Posts Tagged ‘wine and food pairing’

Ontario wines to WOW your Valentine….

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
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Thyme & Again Creative Catering called on the expertise of our Savvy Team of Sommeliers to provide wine recommendations that would deliciously pair with their Valentine’s menu.     As Thyme & Again and Savvy Company are both members of Savour Ottawa it was only natural to select Ontario wineries to enjoy with the special meal made with local products & artisan foods.

All of the recommended wines are available at the LCBO.

Begin with Bubbles!

  • Flat Rock Cellars ‘Riddled’ Sparkling VQA 2008 (Twenty Valley) $29.95
  • Featherstone JOY Premium Cuvée Sparkling Wine VQA 2008 (Twenty Valley – aka Niagara Escarpment) $34.95
  • Peller Estates Ice Cuvée Rosé Sparkling (Niagara) $34.95

 

White Wines

  • Coyote’s Run Red Paw Pinot Gris VQA 2011 (Niagara) $17.95
  • Fielding Estates Riesling VQA 2011 (Twenty Valley)  $18.95
  • Vineland Elevation Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2007 (Twenty Valley) $19.95
  • Stratus Gewürztraminer VQA 2011 (Niagara-on-the-Lake) $29.95
  • Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2009 (Prince Edward County) $29.95

 

Red Wines

  • Malivoire Guilty Men Red VQA (Twenty Valley) $14.95 – this wine is sure to provoke a fun dinner conversation!
  • Kacaba Vineyards Cabernet/Syrah VQA 2008 (Twenty Valley) $18.95
  • Pondview Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010 (Niagara-on-the-Lake) $19.95
  • Huff Estates Merlot VQA 2011 (Prince Edward County) $19.95
  • 13th Street Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010 (Twenty Valley) $21.95

 

A Sweet Finish

  • Sandbanks LOVE Cassis Aperitivo $14.95 – great to make Kir Royal cocktails
  • Megalomaniac Coldhearted Riesling Icewine VQA 2008 (Twenty Valley) $29.95
  • Peninsula Ridge Cabernet Franc Icewine VQA 2001 (Twenty Valley) $29.95

 

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Archer’s Hard Lemonade

Posted by Debbie

Friday, August 31st, 2012
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A favorite summertime event is the Midsummer Herbfest. Each year Savvy Company is involved as the host of the ever popular Chef Cook-off where 3 restaurant chefs battle are put to the task of creating a dish featuring the International Herb of the Year. This year, the Rose, was the special ingredient.

The chefs made simple and elaborate recipes that can be found on www.herbfest.ca. Here is a new twist on a lemonade to serve as you unwind on the patio, on the cottage dock or when you fire up the BBQ.

Enjoy!
Debbie

Archer’s Hard Lemonade

Chef Chris Archer
Tennessy Willems – Ottawa’s popular wood oven pizza place

Lemonade:
juice of six lemons
2 cups white sugar
3 cups water
1 vanilla bean

Method:

  1. Dissolve sugar in water and add to lemon juice.
  2. Split the vanilla bean length wise and scrape out the seeds and add to the lemonade.
  3. Put the empty pod aside.
  4. Whisk in the seeds in the lemonade and strain into pitcher.
  5. Chill until cold.


To make the drink, fill a tall glass with ice and add the following:

1oz Vodka
½ oz Lychee Liqueur
4 oz Lemonade
one half of the scraped vanilla pod to stir with
slice of lemon
half a dozen or so fresh Canadian raspberries
¾ oz rose water
then drizzle ½ oz Chambord into the lemonade

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Watermelon & Black Olive Salad

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
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When watermelons are piled high at the supermarket ideas of summer picnics rush into my head. This unique recipe can be enjoyed as a side salad or I have thread watermelon cubes onto wooden skewers interchanging with black olives and the pour vinaigrette over top and serve as a kebab. Refreshing with a crunch and a zing!

Watermelon & Black Olive Salad

From Wish Magazine

Ingredients
For Salad:
4 cups seedless watermelon cut in ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped black olives
1/3 cup chopped green onions


Method

Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl & set aside.

For Vinaigrette
:
1 Tablespoon *garam marsala
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

* garam marsala: An East Indian spice mixture that generally includes coriander seed, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, tumeric, nutmeg, cloves & cinnamon. Purchase a package of this spice mixture at an Indian grocery or health food store.

Method

  1. Mix together all ingredients for vinaigrette.
  2. Gently mix in vinaigrette to cover watermelon.
  3. Chill until ready to serve.

What bottle of wine to uncork?

There are many flavours in this recipe. Best with something light & refreshing like a Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris (same grape, different name depending on wine region made) or a dry Rosé from France.

Enjoy!
Debbie

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Coffee on your steak?

Posted by Debbie

Monday, August 27th, 2012
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One summer while visiting Niagara, Charlie Pillitteri of Pillitteri Estates Winery invited me to a backyard BBQ where he served his guests steaks using this delicious dry rub. Now, the beginning of summer BBQ season is always marked in my house by making a ‘batch’ of this rub to ensure that I always have some on hand.  This recipe can easily be doubled & I’d recommend to store in a jar or Ziploc container in the fridge.

The coffee beans caramelize while BBQing, offering a rich earthy flavour that will be enhanced with a robust red wine.

Coffee Steak Rub


Ingredients

½ cup whole coffee beans
¼ cup black peppercorns
¼ cup Montreal Steak spice
4 juicy steaks – any cut

Method

  1. With an electric coffee grinder, whiz coffee beans and peppercorns lightly. The result should be a coarse mixture. In a bowl add ground mixture with Montreal Steak spice. Sprinkle mixture over steaks. Gently rub into the surface of the meat, patting down to secure the coffee bean mixture in place. Flip steaks over and repeat on other side.
  2. Cover steaks and place in fridge until BBQ is ready (The steaks can ‘marinade’ for a couple of hours or simply a few minutes).
  3. Serve BBQ steaks to your liking. Enjoy!

What bottle of wine to uncork?

Steaks are best with a big bold red wine. Try Carmenere from Chile, Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia or a Red Zinfandel from California.

Enjoy! – Debbie

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Make it a getaway – County Terroir Wine Fest on Saturday May 26

Posted by Debbie

Monday, May 7th, 2012
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It is back!  County Terroir is decanted once again in Prince Edward County for its 7th year to celebrate the end of Spring and to welcome Summer! This anticipated annual showcase for new County wines is presented by Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association returns to the beautiful Crystal Palace in Picton, on Saturday May 26th, 2012.

Come to experience wines made by over 30 different wineries – many will be introducing their new spring release of wines at County Terroir.

To add to the wine tasting, there’ll be delicious cheeses and other gourmet food tastings too. You will also have the opportunity to take part in seminars, demonstrations and meet the winemakers themselves.

