Posts Tagged ‘VQA Ontario wine delivery’

Closing off the year with award winning wines from Sandbanks

Posted by Erin

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Savvy Selections - Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Sandbanks Estate Winery

–  December 2013 –

When you hear the word ‘Sandbanks’, you may immediately think of the Provincial Park with fine sand beaches.  But many others associate this name to excellent wine, an iconic Prince Edward County winery & brightly coloured Muskoka chairs that grace the property. Catherine Langlois the owner and winemaker says the chairs match her approach to her winery; which is to make it feel like a holiday when you visit. Wine tours often end up making this winery the last stop (intentionally or not) to enjoy sipping Sandbank’s award winning while kicking back the signature chairs overlooking the vineyard. 

Our Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling chatted with Sandbanks Estates Winery owner & winemaker, Catherine Langlois initially at the Ottawa Wine & Food Show where Catherine was beaming from ear to ear because her Shiraz was named Best in Show Red Wine. Very impressive!  Then Erin caught up with Catherine a second time at the winery.  Read below in this Savvy eZine to learn more about Catherine’s approach to wine and some of the exciting plans she has for the future at Sandbanks Estates Winery.

In your Savvy Selections, you will find:

Sandbanks Pinot Grigio VQA 2012 $16.95 A lovely and full Pinot Grigio that will be a crowd pleaser with its notes of pear and tropical overtures. One panel member who is not a Pinot Grigio drinker in general said she could sip this all day long! Perfect to bring to a party…if you want to part with it!  

Sandbanks French Kiss VQA 2011 – $19.95  A French style Bordeaux blend that keeps you coming back for more. Erin recounted that this wine reminded her of the wines she drank while visiting France last May.  

Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2012 – $29.95 A BIG red for the holidays and chilly nights is perfect this time and year and this wine will not disappoint. Catherine said it is one of the wines she is most proud of. This cherry chocolate wine evolves nicely in the glass and lasts long on the palate.


Sandbanks Shiraz VQA 2011 $19.95 –  A recent winner of Best In Show Red at the Ottawa Food and Wine Show held in early November. This pleasing and peppery wine beat out many other international wines for this honour.

Sandbanks Love $14.95 –  A delightful blend of white wine and organic cassis! Perfect on its own or as part of a cocktail….read on for more details.  

You may find some Sandbanks Estate Winery wines at the LCBO …

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

Cheers & have a fantastic holiday season!

Debbie & the Savvy Team


Sandbanks Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling

As a new year approaches, I am already filling up my 2014 calendar with plans. One definite trip will be taking my family to our local wine region of Prince Edward County (PEC) or what we call ‘The County” in particular to visit Sandbanks Estates Winery. Our plan will be bicycle through the area and end up at the winery to enjoy the wines, the live entertainment (being planned now) and of course relax in those iconic Muskoka chairs.   

Best In Show

Cathering Langlois (left) is a person who made her dreams happen. She parlayed her love of the farming life and wine in to a career as a successful winemaker and owner. From a student in Burgundy France to a wine sales rep and sommelier, she has had a hand in all aspects of the business. Recently, she won an award that shows how far her talent and experience have taken her. The day I caught up with this busy lady (and mother of two) at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show her booth had a lineup of wine lovers wanting a taste of Sandbanks Shiraz (an optional wine this month) that won Best In Show Red against numerous other international wines. Catherine is certainly doing her part to help put PEC & Canadian wines on the world wine map! 

When congratulated on the award she told me how much it means to her. She began her career as a winery sales rep in the Ottawa area, living in Westboro. She would often encounter Peter Ward who was the Ottawa Citizen wine columnist at the time.  Peter was somebody Catherine looks up to – still to this day even though he is retired. The award the Shiraz won is also known as the ‘Peter Ward Award’. She felt it was as though he was giving her a little wink when her winery achieved this status.  

In addition to winning awards, Catherine said that the best compliments in regards to her wines are when she hears, “Where is this wine from?” in happy disbelief. She was enthused to connect with colleagues in her field at the show and to see how far the winemaking in ‘The County’ and Ontario has come. When asked what her favourite non-Sandbanks wine was she responded “There are just too many good wines to choose from”.   

Catherine is an Ontario transplant from L’Isle D’Orleans in Quebec. She grew up in a family of artists in a farming community and has always felt that her favourite part of the business is being in the fields. She hires local people as part of her team and appreciates their background in farming since PEC (Prince Edward County) has long been a farming region of Ontario.  Did you know Sandbanks uses biodynamic practices? At certain times of the year an average day is 18 hours.  

