Posts Tagged ‘wine deliveries’

20 Questions: The ‘dirt’ on Derek Barnett

Posted by Debbie

Monday, February 5th, 2018
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All of us in the Savvy Team have been long-time fans of Derek Barnett. We were gung-ho to do our part when he launched his Meldville Wines by featuring Derek’s wines in Savvy Selections in July 2016. Since then, the wines and Derek as a new business owner have shone. The story about the winery in the beginning is the same! So, I asked Derek “20 Questions” about his career as a winemaker and threw in some personal ditties to get some ‘dirt’ on the man Derek Barnett. “But I don’t enjoy talking about myself”, said Derek. Here he is with the spotlight shining directly on him.

1. What do you take in your morning coffee or tea? Coffee is black, no sugar. Tea is milk, no sugar

2. What drink would you like right this minute? Malt Whiskey – it is 11pm right now afterall!

3. When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? Always wanted to be a farmer – just like both of my grandfathers.

4. What was the very first winery that you ever visited? I have to think it was Stoney Ridge in Beamsville (Niagara).

5. What wine got you hooked? Oh my, I need two!! German Riesling – Jos.Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich 1976. Later on, it was Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

6. Take a few minutes and jot down the path to becoming the winemaker you are today: Winemaking started for me at Southbrook Winery back in 1991 when it was located in Maple, sourcing fruit from Niagara Vineyards. In 2001 my wife Judith and I, moved to Niagara to begin Lailey Vineyard with Donna and David Lailey, Tonya Lailey and Yves Starrveld. Making small batch wines from the 23 acre vineyard that eventually was planted with 15 different vinifera grape varieties. In 2015, Lailey Vineyard and the winery were sold. Soon after, Judith and I started Meldville Wines, a virtual winery working from Legends Estate Winery in Beamsville – still making small batch wines from just a few less grape varieties!!

7. What is your winemaking style in 3 words: Rich balanced wines

8. Do you have music playing in the cellar while you work? No Music – can’t hear the wines talking!

9. Favorite thing about the local wine industry: I love it all. We are making great wines so getting together to taste and chat is pretty special.

10. Favorite thing about growing grapes: That answer is easy. Got to love the awakening in the vineyard each and every spring and looking forward to what is ahead.

11. What part of winemaking are you always trying new things? For me, it is always the fermentation

12. What is the unglamorous thing about winemaking? Getting in the tanks for remove the tartrates, getting in the press to scrub it clean at the end of the day……

13. Who have been your mentors throughout your winemaking career: There have been many people who have helped get me to where I am today, but none more than Bill Redelmeier – founder of Southbrook Vineyard.

14. What about personal mentors? That would be my brother Malcolm

15. What wine region do you want to visit next? Oregon

16. One surprising thing that I’m really good at: Winemaking! – he says with a giggle (photo credit: winesinniagara.ca)

17. When is your birthday (no year required!): Feb 20

18. My Birthday “Favorite Meal”: Risotto

19. What do you like to do when in you are not making wine? Golf. Long walks with my camera and bike rides with my wife Judith

And now for Question #20….

Since you are lucky to live & work in 2 wine regions – Niagara and The County – what are 2 of your favorite places that you’d recommend to take a break from tasting and touring to do? You know…the ‘local inside scoop’ 

In Niagara – I love to visit lock 3 of the Welland Canal – check the museum, soak up some history and watch the freighters going up and down the canal. The other place to get off the beaten track for a while is the DeCew Falls. Oh and if you are still thirsty – many local breweries with great patios.

In PEC – I don’t have a lot of time to when I’m in the County to explore but I love going to Lake on the Mountain – Lots to do (good beer and food), some great walks and almost always quiet.

 

 

Introducing…

Meldville Wines
By Savvy Sommelier Monique Sosa

July 2016

Derek has been a hands-on winemaker throughout his entire career since arriving in Canada. With the sale of Lailey Vineyards where he was one of the founding partners & long time head winemaker, sparked the new beginning in his life – the decision to start crafting wines under his very own label!

As he was getting ready to launch his virtual winery, Savvy Sommelier – Monique Sosa, caught up to Derek for August 2016 Savvy Selections feature. She taps into what motivates Derek, his pursuit to owning and operating his own winery, and of course, enjoy the inaugural release of Meldville wines. So here is her interview with Derek…

…who is Derek Barnett after all?

“Wow! I really dislike talking about myself.” After we both nervously chuckled, the ice cracked and Derek came to admit that he is simply a guy who loves to drink wine and loves being a winemaker.

“I feel lucky to have the opportunity to do what I do for work every day and I simply enjoy making wines for people who love to drink wine.”

Derek hails from a deep background in agriculture. Both his grandparents owned farms in rural central England where his first job in the business was milking cows. When Derek immigrated to Canada, he worked as a dairy farmer at Don Head Farms, north of Toronto. During the 1980s, Derek was proactive in the evolution of Don Head Farms from dairy farming to a thriving fresh local produce hub. By the early 1990s, as appreciation for local gourmet foods and fine wine spiked amongst Derek and his colleagues in the Greater Toronto Area, the owners of Don Head Farms seized the opportunity to obtain a license to operate a boutique winery. They sought to source the finest grapes from key quality producers in the Niagara Escarpment with Derek as their winemaker. In 1991, the doors to their winery – Southbrook Winery – opened with a small but proud inventory of 2000 cases of wine.

Visualizing what became the first breaths of Derek’s dream career path, I asked him if it was challenging for him to take on such a role? “Not really,” he responded. Derek is proud to admit that he nurtured his craftsmanship on the job. He may not have been educationally trained but he enjoyed drinking wine, he had a trusted palate, and he understood how to make table wine that people enjoyed drinking. Vintage after vintage, as his skills and reputation expanded, while Derek recognized that being a winemaker meant far beyond just turning grape juice into wine. He recognized that being a standout winemaker included growing grapes, making wine with those grapes, and successfully selling the wine made from those grapes. “To achieve these goals, you need to connect with people,” explained Derek.

“Understanding consumers, what they like and how to connect with them is what motivates a winemaker to make great wines.”

Welcome to Meldville Wines…

With several decades of experience in winemaking at Southbrook Winery and Lailey Vineyards – and currently Karlo Estates in Prince Edward County – Derek came face to face with another career first, owning and operating his own virtual winery.

Meldville was the name of his family homestead in Swinford, England. It was coined by his family from combining the first initials in each of their names:
• M for Malcolm (Derek’s brother)
• E for Edward (Derek’s father)
• L for Lucy (Derek’s mother)
• D for Derek

Ever since Derek committed this name to his imaginary winery, it became a constant twinkle in his eye.

What finally sealed the deal? “Well, after Lailey, I felt like it was too soon for me to retire. Suddenly, with an abundance of free time that fell on my plate, I thought to myself, there’s no time like the present,” Derek explained.

At present, Meldville Wines is a virtual winery producing wines under the license of Legends Estate Winery. The three grape varietals in this inaugural release are sourced from the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation in the Niagara Escarpment. Derek chose to work with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet France because he finds these wines to be very textural, flavourful and showcases attractive levels of acidity. Derek has had experience working with Legends Estate Winery during his years as the head winemaker at Lailey and he appreciates that he still has the support of his community and the opportunity to continue to work with such fine fruit.

What’s on the bottle?

Something to note about the wine, are the stories behind the labels. The front and back labels both depict symbols that are important to the conceptualization of Meldville Wines. The layout of the front label depicts the first page of the first edition of the Meldville Wines story. The symbolism behind the skeleton key represents an invitation to unlock a little bit of Derek into your glass. On the back label, you will find a photo of what once was the Meldville homestead in England. Altogether, it is a unique welcome symbolizing the inaugural release of Meldville wines.

This is just the beginning. Derek has many plans and ideas for his winery. Some that include plans to expand his portfolio of grapes to include Pinot Noir and Riesling. He also loves working with small lot vineyards so we can definitely expect to find rare reserve releases in the future as well.

So, is Derek really only about wine?

“Mostly!” says Derek with a grin. To which I asked, “what do you tend to keep in your cellar Derek?” Derek responds, “I am a huge fan of Riesling.” He lit up when he described all the enticing German Rieslings he grew up drinking. Chardonnay is another top grape for Derek along with Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand. As for red wines, Derek loves Northern Rhone reds. He says he has quite the coveted collection in his cellar. Aside from wine, Derek is a ‘mega fan’ of craft beer and whisky. He shared with me warm stories of how he enjoyed spending many hours touring the highlands of Scotland while tasting a dram or two along his journey.

Any last words?

We came full circle! When I asked Derek what he considers being his legacy, this topic took him right back to the “I hate talking about myself” moment. I admire Derek’s humility. Instead of listing off accolades and piecing together his proudest moments on a whim, Derek opted to reiterate his sincere appreciation of his journey so far. “It has been an amazing ride being a winemaker and I am simply proud of everything I have put in a bottle.”

 

· Derek’s wines are definitely WICKED! ·

For fun, here are 2 sets of tasting notes for Meldville Wines….one by Debbie Trenholm and the other by Susan Desjardins. Both are part of the team of Savvy Sommeliers and sampled these wines together other with others in the team.

Meldville 2nd Edition Chardonnay VQA 2016, $20

Debbie’s tasting notes:
Absolutely lovely with aromas that reflect into the tastes of apricots, pears, nectarine & warm apple crisp. Well rounded with light acidity & satin texture – oh my! I am so glad that I have a roast chicken with a trivet of root vegetables planned for dinner tonight. This wine would be a perfect pairing.

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on Susan’ web site dedicated to reviewing Canadian wines www.winetimecanada.ca
Hardly surprising this enticing medium-full bodied barrel-aged wine was a gold medal winner at Intervin. Lovely aromas of pear, apple crisp and citrus zest harmonize with delicate notes of spice and a whiff of smoke. There’s refreshing acidity complemented by a satiny texture from extended time on the lees. You’ll enjoy tasty flavours of pear and caramel apple, fresh pineapple and citrus fruit touched with nutmeg. Balanced and mouth-coating, the wine delivers a long spicy, pithy finish.

