Posts Tagged ‘VQA Wine’

Chill out with a pink drink!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018
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While the temperatures continue to rise, I think the best way to cool down is with a glass of Rosé wine.  Crisp, dry & refreshing, with loads of floral aromatics & ripe juicy tastes that makes one glass turn into two…then a few more!

Rosé wines are perfect for this time of the year for many reasons – quenches your thirst, easy to drink, low-ish in alcohol (usually 11-12%) and pairs with many summertime foods – especially picnic fare.   Unlike other styles of wine, Rosés can be made with any grapes – a single variety or a blend of many. Winemakers have the liberty to use anything from the vineyard to craft a Rosé wine like an artist creating a masterpiece.

Before the heat wave hits, I round up our team of Sommeliers to sample just released Rosé wines made throughout Ontario.  Usually there are 50 bottles on the table of varying hues of pink made from Shiraz, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes.  There are blends with a splash of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio too.  It is really safe to say that EVERY Rosé is an expression of the winemaker’s talent.

 

How is Rosé wine made?

It’s all in the skins!  The majority of grapes used in winemaking have a white flesh, so when crushed, the grape juice is white.  The grape skins of red grape varieties – such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc etc – contain a red pigment. After the grapes have been crushed and the juice is collected, the winemaker keeps the skins in with the juice for a few hours or couple of days in order to achieve the colour that they want for the wine.

The next step is to separate the skins from the juice and allow it to ferment into alcohol in a stainless steel tank.  I have yet to come across a Rosé wine that has been barrel aged. All total, Rosé wine takes a few months to make from harvest to bottling.  Whereas red wine takes a few years. Aside: red wine goes through the exactly same winemaking process, yet, the skins are left in the juice for several weeks to extract the full amount of red pigment into the wine.

 

Pro Tips:

*Rosé wines will not get better with age. Rule of thumb: drink before Christmas the year that you bought the wine

*Typically Rosé wines come in a clear bottle so you can enjoy the colour before opening the bottle –don’t leave on the counter, rather in a cool dark place…or better yet in your fridge!

*Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins before serving….as the Rosé wine warms up, notice how the taste changes too.

*Rosés are not all sweet wines – trust us! (pink Zinfandel from California or those called ‘blush’ are often sweeter)

*Price points are usually $15 – 30

*Real men drink Rosé wines!

According to Bloomberg News, Rosé has surpassed red wine in popularity in France (apparently it’s been outselling white wine since 2008). In the US, sales soared 41% in 2015, meanwhile, Rosé is the fastest growing wine style in Australia….and at our Savvy Taste & Buy event this past April, of the top 5 wines ordered – 3 were Rosé!

Explore the world of Rosés

Go into the LCBO and the shelves will be stocked high of Rosé wines from all over the world.  If you are wondering where to start – try one from Tavel region in France.  The wineries in this small wine region near Provence exclusively make Rosé wines.  Considered the benchmark for many winemakers, a Tavel Rosé is bone dry, crisp with zippy acidity.  From there, explore Rosés from every corner of the wine world.  And be sure to sample some from our own backyard too.

Best ones are made in our backyard…

At Savvy Company, we showcase Canadian wines, here are some that you should be on the lookout for this summer:

13th Street Winery Burger Blend Rosé VQA 2017  – $14.95, Twenty Valley (Niagara Escarpment)

Casa-Dea Estates Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2017 – $21.95, Prince Edward County 

Colchester Ridge Estate Winery ‘Red Sky at Night’ Rosé VQA 2017  – $16.95, Lake Erie North Shore

Creekside Estate Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2017 – $23,  Twenty Valley 

Fielding Estates Winery Rosé VQA 2017 – $15.95, Twenty Valley

Kacaba Vineyard Rebecca Rosé VQA 2017 – $17.95, Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Lighthall ‘Fence’ Sparkling Rosé VQA 2017 $25, Prince Edward County

Pondview Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2017 $16.95, Four Mile Creek (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Sprucewood Shores Rosé VQA 2016 – $16.95,  Lake Erie North Shore

Two Sisters Vineyards Rosé VQA 2017 – from Twenty Valley (a wine only available for restaurants)

Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2017 – $22.95, Twenty Valley

Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rosé VQA 2017 – $16.95, Twenty Valley

 

Get Rosé wines delivered to your deck, desk or dock!

