Posts Tagged ‘Stratus Vineyards’

Stratus Vineyards – Toasting 10 Years

Posted by Monique

Monday, September 14th, 2015
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Stratus Vineyards Winery

–  September 2015 –

 

The kids are back in school, so folks we must accept it…our summer holiday has come to an end, yet the summer sun is still shining! The leaves have already begun changing colour and grape harvest has started in various regions, so there is no point in denying it…autumn is here. I promise not to mutter the W-word yet!

Stratus WineryThis month we are thrilled to introduce to you, Stratus Vineyards! It is a big year for Stratus as they are celebrating their ten year anniversary throughout 2015. Two key attributes that have stood out for Stratus throughout the past ten years are: being renowned as the world’s first fully LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) winery and for having the bold vision and track record of producing outstanding and age-worthy assemblage wines.

Suzanne Janke, Director of Hospitality & Retail, Stratus Vineyards explains assemblage:

“Assemblage is a centuries-old tradition in the a rt of combining several grape varieties to make a single wine. Not according to any preset formula, but through carefully selecting and balancing the best the vineyard has to offer each season – using taste, judgment and feel – to craft a wine that uniquely captures the essence of vintage and vineyard.”

Your Trio of Stratus wines…

Truth be told, it was not an easy job that our Savvy Team had when they sampled the wines. All of the choices impressed our Sommeliers. We took into account the change of seasons to determine this delectable trio crafted by Stratus’ gifted French-trained winemaker J-L (Jean-Laurent) Groux.

2011 Stratus Sémillon – A unique dry white wine that will prolong the days of patio season! This is a classic white grape variety from the Bordeaux region with loads character and is highly complementary to a world of dishes.

2012 Stratus Gewürztraminer – Luscious, floral and fun! With layers upon layers of character & flavours, wait until you try this wine with your fall food favorites.

2012 Stratus Merlot – A bold and robust red wine from one of the most sought after Niagara vintages and vineyards!

OPTIONAL WINE: 2013 Stratus Mosaic – this distinctive blend of Viognier and Gewurztraminer is neither icewine nor late harvest. Being somewhat sweet, but perfectly balanced, this will be a crowd pleaser.

You won’t find these Stratus wines at the LCBO

Our Savvy Sommeliers are always on the lookout for wines that you will enjoy absolutely every sip! AsStratus is a small-lot producer, they are rarely available outside of the winery. If you come across a favourite wine from Stratus, either in this month’s selection or in passing, call on us at any time at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for additional bottles. Also call us even if you have a yearning for wines from other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.

Raise a glass of Stratus to celebrate their 10th anniversary!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Stratus Vineyards

Presented by Sommelier Monique Ippolito

 

Ten years ago, Stratus Vineyards established themselves as a winery that respected time-honoured traditions while still managing a balance of ‘new traditions.’ This ideology was, and still is, present throughout every aspect their establishment.   From the vineyard management, to the innovative winemaking facility, to the chic resplendent tasting bar, Stratus Vineyards has done a remarkable job of mixing old with new…warm with cold… black with white…all to “make the best possible wine with the smallest possible footprint.”

The virtuoso himself… Stratus winemaker JL

J-L Groux (right) was recruited as chief winemaker for Stratus right from the get go. Originally from the Loire Valley, France, he practically grew up with wine in his veins. He studied oenology in Burgundy, meandered the globe, and then finally found himself captivated by the Niagara region by the late 1980s.

He had previously worked as a winemaker at Hillebrand, crafting Trius’ bold Cabernet blends. J-L’s artisanship for assemblage had transpired. The rest, as they say, is history.

Where does the magic start?

“In many ways, outstanding wines are grown, not made” explained J-L as we walked through the vineyard, “Currently we harvest 11 red grape varietals and seven white varietals. They were each planted in strategic blocs throughout the vineyard.” J-L is a hands on winemaker. He oversees everything – the planting, harvesting and sorting of all of the estates grapes.

Stratus handsortinTo contribute to the quality of their wines, Stratus employs techniques to provide their vines with the best possible mix of sunlight and earthly nutrients by training their vines vertical shoot positioning (winespeak: train the vines to grow upwards while the clusters of grapes hang below). Stratus also practices ‘low yield’ farming, limiting the number of fruit the vines produce to ensure higher quality grapes. All of the vineyards’ grapes are still tended, harvested and sorted entirely by hand.

