Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’

Newsletter April 2014 -Tickets ON US to County in the City wine tasting

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
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It might be April’s Fools Day. . . but there’s no foolin’ around here!  The Savvy Team has been hard at work to line up the largest County in the City event that Ottawa has ever seen on Thursday April 10th. This Taste & Buy event features 15 wineries along with The County’s only craft brewery Barley Days Brewery & hard apple ciders made at The County Cider Company.

NEW this year! Cheesemakers from Black River Cheese & Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. along with hand made pasta from the region’s new Pasta Tavola will be treating you to gourmet goodies.

Buy 1 ticket & bring a friend – on us! 

We are so excited to host the biggest ever County in the City Taste & Buy event that we don’t want anyone in Ottawa to miss out. We’re not joking! This incredible ticket offer is only available when you buy a ticket for $55 on April 1 & 2. Buy yours now > >

How is this done? For each $55 ticket you purchase online before midnight on April 2nd at www.countyinottawa2014.eventbrite.ca, we will email you a complimentary ticket for your friend. It is that easy!

Meet the cool people from The County. . .

Come & discover over 60 wines, craft beers & ciders that you won’t find at the LCBO. Order any combo of 12 bottles of your County favorites & shipping by courier is FREE. Cheese & pasta will be available for purchase onsite. Discover these delicious delicacies & get insider tips on ‘must visit places’ in The County from those who live there & are involved in growing the reputation of the region.

Here’s a list of all the wineries coming to County in the City:

Round up your friends & get your tickets!

Buy one ticket, you’ll get one ticket on us! Buy 2 tickets, we’ll give you 2 complimentary tickets for your friends. Hurry, this special offer runs out on April 2nd at midnight.

Buy your tickets now > >

EVENT DEETS . . .

Advance Tickets Only

Date: Thursday April 10

Time: 7 to 9 pm

Location: Canada Agriculture & Food Museum – on the Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa

 

More event info at www.savvycompany.ca/events

We look forward to seeing you at County in the City next week!

Cheers,
Debbie & the Savvy Team

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Discovering wines from ‘The County’…

Posted by Debbie

Monday, April 15th, 2013
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Back by popular demand, for the 2nd year in a row, we are hosting the County in the City wine tasting, giving you the opportunity to Taste & Buy wines from Prince Edward County.   If you haven’t heard, ‘The County’ – as it is known – is Canada’s fastest growing wine region with over 30 wineries and counting…and it is only a 3 hour drive from Ottawa  & Toronto.

This event is almost sold out.  Buy your tickets >>

 

 

This event is about tasting, discovering & ordering …  

Have a look below at the large selection of outstanding wines that will be uncorked to enjoy.  None of these wines are available at the LCBO.

Exclusive at this event: you can order ANY combination of outstanding wines from ANY of the featured wineries & they will be delivered by courier to your home or office. Free shipping on all orders of 12 bottles or more!

Featured wineries & wines:

Casa Dea Estates Winery

2011 Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling Wine $18.95

2009 Riesling $16.95

2009 Chardonnay Reserve $24.95

2009 Cabernet Franc $18.95

2010 Pinot Noir $19.95

 

County Cider Company – showcasing their hard apple ciders

Waupoos Premium Cider (4 x 341ml) $13.35

County Cider (1L) $7.85

Waupoos Peach Cider (1L) $9.95

Waupoos Feral Cider (1L) $9.95

Tortured Path Cider (500ml) $7.95

Prince Edward Ice Cider (375ml) $29.95

 

Devil’s Wishbone Winery

2012 Pinot Grigio $23.00

2012 Pinot Gris Rosé $22.00

2011 Merlot $24.00

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon $26.00

 

Exultet Winery

2012 Cru X White Light $25.00

2010 Cru X Pinot Noir $29.95

 

Harwood Estates Vineyards

2011 Pinot Gris $18.00

2010 Gewürztraminer $20.00

2011 Chardonnay $32.00

2009 Friends Rosé $18.00

2010 The Admirals Blend (Pinot Noir) $25.00

2009 Just Desserts (Late Harvest Style) $25.00

 

Karlo Estates

2010 Riesling $22.00

2010 Chardonnay CHOA $25.00

2011 Frontenac Gris Rosé $16.00

2010 Cabernet Merlot $24.00

2010 Merlot $24.00

2010 Pinot Noir $29.00

2010 Quintus $35.00

2010 The 5th Element $39.00

2010 VanAlstine White Port $29.00

2009 VanAlstine Red Port $29.00

 