Again this summer, we will deliver an assortment of Ontario Rosé wines that you can’t get at the LCBO.  That’s right…we’ll pick out the best of the bunch & hand deliver to you.  All you need to do click here to order…then make room in your fridge! Check it out at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

Keep cool & drink pink!

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Drink Rose ALL Day!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018
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Our team of Savvy Sommeliers have done the ‘tough work’.  We’ve been sipping & sampling the latest Rosé wines made across Ontario & each month during the summer, we will put together an assortment of the most refreshing wines for you to enjoy.

All you need to do is order before the deadline…or simply subscribe for the summer to get a different combo of refreshing Rosés delivered to your dock, deck or desk. Order here>>

 

Time to get your corkscrew ready to Clink & Drink Pink!

We kicked off the summer with a Bouquet of Rosés in May (perfect for Mother’s Day gifts) then we call it Deck Party Packs as all summer long.

To help you enjoy the Rosé wines to the fullest, our Savvy Sommeliers compiled the Rosé Report – below – with tasting notes, food pairing tips & recipes to serve with the wines we picked for the May parcel.  There will be a completely different assortment of wines this month…and next month too!

13th Street Burger Blend Rosé VQA 2017 – from Twenty Valley (Niagara)

Casa-Dea Estates Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016 – from Prince Edward County

Casa-Dea Estates Dea’s  Rosé Sparkling VQA 2015 – from Prince Edward County

Keint-He Vineyards Portage Rosé VQA 2017 – from Prince Edward County

Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016 – from Niagara-on-the-Lake

Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rosé VQA 2017 – from Twenty Valley

Several of these Rosés have just been released. And if you the coolest part…these wines are not available at the LCBO, rather they came straight from the winemaker to you.

At any time during the summer, you would like to order additional bottles of your favorite Rosés or other hard-to-find Ontario wines (you know we do craft beers & ciders too!), call us on the Rosé Hotline: 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

 

 

~ The Rosé Report ~

Our Savvy Sommeliers  – Debbie & David – share their tasting notes for the featured wines.

 

13th Street Winery Burger Blend Rosé VQA 2017

$14.95, Twenty Valley (Niagara Escarpment)

Part of 13th Street’s “Burger Blend” series, these fun and affordable blends are perfect for summer! This barely off-dry rosé combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot & Pinot Noir.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Beautiful, summery notes of strawberries and orange with a hint of red cherry. While there’s a bit of sweetness, there’s also bracing acidity – and it’s that sweet and sour affect that real makes this wine a pleaser. It’s crisp and citrusy.

Suggested Food Pairing: Try this with a chilled cucumber soup on a warm day or enjoy it all by itself!

 

 

Casa-Dea Estates Winery Dea Cuvée VQA 2015

$21.95, Prince Edward County

One of the first wineries in Prince Edward County, Casa-Dea Estates Winery is making a big impression with this sparkling rosé wine.  Just released, this bubbly can be enjoyed on any occasion – picnic, Happy Hour, or stash away for Thanksgiving (if you have to!).

Here is a neat golden nugget to drop into conversation: Winemaker Paul Battilana was originally trained as a butcher, before he made the leap to winemaking after his curiosity transformed his career. And the wine industry is taking note as he was named by MacLean’s Magazine last year ‘as one of the Canadian winemakers to watch’.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pretty in the glass, this sparkling wine is refreshing, bright, and reminds us of summer…all throughout the year. Light aromas of strawberry and juicy peaches, the acidity of this wine makes is perfect to start any occasion.

Suggested Food Pairings: Chips.  The salt plays with the bubbles of the wine and fireworks start off in your mouth.  Try it!

 

Casa-Dea Estates Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016

$17.95, Prince Edward County

Care for a round of bocce? If you’re travelling to The County this spring, stop by Casa-Dea and try out this Italian version of lawn bowling on a hand-crafted pitch right beside the vineyards. Made even better with a cool glass of winemaker Paul Battilana’s Rosé.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brilliant clarity in this pinky-peach concoction. Abundant aromas of wildflowers and strawberries, juicy peaches, even a floral whiff that might remind you of the delicate flower of Lily of the Valley.  Top it all off with subtle hints of fresh herbs with a silky texture balanced out with measured acidity and a lengthy finish. Mama Mia – it is good!

