Posts Tagged ‘Shawn McCormick Uncork Ontario’

A gem in The County

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
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Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Trail Estates Winery
–  June 2016 –

Winery owners are reporting across Ontario, that their vineyards are growing vigorously. In fact, some wineries have already started trimming & pruning their vines (this typically happens at the end of June).FB Savvy Selections bottle  This month in Savvy Selections, we feature a relatively new small, family-run winery located just a few minutes outside of Wellington, Ontario – in the heart of the Prince Edward County wine region. Trail Estate Winery has an interesting background, and as you’ll soon read on, some very interesting wines too!

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find a trio of absolutely DELICIOUS wines. Each one has been specially selected for its unique ability to pair with summer foods, patios, and friends!

2014 Riesling – A super fresh, aromatic wine that has an interesting mouthfeel that adds weight and body while keeping a light and crisp mouthfeel.

 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé – An aromatic and refreshing red, fruit-driven Rosé based on mostly Pinot Noir with just a hint of Gamay Noir thrown in for structure.

2014 Gamay Noir – This blend of grapes from Niagara and The County – resulting in THE perfect summer sipping red wine – light enough to enjoy with lighter summer fare, but structured enough to stand up to most BBQ’d meats.

You won’t find Trail Estate Winery wines at the LCBO

Trail Estates is a boutique winery boldly growing their portfolio of wines and inventory! Our Savvy Sommeliers are confident that you will enjoy each sip of the wines in your Savvy Selections. They are perfect summer time wines. Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Trail Estate wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections. Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Trail Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Shawn McCormick

I’ve been writing tasting notes on Trail Estate wines since their first creations. I was really excited to author this month’s article as the wines have been getting consistently better each time I sample them….we hope that you will enjoy this month`s choice wines.

Trail Estate is one of the newer wineries to enter the scene in Prince Edward County, and they have wasted no time making a name for themselves! I had a chance to talk with their head of Marketing and Sales, Alex Sproll (left in family photo below) about the history and the future of the family business.

Wine Not?

When asked how the winery came to be, Alex explains that his parents, Anton and Hildegard Sproll (left centre & right in photo) had bought the winery property while on a weekend trip to The County back in 2011. With an existing, small (1.5 acre) vineyard on the property, they originally had no plans to start a winery. That idea is credited to the neighbouring wineries, including Jonas Newman of Hinterland Wine Company, who encouraged them to do something with the great property they had acquired. Being of the entrepreneurial spirit, Alex`s parents figured “Why not?”. They planned to do something “small and doable”. As anyone in the industry will tell you, “small and doable” quickly turns into a a mountain of work! 

Enlisting the help of their graphic designer son Alex and accountant daughter Sylvia (centre in photo), they just needed a winemaker. Enter Matthias Luck, a winemaker who was looking for a new opportunity. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Initial Wines & Standing Out

To get started, the family needed more juice than they could source from the vines on their small plot of land. So while they planted enough acreage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to get them going, they sourced fruit from elsewhere in Ontario. Initially many of their wines have been made from Niagara fruit, relying on reputable growers such as Steve Kocsis and Ed Hughes. Not happy to be just another Niagara Riesling or Chardonnay, they have focused their portfolio on small lots and have experimented with different styles in order to stand out. “Small lots, done well” would be a great descriptor for the winery style.

Trail Estates MackenzieThe “Mack Effect” 

Last year saw a change in winemakers, with Mackenzie (Mack) Brisbois returning to her County roots. “Mack” has an amazing reputation for her winemaking skills, and they have been unleashed on the wines coming out of Trail Estate in the latest vintages. To wit, she produced 6 different Rieslings and 3 different Sauvignon Blancs, with the production sizes ranging down as low as 10 cases. These wines all had wide appeal with wine connoisseurs and the general public alike (myself included!) – a rare & impressive feat!

The Sprolls have handed a fair bit of control over to Mackenzie and her more natural winemaking techniques, and everyone is benefitting from that influence.

What’s Next?

This weekend marks a vine planting event at the winery, and they hope to plant about 2000 vines, increasing the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay plantings, as well as repairing some damaged vines from the previous winters.