Meldville 2nd Edition Cabernet Franc VQA 2016, $27

Debbie’s tasting notes:
Medium to full bodied impressive red wine that is expertly made by Derek. “Always a tough grape to get 3ripe”, he explained. Yet he nailed it! Complex aromas of dried cherries combined with espresso, cocoa, with a hint of roasted red peppers on the taste that lingers forever. Great with stews, pulled pork & spicy sausages

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
This is a lovely expression of the character of ripe Niagara Cabernet Franc, offering notes of graphite, black plum and raspberry, cocoa and earth, with a light floral fragrance. Dry, medium bodied, there’s a savory character of roasted red pepper and dried herbs layered on ripe flavours of cherry and black berry, all underpinned by supple tannins and lively acidity. Hints of vanilla, cocoa and the earthy character of the wine replay through the extended finish.

Meldville Barrel Select Syrah VQA 2016, $27

Debbie’s tasting notes
At our last Taste & Buy event everyone….I mean EVERY-one was talking about this wine. Swiftly after this event, I made sure that Derek put a stash away you. Intense full bodied red wine that has deep aroma of red & black cherry, boysenberry wrapped up with a ribbon of campfire smoke. Each sip unveils a different taste of dark chocolate, cassis & a ‘dash of black pepper’ said Susan during our tasting panel. This is the wine to serve with your Sunday roast, or when you brave the cold to BBQ a steak.

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
Alluring aromas of rich ripe dark fruit – think blueberry and cassis – lift from the glass, garnished with notes of pepper and sweet spice, spiced rose and milk chocolate. Dry medium-full bodied, there’s a firm underpinning of ripe tannins and fresh acidity, the flavours replaying—cassis and black cherry garnished with cracked pepper, hints of cocoa and cedar. The mouthwatering fruit-filled finish leaves a lingering flavour of chocolate-coated dried berries.

 

 

· Tasting Notes for the other Meldville Wines ·

Meldville Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2016, $27

Debbie’s tasting notes:
I sooooo wanted to include this wine, but was swayed by the other Sommeliers to include more red wines in this month’s delivery….to warm up your winter! This unique wine was left to age in barrels made from native Canadian oak trees, resulting in a taste of oak that is elegant with aromas of toasted coconut, warm spices, fresh ginger, brown butter & a gorgeous texture.

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
Tantalizing aromas of toasted coconut, stone fruit and citrus, oven-fresh brioche and browned butter lift from the glass of this classic ‘Barnett’ Canadian oak wine. Dry, medium-full bodied, the complex flavours include pear, musk melon and pineapple with hints of lime zest, ginger and buttered toast. Clean yet smooth in texture, the pithy finish is warmed by delicate spicy notes.

Meldville 2nd Edition Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2016, $20

Debbie’s tasting notes:
We did not pick this one only because it was ‘too summery’. That is not a bad thing! We just took into consideration that our subscribers were getting this delivery in the depths of January. Aromas & tastes of crunchy apples, lime & lemongrass, this wine has lots of verve & personality that will melt away all thoughts of windchills.

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
Fruit was harvested three weeks apart, providing for the yin and yang of fresh acidity and tropical fruit flavours, some of the wine fermented in neutral French oak barrels, the majority in stainless steel. The result is a highly aromatic, floral wine with notes of orange blossom and sweet woodruff, passionfruit and citrus, garnished with notes of exotic spice. The palate echoes the refrain, displaying notes of passionfruit, fresh-squeezed lime, lemon grass and sweet herbs. Dry, juicy and showing an elegant backbone and a lovely silky texture, there’s a tangy flourish on the lasting finish. Pair with grilled halibut or seafood with a squeeze of lemon.

Meldville 2nd Edition Pinot Noir VQA 2016, $27

Debbie’s tasting notes:
Intense earth & cherry aromas dominate this medium bodied Pinot Noir. There is a thread of cloves with soft silky tannins that’s no wonder everyone in the Ontario wine biz is talking about this wine. A classy wine, yet we thought you’d rather bolder reds this month. If you are a Pinot fan…you’ll want to get some of this wine!

Susan’s tasting notes:
Found on www.winetimecanada.ca
Transparent ruby, this classic cool-climate Pinot Noir subtly seduces with a delicate nose of wild strawberry and dried cherry twined with hints of flowers and vanilla, sweet spice and forest floor. Dry, light-mid weight, the silky tannins and vibrant backbone of acidity frame tangy flavours of red berries, sour cherries and dried cranberries, the notes of clove, mineral and light toast adding depth and complexity. Balanced, elegant, the finish is long and juicy with a touch of spicy warmth. Serve with grilled venison tenderloin or salmon.

 

Enjoy these Savvy Wicked Wines!

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Grilling a winemaker with 20 Questions!

Posted by Debbie

Monday, May 15th, 2017
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One of the oldest and best established wineries in Prince Edward County, Huff Estates has blazed the trail for the County’s cool climate techniques. From burying vines in winter to experimenting with sparkling wines, Huff is always at the forefront.

In this month’s Savvy Selections, we’re trying a new format to discover more about what life is like for Huff Estates’ long-serving winemaker, Frédéric Picard, with his answers to our Twenty Questions.

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find three of our favorite Huff wines that we chose for you:

2014 South Bay Vineyard Chardonnay Rich and flavourful, with just a whisper of oak.

2013 Gamay – A savoury red that leaves a big impression.

2014 South Bay Vineyard Merlot – Replete with ripe fruit and mouthwatering acidity, this is a great food wine.

 

The Best of the County

Huff Estates has built its reputation on offering dependable, delicious wines that show off Prince Edward County’s unique terroir. These wines are ready to drink, though they could be cellared for a year or two. Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Cheers!

-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

20 Questions with Frédéric Picard
Presented by Sommelier David Loan

We are trying something different  for fun &  to keep  digging deeper to get some interesting ‘dirt’ (being a it cheeky here) about  the dynamic people behind the wines that we feature.   Not only are they great winemakers, they are people too with neat stories about how they got into the wine world.

No one likes to be in the hot seat with Twenty Questions being fired at you for quick on-the-spot answers.  Here we present Frederic Picard & his backstory…(imagine said with his French accent!)

 

Location: Huff Estates

Current Job: Winemaker

What drink would you like right this minute?
A beer. I’m a winemaker! (says with a chuckle)

When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A mechanic.

What was the very first winery that you ever visited?
A winery in Meursault with my Dad. I was very young.

What wine got you hooked?
Burgundy wines, especially chardonnays.

Take a few minutes and jot down the path to becoming the winemaker you are today:
Adventurous, curious, enthusiast and wine lover!

My winemaking style in 3 words:
Balance, elegance and respectful.

Is there music playing in the cellar right now?
No.

Favorite thing about the local wine industry: 
You can taste and compare with what you make.

Favorite thing about growing grapes:
Making wine with them!

What part of winemaking are you always trying new things?
Fermentation and barrel ageing.

What is the unglamorous thing about winemaking?
Cleaning.

Industry Mentors:
All the winemakers I worked with.

Personal Mentors:
My parents.

What wine region do you want to visit next?
Rioja.

One surprising thing that I’m really good at:
Cleaning!

When is your birthday (no year required!)
May 24th.

My Birthday “Favorite Meal”:
Good cheeses, fresh bread and   wines that I never tasted before.

A funny moment you remember about visitors coming to the winery:
A group of people came a few years ago and started to sing in the middle of the retail store! It was really nice and unexpected!

We hope you love these beautiful Huff wines every bit as much as we do!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that beautifully showcase Frederic’s talent. We know that you’ll love the remarkable flavours of these unique wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink.

 

South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay VQA Prince Edward County 2014
$30

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of the 2016 Intervin “Honours” medal and Wine Align 2016 Silver medal, we think you’ll find this a big winner, too! The nose offers classic Chardonnay notes: apricot, green apple, and peach with a hint of minerality. There’s some nice acid on the finish, along with more of that peach and steeliness. But it also offers coconut and nuts, showing the winemaker’s delicate touch with oak.

Suggested Food Pairings: How about a pumpkin ravioli with cream sauce for your après ski supper? This will be perfect! Recipe below.

Cellaring:  Drink at 8-9ºC within two years.

 

 

Gamay VQA Creek Shores 2013,
$25

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Gamay is a grape that does very well in Ontario’s cool climate, where it often produces lighter bodied wines.

Here’s an exception: Huff’s Gamay has big flavours of candied dark cherries, smoke, and leather in a medium bodied wine. Tannins are soft but chewy, and there’s a hint of black licorice on the lonnnggg finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Our tasting team had lots of ideas for this one: pork tenderloin, roast chicken, chicken pot pie. But we settled on something a bit more exotic – Mongolian Hot Pot! Recipe follows

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to three years. Serve cool but not cold: 12-14ºC.

 

 

 South Bay Vineyards Merlot VQA Prince Edward County 2014
Savvy Special Price: $32 (regular $40)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Pouring an opaque purple, this full-bodied Merlot was a hit with our tasters! There’s lots of dark fruit and chocolate here, with notes of coffee, plums, leather, and jam. The acidity is on the higher side, so this is VERY food-friendly. Tannins are soft and elegant.

Suggested Food Pairings: Here’s a terrific wine for your Sunday roast beef, served with a traditional Yorkshire pudding. Recipe below.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Huff South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay …
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Cream Sauce

Recipe & Photo credit: Epicurious.com
Serves 4-6

 

Ingredients

1 8- to 9-ounce package refrigerated pumpkin or squash ravioli
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage leaves
3/4 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup whipping cream
Parmesan cheese shavings

 

Method

Cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and stir until slightly darker and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pecans to small bowl. Add shallots and sage to same skillet. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cream. Increase heat and boil until sauce is reduced to generous 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes.

