of the viticulture practices and varietals of Burgundy, France. Amongst those wineries you will find Keint-He Winery & Vineyards.  This winery sits just past Wellington on the Loyalist Parkway – also known as Highway 33 – as it winds its way along the windy shores of Lake Ontario.

Keint-He (pronounced Kent-hay) is the native word for one of the four Seneca villages located in PEC region. The Seneca’s were one of the five tribes of the Iroquois. Keint-He was later francocized into Quinte and used in English names such as the Bay of Quinte.

Like father, like son

Ron Rogers, a retired banker, purchased two vineyard properties in 2006. The winery has evolved from creating their first vintage in 2007 in a small shed on the property, to their current winery producing approximately 3,000 cases with an inviting tasting room & facility. As the expression goes ‘like father, like son’, Ron’s son Bryan became the winery’s General Manager. “Dad keeps us grounded,” Bryan states with a smile.

Growth and expansion at the winery will increase their yield to between 8,000 and 10,000 cases over the next few years. Coming this year are two 5000 liter oak      fermenters. These will permit Keint-he to both ferment and age their Pinot Noir in the same vessel. Another innovation that keeps Keint-He moving forward.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Voyageur Vidal VQA 2012 – the exceptional weather in 2012 creates this stunning white wine.

Voyageur Rose VQA 2011 –  a serious twist on Rosé…not pink at all!

Portage Pinot Noir VQA 2011an elegant, well defined Pinot

OPTIONAL WINES:  Try this crowd pleaser with great body and staying power Chardonnay VQA 2009 or else a very unique and high-scoring wine from The County Pineaux Sauvage VQA 2008. If you asked me to add either of these to your wine list this month … you are in for a treat!

Keint-He makes such a small amount of wine that none are at the LCBO. If you would like additional bottles of your new Keint-He favourite wine, call me on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send an email to me on 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…
Keint-He Winery & Vineyards

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Patricia Petty

 

You have been introduced to Ron Rogers, he is the man behind Keint-He Winery and Vineyards…. now let’s meet the rest of the Keint-He team – they certainly are a tight team!

Wine is way better than mating frogs!

Bryan Rogers is the General Manager and until recently the main sales force of the team. Bryan started out his early career in the sciences and in communications. When I first met him about a year ago he told me that he decided making wine was way more interesting than the mating habits of frogs. His previous “life” gives him his two mentors – Charles Darwin and David Suzuki.

In a ‘cellar conversation’ Bryan (left) told me that he loves the fact that Keint-He took shape just 8 months prior to the County getting its “Designated Viticulture Area (VQA)” status. “Call me a softy, but I feel there is some romance and excitement in starting something and not really knowing where it will lead you. PEC is a new frontier for viticulture and winemaking. There is a real 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 we’re all a part of the same fraternity”.

For Bryan, his favorite part of the season is harvest. “I like it when the grapes have all been picked and processed. It’s an especially tiresome point in the season for the whole team. At that point you can look across the cellar and say quite literally, these are the fruits of our labor. And then you sleep for three days”.

From New Zealand to Niagara to The County…

Ross Wise – the winemaker – is the new kid on the block having joined the team in December 2012. He comes from Flatrock Cellars in Niagara via New Zealand where he earned a degree in oenology and then learned his craft. During his time at Felton Road in Central Otago, Ross became as he puts it “a Pinot geek and a lover of soil”. When I asked him what excites him about being in The County he explained, “when I walk between the rows, kick the soil and see the rocks, I get excited”. Ross will tell you he “really likes veraison, the stage of the season when the grapes are changing color. Most of the vineyard work is done at this stage, and the berries (winespeak for grapes) are starting to develop their flavors.  It is a waiting stage, with anticipation for the vintage ahead”.

Both Bryan and Ross see Prince Edward County as having the best potential to grow Pinot Noir grapes in Ontario. The reason? Bryan will initially give you a one-word answer, limestone. And, in two words, limestone and PEC’s island microclimate. From the winemaker’s perspective, Ross explains, “our Pinot Noir grapes are ripening about two weeks later than they are in Niagara – and this is a distinctive advantage.  It means that the grapes are ripening in cooler temperatures and accumulating sugars slower and the flavors and aromatics are also developing slowly.  This is also the reason for the great acidity in PEC Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noir likes a large diurnal range of temperatures (winespeak for warm days and cool nights) and PEC delivers this during peak ripening times”.

Hardest farming – ever!

The rest of Keint-He team is made up of Mark Gilbert and Caitlin Prior.  Mark is a “County Boy” who comes from a farming family and has been with Keint-He since the beginning. Mark states, “This is the hardest farming he’s ever done”. He constantly worries about the weather but then that is so much a part of what he does. He “lives” in the vineyards from spring through to harvest. Even though he is more of a beer drinker he will admit to enjoying a glass of Keint-He Chardonnay.

More than just wine at this winery…dinner, music & more

Caitlin is the Retail Manager and Special Events Coordinator. She comes from Foreign Affair Winery in Niagara. She is a pro at WOW-ing visitors with all that Keint-He has to offer.

Caitlin has put together an exciting list of events, which she hopes will give visitors a reason to sit and enjoy the winery this summer. There is live music at the winery most weekends throughout the summer; in early September there will be the 1st Annual BBQ; the winery will be hosting a couple of Winemaker’s Dinners throughout the season and, as always there will be Keint-He’s wines to sip, savor and enjoy on the front patio. And, along with that wine you can enjoy foods this summer prepared by the Agrarian Restaurant in Bloomfield, another venture of Patricia and Bryan Rogers. Check out the Keint-He website for dates and times.

They may be small, but they have major innovations!

Growth and expansion at the winery will increase their yield to between 8 and 10,000 bottles over the next few years. Coming this year is a new oak fermentation system that will allow them to both ferment and age both the Pinot Noirs in the same vessel. I have never heard of such a thing – that in itself is a reason to put Keint-He on your list of places to visit this summer.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Voyageur Vidal VQA 2012   $17.00

“The 2012 Vidal is a wine that pretty much made itself. Right from the day it was harvested it was so naturally balanced, and took very little winemaker effort at all.  It’s nice when that happens” – Ross, Keint-He`s winemaker.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our Sommeliers found this wine full of ripe fruit flavors. Perfumed with flower blossoms of orange and a hint of vanilla, it was described as “a big fruit salad in a glass”. This wine had aromas and flavors of pear, peach and nectarines, green apple and grapefruit. The flavors of pineapple, kiwi and juicy fruit gum played on the palate. The finish was long, smooth and refreshing.

This is a refreshing wine, perfect for a warm summer evening. Simply put…DELICIOUS!

 Suggested Food Pairing: Pork tenderloin with an orange glaze (recipe follows) or white fish grilled with a mango/pear salsa. At Keint-He, the team favorite is a beet and goat cheese salad. Or serve this wine with a summer pear tart with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone cream – it would pair beautifully on the other end of dinner.

Voyageur Rosé VQA 2011 $15.00

“Not your average Rosé wine!” Savvy Sommelier Debbie commented during the tasting panel. A serious twist on Rosé as it is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and St. Laurent grapes – all sourced from Keint-He`s Foxtail Vineyards. The individual wines were then aged in French oak barrels for 10 months, then blended and bottled in the winter of 2013.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The color reminded us of watermelon or rhubarb. The nose was a complex blend of floral notes, cinnamon heart candy, vanilla, smoke, tart red cherries, rhubarb and dried fruits. Tastes of raspberry, pink grapefruit and rhubarb appear on the palate and a slight earthiness and oak play out in the background.

Suggested Food Pairing:  We suggest trying this with a watermelon and olive salad (recipe follows) or salmon served along side a warm grilled salad.

Portage Pinot Noir VQA 2011 $25.00

This is a blend of grapes from three of Keint-He’s vineyards – Closson, Benway and Foxtail. Each portion was aged separately in French oak for 12 months then blended together to make this fine Pinot.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful light red in color, this wine shows aromas of raspberries, cherries, vanilla, dried fruits of raisins and dates. “It reminds me of bunch of long stemmed red roses” one of our Sommeliers commented. It is warm and velvety on the palate with light tannins. A smooth mouth feel, with flavors of raspberry, cherry, rhubarb & hints of brown sugar or molasses sweetness and earthy mushroom notes hiding in the background.

Suggested Food Pairing: Like so many Pinot Noirs, this wine would pair beautifully with salmon on the grill, grilled portobello mushrooms or perhaps if you are adventuresome, a seared and pan roasted duck breast. Chef Michael Sullivan of the Merrill Inn in Picton has graciously given us a recipe for his version of this dish. He likes to serve it with a rosti (or shredded potato cake) and fresh locally sourced vegetables – French green beans, peas, asparagus or cauliflower in season.

 

OPTIONAL WINES  – We couldn’t resist suggesting these Keint-He wines!

Chardonnay VQA 2009  $20.00

This wine is an easy drinking crowd pleaser; priced at an excellent entry point into Keint-He’s premium wine offerings.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine is bright, straw-hued with a slight green tinge. On the nose we find creamy notes of butter, maple, fresh peach, pears and yellow plums and a mix of herbs – spearmint & thyme. Medium bodied, this wine shows some of the stone and minerality the county is known for and has good length and staying power.