What happens next…

After the wines are vinified and aged accordingly, the art of assemblage comes to play. When I asked how he prepares for such an arduous task, J-L reveals that he blind tastes twenty to thirty assemblage wines for two to three months almost daily trying to find the best characteristics for the flagship Stratus Red and Stratus White wines.

It is also quite interesting to see how this ancestral art of assemblage ties into the juxtaposed contemporary innovation theme of Stratus’ ideology. J-L explains that assemblage actually helps to overcome nature’s ups and downs by using the best varieties of each vintage. In turn, this actually helps in “keeping consistency in quality year to year even if the wine composition is not always the same.”

Once that task of assemblage is completed, J-L moves on to working on the single varietal wines – like the ones in your Savvy Selections trio – and other labels that Stratus offers: Wildass, Tollgate and Kabang. J-L affirms that while creativity, experience and attention to detail are all key traits of a great winemaker; “the vineyard actually makes the wine,” revealing a great respect for terroir (where the vines grow, breathe and live).

Where it all happens…

It is evident that Stratus exemplifies their commitment to sustainability from their blueprints. Their facility was Stratus barrelsconstructed with reclaimed materials boasting features such as a super-insulated roof and geothermal heating and cooling. They created a winery with a virtual hillside that allows the wine to move solely by gravity flow. Nothing is ever pumped and their only standby pump, which was never used, was sold soon after they opened in 2005.

Commitment to sustainability also extends beyond the winery itself. In the vineyards, Stratus employs innovative practices such as powering their tractors with recycled diesel fuel and using herbal tea blends instead of harmful pesticides to keep insects away from the grapes.

J-L himself was involved in the conception and consulted on construction of the winery, working daily with the engineer and consultant, Peter Gamble. He jokingly claims that, “if something quits working, I am on the hook!” Fortunately, the facility has been functioning excessively well and no major changes to the initial design have to come to pass.

Best part of it all….

J-L and the Stratus family all agree that the most rewarding part of the job is “establishing long lasting trust with their consumers.” After a decade of releases, customers know that they can count on Stratus wines to be consistently well crafted, with an innate respect for the land that is expressed in every glass.

Here’s to Stratus, J-L & the next 10 years!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

2011 Stratus Semillon $32.00

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine screams ripe orchard fruit (peaches, nectarine and yellow delicious apple). Lovely notes of baking spice (nutmeg), citrus blossom and touch of pine mingle very well with the fresh fruit also. On the palate, citrus, nectarine, nutmeg and white pepper stands out the most. Hold a sip of this Semillon on the tongue and you will feel a flush of luscious acidity along with a slightly oily mouthfeel and a medium long citrus-white-pepper finish.

This is a medium to full bodied dry white can absolutely stand up to a substantial meal. It pours with an attractive golden yellow hue and is pleasing to the palate when served at a slightly warmer temperature than most other whites.

Suggested Food Pairings: Roasted lemon herbed Cornish hens or even Thanksgiving turkey is one route if you plan to save this wine for your fall harvest table. Pan seared halibut, pickerel or mahi mahi with grilled vegetables in another route for enjoying now through your last days of summer.

Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar for 1-2 years. Serve between 10⁰-12⁰C.

 

2012 Stratus Gewürztraminer $32.00

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:   At first glance, notice a lovely bouquet of fresh flowers, bees wax and honey gust Gwertz_post sign (2)from your glass. Soon after, tropical fruit aromas start to come through: honey dew melon, Asian pear, mango and lychee. These aromas – tropical fruit, honey and beeswax – copy directly onto the palate along finishing layers of baking spice and white pepper.

If you are familiar with old world versions of Gewürztraminers (German or French Styles), you will pin this wine as noticeably ‘Alsatian’ (French wine region) in character. This wine has rich yet luscious mouthfeel. It has ripe tropical fruit characters with noticeable (but balanced) acidity. It is medium to full bodied and it has a medium to long finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: This wine is quite substantial and would pair well with dishes that have a lot of flavours and textures. Moroccan chick pea salad or curried lentil (vegan) chili would make excellent vegetarian dish pairing with this wine. However, if protein is what you desire, try pairing it with a heart (and spicy) beef chili. If you do not wish to disturb the layer upon layers of flavours of this wine, pair with a simple dukkah spice mix (an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts, seeds and spices).