Tickets are $35 in advance includes all wine samples and a special food pairing.  Additional food pairings are available for purchase.

Join us as wine lovers from across Ontario to discover all that ‘The County’ has to offer.

Stay tuned for an announcement of bus tours &  weekend packages from Toronto to Ottawa to make your day at Terroir to be easy to enjoy.

 

More about County Terroir Wine Festival
www.countyterroir.ca
Saturday May 26th
noon to 8pm
Crystal Palace, Main Street Fairgrounds, Picton

 “Prince Edward County is the world’s least-known great wine zone” – Wine Spectator Magazine

“Burgundy of the North” & “Vineyard Haven” – Various Wine Bloggers

Festival media inquiries
In Toronto – Emma Brown

In Ottawa – Debbie Trenholm

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Our Sommeliers recommend – outstanding red wines…with recipes!

Posted by Susan

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
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In Savvy Selections this month our wine of the month club subscribers were treated to 3 big red wines made by renown winemaker Sue-Ann Staff  – a Cabernet-Merlot that she made at her own winery – Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery that bears her own label & the other 2 red wines showcases her talent while working as a consulting winemaker at John Howard’s Cellars of DistinctionMegalomaniac Cabernet Frank & Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon.

Here are the Savvy Sommelier’s tasting notes for each of these spectaclar red wines.  Enjoy!

Sue-Ann Staff Cabernet/Merlot VQA 2009, $24.00

An assemblage of estate fruit—the Cabernet Franc—and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from a nearby vineyard whose character is consistent with the Staff terroir, this wine was aged one year in French and American oak barrels.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This blend offers depth and complexity—vanilla, toast, plum, blackberry, roasted red pepper and a notion of licorice mingle to create a taste extravaganza. Substantial, subtly structured and well-composed, the wine offers a toasty warming finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Match this wine to robust grilled meats (such as the beef tenderloin recipe we offer), or grilled vegetables drizzled with olive oil & aged balsamic served with a platter of firm cheeses.

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

 

Megalomaniac Cabernet Frank VQA 2010, $24.95

Winemaker’s notes: Made with 100% estate grown grapes, this wine was aged for 22 months primarily in new French oak barrels (14 of the 17 barrels were new).  Sue-Ann explained that 2008 was a cool year.  She harvested the grapes late in the season – early November – to ensure that the grapes got as much ripening as possible.  She was amazed at how this wine evolved and was surprised how it became an outstanding full bodied red wine with cedar & cassis aromas that carries through in the taste with warm spices (cardamom perhaps?) in the background.

Sue-Ann’s food pairing recommendations: As she said …”oooohhhh, lamb would be fantastic, or maybe gnocchi with a rich tomato sauce.  Even Osso Bucco.  Yikes, I’m getting hungry!”

Cellaring: This wine was recently released & she thinks it is ready to be enjoyed now or could be cellared for 3-4 more years.

 

Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 by Sue-Anne Staff, VQA $24.95

From a challenging vintage, the intensive vineyard management, including substantial leaf removal and yields in the range of 1-1.5 tonnes, has ensured a fine wine. Aged 22 months in French oak, 60% new, the wine went through malolactic fermentation in barrel as well as tank.

Suggested Food Pairing: Match this wine to prime rib, bison bourguignon or a hearty stew such as the smoky beef, potato & mushroom stew.

Cellaring:  Drinking well now, this wine will cellar for 2-3 years.

 

~ Recipes to enjoy with the Savvy Selections wines ~

 With Sue-Ann Cabernet/Merlot…

Sundried Tomato & Pinenut Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

From www.allrecipes.com

Serves 6-8

Ingredients
6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ C pine nuts
½ C chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 C chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 1/3- 1 1/2 C bread crumbs
½ C chopped fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Beef tenderloin (one loin approx. 3lbs)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in pine nuts and cook until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon & drain on paper towels. Place shallots in the skillet. Cook & stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic & sun-dried tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, mix in pine nuts, bread crumbs & parsley. Season with salt & pepper & set aside to cool. 
  3. Slice the tenderloin lengthwise across the top about 2/3 of the way through the meat to create a pocket. Spread stuffing into the pocket. Wrap the tenderloin with kitchen twine to secure the stuffing & transfer to roasting pan. Combine remaining olive oil and Dijon, and rub over the surface of the meat. Season with salt & pepper & sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350F & continue cooking tenderloin 20-30 minutes, or to minimum internal temperature of 140F. Remove from oven & let meat rest 5-10 minutes before serving with roasted root vegetable ragout. Savour & sip!

 

With Megalomaniac Cabernet Frank

Medallions of Venison Tenderloin with Peppercorn & Wild Mushroom Sauce

From Ottawa Citizen
Serves 6

Ingredients
6 6-oz venison tenderloins
1 C olive oil
1/3 C balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper
1 ½ C red wine
1 C chicken broth
1 clove garlic, crushed
10 multi-colored peppercorns, crushed
1 ½ C milk
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter
2 large shallots
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Fresh shitake & Portobello mushrooms, washed, stems removed & sliced

Method

1.     Marinate venison in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic & pepper 4 hours.

2.     Combine wine, broth, peppercorns & garlic in saucepan & cook for 20 minutes or until the liquids are reduced to half. Add milk & mustard &, stirring frequently, cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is again reduced by half. Season to taste & allow to cook 1 more minute.

3.     Melt butter in a large skillet on high. Add the shallots & garlic & toss for 2 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms & cook on high heat 5 minutes or until soft. Add to peppercorn sauce.

4.     Grill venison tenderloins on BBQ over medium-high heat for 7 minutes (turning once halfway through. Cut into medallions & serve with sauce, fresh peas & pearl onions, and roasted potatoes

 

With Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon…

Smoky Beef, Potato & Mushroom Stew

From LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine, Holiday 2011
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 lbs. stewing beef
½ C all-purpose flour
2 ½ C stout or porter
3 C onions, coarsely chopped
4 C mushrooms, quartered
3 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
¾ C smoky-style BBQ sauce
4 C yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled & cut into 1” cubes
2 C celery, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
½ C fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
½ C green onions, finely sliced

Method

1.      In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat & brown the beef in 2 batches until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Remove beef from pan & place in slow cooker. Add flour to pan & stir together with remaining fat, add 1 C of the beer to the pan & scrape up browned bits. Increase heat until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes, then add all of this mixture to the slow cooker.

2.      To the slow cooker also add the remaining beer, onions, mushrooms, garlic, sage, BBQ sauce, potatoes, celery & salt.  

3.      Cook on low for 9 hours. Once the stew is ready, season to taste with salt & pepper, stir in the parsley & green onions. Serve & let your ego soar, with Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon!

