Posts Tagged ‘Wine and Food’

Savvy Care Packages Are Like Taking a Wine Tour at Home

Posted by Alexandra Kay

Monday, June 7th, 2021
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Summer is wine tour season –

nothing beats a perfect summer day, rolling from vineyard to vineyard, tasting your way through each winemaker’s offerings, discovering new favourites and maybe getting a peek at where the behind-the-scenes magic happens. While the winemakers are all looking forward to welcoming everyone back when pandemic restrictions lift, they have been teaming up with our Savvy Sommeliers to get their favourite Ontario wines to you. These are the hard-to-get bottles not available at the LCBO – vintages that would often have been reserved for restaurants but are now available for home delivery.

While nothing can replace the experience of travelling through Ontario’s wine country,  our Savvy Care Packages have been curated to help you bring home a taste of each of Ontario’s wine regions this summer. Starting with a full ‘Surprise’ tour of Ontario, we’ll then bring you assortments featuring the EPIC wine region, Prince Edward County, and Niagara.

Ontario Wines Summer Line-up

  • JUNE – All things Rosé! We’ll be featuring Surprise Care Packages with bottles of Rosé as well as Care Packages with Whites & Red Wines for ‘The Full Tour’

  • JULY – Savvy Roadtrip to EPIC wine region 6-Pack (Essex Pelee Island Coast)

  • AUG – Savvy Roadtrip to The County 6-Pack (Prince Edward County that is) 

  • SEPT – Savvy Roadtrip to Niagara-on-the-Lake 6-Pack

  • OCT – Savvy Roadtrip to Niagara’s Bench 6-Pack

Each Roadtrip 6-Pack includes an exclusive pass to a virtual tasting to meet the featured wine & cider makers from each region.

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Clink & Drink Pink!

Posted by Alexandra Kay

Monday, May 17th, 2021
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By Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company Founder & Sommelier

I love this time of the year. When wineries start getting excited about releasing their Rosé wine, it is always a sure sign that summer is around the corner! Made with the grapes harvested last fall, Rosé wine is a perfect drink to enjoy after a winter of heavy red wines. Rosés quench your thirst, they are low-ish in alcohol (usually 11-12%) and pair with many spring & summertime foods–especially brunch, lunch, picnic or backyard BBQ fare. Unlike other styles of wine, Rosés can be made with any kind of red grapes–a single variety or a blend of several. There are even a few made from a blend of red & white grapes! Wine makers have the liberty to use anything from the vineyard to craft a Rosé wine like an artist creating a masterpiece. Sometimes it can be hard to know whether you’ll love a Rosé when picking a bottle based on grape variety, price, pink colour or creative labelling. But half the fun with Rosés is discovering new favourites every year–and our Sommeliers are here to help with taste tips about the latest releases.

Sommelier Tips for Rosé :

  • Rule of thumb: drink by 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…it will make you thirsty!

  • Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins before serving….as the Rosé wine warms up, notice how the aromas & taste change.

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

  • Price points are usually $15–$30

  • Real men drink Rosé wines!

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 juice is white. The skins of red grape varieties–such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Syrah, Cabernet Franc etc.–contain a red pigment. After the grapes have been crushed and the juice is collected, the winemaker keeps the grape skins sitting with the juice for a few hours–or a couple of days–in order to achieve the colour that they want for the wine. This is the same process for red wines, except that for reds, the grape skins are left in the juice much longer – typically for several weeks. Removing the grape skins earlier when making Rosé results in a lighter coloured–and lighter tasting–wine. Once the grape skins are removed, the juice is allowed to ferment into alcohol in a stainless steel tank. I have yet to come across a Rosé wine that has been barrel aged.

Making Rosé wine takes just a few months, whereas red wine can take a few years from harvest to bottling. Where to start? Our Sommeliers have got you covered! Our team of Savvy Sommeliers has done the ‘guess work’. We’ve been sampling the latest Rosé wines made across Ontario & each month during the summer, we will put together an assortment of the most refreshing Rosé wines for you. Beginning in May, we will curate 6 pack assortments of Rosé wines as part of our Savvy Care Package offerings. Several of these Rosés have just been released & you’ll be the first to enjoy them! These bottles are not available at the LCBO…they’ll come straight from the wine makers to you. You can order a one-off, or you can subscribe to auto-magically receive REALLY good Rosés delivered to your doorstep each month. And don’t forget to treat your Mom to a special Bouquet of Rosés for Mother’s Day too!

