Posts Tagged ‘Savvy Selections wines’

Heavenly Wine From Angels Gate Winery of Niagara’s Beamsville Bench

Posted by Wayne

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011



Character and the landscape are two features that wine producers spend a lot of time deciding upon, not only for their wineries, but also for their wines. A visit to Angels Gate Winery on Mountainview Road at the base of the Beamsville Bench in Niagara, is the best way to see that where a wine comes from is just as important as how it is made. Not only are the views and the mission-style architecture breathtaking and eclectic, but very unique – a quality that can be experienced and appreciated in all of Angels Gate wines.

Phillip Dowell, the winemaker, is the planner, procurer, and producer of Angels Gate’s Devilishly Good Wines produced behind the walls of the mission-style winery that signifies Angels Gate. Coming from extensive winemaking experience in the Yarra and McLaren Vales of Australia, Philip is very aware of the importance of not losing your identity in the over-production of wines and is very thankful to be the driving force behind the viticulture (Wine Speak for growing of grapes), the viniculture (wine speak: making the wine) and the market profiles of all the wines produced at Angels Gate.

The group of wine lovers that established Angels Gate gave Phillip the creative power and the on-site responsibility needed to produce and develop unique wines on a unique property. “It’s like owning your own winery. I get to keep what is good and develop our future”, he explains.

Three of Phillip’s one-of-a-kind wines are profiled this month as Savvy Selections. Keeping in line with the unique character of Angels Gate, this month’s tasting panel of Wayne, Lorraine, Mitch and myself met on the deck of a sailboat to taste this month’s Selections offerings (Hey, where you are is very important to what you are tasting too!).

We are excited to introduce you to this month’s Savvy Selections – ready for summertime enjoyment:

·Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay 2006 – from the oldest Chardonnay vines in Niagara (planted in the ‘70’s)

·Angels Gate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that is aged to perfection

·Angels Gate Red III 2007 – a rich, elegant blend of Cabernet, Malbec (very rare in Niagara), and Merlot

·OPTIONAL WINE: Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling 2008 – the dry, tropical flavours in this elegant bubbly had the tasting panel wowed! 

Learn more about Phillip and the character and setting of Angels Gate wines in the following pages as well as some great matching recipes and our Savvy Sommelier tasting notes. We are confident that once you have a sip, you’ll be ordering the Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling! As you are well aware, the Savvy Selections wines are not available at the LCBO so to order more of this month’s or previous Savvy Selections simply call or e-mail me to arrange your delivery.

Your invitation to Savvy Events..

Mark your calendar for September 22-25. We are organizing the food & wine events in Ottawa’s Little Italy for La Vendemmia Harvest Festival. Stay tuned for all of the festival events to one of the best Italian celebrations of food and wine – outside of Italy! We hope to see you there.

Debbie & the Savvy Team

Angels Gate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Wayne Walker

Unique and Elegant
On the Beamsville Bench overlooking Lake Ontario, the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Christian Charity erected a convent on the site that is now the setting for Angels Gate Winery. When the property was converted into a vineyard in 1995, the “missionary style” of construction was not lost on the group of entrepreneurs responsible for its conversion and development.

Retaining the character of the property has spilled over into the winemaking at Angels Gate as well. The people responsible for the production of wines still practice traditional winemaking techniques in an effort to produce great wine, but traditional approaches must produce unique wine that is elegant and memorable, not just something different. This mantra is especially true for the winemaker, Phillip Dowell.

Transplanted from Australia
Phillip comes to Angels Gate after extensive experience in Australia where he learned the value of using New World (wine speak: all wine-producing countries outside of the Mediterranean) technologies and traditional winemaking techniques. “The key is to integrate these two influences and create a style that is unique… in our case uniquely Angels Gate”, he explains. According to Phillip, that style centres on ‘elegance’.

He claims that, “not over-reacting… being patient with many of the natural processes of grapes grown on the property” allows wines of “delicate balance, finesse and distinct structure” to evolve.