Add ravioli to sauce; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls. Sprinkle with pecans and Parmesan.

 

 

With Huff Gamay…
Mongolian Hot Pot

Recipe and photo: Thewoksoflife.com
Serves 4

Don’t get put off by the number of ingredients here. You can as many or as few condiments as you wish, and the list of dipping items is entirely optional to your tastes.

Ingredients

For the soup base:

2 tablespoons oil
6 slices ginger
3-5 bay leaves
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise
10 cloves
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
12 whole dried red chilies
1 package spicy hot pot soup base
12-15 cups chicken stock

 

Optional condiment:

Soy sauce
Sacha sauce
Chili oil or paste
Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar
Sesame paste or peanut butter
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Chopped peanuts
Chopped cilantro
Chopped scallions
Chopped garlic

 

Suggested items for cooking:

Thinly shaved beef or lamb
Sliced chicken
Assorted fish balls (you can buy these pre-made at Asian grocery stores)
Thinly sliced fish fillets (tender white fish like tilapia or sea bass work well for this)
Slices of firm tofu
Soy puffs (fried tofu puffs)
Straw, Shiitake or Wood Ear mushrooms
Fresh noodles
Glass noodles (mung bean vermicelli)
Prepared frozen dumplings or wontons
Chinese rice cakes (like these)
Choy sum or bok choy
Green leaf lettuce
Napa cabbage

 

 

Method

For the soup base:

In a wok over medium heat, add the oil and the ginger. Cook the ginger for about a minute until caramelized, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add the bay leaves, whole garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves. Cook for another 2 minutes, until very fragrant.

Add the Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilies (whole), and the spicy hot pot soup base. Cook for another 2 minutes, and then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and transfer to the pot you’ll be using for your hot pot meal. You want the pot to be relatively wide and at least 6 inches deep.

To make the dipping sauce, simply combine whatever mix of ingredients you like.

To assemble the hotpot, simply plug in your hot plate, place the prepared pot of broth on top, and bring to a low boil or simmer. Place all your prepared ingredients around it, have everyone mix up their own dipping sauces, and dive in.

Each person just takes whatever they want, adds it to the pot, waits for it to cook, and then dips it into their sauce. As the water evaporates as you’re cooking, add boiling water to the pot as needed. You can also serve rice with hot pot (we do), but it’s not mandatory.

 

 

With Huff South Bay Vineyards Merlot…
Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

Recipe & Photo credits FoodNetwork.ca
Serves  4

 

Ingredients

Fore rib beef (about 4 kg), French trimmed, on the bone, chined
Olive oil
Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

 

For the Yorkshire pudding:

3 eggs
115g/4oz flour
275ml/½ pint milk
Beef dripping
Salt

 

Method

Preheat the oven to its highest setting.

Rub the beef with the olive oil, salt and pepper all over.

Put a heavy-based roasting tray on the hob and when hot, add the beef. Sear the beef quickly on all sides to colour and crisp the outside.

Transfer the beef immediately to the oven and leave the oven on its highest setting (about 460F) for 20 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 375F and roast for half an hour per kilo for rare, adding another ten minutes per kilo for medium rare, 20 minutes per kilo for medium, and 30 minutes per kilo for well done. Remove the beef from the oven, transfer it to a carving board and cover with foil. Allow it to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

For the Yorkshire pudding, mix together the eggs, flour and a pinch of salt. Add the milk, stirring constantly, until you have a runny batter. Leave this to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

Place ½ inch of beef dripping in the bottom of each pudding mould, or if you are using a rectangular roasting tray, place ½ inch of beef dripping across the bottom. Heat the dripping in the oven (at 460F) for about ten minutes, until it is piping hot.

Remove the roasting tray from the oven, pour in the batter, and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy, making sure not to open the oven door for the first 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with the carved roast beef.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

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“Dad…Dad…buy a winery!”

Posted by David

Monday, March 13th, 2017
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When you have generations of winemakers in your family tree, the word “tradition” takes on a new meaning. This month in Savvy Selections, we feature fabulous wines from Niagara’s  Di Profio Wines. A family run operation that specializes in small batch, hand-made wines, Di Profio has quickly built a reputation for their excellent products. You can read all about their approach to winemaking in our Di Profio profile, below.

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Di Profio picks. We love how they offer a variety of flavours and styles!

2015 Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie Light and lively are the key words for this bubblegum pink sparkling wine.

2015 Kitchen Zinc – Blended from seven grape varieties, you’ll love how pretty and well-balanced this white wine is.

2013 Zinc-tastic – Here’s an example big red wine Fred Di Profio has become famous for: Cab-Merlot in perfect harmony!

 

Wines with power & elegance

Di Profio is making wines that will entice the most discerning of palates. Each one is unique, offering flavours and aromas that you would expect only from much more expensive products. These wines are read to drink, though most of them can handle cellaring for a few years, too. Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Di Profio wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

Di Profio Wines
presented by Sommelier David Loan

“Traditional” is a word we like to use a lot in the wine industry. It calls to mind the ancient history of winemaking, and connects the New World to the Old. But only a few Ontario wineries have the family roots to show that winemaking is a family legacy, a true tradition that forms part of the winery’s heritage.

Deep Roots

At Di Profio Wines, the winemaker’s roots go as deep as his vineyards. “My father’s family for generations were farming in a well-known region of Italy called Abruzzi,” Di Profio’s winemaker Fred Di Profio remembers. “My grandfather, Giuseppe, left and they eventually sold off their vineyards, but he continued making wine as many Italian immigrants do, in his cellar.” Fred’s father, Joseph, watched his own father make wine, but didn’t have much interest in the process when he grew up.

Fred, however, decided to study winemaking and began to work as a “cellar rat” at a variety of wineries in Niagara and elsewhere. He eventually took over as winemaker at Pondview Estates Winery (the winery we featured in Savvy Selections just 3 months ago – December 2016). 

Family Business

That’s when his dad, Joseph, got interested, too. “My father saw how gratifying it was for me to make wine and he thought, I should rekindle my childhood memories of MY father making wine,” Fred said. “He had a great time and learned something new and together we naturally found our family roots.” With Fred’s advice, Joseph bought some vineyards near Jordan Station in the Niagara Escarpment. Of course, he immediately enlisted Fred to run the operation.

Building Up

Joseph spearheaded building a new winery and tasting room. One of his biggest concerns was the bar. “Fred was looking for an interesting material for the tasting bar top,” Joseph said. “And he found a wine bar in Italy with a zinc countertop. Zinc oxidizes in a really neat way. Spilled wine produces a really nice patina – the older and more used, the more personality it develops. Joe got some zinc sheets and used them to cover our beautiful tasting bar.”

Joseph liked the material so much, in fact, that the tasting room is called The Zinc. And some of the wine labels playfully use the word, too.

Ready for Reds

Fred has developed a reputation for making big, bold red wines.  In the cool climate region like Niagara, Cabernet Sauvignon can be challenging for those grapes. Fred explained to me that extra time spent in the vineyard makes all the difference. “We always adapt to the climactic conditions. Even in the cooler growing seasons, there are a number of tools we can use in the vineyard to accommodate to any climate, which can vary from year to year,” he said. “Crop thinning to give the vines a helping hand, canopy management to vary the shade levels – more leaves in hot seasons, less in cooler seasons. The secret is patience and good vineyard practices.”

We’re Convinced!

Since Di Profio Wines opened in 2012, the father and son duo (and mother Carollynn had her hand in it too running the B&B next to the winery), Joseph and Fred have quickly built a reputation for high-quality wines. Dedicated to small batch production, and producing only wines from estate vineyards, they are leading a new movement in Niagara winemaking, one that looks to the future while embracing, yes, the traditional.

We are proud to offer you our favourite picks from the Di Profio portfolio. We’re confident that every bottle in the Savvy Selections that you open will leave you wanting more!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that demonstrate the powerful elegance of Di Profio wines.  We know that you’ll love the subtle flavours of these stunning wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink.

 

2015 Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie (VQA Creek Shores)
$25

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Named for Joe’s mother, Rosie (and bearing her image on the label), this Gamay sparkler is perfect for a romantic evening! There’s so much going on here: candied citrus, cherry gumdrops, pink marshmallows. It’s dry and refreshing, and finishes on the palate with watermelon and strawberry notes. The mousse is light, with fine bubbles.

Suggested Food Pairings: Our tasters agreed that this will go well with fish and seafood. We think a nice Trout Almandine will be a perfect pairing. (Recipe below.)

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within a year.

 

2015 Kitchen Zinc (VQA Ontario)
$18

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Want to know what grapes this is made from: Chardonnay Musque (a cousin of the Chardonnay we know and love); Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Chardonnay, Vidal, and Pinot Gris.

Pretty and aromatic, it has fresh floral and orange notes, with flavours of rose and honey. Medium acidity balances the light sweetness.

Suggested Food Pairings: Off-dry wines pair beautifully with spicy food, and this is no exception. We suggest a chipotle black bean chili. Recipe follows.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 2 years. Serve between 10-14ºC.

 

2013 Zinc-tastic (VQA Niagara Peninsula)
$23

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Sixty-four per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and Thirty-six per cent Merlot, the Zinc-tastic showcases Fred Di Profio’s talent with making big red wines.

With loads of dark fruit flavours and aromas of cigar box, coffee, and chocolate, this has medium, elegant tannins and medium acidity. Our tasters all thought that this is a steal at the price!

Suggested Food Pairings: We want to pick up on the fruit and smoky flavours of the Zinc-tastic. So, we turned to one of our favourite culinary regions – Provence – and a very old stew recipe: Daube de Boeuf Jeannette.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With Di Profio Sparkling Aromatic Gamay Rosie…

Trout Almandine

Recipe & Photo credit: MarthaStewart.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
4 trout fillets
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

 

Method

Lightly toast the almonds in a saute pan. Reserve. Combine the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small, flat dish. Pour the milk into another one. Place the trout fillets in the milk.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. Dredge the fillets in the flour mixture on both sides. Add to the pan and increase heat. Put the garlic cloves in the pan and swirl it around.