The winery itself is growing too. The small Quonset hut is being expanded out the front to add a proper tasting room. Alex expects that the construction will be complete later this summer, hopefully to accommodate the large crowds that visit The County during harvest. Trail Estates all bottles

On growth of the region, Alex marvels at the new blood coming to the region – folks like Mackenzie, along with legendary Ontario winemaker Derek Barnett – whose reputation will draw new talent & experience will influence others. About changes in the wine biz, with wineries experimenting with wine varieties, wine styles, tasting room formats, Alex mentions , “It’s all about a rising tide floating all boats. The industry and all its players are definitely continually raising the stakes, and we, the consumers, are the key benefactors of these changes! “

 

SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

With all of the wines we had to choose from, it was still easy to pick the wines for this month’s selections – after all, a white, a rosé, and a red make for the perfect summertime assortment! Our team of Savvy Sommeliers enjoyed the wines sipped on their own, yet you will find them all easy to pair with your favourite summer dishes. Trail Estate likes to keep their wines towards the drier side, and this combined with great cool climate acidity makes them the perfect match for summertime & picnic fare!

Trail Estates ReislingRiesling VQA 2014, $23.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Of the 3 white wines the Savvy Sommeliers sampled, this was the standout white wine. The nose exhibits steely minerality, citrus, beeswax, peaches, and ripe apple. There’s a hint of something creamy on the nose that gives a hint to the winemaking process. On the palate, honeyed peaches hit first, then that creaminess kicks in for a second before wet stone and lemony acidity cleanse the palate.

The winemaking notes indicate some extended lees contact (winespeak: this is what gives the wine that slightly smooth characteristic before the cleansing acidity kicks in). 

Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy with spicy grilled shrimp, chicken satay, or Thai pizza.

Cellaring: Drink at 7-10ºC. Can hold for a few years.

Trail Estates RosePinot Noir Rosé VQA 2014, $21.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Beautiful pale pink colour. Wild strawberry and an interesting clover flower notes on the nose give only an illusion of sweetness to come. There are hints of cherry vanilla, tangerine, and orange blossom, and a spice one taster thought was cinnamon. The palate starts slightly sweet vanilla-cherry, with a slight roundness before going to rhubarb and cranberry for a crisp finish. The 6% Gamay adds some nice structure to the 94% Pinot, and the neutral barrel ferment gives that roundness noticed.

Suggested Food Pairings: A very versatile wine that will work with many dishes including summer salads (grilled lettuce), light appetizers, and grilled salmon. Try it with the following recipe for Tomato, Cucumber & Feta bites.

Cellaring: Drink now. Serve between 7-12ºC.

Gamay NoirGamay Noir VQA 2014, $25.95

Gamay Noir is a wine of growing interest to winemakers and consumers alike. Cold-hardy, fresh, and fruity, #GoGamayGo is a call to action seen throughout social media for this grape.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A blend of 70% County fruit and 30% Niagara fruit, the colour shows a lovely medium ruby. The nose hits you with lovely cherry vanilla notes, a light white pepper spice, and lovely ripe red fruits. The palate hits both red and black cherry notes, fresh vanilla, and light spice notes before the cleansing acidity leaves you asking for another sip.

Suggested Food Pairings: Pair with simple BBQ fare like Italian burgers (see recipe below), sausages, or grilled vegetables.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Trail Estates Riesling…
Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Recipe & Photo credits www.AllRecipes.com
Serves 4

IngredientsAll Recipes - Spicy Grilled Shrimp

1 large clove garlic
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 wedges lemon, for garnish

Method

Preheat grill for medium heat.

In a small bowl, crush the garlic with the salt. Mix in cayenne pepper and paprika, and then stir in olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with garlic paste until evenly coated.

Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve.

With Trail Estates Pinot Noir Rosé …
Tomato, Cucumber, & Feta bites 

From Shawn McCormick’s family kitchen
Serves 4 (appetizers)

This is a recipe that my son Keiran whipped up in the kitchen and its amazing…and says summer all over it!