 

 Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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A Virtual Winery of Real Excellence: Nyarai Cellars & Calamus Estate Winery

Posted by Derek

Monday, July 11th, 2011
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CANADA’S WINERIES DELIVERED TO YOUR DOORSTEP

If you ask Nyarai Cellars owner & winemaker Steve Byfield where his winery is located, he might tell you “Nowhere”. This might appear to be an odd response, especially when much of the wine world is focused on the concept of terroir, which is about creating wine that illustrates a place. In fact, terroir is often described as “somewhereness”. Steve’s winery indeed has a location – it is found within the walls Calamus Estate Winery in Niagara. On our winery visits, we are discovering more “virtual wineries” like Steve’s. The word “virtual” might conjure ideas of only existing in cyberspace, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, at a virtual winery, the winemaker independently grows or purchases grapes, while using the facility & equipment at an existing winery. This alleviates the large startup investment of purchasing property, vineyard & winery. The result of Nyarai Cellars is impressive wines, as you will discover in this month’s Savvy Selections.

To give you a better taste of the partnership between a virtual winery & host winery, you will find wines from Nyarai along with wines from Calamus Estate Winery. The wineries’ common thread is Steve Byfield, owner & winemaker of Nyarai Cellars while he is also the Assistant Winemaker at Calamus. This is the first time Savvy Selections is featuring two wineries side by side! You will experience the wines from Calamus where Steve has honed his talents alongside the equally accomplished winemaker, Arthur Harder, as well as the progression of Steve’s career to his own Nyarai Cellars.

For this month’s Savvy eZine, Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath talked with Steve to learn how Nyarai has changed since they were last featured in Savvy Selections in July 2009 – their first month in business!

To select the wines for this month, Derek, along with 4 other Savvy Sommeliers: Julie, Doug, Velma and Erin, sampled the finest wines from Calamus Estate Winery and Nyarai Cellars.This tasting panel is pleased to present the following wines:

·Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2010 – Steve has a growing reputation for fine Sauvignon Blancs

·Nyarai Cellars Viognier VQA 2010 – a medal winner in this year’s Ontario Wine Awards

·Calamus Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2007 – a Bordeaux blend from a remarkable vintage

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO…

With Savvy Selections, we feature wines that are not available at the LCBO. When you discover a favorite wine that you would like additional bottles of, (our tasting panel bets that you will be WOWED by Nyarai’s 2010 Viognier & will want more!), simply call or e-mail me to make arrangements and wines will be shipped to any location within Ontario – home, office or even your cottage.

Wine Tour Anyone?

As you know from the Savvy Selections wine deliveries each month, there are numerous wineries to visit. If you are looking to enjoy a weekend get away at one of Ontario’s wine regions then give us a call. Our Team of Sommeliers can help you plan a wine tour; make recommendations on wineries to visit or even accompany you on your tour. And before you go, be sure to read my blog Summer Roadtrips – Savvy tips for winery visits.

And the Savvy Team are traveling too this summer.Check our website as we might be involved in a event near you or are hosting an event for wine, artisan cheese & craft beer lovers – and we would like to meet you!

Cheers & Enjoy the summer!

Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

NYARAI CELLARS
Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

A virtual winery is one without the “sticks & bricks”: instead of purchasing land and developing a modern winemaking facility, virtual wineries lease space and capacity from existing wineries. By doing so the proprietor, who is typically the winemaker too, is able to avoid the large upfront investments in land, building and equipment required to open a winery. Virtual wineries are a relatively new breed in Canada, but their numbers are growing at home and abroad.

Steve Byfield (left) is a trail-blazer in the Ontario wine industry. He is one of the original winemakers to establish his own virtual winery. In fact, Savvy Selections launched Nyarai Cellars in 2009 & our subscribers were Steve’s first customers!

I was curious to know how things at the winery were progressing since the beginning. “So far…so great! Not only have I been able to increase production, but I also expanded my portfolio to include other grape varietals,” Steve reports. “Aromatic whites are the foundation of the Nyarai label. These elegant wines can be released to the market relatively quicker than reds and therefore these refreshing wines can be enjoyed earlier.” (Steve is a modest type, Nyarai’s reds are outstanding too.)

During our conversation, Steve also mentioned that wine lovers as well as the industry have been extremely supportive of his winery. Most notably the incredible support from Calamus Estate Winery. Steve has been Assistant Winemaker at Calamus since 2006. Familiar with the space, Derek Saunders, co-owner of Calamus leases the cellar & winemaking equipment to Steve in order to produce Nyarai wines.

The Nyarai Philosophy
A virtual winery does not necessarily have a vineyard. Steve explains that he sources his grapes from the best growers in the Niagara region. The result is wines that are a bit of a melting pot with characteristics from many locations throughout the Niagara Region.

A Favourite Grape Variety
Sauvignon Blanc is Steve’s favourite grape variety to work with because “the grape has a lot of valuable attributes and you should be able to get consistent flavour profiles year over year.”

Sauvignon Blanc is conducive to Ontario’s manic climate of cold winters and erratic hot & thunderstorm prone summers. Steve explains that the consistency of the grape allows him to demonstrate his talent as a winemaker year after year. As he describes, Nyarai’s Sauvignon Blanc is somewhere between the herbaceous “in-your-face” New Zealand style and the more subtle elegant French style from Sancerre. We are delighted to give you the opportunity to enjoy one of Steve’s signature Sauvignon Blanc wines.

An Ever Expanding Portfolio
One of Steve’s goals when he established Nyarai was to create a core portfolio of wines. Well, since Nyarai was last profiled by Savvy Selections, his portfolio has expanded from three wines to six. His Viognier has made quite an impression along with his Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Bordeaux based red blends.

The latest vintage of Viognier VQA 2010 that is included in your Savvy Selections – won the gold medal at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards under the Dry White Varietal category.

This Viognier was a hands down favorite of the Savvy Selections tasting panel too. Remember that this wine is not available at the LCBO, so you may want to consider stocking up on this impressive wine, especially for summer entertaining. Nyarai’s red wine fans are patiently waiting for the 2010 reds to be released. A Syrah as well as a Bordeaux blend are still in barrel…we are anxiously awaiting until 2012 get our hands on those.

A Winning Streak
While the Viognier took home a gold medal at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards, at the 2011 Cuvee Wine Awards – considered the Oscars of the Ontario Wine Industry –
Nyarai Cellars brought home the Best Red Assemblage award for its Veritas VQA 2007 – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.

Congratulations to Steve on these awards & keep up the great wine work at both Nyarai and Calamus.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~



Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2010, $19.75

This is not your typical Sauvignon Blanc. Steve mixed things up by adding 8% of Sauvignon Blanc that has been barrel ferment (winespeak: wine that has spent time in barrels to pick up creamier characteristics).Aging Sauvignon Blanc in barrel is a technique first created by Robert Mondavi in California known as Fumé Blanc. The result is a creamer mouth feel & tones down the zippy acidity which is characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. What do you think?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Pale straw in colour with aromas of citrus, gooseberry and melon which carry on through to the palate. The wine is dry with lower than expected acidity due to the addition of some barrel fermented wine that provides for a richer, fuller mouth feel. The finish is medium in length with lingering citrus and melon notes.