Suggested Food Pairing: Pair this wine with steamed mussels and herbs; grilled shrimp or seared scallops; and/or a quinoa salad with roasted vegetables. This is a great easy drinking wine that would be perfect for sipping on the patio with a simple cheese plate…think Camembert or a young Riopelle.

 

Pineaux Sauvage – Botrytis Affected Pinot Noir VQA 2008  $25.00 (375ml bottle)

A first for Prince Edward County! You may have heard the saying that wine is made in the vineyard…this is a good example. The key tool here is mould. Yes mould! Known by winemakers as Botrytis. It occurs only during damp, misty mornings and warm, dry afternoons. As the mould grows on the bunches of Pinot Noir grapes, it breaks down the thin skins & extracts the natural water in the grapes, leaving shriveled bunches. When harvested, although not appealing looking, the wine is extra concentrated with nectar. The result is a special wine known as Noble Rot.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brown sugar in color, with aromas that reminded us of Sherry or Cognac combined with the heart-warming notes of raisin butter tarts. When this delicious nectar hits your lips, tastes of marmalade, warm spices with a Cognac like alcohol burn. It is dry, has a light finish and is not too high in alcohol (12.6%).

Suggested Food Pairing: Surprisingly, this is not a sweet dessert wine. Rather a wine that can be served as an aperitif or to unwind after a meal. Do, as the French do & serve with Foie Gras, cheese & charcuterie or with cakes – gingerbread or rum cake would be fantastic!

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Keint-He Voyageur Vidal VQA 2012 …

Pork Tenderloin with Burnt Orange and Sage Sauce

From LCBO Food & Drink, Summer 2009
By Marilyn Bentz-Crowley
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 centre-cut pork chops cut 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick or
2 large pork tenderloins, butterflied (this cut was used when testing)
1 tbsp (15 mL) peanut or canola oil
Several whole sage leaves

For Sauce

2 large oranges
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) chicken broth or stock
2 tbsp (25 mL) cider vinegar
2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
4 large fresh sage leaves, chopped
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp (1 to 2 mL) salt
Several grindings of black pepper
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, softened

Method

To make sauce, zest oranges; set aside. Then cut away orange skin & segment orange by cutting away internal membranes. Set aside segments and juice squeezed from membranes.

Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottom medium skillet. Shaking pan occasionally, cook over medium heat for 7 to 9 minutes or until sugar caramelizes. Deglaze with broth stirred with vinegar, juice from orange segments and flour. Bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened.

Then stir in chopped sage, salt, pepper and a couple pinches of zest. Using a small whisk to pick up butter, rapidly whisk into sauce. Remove from heat; keep warm while grilling pork.

Rub pork with oil; lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat barbecue to hot.  Grill for 6 minutes per side for chops or until internal temperature for medium doneness is 150°F (65°C) for butterflied tenderloin.

Place the pork, slicing tenderloin if using, on warmed serving plates. Add reserved orange segments on top of pork. Nap with sauce; garnish with orange zest and sage leaves. Serve right away with grilled zucchini and seared rapini or spinach. Or serve this with the beet and goat cheese salad that Keint-He suggests. We were glad we did!
 

With Keint-He Voyageur Rosé VQA 2011 …

Watermelon & Black Olive Salad

From Wish Magazine

 

Ingredients

For Salad

4 cups seedless watermelon cut in ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped black olives
1/3 cup chopped green onions
Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl & set aside.

 

For Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon garam marsala*
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

* garam marsala: An East Indian spice mixture that generally includes coriander seed, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, cloves & cinnamon. Purchase a package of this spice mixture at an Indian grocery or health food store. 

Method

Mix together all ingredients for vinaigrette.  Gently mix in vinaigrette to cover watermelon.  Chill until ready to serve

TIP: this can be served as skewers of watermelon instead of a salad.  Make as a salad & marinate in vinaigrette for an hour, then thread onto skewers alternating periodically with whole black olives.  Either way, this dish has a WOW factor!

With Keint-He Portage Pinot Noir VQA 2011…

Merrill Inn Seared Duck Breast with Dried Blueberry Jus


Chef Michael Sullivan of the Merrill Inn in Picton
This is one of the most popular dishes at the Inn’s highly acclaimed restaurant

Ingredients

1 Mallard or Muscovy Duck Breast, 450g
4 oz. Roasted Chicken Demi-glaze Jus
3 tablespoons dried blueberries

 

 

 

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Trim some of the fat from the duck breast, leaving about ¼” on. Trim any sinew or silver skin from the meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a small frying pan, turn heat to medium high. As Chef Sullivan says, the secret is in a searing hot pan! Place breast in pan, skin side down. Fry for several minutes, until fat is slightly rendered and browning.

Place pan with breast in the oven, still skin side down and roast for 7 minutes.

Remove from oven, cast off rendered fat. Turn the breast over in the hot pan and let rest for 1 minute (skin side up). After a minute, remove the breast from the pan and let rest.

While the duck is resting add blueberries and chicken Demi-glaze to the pan. Over high heat reduce to a sauce like consistency (about ½). Not too runny or too thick.

Before serving, warm duck breast in the oven. Slice thinly against the grain, which runs length-wise down the breast. Fan out on plate, pour sauce over and serve.

This method is per duck breast so multipy by the number of guests you are serving.

Serve with local in-season vegetables for this simple but memorable dish.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

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A fun bunch at Lailey Vineyard

Posted by Eva

Monday, June 24th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Lailey Vineyard
–  June 2013 –

 

Fruit trees & a few hybrid grapes were once farmed along the Niagara Parkway by husband & wife team William & Nora Lailey. Following in their footsteps as farmers, their son, David (a school teacher) and his wife Donna purchased the family farm & after many conversations around the kitchen table, David & Donna decided to replace the fruit orchards with vitis vinifera grapevines. “The orchard is too much work’, Donna explained to me in an interview.  “And a vineyard is easier?” I did not dare say aloud!

Now as grape farmers, David & Donna spent many years buying, processing & reselling grapes to the neighbouring wineries – many who are now considered the pioneers of the Ontario wine industry.  Transforming the grape growing into a winery – Lailey Vineyard – was sealed with the granting of a winery license, followed by Derek Barnett joining them in 2000 as winemaker.  And with Derek came along his wife Judith as a business partner. Derek’s talents were quickly recognized by the industry with the title of ‘Winemaker of the Year’ at the annual Ontario Wine Awards. This is quite a coup for any winemaker, especially interesting as Derek is a son of a brew master in England!

When you ask David about his wines, he still maintains that, “Our wines express the natural characteristics of the grape varietal and the vineyard they come from.” Over the years. the Lailey estate has grown in size while their wines have grown an outstanding reputation.  With every year that the vineyard matures, the quality of the grapes improves and so does the wine.  You are in for a treat as many of the Lailey vines are close to 30 years old.  The richness & complexity of these wines can be tasted with one sip.  And interesting to compare to last month’s Savvy Selections featured winery – DiProfio Estate – which just opened last summer and their vineyards are less than 10 years old.

A ‘must visit’ on your next trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake

The team at Lailey always has something going on at the winery. Their annual Barrel Burning BBQ on July 6th features an afternoon of sausages roasted over “de-commissioned” oak barrels enjoyed with newly released Lailey wines of course!  And for dessert … S’mores! Click here to buy advance tickets or phone the winery at (905) 468-0503. This is just one of the many fun activities hosted by Lailey at the winery.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012 – zippy & fresh New World style ‘Sauv Blanc’ without being over-the-top

Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2011 – a rare white wine that is uniquely aged in barrels from native Canadian oak offers enticing aromas of buttered popcorn & tropical fruit – a Lailey signature!

Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2010 – this unfiltered beauty with loads of mouth-coating dark berry fruit tastes that you can enjoy now or to hide in your cellar

OPTIONAL WINE: Lailey makes a gorgeous Canadian Oak Meritage VQA 2010 – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you asked me to add a bottle or two of this multi award winning wine… you are in for a treat!

Similar to other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections, a small selection of Lailey wines are available at the LCBO. If you would like additional bottles of your new favourite – or other featured Ontario wineries – just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange an additional delivery for you. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team


Introducing…
Lailey Vineyard 

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Éva Nagy

 

For over 40 years, David & Donna Lailey have farmed the land, converting the Lailey family fruit farm into a flourishing vineyard & grape growing business. Donna with her ‘roll up her sleeves’ approach to building the business, was a founding member of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) and in 1991 was named the very first “Grape Queen” – a highly sought after annual award designated by the Grape Growers of Ontario for the most impressive & well-maintained vineyard in Niagara – chosen by her peers. The family success lies in the vines telling them what needs to be done to them. With great care, everything is done by hand from grape to glass.