Keint-He Winery & Vineyards

2009 Chardonnay $20.00

2011 Voyageur Rosé $15.00

2011 Portage Pinot Noir – $25

2009 Pinot Noir, Little Creek – Closson $29.00

2012 Voyageur Vidal $17.00

2008 Pineaux Sauvage (a Botrytis Affected Pinot Noir) $25.00 – Special price.  Regular $50.00

 

Lighthall Vineyards

2012 Progression Sparkling $20.00

2009 Chardonnay $25.00

2010 Chardonnay $25.00

2011 Gewürztraminer $25.00

2010 Pinot Noir $25.00

 

Long Dog Winery

2008 Bella Riserva Chardonnay $18.00

2009 Bella Riserva Chardonnay $22.00

2009 Otto Pinot Noir $24.00

2007 Otto Pinot Noir $30.00

2008 Top Dog Pinot Noir $24.00

2009 Top Dog Pinot Noir $30.00

 

Rosehall Run Vineyards

2011 Pinot Gris Cuvée County $19.95

2010 Cabernet Franc Cuvée County $24.95

2010 JCR Chardonnay Rosehall Vineyard $29.95

2010 JCR Pinot Noir Rosehall Vineyard $39.00

 

Sandbanks Estate Winery

2011 Gewürztraminer $16.95

2012 Dunes Red $14.95

2010 French Kiss (Cabernet Merlot) $24.95

201 LOVE Cassis Aperitivo $14.95

 

Stanners Vineyard 

2011 Riesling $23.00

2010 Chardonnay $25.00

2009 Cabernet Franc $22.00

2010 Pinot Noir $30.00

 

The Grange of Prince Edward County Vineyard & Estate Winery

2011 Estate Chardonnay $15.95

2011 GPE Fumé Blanc $24.95

2009 Select Gamay Noir $15.95

2009 Estate Cabernet Franc $17.95

 

 

County in the City – details

DATE: Thursday April 18th
EVENT STARTS: 7pm
EVENT ENDS: 9pm
LOCATION: Panorama Room – 2nd floor at National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin Street, Ottawa

Buy your tickets >>

 

Can’t make it but want to order wines?

No problem! Simply call our Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) to make the arrangements for you.  Place your order before April 20th and you can take advantage of the free shipping offer on a case of wine.

We look forward to seeing you at County in the City.
Everyone is welcome to join us!

 

Contact Savvy Company for more information about other Savvy Events
www.savvycompany.ca
613.SAVVYCO
613.728.8926
Cheers!


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Wine & Cheese with a TWIST!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 24th, 2013
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Chances are we have all been invited to a wine and cheese party. Not only is it a relatively simple way to entertain friends, neighbours or even clients – a glass of wine and a chunk of cheese are a classic pairing. With a wide variety of wines to choose from along with an array of soft, creamy, hard and even blue cheeses, there is a different taste sensation waiting to be enjoyed.

Which wine goes with which cheese?

The best way to figure this out is to experiment. My rule of thumb is the flavour of the cheese guides you to determine whether you may enjoy a light wine or a full bodied wine. Cheeses with mild taste such as young Cheddar, Feta, Goat Cheese, Parmesan, Havarti and Brie would be best with a glass of crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris or light bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir or Gamay. When you bite into a chunk of cheese with bold aromas and tastes such as Gouda, Gorgonzola, blue cheeses, Stilton or older cheeses that are hard and crumbly, be sure to have a glass of heavier white – oaked Chardonnay, Fumé Blanc – or full bodied red wines – Merlot, Shiraz, red Zinfandel or red blends. With a great cheese and wine combo, you are in for a delicious treat!

What is a Wine & Cheese with a TWIST?

Go beyond just having wine and cheese on hand and have winemakers and cheese makers at the event too. Maybe even a cheese Sommelier!

“It is so fascinating to meet the people who make the wine and cheese we all enjoy.” comments Amanda Jackson who regularly attended Savvy Company’s wine tastings and cheese classes and now organizes them at Savvy Company. “Adding the people who make the wines provides more learning and a great atmosphere, they always have interesting stories and want to share their knowledge with you. After all, they produce their own wines for us to enjoy.”