Suggested Food Pairing: A great summer sipper that would pair wonderfully with ceviche or bacon wrapped grilled scallops. The Savvy Selections tasting panel recommends a Sun-dried tomato & dill cheese cake – a simple & tasty appetizer (recipe follows).

Cellaring: This is a don’t-wait-now kind of wine, so open it up, sit back and enjoy this Ontario treasure.

Nyarai Cellars Viognier VQA 2010, $20.75

Viognier has its roots (pardon the pun!) in the Rhone Valley region of France. The varietal is making a move into the Niagara Region; however the grape is challenging to grow because it is particularly prone to many vineyard diseases. As a result, few Viognier wines are produced in the Niagara area.When you find one that you like – be sure to stock up!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:A bright pale straw colour with a subtle & enticing pink hue. The pink colour is due to the fact that half of the grapes that went into this wine were kept on the skins for 12 hours prior to pressing. The aroma is clean with youthful aromas of peach, white flowers & apricots. This dry, medium bodied wine is loaded with well-defined fruit such as peaches, apricot & lime. The alcohol is warming and the body can be considered supple & creamy.

Suggested Food Pairing: Another summer sipper or it could be paired nicely with BBQ grilled planked salmon or pasta with a gorgonzola cream sauce. We are recommending that you enjoy this wine with grilled honey-basil chicken.

Cellaring:This wine could be cellared for 6 to 12 months Chill and enjoy over the summer.


Calamus Estate Meritage VQA 2007 $27.20

A Savvy Sommelier insider tip: if you ever come across an Ontario wine from 2007, BUY IT! As we have reported in other Savvy eZines, 2007 was an excellent vintage for Ontario. The 2007 Meritage by Calamus is an example of how fruit from an exceptional vintage can be crafted by a skilled winemaker into an outstanding wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Delicious” pretty much sums up the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s impressions of this wine. Deep ruby red in colour with intense aromas of blackberry, fruit cake, clove & chocolate. This is a well structured wine with generous amounts of ripe berry fruit that cling to your palate, balanced acidity and soft-tannins. It is not surprising that this was a Bronze Medal winner at the 2010 Canadian Wine Awards. Congrats Calamus!

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine would pair nicely with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal root vegetables. Our Savvy Sommeliers recommend braised lamb shanks in a tomato red wine sauce – recipe to follow.

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

Sun-Dried Tomato and Dill Cheesecake
From 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics, Judith Finlayson

Serves 6

Crust

1 cup (250 mL) cracker crumbs, such as wheat thins

2 tbsp melted butter

Cheesecake
1 package cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

½ cup coarsely copped dill

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil, drained

2 tbsp finely chopped green onion or chives

¾ cup shredded Emmenthal or Swiss cheese

Method – Crust

1.In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs and melted butter.Press mixture into the bottom of prepared dish.Place in freezer until ready to use.

Method – Cheesecake

1.In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine cream cheese and eggs. Process until smooth.Add dill, sun-dried tomatoes and green onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pulse until blended (do not over mix). Add cheese and pulse just until blended. Pour mixture over crust. Cover dish tightly with foil and secure with a string (if using a springform pan, see TIP, below)Place dish in slow cooker stoneware and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch (2.5cm) up the sides.

2.Cover and cook on High for 3 hours, or until edges are set and the centre is slightly jiggly. Remove from slow cooker and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

CHEF’S TIP: If using a springform pan, ensure that water does not seep into the cheesecake by wrapping the bottom of the pan in one large seamless piece of foil that extends up the sides and over the top. Cover the top with a single piece of foil that extends down the sides and secure with a string.

With Nyarai Cellars Viognier…

Grilled Honey-Basil Chicken


From Great Recipes of the Great Cooks, Arlene Feltman Sailhac


Serves 6

Ingredients

1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split and pounded to an even thickness
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup + 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
¼ cup + 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper

Method

1.Place the chicken in a shallow glass dish.In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, honey, basil, thyme and pepper.Whisk well and pour over the chicken.Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

2.Preheat gas grill and spray the grill with nonstick vegetable spray.

3.When grill is hot, lift the chicken from the marinade and grill for about 4 minutes on each side, or until just cooed through.Do not overcook.

4.Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

5.Pour the reduced marinade over the chicken and serve with seasonable vegetables.


With Calamus Estate Winery Meritage…

Braised Lamb Shanks

From www.allrecipes.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 large white onions, chopped
4 lamb shanks
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed

2 lemons, quartered
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.Place the onions in a layer in the bottom of a Dutch oven or medium roasting pan with a lid. Arrange the lamb shanks on top of the onions. Pour the wine, balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the lamb. Place a clove of pressed garlic next to each shank, and a quarter of a lemon on each side. Pour the tomatoes over everything, and then season with salt, pepper and basil.

3.Cover and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours. Use juices from the pan to make a nice flavorful gravy.

4.Serve with mushroom risotto and grilled zucchini.

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

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School never tasted this good!

Posted by Derek

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Niagara College Teaching Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep
 

My comments may have been lighthearted in past editions of the Savvy e-Zine, yet frankly, the truth is that selecting the wines to be featured in the Savvy Selections is a job that the Savvy Team of Sommeliers take very seriously.  The featured winery usually provides a choice of six or seven wines.  From there, our goal is to choose the best three wines that are sent to all of our subscribers across Ontario.  On some occasions, the range of wines are so impressive that it is hard to decide on just three wines.  Instead of settling the dispute over a good old fashioned arm wrestling competition, we let you make the decision by suggesting a fourth wine as an available option to add to your monthly delivery of wine.  November is definitely a different story.

 

 

 

This month Savvy Selections features wines from the Niagara College Teaching Winery.  The professional winemaking school opened its doors in 2000 and from this point onwards, the wine industry of Ontario took a quantum leap forward.  Steve Gill, the General Manager of the Winery and Viticulture program at Niagara provided us a selection of nine wines to sample. Selecting three wines from six is challenging enough, but selecting three wines to feature from nine was next to impossible (wink, wink).  Much discussion was had and the arm wrestle decision making technique was considered!