No better example exists than the Sussriesling produced by Angels Gate, a spectacular, semi-sweet Riesling created with a combination of fermented and non-fermented juices. This gives an unique experience of light thirst-quenching wine at an extremely reasonable price, produced from some of the earliest Riesling vines planted in Ontario.

Under Phillip’s direction Angels Gate has been planting Malbec, used in the Angels Red III – one of your Savvy Selection this month. Presently, the growing of Malbec is rare in the Niagara Region, but it demonstrates the uniqueness and diversity of Angels Gate products.

As well, Selections subscribers were offered (and you can still contact us to arrange a special shipment) the unique Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling which comes highly recommended by the tasting panel. This is a bubbly made in the traditional method (wine speak: made in the same process as Champagne) that our Sommeliers thought that it tastes like a well-made Spanish Cava wine (a Spanish sparkling) with its dry, thirst- quenching, textured experience, which, like many other Angels Gate wines, makes it unique.

The Angels Gate team is constantly breaking new ground. In 2010, a significant planting of Pinot Gris is taking them directly into the groundswell of popular white wine drinkers who are enjoying Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio).

A preview of the winery’s future success at producing white, creamy-textured wines can be experienced in this month’s Old Vines Chardonnay, a product of 40-year-old vines that have developed the ability to reach very deep into the clay and limestone soil for rich nutrients capable of yielding full flavours and textures.

Exporting Excellence
Both Phillip and A.J. McLaughlin (Angels Gate Sales and Marketing Manager) feel that the Ontario market is presently full of dynamism with plenty of expansion. They are looking to take the spirit and their wines beyond Ontario’s borders – across Canada and recently established their first exporting venture into the United States. They both feel they produce “great wine at exceptional value” and expansion will increase demand which will increase diversity and quality as long as they maintain the quality of winemaking. Keeping their eye on “elegance” of their wine and winery is a step in the right direction. Maintaining elegant wines will be the next challenge… one that they feel for certain will be met.

We’d like to invite you experience this ‘elegance’ for yourself as you sample this month’s Savvy Selections and compare your impressions with our Sommelier tasting notes on the following pages.

Cheers and Enjoy!


Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay VQA 2006 $23.95

100% Chardonnay grapes are used in this wine. The 40-year-old vines are hand-picked and the juices are both fermented and aged in barrels on the lees (wine speak: the yeast is left with the wine in the barrel as part of the winemaking process). All of this produces a smoothness and rich creamy texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Butter is the first impression on the nose followed by tropical fruit. The palate is bathed in butterscotch, caramel popcorn, roasted nuts and a hint of herb. A warm, lingering mid palate produces a long coffee bean and roasted nut finish. Smooth and elegant. Savvy Sommelier Wayne Walker compared this to some good California Chardonnays and felt it would be very versatile, but wonderful with shellfish. What do you think?

Suggested Food Pairing:Seafood, and chicken dishes with white cream sauce would be great match. Brie and other soft, young white cheese will pair well too. There is enough tannic structure and acidity to make this a good choice for roasted pork as well. Its versatility would extend into creamy pastas and sticky rice dishes too. Grilled foods should be limited to white meats and fish.

Cellaring:Drink now at 12C to 15C. Cellar for 3 to 5 years to enrich the texture and enhance the elegance.

Angels Gate Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2005 $19.95

Harvested from two properties on the Angels Gate estate, this wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that has spent over 1 year aging in French oak barrels. Our Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm loved the spice finish of this wine and declared ”this would be a hit with anything off the BBQ.”

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Spices, dark fruit and cedar on the nose are deepened by chocolate and vanilla on the palate. Good tannins and a softened acidic structure bring up the fruit in the mouth and lead into a tobacco and spice finish that lingers.

Suggested Food Pairing:Hearty dishes like grilled red meats, beef and tomato pastas, aged cheeses, stews are good matches for this wine. Spicy poultry and beef, wild game, sausage, pate and blue cheese dishes are other possibilities.