Cellaring: Drinking well now or can cellar for 1-2 years. Serve between 10⁰-12⁰C.


2012 Stratus Merlot $32.00

Stratus GrapesSavvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Rustic came to mind when my senses were first introduced to this Merlot. Lovely red berry fruit, cassis, ripe red plums, red roses and baking spice (cinnamon, clove and anise) notes billow from the glass. Tannins are smooth and acidity is well balanced. Notice a luscious mouthfeel as you take a sip. The red fruit and baking spice stands out the most on the palate with a little bit of sweet smoke presence veering towards a the long warm cinnamon clove finish.

This wine speaks volumes of the level of quality coming out of the Niagara Peninsula. It is sure to be a sure-fire crowd pleaser amongst red wine drinkers. Seeing that the temperatures are still in the double digits, pair with red meats coming off your barbeque!

Suggested Food Pairings: Bison burgers or steak skewers. Perhaps you fancy saving it for some fall comfort food dining, the try it with Beef Wellington.

Cellaring: Drinking well know or has the cellaring potential for up to 5-7 years. Serve between 16⁰-18⁰C. 


OPTIONAL WINE: 2013 Stratus Mosaic
$25.00 (375 mL bottle)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A remarkably refreshing dessert wine! To be honest, there is no need to wait for dessert, serve as an aperitif or I would not even wait for dessert to be honest! There are loads of ripe tropical fruit notes in this wine. From guava, lychee and pineapple, to even passion fruit; this wine quite remarkable!

It is a late harvest wine from premium Riesling and Gewürztraminer varietals. It is more on the semi-sweet side, so not as cloying or syrupy as Icewine could be. Acidity is present and contributes to a luscious mouthfeel right through to a long semi-sweet citrus marmalade finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Passionfruit crème brûlée, Mexican Flan or Pavlova

Cellaring: Drinking well know, can cellar for up to 3-5 years. Serve between 8⁰-10⁰C.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With Stratus Semillon…

Fish Tacos topped with Mango Pico de Gallo and Salsa Verde

From Monique’s Kitchen
Serves 3-4

Ingredients

For the fish

1 large pickerel fillet (about 500g)
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice from half a lemon
pinch of smoked paprika
pinch of ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
8 soft corn tortillas

For Mango Pico de Gallo

1 large Roma tomato
1 small-medium onion
1 green bell pepper (optional)
1 semi-ripe mango
2-3 limes, juiced
½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon of honey
salt and pepper to taste

For the Salsa Verde

6 tomatillos (green tomatoes)
1 medium onion
1 head of garlic
2 fresh jalapeños
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons red pepper jelly
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced

Method

Chop tomato, onion, bell pepper and mango into cubes for the Pico de Gallo. Finely chop the cilantro and marinade all the ingredients in juice from limes.

Mix tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeños and cilantro in a food processor for salsa verde. After ingredients are coarsely blended, pour into a bowl and stir in honey, red pepper jelly and juice from lime and lemon.

Pat pickerel with a damp paper towel and brush with olive oil. Then season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cumin.

Heat your skillet with olive oil on medium-high heat for a couple minutes, then sear fish in the pan. Let it cook on medium low heat from 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. After 8-10 minutes, remove fish and let it crumble.

Take your warmed corn tortilla and add cooked fish, Mango Pico de Gallo, and Salsa Verde and enjoy your taco!

With Stratus Gewürztraminer…

Pan Seared Trout with Orange Butter Pecan Sauce

From wickedspatula.com (recipe and photo credit)
Serves 2trout

Ingredients

1 large trout fillet (about 8-10 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter (or ghee)
1 orange, zested and juiced
½ cup chopped pecans
Parsley, for garnish

Method

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Season the fillet with salt and pepper and place skin side up in the skillet. Sear for 3-4 minutes until the fish easily flips. Sear another 3-4 minutes until the skin is crispy and the fish flakes easily. Remove and keep warm.

In the same skillet melt one tablespoon of butter. Stir in the pecans scrapping any brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. Allow pecans to toast for about one minute. Stir in the orange juice and allow to reduce just a bit.

Season sauce with a bit of salt to taste and pour over the trout. Garnish with orange zest and parsley.


