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Nyarai Cellars – virtual winery in Ontario

Posted by Cathy

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

Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Nyarai Cellars

– July 2014 –

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

What is a virtual winery?

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

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

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

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

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

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

 

Introducing…
Nyarai Cellars

Presented by Cathy Law

 

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

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

And all that jazz…

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

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

Creating a co-operative community

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

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

Virtual vs. Reality

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

“My passions are music and wine”

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

Here’s to Steve & his wonderful wines!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

sauv blanc2012 Sauvignon Blanc VQA $19.95

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

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

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

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

 

viognier2012 Viognier VQA $21.95

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

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

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

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

 

veritas2010 Veritas Reserve VQA $26.95

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Nyarai Sauvignon Blanc….

Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken

From the Canadian Living Light and Healthy Cookbook
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

 

With Nyarai Viognier ….

Cedar Planked Salmon à la Cathy

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

Heat your BBQ or Smoker to medium high.

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

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

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

 

With Nyarai Veritas Reserve …

Mushrooms Stuffed with Parmesan Cheese and Almonds

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

Ingredients

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

Method

Preheat oven to 350F

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

Chop the almonds finely and set aside.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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Discover why Ravine Vineyard is unique

Posted by Giancarlo

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

– April 2014 –

 

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

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

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

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

Merlot VQA 2011– Get your BBQ ready!

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

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

Ordering hard-to-find wines is easy!

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

A MUST on your next visit to the Niagara region

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

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Ravine Estates Winery

Presented by Giancarlo Nidasio

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

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

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

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

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

Winemaking & the Vineyard

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

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

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

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

What’s next?

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

Ask for Marty when you visit!

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

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

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2012, $14.00

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

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

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

Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2012, $32.00

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

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

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

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

 

Merlot VQA 2011 $34.00

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

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

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

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

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay Musqué…

Spiced & Grilled Shrimp, with Mango Gazpacho

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

Ingredients

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

 Method

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

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

Roast peppers in oven until tender.

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

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

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

 

With Ravine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc…

Tuna Carpaccio, Diakon cress, Fuji apple, Ponzu

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

 

Step One: Pounded Tuna Carpaccio

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

Method

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

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

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

Step Two: Ponzu sauce

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

Method

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

Step Three: Fuji apple & diakon salad

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

Method

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

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

Plate Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

 

With Ravine Vineyard Merlot…

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

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

Ingredients for mint rub

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

 Method

Must NewZealandLambRub all above ingredients together

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

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

While lamb is cooking, make the sauce:

Ingredients for Tzatziki & curry sauce

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

Serve over top of a pool of mint jelly.        

                     

With Ravine Vineyard Merlot…

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

From Executive Chef Clifford Lyness, Brookstreet Hotel

Step One: Braised veal shank

Ingredients for Braised veal shank

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

Step Two:  Pasta             

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

Ingredients

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

Method

Add the eggs and olive oil and mix together.

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

Step Three: Roast cipollini onion jam

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

Method

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

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

Step Four: White truffle & chive butter tension

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

Method

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

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

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Rosehall Run: County pioneer & international champions

Posted by Erin

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

– March 2014 –

 

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

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

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

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

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

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

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

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

OPTIONAL WINE

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

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

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

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Rosehall Run Vineyards

Presented by Erin Bolling

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

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

A HUGE pat on the back!

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

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

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

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

Gourmet Picnics – Yes please!

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

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

Looking Ahead…

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

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

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

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!


~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Rosehall Pixie Sparkling Rosé – $17.95

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

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

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

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

 

JCR Chardonnay  VQA 2011 – $29.95

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

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

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

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

 

Pinot Noir Cuvée County VQA 2010 $22.65

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

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

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

There’s an anniversary on the horizon!

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

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

Rosehall Pixie Sparkling Rosé…

Watermelon Feta Mint Skewers

From ServingSeconds.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

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

Method

Prepare the ingredients in assembly line fashion.

Skewer watermelon first, then mint then feta.

Repeat as you like.