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Pet-Nat Wine 101

Posted by Alexandra Kay

Monday, May 17th, 2021
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By Shirley Roy, Savvy Sommelier

These fresh and vibrant bubbly wines are popping up at many of our favourite Ontario vineyards. Pet-Nat is short for ‘pétillant naturel’, the French name for natural sparkling wine. Like all natural wines, Pet-Nat is fermented with wild yeast in the air. It is bottled before fermentation is complete, which traps some of the carbon dioxide from fermentation in the bottle and creates bubbles. But because Pet-Nats are bottled before their fermentation is complete, it is hard to predict whether the final wine will have a delicate bubble – or be very volatile!

In the past, there have been some unfortunate cases of Pet-Nat bottles exploding. For this reason, you’ll often find today’s Pet-Nats sealed with screw caps or bottle caps instead of corks to prevent any unwanted accidents. Pet-Nat wines are definitely not wines to cellar. Enjoy these bright, bubbly wines within a year of their release. They are great to drink on their own or with lighter food, like salads or some great cheese. Being a natural wine, there will be a fair amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle–best to pour gently & leave it there!

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Orange Wine

Posted by Alexandra Kay

Monday, May 17th, 2021
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By Shirley Roy, Savvy Sommelier

It’s incorrect to call Orange wine ‘the new kid on the block’, since this natural winemaking process dates back thousands of years. There are no oranges involved, either. It’s 100% grapes. Orange wine is named for the ‘orange’ colour it develops during the winemaking process and this style of wine seems to be popping up everywhere.

Orange wine is made from white grape varieties. In Ontario, it’s often Chardonnay or Vidal grapes that are used. Typically, when making a white wine, the grapes are crushed and the resulting juice is separated immediately from the grape skins. Not so when making Orange wine. The juice and the grape skins stay together for many days–sometimes months. And the longer the contact occurs, the darker the orange colour! Letting the grape juice and grape skins sit together is also the usual method used to make red wines, so a common explanation for Orange wines is ‘a white wine made in the same process as a red wine’. As is the case with all natural wines, Orange wine relies on wild yeast that’s in the air for fermentation, meaning the resulting flavours are less predictable. No additives are used in the winemaking process and it’s not filtered before bottling, so it’s often cloudy.

So what does Orange wine taste like? Think of these wines as ‘artisanal’. Many have a funkier taste due to the use of wild yeast. The grape skin contact often results in a bit of the drying tannins you find in red wines, so there can be a black tea-like characteristic. Many will have bright acidity that accentuates the fruit & floral notes and some will also have herbal notes in the aromas. Almost all Orange wines are dry wines, which often makes them a great wine to pair with lighter fare like a seafood or chicken salad–or one of my personal favourites, a smoked salmon brunch.

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The Best WHEY to Discover Canadian Artisan Cheese!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 21st, 2021
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Cheese is the ultimate comfort food and Canadian cheesemakers are making some of the best in the world!

From buttery, melt-in-your-mouth soft cheese to hard & crumbly aged cheddars (and everything in between), there are always new cheese-y creations–but not all of them make it onto the grocery or specialty cheese shops. Signing up for a subscription to our Savvy Cool Curds club means you’ll always have some of the REALLY good stuff in your fridge for yourself–or to gift to a fellow cheese lover. Subscribers receive a parcel of Savvy Cool Curds with 4 rounds or wedges (approx 200g each) directly from the featured cheesemaker of the month–each cheese will be different & will showcase the talents of the cheesemaker. Plus, each monthly parcel also includes a Canadian-made gourmet goodie to complement your cheese-honey, preserves, specialty crackers…all kinds of surprises. Choose a subscription that delivers new cheese to you every month or opt for the ‘every other month’ subscription.

Sign up for a Savvy Cool Curds club on our website at www.SavvyCoolCurds.ca  !!