 

We are delighted to introduce you the following wines in your Savvy Selections:

·         Unoaked Chardonnay VQA 2009

·         Meritage VQA 2005

·         Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2007

 

We couldn’t stop there. The wines crafted by the students were simply remarkable. A+ in fact. The wines were certainly more than a class project. When I emailed you to see if you would like optional wines added to your delivery, I was overwhelmed with the positive response. If after reading this Savvy eZine you would like more of these great (and hard to find wines), simply email or call me to make the arrangements for a delivery. The optional wines included:

·         Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2006

·         Meritage VQA 2007

·         Savant Ice Wine VQA 2007

 

This month is unique in that we are able to offer two mini verticals (winespeak: two wines of the same variety from different years). Sampling the Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 & 2007 side by side will give you a taste of how the difference in weather during the growing season impacts the final product. Sampling the Meritage 2005 & 2007 at the same time will give you an idea of how the blend evolves as it ages. In the following pages, Derek spends some time describing vintage variation to further your enjoyment (and knowledge!).

 

If you are curious about the concept of vintage variation and did not order the optional 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon feel free to contact me so that I can arrange to have a bottle (or two) shipped to you or any of the other Savvy Selections featured wines for that matter.    

 

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 


Introducing…

Niagara College Teaching Winery

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

 

When I finished high school, pursuing an education in the field of viticulture and winemaking was just not possible and pursing a career in that very field would have been out of the question.  In the famous words of Bob Dylan, “The Times they are a-Changin”. 

At Niagara College, Steve Gill is the main man on campus. He is the General Manager of Wine Operations at the College’s Teaching Winery.  I spent a few hours with him earlier this month to learn about the program and what the courses entail. 

A very cool school
The Niagara College program is dedicated to teaching the real life skills and developing the skills required to produce premium wine.  In addition, the program teaches its students the business side of the wine industry. 

The Teaching Winery is a state of the art and fully operational winery within Niagara College, but I found out that it was not always that way.  When it first began in 2000, the students would visit wineries throughout the Niagara Region in order to attain the required hands-on experience.  To strengthen the program, the College applied for and was granted a winery license by the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission.  By having its own winery on premise the students now have direct and convenient access to a functional winery.

At anytime there are 55 to 60 students enrolled.  When the winery opened the College had 5 acres under vine.  In a few short years its vineyard has expanded to 38 acres, planted primarily with Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay vines.

Vintage Variation
Aside from the wine, one of the many benefits of belonging to the Savvy Selection club is the monthly Savvy eZine. One of my goals in writing these eZines is to provide you with insight & knowledge about selected wine.  November is an ‘educational’ treat in that two wine varietals are available that showcase the concept of vintage variation.  

In the wine world, Ontario is considered to have a marginal climate.  What does this mean?  Well, unlike California or Australia where the climate is consistent year over year, the growing climate in Ontario is relatively unstable as it is prone to significant climactic changes.  For example, in some years, an early frost can significantly damage the crop, whereas, in other years frost does not rear its cold ugly head.  These climatic swings will produce variations in the fruit both in quantity and quality.  This difference in the fruit will in turn produce noticeable differences in the final wine.  The term used to describe the changes in wine as a result of changes in the climate is known as vintage variation.  

The wines that display these climatic variations are the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and the optional 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines were harvested at roughly the same time and both wines were crafted in the exact same manner. Both wines were also aged in a combination of American and French oak for approximately the same period of time.  The only variation is the climate that the vines were exposed to.

2006 was a wet, relatively cold year which lacked a great deal of sun.  When these types of conditions occur the fruit (i.e. the grapes) are not able to achieve an ideal level of ripeness.  This is evident on both the nose as well as the palate as the wines will tend to be more herbaceous or earthy in nature.

2007 on the other hand was a fantastic year.  There was a great deal of sun and heat and just the correct amount of rain.  When these climatic conditions occur the berries tend to produce a wine that is fuller in body and more fruit forward in nature. 

If you don’t believe me, taste the differences between the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines are well made, however it is just personal preference as to the style you prefer.  Which camp do you fall into?  The earthy herbaceous style or the fruit forward full body style? 

Cheers!

 

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Unoaked Chardonnay VQA 2009, $14.95
The temperatures in 2009 were cooler resulting in a wine that is fresh and slightly herbaceous.  The 2009 vintages was estate grown as all of the fruit came from St. David’s Bench, a vineyard located on the grounds of the College.  This is the first wine produced by the College that has a Stelvin enclosure (winespeak: screwcap).

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This wine is polished pale yellow in colour.  The nose has intense aromas of citrus, green apple and cut grass which carry through to the palate.  This medium-bodied dry wine has great acidity with a relatively short citrus finish.  As a result of the acidity and fresh flavours this wine could easily be mistaken for a Sauvignon Blanc.  The price of $14.95 is also impressive.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Seafood risotto or poached salmon are potential pairing partners with this wine.  The tasting panel is recommending seared chicken and green beans amandine, which accompanies this e-Zine.

Cellaring: In general white wines are not intended to be aged.  For the 2009 vintage we recommend keeping this for 12 to 18 months.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2007, $18.95

2007 was a hot year with near draught conditions.  These factors will naturally ‘stress’ the vine.  As a result, the vine will produce berries with a greater concentration of sugars and acids. Better berries will help the winemaker in creating a wine that is richer and more-full bodied. 

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of fruit cake and cocoa; accented with herbaceous notes of bell pepper, tobacco leaf and pencil shavings.  On the palate the wine is very fruit forward with flavours of black berry and plum.  The acidity, concentration of fruit flavours and length of finish make this a quality wine at a very affordable price.

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  Grilled bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin or pasta with bolognaises sauce would work well with this wine.  For something different but easy to prepare the tasting panel is recommending Moroccan Spice Beef prepared in a slow cooker – the recipe is on the following pages.

 

Cellaring: This Cabernet Sauvignon is drinking now or if you so desire you could cellar it for 2 to 5 years.

Meritage VQA 2005 $32.95 (special price for Savvy Selections subscribers.  Regular $39.95)
In keeping with other Meritage (pronounced Merry-tage) wines this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.   

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The 2005 Meritage is dark ruby red with a complex nose of dark fruit, dark chocolate and  to the palate as you experience black current, cedar and pepper notes.  This medium-bodied dry wine has soft tannins and a noticeably long complex peppery finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Peppercorn steak or pork tenderloin with fruit chutney and fingerling potatoes would be a great match.  However, try the Beef & Pears recipe provided.  I especially like the fact that the dish is easy to prepare.  In addition to that the variety of flavours and textures nicely complements this wine.

Cellaring: The wine is already 5 years and as such we recommend either enjoying the wine now or if you wish it could cellar for another 3 years.


~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes for Optional Wines~Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2006, $15.95
The climatic conditions in 2006 were not stellar.  In fact, 2006 was a wet year that lacked sunshine and heat.  The resulting fruit tends to lead to wines that are earthy and more vegetal in nature.