The main man behind the winery – Derek Barnett

Derek (left) began his winemaking career at Southbrook Vineyards originally located north of Toronto.  During visits to Niagara-on-the-Lake, he was attracted to Lailey Vineyard when he saw small parcels of mature vines with potential to be a high quality production facility. Remember 20 years ago, there were not numerous wineries in Niagara as is the case today!  Derek boasts that the success of the winery attributes to the wonderful location of the vineyard & the Lailey family’s commitment to grow only quality fruit. The estate is comprised of seventeen grape varieties and in the winery cellar Derek says he is always experimenting “with two barrels of this & that to keep things fun!”

With 22 years (and counting) in the industry as winemaker, Derek has a deep affinity for the growing Canadian wine industry. He appreciates how wonderful it is having a job you like to do. “Making wine & going out to meet the people who like wine gets me out of bed each morning.”

“The excitement of the growth of the Canadian wine industry generated within by the winemakers is now getting out to the consumers, wine reviewers and even the energy is seen on the retail store shelves”. In the last 10 years, a new generation of wine drinkers has helped proliferate the international message – that Canada makes impressive wines. Coupled with the grass root movement supporting local food & wine, social media is engaging more people to view Ontario & Canada as a wine & culinary destination. The bottom line beams Derek, “We have awesome wine! VQA & the Canadian wine industry is on its way up.” You heard it here first!

A fun bunch – and we’re not talking grapes!

The folks at Lailey are fun & passionate about their winery & wines.  Quick to show you around, anyone jumps in to do a hands-on tour led – including Derek or the resident sommelier.  In the tasting room, it is all about the wine; no trinkets nor t-shirts nor glassware for sale, as they do not want the Lailey team or the visitors to lose focus on the wine.

Considered “old school”, they do not interfere in their winemaking approach. Derek is hands-off, listening to what the wine wants to do. Romantic as it may sound, Derek maintains a hands-off approach, “I bottle wines when they are ready to be bottled”.

Favorites – vintages, wines & harvest

Which wines does Derek enjoy making?  Well that changes every year. Currently, he has a passion for barrel-fermented Chardonnay, “Niagara’s white wine grape” as he calls it. Other varietals that intrigue & inspire him are German Riesling with its bright aromatics, Northern Rhone style Syrah & Ontario varietals too.

Favorite times of year? Derek has 2 favorite periods during the grape-growing season: The green tinge of spring signifies another year of winemaking. Harvest provides the next bottle of wine that he is going to produce. If he has to choose his favorite time of the year, “Harvest!”, he exclaims.

Winemaking for 13 years at Lailey has led to many awards.  Derek is proud of the “stunning” 2007 Syrah and 2002 limited edition Chardonnay: “It was hard to top”.  2012 is a well-balanced vintage, comparing closely to 2002, one of his favourite vintages for good growing.

Derek mentions that there is no one particular ‘proudest moment’ –there are too many! Chardonnay excites him, as he describes it as “stunning”. Syrah, Cabernet Franc & Pinot Noir are great personal challenges too.

A Curious Mind

All of these proud moments led to the creation of Curious Mind label: one-offs available only to loyal Lailey customers. Derek explains that these wines are his ‘toy box’ – he experiments using the any of 17 grape varieties and 9 different barrel brands to play & create very interesting curiosities. These limited edition wines are an absolute steal at $20 – made to order, numbered & signed too.  Are you curious to try these wines?  Call us to arrange a special shipment.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012 $20.00

Interestingly the history of Sauvignon Blanc is rooted in the ‘Old World” wine region of Bordeaux, France.  Today though, it is planted around the world – New World & Old World, resulting in crisp, dry & refreshing white wine. Commonly referred to as ‘Sauv Blanc’, is the main component of the famous French dessert wines of Sauternes & Barsac. Have you had these wines?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Zippy aromas & flavours of citrus (think lime & white grapefruit), floral, distinct minerality with a zingy tart gooseberry taste that when Eva had a sip, she immediately mentions ‘Oh my, this reminds me of mother-in-law’s gooseberry pie’.

Reminiscent of a New World style Sauvignon Blanc without being over-the-top. Mint makes an appearance on the palate resulting in a fresh & cleansing long finish. Delicious!

Suggested Food Pairing: A classic pairing is with goat’s cheese/chêvre, asparagus & sushi.  Give the Spanakopita recipe a try on the following pages.

 

Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2011 $20.00

The vineyards feature some of the oldest plantings of Chardonnay in Ontario.

We are excited to include this wine as it has been a long favorite of Debbie’s to showcase at Savvy Events since the ‘what if’ story of making barrels with Canadian Oak has resulted in incredible wine.  It is truly a Canadiana story…move over maple syrup!

The story goes… about 5 years ago, a handful of winemakers were ‘talking shop’ at a backyard BBQ.  Conversation lead to wondering what a barrel made with native Canadian oak would do to their wines. After a lot of research, they found a cooper (barrel maker) in California who would make these one-of-a-kind barrels. Next step was to find native oak trees – luckily found in Brantford, Ontario. The wood staves were cut and shipped in hockey bags (brand new ones of course!).  Their “what if moment” & hard work paid off when several Canadian Oak barrels arrived at the wineries. Today, there are fewer than 10 winemakers across Canada who barrel age some of their wines in this special oak…and now there is a cooper in Canada making the barrels.  Derek is a big enthusiast with his Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meritage (an optional wine we offered) wines aged in Canadian oak and constantly receiving rave reviews.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “This wine makes me think of buttered popcorn” suggested Eva.  Golden straw colour with aromas of wildflower honey, tropical fruit (think coconut & sweet citrus) with some nuttiness – walnut perhaps?.  Rich & round mouthfeel with flavours of lime, stone fruit & baking spice with minerality & a lengthy warm finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Given the rich aromas & flavours of this Chardonnay try the Chicken & Farfalle with Creamy Walnut Sauce recipe that follows.


Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2010 $30.00

Expect loads of ripe fruit from this award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon.  (Bronze Medal at Canadian Wine Awards 2012 & Bronze Medal at the Intervin International Wine Awards 2012).  This wine is unfiltered meaning that small particles may be found in the bottle, leaving the wine’s aromas & flavours intact. No need to be alarmed if you notice this when you serve the wine.  It is completely natural

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Verging on opaque in colour, this Cabernet Sauvignon has amazing aromas of ripe fruit  – plum, figs, dates, dark berries – along with red roses, cranberry, rhubarb & vanilla. Flavours of tart red cherry, berry & cassis layered with smoke, earth & tobacco. The balancing acidity keeps the tannins in check in this beautifully structured full-bodied red wine. The long finish begs for another sip. Don’t you agree?

Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ! Enjoy with a big steak or, for a change, grilled Portobello Mushrooms.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now or cellar for 5-7 years.

 

OPTIONAL WINE:  Canadian Oak Meritage VQA 2010 $40.00

For all of you big red wine lovers – we did not want you to miss this special treat!

Meritage is the wine name that winemakers outside of France use to call their wines made in the French Bordeaux style.  This is a blend of the best from the highly acclaimed 2010 vintage. It’s a big juicy red wine made with 45% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon – all from the Lailey estate.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is a big, bold, almost black coloured wine has aromas of molasses, tar, tobacco, smoke & blueberry with something that smells like “Chinese Five Spice mix”, says Debbie. Beefy with big tannins that will continue to mellow, the flavours of coffee, cocoa & black pepper with an incredible long finish.

Cellaring: Enjoy now or put away in your cellar to mellow for a few more years (5 to 7 years max).

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Lailey Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012 …

Spanakopita

From Chef in You
Serves 4

Ingredients

3 bunches of fresh spinach (about 2 lbs)
1 onion, chopped finely
6-8 spring onions (scallions), chopped
5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
3 oz ricotta cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated vegetarian parmesan
1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 generous pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (cilantro works well too)
12 sheets of phyllo pastry, thawed
3-4 Tbsp of unsalted butter, melted + some olive oil (or more if required)

 

Method

Trim the stems of spinach & clean them well in cold water. Filling the kitchen sink with lots of water and then submerging & rinsing the spinach works well in cleaning out the mud and debris. Drain. Roughly chop & place in a steamer.  Steam for 5-8 minutes or until the leaves are wilted. Drain. Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach. This step is extremely important to avoid a soggy filling. Set aside.

Take a skillet and heat 1 tsp of olive oil & sauté the onion until tender. Add the spring onions & cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat & add the spinach, herbs, cheeses & nutmeg. Season with salt & pepper (if required). You can taste it to see if it does not have enough salt from the feta cheese.

Preheat the Oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the 3 sheets of phyllo at a time (keeping others covered to avoid drying out). Mix the butter & 2 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl. Brush each sheet with butter mixture & lay on top of another. Cut into equal thirds lengthwise.

Spoon a little filling on an angle at the end of the each strip. You don’t want to be overzealous here with the portion since it will slip out later. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling to form a triangle. Now take it upwards to form another triangle.

Repeat this process until you reach the end. You will have a small strip at the end which you can grease with little butter mixture & stick to the pastry. Brush the top lightly with butter mixture.

Grease two baking sheets. Bake the triangles for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

 

With Lailey Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2011 …

Chicken & Farfalle with Creamy Walnut Sauce

From Eating Well
Serves 2

Ingredients

1/3 cup walnuts
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup reduced-sodiumchicken broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ounces whole-wheat farfalle pasta
1 cup small broccoli florets
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

 Method

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Combine walnuts, garlic, salt, pepper & cayenne in a blender; pulse until finely chopped. Blend in broth, parsley & lemon juice until smooth & creamy.

