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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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