 

Keint-He Vineyards Portage Rosé VQA 2017

$22, Prince Edward County

Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown on their estate. Keint-He is a family run winery (Bryan Rogers in photo) focusing on making fine County wines using Pinot Noir & Chardonnay grapes.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The colour of candy floss, this is a beautiful, Provençal-style Rosé. Big flavours of strawberry and tobacco with a hint of jam, it’s dry and tart and big. This is a Rosé to serve to any friends who think all pinks are light and sweet.

Suggested Food Pairing: Easily able to stand up to BBQ, try this with your favourite burger.

 

Pondview Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016

$16.95, Four Mile Creek (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

The Pugli family emigrated from Italy bound for Niagara with plans to grow peaches on their large scale farm.  Now 2 generations later, they have transformed the fruit growing business into a winery that it internationally renowned for quality wines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Old World-style in pale peach flecked with bright orange. A nostalgic bouquet brings midway cotton candy and candied apples to mind. The wine’s high acid produces a lively ‘spritz’ effect on the palate, with flavours of mango, passionfruit and white pepper, and lingering herbs on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Crisp summer salads or grilled sausages would make a great match, or try your hand at making Fish Tacos.

 

Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rosé VQA 2017

$16.95, Twenty Valley (Niagara)

And another family run winery! Like Keint-He, the Westcott family are making a range of wines focused on Chardonnay & Pinot Noir grapes.  Last year, they made the Delphine Rosé and it sold out in a matter of weeks.  We are delighted to be the first to feature this ever popular wine.   This year, the wine is made using a blend of Cabernet Franc and “just a little” Pinot Noir.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Aromatic, dry, and supple, there are notes of strawberries and orange, along with some bracing lemony acidity. The bright pink of the wine is a visual treat, and it looks every bit as mouth watering as it tastes!

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this with semi-soft cheeses like Gruyère and Havarti.


~ The Rosé Recipe Box ~

A few of our Spring & Summer favorite dishes to enjoy with Rosé wines

 

Fresh Asparagus Tart
From Canadian Living Magazine

Serves 8 (or more)

This is simple to make and stunning to look at.  This spring tart offers a vegetarian option for a picnic, appetizer or even brunch!

 

Ingredients

2 bunches (1 lb each) thin asparagus, trimmed
1 pkg all-butter puff pastry, thawed (usually package includes 2 sheets of pastry)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1½ cups shredded Gruyère cheese
½ tsp coarsely cracked pepper
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

 

Method

Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper or grease. Set aside.

In steamer or rack in saucepan, cover and steam asparagus until tender-crisp, 3 minutes. Chill in cold water; pat dry.

Unroll each pastry sheet onto prepared pan. Spread evenly with mustard, leaving 1-inch (2.5 cm) border. Arrange asparagus, side by side and alternating ends, on mustard; top with cheese and pepper.

In small bowl, beat egg with milk; lightly brush over pastry border. Bake in top and bottom thirds of 450°F (230°C) oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, until puffed and golden and cheese is bubbly, 18 minutes. (Make-ahead: Set aside for up to 6 hours.)

Cut each into 6 to 8 pieces; serve warm or cool.

 

Beet Risotto
Recipe & Photo credits: Food & Wine

Serves 8

Ingredients

7 cups chicken stock
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 large beets (12 ounces each), peeled and coarsely shredded, plus thinly sliced beets for garnish
3 cups arborio rice
1 ½  cups young pecorino cheese, freshly grated
2 teaspoons poppy seeds, plus more for garnish

Note: “Beets give this creamy risotto stunning colour & delicate sweetness. Grace Parisi suggests wearing rubber gloves and shredding the beets directly into a stainless steel bowl to avoid staining hands and countertops.”

 

Method

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer; cover and keep warm. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in the oil.

Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.

Add the shredded beets and cook, stirring, until the pan is dry, 12 minutes. Spoon half of the beets into a small bowl.

Add the rice to the casserole and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the stock is nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice is al dente and a thick sauce forms, about 22 minutes.

Stir in the cooked beets, cheese and the 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds. Cook, stirring, until heated through; add a few tablespoons of water if the risotto is too thick.

Spoon the risotto into bowls. Garnish with sliced beets and poppy seeds and serve.

 

 

Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Lemon Pasta
Original recipe & photo credits: Jessica Alba on Martha Stewart’s

 

Ingredients

2 lbs ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs (Panko crumbs are ideal)
1/4 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup onion, shredded
1/4 cup zucchini, shredded
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ cup low sodium chicken stock

Your favorite pasta
1/3 to ½ cup goat cheese
¼ to ½ of white or rosé wine
Zest & Juice of 1 lemon 

 

Method

In a large bowl, mix turkey, panko, carrots, zucchini, onion, eggs, Italian seasoning, and salt until well combined; form into 1-inch balls. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning, until browned, about 7 minutes.