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken & cook, stirring often, until it is no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes.

Cook pasta for 5 minutes. Add broccoli & bell pepper, cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta & vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes more. Drain, return to the pot.

Add the walnut sauce & chicken, then toss to coat.

 

With Lailey Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2010…

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

From allrecipes.com
Serves 4 to 6 – depending on the size of meat

Ingredients

3 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

 Method

Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.

Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

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We discovered a new Niagara winery – Di Profio Estates

Posted by Eva

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

 

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

In your Savvy Selections delivery, you will find:

Riesling 2011 enjoy this easy-drinking summertime sipper

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

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

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

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

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

Among the Vines Bed & Breakfast

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

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

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…
Di Profio Winery 

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Eva Nagy

 

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

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

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

There is always something to laugh about

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

Is that bottle shock?

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

Everything is hand-done

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

1 year and counting…

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

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

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

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections! 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Riesling 2011 VQA $16.15

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

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

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

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

 

Gamay Noir 2011 VQA $16.55

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

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

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

Cellaring: Enjoy this lively Gamay Noir now. 

 

Cabernet Merlot 2011 VQA $18.00

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

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

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

 

OPTIONAL WINE: Select Late Harvest Vidal 2011 VQA $18.55

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

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

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

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Di Profio Riesling VQA 2011 …

French Onion Tart

From Smitten Kitchen
Serves 6 

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

Ingredients

Crust

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

Filling

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

Method

Crust

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

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

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

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

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

Filling

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

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

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

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

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Assemble & bake tart

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

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

Serve hot or warm, with a big green salad.

 

With Di Profio Gamay Noir VQA 2011…

Mushroom Tart

From LCBO recipes by Lucy Waverman, Autumn 2003
Serves 6

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

Ingredients

Pastry

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

Filling

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

Method 

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

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

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

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

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

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

 

With Di Profio Cabernet Merlot VQA 2011…

Chris’ Bay Area Burger

From allrecipes.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

 

With Di Profio Select Late Harvest VQA 2011…

Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

From Brown-eyed Baker

Ingredients

For the Pastry Cream
Serves 10 

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

For the Crust

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

For the Fruit

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

Method

Pastry Cream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

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

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

Assemble the Tart

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

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

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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A warm County welcome at Karlo Estates

Posted by Debbie

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

 

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

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Karlo Estates Winery 

Presented by Amanda Jackson

 

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

My first impression of The County

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

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

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

This wine maker started young

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

…and became a wine achiever!

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

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

Tasting our way through the Karlo wine list

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

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

An accomplished winemaker and bridge builder

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

 Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Pinot Gris VQA 2011, $21.00

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

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

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

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


Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 $24.00

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

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

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

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

 

Quintus VQA 2010 $35.00

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

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

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

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

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~  

With Karlo Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2011…

Pistachio Crusted Sea Scallops

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm 
Serves 4

Ingredients

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

 

Method
Preheat oven to 375 F

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

With Karlo Estates Cabernet Franc VQA 2010

Coffee Rub for BBQ steak

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm 
Serves 4

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

Ingredients

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

 Method

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

 

With Karlo Estates Quintus VQA 2010…

Dijon Herbed Prime Rib

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

 

With Karlo Estates VanAlstine Ports…

Hazelnut Torte

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

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

Ingredients

Torte

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

Mocha filling

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

Icing

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

 

Method – Torte

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

 

Method – Filling & Finishing

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

 

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

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

 

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

  

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

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One of Ontario’s Virtual Wineries – 2027 Cellars

Posted by Susan

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring 2027 Cellars
–  March 2013 –

 

Kevin Panagapka – the man behind 2027 Cellars has been a viticulturalist and winemaker ‘in the making’ for most of his life. His father, Don, has been making wines, winning wine competitions, and judging wines for decades.  Surrounded by wine during his childhood, it was only natural for Kevin to be at his Dad’s side helping out

Then came time for his formal training.  Kevin completed the Viticulture and Oenology program at Niagara College in 2002, then jumpstarted his winemaking career at Niagara’s Creekside Estate Winery and Flat Rock Cellars. In 2006, already dreaming of creating his own wines, Kevin travelled to New Zealand to participate in a harvest and helping out at Esk Valley Winery in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

You won’t find 2027 Cellars on a wine route map

Research and his international experience led Kevin to establish 2027 Cellars – a virtual winery. What is a virtual winery you ask?  Essentially, it is a winery within a winery.  By sharing space & equipment at Featherstone Estate Winery where he is the assistant winemaker, Kevin has made a business arrangement with Featherstone’s owners – David Johnson & Louise Engel – to make wines at their facility under a different brand and name.  This enables Kevin to realize his dream of his own winery with low capital costs and also allows for Kevin to cultivate and harvest grapes from select mature vineyards owned by other wineries or grape growers in distinct Niagara sub-appellations. This approach underlies Kevin’s philosophy of winemaking – to meticulously manage the vineyards so that his small batch of handcrafted wines express the unique varietal character and distinct terroir of each vineyard. You will see what we mean when you have a sip of the outstanding wines in this month’s Savvy Selections. For starters, you will notice that the labels identify the vineyard name where Kevin sourced the grapes for the specific wine.

What does 2027 mean?

Kevin intentionally focuses on the three renowned international grape varieties that he feels are ideally suited to the Niagara climate – Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Together with his wife, Jodie, they purchased a small property on the Beamsville Bench, where they grow Pinot Noir.  The winery name? The answer lies with the purchase of the land. When the vineyard was registered with the Grape Growers of Ontario, it was assigned number 2027!

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

We’re on the cusp of spring with this March Savvy Selection, and Kevin’s focused portfolio gives us the opportunity to present some clean, fresh wines that will brighten your palate and lift your spirits. Our tasting has assured that you have the opportunity to taste one of each of the grape varieties he cultivates, including:

Foxcroft Vineyard Riesling VQA 2011 – a fragrant, fruity, well-balanced white wine

Foxcroft Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2011 – just bottled in time for the March Savvy Selections, this wine is complex, creamy & lush – simply elegant!

Queenston Road Vineyard Pinot Noir VQA 2010 – dry, silky classic Burgundian-style red wine


You won’t find these wines at the LCBO

We have noticed that 2027 Cellars has a ‘cult following’. The wines are hard to come by, primarily because Kevin makes small batch wines (winespeak: low inventory of wine).  This also results in his wines quickly selling out! After you enjoy these wines & would like additional bottles of your favorite, just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca  As always, it would be my pleasure to arrange a delivery for you.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing….
2027 Cellars

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins 

As mentioned earlier, Kevin’s father – Don – is a well known amateur winemaker. Don is a member of the Kitchener Waterloo Winemakers Guild and was recognized with a lifetime achievement award from the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario. Kevin (in photo left) has great memories of working with his dad in the basement, or should I say ‘cellar’, in the family home. “My Dad never had enough hands when it came to bottling. It seems I’ve been around wine for most of my life!”, recalls Kevin. Early on in life, Kevin developed an interest in Burgundy, France and the wines from this famous region. “As winemakers, we tend to fall into one category – blends or not. Personally, I prefer to focus on single variety wines (winespeak: wines made with only one grape variety), explains Kevin.”

Wine that speaks from its roots

Kevin has a clear passion for wine that speaks to its roots.” I have always believed that great wines are grown, not made and that quality fruit produces quality wines. My interest is in varieties that showcase terroir and I enjoy investigating the differences between the various vineyards from which I source my fruit.” he comments. “It also ties into the ‘wild fermentation’ and ‘unfiltered’ wine style of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It’s what makes winemaking and viticulture interesting for me, keeps me engaged in the process from start to finish.”

Precise & specific

Kevin is very precise in the criteria he looks for in the vineyards and vines he sources. “I look for quality vineyards that are at least 10 years old. I buy specific rows and manage the cropping levels, leaf removal and general care of all the vineyard blocks. This allows me to control the quality of the wines from the beginning of the season in the vineyard, through harvest and the winemaking process.” Kevin sources only Weiss 21-B clone Riesling from the Niagara Escarpment Bench sites, which produces a lovely aromatic quality in the wine. His Chardonnay is sourced from Lincoln Lakeshore and Twenty Mile Bench sub appellations, while the Pinot Noir comes from the Twenty Mile Bench and St. David’s Bench. Why does Kevin focus on these three varieties? “They seem best suited to our climate, as these are the varieties that can be counted on to ripen fully every year in Niagara.”

Both the Riesling and the Chardonnay are from the Foxcroft Vineyard, which is located on the lower portion of the Twenty Mile Bench sub appellation, offering slightly warmer summer temperatures. As Kevin indicated, “the fruit from this site tends to ripen earlier than the higher elevation sites, producing a perfect balance between ripe fruit and vibrant acidity.” The soils in this area include deep clay and till and display quite a variation in texture. Although they are well drained, their water-holding capacity is especially valuable in the warmer periods of the growing season when rainfall is limited. The Queenston Road vineyard is located in the sub appellation of St. David’s Bench in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region and is where the 9-year-old vineyard of Kevin’s Pinot Noir grows. This parcel of land benefits from gentle north-facing slopes, sheltered by the Escarpment. Good airflow ensures the vines benefit from the early onset of spring, while the deep, rich clay soils ensure the vines are well-anchored in the ground.