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This ruby red wine falls on the herbaceous side of the aroma wheel with notes of bell pepper, leather and wet earth.  On the palate, there are noticeable flavours of cherry and plum along with cedar and leather.  The wine is dry with a medium tannic finish.  It is an excellent example of a Cabernet Sauvignon that is made in the Bordeaux style.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine would pair well with grilled red meats such as steak or lamb chops.

Cellaring: This wine could easily be cellared for another 4 years as the tannins do need some time to soften.

 

Meritage VQA 2007, $47.95
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Almost opaque Ruby red in colour.  It has a great nose of Christmas fruit cake, dark chocolate and stewed fruit with slight undertones of bell pepper.  On the palate it displays flavours of blackberry, dark cherry complemented with notes of smoke and cedar.  This is a full-bodied dry red wine.  The finish is long as the fruit flavours hang in there.

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  The complexity on the nose and palate along with the body of the wine transpire to make this a powerful wine.  We recommend a charcuterie platter of flavourful meats along with artisan cheeses.  For something different; gourmet burgers with blue cheese or feta would also be a great pairing.

 

Cellaring: This Meritage is drinking well now or it could be cellared for up to another 6 years.  

Dean’s List Savant Ice Wine 2008 VQA $69.95
This is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8 % Pinot Noir.  All of the grapes for this wine were harvest from the St. David’s Bench appellation which is part of the College’s campus; therefore the students had direct control over the management of the vineyard as well as the harvesting of the fruit that goes into this wine.    

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Amber in colour this 2008 ice wine displays aromas of lychee, peach cobbler and honey.  The aromas on the nose come through on the palate as you will taste honey and peach as well as hints of strawberry.  The wine is well balanced with a long sweet finish held together with mouth-watering acidity. On our first sip, everyone on the Savvy Selections tasting panel was speechless.  Someone broke the silence with the comment, “OMG this is YUMMMMMMMY”.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine is absolutely stunning on its own.  Alternatively, it would be a great accompaniment to a selection of artisan cheeses from Ontario.

Cellaring: This would make wine can be enjoyed now.  As a result of the fruit and acidity in the wine it can easily cellar for 3 to 5 years.

 

~ Recipes to Enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Niagara College Unoaked Chardonnay…

Seared Chicken and Green Beans Amandine
From LCBO Food & Drink Magazine, Holiday 2007

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

½ lemon

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

¾ lb (375g) thin fresh green beans

3 large plum tomatoes

4 oz (125 g) bacon or 4 to 6 slices

½ cup (125 g) slices or slivered almonds, divided

1 tbsp (15 mL) all purpose flour

½ cup (125 mL) chicken broth

½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine

½ tsp (2 mL) pepper

½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream

¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley

Method

1.    Place chicken pieces between plastic wrap; flatten to ¾ – inch (2-cm) thickness using the flat side of a meat pounder or rolling pin.  Arrange in a single layer in a glass 9 x 13 inch (3-L) dish; sprinkle both sides with salt. Zest and juice lemon; sprinkle zest over chicken.  Whisk oil with squeezed juice; pour over chicken.  Let stand at 30 minutes at room temperature, turning once or twice.  (If making ahead cover and refrigerate for up to half a day.)

 

2.    Remove stems from green beans; cut tomatoes lengthwise, seed and dice.  Add 1 inch (2.5 cm) water to a medium saucepan or steamer; place over low heat.  Cut bacon crosswise into ¼-inch (5-mm) slices.  Have all ingredients ready before next step as this is a la minute cooking.

 

3.    Place almonds in a dry large frying pan over medium heat; shake frequently for 3 to 4 minutes or until almonds are golden.  Transfer to a bowl to cool; return frying pan to a heat.  Add bacon.  Fry for 5 to 8 minutes or until browned and crisp; remove bits for pan to a paper towel.  Do not drain fat from hot pan.

 

4.    Drain chicken and discard marinade.  Leaving all fat in pan, increase temperature to between medium and medium-high; add chicken.  Sauté 6 to 8 minutes per side or until golden and firm to touch.  Boil water in saucepan; boil or steam green beans for 4 to 5 minutes or until bright green and barely tender; drain and keep warm.  Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

 

5.    Drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fat in pan.  Add flour to fat in pan; stir to mix.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and white wine; when smooth and just bubbling, add tomatoes and bacon bits.  Cook 1 minute; stir in pepper, cream, half of toasted almonds and parsley.  Let bubble for a minute or 2 or until slightly thickened.  Taste and add pinches of salt if needed.

 

6.    Arrange chicken and beans on warm serving plates.  Nap with sauce and garnish with remaining almonds and additional chopped parsley.  Serve with basmati rice or mashed potatoes.

 

With Niagara College Cabernet Sauvignon…

Moroccan-Spiced Beef
From 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics 
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

2 lbs (1 kg) stewing beef, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes and patted dry

2 onions, chopped

4 large carrots peeled and chopped

4 large parsnips peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick piece

2 tbsp (30 mL) cumin seeds, toasted and ground

2 tsp (10 mL) coriander seeds, toasted and ground

2 tbsp (30 mL) all purpose flour

1 can (28 oz / 796 mL) tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste

1 cup beef stock

½ cup (120 mL) dry red wine

½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper

1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Method

1.  In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds.  Add beef, in batches, and cook, stirring, adding a bit more oil if necessary, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per batch.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

 

2.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add onions, carrots and parsnips to pan and cool, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and toasted seeds and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and red wine and bring to a boil, stirring.  Add salt to taste.

 

3.  Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.  Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until vegetables are tender.  Dissolve cayenne in lemon juice and stir into mixture.  Garnish liberally with parsley before serving.

 

4.  Service with couscous or brown rice.  

 

Note: This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked.  Complete Step 2, heating 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in pan before softening the vegetables.  Cover and refrigerate mixture overnight.  The next morning, brown beef (Step 1), or it you are pressed for time, omit this step and add meat directly to stoneware.  Continue cooking as directed in Step 3. 


 

With Niagara College Meritage…

Beef and Pears in Wine

From Company’s Coming Weekend Cooking,
Serves 4

 

Ingredients
1 to 1 ½ (450 – 680 g) beef tenderloin roast

2 tsp (10 mL) cooking oil
4 tsp (20 mL) cooking oil
4 tbsp (60 mL) finely chopped onion

2 cup (500 mL) dry red wine

4 tbsp (60 mL) red currant jelly

4 tsp (20 mL) Dijon mustard
2 firm medium pear, peeled, cored and quartered

 

Method

1.     Place roast on greased wire rack in small roasting pan.  Drizzle with first amount of cooking oil.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Cook uncovered, in 350°F (175°C) oven for 40 to 45 minutes until meat thermometer reads 140°F (60°C) for medium doneness or until desired doneness.  Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes.