Add ½ cup chicken broth, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 7 minutes. Add remaining ¼ cup broth and increase heat to medium; cook, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed.

In a separate pot, cook your favorite pasta. Once al dante, drain the water & place pasta back into the pot on low heat.  Crumble in goat cheese & stir until melted.  To help the melting, add white wine periodically until a creamy consistency similar to cream sauce that coats the pasta.

To finish the sauce, squeeze the juice of one lemon into the sauce, toss in zest & gently stir.  Plate with a mound of pasta topped with turkey meatballs.

 

 

Have your fridge full of Rosé wines all summer long…

Always have refreshing Rosé wines on hand this summer.  To order additional bottles of your new found favorite Rosés from this assortment OR to receive next month’s assortment (for the rest of the summer we’re calling them Deck Party Packs, call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

The June assortment of wines will have a completely different selection of hard-to-find Rosé wines including:

Colchester Ridge Estate Winery ‘Red Sky at Night’ Rosé VQA 2017 – from Lake Erie North Shore

Creekside Estate Rosé VQA 2017 – from Niagara-on-the-Lake

Karlo Estates Patio Reserve Rosé VQA 2017 – from Prince Edward County

Redstone Rosé VQA 2016 – from Twenty Valley (a wine only available for restaurants)

Redstone Rosé Sparkling VQA 2015 – from Twenty Valley

Tawse Quarry Road Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2017 – from Twenty Valley

What is the price for June’s assortment?

$126 for 6 bottles
~ OR ~
$252 for 12 bottles (2 of each of the featured wines)

 

Deadline to order June’s parcel is Saturday June 9th 
www.savvycompany.ca/rose

 

 

Ahhh…life is good!

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Clink & Drink Pink!

Posted by Debbie

Monday, May 29th, 2017
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The weather forecast is…it is time to put away gardening tools & get your corkscrew out…Rose wine season is here!  Wineries all across Ontario are now releasing their delicious Rosé wines to quench your thirst this summer.  While it might be raining this week, get ready for when the heat wave hits.

To make summer livin’ easy, we are offering a Bouquet of Rosés – wines that is – featuring the best Rosé wines made in Ontario.  Straight from the winery to your fridge.  Our team of Savvy Sommeliers have taste-tested 50+ Rosé wines and selected the best ones for you to enjoy this summer.  Dry. Crisp. Zippy. Delicious!  Each month a different assortment of Rosé wines made at boutique wineries across Ontario will arrive at your home, desk, deck…or even your cottage dock!

Take your pick…

Order an assortment of 12 bottles (a big bouquet) or a mixed 6 pack (a small bouquet).  Every month is different.  Deadline to order the June assortment is Friday June 9th.

To order CLICK HERE >>

What will you get? 

Every month we are creating a different combination of amazing Rosé wines. Choose the number of bottles you would like to receive:

SMALL Bouquet >> assortment of 6 different bottles of Rosé wines
LARGE Bouquet >> assortment of 12 bottles (2 x the featured 6 Rosés)

 

Here’s what we’ve picked for June’s bouquet: 

From Prince Edward County…

Devils Wishbone Pinot Gris Rosé VQA 2016
Huff Estates Rosé VQA 2016

From Beamsville Bench (Niagara)…

Legends Estate Reserve Pinot Gris VQA 2015
Legends Estate Terroir Rose VQA 2016

From Niagara-on-the-Lake

Southbrook Estate Cabernet Rosé VQA 2016
Southbrook Seriously Cool Rosé VQA 2016

These wines are so SPECIAL – they’re not available at the LCBO.

How much?

Each month is a slightly different price based on the wines selected. For June, the price is to combined total of the selected wines:

Small Bouquet: $120
Large Bouquet: $240
Oh…AND did we mention? FREE shipping to addresses in major cities across Ontario.

And last but not least… as you unwind with a glass of wine in hand, get the inside scoop on the wines in our monthly Rosé Report. It’s full of interesting stories about the people who made the selected wines, Sommelier tasting notes & favorite summertime recipes to serve with the wines.

Tick Tock!

Place your order before June 9th…then sit back & relax!
We’ll deliver to your door, deck or dock.