Cellaring:Could be cellared for 3 to 4 years, but it tastes great now at 17C to 20C.

Angels Red III VQA 2007 $35.00

A smooth, elegant and unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (67%), Malbec (22%) and Merlot (11%). Blending is where winemakers showcase their artistic vision with consumers. This blend certainly does not disappoint! It is able to deliver intensity with finesse and still generate elegance. Fully aged varietals (wine speak: for grape types) are removed at the end of their own fermentation and aging processes so that grape specific techniques can be used to fully realize the potential of each separate wine. Then they are blended through trial and error to create the final wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:This release is almost everything anyone could want in a Red Blend. It is delivered with finesse, richness, balance and length. Dark berries and cherries, chocolate, vanilla, toast, and sweet peppers are part of both the nose and the palette in this wine. These experiences are completed by soft, sweet wood, honeyed texture and a long, sweet, smoky finish transported on a medium to full body. Good acidity and elegant tannins complement a very drinkable and memorable wine.

Suggested Food Pairings:Filet Mignon, Roast Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary, Teriyaki Beef and other grilled red meats are great choices for this gem. Popular choices might include Gourmet Thin Crust Pizza, Mushroom dishes and Gourmet Hamburgers. Bring on the Gorgonzola cheese!

Cellaring: Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.

OPTIONAL WINE: Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling VQA 2008 $19.95

This wine is this month’s optional selection that can be ordered by calling Debbie at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or The tasting panel began by tasting this wine and had to remind themselves to move on to the other selections because it was so light and dry and summertime drinkable.

The Archangel Series are the first of the grapes to be harvested each vintage at Angels Gate. It is very unusual to find a sparkling wine made of 100% Sauvignon Blanc outside of New Zealand.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:A great palette cleanser and thirst-quencher, it is fruit forward, zesty and effervescent. Well-balanced, it can be drunk on its own and enjoyed for its melon, citrus, ripe apple and pink grapefruit notes that are tempered by the subtle sweetness of lime. It is balanced and, like all the other Angels Gate wines, elegant in its very delicate profile.

Suggested Food Pairings:Chill & enjoy.If you want to have with food, we would recommend fresh vegetable appetizers, green salads, Thai shrimp rolls or seafood would be delicious. Creamy cheeses like Havarti are perfect for this type of wine. Don’t forget everyone’s favourite… goat cheese!



With Angels Gate Old Vines Chardonnay…

Grilled Sweetbread and Chicken Thigh Skewers

Courtesy of Matthew Croncich – Angels Gate Chef
When you visit the winery, plan to nosh on the picturesque patio and say hello to Chef!

Serves 4


4 chicken thighs

1.5 lbs veal sweetbreads

2 cups white wine

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp canola oil

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 cups salt water

½ cup Dijon mustard

1 tsp sea salt

Fresh herbs (thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, majoram, sage)


1.Marinate thighs in white wine, crushed garlic, canola oil and thyme for 3-10 hours.

2.Roast the seasoned thighs in a 400F degree oven until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

3.Gently poach sweetbreads in salted water, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns. They should appear pink, but opaque in the middle. Do not overcook or boil. Check frequently. Once done, plunge into ice water bath.

4.Once cooled, remove outer membrane and exposed veins with paring knife while breaking into chunks equal to size of chunks for chicken thighs..

5.On long metal skewers, alternate chicken and veal pieces so they are touching but not squashed together.

6.Brush the meat skewers with Dijon and sprinkle with favourite remaining herbs. Place finished skewers in refrigerator until grill is hot and ready. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook on grill moderately until meats are coloured and opaque.

With Angels Gate Red III…

Bodacious Burgers
A family favorite recipe from the kitchen of Carly Khonmen Wayne’s daughter

Serves 8


2 lbs lean ground beef

½ lb bulk Italian Hot sausage

½ large red onion, chopped

2 Hot chili peppers

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ lb Muenster Cheese

1 egg

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste


1.Preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.