With
Stratus Merlot…

Steak Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce

From fitnessmagazine.com (recipe and photo credit)
Serves 4

Ingredientssteak skewers

For Chimichurri Sauce

½ cup finely chopped parsley
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
3 teaspoons finely chopped oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1 small shallot, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For Steak

1 pound skirt steak, trimmed
2 teaspoons cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
8-10 soaked wooden skewers (soaked for at least 30 minutes)
nonstick cooking spray for grilling

 Method

Combine all ingredients for chimichurri sauce in a bowl and set aside.

Cut steak crosswise into two equal pieces, then cut each piece lengthwise into one-inch-wide strips (making 8 to 10 pieces).

Season steak pieces in a large bowl with cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and salt and pepper, Then thread season steaks onto skewers.

Lightly coat your grill with cooking spray or line grill with foil. Light grill to high heat.

Place skewers on grill and cook for two to three minutes per side for medium rare or to your desired degree of doneness, depending on thickness. Transfer skewers to a plate and let it sit for five minutes, then serve with chimichurri sauce. 

*Chimichurri sauce can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or stored in freezer for up to 4-5 weeks.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Tips for your Valentine’s Day dinner…

Posted by Debbie

Friday, February 13th, 2015
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Have you been wracking your brains to plan the perfect dinner night out or have been trying to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant on February 14th? Have a romantic night in.  One of our catering partners, Thyme & Again has an elegant take home menu prepared by their creative chefs using local ingredients & they’ve asked us to pair Ontario wines…and craft beers with each course.

 Here is your Valentine’s Wine & Craft Beer Shopping List ♥ 

Savvy SommeliersTo make your Valentine’s celebration easy & simple, our Savvy Sommeliers  have selected Ontario wines and our Brew Crew has added in local craft beers that will WOW your love.  The wines are available at various LCBOs in Ottawa and the beers you can drop in to the brewery to pick up a growler or two.

Cheers & Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your love!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

 

Special Valentine’s Day Menu with Wine Pairings

HORS D’OEUVRES

Cherry Tomato Florentine with Basil Balsamic Drizzle (Cherry Tomato with Spinach and Parmesan Stuffing) (V, GF)

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño and Cheddar Stuffed Meatballs (GF)

Seared Scallop with Champagne Jelly and Candied Lemon Zest on Rice Cracker (GF)

 

wine_tasting_sparklingKick off your special night with a bubbly! Savvy Sommeliers recommend:

Casa Dea Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling (Prince Edward County) $18.95

Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosé (Prince Edward County) $29.95

Featherstone JOY Premium Cuvée Sparkling (Niagara) $34.95

 

Crack open these Craft Beers:

Beyond the Pale Pink Fuzz

Perth Brewery Euro Pilsner

 

STARTERS ♥

Tomato Saffron Bisque and Goat Cheese Crouton (V)

Baby Greens, Marinated Mushrooms, Pickled Beets and Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette (V, GF)

Crab Cake, Cucumber, Radish, Frisée Salad and Dill Mayo

 

Our Savvy Sommeliers recommend these wines:

Burnt Ship Bay Pinot Grigio (Niagara-on-the-Lake) $14.95

Malivoire Gamay (Niagara) $17.95

Fielding Red Conception (Niagara) $18.95

 

Serve one of these craft beers!

Bicycle Craft Brewery Belle River Blonde

Whiprsnapr Inukshuk Canadian IPA

 

MAIN COURSES ♥

Celtic Blue Cheese and Leek Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Thyme Jus (GF)

Herbed Potato Medallions; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Kacaba Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Kichesippi Wuchuk Black

 

Spinach and Shallot Stuffed Chicken Breast with Braised Fig, Orange and Port Wine Jus (GF)

Parsley Risotto; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Sue-Ann Staff Loved by Lu Riesling VQA 2012 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion Beau’s St Luke’s Verse

 

Reif Estate WinesCocoa Chipotle Dusted Magret Duck Breast with Cherry Gastrique (GF)

Herbed Potato Medallions; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir VQA 2012 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Covered Bridge “Over the River Chai”

 

Togarashi Smoked and Seared Tuna with Wakame Salad (GF)

Bamboo Rice; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Redstone Chardonnay VQA 2011 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Big Rig Brewery Session IPA

 

Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille Terrine (V, GF)

Parsley Risotto; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon VQA (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Craft Beer suggestion: Cassel Brewery Honey Brown

                                                                                  

DESSERTS ♥

Passionfruit Crème Brûlée (GF)