As a virtual winery, 2027 Cellars does not have its own winery or wine shop. Kevin recalls, “In 2007, I proposed the idea to Featherstone Estate Winery husband and wife owners, David Johnson and Louise Engle. Luckily, they were receptive to the idea, and they have been supportive ever since! I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to make wine at their facility.”

Kevin appreciates David & Louise’s commitment to sustainable agriculture, yet is also realistic about the challenges of growing quality fruit in Niagara. “There is alot of disease pressure here due to the humidity, so it’s very tough for wineries to establish viable organic or biodynamic grape-growing and winemaking processes. My focus is on quality fruit from producers who have the same high standards as I do.”

While naturally passionate about what he does, Kevin is modest about the success of his wines. His 2009 Foxcroft Vineyard Riesling took top honours at Ontario’s Cuvée Awards. When asked about this success, what does he say? “The awards have been good recognition for the brand. But I would really like people to judge the wines for themselves. If they enjoy the wine, I’ve done my job!”

So, while you have the opportunity to do just that through these Savvy Selections, if you find yourself in Niagara, you can stop in at Featherstone Estate Winery to taste 2027 wines, and if you’d like a tour contact Kevin directly kevin@2027cellars.ca

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

2027 Foxcroft Vineyard Riesling 2011 VQA, $25.00

Produced from the fruit of 15-year-old vines, this Riesling was fermented in stainless steel and bottled early to preserve its aromatic intensity & crispness.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brilliant straw/green in colour, this fragrant wine offers complex aromas—jasmine, orchard & stone fruit, citrus, mineral and a touch of mango. Dry, silky, flavours of key lime and orchard fruit marry with a kick of lively acidity, creating a clean, tangy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: A versatile wine, sip it or pair with seafood or simply prepared chicken or pork.

Cellaring:  Enjoy it now or cellar 3-5 years!

 

2027 Foxcroft Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2011 $30.00

Produced from hand-harvested grapes, this Chardonnay was barrel fermented with wild yeast strains. As only 78 cases of the wine were produced, we’re fortunate to include this newly released wine for you & all of our Savvy Selections subscribers!

TIP: If you like this wine & want to order more, be sure to contact me pronto….this wine has limited inventory & will sell out fast!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: We were the first to sample this wine! It was bottled only a few days prior to the Savvy Selections panel tasting.  Nevertheless, this wine showed its full potential.

Subtle aromas of toasted nut, butter and pear mingled with tropical notes suggesting pineapple and banana flambée. Elegant, mid-full weight, it’s creamy on the palate offering flavours of caramel apple, pear crisp, and toasted nut. Well balanced and lush, it gently warms the palate with delicate notes of white pepper that linger through the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Enjoy with creamy pasta dishes, baked ham or roast chicken.

Cellaring:  The wine will have experienced bottle shock, so we advise to let the wine rest for a month or so before serving or cellar 3-5 years.

 

2027 Queenston Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 VQA $35.00

 Fermented using only naturally occurring wild yeasts, this alluring Burgundian-style wine was aged in seasoned French oak for 14 months, and is neither fined nor filtered.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Garnet hued, dry and silky, the wine has a plethora of aromas—cherry/berry, earth, vanilla, a touch of red licorice and notes of toasted marshmallow. Medium bodied, the bright red berry flavours wrap around a backbone of fine acidity and fine-grained tannins, overtones of pepper and spice flowing through the long dry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with roasted duck, planked salmon or braised chicken.

Cellaring:  Drinks well now, it will also cellar 5-7 years.

 

~ Recipes to Enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~


With 2027 Foxcroft Vineyard Riesling VQA 2011…

Shrimp Bisque

From Cooking with BC Wine, Townsin, T & C.
Serves 4

Ingredients

¾ white wine
2 Tbsp butter
1 small carrot, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried thyme
15 large raw shrimp, unpeeled
½ C flour
4 C chicken or fish stock
2 Tbsp cream

 

Method

Melt butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Sauté carrot & onion with bay leaf & thyme until vegetables are soft. Add white wine and shrimp & poach for 8-10 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan & set aside.

Peel 8 shrimp, reserving shells. Dice the meat & set aside for garnish. Put the shells & the remaining unshelled shrimp in a food processor & blend into paste.

Slowly stir the shrimp paste into the poaching liquid then add the flour & mix well. Add the stock & return to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Strain soup through a sieve & then cheesecloth before adding cream & reheating.

Serve into individual bowls & then add diced shrimp meat to garnish.

With 2027 Foxcroft Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2011…

Linguine with Pears & Gorgonzola

From Epicurious.com (from Bon Apetit Magazine)
Serves 4

Ingredients

¼ cup butter
4 firm pears (about 2 lbs.), peeled, cored, sliced into 1/3 inch-thick strips
1 scant Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (or to taste)
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup whipping cream
¾ lb. linguine, freshly cooked
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Method

Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pears & sauté until tender & beginning to brown but not soft, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, carefully transfer pears to bowl.

Add rosemary to same skillet & stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, Gorgonzola cheese, ½ C parmesan cheese & cream. Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking occasionally, about 6 minutes. Return pears & any accumulated juices to sauce. (Can be made 2 hrs ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Bring to simmer before continuing.

Add linguine & pecans to sauce. Toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.

With 2027 Queenston Road Vineyard Pinot Noir VQA 2010…

Chicken Marbella

From epicurious.com (from The Silver Palate Cookbook)
Serves 10-12

Ingredients

4 chickens, 2 ½ lbs each, quartered (or skinless chicken thighs)
1 head of garlic, peeled & finely pureed
¼ cup dried oregano (or to taste)
Coarsely ground salt & pepper to taste
2 ½ cups red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
½ cup capers with a bit of juice
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
¼ cup Italian parsley (or fresh coriander), finely chopped


Method

Preheat oven to 350F.

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

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

Bake for 50-60 minutes, 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 & capers to serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices & sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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They’re one bee-zy family at Rosewood

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Rosewood Estates
– February 2013 –

 

While working as a high-tech executive, Eugene Roman was also developing his skills as a master beekeeper & dreaming big about creating a winery and meadery in Niagara. In 2000, he & his wife Renata, purchased 40 acres on the Beamsville Bench, backing onto the Niagara Escarpment – interestingly, a designated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. A further 45 acres was purchased in the nearby village of Jordan.

Soon followed the construction of the winery designed to reflect the family’s European heritage with exquisite rose gardens. 2006 marked the first harvest and vintage, as well as the year that Eugene & his winemaker started to make mead, which is produced by fermenting honey & water. Get the low-down on mead.

Rosewood Estates is a family affair. Daughter Krystina Roman has taken on full responsibility for Marketing & Sales, while son William (Wills), who is a graduate of the Viticulture and Oenology program at Niagara College and also has a business degree, can be found amongst the grapes in the vineyard, in the wine cellars & working at the apiaries with his father.

The ‘buzz’ is never far away. Step out behind the winery & you will find a sheltered glade among the trees where hives produce the wildflower honey that is sold in Rosewood’s retail shop. Of course, there are hives elsewhere in the Niagara area to optimize the bees’ access to a range of pollens from the fruit orchards & vineyards.

With its unique meadery – the only in Niagara – Rosewood is definitely a ‘must visit’ when you are in Niagara.

Until your next trip to the Beamsville Bench, with this month’s Savvy Selections you will get a taste of red wines to match the hearty foods of winter along with a lesser known white grape variety – Semillion grapes – rare in Ontario.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Semillon VQA 2011 – medium bodied white wine that is delicious with winter time foods

Merlot Reserve VQA 2009a complex, powerful award-winning red wine that is silky & flavourful

Pinot Noir VQA 2010 – a easy drinking dry & juicy, well-balanced Pinot that will impress anyone

OPTIONAL WINES:

Mima’s Block Riesling VQA 2011 – slightly off-dry, elegant balanced with delicious ripe fruit and lively acidity

Ambrosia Grand Reserve Mead 2007 – smooth uniquely aged in 3+ years in French oak barrels.

Enjoy discovering Rosewood wines.  At any time you would like additional bottles of your favorite Savvy Selections wines, just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.  It would be my pleasure to arrange a delivery for you. Cheers & Enjoy!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Introducing…
Rosewood Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins

 

Truly a family affair, Rosewood Estates reflects the enthusiasm & passion of the Roman family. Krystina explains, “As a family we fell in love with the Beamsville Bench. When first scouting locations we evaluated different sites all over the Niagara Peninsula. While the purchase was a business decision & we had professional advisors to help us evaluate the properties, as well, we followed our heart. There’s something unique about ‘The Bench’, it’s a small narrow sub appellation with a unique character – both in the wines and the people.”

