Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Bachelder’

Tee off for a round of golf & wine at Rockway Vineyards

Posted by Susan

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club 
Featuring Rockway Vineyards

– September 2014 –

 

If your passion is golf and you love to spend the 19th hole with a fine glass of wine paired with a delicious lunch, Rockway Vineyards is the place for you. This property has a fascinating history that starts with founder Bruce Strongman’s love of golf and wine.

Enter the entrepreneur…

Bruce started making paint in his family-run paint store in Toronto, and built the business into the largest paint and wallpaper chain in Canada – Colour Your World. Bruce had time for more golf when the company was sold, and like many entrepreneurs, he followed his dream. It wasn’t just about shooting a perfect round, his dream included owning a golf course.

Take one golf enthusiast…

Rockway VineyardsYears of travelling to his golf course through vineyards along the Niagara Wine Route, which was increasing in popularity, led Bruce and his son Reid to hatch the idea of establishing a golf course associated with a vineyard and winery. The current property – originally a Concord grape vineyard – was purchased and construction of the course began in 1982, with the official opening in 1984. The father and son team were convinced that many of the 25,000 golfers coming to the Niagara region would too be interested in purchasing a bottle or two of wine.

Buy grape juice…

In 2000, they set the wheels in motion, purchasing juice from Reif Estate Winery and gaining the helpful winemaking expertise of Klaus Reif.  Right from the get go, it paid off as their first ice wine was selected as the ‘best of the best’ on the menu at Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Now that is impressive!

Planting of the vines began on a 50-acre vineyard adjacent to the winery.

And last but not least, purchase the vineyard!

wine-hero1When the vineyard across the street was for sale, Bruce purchased it to provide a total of 150 acres. The rapidly growing business became the only 18-hole championship golf course with a fully functional estate winery in Ontario. Bruce is now 92, and can still be seen out at Rockway for his weekly golf game, followed by lunch and a glass of wine in the restaurant. Reid continues to be involved in the business, as are several other family members.

We’re delighted to have this opportunity to offer to you a collection of Rockway Vineyards wines, crafted by winemaker David Stasiuk’s signature ‘minimalist touch’.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Small Lot Block 12-110 Wild Ferment Chardonnay VQA 2013 – a well-balanced wine with complex nose & flavours.  You are the first to receive this wine as it is not yet released at the winery.

‘The Outcast’ VQA 2011– a red Rhône-style blend that will intrigue you as it is Syrah blended with Riesling. Daring, peppery and flavourful

Small Lot Block 11-140 Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 – perfectly well-ripened, smooth, sauve & showcasing all that Cab Franc can be.

If you’re an avid golfer like our Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins, after visiting Rockway for both the winery and the golfing – you will make this a regular stop when you visit Niagara. Be sure to make time for a round, wines tasting, lunch or dinner at the excellent restaurant, then take a stroll through the Rockway museum, that includes a selection of authentic French winemaking antiques.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team 

Introducing…
Rockway Vineyards

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins

 

Rockway Vineyards family photoAs I talked to Bryce Carruthers (far right in photo) – Rockway’s Sales Manager as well as Bruce’s nephew – he emphasized the recent transition that has taken place at Rockway. With tee off bookings at the golf course being steady and the banquet hall is regularly booked with weddings and golf tournaments, the family wanted to shift the focus to growing the winery and the creation of distinctive wines.

In 2009, the name was changed to Rockway Vineyards, and Bruce (centre with white shirt) instructed his then-wine consultant to find the best possible winemaker in the region. “If it’s not the best wine we can make, we’re not going to bottle it!”

Enter David Stasiuk . . . and the accolades keep coming. (David is middle of left group in photo)

David’s excitement at his role is palpable. A graduate of the Niagara College Winery & Viticulture program, he came to winemaking through the hospitality industry. “In the various roles I held in the restaurant industry, I met many winemakers, attended tastings and played a role in the selection and management of wines for the restaurants. I quickly realized that my passion for wine was too great to play second fiddle to opening a restaurant!”

Attracted to the practical components of the Niagara College program, he initiated his studies in 2007, soon realizing that the scope of a winemaker’s duties is broad.  At Rockway, David is a grower, a chemist, a taster, a people manager, a marketer, a media relations agent and, as he says, a life-long student.

Hands-on experience across Canada & beyond

During and after the College program, he ventured to gain hands on experience locally and around the world. At Le Clos Jordanne (in Niagara), he worked with Thomas Bachelder, learning the importance of site and terroir and how that translates into each wine. “Thomas was a great mentor. I learned so much—that passion for winegrowing is a must and plays a key part in the impression left on every wine crafted; the methods of wild yeast fermentation, barrel program design and so much more—I could go on forever”, explained David.