Rose and White Chocolate Mousse, Mango Meringue & Dehydrated Raspberry

Hazelnut Crèmeaux (N)

Dulce Mousse, Brown Butter Blondie and Dark Chocolate

Apple Confit Cheesecake

Bacon Caramel Corn, Ice Wine Gelée, Spiced Shortbread Crumb and Maple Dust

Mini Sweet Selection

Red Velvet Cupcake, Spicy Chocolate Tart, Salted Caramel Macaron (N), and Passionfruit Cheesecake

 

Dessert wines to finish off the evening:

Tawse Riesling Icewine VQA 2009 (Niagara)

beercheeseStratus Red IceWine 2012 (Niagara)

 

A Craft Beer will go with dessert too!

Dominion City Brewing Earl Grey Marmalade Saison

 

Menu codes:
N = Contains Nuts or Seeds
V = Vegetarian
GF = Gluten Free 

 

Call on Savvy Company anytime…

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…or any day of the year – you can call on us to make your get-together a special one. For more wine & craft beer recommendations from Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)  or cheers@savvycompany.ca  

 

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Newsletter February – Win GOLD with these Valentine’s Day gifts

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
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Looking for THE perfect way to say ‘I love you’? or ‘Will you be my Valentine’? or ‘I’m falling head over heels for you’?If your love is crazy about craft beer, wine or artisan cheese, look no further – these gifts are golden!

Pssst: single gals & guys. . .why not treat yourself with a Savvy gift just for YOU?

 

For the Craft Beer Lover . . .

Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month clubA one-of-a-kind gift! Launched just 10 days ago, Savvy Hip Hops is Ontario’s first Craft Beer of the Month ‘Club’ featuring award winning breweries across Ontario.

Each month, our Savvy Brew Crew collaborates with the featured brewmaster to create a unique Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case – an assortment of what’s on tap & in tank. It’s every beer lover’s dream.

The first delivery will be Friday February 28th featuring a 12 bottle pack from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co featuring one of each of their special FeBREWary beers as well as some other hard to find Beau’s brews.

Give a SUDS-cription for 4, 6 or 12 months > >

 

For the Wine Lover . . .

Savvy Selections iconScratch ‘Buy Wine’ off the Honey-Do list! Give your Valentine a subscription to Savvy Selections – Ontario’s largest Wine of the Month Club.

Each month we feature an Ontario winery & send you 3 different wines that you won’t find at the LCBO. Check out the line-up of award winning wineries we’ll be featuring in the upcoming months.

And that is not all! When you uncork a bottle of the wine that our Savvy Sommeliers have hand-picked for you, unwind by reading our monthly Savvy eZine to learn about the people who make the wine you are enjoying, the recipes we’ve paired with each bottle & tasting notes as well as tips on cellaring the wines.

Give a subscription to Savvy Selections & we’ll arrange for a February delivery of incredible wines (1 white & 2 BIG reds) from the highly acclaimed Stratus Vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

WOW your Valentine with a 4, 6 or 12 month subscription > >

 

For the Cheese Lover. . .

Vanessa SimmonsThis is every cheese lover’s dream – join us for a fun-filled day with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons on Saturday March 22 for Cheese FUN-damentals 101 ‘Class’. Nibble & nosh all day as Vanessa introduces you to cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers & show you the ‘whey’ as you learn cheese-y lingo, how artisan cheese is made, tips on buying cheese. . . and loads more!

And to top it all off, your tastebuds will be put to the ‘test’ by sampling wines & craft beers to decide which really is the best pairing with cheese.

Date: Saturday March 22 – 10:30am to 4:30pm

Location: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar – in Ottawa’s Byward Market

Savvy Special: $140 before March 15 (reg $155). Includes everything as well as gourmet lunch

This Cheese ‘Class’ will sell out fast! > >

We’re in LOVE with this Red & White wine duo!

We’ve got an amazing combo of red & white wines at amazing prices only available from Savvy Bin Ends.

The secretive Syrah is $19.95 – it’s a secret as it hasn’t been released yet – and the remarkable Reserve Riesling is $15.95 (reg 17.95) both from Kacaba Vineyards in Niagara. Mix & match any combo of 6 or 12 bottles of reds & whites for your Valentine. Be ready for lots of oooohs and aaaahs with every sip of these wines!

HOT Tip: shipping is FREE when you order a total of 12 or more bottles.