Savvy Company is hosting two Wine & Cheese with a TWIST events that will take place in small venues and there will be a limited number of tickets available to make sure that each ticketholder has plenty of opportunity to chat with each of the winemakers who are coming from their boutique wineries in Prince Edward County and Niagara.  We invite you to join us in Rockcliffe Park on Tuesday January 29th or Westboro on Wednesday January 30th.

See the full list of Ontario wines that will be showcased those 2 nights.

 

And more winemakers are coming to Ottawa at these events:

LCBO’s Taste Ontario! – Monday February 11 at the National Art Gallery $65. To buy tickets call the LCBO on 1-800-266-4764

California Wine Fair – Friday, April 5th at Westin Ottawa. Tickets go on sale February 1st on  www.calwine.ca

Don’t be shy…ask winemakers ANY questions!

Winemakers are some of the most interesting people and they enjoy meeting the people who buy their wine.  Here are some conversation starters:

How was this year’s harvest?

In the fall of 2012, Winemakers in Ontario broke records and started picking grapes earlier than ever – in some cases 3 to 5 weeks earlier than they have in the past 40 years.

What is happening at the winery right now?

With the cold snap this week, many have started to pick the grapes left on the vines for icewine

How did you become a winemaker?

Be ready to chat for awhile with this question! They may bend your ear for a bit with the story.

What is your favorite drink after work?

Watch out, the answer might be beer!

Some SAVVY wine tasting tips…

At these fun walk-about wine tastings, it can be overwhelming with so many bottle of wines open to try.

Be selective – You don’t have to try every wine. Decide ahead of time to taste a certain grape varieties (Riesling, Merlot, etc) then discover the differences from winemaker to winemaker.

Spitting is OK – Sommeliers do it all the time! By spitting, you’ll be able to taste more wines during the event. At each table, wineries will always provide a spittoon. If it is not there – don’t be shy & ask for it!

Dumping your wine is fine –Remember that this is a wine TASTING. There is no need to finish all of the wine in your glass. When you’ve tasted enough, it’s perfectly ok to pour the remaining wine into a spittoon. Rest assured that the winemaker won’t take it as a signal that you didn’t enjoy the wine, rather it’s a sign you’re ready to move on to taste the next wine.

Refresh with water – take a break from sipping wine and have a glass of water. This will give you a chance to relax and reflect on the great wines that you have and the water will refresh your palette.

Most of all….have fun!

-Debbie

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Taste a glass…buy a bottle!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
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Everything is all set for our next wine tasting events: Wine & Cheese with a TWIST! Tuesday January 29th in Rockcliffe Park & Wednesday January 30th in Westboro.  We are delighted to be hosting 7 wineries from Prince Edward County and Niagara-on-the-Lake who will showcase their best wines.

Are you interested in joining us? A limited number of tickets are left!

Here is a sneak peak of the wines that are ready for you to enjoy – most you will not find at the LCBO – so this is a perfect evening out sipping and stocking up on new wine discoveries.  There will be over 30 different outstanding wines ranging in prices from $15 to $40 – sparkling wines, lots of white and red wines & a dessert wine.  There’s definitely something for everyone.

Taste a glass…buy a bottle

Exclusive at this event you can order ANY combination of outstanding wines from ANY of the wineries & they will be delivered by courier to your home or office. Free shipping on all orders of 12 bottles or more!

With so many wines and so little time, members of  our Savvy Sommeliers will be there to help you sharing wine tips & recommendations to find wines that you will undoubtedly enjoy.

We’re hosting 2 back-to-back wine tastings!

If you can’t attend either event, don’t despiar…you can still place your order with us.  Have a look at the list of wines that will be showcased and email us or call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) & we’ll be happy to make the arrangements for your order.

Cheers,
Debbie & the Savvy Team

Featured wineries & wines:

Casa Dea Estates Winery from Prince Edward County

  • 2011 Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling Wine $18.95
  • 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay $15.95
  • 2010 Pinot Noir $19.95
  • 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve $24.95

Fielding Estates Winery (Beamsville Bench – aka Niagara Escarpment) 

  • 2011 Viognier $19.95     Special price (regular $25.95)
  • 2010 Merlot $29.95
  • 2010 Syrah $34.95
  • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon $34.95     Special price (regular $44.95)

 Lighthall Vineyards (Prince Edward County)

  • 2009 Chardonnay $25.00
  • 2010 Chardonnay $25.00
  • 2011 Gewurztraminer $25.00
  • 2010 Pinot Noir $25.00

