Posts Tagged ‘Savvy Sommelier Doug Dolinski’

These BIG wines win the hearts of our subscribers

Posted by Julie

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

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 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



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!




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.



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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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!


13th Street Winery awakens your “13th sense”

Posted by Julie

Thursday, November 15th, 2012


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! 



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.




With 13th Street Premier Cuvée Sparkling

Smoked Salmon Tortilla Spirals

From Bonnie Stern’s Appetizers
Makes approximately 32 spirals

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


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.

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


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

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



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!