Order & it’ll be delivered in 2 days! > >

Planning an extra special dinner for your Valentine?

We’ve got you covered – for wine that is! Our ever popular Dinner Party Pack of 6 different bottles of dyn-o-mite wines from Fielding Winery that will make it easy to entertain. Start by popping the cork on the hard-to-find bubbly, then 2 show-stopper white wines & 3 heart-thumping red wines – you won’t find any of these at the LCBO.

Specially priced at $149 – including delivery to your home or office.

We have recipes to pair with the wines to make a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner:

A Sizzling Starter: Grilled Sea Scallops with Honeydew & Soy Glaze
The Main Attractions: Bacon Wrapped Veal Tenderloin with Leeks & Mushrooms or Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom & Stilton Sauce
A Delectable Dessert: Ken Fielding’s Apple Pie – with WOW factor

Order your Dinner Party Pack > >

Mark these dates in your calendar!

Next Thursday (February 20)Debbie is hitting the airwaves to co-host for the day with Derick Fage on Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV – schedule your PVR!

Thursday March 6 – Calling all Western University Alumni – we’re hosting a fun wine tasting to celebrate UWO’s 136th anniversary. Be purple & proud . . . bring a friend!

Thursday March 20 – Our first ever Taste & Buy featuring 3 wineries – from British Columbia & Nova Scotia. Full details to be announced soon. Can’t wait? Be the first to receive an invitation by emailing cheers@savvycompany.ca

Valentine’s Day can’t overshadow the record-breaking feats of our Canadian athletes at the Olympics. Raise a glass of Canadian wine or craft beer to them. Here’s to making us proud to wave the Canadian flag.

 

GO Canada GO!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

PS – gift enclosures for any of these special gifts are available – just ask us!

PPS – Show us a bit of your LOVE by ‘Liking Us’ on Facebook! Savvy Company or Savvy Selections and our brand new Savvy Hip Hops

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Stunning wines from Stratus Vineyards

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
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SS stamp lo res

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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Newsletter Dec 2013 – Savvy gifts just for you

Posted by Debbie

Sunday, December 15th, 2013
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Are you looking for THE perfect gift?  We’ve got it! Savvy Selections wine of the month club is our most popular holiday gift.  The phone is ringing off the hook & our inbox is overflowing with new subscribers joining our discovery of hard to find wines made in Ontario.

 Savvy Selections is as easy to wrap as 1, 2, 3!

#1 –Select a subscription for our 3 months (our special holiday promo!) OR subscribe for 4, 6 or 12 months > >

#2 – When you subscribe for 6 months, you’ll receive 1 month FREE delivery by courier

#3 – Receive a special Savvy Selections gift enclosure card to put under the tree

 Savvy Selections is the gift that keeps on giving every month of the year!

 

 What is Savvy Selections all about?

Savvy Selections has become Ontario’s largest wine of the month ‘club’ featuring Ontario wines not found at the LCBO. Every month, our Savvy Sommeliers select 3 different wines from a different Ontario winery & arrange delivery directly to the recipient’s home or office.  The featured wines range between $15 to $35 per bottle.  In our monthly Savvy eZine, you’ll get to know the winemaker & winery owners, learn more about the wines with our Savvy Sommeliers tasting notes & recipes that we have chosen for each bottle of wine. It is like having your own personal Sommelier!

Savvy Selections is THE perfect gift for the hard to buy for person on your list or any wine lover . . .yourself included!

Here’s the line-up of featured wineries

Savvy elves are standing by!

It’s easy to subscribe online www.savvycompany.ca/selections or to call our Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).

 

And there’s even more ways our Savvy elves can help . . .

Scratch ‘buying wine’ off your To Do list

 

We are all pressed for time in the holiday season, so why not order our TGIF – Wines for the Weekend to have an assortment of sparkling, white & red wines from across Ontario that are ready to be uncorked & enjoyed over the holidays! The total cost for this mixed case of 12 bottles is around $250 (December’s selection is $242.65 to be exact).

Order online by noon on Tuesday December 17th & the wines will be delivered to your home or office in time for the holidays.

Our gift to you: we’ll pay for the shipping.

 

Planning a New Years Eve party?

 

Ring in 2014 by popping the corks of an incredible sparkling wine at an INCREDIBLE price of $18.95 (regular $27.95).  This bubbly is top notch – you’d think it is French Champagne.  Our Savvy Team frequently pours this sparkling wine for private events we are called on to host & be Sommeliers.