Turn the trout after 2 minutes and remove the garlic (you don’t want it to brown). Cook until the fish is cooked through and lightly golden brown, about 1 or 2 more minutes. Scatter the almonds over top. Serve immediately.


With Di Profio Kitchen Zinc…

Chipotle black bean chili

Recipe and photo: MyRecipes.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

 

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients (chili powder through green chiles); bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Ladle chili into individual bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Serve with corn chips or corn bread.

 

 

With Di Profio Zinc-tastic…

Daube de Boeuf Jeannette

Recipe: Chicago Tribune
Photo credit: SAQ
Serves 5-6

Ingredients

8-10 canned anchovy fillets, optional
3 1/2 pounds lean beef stew, preferably top round, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 ounces lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, mashed

Peel from an orange, dried
1 onion, studded with 3 cloves
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
Beef broth, or water and bouillon cubes
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
Large bouquet garni (2 small celery ribs tied with a bunch of parsley sprigs, a few thyme stalks, and a bay leaf between)
Salt, pepper to taste
4 ounces tiny Nicoise olives, pitted
1 Tablespoon minced basil or parsley

 

Method

If you choose to use the anchovy fillets, insert a small piece in each beef cube, using a pointed knife, then set aside. Plunge the bacon into rapidly boiling water for 6 to 7 minutes, rinse under cold water, then drain and dry on paper towels.

Heat half the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet. When very hot, add the diced bacon and stir until it begins to brown, then remove and let drain on paper towels.

Without crowding the pieces, add the beef cubes to the hot oil. Turn the pieces when nicely browned. When all sides are evenly browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and reserve. Add more oil and the sliced onions, and cook slowly, stirring, until tender but not browned.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Return the meat and bacon to the skillet, and add garlic, orange peel, onion with cloves and wine. Heat to boil, then add broth to cover, stir in tomato paste, place bouquet garni in the middle, and season with more pepper than salt, as the olives will provide salt.

When the mixture begins to simmer, cover with parchment paper and the lid. Bake until the meat is tender, at least 1 1/2 hours. Turn the beef cubes halfway through cooking. A few minutes before serving, remove the onion with cloves; add olives, taste and correct the seasoning. Serve in a warmed shallow serving dish, accompanied by boiled potatoes or rice, sprinkled with minced basil or parsley.

 

Enjoy the season with your Savvy Selections!

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Kicking 2017 off with Kacaba Vineyards

Posted by Velma

Thursday, January 26th, 2017
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To kickstart this year, we’re so pleased to offer you three outstanding wines this month from Kacaba Vineyards & Winery. The Pinot Gris was a best seller at our Outstanding in their Fields Taste & Buy event last month, and the two Syrahs are award-winning wines that showcase just how exceptional Kacaba is at producing cold-climate reds.

Kacaba does Syrah particularly well! It was the first winery in Ontario and the second in Canada to plant syrah grapes, some 20 years ago, and its experience shines through in every bottle!  It is also the only Ontario winery to have competed and won a medal in the table wine category at the Syrah de Mode Competition in Northern Rhone, the birthplace of syrah and where the only grape grown is syrah.

The Syrah wines we are featuring this month are special in many ways – they are both from the same vintage produced from grapes grown on two different blocks of land on the Kacaba property, each with very different terroir. The Proprieters Block syrah is from the oldest vineyard on the property, and the Silver Bridge from the newest. Why not taste them side by side to challenge yourself to see if you can notice any differences…let us know which one is your favourite!

Both wines were produced following techniques that support a philosophy of environmental sustainability, which is explained in more detail in this month’s e-zine. The e-zine features Vadim Chelekhov (in photo) – the 28-year-old assistant winemaker at Kacaba – who shares his passion for Kacaba, its philosophy, and its outstanding wines. Enjoy!

Our Savvy Sommeliers selected for you:

2015 Jennifer’s Pinot Gris – a beautiful, rich, and flavouful pinot gris named after one of the three daughters of owner Michael Kacaba.

2013 Proprietors Block Syrah – a delightful, well-balanced red wine that recently won a silver medal at the 2016 WineAlign National Awards of Canada.

2013 Silver Bridge Syrah – a scrumptious red wine with an aging potential up to 7 years, that was also a silver-medal award winner at the 2016 WineAlign National Awards of Canada.

You definitely won’t find these wines at the LCBO

Every month, our Savvy Sommeliers seek out wines with you in mind. We take into consideration wines to enjoy with the seasonal cuisine, interesting wine experiences (like 2 syrahs from same vintage yet different terroirs) and interesting grape varieties…as starting examples.

As you enjoy the wines in your Savvy Selections, at any time you find a new favorite wine and would like to stock up, call our Savvy Team any time at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for additional bottles. Also call us even if you have a yearning for wines from other wineries we have featured in previous Savvy Selections.

Cheers & wishing you the very best for a fantastic 2017!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Kacaba Vineyards & Estate Winery
presented by Sommelier Velma LeBlanc

Passion. It’s the word that comes immediately to mind when talking with Vadim Chelekhov, the 28-year-old assistant winemaker at Kacaba (pronounced “ka-sa’-ba) Vineyards and Winery. Passion for his chosen profession, passion for the winery’s commitment to be environmentally sustainable and, most of all, passion for the wonderful award-winning wines ultimately produced.  “We are a small-batch winery that produces hand-crafted premium wines,” says Vadim, who has worked at Kacaba since 2011 and as the assistant winemaker since 2014. “Only two people are involved in production – me and the wine maker – which makes us go the extra mile. We give all of our attention to every single tank, every single barrel, every single wine we produce.”

His early years

Vadim’s passion and appreciation for wine was sparked at an early age. He was born in Russia, in the republic of Kazakhstan, which was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence. With independence, came the freedom to travel, and he accompanied his family on many trips to some of the oldest wine-making regions in the world: Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

“Although I was very young, it was on those trips that I fell in love with the everyday life and culture of vineyards and winemakers.”

One memory in particular stands out. “I was stunned by the centuries-old cellars of the Loire Valley. The French don’t often do cellar tours, but as a little kid, they were much softer on me, so they let me into some of the oldest cellars in the world. They let me see the barrels, the olds casks, the old fermenters.”

Becoming part of the Kacaba team

Vadim arrived in Canada in 2002, completed high school in Hamilton, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario, faculty of Health Sciences. Rather than pursue a doctorate, the path taken by many family members, his love of wine and winemaking beckoned. He joined the vineyard crew at Kacaba in 2011 and, in 2012, enrolled in the two-year Viticulture and Oenology program at Niagara College, while continuing to work at Kacaba as a cellar hand. In 2014, he was offered the assistant winemaker position and, since then, has worked alongside industry-respected winemaker, John Tummon (in photo on right).
“John has over 40 years of experience in winemaking and competing. He has a refined palate, is an advocate in the wine industry and also a wine judge. I was drawn to him because I want to learn from the best and learn about all aspects of the industry, not just one. For me, he is an inspiration.”

An environmentally sustainable winery

Vadim has also been inspired by the vineyard’s owner and namesake, Michael Kacaba, and his vision and philosophy. “Since Michael Kacaba first started growing grapes, in the mid-1990s, he has had a philosophy of being an environmentally sustainable and minimalistic vineyard and winery, and he has never deviated from that vision.”

Sustainability involves everything from carefully managing the vineyard’s water usage to energy conservation to pesticide use. “We use water sparingly; we minimize the use of heaters; and we use things that are found naturally in the vineyard to prevent disease. Sulphur or chalk, for example, is dissolved in water and sprayed on the plants, versus using harsh pesticides.”

The vineyard crew also tries to minimize the use of tractors and other heavy machinery, which means the majority of work in the vineyard – such as tying, pruning, leaf removal, shoot positioning and cluster removal – is done by hand. (Note: By removing leaves from the vines, more nutrients can travel to the prized grapes rather than the foliage. Similarly, by removing clusters of grapes, flavour is concentrated in those remaining on the vine. Although less wine is ultimately produced, this practice yields higher quality and more robust and flavourful wines.)

About the vineyard

Kacaba is located on a slightly elevated 32-acre property on the Niagara Escarpment; 26 of those acres are dedicated to growing grapes. The unique microclimate of the Escarpment means that winters are relatively mild and arrive later than in other parts of Ontario; as a result, the red grapes can remain on the vines much longer, making it possible to produce much bolder red wines than are typically associated with colder climates. In 2016, the cabernet sauvignon grapes were harvested on November 21st; in 2014, on December 3rd.

“In this amazing little microclimate, the treeline on the Escarpment captures the wind and brings it down to ground level, which is what warms up the environment around the vines.”

Syrah – the signature, award-winning grape of Kacaba

Although Kacaba grows a variety of grapes – including cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and viognier – its signature varietal is syrah. Kacaba, in fact, was the first vineyard in Ontario to plant syrah, some twenty years ago, and has since become known for producing high-quality Northern Rhone-style wines. Kacaba is the only Ontario winery that has competed and won (in 2016) a medal (Silver) for a table wine in the Syrah de Mode competition in Northern Rhone (France). (Note: Northern Rhone is believed to be the birthplace of syrah and where the only red grape allowed to be grown is syrah.)

The same syrah clone is planted in three different Kacaba vineyards, each with a distinct terroir and each producing very different wines. In this month’s Savvy Selections, subscribers have the chance to taste and compare syrah grapes grown in two of the vineyards: the Silver Bridge vineyard (Kacaba’s oldest vineyard, planted in 1997); and the youngest vineyard – the Proprietor’s Block – planted in 2007, and which Vadim cites as being very promising.