Palatine Hills Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc $18.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay $22.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Cabernet Franc$19.95
  • 2010 Neufeld Vineyard Meritage $29.95

Pondview Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

  • 2010 Cabernet Merlot $18.95
  • 2011 Bella Terra Pinot Gris $29.95
  • 2010 Bella Terra Cabernet Franc $29.95
  • 2010 Bella Terra Meritage $39.95
  • 2011 Select Late Harvest18.00 (375ml)

Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery (Beamsville Bench)

  • 2011 Long Rows White $13.00
  • 2011 Mimas Block Riesling $20.00
  • 2009 Merlot Reserve $32.00
  • 2008 Mead ROYALE $15.00

Sue-Ann Staff Winery (Beamsville Bench)

  • 2011 Sparkling and SASSY $27.95
  • 2011 Grace’s Dry Riesling $21.00
  • 2011 Pinot Grigio $21.00
  • 2010 Baco Noir $14.95

 

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You’re invited to a Wine & Cheese with a TWIST

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, January 10th, 2013
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Shake off the winter blues & join our team of Savvy Sommeliers for a fun wine tasting the “coolest” wines from Niagara & Prince Edward County boutique wineries.

These back to back events will take place in small & intimate venues so that you can spend the evening chatting with the winemakers & winery owners about their vineyard, winemaking styles & all the goings on at the winery during the winter months….and stock up on your favorite wines too!

 

ROCKCLIFFE PARK

Tuesday January 29 @ 7pm
Rockcliffe Community Hall – 380 Springfield Rd

BUY TICKETS > >

~ OR~

WESTBORO

Wednesday January 30 @ 7pm 
Exposure Gallery
– 1255 Wellington St West (2nd floor of Thyme & Again)

BUY TICKETS > >

 

What is the TWIST?  

At these Taste & Buy events, there will be a wide selection of hard-to-find wines that are not available at the LCBO.  This gives you the unique opportunity to a taste a variety of sparkling, white, red & dessert wines that you can order your new favorite wines that will be delivered directly to your home or office – within a week!


Feature wineries include:

Casa Dea Estates Winery (Prince Edward County) – one of the first wineries in The County will showcase their new range of wines.

Fielding Estates Winery (Beamsville Bench – aka Niagara Escarpment)  – from sparkling to reds, their wines are fantastic!

Lighthall Vineyards (Prince Edward County) – one of the newest boutique wineries in The County…and their wines are turning heads!

Palatine Hills Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake) – one of the oldest vineyards in the region makes spectacular reds, whites & bubblies

Pondview Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake) – they’ll be serving their Bella Terra Reserve wines

Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery (Beamsville Bench) – outstanding white wines & a lovely Pinot Noir awaits…and meads too (winespeak for wine made with honey)

Sue-Ann Staff Winery (Beamsville Bench) – international winemaking star will charm you with her vivacious personality & her impressive wines.

 

You can purchase your favorite artisan cheese too!

And as wine & cheese is a classic pairing, Vanessa – our Cheese Sommelier – will be on hand at the Artisan Cheese Bar serving handcrafted cheeses from Ontario & Québec that may be purchased to take home with you that night.

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY

HELD OVER! $55 per person before January 25 (regular $65)

$200 for a group of 4 people (save $15 per person)

Only 50 tickets available per event.  Click to buy yours …

ROCKCLIFFE PARK event on January 29 >>

WESTBORO event on January 30 >>

Price includes wine tasting, cheeses, HST & a special Savvy wine tasting glass

Share this invitation with your friends – everyone is welcome.

 

These events are hosted in partnership with:

 

 

 

 

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Here’s an Outstanding wine list!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
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Everything is all set for this Friday’s Outstanding in their Fields wine tasting featuring 23 of Niagara’s Twenty Valley wineries.  Are you joining us? A limited number of tickets are left.

Here is a sneak peak of the wines that are ready for you to enjoy – none that you will find at the LCBO – so this is a perfect evening out sipping and stocking up on new wine discoveries.  There will be over 80 different outstanding wines ranging in prices from $12.95 to $44.95 – sparkling wines, lots of white and red wines,  a rosé, delicious icewines and even a port too!  There’s definitely something for everyone.

Taste a glass…buy a bottle

Exclusive at this event you can order ANY combination of outstanding wines from ANY of the wineries & they will be delivered by courier to your home or office. Free shipping on all orders of 12 bottles or more!