CLICK to Order >> 

 

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If I only had $100…I would buy at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Monday, November 28th, 2016
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As we move towards the holiday season, Vintages always features “Our Finest” and it is a magnificent release. Everything from single malts to brandies, Grappa, Champagne and all delicious new delectable fine wines.

vintages-nov-26th

The only thing that I am complaining about is my measley $100 budget for this blog.  There are so many incredible luxuries in this release that a much bigger budget is required.  Note to self…I should talk to my editor about a ‘raise’.

Whether you are on a budget or like to splurge, there are still some tried and true wines that I always love to see.  The new styles are calling, like new shoes…like wine, you can never have too many shoes!
Enjoy,
– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for November 26, 2016

domaine-de-vaugondy-brut-vouvray

 

Domaine de Vaugondy Brut Vouvray

Méthode Traditionelle, AC
$17.95 (Vintages #154567) 12.5 % alcohol

 In 1936 the Village of Vouvray was created as an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC). Located along the right bank of the Loire river, Chenin Blanc is the dominant and almost exclusive grape of Vouvray.

Vouvray produces more than a million cases of wine a year. This straw coloured sparkling offers fine moussey bubbles that release alluring aromas of tropical fruit, toasted almonds, green apple and apricot. They also replay on the taste buds. Dry, medium bodied, it captures the senses with fruit flavours and a honey’d note towards the end. It’s a divine and elegant sparkling wine as an apperitif or to accompany grilled fish.

 

gerard-bertrand-la-clapeGerard Bertrand Grand Terroir La Clape

Syrah/Carignan/Mouvedre 2013
France
$18.95 (Vintages #370262) 13.5 % alcohol

I have become a fan of Bertrand wines, fantastic quality at great price points. This rich, sexy blend has aromas and tastes of dark cherries, plums and currants. A medium bodied red wine with soft tannins, some mocha and a savoury spice on the finish. Would be a perfect match to a hearty stew or lamb shanks.

 

san-felice-chianti-classico-2013San Felice Chianti Classico 2013

DOCG, Tuscany
$19.95 (Vintages #282996) 13% alcohol

Expressive wafts of floral red cherries introduce you to this classic Chianti. It’s an easy drinking red wine as sweet cherry and raspberry fruits explode on the palate. Bone-dry, medium weight and offers some earthy, leather notes on the finish. With a spicy lasagna, you’ve found yourself a great dinner party.

 

union-forte-2012Union Forte 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages #361758) 19.5%

This fortified port style wine is deep mahogany in colour with aromas of Christmas cake, dried fruit, roasted almonds and berries. The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and mouthwatering. A range of layered fruit flavours on the palate, medium bodied and a deliciously sweet with a long dried blackberry finish.

Serve on ice as an aperitif or it would make a superb after dinner drink with some stinky blue cheese – a classic!

 

georgian-hills-bartlett-frozen-to-the-core-2014Georgian Hills Bartlett Frozen to the Core 2014

Blue Mountains, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #347401) 8.5% alcohol

Deliciously sweet but not cloying with intense aromas and flavours of ripe pear.

Georgian Hills produces other desert icewines: a Frozen to the Core Ida Red, a Vidal and Baked Apple all of which embrace fruit farming in the cool climate of the Georgian Bay wine region. Less expensive than other icewine their nectars are fruit driven and refreshing, deliver good acidity and plain delicious. Another reason to showcase our Ontario wines.

 

Grand Total = $94.75

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If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, November 11th, 2016
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About this time every year LCBO Vintages showcases ‘Star Quality’ as a feature of the release. We all know what this also means…’star prices’.   Icewine, French Champagne and sparkling wines flow prominently on the pages. I wish I could buy one of each however with my blog budget of $100, I’ll have to leave the Champagne for another time.

vintages-nov-12However, there are some star quality wines that I’d recommend to stock up on.

Also, there are several great wines coming out in large sized 1500 mL bottles. It sounds like a lot of wine, but if you are having a dinner party or a holiday feast, they are super easy to decant at the table and good value too. In particular, I’m thinking of the J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 at $44.95 or Catena Malbec 2014 at $39.95.  Both red wines are heavy duty crowd pleasers and great accompaniments to lasagna, roasts or ribs.

No shortage of star quality in this release.