So what happens after harvest? Since PEC is at least a zone colder than Niagara the vines have to be hilled up (this is a vineyard management practice of burying the vines in extra soil for the winter to preserve buds). Her wines are being taken care of by cold stabilizing the whites and putting the reds through the process of malolactic fermentation. It all requires great attention to detail but she can relax and enjoy winter.  

From a Pile of Rocks

The six acres that make up Sandbanks started out as a pile of rocks. Catherine used her know how and spirit to transform that into the thriving vineyard it is today. She always knew she wanted to make big approachable wines that can be enjoyed with family on a Tuesday or a special occasion. She does produce quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay like many of the other County wineries but her passion is for hybrids. New to the lineup this year is a Dunes Red – an interesting blend of Marechal Foch with its intense flavor and a bit of Gamay for ripe fruit aromas & tastes.  

The winery has always been a family run affair. When Catherine and her husband first started the winery in 2000, they lived in a house on the property that included the winery and tasting room on the main floor. In 2010, they opened a new tasting room and The Gallery which displays her mother’s art that also adds flair to the colourful and easily recognizable Sandbanks labels. When asked what is next she shared that they are in the process of building a new winemaking and storage facility right now. Some of the 2013 wine will be bottled in that building if all goes according to plan.   

Day Camp for Adults

Catherine’s approach wine is to make it “festive not exclusive” and maintain a family atmosphere. An example of that approach is the annual Harvest Party.  It started out as a family and friends activity. Chantal – the winery’s Office Manager offered to come in from Montreal to help and cook lunch. The experience was so enjoyable it was repeated and expanded on – big time! Now the event sees upwards of 450 people come over 2 weekends to help. A wide range of people from 8 – 88 years old came this year. Catherine feels this helps her customers connect with the wine they drink and make the industry as a whole more approachable. She described it as the following “It’s like a giant day camp for adults and by the end of the day you’ve had fun with the whole group”. It was a recipe for success.  

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!



Pinot Grigio VQA 2012, $16.95

This full bodied white wine is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  The colour is clear pale straw with a slight tint of pink. The aromas & flavours may remind you of summer but they as you are about to see they are enjoyable any time of year.   

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  On the nose as well as in the taste, this is a luscious and aromatic wine. There are notes of pear, sweet white flowers and toast. When you take a quaff there is zippy lime and papaya at play that last for a long finish.   

Suggested Food Pairing:  An excellent wine on its own when chilled, but an easy food match as well. The panel agreed on sushi and Thai curry as pairings. Since this is the entertaining season we have a recipe for Vegetable Rice Paper Rolls with Thai Dipping Sauce to try your hand at & pair with this wine. – see a bit further below in this blog.  

Sandbanks French Kiss VQA 2011 $19.95

The brainchild of Catherine’s husband this Cabernet/Merlot blend is a classic French style wine and well worth putting on your holiday wish list. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful plum coloured wine that opens up in the glass to reveal aromas of red berries, roses and Christmas spices (cloves perhaps?) The palate follows through with a pleasant jamminess and fig with a long peppery finish. Our Sommelier tasting panel noticed that aromas changed as the wine breathed in the glass but still remained strong when tasted again the next day

Suggested Food Pairing:  The Savvy Selections tasting panel thought this would be a lovely wine for the traditional Canadian holiday favourite of Tourtière. We’ve found great example with lamb for you to enjoy based on Carlo Rota’s Blog ‘More Than Burnt Toast’.

Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA  2012  $29.95

‘This is the best wine that I have ever made’, states Catherine. From the start, she has wanted to produce full bodied wines at an affordable price and this is one that delivers on both counts.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A deep garnet coloured wine chock full of flavor that develops in the glass. Focused  aromas &juicy flavours of raspberries, plum and chocolate. There is a hint of red licorice or cherry pie filling which is a pleasant alternative to some of the green pepper present in some Cabernet Francs. The smooth plush tannins allow this medium full bodied wine to linger for a juicy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Giving a nod to the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, we thought this wine would pair well with a beef brisket. Erin shares her Brisket in Cola – a recipe that Erin’s family loves at Chanukah or Christmas. 

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


 With Sandbanks Pinot Grigio VQA 2012…

Vegetable Summer Rolls

Serves 8

For peanut sauce

3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 small garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon sugar

For summer rolls

1 ounce bean thread noodles (cellophane noodles)
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
4 (8-inch) rice-paper rounds, plus additional in case some tear
2 red-leaf lettuce leaves, ribs cut out and discarded and leaves halved
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (preferably Thai)
1/2 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup coarsely shredded carrot (1 medium)


Cook onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in oil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer, whisking, 1 minute, then cool.