With so many wines and so little time, our Team of Savvy Sommeliers will be there to help you sharing wine tips & recommendations to find wines that you will undoubtedly enjoy.

Can’t make it to this event?

Don’t despiar…you can still stock up on your favorite 20 Valley wines.  Simply email us or call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) & we’ll be happy to make the arrangements for your order.  When placed before October 24th  shipping is free on a case of wine.

Looking forward to seeing you for an Outstanding night of wines from Twenty Valley!

Cheers,
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Wines that will be served at Outstanding in their Fields wine tasting on Friday October 19th:

13th Street Winery
2008 Premier Cuvee Sparkling $34.95

2010 Old Vines Riesling $23.95

2010 Reserve Sandstone Vineyard Chardonnay VQA $34.95

2011 Gamay Noir $19.95
NEWS: 13th Street will be the feature winery in November for our Savvy Selections wine of the month club.

 

Angels Gate Winery

2007 St. John Vineyard Riesling $16.95

2011 Mountainview Sauvignon Blanc $19.95

2010 Feet First Unfiltered Pinot Noir $21.95

2010 Scarpa $40.00

 

Aure Wines – a new winery that just opened this summer!

2011 Ice wine $20

2010 Riesling $15.25

2011 Gamay  $15.25

2010 Reserve  Cabernet Franc $32.00

 

Calamus Estate Winery

2011 Vinemount Ridge Riesling $16.20

2011 Pinot Gris $17.20

2010 Cosmic Red $19.95

 

Cave Spring Cellars

Blanc de Noirs NV $34.95

2011 Riesling Dolomite. $16.95

2009 Riesling CSV $29.95

2008 Cabernet Franc Dolomite $21.95

 

Creekside Estate Winery

2010 Laura’s White $18.95

2010 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc $26.95

2008 Broken Press Syrah $39.95 – Our Sommeliers chose this as a Savvy Selections wine

2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $34.95

 

De Sousa Wine Cellars

2011 Chardonnay Musqué $13.95

2011 Baco Noir $13.95

2007 Meritage Reserve $18.95

Tawny Port $39.95

 

Di Profio Wines  – a new winery that just opened this summer

2011 Riesling $16.35

2011 Gamay Noir $16.75

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon $19.79

2011 Select Late Harvest Vidal $18.75
NEWS: Di Profio will be featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club in March

 

Fielding Estate Winery

2011 Estate Bottled Pinot Gris $21.95

Brut (Traditional Method Sparkling) $34.95

2010 Cabernet Syrah $24.95

2007 Meritage $34.95 (Special price! Regular $44.95) – Our Sommeliers chose this as a Savvy Selections wine

 

Flat Rock Cellars

2008 Riddled Sparkling $24.95

2011 Twisted $16.95

2011 Riesling $16.95

2010 Pinot Noir $19.95

 

The Good Earth Food & Wine Company

2011 Betty’s Blend $17.95

2010 Dry Riesling $19.95 – our Sommeliers chose this as a Savvy Selections featured wine

2011 Rosé $17.95 – and this one too!

2010 Pinot Noir $21.95 – and this Pinot was definitely a Savvy Selections featured wine

 

GreenLane Estate Winery

2011 Pinot Grigio $16.95

2011 Unoaked Chardonnay $17.95

2011 Old Vines Riesling $22.95

2010 Cabernet $14.95

 

Harbour Estates Winery

2011 Pinot Gris $13.95

2011 Cabernet $14.95

 

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery

2010 Riesling Estate $17.95

2011 Estate Chardonnay $19.95

2010 Baco Noir Reserve $24.95

2009 Pinot Noir Estate $24.95

2010 Cab Merlot Estate $24.95

Kacaba Vineyard & Winery

2011 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay $22.95

2009 Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc $18.95 – this was featured in our Savvy Bin Ends last week

2009 Pinot Noir $22.95

2010 Reserve Merlot $44.95
NEWS: Kacaba will be featured in our  Savvy Selections wine of the month club in January

 

Malivoire Wine Company

2010 M2 Small Lot Chardonnay $19.95

2011 M2 Small Lot Gamay $19.95

 

megalomaniac – John Howard Cellars of Distinction

2006 Homegrown White $ 12.95

2006 Narcissist Riesling $17.95

Homegrown Red $14.95

2008 Bigmouth Merlot $24.95

 

Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery

2010 Vintner’s Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc $24.95

2008 Reserve Chardonnay $24.95

2010 McNally Vineyard Proprietor’s Reserve Pinot Noir $24.95

2010 Vintner’s Private Reserve Merlot $29.95

 

Rockway Glen Golf Course & Estate Winery

2010 Patio 9 White $12.95

2011 Small Lot Reserve White Assemblage $16.95

2010 Small Lot Reserve Red Assemblage $16.95

2010 Small Lot Reserve Cabernet Franc $23.95

 

Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery

2010 Long Rows White $13

2011 Mima’s Block Riesling $18

2010 Pinot Noir $20

2009 Merlot Reserve $36
NEWS: Rosewood will be featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club in February

 

Stoney Ridge Estate Winery

2010 Excellence Pinot Gris  $24.95

2010 Excellence Chardonnay $27.95

2010 Excellence Merlot $29.95

2009 Excellence Cabernet Franc $32.95

 

Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery

2011 Vidal $15.15

2011 Riesling Loved By Lu $16.95

2011 Robert’s Block Riesling $26.00

2011 Baco Noir $15.15

 

Tawse Winery

2011 Riesling $21.95

2010 Estate Chardonnay $37.95

2010 Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc $31.95

2010 Growers Blend Pinot Noir $31.95 – a Savvy Selections featured wine

 

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Hurry! Our Savvy Seat Sale is over May 1 at midnight…

Posted by Debbie

Monday, April 30th, 2012
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Our Savvy Event calendar in May is overflowing with Ontario wine, artisan cheese and craft beer events. We don’t want you to miss any of these fun nights out!

We’re having a Savvy Seat Sale!

Buy online before the clock strikes midnight on Tuesday May 1st and save $10 off any ticket to our Savvy Events in May. Simply click on the event link and quote PROMO CODE: SAVVYSALE

Hurry! There’s limited seating and special pricing ends on Tuesday May 1 at midnight.

Join us at one event or come to them ALL – with each ticket purchase, you’ll save $10 off the regular ticket price.

 

May 2Ontario Artisan Cheese Tasting with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons – she will show you the ‘whey’ with plates of locally made cheese. Named as one of Ottawa’s ‘Must do events’ – only 6 seats left!
Savvy Seat Sale: $50 (reg $60)

 

May 9 – An Ottawa first: County in the City wine tasting featuring over 15 winemakers and winery owners from Prince Edward County who will be serving their best wines from ‘The County’. Sip, sample + stock up on new favorite wines from The County.
Savvy Seat Sale price: $45 (reg $55)

 

May 15Craft Beer 101 ‘class’ featuring local brews. Our most popular beer tasting event. Join us at Ottawa’s own Kichesippi Beer Co to learn the lingo, pour a perfect pint + taste an array of brews – all made in Ottawa. Homework never tasted this good!
Savvy Seat Sale price: $50 (reg $60) – only 8 seats left!

 

May 30 – All 28 wineries from Niagara-on-the-Lake are hitting Highway 401 and traveling to Ottawa to showcase 56 Wines from One Unforgettable Place . Taste + try wines that are perfect for summer sipping. Buy them directly from the winemaker – you won’t find these outstanding wines at the LCBO.
Savvy Seat Sale price: $45 (reg $55)

Can’t decide which Savvy Event to attend?
Buy an all inclusive ticket for these 4 Savvy Events at a SUPER SEAT SALE price of $180 (save $50).

Have you already purchased tickets to a Savvy Event this May? No worries. We’ll give you a credit for the difference in ticket prices to apply to an upcoming Savvy Event. All ticket prices include HST.

This Spring Seat Sale is a Savvy first. Hop on online to buy your tickets and join us for delicious discoveries of Ontario’s best wines, artisan cheese + craft beers.

We look forward to seeing you this month at Savvy Event.

The Savvy Team

PS – Looking for a reason to travel? Here’s our recommended getaways:

May 26Terroir – A County Wine Celebration – All Prince Edward County wineries are under one roof for this special festival – a perfect way to sip your way around Canada’s fastest growing wine region – only 3 hour drive from Ottawa + Toronto!

June 1 to 3 – Love cheese? You’ll love the Great Canadian Cheese Festival . This delicious weekend in Picton offers loads of opportunities to learn + explore that Canadian cheese is more than just cheddar!