2.Mix ground beef, sausage, onion, chili pepper, Muenster cheese, egg, Worcestershire Sauce, and chili powder in a mixing bowl until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper and mix again. Form the meat mixture into 8 patties.

3.Cook on the grill until burgers are no longer pink in the centre, about 7 minutes per side. Centre temperature should be about 70C.

4.Serve with Angels Gate Red III at 18C.

With Angels Gate Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling….

Sautéed Shrimp
A family favorite recipe from Wayne’s kitchen
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer


1 cup butter

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 to 3 lbs raw jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 Tbsp dry sherry or white wine

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley


1.In skillet, heat butter, cook garlic over medium-low heat until soft.

2.Add shrimps and cook until they turn pink.

3.Add sherry (or wine) and simmer for another minute.

4.Add cream and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley if you wish.

5.Serve with rice using toast or biscuits as edible spoons or just serve on the toast or biscuits themselves.


Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!




For Wine Lovers in Ontario, our own backyard is well stocked..

Posted by Julie

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Cherry and peach trees, grapevines – miles of them, wineries galore dotted with the odd golf course, farmhouses, B and B’s are the memories of the past week in the Niagara Escarpment. When Holly suggested I write a guest blog on Doug’s and my recent travel, I immediately responded positively although it’s hard not to write a journal, so much to see and taste!

For wine lovers, the Niagara Escarpment, Twenty Valley, Niagara-On-the-Lake locales are an oenophile paradise. While the wineries offer the usual vitis vinifera varietals: Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir etc., many have ice-wine and their own rose.  Between sipping and sampling en route, as dedicated sommeliers and wine nuts, we visited over 20 wineries, as well as attending the Cool Climate Chardonnay event held at the Tawse Winery (July 23) where 56 wineries featured their “Chards.”  For the ABC folks (anything but Chardonnay), Chardonnay still remains the most widely produced VQA in Ontario.

Every winery we visited left something memorable; whether it was the enormous stainless steel tank named Budda, at Creekside Estate Winery, or the labels on the Organized Crime Wines, telling a pictoral story of Mennonites feuding over an organ (catch the play on the word?)  Or the new Colaneri winery, 37,000 square feet, the largest winery in the region still under construction, shaped like a Roman coliseum in a hugely impressive “C” representing the Italian family and their winemaking heritage.

The viticulture was amazing at Featherstone Winery where we witnessed sheep chomping away at the grape leaves so the grapes will be exposed to sunshine which in turn, speeds up their ripening. These little sheep meander up and down the rows of vines, and it was quite humorous watching them chew the leaves. Needless to say I took pictures.

The most valuable members of the team.

Many of the wines at these boutique wineries are unavailable at the LCBO so we brought a few home. One purchase was a Featherstone rose and have since found it to be a great patio to table “spirit”.  An enchanting cranberry colour, all the ripe berry flavours, bone dry with tart acidity that practically jumps out of the glass. We have since enjoyed this with grilled shrimps, zucchini and our always tomato basil salad which makes a divine summer supper.

Sheep: appreciated for their usefulness & whimsy.

We have previously traveled the Twenty Valley and the sense of anticipation with old and new wineries never ceases to amaze and never disappoints. The people are friendly, knowledgeable and their eagerness to share the harvest makes for a magnetic welcome. We’re already talking about the wineries that we plan to visit next year. I’ve always said, you never have to look further than your own backyard in Ontario to find great wine.

Cheers, Julie


A Virtual Winery of Real Excellence: Nyarai Cellars & Calamus Estate Winery

Posted by Derek

Monday, July 11th, 2011


If you ask Nyarai Cellars owner & winemaker Steve Byfield where his winery is located, he might tell you “Nowhere”. This might appear to be an odd response, especially when much of the wine world is focused on the concept of terroir, which is about creating wine that illustrates a place. In fact, terroir is often described as “somewhereness”. Steve’s winery indeed has a location – it is found within the walls Calamus Estate Winery in Niagara. On our winery visits, we are discovering more “virtual wineries” like Steve’s. The word “virtual” might conjure ideas of only existing in cyberspace, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, at a virtual winery, the winemaker independently grows or purchases grapes, while using the facility & equipment at an existing winery. This alleviates the large startup investment of purchasing property, vineyard & winery. The result of Nyarai Cellars is impressive wines, as you will discover in this month’s Savvy Selections.