Make summer rolls:

Cover noodles with boiling-hot water and soak 15 minutes, then drain well in a sieve. Pat dry between paper towels and toss with vinegar and salt to taste.

Put a double thickness of paper towel on a work surface and fill a shallow baking pan with warm water. Soak 1 rice-paper round (make sure there are no holes) in warm water until pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then transfer to paper towels.

Arrange 1 piece of lettuce on bottom half of soaked rice paper, folding or tearing to fit and leaving a 1-inch border along edge. Spread one fourth of peanut sauce over lettuce and top with one fourth each of mint, basil, cabbage, and noodles. Roll up rice paper tightly around filling and, after rolling halfway, arrange one fourth of cilantro and carrot along crease. Then fold in sides and continue rolling. Transfer summer roll to a plate and cover with dampened paper towels. Serve rolls halved on the diagonal.



With Sandbanks French Kiss VQA 2011 …

Lamb Tourtiere

Based on the recipe from Carlo Rota’s More Than Burnt Toast

Serves 4



2 cups flour
1 cup cold butter
pinch of salt
14 tablespoons iced water


4 onions, finely chopped
2 large baking potatoes, grated
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 pounds ground shoulder lamb
½ bottle red wine
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 – 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/4 pound fresh goat’s cheese
1 egg, beaten



Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

To prepare pastry: In food processor pulse flour, butter and salt together. Add iced water and pulse together. Chill.

To Make Filling: In large oven-proof casserole bowl add all ingredients (except goats cheese and egg) and simmer in oven for an hour. Stir mixture well and return to cook for an extra half hour. Let Cool.

To assemble: In 9 inch pie plate, roll out pastry. Spoon cool meat mixture into pie. Crumble goat’s cheese all over the surface. Cover with top layer of pastry and seal edges with fork. Prick pie with fork. Brush with egg and return to 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.


With Sandbanks Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2012 …

‘Couldn’t Be ANY Easier Brisket with Coke’

Serves 6


3-4 lbs. boneless beef brisket
1 bottle chili sauce
1 can Coke
1 packet dry onion soup mix



Preheat oven to 300°F.

Combine chili sauce, Coke and soup mix.

Place brisket in a foil-lined baking pan. Pour sauce mixture over brisket and cover with another sheet of foil sealing edges.

Bake at 300°F for 3 to 3-1/2 hours until tender. Carve brisket against the grain and serve the pan juices as a sauce.

Note from Erin: I cook this over thinly sliced onions that carmelize that can then be served on top of the brisket.


Enjoy your Savvy Selections over the holidays!



It’s a boy! Time to pop open the bubbly

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

The news about the arrival of Kate & William’s baby boy is spreading like wild fire.  There are bottles of bubbly being popped all around the world – especially in London!

A royal occasion such as this deserves the finest Champagne, yet all of us in the Savvy Team love to showcase Canadian wines….so to celebrate the baby’s arrival, we are uncorking the most popular sparkling wine that we have featured in Savvy Bin Ends: Romeo Blanc de Noir made by Palatine Hills of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The good news is that this sparkling wine is as good as Champagne at half the price.  The bad news though is that it is almost gone!  We have heard from the winemaker that there are only 15 cases left at the winery…and it’s a steal at $22.95 (that is $7 off each bottle.)

Stock up to have this bubbly in the fridge for whenever the moment strikes – like the Royal’s news today – or for any occasion to pop the cork!

To order this fantastic bubbly click here >>

Hurry as this bubbly will sell out quickly…and when it is gone, it is gone for good!


Great stuff from Huff!

Posted by Erin

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Huff Estates Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep

When a wine is complex, it opens up to you bit by bit and offers something new each time. I think that this is a fitting way to describe this month’s our feature winery Huff Estates Winery of Prince Edward County. This marks the third time that we have featured Huff in Savvy Selections. Why? Because as one of the flagship wineries of Prince Edward County – or PEC as it is often referred to –  it is a complex winery with something new to offer each time we return. With the rapid growth of ‘The County’, I find it fascinating to see & taste how the region evolves each year.  When I first visited the region six years ago, there were a mere 7 wineries. Now there are 23 wineries, with more opening this summer! 