The whites are great too 

Kacaba also produces incredible, approachable white wines (including the pinot gris in this month’s Savvy Selections). The only white grape actually grown on its property, however, is viognier, which is used to add softness to its syrahs, making them more consistent with those from Northern Rhone.

The growing of its other white grape varietals – including pinot gris, chardonnay, and riesling – are contracted to local craft wine growers. These partners grow the grapes in accordance with Kacaba’s stringent specifications, adhering to the philosopy of sustainability (e.g., no pesticides or herbicides). Kacaba then turns these grapes into beautiful white wine on the Kacaba site.

In years when it is cold enough, Kacaba also produces icewine.  Although Ontario regulation allows grapes for icewine to be picked when temperatures hit -8 degrees Celsius, Kacaba prefers to wait until the mercury plummets to -14 degrees Celsius. “We prolong picking to much lower temperatures, which gives us lower volumes, but concentrates the flavour,” says Vadim. “The flavours of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are amplified at lower temperatures.”

If you are planning to go to this month’s Niagara Icewine Festival be sure to visit the Kacaba team and be treated to a sampling of the 2013 Cabernet Franc icewine which will be paired with Cajun-lime buttered jumbo prawns. That is an interesting pairing!  This two weekend festival is also a great opportunity to taste many of Kacaba’s other great wines and to meet Vadim. The Festival runs over three weekends (January 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29).  Be sure to tell Vadim, John and others at the winery that you are a Savvy Selections subscriber….they will probably roll out the red carpet for you!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

2015 Jennifer’s Pinot Gris

$17.95

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This approachable Pinot Gris is an easy sipping wine, with fruit forward grapefruit, floral, lychee and tropical characteristics. The finish highlights notes of apple and citrus.

Suggested Food Pairings: This white wine would pair extremely well with light seafood and shellfish dishes; creamy pastas; and cheese-based appetizers. A baked brie topped with a fig spread would be particularly lovely, as would be a hot artichoke or crab dip, or a cheese fondue (see recipe below).

Cellaring:  To be enjoyed now, with the opportunity to cellar for up to two years.

 

2013 Proprietors Block Syrah

$27.95 (special Savvy price.  Regular $29.95)

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This award-winning Syrah is rich, soft, and velvety on the palate, exuding notes of black pepper, licorice, and raspberries. It is a wonderful example of a cool-climate Syrah, similar in structure and taste to its Northern Rhone cousins.

Suggested Food Pairings: This lovely Syrah works well with many dishes, including lamb, Mediterranean dishes, and even Indian curries. Vadim likes to use it to marinate lamp chops – together with tomatoes, black pepper, onions, a bay leaf, and a sprinkle of cumin – for a day or two before cooking the chops over a medium hot BBQ.

Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar up to 5 years.

 

2013 Silver Bridge Syrah

$27.95 (special Savvy price.  Regular $29.95)

See the silver bridge in the photo below??

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This medium-bodied Syrah boasts big flavours of black pepper, blueberries and blackberries. Smooth and rich-tasting on the palate, it is an easy sipping wine with lovely tannins on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: This Syrah is able to stand up to big proteins, including steak, ribs, and even such game meat as duck, elk, and deer.

Cellaring: Enjoy this now or save it for a special future occasion. It’s aging capacity is 6-7 years.

 

 ~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Kacaba Pinot Gris…

Classic Cheese Fondue

By Gourmet Magazine, February 2005
Photo credit: Vanessa Simmons, Savvy Company
Serves 6

Items to use for dipping

Cubes of French bread
Slices or cubes of apple and pear
Roasted potatoes
Julienned raw red bell pepper
Blanched broccoli florets

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)
1/2 pound Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)

Method

Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.

Stir together cornstarch and kirsch (if using; otherwise, use water or wine) in a cup.

Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame.

 

With Kacaba Silver Bridge Syrah…

Boeuf Bourguinon

By the Canadian Living Test Kitchen, Canadian Living Magazine, December 2004
Serves 8

Ingredients

1 pkg (14 g) dried porcini mushroom
3 lbs boneless beef cross rib pot roasts
4 oz thickly sliced bacon chopped
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
1 carrots chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine (such as Pinot Noir or Merlot)
1 1/2 cup beef broth
3 fresh parsley
2 fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pkg (10 oz/284 g) pearl onions
1 Tablespoon butter
3 cups button mushrooms
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Method

Click here to see step-by-step instructions with photographs. 

Soak dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup (125 mL) hot water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, trim fat from beef; cut meat into 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) cubes and set aside.

In Dutch oven, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from pan.  Add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the oil to pan; brown beef, in 3 batches and adding remaining oil as necessary. Transfer to bowl. Drain fat from pan.

Add chopped onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper to pan; cook over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Reserving soaking liquid, remove mushrooms and chop; add to pan along with soaking liquid, wine and broth. Bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits. Tie parsley, thyme and bay leaves together with string. Add to pan along with bacon, beef and any juices. Cover and braise in 325°F (160°C) oven until meat is fork-tender, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, in pot of boiling water, boil pearl onions for 3 minutes; drain and chill in cold water. Peel and trim, leaving root ends intact. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat; brown pearl onions, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.

Add mushrooms to skillet; fry until browned, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove beef to separate bowl. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and brandy to liquid in Dutch oven; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and onions are tender, about 25 minutes. Discard herbs. Return beef to pan and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

With the Kacaba Proprietors Block Syrah…

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic & Mustard

By Sisi & Wil Carroll, Bon Appétit, April 2010
Serves 10-12

Ingredient tip: Start with a boneless 7-pound leg of lamb. When all fat and sinew are trimmed, it will weigh about 6 pounds.

Ingredients

1 well-trimmed 6-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied to even 2-inch thickness
8 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Fresh rosemary sprigs and fresh Italian parsley sprigs

Method

Open lamb like book on work surface. Using tip of small knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slits all over lamb. Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves. Insert garlic slices into slits in lamb. Combine remaining 4 garlic cloves, mustard, olive oil, white wine, rosemary, and lemon juice in processor. Blend until coarse puree forms. Spread underside of lamb with half of puree. Place lamb, seasoned side down, in 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread remaining puree over top of lamb. Cover lamb with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Let lamb stand at room temperature 2 hours. Coat grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle lamb generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill lamb to desired doneness, about 17 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to cutting board; let rest 10 to 20 minutes.

Thinly slice lamb against grain. Overlap slices on platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Premium wines from Pondview Winery

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017
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When I last wrote about Pondview Estate Winery, it was 2011 and Lou Puglisi and his family had just opened a tasting room to showcase their first vintage as winemakers. The family had been growing and selling grapes for 30 years; in fact, in 2008 Lou had been crowned Grape King, a highly acclaimed industry award provided by Ministry of Agriculture to recognize the finest grape growers in Ontario. As a prize, Lou was offered an all expense paid trip to the Okanagan British Columbia, where he visited a number of small, family-owned wineries.  This trip sealed the deal – it convinced him that the time had come to take the next step, and to begin making wine.

Lou invited Fred DiProfio, whom he knew from his work at Pillitteri Winery, to be consulting winemaker. The first vintage was small – only 2800 cases.  Lou (wearing black in photo below), Fred and his brother-in-law, Joseph Barbera (wearing red shirt in photo), did just about everything. “It was the three of us in the cellar, doing punch downs, bottling, labeling – we were doing it all. At this time, there were only three wines, a rosé, a Gewürztraminer and a Gewürztraminer Riesling blend. Most sold out in just a few weeks,” Joseph reminisces.  He was always concerned that they didn’t have a red wine. “Lou, Fred and I talked about this and agreed we had to find a way to make one. Lou had put aside one barrel each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for the family’s consumption; Fred’s contacts in the industry allowed him to secure a barrel of Merlot. Those guys worked their magic, and we were able to present a Cabernet/Merlot blend ….but those 75 cases sold out as quickly as the others! Mama Mia, what a time!”

Since then, Lou’s expertise as a horticulturalist, the family’s dedication to quality and the unique contribution of gifted winemaker Fred DiProfio, have built Pondview’s reputation, driving demand among consumers and securing a long list of awards of recognition. Pondview expects to produce 12,000 cases of their wine this year, and has entered into a partnership with Marcel Morgenstern, their Director of Sales, to produce the virtual brand, Burnt Ship Bay. Facing limitations on their shelf space in Ontario, Lou and Marcel are turning to exports, introducing their wines to select European and US markets. The initial response in Europe has been very positive, considering, as Lou says, “there is no lack of wines to choose from!”

Given the high demand for their wines, we’re especially delighted to feature three of Pondview’s small lot and premium portfolio Bella Terra wines.

Bella Terra Pinot Gris 2013 – a creamy, complex and flavourful white wine
– Bella Terra Cabernet Franc 2012 – a fragrant, succulent and well-structured red wine ready to enjoy or be cellared
– Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – the supple, full bodied, intensely flavoured Cab Sauv like no other from Niagara

You can order extra bottles through us or stop in for a warm welcome at Pondview on your next visit to the Niagara area! You’re bound to find Joseph, Lou, or his wife Adriana behind the tasting bar.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

 

Pondview Estate Winery
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

I’ve visited Pondview several times since we first featured them in 2011.  And Lou, Marcel & Joseph are often at our Savvy Taste & Buy Events so we have quick chats while sampling their latest wine. When the opportunity for me to be the lead for this issue of the Savvy eZine came up, I jumped at the chance as it gave me a way to spend time with Lou and Joseph, and get into more depth about what has been happening at their winery over the past 5 years.

Lou (in photo) is as busy now as he was then, but in a different way. “For our first vintage, 2009, the wine was selling out, and we were on top of the world! We figured, we’ll go to 5,000 cases and sell the remaining grapes to our partners, as we’d done before. But then, the winery took on a life of its own.” While I am interviewing him, he is dealing with the harvest and getting ready for another trip to China, where he will be educating his import partners and promoting Pondview icewine in Shanghai and Beijing.