To give you a better taste of the partnership between a virtual winery & host winery, you will find wines from Nyarai along with wines from Calamus Estate Winery. The wineries’ common thread is Steve Byfield, owner & winemaker of Nyarai Cellars while he is also the Assistant Winemaker at Calamus. This is the first time Savvy Selections is featuring two wineries side by side! You will experience the wines from Calamus where Steve has honed his talents alongside the equally accomplished winemaker, Arthur Harder, as well as the progression of Steve’s career to his own Nyarai Cellars.

For this month’s Savvy eZine, Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath talked with Steve to learn how Nyarai has changed since they were last featured in Savvy Selections in July 2009 – their first month in business!

To select the wines for this month, Derek, along with 4 other Savvy Sommeliers: Julie, Doug, Velma and Erin, sampled the finest wines from Calamus Estate Winery and Nyarai Cellars.This tasting panel is pleased to present the following wines:

·Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2010 – Steve has a growing reputation for fine Sauvignon Blancs

·Nyarai Cellars Viognier VQA 2010 – a medal winner in this year’s Ontario Wine Awards

·Calamus Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2007 – a Bordeaux blend from a remarkable vintage

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO…

With Savvy Selections, we feature wines that are not available at the LCBO. When you discover a favorite wine that you would like additional bottles of, (our tasting panel bets that you will be WOWED by Nyarai’s 2010 Viognier & will want more!), simply call or e-mail me to make arrangements and wines will be shipped to any location within Ontario – home, office or even your cottage.

Wine Tour Anyone?

As you know from the Savvy Selections wine deliveries each month, there are numerous wineries to visit. If you are looking to enjoy a weekend get away at one of Ontario’s wine regions then give us a call. Our Team of Sommeliers can help you plan a wine tour; make recommendations on wineries to visit or even accompany you on your tour. And before you go, be sure to read my blog Summer Roadtrips – Savvy tips for winery visits.

And the Savvy Team are traveling too this summer.Check our website as we might be involved in a event near you or are hosting an event for wine, artisan cheese & craft beer lovers – and we would like to meet you!

Cheers & Enjoy the summer!

Debbie & Savvy Team

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

A virtual winery is one without the “sticks & bricks”: instead of purchasing land and developing a modern winemaking facility, virtual wineries lease space and capacity from existing wineries. By doing so the proprietor, who is typically the winemaker too, is able to avoid the large upfront investments in land, building and equipment required to open a winery. Virtual wineries are a relatively new breed in Canada, but their numbers are growing at home and abroad.

Steve Byfield (left) is a trail-blazer in the Ontario wine industry. He is one of the original winemakers to establish his own virtual winery. In fact, Savvy Selections launched Nyarai Cellars in 2009 & our subscribers were Steve’s first customers!

I was curious to know how things at the winery were progressing since the beginning. “So far…so great! Not only have I been able to increase production, but I also expanded my portfolio to include other grape varietals,” Steve reports. “Aromatic whites are the foundation of the Nyarai label. These elegant wines can be released to the market relatively quicker than reds and therefore these refreshing wines can be enjoyed earlier.” (Steve is a modest type, Nyarai’s reds are outstanding too.)

During our conversation, Steve also mentioned that wine lovers as well as the industry have been extremely supportive of his winery. Most notably the incredible support from Calamus Estate Winery. Steve has been Assistant Winemaker at Calamus since 2006. Familiar with the space, Derek Saunders, co-owner of Calamus leases the cellar & winemaking equipment to Steve in order to produce Nyarai wines.