Enjoy,
-Julie

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday November 12, 2016

 

dog-point-sauvignon-blanc-2015Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$24.95 (Vintages #677450)  13.5% alcohol

I wouldn’t recommend wines with animals in the name unless it was star quality and this white wine is definitely one that gets top marks. Any easy sipping white wine that is pale in colour but packs a punch in taste and texture.  Aromatic white flowers start the senses with peachy apricots, tree fruit on the palate and a crisp lemon lime finish. It is a light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc with gentle finesse and one mouthwatering taste. Enjoy it on its own, with appetizers or light meals.

 

 

clayhouse-cabernet-sauvignon-2015Clayhouse Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Paso Robles, California
$17.00  (Vintages #057869) 13.5% alcohol

Paso Robles is known for its abundance of olive oil, hot springs, almond orchards and wineries.  Mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco the landscape is mainly dry grassland. Roughly 24 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the climate is almost Mediterranean with long hot summers and brief cool winters. This landscapes allows the grapes to reach their absolute maximum potential which we then can enjoy in such vintages as the above. It tastes much richer than its’ terrific price point. Dark and opaque, black currant and plum flavours, smooth as silk with a some pencil shaving oak on the finish. Fruity but structured makes for easy drinking red wine. I’d pair it with any grilled meat or a prime rib roast. Delicious.

 

clos-de-los-siete-2013

Clos de los Siete

Mendoza, Argentina
$23.95 (Vintages #622571) 14.5%

Since returning from a trip to Argentina this past February, a wine from Mendoza always makes its way to my shopping basket. This red wine blend nearly reaches nirvana for me. Predominantly Malbec (57%) with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in the follow up. Dark ruby with aromas and flavours of ripe blueberries, black cherries, currants with some mocha on the finish. This nectar  integrates soft tannins with fabulously smooth intensity and depth. Pair with the usual red meat suspects but worthy of a veal chop splurge.

 

reif-vidal-icewine

Reif Vidal Icewine 2014

VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake
$24.95  (Vintages #544791) 10% alcohol

Reif Estate Winery has been a long time producer of fine Canadian icewine. This one is harvested from a 12 acre block planted in 1981. Those grapes have had lots of time to think about their future! The average picking temperatures range from -10 to -12 C and this vintage was harvested in January 2014.  Lusciously sweet with honey, toffee, apricots and peaches fill the senses with a memorable creamy mouthfeel. There is a little marmalade on the finish and it is a divine expression of icewine.  With some soft blue cheese it would be over the top.

 

Grand Total = $90.85

 

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If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 16th, 2016
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I was pretty excited to see the feature at the LCBO Vintages be shining the spotlight on Ontario wines. I am a firm believer that we never have to look further than our own backyard for great vintages.

sept-17-vintages-catalogueWe have wineries in the Niagara Escarpment, Prince Edward County, Lake Huron, Pelee Island and Georgian Bay, just to name a few.  This past summer, my husband I toured around the Twenty Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake regions visiting several wineries and the enticement of uncorking new wines that we could not purchase locally just overcame us. We stocked up!  If you have not had a trip to wine country this summer, here is the opportunity to go wild at Vintages and pick up some gems.

The 2016 grape harvest is underway! Ontario winemakers have finished picking grapes for sparkling wine and are now busily harvesting white wine grapes.  By all reports from wineries, the crops are looking good!  Pick up some Ontario wines to celebrate our beautiful province and let’s toast the winemakers that make it all happen.

Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 17, 2016

13th-street-winery

13th Street White Palette 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #207340) 12.5% alcohol 

A fabulous & unique blend of 53% Riesling, 18% Chardonnay, 17% Gewurztraminer, 9% Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of 3% Pinot Gris. The grapes were hand harvested from a variety of vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula, with the vast majority from the 13th  Street Estate vineyards. All varieties were fermented separately in stainless steel then blended in the final stage.

Aromas of orchard wildflowers at their peak housed in a soft golden colour. There’s gentle honeysuckle and lemon aromas on the palate with tree fruit; apricots and yellow apples mixed with some buttery almonds on the finish. Delicious and flavourful. My husband and I enjoyed this white wine with some grilled chicken and Caesar salad and it was over the top perfect!

 

Flat Rock Riesling 2014flat-rock-riesling

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages # 43281)  11%  alcohol

White blossoms and ripe tree fruit capture the senses.  Slightly off-dry with lots of fruity flavours, ripe peaches and apples. This medium-bodied white wine has a delectable seam of acidity that sends you back for another sip. It’s smooth and elegant.