 

 With Rosehall Run JCR Chardonnay VQA 2011 …

Coconut Crusted Chicken

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

Ingredients

Salsa

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

Coconut Crust

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arrange on a serving platter and top with the salsa

 

With Cuvée County Pinot Noir  VQA 2010…

Moussaka

From www.CanadianLiving.com

Ingredients

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

Bolognese Sauce

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

Béchamel Sauce

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

 

Method

Bolognese Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

Béchamel Sauce

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

To Assemble

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

Spread Béchamel Sauce over top and sprinkle with cheese.

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

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

 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Stunning wines from Stratus Vineyards

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Stratus Vineyards

– February 2014 –

 

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

Being at the leading edge

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

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

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

Taste the Talent

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

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

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

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

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

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

The cult following of Stratus wines

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

Cheers & Enjoy…and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Stratus Vineyards

Presented by Accredited Sommelier Susan Desjardins 

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

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

The Artist

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

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

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

Location. Location. Location

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

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

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

The story of the 2011 vintage

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

How does 2013 vintage look?

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

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

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Stratus Gewürztraminer 2011 VQA, $32.00

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

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

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


Wildass Merlot 2011 VQA, $27.95

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

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

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

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


Tollgate Red 2011 VQA, $26.00

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

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

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

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

Curious about the Stratus names?

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

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

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

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

With Stratus Gewürztraminer…

Classic Roast Chicken with a Twist

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

Ingredients

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

Gravy

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

With Wildass Merlot

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

Serve with roasted root vegetables.

 

With Tollgate Red…

Roasted Veal Chops with Mushroom Sauce & Truffle Oil

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

Ingredients

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

Mushroom Sauce

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

Garnish

½ C olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves

 

Method

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

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

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

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

Serve chops with mushroom sauce & sprinkle with sage leaves.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Taste the different terroir makes

Posted by Velma

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

–  November 2013 –

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

What is Terroir?

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

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

In your your November Savvy Selections you will find:

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

2011 Red Paw Vineyard Chardonnay – A class act.

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

OPTIONAL WINES: Have your own mini-wine tasting!

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

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

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

Cheers!

Debbie & the Savvy Team 

 

Introducing…
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Velma LeBlanc 

 

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

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

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

The wine business is so unique

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naming the winery

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

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

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

Flying the flag for Ontario wineries

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

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

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

 

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!  

    

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~ 

2012 Vintage 30 Gewurztraminer $24.95

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

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

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

 

2011 Red Paw Vineyard Chardonnay $19.95

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

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

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

 

2011 Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon  $21.95

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

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

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


~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Coyote’s Run Gewürztraminer…

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Pepper Sauce

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

With Coyote’s Run Chardonnay…

Chicken Marbella

From Silver Palate Cookbook
Servings 10-12 servings

Ingredients

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

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

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

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

 

With Coyote’s Run 2011 Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon…

Best Ever Meat Loaf

From Canadian Living Magazine
serves 8

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

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

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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

Posted by Eva

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

–  October 2013 –

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

Grape-growing pioneers of Prince Edward County

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

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

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving! 

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Casa-Dea Estates Winery
Presented by Savvy Sommelier Éva Nagy 

 

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

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

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

From butcher to…winemaker 

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

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

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

What’s in a wine?

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

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

Appassimento – the Italian winemaking technique 

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

Loving every moment

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

Tomato vines to grape vines

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

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections! 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~ 

 

Dea’s Rosé VQA 2012 $24.95

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

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

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

Pinot Gris Reserve VQA 2010 $24.95

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

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

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

Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2009 $24.95

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

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

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

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

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Dea’s Rosé VQA 2012 …

Beet Risotto

From Food & Wine
Serves 8 

Ingredients

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

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

VQA With VQA Pinot Gris Reserve 2010…

Turkey Quesadillas

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

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

 

With Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2009 …

Lamb Chops with Moroccan Barbeque Sauce

From myrecipes.com

Ingredients

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

Moroccan barbecue sauce (recipe follows)

Method

Photo credit: myrecipes

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

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

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

Mint chutney 

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

Moroccan barbecue sauce 

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

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

Makes about 1 1/4 cups. 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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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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