Hard to believe that in five short years, Lou is now discussing the burgeoning wine market in China and talking about how young professionals and members of the expanding middle class have a particular interest in red wine, while his icewines are in increasing demand with premium wine purchasers. In this context, he talks about the steps that Pondview has taken to guarantee the authenticity of their icewine. Developed in Bordeaux, ‘Proof Tags’ now appear on the neck of every bottle of ice wine. The tag can be scanned using a smartphone app, allowing the consumer to track the bottle from the point of purchase back to the originating winery, right to the vineyard. “It’s an additional cost to do this, but we want our customers, whether in China or right here in Canada, to be secure in the knowledge that the wine in the bottle was truly produced by us.”

He also talks about his satisfaction with Pondview’s entry into a few select European market – Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and England. And he’s building the business in these foreign markets with the same patient approach used to begin producing wine in Niagara – one customer at a time, one pallet of wine at a time, slowly building awareness and credibility. And this can be done now because of the family’s ongoing investment in Pondview. “You can’t sell what you don’t have”.

Over the last five years, a 10-acre plot adjacent to the existing winery estate has been purchased. It was planted 2 years ago with Viognier, Malbec and more Pinot Gris vines. More recently, 12 acres at the juncture of the Four Mile Creek and St. David’s appellations have been purchased specifically for icewine with Vidal and Cabernet Franc vines.

The core team remains in place – Lou, Fred (winemaker), Joseph and Adriana, along with a variety of well-qualified professionals have been brought in to support the growth in the business, including Marcel Morgenstern as head of sales, whom Lou has known since he was selling grapes to Pillitteri Estates Winery years ago.

Despite the work of identifying and entering new markets, and the amount of travel associated with it, Lou continues to be laser focused on the vineyards. He talks about the 2016 vintage as one of the most challenging in recent memory. “We had a warm winter, and the snow melted early, so we went into the growing season in a drought. Not ideal.  Then we waited for rain that didn’t come.”

The Pondview name reflects the estate – there is a small pond onsite, but it isn’t large enough for ongoing irrigation of the vineyard. Fortunately, the family had purchased water rights to a creek that runs along the edge of the property, and water is regularly released into it – so irrigation during this past summer’s drought kept the vines alive and growing. But the desiccation of the soil was so profound, the vines struggled with nutrient uptake. Lou had to initiate new practices, such as using non-toxic foliar sprays of nutrients to help maintain vine health.

Irrigation and other interventions, like the foliar spraying, ensured the vines didn’t get overly stressed and were able to produce fruit with good concentration of sugars and flavours. “Over the last five years, we’re seeing more weather extremes – really cold winters, then two short crop years back to back. I don’t remember that happening before” Lou explains. “It looks like 2016 will go down as the hottest Niagara summer in recent memory. With changes in climate, farming practices will have to change as well, and early attention to vine health and continued monitoring will be required through the entire growing season.”

As our conversation draws to a close, Lou talks about his close partnership with Fred diProfio, and reveals much of his own philosophy. “I’ve known Fred for a long time. We respect each other and work very closely together, bouncing ideas around. We’re always willing to try something new.” And he says, with a smile in his voice, “Every day is a school day!”

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Bella Terra Pinot Gris 2013 VQA

The unique white wine is from a small lot (only 300 cases), produced from estate-grown fruit, barrel fermented and aged nine months in seasoned French and Hungarian oak. None of this wine was produced in 2014 or 2015 due to the effect of the very difficult winters of 2014 and 2015 on the vines. So you’re getting a ‘limited edition’ here!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s real complexity here – the aromas and flavours are a basket of lush Ontario orchard and pit fruits entwined with notes of fruit custard, sweet citrus and spiced caramel. Elegant and well balanced, the wine has a vibrant yet creamy texture and lingering spicy notes through the smooth lasting finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This has the weight and depth to pair with holiday turkey, with smoked salmon canapes, or with a creamy artichoke risotto.

Cellaring: Enjoy now.

 

Bella Terra Cabernet Franc 2012 VQA

The hot 2012 vintage, considered a good one for Bordeaux varieties, provided good sugar levels and flavour intensity, while vineyard management ensured sufficient acidity was maintained. Unfiltered, aged eighteen months in French oak, this wine shows Lou’s dedication to the fruit and the vineyard, cropped at very low yields to ensure concentrated flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Rich, ripe and fragrant on the nose, this warm, full bodied wine is bursting with aromas of spiced rose, succulent black fruit, licorice and earth. It’s refined, clean structure is a great counterpoint to the concentrated fruit flavours and it finishes with a lingering note of chocolate-coated coffee bean.

Suggested Food Pairing: Winter warming meals of prime rib or tortière would be a great match.

Cellaring: Drink now or cellar a further 3-5 years.

 

 


Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 VQA

The 2013 vintage was a challenging one, with a late spring, heavy summer rain combined with intense heat. Lou’s vigilance in the vineyard and strategy to use the long, warm fall weather to allow further ripening and concentration in the fruit ensured a wine of quality and great flavour. With a November harvest, the fruit for this opulent wine really benefited from that extended hang time, while in the cellar it was aged eighteen months in French oak and left unfiltered.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s great intensity to the aromas of cassis, mingling with underlying notes of compost and tobacco, delicate dried herbs and spice. The purity of the cassis flavours combines with blueberry garnished with a dash of dark chocolate and hints of vanilla. This full bodied wine offers a round rich supple texture, a spicy, warm palate and a sumptuous long-lasting finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with braised short ribs or beef tenderloin.

Cellaring:  This wine may be enjoyed now or aged a further 2-4 years.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Pondview Bella Terra Pinot Gris…

Risotto with Artichoke

Photo Credit: Food & Style Magazine
Recipe Credit: Chef Hector Diaz (then at Hilton Lac-Leamy)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp shallots, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp each, small-diced carrots & celery
1 tsp minced garlic
1 c Arborio rice
½ c white wine
3 c hot chicken stock
¼ c heavy 35-per-cent cream
2 Tbsp diced, cooked artichoke heart (bottled or canned is fine)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp Padano or parmesan cheese, grated

Method

In a medium saucepan, heat oil on medium-high heat and sauté shallots & vegetables until shallots are translucent but not browned. Stir in garlic, then rice to coat with oil.

Reduce heat to medium and add wine, half the chicken stock. Stir constantly until liquid is absorbed, then add remaining stock and continue to cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed a second time. Add cream, artichokes, and cook 5 minutes longer. Rice should be al dente; if it’s too hard, add just a little hot liquid & cook until it is.

Remove from heat, whip in butter & grated cheese; season to taste & serve.

 

With Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Franc

Grilled Vegetables with Buffalo Mozzarella

Photo credit: Broil King BBQ
Recipe Credit: Modified from on a dish served at the River’s End Restaurant & Inn located in Jenner, California
Serves 6

Ingredients

4 each red and yellow bell peppers, quartered lengthwise & seeded
2 large zucchini, cut into 12 thin diagonal slices
6 medium Portobello mushrooms, peeled, gills carefully scooped out
3 large fresh Buffalo mozzarella
6x 4” rosemary sprigs, leaves removed from lower half

Marinade

1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Method

Whisk together marinade ingredients, then marinate peppers for about 15 minutes. Add mushrooms, tossing with peppers & continue marinating for a further 15 minutes.

Remove vegetables from marinade (reserve marinade), cook in batches on heated grill, 8-10 minutes for peppers (or until lightly charred), 7-8 minutes for mushrooms. Brush with marinade during cooking.

Remove veggies from grill. Place mushrooms upside down on flat surface. Layer with a piece of red pepper, a slice of cheese, zucchini, yellow pepper, a slice of cheese and another slice of zucchini. Poke the rosemary sprig through the middle of each stack with leaves at the top.

Place veggie stacks on a heat-proof dish and return to grill (turned off) so that cheese can soften, then serve with fresh French bread.

 

 

With Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon…

Mustard-glazed Standing Rib Roast with Pan Gravy

Recipe Credit: Lucy Waverman & James Chatto, A Matter of Taste Cookbook
This recipe is also online at Globe & Mail Newspaper
Serves 8

Ingredients

1/3 c Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp coarsely ground pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, or 1 tsp dried
1 standing rib roast (~7 lbs)
Salt to taste

Method

Combine mustard, oil, soy sauce, garlic, parsley, pepper & rosemary. Brush over roast, including bones. Let sit for 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 450F. Turn on oven broiler. Place roast fat side up on a rack in a roasting pan & broil for about 4 minutes or until fat is crispy. Turn off broiler, reheat oven to 450F & roast for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350F & roast for about 1 ½ hours longer for rare.

Remove roast to a carving board & let rest 15 minutes to allow juices to retract while you make gravy. Remove roast from bones & carve into thin slices. Serve with gravy, roast potatoes & green beans.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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No need to go all the way to Italy when Niagara has Vieni Estates

Posted by David

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Vieni Estates Winery
–  November 2016 –

Where in the world would you find wine that offers ripe fruit flavours, food-friendly reds, and traditional winemaking techniques? If you answered “Italy”, you’d certainly be correct.  But if you answered “Vieni Estates in Niagara”, you’d prove that you really know your stuff!

This month in Savvy Selections, we feature the Italian-style wines of Vieni Estates.  A newcomer to the Beamsville Bench, Vieni has imported the techniques and grape varieties from their founder’s homeland of southern Italy.  You can read all about their take on the Italian winemaking tradition in our Vieni profile, below.

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Vieni wines. We chose these as the best examples of Vieni’s blend of Ontario fruit with Italian-style!