The Nyarai Philosophy
A virtual winery does not necessarily have a vineyard. Steve explains that he sources his grapes from the best growers in the Niagara region. The result is wines that are a bit of a melting pot with characteristics from many locations throughout the Niagara Region.

A Favourite Grape Variety
Sauvignon Blanc is Steve’s favourite grape variety to work with because “the grape has a lot of valuable attributes and you should be able to get consistent flavour profiles year over year.”

Sauvignon Blanc is conducive to Ontario’s manic climate of cold winters and erratic hot & thunderstorm prone summers. Steve explains that the consistency of the grape allows him to demonstrate his talent as a winemaker year after year. As he describes, Nyarai’s Sauvignon Blanc is somewhere between the herbaceous “in-your-face” New Zealand style and the more subtle elegant French style from Sancerre. We are delighted to give you the opportunity to enjoy one of Steve’s signature Sauvignon Blanc wines.

An Ever Expanding Portfolio
One of Steve’s goals when he established Nyarai was to create a core portfolio of wines. Well, since Nyarai was last profiled by Savvy Selections, his portfolio has expanded from three wines to six. His Viognier has made quite an impression along with his Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Bordeaux based red blends.

The latest vintage of Viognier VQA 2010 that is included in your Savvy Selections – won the gold medal at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards under the Dry White Varietal category.

This Viognier was a hands down favorite of the Savvy Selections tasting panel too. Remember that this wine is not available at the LCBO, so you may want to consider stocking up on this impressive wine, especially for summer entertaining. Nyarai’s red wine fans are patiently waiting for the 2010 reds to be released. A Syrah as well as a Bordeaux blend are still in barrel…we are anxiously awaiting until 2012 get our hands on those.

A Winning Streak
While the Viognier took home a gold medal at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards, at the 2011 Cuvee Wine Awards – considered the Oscars of the Ontario Wine Industry –
Nyarai Cellars brought home the Best Red Assemblage award for its Veritas VQA 2007 – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.

Congratulations to Steve on these awards & keep up the great wine work at both Nyarai and Calamus.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!


Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2010, $19.75

This is not your typical Sauvignon Blanc. Steve mixed things up by adding 8% of Sauvignon Blanc that has been barrel ferment (winespeak: wine that has spent time in barrels to pick up creamier characteristics).Aging Sauvignon Blanc in barrel is a technique first created by Robert Mondavi in California known as Fumé Blanc. The result is a creamer mouth feel & tones down the zippy acidity which is characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. What do you think?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Pale straw in colour with aromas of citrus, gooseberry and melon which carry on through to the palate. The wine is dry with lower than expected acidity due to the addition of some barrel fermented wine that provides for a richer, fuller mouth feel. The finish is medium in length with lingering citrus and melon notes.

Suggested Food Pairing: A great summer sipper that would pair wonderfully with ceviche or bacon wrapped grilled scallops. The Savvy Selections tasting panel recommends a Sun-dried tomato & dill cheese cake – a simple & tasty appetizer (recipe follows).

Cellaring: This is a don’t-wait-now kind of wine, so open it up, sit back and enjoy this Ontario treasure.

Nyarai Cellars Viognier VQA 2010, $20.75

Viognier has its roots (pardon the pun!) in the Rhone Valley region of France. The varietal is making a move into the Niagara Region; however the grape is challenging to grow because it is particularly prone to many vineyard diseases. As a result, few Viognier wines are produced in the Niagara area.When you find one that you like – be sure to stock up!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:A bright pale straw colour with a subtle & enticing pink hue. The pink colour is due to the fact that half of the grapes that went into this wine were kept on the skins for 12 hours prior to pressing. The aroma is clean with youthful aromas of peach, white flowers & apricots. This dry, medium bodied wine is loaded with well-defined fruit such as peaches, apricot & lime. The alcohol is warming and the body can be considered supple & creamy.