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Ontario Craft Cider at its Finest

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 21st, 2021
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Did you know Ontario growers produce over 15 different varieties of apples across the province?

 

A lot of that fruit goes towards making some award-winning craft ciders in a wide spectrum of interesting flavours. Savvy In-Cider Picks is the only monthly club curating delicious assortments of Ontario craft ciders and getting them into the hands (and fridges!) of cider fans.

Every month, we showcase one cidery with a surprise pack of their signature flavours in varying sizes of bottles & cans. This variety pack will introduce you to all new innovative tastes that craft cider makers create by infusing other fruits, spices & even hops.

We always make sure that the ciders we feature are not available at the LCBO or in grocery stores making being a subscriber the perfect way to discover new cideries across the province–especially when road trips aren’t happening very often these days. Order a subscription as a gift for the craft cider lover in your world, and we’ll guarantee that there’ll be lots of ‘cheers’ this winter.

All the Savvy In-Cider Picks Club details can be found on our website at www.SavvyCider.ca

These will be the ‘apple of your eye’ for In-Cider Picks subscribers this winter…

February 2021–Farmgate Cider (Ottawa Valley)

March 2021 – Old Tun (Niagara)

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A Gift Guaranteed to Make Them Smile

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 21st, 2021
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Let’s face it. The last few months have been a strange & stressful time for everyone.

We’ve all had those moments when we needed an extra hand and were thankful for it. For those people who have been ‘essential’ in your world since day one of the pandemic, and of course, those friends & family members you haven’t been able to see for months, we’ve created a Truly Terrific Thank YOU Gift.

Just like the people you’re ordering the gift for, each Thank You package is one-of-a-kind. Each parcel includes all of the REALLY good stuff–a bottle of Ontario wine, a chunk of Canadian artisan cheese & a gourmet goodie plus 2 Savvy wine glasses. Of course, we’ll write a personalized thank you message in a card for you too. Guarantees to brighten anyone’s day& make them feel really appreciated when the gift arrives at their doorstep or office. All of this for just $47 (plus $3 delivery with a smile in Ottawa) We can deliver beyond Ottawa too.

Consider ordering one for your neighbor who loaned you a bag of milk, your kids’ teachers & coaches, your accountant who got your taxes done on time, your trusty mechanic, any healthcare worker you relied on… even the person who went above &beyond! This thoughtful parcel can also be sent to your employees as a way to keep team morale high while everyone is working from their spare bedroom. We all know that saying Thank You goes a long way. Count on us to make it easy to give a REALLY good gift to those who have helped you.

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Meet the Makers from across Canada

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 21st, 2021
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So long as this pandemic lasts, we’ll be opening our virtual doors!

There’s no need to bundle up and brave the cold to attend Savvy Events this year. Instead, we’ll be hunkering down and welcoming you into our own homes through events like our Meet the Makers Virtual Tastings. Every month, we invite you to join us online to meet winemakers, cidermakers & cheesemakers from across Canada to chat about their latest creations, which are featured in our ongoing Savvy Care Packages & ‘of-the-month’ clubs. We’ll send you the bottles in advance so that you can sample the bottles during the Tasting. You’ll get the interesting backstory on their business, this year’s harvest and a special insight from the people who know it best…you might even meet their pets while online!(This happened already!)The makers enjoy ‘meeting’ you online too.

“Tonight was so much fun, Debbie. Thanks for including my wines in the Savvy Virtual Wine Tasting Series. What an awesome and engaging group. I can’t wait to welcome you all in person the next time you’re in the Okanagan.”

 

-Jeff Hundertmark-head winemaker at Mt Boucherie & Rust Wines in BC!

 

Be sure to check out the up-to-date list of dates & featured makers on our SavvyEvents page:www.savvycompany.ca/eventsor follow us on Facebook &Instagram for up-to-the-minute news about additional online events. Here’s an Idea! Contact us to organize your own personal Virtual Tasting with friends &family…or clients & staff!