2013 Momeni Extra-dry a Prosecco-style sparkler, loaded with fine bubbles and citrusy fun-
2012 Cabernet Franc Private Reserve – rich and ripe, this Cab Franc explodes with flavour
2011 Aglianico Al Passo – made with air-dried fruit from Canada’s only Aglianico planting, this is a stellar example of an Italian wine made right here in Ontario

Traditional techniques and Niagara fruit

Vieni Estates may be new, but they are producing some unique and very good wines.  After all, they’ve been growing grapes for other wineries for decades – and the grapes make the wine!  These wines are ready to drink, though most of them can handle cellaring for a few years too.  Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Call on us anytime you would like additional bottles of your favorite Vieni Estates wines – or other wines we have featured in previous Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926), or you can just drop me a line at debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing
Vieni Estates
Presented by Sommelier David Loan

Pasquale Raviele wanted one thing; to bring the flavours from his family’s roots in Naples to his new winery in Niagara. That required not only reproducing the techniques of Southern Italy, but introducing some of their grape varieties, too. “We combine Old World traditions with a New World locale,” said winery manager, Steven Dimola.

Breaking Ground

Pasquale already owned 120 acres of vineyards in the heart of the Beamsville Bench (in photo on right)  He had been selling high quality grapes to a number of wineries in the region.  But in 2013, he decided it was time to undertake his own project; a winery and distillery making Italian-style wines and grappas (called “graspas” at Vieni to avoid trademark issues). This would be a first for Niagara – while there are a number of Italian-influenced wineries, no one had been making grappa, the fiery spirit made from grape skins leftover from the winemaking process.

Another first: Pasquale imported Aglianico vines, the only plantings of this most ancient of grapes in Canada.

Sun Worshiper

It is widely believed that Aglianico was the first wine grape grown in Italy, brought there by the ancient Greeks.  The grape is black, producing a dark red juice with big fruit flavours and high tannins and acidity.  A staple of the Naples region Pasquale’s family comes from, it enjoys that area’s long growing season and Mediterranean climate. Bringing a heat-loving vine to Niagara was a challenge, but Pasquale and winemaker Mauro Salvador – another Italian import(!) – overcame the obstacles with careful hillside plantings that maximized the amount of sun the grapes would get each day.

They also brought with them an Italian winemaking tradition that ensured the grapes would produce the wine they wanted.

Cut and Dried

Appassimento is an Italian winemaking technique in which whole clusters of grapes are cut off the vine and then placed carefully onto custom-made racks.  The racks are designed to allow good airflow across the grapes so that the fruit begins to dry and shrivel. Drying the grapes concentrates the sugars and the fruit flavours.  Appassimento style wines – Amarone is the best known example – are richly flavoured with notes of figs, raisin, and leather.
Other Ontario wineries have applied the Appassimento technique, with most of them drying the fruit in repurposed tobacco kilns.  At Vieni, the grapes are dried in the traditional method, in an open air shed with a few fans helping blow air across the grapes. The grapes are left on the racks from six weeks to four months, depending on the winemaker’s preference.

Vieni’s Appassimento-style Aglianico is full-bodied, with huge fruit flavours and terrific balance.  It really is a taste of Italy, made in Ontario.

We’re Convinced!

In addition to the Aglianico and grappa, Vieni produces Prosecco-type sparkling wines, wines that feature such well known varietals as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay, and a range of ice wines.

The biggest challenge, according to winery manager Steve, is convincing Canadians how amazing Ontario wines are.  “Many Canadians still don’t believe that we’re producing world-class products in Niagara,” he said.  We know that when you try our Savvy Selections picks from Vieni, you’ll agree: these are absolutely world-class wines!

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that beautifully showcase Vieni’s stunning fusion of Italian technique and Niagara fruit.  We know that you’ll love the remarkable flavours of these unique wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink. 

Momenti Extra-Dry VQA Ontario 2013, $14

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This lovely sparkling wine is made in the tradition of Italy’s famous Prosecco, but from Ontario Vidal and Pinot Grigio grapes.  Like Prosecco, it is light (11% alcohol), frothy, and tangy.  Flavours of green apple, ripe melon, grapefruit, and apricot are detectable at first, but give it a minute in the glass and you’ll find pretty floral notes come through, especially honeysuckle. Debbie, who loves sparklers, calls this “an unwinding wine” – perfect for relieving the day’s stresses!

Suggested Food Pairing: This bubbly treat will pair nicely with an Italian flatbread topped with Fontina and Prosciutto.  Recipe below.

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within a year.

 

Cabernet Franc Private Reserve VQA Vinemount Ridge 2012, $23

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of a number of international wine awards, this rich and ripe Cab Franc was aged in oak for eighteen months!  The medium tannins and acidity are perfectly balanced with the notes of black cherries, fragrant spices, mint, and raspberries.  2012 was an excellent vintage for Ontario Cabernet Franc, allowing it to come to full ripeness without any of the green vegetable aromas that sometimes mar the grape. If you want an excellent example of Ontario Cab Franc, here it is!

Suggested Food Pairing: The richness of this wine and the cool autumn weather makes us think of Chicken Chasseur, a hearty stew of chicken braised with mushrooms and tomatoes.  Perfect November fare!  Recipe follows

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 3 years.  Serve between 15-16ºC.

 

Aglianico Al Passo VQA Vinemount Ridge 2011, $30

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The beautiful silver-on-black image on the bottle is of a Greek ship.  It’s a fitting homage to the ancient roots of this wine, which came to Italy from Greece.  The name, which comes from a corrupted word meaning “Greek”, is pronounced “al-YAN-i-ko”.

This wine is made using the Appassimento technique, in which ripe clusters of grapes are carefully placed on custom racks to dry.  The results are rich, concentrated flavours of dark berries, figs, mint, and boysenberry. This is a juicy wine, with lots of stewed and dried fruit notes.  David calls it a “November pleaser”, ready to warm you up on a chilly day.

Suggested Food Pairing: One of our favourite cookbooks is David Rocco’s “Dolce Vita”.  His fun Drunken Spaghetti recipe will go perfectly with this Southern Italian-style wine.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years.  Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Vieni Momenti Extra-Dry…

Italian Flatbread (Piadina) with Fontina and Prosciutto

Recipe & Photo credit: CookingChannelTV.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 2 small lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh basil

Method

Combine the flour, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes.  With the machine running, slowly add 10 to 12 tablespoons water until the mixture forms a dough around the hook.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth.  Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Form into disk shapes and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into an 8-to-10-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick.  Brush each circle with the extra-virgin olive oil and grill for 4 minutes each side.  Remove the piadina from the grill to cool slightly.

Combine the ricotta cheese and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Spread each piadina with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle the fontina cheese evenly over the ricotta cheese.  Arrange 2 prosciutto slices on top of the cheeses.  Cut each piadina into 8 wedges and transfer to a serving platter.  Garnish with the chopped basil. 

 

With Vieni Cabernet Franc…

Chicken Chasseur

Recipe and Photo credit: BBCGoodFood.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken legs
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, thickly sliced
1 cup whole button or chestnut mushrooms
1 rounded tbsp tomato purée
1 ¼ cup white wine
1 ½ cup chicken or beef  stock
3-4 tomatoes , quartered and deseeded
sprinkling tarragon leaves and chopped parsley

Method

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a lidded sauté pan or shallow casserole. Pan-fry the chicken over a medium-high heat, turning, until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.  You will need about 2 tbsp fat left in the pan for cooking the onions, so if the legs have released a lot of fat, drain off the excess.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan, stirring occasionally until they have a little colour and are beginning to soften, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and white wine, then pour in the consommé or stock.

Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer. Place a lid on the pan and continue to cook, allowing the sauce to just simmer for about 1 hr, or until the meat is completely tender.

To finish, skim the sauce of any further excess fat, then add the tomatoes, if using. Simmer, without the lid, for a further 2-3 minutes to soften them, then scatter over the herbs.

 

 

With Vieni Aglianico…

Drunken Spaghetti

Recipe & Photo credits: David Rocco, FoodNetwork.ca
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti
3 to 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
3 cup red wine
½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
Small bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 dried chile peppers, crushed (optional)
Salt to season

Method

Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Add spaghetti and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, pasta should still be a little firm in the middle (just before pasta is al dente).

In a skillet or large sauté pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, anchovy fillets and chile peppers. Cook until garlic is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add spaghetti to the pan. Toss to combine with olive oil. Add the red wine. Cook until wine has reduced slightly and spaghetti has finished cooking.

Sprinkle parsley and grated pecorino cheese. Toss to combine and remove from heat.

 

Enjoy with your Savvy Selections!

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Niagara College teaches the best in Canada!

Posted by David

Saturday, September 17th, 2016
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Niagara College Teaching Winery
–  September 2016 –

Hard to believe that it was almost six years ago when we first introduced YOU – our Savvy Selections subscribers – to the incredible wines from Niagara College Teaching Winery. Since then, we have watch enrollment into the winemaking program grow in unison to the growth of the Canadian wine industry.  Along the way, the winery has won numerous awards – in Canada and internationally – for their wines.  The college has provided the career opportunities for many of their students in the Canadian and international wine industries.  And their graduates are so well trained and have extensive experience that Niagara College recently hired one of their own alumni – Gavin Robertson – as their winemaker.  Isn’t that a wonderful full circle?

We’re excited to offer outstanding wines from this amazing facility, where students and faculty work together on every stage of winemaking from harvest to packing up the boxes for this month’s deliver.  With the 2016 harvest now underway with grapes picked to make sparkling wine and white wine grapes now being collected this week, the students are getting their hands right into real life vineyard experience!

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find these INCREDIBLE wines. They are all food-friendly and ready to drink!

BalaNCe Brut – Sparkling wine made in the traditional method, with subtle fruit and a fine bubbly mousse.

2011 Dean’s List Pinot Noir – an earthy and flavourful, a premium Pinot Noir that WOWed our Savvy Team.

2011 Dean’s List Meritage – Your friends will think that wine came from Napa when they taste this big, well-aged blend!

Chosen by your personal Sommeliers….just for you

With every sip, it is easy to forget that Niagara College Teaching Winery is a classroom. The wines the students make are meticulously hand-crafted, using the best grapes, equipment and barrels available. After all, they aren’t just making wine, they’re teaching students how the best wines are made.