 

2.     Heat second amount of cooking oil in medium saucepan on medium-low.  Add onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft.  Add wine, jelly and mustard.  Heat and stir on medium until jelly is liquid.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.

 

3.     Add pear to wine, jelly and mustard mixture.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pear is soft.  Remove pear and keep warm.

 

4.     Strain wine mixture.  Discard solids.  Return wine mixture to same saucepan.  Boil, uncovered, on medium-high for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.  Makes 1/3 cup (75 mL) sauce.  Drizzle sauce over sliced beef and pear on individual plates.

 

5.     Serve with seasonal vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes

 

 

 

 

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

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The coolest wine tasting room – a red caboose!

Posted by Julie

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features 33 Vines Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep
 

 

Owner and winemaker of 33 Vines Winery, Paul Minaker, says “there is nothing like the excitement of tasting fermented grapes straight from the barrel to have the first sip of new wine”. Making wine along with driving his tractor keeps him ‘close to the land’ – his vineyard that is located on the Loyalist Highway #33 in the north eastern part of Prince Edward County, or ‘The County’.

 

The Savvy Team is delighted to introduce you to 33 Vines this month as we have had a deeply rooted connection to this winery.  In 2006, Paul called on us to be the Sommeliers for a VIP event he was having for the winery’s ‘Founders Circle’ members – friends, family & wine enthusiasts who were watching this property transform from a corn field into a vineyard.  Members were invited to sample County wines, provide feedback on the 33 Vines label designs, plant vines and see the renovations of the heritage barn as it readies for the first harvest.  Then in 2008, the Savvy Team were involved in the grand opening of the winery complete with winery tours, Sommelier led wine tastings in the barrel room and the evening continued with a celebration private concert featuring the Jim Cuddy Band.  Now with the winery in its second year, the wines are turning heads and the winery has become a ‘must visit’ stop with its tasting room housed in the red CN caboose.

 

When not devoting his life to being a winemaker, Paul is a network designer in his spare time or maybe it’s vice versa?  Hard to tell depending on the season however there is no doubt that the lure of the land is embedded in his blood, his upbringing and as he says, where he calls home.

 

This month, your Savvy Selections includes:

– 33 Vines Pinot Noir VQA 2008 – take note how this wine evolves in your glass

– 33 Vines Merlot VQA 2007 – a crowd pleaser

– Red Caboose Rosé VQA 2008 – medium bodied with a natural sweetness that keeps you salivating & wanting another sip!

 

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO! 

33 Vines is the smallest winery that has been a Savvy Selections feature. With its limited supply 2000 cases of wines handcrafted each year, their wines are only available at the winery.  To stock up on more bottles of your favorite wine, simply call on us to arrange a special delivery for you.

 

Watch a Savvy video on 33 Vines!

Get a taste of 33 Vines and meet Paul by watching a video that I created on a recent tour to the winery.

 

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & the Savvy Team


 

Introducting…
33 Vines Winery

Presented by Sommelier Julie Stock

 

Paul Minaker says he does not have a particular winemaking philosophy nor a magic formula, rather his challenge as a winemaker is basically to make a good quality wine. Sounds simple enough?

 

In 2003, Paul purchased his property just east of Adolphustown on Loyalist Highway 33 (near Glenora Ferry) and immediately planted Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc grapes. This was not a spur of the moment purchase. Rather, Paul spent years of researching, analyzing vineyard growth and wine history in the area, talking to other winemakers to find the right spot for planting his vineyard. While Paul had the advantage of being born in and growing up in Picton (aka The County), he says that he devised a checklist of all the pre-requisites required for the vineyard before endeavouring on such a purchase. His check list included such items as: first and foremost, the proper soil, secondly; being close to water, third; the land had to have the right slope and elevation, to name only a few. This brings to mind the concept of terroir, which aside from land and soil and which way the wind blows, is part and parcel of the heart and soul of the person who farms the land and harvests the crop.

 

Paul’s first harvest was in 2006 with and his first release of wine in 2007. On his 15 acres of premium clay loam soils – similar to the soils in Burgundy, France – this small boutique winery produces a zippy Riesling, an impressive Chardonnay, an award winning Cabernet Franc, a notable Pinot Noir.  In 2007, he added Merlot to his portfolio. While one of Paul’s favorites is his Chardonnay, he is also passionate about Pinot, and he laughs saying “it can sometimes take getting used to the aromas” but with conviction, “a velvety smooth Pinot is like no other wine”.

 

In 2008, the focal point for the winery’s grand opening was the private concert at Crystal Palace in Picton headlining Jim Cuddy Band (Jim is Paul’s cousin and the lead singer in the popular Canadian band Blue Rodeo). With celebrity status entertainment, coupled with first rate wines, the celebration drew attention to the new boutique winery and attracted more attention to already growing popularity of Prince Edward County.

 

Working in the vineyard

Despite its small size, Thirty Three Vines requires the same workhorse management as larger wineries. The Thirty Three team includes a full time vineyard manager, two workers on the land, a person with tasting room expertise and additional grape pickers during harvest.

 

“One of the advantages of a small winery is that during harvest, grapes can be picked in the morning and crushed in the afternoon – the winemaking process begins immediately.” How does Paul decide when the are grapes ready?  “Weather can be of influence, coupled with the Ph (acidity) in the grape, the brix (sugar levels) and ultimately the taste of the grapes. Pinot Noir grape ripens first, then typically followed by Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and by the time we’ve entered well into October, five to seven tons of grapes have been harvested.”

 

Grapevines usually have a 30 year lifespan. However, due to the harsh winter conditions in The County, unique to this wine region, winemakers must “hill up” whereby the grapes are literally buried down to the cordon – the main branch in a grapevine. Hilling up is often done by tractor, which can be pretty hard on the vines. The exact timing to hill up takes place is tantamount to their growth and success the following year since if the vines are hilled too early in November, any significant rain that follows causes rot and vines do not like to be wet. Subsequently, the vines are “hilled down” in the spring – meaning the protective soil is removed. This too is time sensitive because hilling down too early exposes the plant to frost or leaving too late could cause the vines to shoot branches too low.  Paul and other County winemakers will attest that winemaking is neither for the short-lived or faint of heart.

 

The love of winemaking is sometimes juxtaposed with issues of the Federal and Provincial rules, regulations and sales that ultimately dictate what is sold at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). While this may be considered as a disadvantage to wine enthusiastis, it also makes a visit to small wineries worth seeking out. Highway 33 also known as the Loyalist Parkway offers blue lake on one side and vast green country farmland on the other.  Stop in to say hello at the red CN caboose and sample the variety of 33 Vines wines. It’s not only worth the stop; it’s worth the drive. After all, finding a great new wine is in part, the journey. 

 

Cheers & Enjoy!