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Raising a glass to YOU!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 15th, 2021
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Since starting Savvy Company 16 years ago – we were known as The Savvy Grapes back then – the Canadian wine industry has exploded.  I have wine maps on the walls of my office proudly marking 5 wineries in Prince Edward County & about 40 in Niagara. Nova Scotia wines were ‘experimental’ and the first British Columbia wine region tour guide was a thin booklet of less than 30 pages…never mind wineries in and around Ottawa – they weren’t even imagined.   

Look at us now!

 

Approaching 800 wineries nationally with over 170 Ontario alone, the rapidly growing wine industry offers a significant contribution to our economy. I was inspired to begin my business while reading an article highlighting Donald Ziraldo, the co-founder of Inniskillin Winery & one of the pioneers of the Canadian wine industry. He was quoted as saying “What we need is more Canadians drinking Canadian wines.” I am proud that this has been the guiding principle of my business since day one.  And since then we have expanded to include Canadian craft ciders & artisan cheese too. We proudly and continuously wave the Canadian flag.

One advantage of the pandemic has been that people like you are discovering the importance of buying local and being impressed with the quality of the bevvies & goodies we have been delivering to your front door. Since the beginning of the lockdown, I have been uncorking bottles of Canadian wines that were in my stash dating back to my first wine tours in BC, NS, Ontario, Quebec…even PEI. Some bottles were 20+ years old.  These wines have impressed me with their longevity and quality.  Thank you for trusting  us to guide you on your discovery of Canadian wines, craft ciders and artisan cheeses. Ordering gifts, stocking up for the holidays or subscribing to our of-the-month clubs is truly the ultimate way to support local. We all benefit in countless ways. 

All of us in the Savvy Team are eager to send you the hidden gems that we discover.  Why not introduce your friends and family to Canadian wines this holiday season with a gift from us? Leave it to us to deliver the REALLY good stuff! 

 

Enjoy your holidays & here’s to all that is in store in 2021!  

– Debbie 

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Put Riesling in Your Stocking

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 15th, 2021
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by David Loan (a.k.a Savvy Santa) Sommelier and former kitchen owner of Ottawa’s ZenKitchen restaurant

 

Ontario produces a single-varietal white wine that is among the best of its kind in the world. Unfortunately, it’s a variety that many people are unwilling to try. That’s a shame, because it’s wonderful on its own, fantastic with well-paired foods, and a stellar example of the kind of top-notch product that our Canadian cool-climate viticulture can offer. I’m talking, of course, about Riesling. Many of us remember Riesling as that sweet-ish white that we tried as teenagers, possibly poured from a black tower-shaped bottle. We’re all too sophisticated to drink that today, right? If you think so, the holidays-Christmas, New Year’s, even Valentine’s Day-are a wonderful opportunity to give Ontario Riesling a fresh taste. It’s true that there’s possibly a hint of honey in many Rieslings, but that sweetness is there to balance the sharp citrusy notes from the high acidity in the wine. A good Ontario Riesling is rarely sweet, though. It’s fruity and tangy with a distinctive whiff of ripeness sometimes described as “petrol”. The Ontario examples often bring a muscular minerality to the glass, too. Best of all, Riesling goes so well with many traditional holiday foods. Serve it with canapés, or hard cheeses, or with this lovely olive-fig tapenade and crackers (recipe below). You’ll want to make Riesling an annual holiday tradition. You’ll find fantastic examples of Riesling from Tawse in the Niagara Escarpment, Southbrook Vineyard in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region, and from Huff Estates in Prince Edward County.

 

From our kitchen to yours!

 

French Fig Olive Tapenade

From David’s Kitchen – Makes 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:

5 cups of pitted brined & cured olives, canned or from a jar

1 large clove of garlic

8 dried black figs, stemmed

1 tablespoon of capers, drained

1 small bunch of mint, stemmed (about 3 large tablespoons)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Method 1 : Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and pulse to form a chunky purée.

Method 2: Add the olive oil and pulse until it forms a smooth mass. It is best to make this tapenade at least one day before you intend to serve it which allows the flavours to meld and develop.

Additions & Variations: The texture of this tapenade is totally up to you! You can even chop it by hand for a chunkier version if you prefer. Other herbs can be substituted for the mint, like fresh rosemary or thyme. And if you want it sweeter, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

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