He wanted to experience winemaking in Canada’s other major winegrowing region, and was able to secure a position at Sumac Ridge. What better place for David to cut his teeth in the industry, than at this seminal Okanagan property, where Harry McWatters established his first vineyard by planting vines on what were the first few holes of his golf course! Through this experience, David worked with Sumac Ridge’s signature product –  sparkling wine – as well as still wines and developed an understanding of the BC wine industry.

Next, David moved on to Australia and New Zealand, staying true to his cool-climate roots, working at Moët Chandon in Australia’s Yarra Valley and with Villa Maria Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. Here, he worked with grapes varieties such as Pinot Noir and Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay – all highly relevant to the Ontario wine industry.

Europe was his next destination, yet life and his wife’s career intervened, so he headed to BC to work with Darryl Brooker at Cedar Creek, before moving back to Niagara. “Darryl’s approached to winemaking really affected how I look at things—always a focus on the highest quality with an honest hands-off approach, and the determination to go the distance to achieve the best results, no matter what”, tells David. 

5 years and counting…

David Stasiuk - taken by Savvy CompanyWhen David joined Rockway Vineyards 5 years ago, he combined his love for food and golf with his passion for wine.

He was given a clean slate and the opportunity to re-define the style of Rockway wines. Asked what he feels gives his wines their unique style, he focuses on two keys factors: the site and state-of-the-art equipment.

“We are located on the furthest eastern border of the Twenty Mile Bench sub-apellation. We are farther away from the lake than the bench wineries (winespeak: wineries along the Beamsville Bench), yet still benefit from the lake-effect wind and temperature modulation. Because of the way the escarpment wraps around our site, we tend to have funneling winds that promote good air flow through the grapevine canopies.” David continues, “we have diverse soils and are on a gradual slope that, with the winds, helps reduce the risk of settling frosts. Most of our vines were planted 10-30 years ago, so we have some mature vines and are focused on Chardonnay and Riesling, as well as Cabernet Franc and Syrah.”

With the winery onsite, there is minimal time from picking to processing and the winemaking equipment includes state-of-the-art cooling tanks and processing equipment.

Making wines he likes

When I asked about his philosophy and the type of experience he would like you to have when you taste his wines, David is poetic. “We try to preserve the flavours developed in our vineyards by being gentle with the fruit and not obscuring the taste of the vineyard by over oaking. I want people who taste our wines to have the same experience I look for in a wine”. David shares his personal impression, “I want to be intrigued at the first smell from the glass. I want to sense depth and layers of aromas. Then I want the wine to have life on the palate. I want it to be fresh and approachable but firm, with a distinct personality.”

Let me ask you…what more could YOU want!?!

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


‘Small Lot Block 12-110’ Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 VQA, $32.00

The fruit for this wine was hand harvested, a portion of the juice placed in a warm room to start a natural inoculant, then was tasted and added back to the barrels. The wine was aged in French oak for 7 months.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Attractive notes of butter, vanilla and toasted nut mingle with aromas of ripe orchard fruit. This dry, medium-bodied wine offers a tantalizing taste experience, showing complexity & verve with sound fruit flavours, good structure and a pleasant touch of buttery toast on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Enjoy the creamy texture  & lively acidity of this wine with roast chicken, pork or grilled salmon.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years.

 

‘The Outcast’ 2011 VQA, $19.95

Move over Shiraz/Viognier blends, David is introducing his own creation: Syrah/Riesling. It’s common practice in Australia to add 5% Viognier to Shiraz for aromatics and minerality. David in turn, is adding 5% Riesling to this northern Rhône-style Syrah for the subtle acidity and residual sugar it brings to the texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Dry, medium bodied, this unique blend has a firm structure and fresh texture, with a peppery nose, spicy floral notes and lovely red & black fruit.The spicy peppery notes mingle with a hint of earthiness and juicy ripe fruit, while a subtle note of coffee bean (resulting from the Syrah juice that spent 18 months in oak) lingers on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:Lamb is a classic pairing or enjoy with other roast meat are a perfect match.

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 2-3 years.

 

‘Small Lot Block 11-140’ Cabernet Franc 2011 VQA $24.95

The fruit for this wine benefited from ideal ripening conditions – warm days and cool nights heading into harvest, assuring depth of flavor and smooth tannins. Fermented with a native Bordeaux yeast, then aged 18 months in French barrels.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Here’s a well-ripened Cabernet Franc offering a fine nose of spicy chocolate, lavender, dried herbs, ripe berry and plum. Dry, medium-full bodied, it has great presence on the palate, a fresh yet rich texture, well-defined structure and flavourful fruit flavours. Attractive peppery notes & a hint of mocha persist on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with Beef Bourguignon, Coq au Vin or leg of lamb.