Prince Edward County was the center of the fruit canning industry in Canada & has transformed itself into the fastest growing wine region in Canada. In addition to the wine, The County is growing its reputation as a culinary weekend getaway with its gourmet restaurants, artisan cheese makers, artists & historic inns. The fertile limestone land bordering Lake Ontario once produced fruits & vegetables.  The landscape continues to change, transforming into impressive vineyards – with Huff Estates as one of the wineries to watch & breaking new ground as this region grows.


While the winery opened in 2004, the roots of the Huff family lays claim to PEC back to the 1800s when they settled as United Empire Loyalists. In fact, the winery is located on what used to be an orchard called “Huff Corners” – at the intersection of County Road #1 & Highway 62.


On the following pages, our newest Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling shares with her interview with Huff’s winemaker Frederic Picard & his impression of this year’s harvest.


Or watch our video!  
On a recent visit to Huff, I spent some time with Frederic too. Watch us our chat in the vineyard on the Savvy Company YouTube channel at:


Cozy up by the fire or celebrate the Chinese New Year with these Savvy Selections wines:

·         Huff Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2009

·         Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay 2008

·         Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007

·         OPTIONAL WINE: Huff Estates First Frost 2008


What did you think?

Our Savvy Team appreciates hearing from you about the wines we selected for your enjoyment.  And if you plan to visit the County soon  – be sure to consider taking in the annual Countyliscious festival that runs March 23 to April 16 featuring prix fixe menus for under $35 at renowned gourmet restaurants featuring local produce. Contact us in advance & we’ll be happy to arrange a tour of Huff Estates or give you our ‘must visit’ list of wineries to help you plan your trip.


Want more Huff Estates wines?  It is easy – simply call on us to arrange an order for you.


Cheers & Enjoy!

– Debbie & Savvy Team


Huff Estates Winery

Presented by Sommelier Erin Bolling


Winemaker Frederic Picard hails from Burgundy, France and has travelled from the famed vineyards of his homeland to Italy, Chile, California & France where he gained hands on experience in vineyards & wine cellars. When asked how his vast experience has helped him in the different cool climate growing region of PEC, he explains with a little tone of je ne sais quoi, “to me, all experience is positive. I have learned how to get the most out of what the land & terroir gives me to work with”. As the winery has rapidly grown in the past six years, Frederic now has 40 acres of vineyards to work with, bearing vines that are producing high enough yields & quality grapes for him to make wines that contain 100% County grown grapes. A sidenote: a new vineyard needs to grow 5 to 7 years before the grapes are worthy to use for making wine.  During this time, to help PEC wineries get started, they can purchase grapes from Niagara & bring them to their winery to make wine that they can call their own. It is a true signal of ‘coming of age’, when the winery produces wine using grapes from their own vineyard.  All of the wines in this Savvy Selections are made with County grown grapes.

Frederic has been with the winery since the opening in 2004 during this time has produced wines that are winning notable awards here at home and abroad. Last year, Frederic was part of a team of Ontario winemakers who traveled to London, England on a ‘mission’ to make an impression on the European wine media by showcasing Ontario Chardonnay wines. Huff’s South Bay Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2007 garnered rave reviews from renowned wine critics including Oz Clarke & Jancis Robinson. Huff’s Chardonnay – made with grapes from their vineyard in PEC’s South Bay area – was touted as a ‘wine to watch’.  Now that is impressive! This wine quickly sold out & we are excited to include the South Bay Chardonnay from the 2008 vintage for you to sip on now or cellar.  We are sure that you too will be impressed with the outstanding quality of this wine.

Interview with Winemaker Frederic Picard
“Respect the grapes you’re making the wine from”, was the repeated message during my interview with Frederic. Luckily, I was able to catch him before he headed off to France. Given the short growing season & cold winters he explained to me that after harvest, he has to hill-up (winespeak: bury the vines). This technique is only practiced in PEC to protect the vines from the harsh winter conditions.  By hilling up, the vines can produce quality fruit in the spring.  As you can imagine, with the arrival of spring, he has to ‘hill down’ by removing the soil from the buried vines. According to Frederic, “the climate in PEC favours excellent ripening of cool climate grape varieties – Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling & Pinot Gris.