Suggested Food Pairing: Another summer sipper or it could be paired nicely with BBQ grilled planked salmon or pasta with a gorgonzola cream sauce. We are recommending that you enjoy this wine with grilled honey-basil chicken.

Cellaring:This wine could be cellared for 6 to 12 months Chill and enjoy over the summer.

Calamus Estate Meritage VQA 2007 $27.20

A Savvy Sommelier insider tip: if you ever come across an Ontario wine from 2007, BUY IT! As we have reported in other Savvy eZines, 2007 was an excellent vintage for Ontario. The 2007 Meritage by Calamus is an example of how fruit from an exceptional vintage can be crafted by a skilled winemaker into an outstanding wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Delicious” pretty much sums up the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s impressions of this wine. Deep ruby red in colour with intense aromas of blackberry, fruit cake, clove & chocolate. This is a well structured wine with generous amounts of ripe berry fruit that cling to your palate, balanced acidity and soft-tannins. It is not surprising that this was a Bronze Medal winner at the 2010 Canadian Wine Awards. Congrats Calamus!

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine would pair nicely with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal root vegetables. Our Savvy Sommeliers recommend braised lamb shanks in a tomato red wine sauce – recipe to follow.


With Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

Sun-Dried Tomato and Dill Cheesecake
From 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics, Judith Finlayson

Serves 6


1 cup (250 mL) cracker crumbs, such as wheat thins

2 tbsp melted butter

1 package cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

½ cup coarsely copped dill

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil, drained

2 tbsp finely chopped green onion or chives

¾ cup shredded Emmenthal or Swiss cheese

Method – Crust

1.In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs and melted butter.Press mixture into the bottom of prepared dish.Place in freezer until ready to use.

Method – Cheesecake

1.In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine cream cheese and eggs. Process until smooth.Add dill, sun-dried tomatoes and green onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pulse until blended (do not over mix). Add cheese and pulse just until blended. Pour mixture over crust. Cover dish tightly with foil and secure with a string (if using a springform pan, see TIP, below)Place dish in slow cooker stoneware and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch (2.5cm) up the sides.

2.Cover and cook on High for 3 hours, or until edges are set and the centre is slightly jiggly. Remove from slow cooker and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

CHEF’S TIP: If using a springform pan, ensure that water does not seep into the cheesecake by wrapping the bottom of the pan in one large seamless piece of foil that extends up the sides and over the top. Cover the top with a single piece of foil that extends down the sides and secure with a string.

With Nyarai Cellars Viognier…

Grilled Honey-Basil Chicken

From Great Recipes of the Great Cooks, Arlene Feltman Sailhac

Serves 6


1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split and pounded to an even thickness
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup + 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
¼ cup + 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper


1.Place the chicken in a shallow glass dish.In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, honey, basil, thyme and pepper.Whisk well and pour over the chicken.Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

2.Preheat gas grill and spray the grill with nonstick vegetable spray.

3.When grill is hot, lift the chicken from the marinade and grill for about 4 minutes on each side, or until just cooed through.Do not overcook.

4.Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

5.Pour the reduced marinade over the chicken and serve with seasonable vegetables.

With Calamus Estate Winery Meritage…

Braised Lamb Shanks

Serves 4


2 large white onions, chopped
4 lamb shanks
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed

2 lemons, quartered
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper


1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.Place the onions in a layer in the bottom of a Dutch oven or medium roasting pan with a lid. Arrange the lamb shanks on top of the onions. Pour the wine, balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the lamb. Place a clove of pressed garlic next to each shank, and a quarter of a lemon on each side. Pour the tomatoes over everything, and then season with salt, pepper and basil.

3.Cover and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours. Use juices from the pan to make a nice flavorful gravy.

4.Serve with mushroom risotto and grilled zucchini.

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!