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

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~


With Rockway Wild Ferment Chardonnay…

Salmon with Lemon Quinoa & Corn Salsa

From Radius Café, Hamilton Ontario
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups dried quinoa
2 lemons
6 Tbsp olive oil
½ C chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cobs corn
½ red pepper, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
4 portions fresh Atlantic salmon

Method

In 2 litres of boiling water, cook quinoa until tender, 8-10 minutes. Strain in a colander & transfer to large bowl. While it’s still hot, add zest & juice of 2 lemons & 2 Tbsp olive oil. Stir & let cool in refrigerator. Once cool, add 2 Tbsp parsley & set aside.

Husk corn & grill on high, rotating cobs until nicely charred on the outside. Stand corn upright on cutting board & run knife along cob to remove kernels. (alternatively, do the same process by boiling corn)

Transfer kernels to bowl. Add red pepper, shallot, remaining olive oil, white wine vinegar & remaining parsley. Season this corn salsa with half the salt & pepper & set aside.

Season salmon with remaining salt & pepper & brush lightly with oil. On hot grill, cook salmon for about 6 minutes per side or until moist & flakey.

Make a bed of quinoa on each plate. Lay grilled salmon on it & top with corn salsa. 


With Rockway ‘The Outcast’

Leg of Lamb with Syrah Marinade

Adapted from Cooking with BC Wine Cookbook, T & C-L Townsin
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 leg of lamb
1 cup Syrah
2 tsp minced horseradish
2 cup ketchup
2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp shallots, minced
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped

Method

David Stasiuk in cellar - taken by Savvy CompanyCombine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container. Trim excess fat from lamb and marinate overnight for best results. There should be extra marinade to be saved for later.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove lamb from marinade and sear on all sides in pan over medium high heat.

Transfer lamb to ovenproof dish, cover and roast for 45 minutes for rare or 1 hour for well done. Or grill on barbeque. Serve with baby roast potatoes and seasonal fall vegetables.

 

 

What a treat! David gave us a barrel tasting of his 2012 red wines of Syrah & Cabernet Franc. Not ready just yet, but they will be worth the wait!

 

With Rockway Cabernet Franc…

Grilled Hanger Steak with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa

From The Flavour Principle Cookbook, L. Waverman, B. Crosariol
Serves 6

Ingredients for Steak

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbp chopped garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp honey
¼ cup olive oil
one 2 lb. hanger steak
salt & freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for Salsa

3 ears corn, shucked
3 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 red pepper, cut in quarters
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
¾ cup chopped red onion

Ingredients for Dressing

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp coriander seeds
¾ tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

 

Method for Steak

Combine mustard, vinegar, thyme, garlic, chili powder & honey in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Pour marinade over steak & marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Remove steak from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat grill to high. Season steak with salt & pepper & grill for 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare (depending on thickness) or until desired degree of doneness.

Remove from grill & let rest for 5 minutes. Slice against grain & serve with Smoky Corn & Tomato Salsa.

Method for Salsa 

Preheat grill to high. Brush corn, tomatoes & red pepper with oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Grill corn for about 3 minutes per side or until kernels are golden. Also grill tomatoes until skin is shriveled and flesh is soft, about 2 minutes per side. Peel charred skin from tomatoes & discard; then grill peppers for about 4 minutes per side or until skin is blackened. Set aside & cool. Peel skin from pepper & discard. Dice pepper & transfer to medium bowl.

Slice corn from cobs & add to pepper with red onion.

Place tomatoes in food processor with oil, lemon juice, coriander seeds & paprika. Process until smooth. Stir in cilantro. Toss vegetables with dressing.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Great Wine Picks from Ontario & France For Your Easter Weekend

Posted by Susan

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
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Easter weekend arrives early this year, the last weekend of March, and the March 30 LCBO Vintages is right on cue, with a special feature including a bevy of Ontario wines to serve with your ham, turkey or prime rib. To get you started, try the always delectable 13th Street Premier Cuvée sparkling wine, a fine, focused effort from the 2008 vintage.

 

With ham or turkey, you have a choice of wines, including Chardonnay from Thomas Bachelder or Le Clos Jordanne, or single vineyard Pinot Noir from Le Clos Jordanne or Peninsula Ridge. With prime rib or ham, give the Featherstone Cabernet Franc from the great 2011 vintage a whirl.

 

Looking for a grand finale to the Easter meal, enjoy Fielding Estates’ luscious yet balanced Vidal Icewine, winner of a silver medal at the Canadian Wine Awards. The main feature, showcasing Southern France, also offers a fine sparkling wine from the Languedoc, Domaine J. Laurens ‘Le Moulin’ Brut Blanquette de Limoux. Made in the same method as champagne, with the second fermentation in bottle, Blanquette de Limoux is recognized as the first sparkling wine made in France – earliest references date back to Benedictine monks in the 16th century.  If you’re feeling adventurous, buy a bottle of both the Blanquette de Limoux and the 13th Street sparkler, and compare!