Planted in 2003-04, the vineyard on the Beamsville Bench, named Renaceau, has deep clay-loam soils from which their Riesling extracts its mineral character. Merlot is planted in the same vineyard, on an iron-rich deposit which, states Wills  “has helped the Merlot develop rich & complex flavours through the years.” The second vineyard, comprising 20 acres in the Twenty Mile Bench appellation just above Jordan features limestone-clay soils. “It has a particularly beneficial aspect that drastically improves airflow, in turn reducing cold air pockets and helping dry any excessive humidity on the vines & fruit.” A significant limestone ridge on this property contributes a mineral character to their many different Riesling wines.

While the properties total 85 acres, only 30 are under vine – planted by them with advice from professionals to ensure the optimum match of grape variety with sub soil. They benefit from being on the Niagara Escarpment, but are also limited by the environmental constraints of this UNESCO Reserve. Where necessary, they work with local grape grower – Marcus Van Ber & Rick Wismer to complement their estate-grown fruit. “Niagara is blessed with amazing grape growers who are very passionate. It’s a pleasure working with such dedicated grape growers and vineyard owners”, shares Krystina.

All in the family

You could say that Krystina & Wills, along with their parents Eugene & Renata, make a dynamite team. “As a family, we always have SOMETHING wine-related to talk about’, comments Krystina.  It’s interesting to hear the mutual respect between siblings, as well as the passion for the business that can typically cause heated discussions. In Wills’ view, their collaboration has helped strengthen the family, as they spend so much time working together. Krystina explains, “I’m very thankful to have a brother who loves to grow grapes, make wine and has as much enthusiasm about the wine industry as I do. He is our Operations Manager ‘Extraordinaire’!” In that role, he oversees the vineyards, the winemaking, honey & mead production. Yet he still finds time to spend in the tasting room. “It’s very rewarding to talk with customers who thoroughly enjoy our wines, mead & honey—it brings a smile to my face & makes all the early mornings & long days worth it!”

Wills first started helping with beekeeping when he was just 4 years old, whether helping his Grandmother pour honey or carrying the smoker in the beeyards. His interest only increased as he grew older. He headed off to university to obtain a business degree with thoughts of working in the high-tech industry. He continued to help out in the apiaries & when the vineyard was purchased, became involved in that as well. It didn’t take long for him to realize his passion was inherently in beekeeping & viticulture, leading him to Niagara College’s program in Viticulture and Oenology. “I found great reward in producing handcrafted goods and loved the idea of working outside with my hands. And I truly love working with my family!” The combination of business training, apprenticeship in beekeeping with his father Eugene, & the Niagara College viticulture program have given him the wide-ranging skills to excel in his role at Rosewood. He credits Luke Orwinski, Rosewood’s winemaker, with honing his practical viticulture & winemaking knowledge, as well as a stint with winemaker Matt Mavety at Blue Mountain Vineyards and Cellars in British Columbia’s Okanagan.

Bees in the Winter

The bees are currently in winter dormancy, in their hives. They create their own heat, moving in a cluster within the hive, consuming honey they stored & vibrating to generate additional heat. Meanwhile, Krystina & Wills are also generating their own heat, dealing the ongoing operations of the winery. They look forward to the spring, when the buzz ramps up again. They will be focused on ensuring the bees & the vines have the best possible conditions to thrive & contribute to the outstanding wines & meads.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!


 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


 
Rosewood Semillon VQA 2011  $18.00

This wine is produced from grapes that were hand-harvested off of a single vineyard.  The grapes were whole-cluster pressed (winespeak: entire grape bunches are pressed very gently to extract the juice. This is thought to minimize the amount of harsh malic acid & astringent tannins that naturally exist in the skins, seeds & stems) then aged four months in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pale gold, this wine offers aromas of rich stone fruit, zesty citrus, beeswax (of course!), mineral, with a whiff of freshly ground white pepper. Dry, juicy & quite weighty, the white pepper mingles with dried apricot, apple & citrus on the palate. Crafted with fine balance, it has a lasting crisp finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy this wine with fish such as halibut, herbed pork tenderloin, or steamed mussels in a white wine sauce.

Cellaring:  Ready to drink now or cellar 2-3 years.


Rosewood Pinot Noir VQA 2010 $20.00

Produced from hand-harvested fruit from local grape growers (the Wismer Vineyard & the Renaceau Estate Vineyard), this Pinot Noir was aged 11 months in premium new & seasoned French oak barrels to create the smooth & silky texture of this wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Offering aromas of strawberries, sweet spice & earth that are classic to Pinot Noir, this is a dry, vivid wine with a smooth silky texture & well-defined structure. Ripe red field berries mingle with herbal notes & that refined earthiness, the wine finishing long, dry & balanced.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this wine with grilled or planked salmon, or with duck with cherries.

Cellaring: Enjoy the wine now or can be cellared 3-5 years.

Rosewood Merlot Reserve VQA 2009 $32.00

To create this outstanding wine, grapes from low-yielding vines grown on the Rosewood property were handpicked & sorted, then fermented with natural native yeasts. The wine then aged in select new & aged French oak barrels for 13 months to round out the structure & create the smooth, rich texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Deep ruby in colour, this dry, full-bodied wine offers intriguing complexity of aromas & flavours—roasted herbs, concentrated dark fruit (think figs, dates, plums/prunes) & blackberry jam, cedar, vanilla & warm spices. It’s loaded with luscious fruit, notes of dark chocolate & coffee beans. Well structured with fine-grained tannins & subtle acidity, has a long deep finish with dark & toasty notes.

Suggested Food Pairing: For this big wine, Susan thinks that this is hands down wine for beef tenderloin or roast of lamb with all of the trimmings.

Cellaring: Already aged 4 years, this wine is approachable now, yet has the cellar ‘power’ for another 2-4 years.

 


~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Rosewood Semillon…

Steamed Mussels with Wine & Saffron

From www.marthastewart.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

3 lbs fresh mussels
1 large pinch saffron (about 30 threads)
¾ cup white wine
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about ½ cups)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Method

Holding mussels under cool running water, scrub with a stiff sponge or vegetable brush, then debeard: grip the touch fibers extending from the shell & pull to remove. Discard beards.

Steep saffron in wine for 10 minutes (Saffron is soluble in water, not fat, so won’t release its color or flavour if added directly to the butter.) Meanwhile, melt butter over medium-high heat in a shallow stockpot. Once it’s foamy, add shallots, garlic and ½ tsp salt. Cook until shallots are transparent and garlic is soft, about 3 minutes, stirring every so often to keep garlic from scorching. Pour in wine & saffron, then add tomatoes and return to a simmer, stirring once or twice.

Add mussels & cover tightly. Cook until all mussels open, about 6 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Discard any unopened mussels. If using wild mussels, strain broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve to remove any sand, if necessary. Taste the broth & season with salt & pepper.

Sprinkle with parsley before ladling mussels & broth into bowls.

 

With Rosewood Pinot Noir

Pan-seared Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives, Oregano & Capers

Chef Michael Smith recipe that appeared in The Globe & Mail
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp vegetable oil4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts1 large onion, chopped into large pieces4 garlic cloves, chopped (or to taste)1 Tbsp dried oregano1 tsp salt2 cups red wine1 pint cherry tomatoes1 cup pitted Kalamata olives½ cup capers, drainedFreshly ground pepper

Method

Set a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Swirl in enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Sear the first side until golden brown and crusty, 4-5 minutes or so. Adjust the pan’s heat as needed, keeping it sizzling, but not so hot that the oil smokes.

Flip the chicken breasts over, cooking the other sides until they’re equally golden brown. Add a splash more oil if you think the pan needs it. The goal is not to fully cook the meat but just to add flavour while the pan temperature is high.

Reduce heat to medium and remove the chicken breasts to a plate. Add the onion, garlic, oregano and salt to the pan. Sauté for a minute or two. Add the red wine, tomatoes, olives, and capers. Turn the heat much lower, just enough to maintain a slow, steady simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, nestling the breasts into the stew. Cover tightly and simmer until the meat is cooked through (10-15 minutes). Turn the breasts once, allowing the flavour to fully permeate the chicken from all sides. Sprinkles with pepper to taste and serve.

 

With Rosewood Merlot Reserve…

Peppercorn Roast Beef with Balsamic Beets

Food & Drink Magazine
Serves 8

Ingredients

8 medium beets, trimmed & peeled, about 1 ½ lbs
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
2 red onions cut into 1” wedges
8 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled (or to taste)
3 Tbsp cracked black peppercorns
1 beef tenderloin, about 3 lbs
2 Tbsp quality balsamic vinegar
Rosemary sprigs for garnish

Method

Preheat oven to 425F.

Cut beets into 1” wedges. In a large shallow roasting pan, toss together beets, 2 Tbsp oil, rosemary and ¼ tsp salt; spread beets out in roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring once.  

Add onions and garlic to roasting pan; stir to combine with beets, breaking up onion wedges as you stir. Roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together peppercorns and remaining salt in a small bowl. On work surface, lay a piece of plastic wrap large enough to enclose beef; sprinkle with half peppercorn mixture. Rub feed all over with remaining oil. Lay beef on peppercorn mixture on plastic wrap; sprinkle evenly with remaining peppercorn mixture. Wrap beef in plastic wrap, pressing so that peppercorns and salt adhere evenly to meat. Unwrap beef; transfer carefully to a wire rack.