And the envelope please…

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Known as the “Oscars” of the Ontario wine industry, the highly anticipated results of the prestigious Cuvée Wine Awards have been announced & celebrated! Several of the wineries & their award winning wines have been featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club

Red WineThirty Bench Wine Makers, Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2007


Limited Edition Red Winemegalomaniac – John Howard Cellars of Distinction, Sous Terre Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2007


White Wine Riverview Cellars Winery, Gewürztraminer 2009 **Savvy Selections feature winery in August 2011


Limited Edition White Wine Creekside Estate Winery, Queenston Road Vineyard Reserve Viognier 2009 **Savvy Selections feature winery in March 2011


LCBO Red WineEastDell Estates Winery, Black Cab 2009


LCBO White WineJackson Triggs Niagara Estate, Black Series Sauvignon Blanc 2009


Sweet WineInniskillin Wines, Riesling Icewine 2008 **Savvy Selections feature winery in 2008


Limited Edition Sweet Wine

Strewn, Riesling Icewine 2008 1ST PLACE **Savvy Selections feature winery in May 2011

Stoney Ridge Cellars, Gewürztraminer Icewine Barrel Fermented Barrel Aged 2009 2ND PLACE **Savvy Selections feature winery in October 2010


Sparkling Wine

13th Street Winery, Premier Cuvée NV 1ST PLACE **Savvy Selections feature winery in 2010

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery, Cuvee Catherine Rosé Brut NV 2ND PLACE

Hillebrand Winery, Trius Brut NV 3RD PLACE



Niagara College Teaching Winery, Dean’s List Chardonnay 2009 1ST PLACE **Savvy Selections feature winery in November 2010

Pondview Estate Winery, Barrel Fermented / Aged Chardonnay 2009 2ND PLACE **Savvy Selections feature winery in April 2011



Twenty Twenty-Seven Cellars, Fox Croft Vineyard Riesling 2009 1ST PLACE

Cave Spring Cellars, Riesling CSV 2008 2ND PLACE

Gewürztraminer – Riverview Cellars Winery, Gewürztraminer 2009 **Savvy Selections feature winery in Sept 2011


Sauvignon Blanc

Creekside Estate Winery, Creekside Estate Vineyard, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009 1ST PLACE **Savvy Selections feature winery March 2010

Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc 2009 2ND PLACE

White AssemblageStonechurch Vineyards, Quintet White 2009


Pinot Grigio / Pinot GrisFive Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards, Pinot Gris 2009


ViognierCreekside Estate Winery, Queenston Road Vineyard Reserve Viognier 2009 **Savvy Selections feature winery March 2010


Cabernet Sauvignon Strewn, Cabernet Sauvignon Terroir 2007 **Savvy Selections feature winery in May 2010


Cabernet Franc

Thirty Bench Wine Makers, Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2007 1ST PLACE

Kacaba Vineyards, Reserve Cabernet Franc 2007 2ND PLACE **Savvy Selections feature winery in 2010

Meritage – Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery, Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2007

Merlot – Hillebrand Winery, Showcase Merlot ‘Carlton Vineyard’ 2007


Red AssemblageNyarai Cellars, Veritas 2007 **Savvy Selections feature winery in 2009 & 2011



Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate, Delaine Vineyard Syrah 2007 1ST PLACE

Stonechurch Vineyards, Syrah Reserve 2007 2ND PLACE


Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of ExcellenceBill Redelmeier of Southbrook Vineyards:

For selflessly promoting the Ontario wine industry in London and New York. (Bill organized and arranged for Ontario Chardonnays to be blind-tasted by leading wine writers in Toronto to select the best to be shown to the trade and wine press in London and New York).

**Southbrook Vineyards was a Savvy Selections feature winery in 2010


Cuvée Award of Excellence in ViticultureKevin Donohue, Colio Estate Wines Inc.


More about the awards…
The Cuvée Wine Awards are the only awards in Canada where the winning wines are chosen by the winemakers.  The judging process upholds strict criteria for the award winners and the wines selected for pouring at the Gala. This year, 50 winemakers tasted over 270 wines from 62 wineries to determine the winners.