Southern France Shines Through

The remainder of the Southern France feature comprises mostly red wine blends, from appellations such as Minervois, Côtes de Roussillon, Corbières and the Côtes du Languedoc, most offering great value in the $15-20 range. This area of France is quite fascinating, with influences from southern Bordeaux, the Mediterranean and northern Spain. French melts into Catalan, fields of lavender rush to meet the sea, and vineyards climb the rocky hills. It’s a region of innovation and ancient history, stretching back to the Romans. With somewhat looser rules in its appellations, the Languedoc was one of the first regions in France to create tasty, relatively inexpensive wines for export naming the grape varieties on the label. You will finds blends that combine varying concentrations of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and/or Mourvèdre, such as the Cave de Roquebrun “La Grange des Combes’ Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun (awarded 4 stars by Decanter World Wine Awards), the Château de Treviac from Corbières near the Spanish border, and the Château Saint-Roch Chimères, included in our selection.

 California Wine Fair Comes to Ottawa April 5, 2013

The general release also offers some great value, including a couple of California red wines—Irony ‘Small Lot Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon and the unique Langtry Guenoc Petite Syrah.  Reminder – the California Wine Fair stops in Ottawa just after Easter (April 5 at the Westin) and in Toronto the following week  (April 8 at the Fairmont Royal York). Erasmo is a fabulous Cab/Merlot blend from Chile, while Otazu is an award-winning wine from Spain. Don’t miss Luigi Righetti’s ‘Campolieto’ Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore from the 2010 vintage – it’s fabulous and one of our choices. I just opened a bottle of 2005 that was divine, so pick up a few bottles of this wine—a great deal at $16.95—to enjoy now and to cellar.

 

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet 2011

AP Coteaux du Languedoc, France
$12.95 (Vintages #525287) 12.5% alcohol
Load up the wagon with this great value white wine! Straw-hued, it’s fragrant with white flowers, citrus zest and a touch of crisp green apple. Dry, clean and tangy, with a fine silky texture, the flavours of lemon/lime and green apple replay right through the tasty, palate-cleansing finish. A lively sipper or a great wine to pair with fish or seafood.

Château Saint-Roch Chimères 2010

AOC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France
$18.95 (Vintages #119354) 14.5% alcohol
This is a big, flavourful red wine blend—Grenache, Syrah and Carignan—a bold wine offering intriguing aromas of blueberry, smoked meat, dried herbs, tar and earth. Dry, full bodied, the intense flavours of berries replay, mingling with elusive notes of sweet spice and dark chocolate. Displaying well-integrated tannins and oak, it’s loaded with flavour and finishes with a peppery flourish. Serve with herbed rack of lamb.

The Good Earth Dry Riesling 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #324244) 11.3% alcohol
Owner Nicolette Novak isn’t kidding when she includes the word ‘good’ in the name of her winery – there’s nothing but good food and wine at Good Earth. This Riesling is a fine example! Deftly crafted by young winemaker Dré Glass it’s a finely balanced dry, mid weight white wine where clean, tangy acidity is married with lovely aromas and flavours of pithy citrus and crisp apple. A fine mineral edge enhances the keen, lively texture and carries through the lengthy refreshing finish. Serve it with lobster with lemon butter, or with ham.

Irony ‘Small Lot Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Napa Valley, California
$19.95 (Vintages #25106) 14.5% alcohol
The quality of this red wine makes me glad the Indelicato brothers came back to their roots after ‘escaping’ (their words) the family farm! Dense and dark, this outstanding, finely balanced dry wine offers lovely aromas of ripe dark fruit, cedar, spiced vanilla and fragrant dried herbs. Dry, full bodied,  it’s a warm, approachable and intensely flavourful wine displaying well integrated oak, fresh acidity and velvety tannins married to a core of sweet spiced cassis, blackberry and plum. Great fruit-filled finish! 

Luigi Righetti ‘Campolieti’ Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010

DOC Valpolicella, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #695890) 13.5% alcohol
Ruby, semi-opaque this fine, compelling red wine blend offers totally alluring aromas of sweet ripe dark fruit, vanilla, incense and chocolate-coated cherries. Dry, medium-full bodied, you couldn’t ask for a more balanced wine. Well-integrated oak, ripe tannins and fine acidity create a velvety texture that wraps around full-flavoured, concentrated black berry and plum-flavoured fruit that glides through a yielding finish. Since you’ll want to taste it right now, buy at least one other bottle for the cellar!

Grand Total: $88.75

 

 

 

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