Stir vegetables.

Set rack holding beef in roasting pan containing vegetables; roast for 25-30 minutes for rare (125F on meat thermometer), 30-40 minutes for medium-rare (135-140F on meat thermometer).Remove beef to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil & let stand 10-15 minutes.

Stir balsamic vinegar into vegetables; season with more salt & pepper to taste. Spoon vegetables onto a warm serving plate.

Cut beef into slices; arrange on top of vegetables. Garnish with rosemary. 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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These BIG wines win the hearts of our subscribers

Posted by Julie

Sunday, January 20th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Kacaba Vineyards
–  January 2013 –

 

Kacaba Vineyards sits on top of a Niagara Escarpment with a ravine on both sides, overlooking other nearby farmland. On a clear day you can even see Lake Ontario from this boutique winery. The escarpment naturally provides drainage of water and protection of frost that obviously have a negative impact on the vineyard. The spring and summer are always the best times to visit the vineyard as the winery is all abuzz with activity of barbeques, special wine and food events, festivals and not to mention the wine tours and the ‘regulars’ stopping in to pick up their favorite Kacaba wines.

I can’t help but wonder if Michael Kacaba knew when he bought and saved 25 acres from the “subdivision bulldozer” back in 1997 that instead of massive homes, he would grow vineyards that would produce award winning wines. With each sip of this month’s Savvy Selections wines, I am certain that you too are glad of Michael’s decision.

Kacaba is focused on producing small lots (winespeak – small quantities) in order to ensure that every step of the grape growing and winemaking remains largely done by hand; from harvesting the grapes to the lifting of tanks to hand selecting the wines that are ready to be released. Attention to every detail is engrained into each person on the Kacaba team – and it shows!

It is interesting to note that Kacaba is one of the original members of the Wine Council of Ontario’s Sustainable Winemaking Group. What does this mean? Turn the pages of this month’s Savvy eZine and our Savvy Sommelier Julie Stock will give you a snapshot of this new group’s objective & endeavours.

This summer Julie visited the winery with her husband Doug & in the following pages shares with you stories & the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s tasting notes along with cozy winter recipes she has pulled from her favorite cookbooks to serve with the wines our Sommeliers selected for you this month.

In your Savvy Selections delivery you will find:

We always have the tough job of choosing just three wines for each month’s Savvy Selections and this month was certainly no exception. To help you kick off  2013 with outstanding wines, we selected the following for you to enjoy:

Barrel Fermented Chardonnay VQA 2011  – classically styled rich & absolutely elegant

Reserve Cabernet Franc VQA 2010  – this gold medal winning wine is juicy & layered

Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2009 be ready for a big complex red  wine

OPTIONAL WINE: Single Vineyard Syrah VQA 2009  – this wine was so good, we didn’t think it should be optional, we practically had to vote – yikes!

These great prices & great wines only from us!

The Kacaba wines are not available at the LCBO.  And the winery owner is offering special prices exclusively for Savvy Selections subscribers (and your friends too).  If you would like to re-order any of your favorites, simply email me debbie@savvycompany.ca or give me a call at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) and I will gladly make the arrangements of more Kacaba wines for you.

Cheers & here’s to delicious wine discoveries in 2013!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Kacaba Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Julie Stock

 

This past June, during our annual pilgrimage to the Niagara region, my husband Doug (also a Savvy Sommelier) and I visited Kacaba Vineyards. I knew this visit would be in part to prep for this month’s Savvy Selections feature. While the notes I scribbled during my delightful chat with winemaker John Tummon (above) are hardly legible now, the memory of us driving up the gravelly road, lined with beautiful sugar maple trees, crossing the silver bridge, remain vividly in my mind.

It is like driving into a picture.  On the other side of the bridge, there is a huge ravine with trellises of Syrah grapes. On the other side of the ravine are numbered posts marking the rows of mostly Bordeaux style red grapes (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc). Colourful roses are planted at the end of each row. Aside from how beautiful they look roses have a functional role being planted at the end of these rows. Since they grow similarly to vines, if the roses come down with a disease such as a powdery mildew fungus, a winemaker can immediately detect if there is a disease that could affect the grapevines. So aside from their elegance, the roses act as an ‘early warning system’ against serious plant disease similar to when coal miners used to take canaries into a mining shaft. If the canary started to show signs of stress, the miners would be warned of an early sign that gases were building and they had to get out fast.

It was a blistering hot day when we drove to Kacaba but the setting was so idyllic that it practically had a cooling effect. Once inside the winery, we were treated royally to tastings and shown the barrels in the back portion where wine was fermenting and staff were working away.

What struck us when we entered the wine shop were the number of medals hanging on bottles. Kacaba has amassed so many awards that I could fill the page with the list and not talk about the wines or winery. However….

The winemaker & the vineyard

In 1999, the first grapes were planted: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. John had flown to California to buy some of these grapes and if you can believe it, Air Canada lost them!  Thankfully for us they were eventually located and the first harvest in 2005 was anticipated and welcomed. He also pioneered the first Syrah grown in Ontario and quite possibly in Canada.

John began making wine in university.  By 1988 he had completed the German Wine Academy Course in Germany. Ten years later, he won the “Wine Taster of the Year” award at the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario (AWO). I can almost say the rest is history but John has acquired an incredible list of wine and other credentials before his winemaker status at Kacaba. In 2010 alone, Kacaba wines received over 20 medals. I’ll bet he sleeps at night.

Kacaba is an original member winery of the Wine Council of Ontario’s Sustainable Winemaking Group whose goals are to improve the environmental performance of the wine industry in Ontario and continually improve the quality of grape growing and winemaking in an environmentally responsive manner. At Kacaba one of the main goals is to encourage sustainable agriculture which ensures good husbandry in the protection of the grapes.

The vineyards at Kacaba adhere to environmental practices to ensure the longevity of the vines. As an example, John explained that the vine roots go down about 30 feet into the soil, so in the heat of this past summer, while in some other parts of Ontario the grapes had shriveled, John did not have to worry about the grapes obtaining enough moisture to come to fruition. It also means that if they happen to get a killer frost, it still won’t kill the vines. No wonder these wines are so good!

All Kacaba wines are rigorously approved and labeled Vintner Quality Alliance (VQA). While this is a mark that confirms the origin of the grapes used in the wine (VQA Ontario means grapes from anywhere in Ontario, VQA Niagara Peninsula refers to wine is made with grapes grown in the Niagara region or VQA St David’s is a new sub appellation in Niagara between the Bench & Niagara-on-the-Lake.)

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~ 

 

Barrel Fermented Chardonnay VQA 2011 $22.95

Chardonnay is one of the most versatile grapes grown in Ontario. It can grow ferociously in warm climates and be just as happy in the micro-climate that Ontario offers with the cooling and moderating effect from Lake Ontario. Although the tastes will vary from year to year depending on the length and heat of the summers, the Kacaba Chardonnays are consistently rich, complex with layers of flavour.

Sommelier Tasting Notes: Rich golden yellow with aromas of vanilla, pineapple, baked pears that follow through on the palate. It has buttery toasty coconut flavours, very smooth on the palate and beautifully full bodied with a long finish. It is typical of a classic Chardonnay that has spent some time in an oak barrel but has refreshing acidity to balance the richness.

Suggested Food Pairing: Our Savvy Selections tasting panel agreed the list of pairings for this wine is endless. We all offered different suggestions from roasted cauliflower soup, cheese fondue, shrimp casserole, desserts and just on its own. A truly elegant wine, for Chardonnay lovers out there, I’m confident this will become a favourite!

Julie suggestions a unique Cauliflower Soup recipe to warm you up this winter as you sip on this Chardonnay, .

Cellaring: Great to drink now, but would hold for 3-5 years.


Reserve Cabernet Franc VQA 2010 – Savvy price $34.95

Cabernet Franc grapes are small and thin-skinned, blue-black in colour  and are traditionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot especially in Bordeaux, France. The grapes are known to contribute some pepperiness and hints of tobacco to the wine which is why it is frequently used in blends. In Ontario this varietal grows well and is known to be quite robust.

The Savvy Team thought this Cabernet Franc was pretty spectacular on its own and the 2012 InterVin International Wine Awards panel crowned it with a gold medal – so we weren’t the only ones who loved it.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This deep purple robust beauty really grabbed us. Ripe rich berries, chocolately and chewy layered with flavour after flavour after… It is silky smooth on the palate with soft and subtle tannins, a pinch of vegetal and pencil shavings and a long velvety finish.  A classy elegant wine awaits you.

If you can go beyond sheer yum, this is it!

Suggested Food Pairing: We went wild with food pairing ideas; veal chops, roasted chicken, vegetarian bean casseroles, even chocolate cake.  No end of possibilities and we even savoured it with some blue cheese. For this wine, we pulled out Lucy Waverman’s recipe for Cabernet Chicken.  Enjoy!