You heard it here first!
While he experiments in the vineyard, Frederic also experiments in the wine cellar.  He let me in on a secret that I am excited to share with you….Frederic has crafted a new wine that will be called Zero DeGris – a late harvest style wine that will be released this spring. That is all that he would divulge, so stay tuned! Frederic is also very excited about what he calls his “baby” – the  sparkling wines he makes at Huff. In fact, he was the first winery in the area to make a bubbly.  Frederic proudly recalled the story that acclaimed Canadian wine critic, Tony Aspler stated that he feels “sparkling wine can be something very special here in the County.”  Huff’s Cuvée Peter F. Huff sparkling won gold at the All Canadian Wine Championship. Speaking of awards, check out the extensive list Huff has received so far:

The verdict of 2010 harvest? As Frederic claims with his charming French accent, “one of the best ever”. We anxiously await to taste the wines of 2010.

Plan a visit to Huff – its a year round destination
I plan to be enjoying a glass of Huff sparkling wine on the winery’s patio when I visit the winery as one of my stops along a cycling tour that I am planning of the County this summer. There are several other reasons to jump in your car to visit Huff – any time of the year:
The Inn – each of the impressive 21 suites are surrounded by vineyards.
Oeno Gallery – Art & wine are perfect partners, especially with PEC becoming a thriving artists’ community, Huff Estates added the gallery to its property in 2009. There are different exhibits featuring contemporary art & sculpture. Did you know that PEC has more artists per capita than Toronto does?

With the stellar 2010 harvest, I’m looking forward to what comes next from Huff.  Until then, enjoy your Savvy Selections. As they say in France…Santé!


~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Pinot Gris VQA 2009, $19.95

This wine is a sure crowd pleaser. All the grapes in this award winning wine are from PEC, specifically the Southbay, East Lake, and Hillier vineyards. The Savvy panel agreed it is lovely on its own or as an aperitif.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This white gold wine is complex with intense aromatics of apple, pear, ripe guava and almonds. Savvy Sommelier Doug commented that, ’’there is a lot going on in this glass’’ to the agreement of all involved in the Savvy Selections tasting panel. With a quick sniff, you will find all the aromatic notes repeated on the palate in a medium-full bodied wine with a refreshingly tangy lime finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: As sommeliers we aim to help you find out what you love to drink & eat. This is a versatile wine that will pair with seafood, roast chicken, even porkchops with a chutney.  For those of you who make a full meal out of our suggested recipes, we suggest to serve Asian Avacado Salsa. This wine will meld well with the avocado in this twist on traditional guacamole.

Cellaring: No need to wait! This wine is drinking well now.

South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay VQA 2008 $29.95
This was the Savvy Selections panel hands down favorite. Savvy Sommelier Julie coined this wine as the ‘Golden Baby’ & enthusiastically stated that  “she could write all night about this delicious Chardonnay”. It’s a Chardonnay for any season with enough body that white wine lovers simply need to curl up in front of the fire with a glass. I’m already looking forward to my next glass of this County grown Chardonnay. Congrats Frederic for making such a fine wine!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Shimmering gold coloured, this full bodied Chardonnay is a rich wine with notes of tropical fruit, toasted coconut, butterscotch & warm spices. As expected the palate does not disappoint with apple, toast other notes that follow the nose. Savvy Sommelier Debbie was impressed with the long “heavenly’’ finish.  Aged in French oak barrels, this wine is a classic.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will pair well with rich foods such as: figs wrapped in prosciutto, salmon wellington, lobster alfredo or a hearty pasta carbonara – see recipe on the following pages.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, the wine could cellar for a couple of years

South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007 $

Made exclusively from the Huff vineyard in the South Bay area of Prince Edward County, this Bordeaux blend is a repeat favourite vintage after vintage. It is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon & 15% Cabernet Franc, it spent 18 months in new French oak barrels. This is the 5th year its been released & this vintage, Frederic decided to lean heavily on Merlot (a perfect varietal for PEC region). Frederic considers this the best yet rendition of the blend.   


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Our Savvy Selections tasting panel had a lot to say about this pretty, balanced and medium bodied wine. It greets you with loads of red fruit, chocolate, plum, cedar and violets. The smooth mouth feel does not disappoint and it finishes with a dry cranberry taste that lingers just enough. This wine has limited availability…if you want more, be sure to call on us to help you stock up!

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy with tortiere, coq au vin, or the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe that we offer on the following pages.

Cellaring: You will definitely want to taste this wine now to determine if you want additional bottles to cellar for another 3-5 years as Frederic recommends.