Lovely on it’s own or with lighter fare of fish tacos, salads or a bowl of steamed mussels.

 

 

rapscallion-wine-companySmoke & Gamble Cabernet/Merlot 2012

VQA Ontario  (Rapscallion Wine Company)
$19.95 (Vintages #332825) 13% alcohol 

Located in Port Dover in the county of Norfolk, this winery is new for me and does not disappoint. On the bottle label it states 44% barrel aged and 56% stainless – meaning that this is a blend of wine that was both aged in barrels and tank resulting in a medium bodied red wine.

There is a subtle whiff of dusty aromas (that is a good thing for a wine that is 4 years old already!) with suggestions of roses and violets coupled with red and blackberries on the palate. There is a subtle sweetness of black plums with freshly ground green and black pepper on the long finish. It is slightly tart with firm tannins but then moved into a fabulously smooth and tantalizing red wine blend.  Would definitely marry a hearty autumn stew or thick-with-meat chili.

 

westcott-temperance-redWestcott Vineyards Temperance Red 2014

VQA Vinemount Ridge Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages # 469189) 13.4% alcohol

Bravo to these young retired folks, who bought a 200 year-old timber frame barn, restored it to build a winery around the original structure.  And on top of all that, they planted 26 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Talk about a leap of faith. This relatively new winery located in Jordan, Ontario, is right in the heart of the Twenty Valley region, where the soil is the creme de la creme for growing grapes.

This interesting Cabernet Franc & Pinot Noir red wine blend is loaded with red berries – cherry and raspberry flavours jump from this light bodied pale red nectar. It shows more like a light bodied Pinot Noir with layers of personality. Pair it with pork or roast poultry encrusted with lots of herbs.

 

pondview-icewinePondview Vidal Icewine 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #390351) 11% alcohol

It has been a while since I included an icewine in my list.  This one is a great price!

By definition, icewines can only be made from grapes that have naturally frozen on the vine and picked when the thermometer dips to -8°C or lower. While the grape harvest yield is particularly low, (hence the high expense), icewine offers a mouthfeel and sweet deliciousness that is worth every penny. With a under $20 price tag on this icewine, our friends at Pondview are giving it away.

This dessert wine has aromas and flavours of sweet baked yellow apple, pear and marmalade, citrus notes at the end of this long divine finish. Dinner becomes memorable when you end with such panache.

 

Grand Total – $92.75

 

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Sippin’ & Nibblin’ Niagara wines & cheeses

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
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Vanessa & I hit the road bound for Niagara to have a weekend of full of wine & cheese discoveries.  Naturally, one of our stops was an early morning amazing visit to Upper Canada Cheese Company.  After a tour of the facility & the aging rooms with Cheesemaker – Lauren Arsenault – she asked us to pair their signature cheeses with wines from nearby wineries. “We are always asked here at the store which wines to serve with the cheeses.”

With several bottles of VQA wines uncorked I rounded up the team of Savvy Sommeliers to roll up our sleeves and find delicious matches of cheese & wine. As the saying goes, “It is a tough job, but someone has got to do it”.

Here is a great video about Upper Canada Cheese.

If you have your favorite Niagara cheese & wine pairing, let me know!

Cheers & enjoy,
-Debbie

Upper Canada Niagara Gold


At Upper Canada, Lauren handcrafts her cheeses with milk from a herd of Guernsey cows from a farm down the road. The milk is high in minerals & contains plenty of fat which is key to the rich taste of their cheeses.

Niagara Gold is a washed rind cheese that is handcrafted into a large round that weighs 1.8kgs & is aged for 4 months (or even aged longer!) before it is sliced into wedges & available to enjoy. 

Savvy Sommeliers wine pairing recommendations:
White Wines

Red Wines

Sweet Wines


Upper Canada Comfort Cream

Comfort Cream is a camembert style cheese named to pay tribute to the Comfort family who were the first farmers to provide their Guernsey Milk for cheesemaking.

Savvy Sommeliers wine pairing recommendations:
White Wines

 Red Wines


Nosey Goat Camelot

A bit different from the other cheeses made at Upper Canada, Camelot is a semi-firm washed rind made with goat cheese. Lauren describes the cheese: Its rind is deliciously salty while presenting a cheese that is both delicate and fresh tasting.

Savvy Sommeliers wine pairing recommendations:
White Wines

 Red Wines

 

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