 

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

33 Vines Pinot Noir VQA 2008, $24.95
Paul is passionate about Pinot Noir and he laughs saying “with this one, give it some times to get used to the aromas.” Then he continues with conviction, “a velvety smooth Pinot is like no other wine.” With that type of determination, we are sure that Paul will indeed create a great Pinot Noir.  Take note how this wine changes and evolves in your glass.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This young light to medium bodied beauty has aromas of sour cherries, violets, raspberries, a hint of tobacco and sweet spice; all the delicious aromas often found in a well balanced pinot noir. With its medium tannins, acidity and slight peppery finish it makes a perfect summer pinot noir. 

Suggested Food Pairing: The Savvy Selections tasting panel all agreed that a vast selection of foods could accompany this easy drinking pinot from pork roast to salmon or turkey and we decided it was definitely a year round wine to have on hand.

SOMMELIER TIP: lightly chill your Pinot Noir wine (10-15 min in the fridge) for a different wine experience. As the wine warms up to room temperature, you will experience an array of aromas and tastes.

Cellaring: Best enjoyed now, or cellared for up to 2 years.

33 Vines Merlot, $19.95
The eyes of our Savvy Selections tasting panel lit up when we sampled this wine. It is no doubt that Sommeliers at some of Ottawa’s restaurants agree that this wine is a crowd pleaser.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Medium garnet coloured, this Merlot is polished and practically glistens in the glass. Juicy red fruits, cranberry and a hint of blueberry penetrate the nose and follow through with silky elegance on the palate. The medium tannins and acidity play into a lingering finish of plums and dusty dark chocolate. 

Suggested Food Pairing: We were all in agreement that this wine would be a great complement to BBQed burgers, game or pasta with tomato sauce. The wine is balanced, smooth and friendly. Anyone on for making a new friend? 

Cellaring: Best enjoyed now, or cellared for up to 2 years.


33 Vines Red Caboose Rosé VQA 2008, $16.95   
Savvy Sommelier Julie declares that this is my a favourite Thirty Three Vines wine for the summer. A unique blend of Riesling and Cabernet Franc – none of the Savvy Selections tasting panel had experienced anything like this before. While rosé wines can range from bone dry to sweet, this one falls somewhere in the middle. Perfect to sip on its own, serve before a meal or do as Paul does when tasting the range of Thirty Three wines at the tasting bar – serve this Rosé chilled after enjoying red wines.
 
 

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: It has a crisp clean strawberry and cranberry looking appearance that tastes great on its own or with everything from grilled fish to our featured watermelon and feta salad. It is light weight in body and aside from red berries, displays slight aromas of mineral and an earthiness that can only come from the soil in Lennox and Addington County. 

Suggested Food Pairing: The Savvy Selections tasting panel was unanimous that this was lunch or afternoon wine and by the time we agreed to brunch, it was unanimous that one glass is not enough to enjoy its refreshing characteristics! A great sipper not to mention a great match to food including roast turkey, grilled shrimp, BBQed pork chops or picnic fare.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, ripe but not overly sweet.

 

 

~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

 

With 33 Vines Pinot Noir … 

Peppered Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa

From: www.Epicurious.com

Serves 2 

This is an easy but elegant summer dinner, can be served at room temperature.

                

Ingredients

1/2 pound dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped (about 1 cup)

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest

1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion

1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded fresh jalapeño chili pepper (tip: wear rubber gloves while chopping)

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh coriander

3/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat

2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns

1 tablespoon olive oil

 

Method

1.     Preheat oven to 425°F.

 

2.     In a bowl stir together cherries, lime juice, zest, onion, jalapeño, and coriander.

 

3.     Season pork with salt and press peppercorns into it. In a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown pork on all sides.

 

4.     Transfer pork to a shallow baking dish and roast in oven until a meat thermometer registers 155°F., about 20 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Slice pork into 1/2-inch-thick medallions and serve with salsa.

 

With 33 Vines Merlot …

 

Capellini (aka Angel hair pasta) with Tomatoes and Basil 

From: Barefoot Contessa

Serves 6 

A great celebration of summer – fresh basil and cherry tomatoes from the market!

 

Ingredients

½ cup good olive oil, plus extra for the pasta pot

2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)

4 pints small cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

18 large basil leaves, julienned

2 tablespoons chopped fresh curly parsley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¾ pound dried capellini or angel hair pasta

1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Extra chopped basil and grated Parmesan for serving

 

Method

1.     Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add two tablespoons of salt and a splash of oil to the pot.

 

2.     Meanwhile, heat the ½ cup of olive oil in a large (12-inch) sauté pan. Add the garlic to the oil and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, two teaspoons salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes.

 

3.     Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for five to seven minutes, tossing occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften but don’t break up.

 

4.     While the tomatoes are cooking, add the capellini to the pot of boiling water and cook for two minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water.

 

5.     Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, add the tomatoes and Parmesan, and toss well. Add some of the pasta water if the pasta seems too dry. Serve large bowls of pasta with extra basil sprinkled on top and a big bowl of extra Parmesan on the side.

 

 

With 33 Vines Red Caboose Rosé …

 

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

From Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer Cookbook and her recipe web site

This is one great summer salad!

 

Ingredients

1 ½ kg sweet ripe watermelon

250 g feta cheese

Bunch of mint and parsley chopped

1 small red onion

2-4 limes depending on juiciness

3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

100 g black olives

Black pepper

 

Method

1.     Peel and half the red onion, cut into fine half moon shapes and put in small bowl with lime juice.

 

2.     Remove rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into triangular chunks (bite-size)

 

3.     Cut feta into similar sized pieces and put both into a wide shallow bowl.

 

4.     Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf rather than a garnish; add to bowl along with the chopped mint.

 

5.     Sprinkle or tip the glowing onions along with the now pink lime juice over the salad in the bowl; add the oil and olives then using your hands toss the salad gently so that the melon and feta do not lose their shape.

 

6.     Add a grinding of black pepper and taste to see if any more lime is required, to taste.

 

 

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

 

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Ontario wines fit for Her Majesty the Queen

Posted by Debbie

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

 

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

  

   

 

 

~ Upon Arrival ~

13th Street Winery Cuvée 13 Rosé VQA 2007, Niagara

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

 

 

~ First Course ~

Green and White Asparagus Salad with Orange Segments,

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

 

Huff Estates South Bay Chardonnay VQA 2007, Prince Edward County

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

 

 

 

~ Main Course ~

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

Local Spring Vegetable Bundle

 

Stratus White VQA 2006, Niagara

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

 

Lailey Vineyard Canadian Oak Pinot Noir VQA 2007, Niagara

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

 

 

 

~ Dessert Course ~

Fresh Local Strawberry Compote with Lemon Poppyseed Shortcake

Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse
Maple Shortbread

 

Coffee and Tea Service

 

 

Media Coverage

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

 

 

 

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