OPTIONAL WINE: First Frost 2008 $19.95 (500 mL bottle)
Made with Vidal grapes that have been picked after they have been first ‘kissed’ by the first frost, the result is an elegant combination of sweet & acidity.  This wine is only made at Huff Estates & is neither a late harvest nor an ice-wine.  Our Savvy Selections tasting panel enjoyed this wine so much that we wanted to offer it to you as an optional wine to add to this month’s Savvy Selections delivery.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A clear honey gold coloured wine with a medium body. Delicious tropical notes of pineapple, mango & light white floral notes with a touch of clover & honey play in the taste.

Suggested Food Pairing: Savvy Sommelier Julie declared that this wine is ‘simply delicious’ & would be delightful served chilled on its own or with appetizers, fresh fruit desserts or mild cheeses. Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling ooohhhed& ahhhed & remarked that First Frost would be a great wine with her spicy baked coconut shrimp hors d’oeuvre on the following pages.


~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Huff Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2009…

Asian Avacado Salsa
From Bon Appetit Magazine
Serves 4


1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi paste (horseradish paste)*

2 cups coarsely chopped trimmed watercress (leaves and tender stems from 2 medium bunches)

4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup 1/3-inch cubes asian pear

2 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch cubes


1.    Stir sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heatt until aromatic and golden. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.


2.    Whisk next 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add watercress, green onion, and asian pear; toss to coat. Gently stir in avocados & chill in the fridge.  Note: this step can all be done ahead of time.


3.    Sprinkle salsa with toasted sesame seeds and serve chilled with fried wonton triangles or chip of your choice.   


With Huff Estates South Bay Chardonnay VQA 2008…

Spaghetti Carbonara
A personal recipe from Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling &
Serves 4-6


5 oz guanciale (unsmoked cured hog jowl), pancetta or bacon

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 lb spaghetti

3 large eggs

1 1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (3/4 cup)

3/4 oz Pecorino Romano, finely grated (1/3 cup)

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Recipe online at




1.    Cut guanciale or pancetta into 1/3-inch dice, then cook in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fat begins to render, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add wine and boil until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.

2.    Cook spaghetti in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

3.    While pasta is cooking, whisk together eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano , Pecorino Romano (1/3 cup), 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

4.    Drain spaghetti in a colander and add to onion mixture, then toss with tongs over moderate heat until coated. Remove from heat and add egg mixture, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.

With Huff South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007…

Classic Boeuf Bourguignon
Recipe from the Tracey Black – chef and co-owner of Epicuria Fine Food & Catering in Ottawa
Serves 4-6


5lb stewing beef (Chuck – well marbled)
1 spanish onion (cut into a ½ inch dice)
2 cloves garlic
½ lb side bacon – cut into lardon
1 cup red wine
1/4 bunch thyme
1 bay leaf
1.5 lbs button mushrooms – kept whole or halved
1 cups pearl onions blanched
cornstarch slurry to thicken




1.     Cook off lardon in sauté pan until crisp. Reserve bacon fat.

2.     Drain and pat dry stewing beef. Season beef liberally with salt and pepper. Brown beef in sauté pan, careful not to over crowd pan. Use just enough vegetable oil/bacon fat to coat bottom of pan. Place meat into braising pot. Note: flavour of stew is directly related to how well the meat is browned..  

3.     Saute onions in meat browning pan until softened. Add garlic and herbs and sauté until onions are caramelized. Deglaze with red wine.


4.     Add bacon, onions and wine to braising pot and add enough stock to bring liquid level one inch below meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until meat is fork tender – approximately 1.5 hours.


5.     Sautée mushrooms and pearl onions, separately, and add to braising pot when meat is cooked. To thicken, bring stew to boil and add cornstarch slurry. Can also be thickened with a roux.



With Huff First Frost 2008…

Spicy Baked Coconut Shrimp Appetizer
A personal recipe from Savvy Sommelier Erin with a little help from
Serves 4-6


3 cups shredded sweetened coconut (lightly toasted)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko* (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
4 large egg whites
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
Nonstick cooking spray
*NOTE: Panko bread crumbs can be found on the Asian aisle of most major grocery stores or in Asian markets.
Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup mango chutney
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, to taste
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste



1.     Preheat the oven to 350°F.


2.     Spread the coconut evenly on an ungreased sheet pan and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.


3.     Increase oven temperature to 400°F.


4.     To prepare the shrimp, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.


5.     In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, bread crumbs, cayenne pepper, and salt. Place the toasted coconut in another dish.


6.     Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and whisk until frothy. Pat the shrimp dry and dip first in the egg whites, then the flour, back in the egg whites, then roll in the coconut.


7.     Arrange the shrimp on the prepared pan and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked through and golden.


Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!