Ingredientssign

4 small Lebanese cucumbers
6 cocktail tomatoes (or 8-10 grape tomatoes)
4-6 oz. feta cheese (block style)
Olive oil
Dried oregano

Method

Slice a thin slice of skin off one side of the cucumber (the full length of the cucumber) so it will sit flat on the chopping board. Slice the remaining piece into two and separate, leaving the “bottom” piece down.

Slice the feta cheese into equal thickness portions the width of the cucumber.

Slice the tomatoes thin.

Assemble in layers – cucumber, feta, tomato & top with the top layer of the cucumber.

Insert 6 toothpicks into each “assembled cucumber log” to hold the layers together. Slice into 6 equal bite size portions.

Arrange on a serving plate or platter.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano (and salt and pepper if you want) and serve.

With Trail Estates Gamay Noir …
Grilled Italian Burgers

Recipe & Photo credit: BettyCrocker.com
Serves 4-6

IngredientsBetty Crocker Italian Burgers

1 lb lean ground beef
½ pound bulk mild or hot Italian sausage – removed from casing
2 Tablespoons Italian-style bread crumbs
6 slices mozzarella cheese
12 slices Italian bread or panini buns
½ cup sun-dried tomato mayonnaise
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

 Method

Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

Mix beef, sausage and bread crumbs in large bowl. Shape mixture into 6 patties, about 1/2 inch thick and 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

Cover and grill patties 4 to 6 inches from medium heat 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160º.

Top patties with cheese. Cover and grill about 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted.

Add bread slices to side of grill for last 2 to 3 minutes of grilling, turning once, until lightly toasted.

Spread toasted bread with mayonnaise; top 6 bread slices with lettuce, tomato and patties. Top with remaining bread slices.

 Enjoy your summer with your Savvy Selections!

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Summer Roadtrip – Savvy tips for winery visits

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, June 16th, 2011
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In less than a three hour drive from Ottawa, you can be in the heart of Canada’s fastest growing wine region – Prince Edward County. ‘The County’ as it is known, has over 20 wineries awaiting your visit. Take a drive for a day or make a weekend getaway to meet winemakers, sample their wines and roam through their vineyards. There are even wineries with restaurants to complete your wine getaway. And further along the 401, there are over 70 wineries awaiting you in the Niagara.


As a Sommelier, I enjoy travelling to wineries – whether driving around on my own, with other Savvy Sommeliers or even hosting a tour. Here are my ‘insider tips’ to make your roadtrip to wineries – anywhere in the world – more memorable:

Be selective – You don’t have to try every wine made by every winery. Decide ahead of time to taste a certain grape variety (Riesling, Merlot, etc) at each winery so that you can experience the changes from vineyard to vineyard as well as winemaker to winemaker.

Spitting is OK – We Sommeliers do it all the time! By spitting, you’ll be able to taste more wines on your roadtrip. Wineries will always provide a spittoon or bucket on the tasting counter. If it is not there – don’t be shy & ask for it!

Dumping is perfectly fine No need to finish all of the wine in your glass. When you’ve tasted enough, it’s perfectly ok to pour the remaining wine into a spittoon. Rest assured that the winemaker doesn’t take it as a signal that you didn’t enjoy the wine, rather it’s a sign you’re ready to move on to taste the next wine.

Refresh – It is important to nibble on crackers or plain white bread between tastings. And always make sure to have water nearby.  When ‘on tour‘, I always have bottles of water in my car to sip enroute.


Bring a cooler! Especially on a hot summer day, have a cooler in your trunk.  You don’t want the wines to ‘cook’ in the heat of your car – the wine (and your fond memories) can be spoiled by the heat.

There is an app for that – in fact, there are several to download on your IPod or Blackberry with maps, tips and wine reviews. The Ontario wine industry just released Traveling in Wine Country Ontario’ available at www.winecountryontario.ca Savvy Company fan Shawn McCormick has created the app Uncork Ontario


Most of all….have funwinemakers enjoy sharing their knowledge of wine & stories about winemaking, so don’t be shy – ask any questions!


For my ‘must visit’ list of Ontario wineries, email me

Cheers & safe travels!

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