At this incredible price, why not buy a case to have on hand whenever the moment strikes? After all it is the holidays!

ORDER 6 or 12 bottles of this incredible bubbly > >

 

Our Savvy elves are here to help you during the holidays!

 

Call on our Savvy Team anytime to help make your gift shopping & holiday entertaining a breeze. We are available around the clock during this festive season.  Put us on speed dial: 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email us on cheers@savvycompany.ca.

And after the hectic holidays, you can still call on us anytime to arrange special wine deliveries, or organize Sommelier led wine, artisan cheese & craft beer events for your home or office.  We even have a team building event that involves making wine – it is a riot!

 

Here’s to a fun holiday season!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

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Ontario wines fit for Her Majesty the Queen

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
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I will never forget the phone call when I was asked to be the Sommelier for a private luncheon for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during her Canada Day visit to Ottawa. The caterers for this special event – Thyme & Again Creative Catering – requested that I handpick a selection of wines to pair with each course. The meal featured locally grown ingredients and produce – naturally, it was a prime opportunity to showcase Ontario wines and wow the guests.  

 

Below is the royal lunch menu and premium Ontario wine selection – enjoyed by her Majesty the Queen and 100 plus guests during the royal visit of the newly renovated Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa on Wednesday June 30, 2010.

  

   

 

 

~ Upon Arrival ~

13th Street Winery Cuvée 13 Rosé VQA 2007, Niagara

A small number of Ontario’s 100+ wineries craft sparkling wine.  13th Street Winery is a boutique winery situated on the Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment) renown for their sparkling wines. This rare sparkling Rosé made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a splash of Syrah is extraordinary – dry, crisp with delicate aromas of wild strawberry, juicy red cherry with an elegant mousse that lingers as it refreshes. A delicious way to begin today’s celebration.

 

 

~ First Course ~

Green and White Asparagus Salad with Orange Segments,

Organic Baby Lettuces and Shaved Ontario Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Isabella’s Extreme Sheep’s Milk Cheese

 

Huff Estates South Bay Chardonnay VQA 2007, Prince Edward County

From Ontario’s fastest growing wine region – Prince Edward County – where over 20 wineries have emerged in the last 5 years and their wines are making a big impression in the wine world. This Chardonnay from Huff Estates won the prestigious White Wine of the Year from the annual Ontario Wine Awards and turned heads as it gained praises by British wine media last month when showcased at the Seriously Cool Chardonnay tasting at Canada House in London, England. This Chardonnay is a complex medium to full bodied wine, delicately threaded with French oak giving delicious tastes of vanilla custard, toasted nuts, warm spices with a hint of smoke.

 

 

 

~ Main Course ~

Roasted Breast of Barbarie Duck with Shredded Confit of Duck Leg
Mashed Potatoes
with Wild Blueberry & Thyme Jus

Local Spring Vegetable Bundle

 

Stratus White VQA 2006, Niagara

Located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Stratus Vineyards crafts an ‘assemblage’ using the estate’s best Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Semillon & Viognier grapes.  The blend composition changes with each vintage. The result in the 2006 vintage is a medium bodied wine with aromas of peach & pear with a delicate hint of orange blossom balanced with the acidity & plush mouthfeel that will complement the ingredients in the main course for those who prefer white wine.

 

Lailey Vineyard Canadian Oak Pinot Noir VQA 2007, Niagara

A truly Canadian wine – this Pinot Noir has been aged in barrels made with native Canadian oak trees – an innovation in the Canadian wine industry.  Lailey Vineyard is one of the original six wineries who were integral to this experiment. They now they craft four wines exclusively aged in Canadian oak barrels to rave reviews.  This elegant medium bodied wine has aromas of cherry, cranberry & earthy tones that grace the glass with a soft texture of red fruit & fresh ground white pepper that lingers on the palate. Selected by the Sommelier as roasted duck & Pinot Noir are a classic food & wine pairing.

 

 

 

~ Dessert Course ~

Fresh Local Strawberry Compote with Lemon Poppyseed Shortcake

Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse
Maple Shortbread

 

Coffee and Tea Service

 

 

Media Coverage

Read the article that appeared in the St Catherine’s Standard on July 2, 2010 ‘Some Niagara wines for the royal palatte’ featuring this luncheon event.

 

 

 

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