Cellaring: Drink now or easily 3-5 years

 

Kacaba Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2009 –Savvy price $22.95

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the popular red wine varieties in the world. The grape berries are small, thick with very tough skin making it resistant to disease and spoilage.  It’s DNA origins indicate that it is the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It is no wonder that with that pedigree it sometimes has aromas of pencil shavings and grassiness, both typical of its respective parents.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Talk about tasting BIG! Dark ripe blackberries, currants, plums, strawberries with a seductive nose all balanced into a delicious mélange with hints of pepper, licorice and even a little soya sauce comes through on the palate. We detected some sweet spice and raisins reminiscent of Christmas cake. It is powerfully ripe but dry and smooth layered in complexity and soft tannins that balance out the ripe fruit flavours on the long sweet finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  We all agreed enthusiastically that this powerhouse would mostly marry with red meat such as lamb, porterhouse steak, beef grills, Chateaubriand, veal osso bucco or classic beef bourguinon – Julie Child’s recipe no less is written out for your below.

Cellaring: Ready now or before 2017.

OPTIONAL WINE: Single Vineyard Syrah VQA 2009 – Savvy price $24.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  How does deep dark opaque plum sound to start?  Aromas of black stewed fruit (think figs, dates & prunes), a little peppery on the nose and palate with flavours of ripe raspberry and cedar shavings. One Savvy Sommelier detected a faint taste of red licorice amongst the juicy red fruit flavours, layered with flavour. Finishes long and juicy with a touch of menthol and smoke.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine is begging for a rack of lamb or roast of lamb with all of the trimmings.

Cellaring: Drink now or could easily cellar a few years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Kacaba Barrel Fermented Chardonnay VQA 2011…

Cauliflower Soup with Cheddar, Bacon and Maple Pecans
Restaurant Les Fougères –  Chelsea, Quebec

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup (50mL) butter
2 Tbsp (25mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large cauliflower (about 3 lbs/750g), cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 potato, chopped
3 cups (750mL) chicken stock or more
1 tsp (5mL) fresh thyme
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish

1 cup (250mL) grated aged Cheddar
8 oz (250g) bacon, cut into sticks and cooked until crisp
1/2 cup (125mL) chopped maple pecans (see below)
2 tbsp (25mL) chopped fresh parsley

Method

Heat butter and olive oil in a large deep saucepan. Add onion, cauliflower and garlic. Cook gently, covered, 15 to 20 minutes until caramelized, checking every 5 minutes.

Add potatoes and thyme and enough stock to just cover vegetables. Simmer until very tender 15 to 20 minutes. Purée. Return to heat and add additional stock to make a medium thick soup. Season to taste.

Garnish with cheese, bacon, pecans and parsley.

For maple pecans, toss 1 cup (250mL) pecans with 1/4 cup (50mL) maple syrup. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 325F (160C) oven approximately 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until candied.  Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp (2mL) Maldon salt.

With Kacaba Reserve Cabernet Franc VQA 2010…

Cabernet Chicken

From Lucy Waverman
Serves 4

This method of roasting chicken produces a juicy, golden bird with a marvelous sauce. If you use seedless grapes, slice them in half. If the grapes have seeds, slice them in half and flick out the seeds with the point of a knife. The taste and colour of the sauce will change depending on what grapes you use. Serve with crushed red potatoes, French filet beans and garnish with Champagne grapes.

Ingredients

3 lb (1.5 kg) chicken
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) sliced leeks
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped carrots
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped celery
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh chopped tarragon or oregano
1 cup (250 mL) Cabernet Franc  (I would buy a less expensive Cabernet to use in this recipe)
1/2 cup (125 mL) red grapes, halved
1/2 cup (125 mL) red grapes, whole

Method

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Truss chicken to help it keep its shape. Heat butter in ovenproof casserole on medium heat. Brown chicken, breast-side down, until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn on its side and brown another 3 minutes. Brown remaining sides. Remove chicken and drain off all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat.

Add leeks, carrots and celery into casserole and sauté 2 minutes or until softened. Add tarragon and wine. Bring to boil and reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in halved grapes. Return chicken to pan breast-side up. Cover and bake for 55 minutes, basting occasionally.

Remove chicken from pan to carving board and cover with tea towel to keep warm. Skim fat from casserole. Strain sauce into a skillet, pressing down on the solids. Add whole grapes, bring to boil and simmer 1 minute or until flavours are combined. Season with salt and pepper. Carve chicken and serve with sauce. Garnish with sprigs of chervil.

 

With Kacaba Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2009…

Classic Beef Bourguignon

By Julia Child

This recipe is worth the prep time of easily over an hour. Best if made ahead to let the flavours blend and I’ve always had rave reviews.  Don’t let the method deter you from this fabulous dish – it comes together quite nicely.  Serves 6

Ingredients

1  6 ounce piece chunk bacon
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1  onion, slicedSalt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full bodied     (I used a Cotes Du Rhone)
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1  bay leaf, crumbled
20 small white onions
3 1/2 tablespoons butterherb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered

Method

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry then sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to side dish with a slotted spoon.

Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust). Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for 1-2 minutes, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

With Kacaba 2009 VQA Syrah… 

Gordon Ramsay’s Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

From The F Word – Series

Ingredients

2 large racks of Lamb cut in half with 3 bones per serving
Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

For the Crust

4 slices of stale bread made into crumbs
7 Tbsp. grated parmesan (roughly 1/2 a cup)
Sprigs of parsley, thyme, coriander and rosemary
2 Tbsp English mustard (or sub with dijon)Splash of olive oil

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place lamb on cutting board fat side up. Lightly score the fat layer with a sharp knife. Next, generously sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Ensure it’s thoroughly coated.

Heat some olive oil in an oven safe pan. Seal the lamb by holding each side in the oil long enough to develop color (careful not to burn your hands). Gordon Ramsay says, “it’s simple mathematics, no color, equals no taste”. Quite simple indeed! Make sure you brown that lamb.

Transfer the pan with the lamb into the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes. Prepare the crust while the lamb is cooking.

Preparing the Crust

Place  all of the ingredients for the crust except the mustard into a blender and pulse several times until it looks nice and green. Make sure you don’t over do it with the olive oil, just a splash.

Pour the mixture into a deep dish (bowl or plate) and set aside.

Putting it All Together

Remove the lamb from the oven and brush generously with mustard. Dip the lamb into the crust mixture coating it completely. Dip several times to ensure an even coating. Allow meat to rest for a bit.

Place it back into the oven for 3-4 minutes when you’re ready to serve.

I think this lamb would be great with any of the above Kacaba reds!

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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13th Street Winery awakens your “13th sense”

Posted by Julie

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

 

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

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

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are turning the big 1-0!

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

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing . . .
13th Street Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Julie Stock 

 

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

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

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

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

The winemaker & the vineyard

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

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

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

The Gallery

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

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

Enjoy & enjoy your Savvy Selections! 


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Premier Cuvée Sparkling VQA 2008, $34.95

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

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

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

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

Viognier VQA 2011, $19.95

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

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

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

Cellaring: Chill & enjoy – no need to wait!

Cabernet Merlot VQA 2008, $21.95

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

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

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

Cellaring: Ready now or before 2015.

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

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

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

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~ 

 

With 13th Street Premier Cuvée Sparkling

Smoked Salmon Tortilla Spirals

From Bonnie Stern’s Appetizers
Makes approximately 32 spirals

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

Method

Cream together cream cheese, mustard and mayonnaise.

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

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

With 13th Street Viognier VQA 2011…

Cajun Blackened Fish Steaks

From the Kitchen of Jamie Oliver
Serves 4

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

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

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

Method

To make the rub

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

To prepare the fish

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

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

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

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

 

With 13th Street Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010

1770 House Meatloaf

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa – Food Network
Serves 8

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

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Lighthall Vineyard’s One Man Show

Posted by Erin

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

 

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

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

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

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

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

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

Lighthall Pinot Noir 2010 VQA – one word : Stunning!

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

Stock up on these wines!

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

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Patrick after the crush

Introducing…
Lighthall Vineyards

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling

 

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

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

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

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

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

Lighthall tasting bar

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

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Lighthall Progression Sparkling 2011 VQA, $20.00

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

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

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

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

Lighthall Gewurztraminer 2011 VQA, $25.00

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

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

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

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

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

Lighthall Pinot Noir 2010 VQA, $25.00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Lighthall Progression Sparkling VQA 2011…

Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

From: Epicurious.com
Serves 4

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

Method for pizza sauce

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

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

Assemble the pizza

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

Trim any tough stems from arugula and thinly slice cheese.

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

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

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

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

With Lighthall Gewurztraminer VQA 2011…

Pear & Cream Cheese Tart

From: Desserts by Bonnie Stern
Serves 6 to 8

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

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

Method

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

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

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

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

With Lighthall Pinot Noir VQA 2010 …

Roasted Cauliflower and Swiss Chard Salad

From: Long Nights and Log Fires Cookbook
Serves 4

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

Method

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

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

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

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

Mushroom Risotto

From: The Essential Rice Cookbook
Serves 4

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

Method

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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