Want to stock up?

Call on us at any time you would like additional bottles of your favourite Niagara College Teaching Winery wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  We’re your Wine Hotline! Reach us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Niagara College Teaching Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

The beginning of September is a busy time for Ontario winemakers. Grapes are being harvested, the first crush has begun and the weather needs to be watched continually.  Gavin Robertson, though, has double-duty: while overseeing the harvest, he’s also overseeing dozens of new students as they get ready to learn how to make wine.

Gavin is the winemaker at the Niagara College Teaching Winery (NCTW) – Canada’s first and only commercial teaching winery. He makes beautiful wine (as you will discover with your Savvy Selections), all the while he is introducing a new generation of students to the art, science, and work of winemaking.

“I’m here at the outset of their careers,” Gavin says of his students.  “Their first harvest, first time pruning a row, first ice wine harvest.

“When the temperature drops to minus eight in January, all of our first and second year students as well as our faculty are out at 5 am harvesting.  And it’s terribly cold and wonderful  magical all at once!”

Slowing down the pace…

Gavin (in photo left) grew up in Almonte in the Ottawa Valley.“I knew more about maple syrup than wine,” he laughs. He joined a wine tasting club while at university, and later moved to Europe for two years. While there, he got to know the culture of wine in France and Spain. “I worked odd jobs back in Toronto and found I was missing the physical craft of wine. Having been raised in the country, I wanted to slow the pace down a little bit.

“It was a series of fortuitous events. I went for a bike ride through Niagara-on-the-Lake and discovered their wines and how great and developed the industry was. I applied to the Niagara College program and realized it was a mix of science and art and agriculture. It was holistic.”

Loads of Opportunities

Gavin says working at a teaching winery has brought new opportunities. The college has assisted Gavin in working at wineries in Central Otago, New Zealand, and Tasmania, Australia to help refine his wine knowledge and gain experience. While things slow down at other wineries, we’re busy with research projects and cider and beer,” he said.

NCTW has been an active participant in the Canadian Oak Project, which is evaluating the use of Canadian oak wine barrels, and comparing the results with American and French oak. “Canadian oak tends to be a bit robust in terms of taste profile. It has a very fine grain and needs a decently ripe fruit to stand up to it. It really showcases the cooperage”.

Just wait til you try the 2011 Dean’s List Pinot Noir in your Savvy Selections  – it is a fantastic example of Canadian oak-aged wine.

International Impact

Asked what he takes the most pride in, Gavin immediately returns to talking about his students. “You can walk into virtually any winery in Ontario and many in Nova Scotia and British Columbia that have our grads in them. NCTW graduates are working in Portugal, France, even the South of England. “This little school in southern Ontario is having a big impact internationally”, Gavin explained.  “Recently, the goal is to involve the students in the vineyard more. The winemaking is the more romantic side but it’s important to have truly skilled labour in the vineyard. We’ve advanced in terms of science and technology and it’s important that we extend that to the vineyard.

“Any winemaker will tell you that good wine is made in the vineyard. It’s great to be involved in the thirty-three acres we have on the college grounds. “

Here’s to the many hands involved in learning to make great Canadian wines like the ones you have in your Savvy Selections.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Let’s get tasting! We picked a sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method along with two absolutely stunning red wines from the excellent 2011 vintage. The reds were released just this year, so they’ve had lots of time to mellow and age. Just make sure you drink them soon!

BalaNCe Brut VQA Niagara Peninsula $24

Made in the Traditional Method (second fermentation occurs in the bottle as done with making French Champagne), this lovely Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend  is the perfect accompaniment to a celebration or first course, or just for lovers of good sparkling wine. Notice the label has accentuated the NC in the word Balance…as in Niagara College.  Clever isn’t it?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The wine offers a good, fine mousse. It has striking lemon, peach, and wet stone notes, and we detected grapefruit, mint, and apricot on the finish. It’s very dry but very delicate.  An absolute delight!

Suggested Food Pairings: BalaNCe Brut will go well with any of the usual Champagne pairings, such as oysters, lobster, or other seafood. But we think it will work beautifully with a Niagara peach, arugula & prosciutto pizza (recipe below) – oh my!

Cellaring:  Drink at 7-9ºC. Can be cellared for up to a year.

 

Dean’s List Pinot Noir (Canadian Oak Project) VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 2011 $20

We love the fun report card labels on the Dean’s List wines! These premium wines include notes by famed Canadian wine writer Tony Aspler, who tasted the wine when it was still in the barrel. his report card reveals his tasting notes back then….compare to our notes your impressions to see & taste how aging has changed the wine since Tony first tasted it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “Absolutely Stunning!” said Debbie. We are confident you will same the same thing. A tawny red, it’s load with flavour: sour cherry, cedar, spice, leather, cigar, and blackberries. The tannins are moderately high – more so than we’ve ever tasted from an Ontario wine – and it’s a big, bold wine that’s ready for food.

Suggested Food Pairings: This wine has so much flavour, it can easily stand up to big red meats. How about grilled lamb chops (recipe below)?

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, and don’t try to hold it for more than 12 months. Serve between 11-14ºC.

 

Dean’s List Meritage VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 2011 $25

Winespeak: Did you know that the wine term “Meritage” is a portmanteau of the words “merit” and “heritage? The word is an American invention, to provide a term that reflects blends similar to those in Bordeaux. It’s pronounced the American way, rhyming with “heritage”.

 A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot & 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, we loved this full-bodied, food-friendly, beautifully rich wine. And we loved it’s low price even more. This is a steal – after you taste this wine & you want more bottles…call us to arrange additional bottles for you!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Loads of dark fruit, black pepper, plum, raspberry, and earthy notes balance the high (13.5 per cent by volume) alcohol. It’s velvety smooth, juicy, with soft, warm tannins. The flavours reflect the nose, and add in some fantastic cigar box and black olive notes.

Suggested Food Pairings: We see this with a rich Autumn stew, such as a French hunters’ stew (recipe below).

Cellaring: At its peak right now, we recommend drinking it within two years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With NCTW BalaNCe Brut…

Peach & chevre pizza with arugula & prosciutto

Serves: 2 medium-sized pizzas
Recipe & Photo credits: Five and Spice
Originally adapted from Shutterbean

Ingredients

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1⅓ cup warm water (just gently warm to the touch, not hot)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cups bread flour
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 peaches, pitted and cut into eighths
8 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups arugula
slices of prosciutto – as much as you like!
sea salt

Method

Make the pizza dough early in the morning of the day you want to eat the pizza. Or make it the night before. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer with a bread hook (or in a large mixing bowl, if you’re going to knead by hand). Let it sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast has started to become foamy.

Add 3 cups of the flour, stir until it’s just sort of mixed together, then let it sit for 10-20 minutes to autolyse (this step is optional, but it helps develop the gluten). Next, add the salt and the olive oil and start the mixer stirring on low speed (or squeeze the olive oil and salt in using your hands, until worked into the dough). Knead the dough with the bread hook, or by hand on a lightly floured surface, for 5 minutes. Add just enough extra flour so that the texture of the dough is lightly tacky, but not completely sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, put in the fridge and let rise for 8-12 hours. It should double or even triple in size.

When ready to bake the pizza, heat your oven to 500F, preferably with a pizza stone in it if you have one. Take out your pizza dough and divide it in half. On a well floured surface, stretch each half of the dough into an approximately 12-inch circle (or rectangle, as the case may be), then let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, toss the sliced red onion with the balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes to lightly pickle the onions. Then, gently stir in the peach slices.

When the dough has finished resting, stretch each half further into a circle as thin as you can make it without breaking the dough – if the dough does tear, just press it back together.

Transfer each stretched piece of dough to a parchment lined baking sheet or a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.

Top each of the pizzas with half of the peaches and onions, making sure to leave the remaining balsamic vinegar in the bowl because you’re going to toss the arugula in there. Break the chevre into small chunks and scatter half of it evenly over each of the pizzas. Sprinkle the pizzas well with sea salt.

Bake each pizza one at a time, either directly on the pizza stone or on the baking sheet you have it on, in the hot oven until the crust is nice and golden brown (mine took only about 8 minutes, but the time depends on how thin your dough winds up being). While the pizzas are baking toss the arugula & prosciutto with the remaining vinegar and the 1 Tbs. olive oil plus a pinch of salt. After each pizza comes out of the oven, top it with half of the arugula. The arugula should wilt a bit with the heat.

Let the pizzas cool at least 5 minutes before slicing, then slice and serve.

 

With NCTW Dean’s List Pinot Noir …

Grilled Lamb Chops

Recipe and photo: FoodNetwork.com
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick

Method

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

 

With NCTW Dean’s List Meritage…

Beef Chasseur

Recipe & Photo credit: Food.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves, crushed, divided
1 1⁄2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 (8 ounce) filet mignon steaks, 1-inch thick
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
2 Tablespoons brandy
1⁄2lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
3⁄4 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1⁄2 cup beef broth
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons currant jelly

 

Method

Combine half the garlic, the seasoned salt, and the pepper. Pat the meat dry and rub with the garlic mixture.

Sear the steaks in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of the butter until brown on the outside with the center raw. Arrange the steaks in a 13 X 9 inch baking dish.

Pour the brandy into the skillet and stir over moderate heat, scraping up the brown bits. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and reduce heat to low. Stir in the tomato paste and remaining garlic.

Remove from the heat; whisk in the wine, chicken broth, beef broth, and water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by a third.

Add Worcestershire and currant jelly. Adjust seasonings to taste and thin the sauce to a coating consistency.

Cool and pour over steaks. (At this point steaks may be covered and refrigerated overnight. Allow them to come to room temperature before cooking.).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the filets, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes for rare, 20-25 for medium to medium-well.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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