March 9 to 31, 2013 – Pack your bags + join Debbie Trenholm on a one-of-a-kind trip to “Taste your way around Australia” . Cooking classes, winery visits, fine dining, boutique hotels + outdoor market trips to meet Australia’s cheesemakers, olive oil producers + chocolatiers – and this is just a start! Check out the itinerary + grab your passport!

Fine print: Savvy Seat Sale does not apply to these out of town getaways.

Savvy Company
www.savvycompany.ca
613.SAVVYCO (613.728.8926)
Creative Social Experience
@savvycompany

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our blogs: www.savvycompany.ca/team

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On the road again…to Niagara!

Posted by Susan

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
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A recent week-long trip to the Niagara area offered not only great golfing weather, but an opportunity to take in Wainfleet’s Marshville Heritage Festival before visiting a few of my favorite wineries,  all of which will be featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club over the next few months.

The Marshville Heritage Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.  Organized entirely by volunteers, the Festival celebrates the 1829 founding of a small Ontario village associated with the construction of the first Welland Canal.  The volunteer society has restored 17 buildings, including a one and one-half story limestone house built in 1790, a sawmill built in 1891 (at the Festival, it was being run by the 70-year-old grandsons of the founder – how neat is that!?), an outdoor oven (where women in period dress were baking fabulous cornbread), and a cabinet-maker’s shop which once belonged to J.W. Overholt, a prominent abolitionist who sheltered escaped slaves.  A wide range of artisans and food vendors vied for space with the historical buildings.  The Festival is the Society’s primary fundraiser and is a great educational and entertainment event for all ages.  If you’re in the Niagara area in early September next year, don’t miss it this festival.

After an enjoyable couple of days at the Festival and on the golf links, I got down to the serious business of wine tasting!  My first stop was Reif Estate Winery, where I met with Klaus Reif, President and Oenologist, and Andrea Kaiser, who is responsible for the winery’s retail operations and promotion.  We had a great chat about Klaus’ early years, the evolution of the winery, as well as some the new challenges he has set himself.  This includes the innovative use of tobacco kilns for creating temperature-controlled environments to dry grapes for passito-style wines and to produce botrytis-affected grapes for Sauternes-style wines.  Reif Estate has some great wines, including some outstanding Bordeaux-style blends.  More to follow in the Savvy Selections  this November.  Consider subscribing for an opportunity to try some of the hard to find Reif wines along with the recipes we recommend! 

For those of you who know me, I am a strong proponent of organic wines, so my trip included a visit at Frogpond Farm  and Southbrook Vineyards, both of which will be featured in spring issues of the Savvy Selections. 

Frogpond Farm is the original certified organic winery in Niagara.  Jens and Heike are excited about their expansion onto a new certified organic acreage in the peninsula, and are now producing wines in 750 ml bottles as well as their traditional 500 ml format.  We tasted a range of wines, including the 2006 Cabernet Franc from their original property and the 2007 Cabernet Franc from the new property.  This side-by-side tasting was a great opportunity to compare the significant differences terroir and vintage can make to a wine.  While the 2006 is brawny and robust, the 2007 is more fruity and delicate.  We laughingly decided that the former was more ‘masculine’, while the latter, more ‘feminine’!

I spent time with Elena Galey-Pride, Director of Customer Experience at Southbrook Vineyards, learning about their transition to biodynamic and organic viticulture and viniculture.  To quote their winemaker, Anne Sperling, “Biodynamics is like extreme organics!”  In effect, biodynamic producers have a profound respect for the influence of nature on their crops and products, and work to optimize, preserve and recycle the resources of their farmed land.  The biodynamic processes on site continue to evolve, with a decision made to establish their own herd of sheep next year, and the use of natural fermentation in winemaking.  Southbrook’s first biodynamic release was their Cabernet Franc Rose this summer – we sipped from one of the few remaining bottles.  In October, the winery will release their second biodynamic wine, the 2008 Triomphe Merlot, which offers strong fruity flavors with a great balance of acidity and tannins. 

Pillitteri Estates Winery was our last stop of the day, where we participated in a wonderfully informative tour of the winery, then tasted a wide range of their still and sweet wines.  The Pillitteri family story seems like a Canadian fairy tale.  Gary Pillitteri came to Canada in 1948, when his grandfather purchased their original 56-acre fruit farm off Niagara Stone Road.  A series of photos show the evolution of the farm from orchard to vineyard, and of the retail building from fruit stand to combined tasting room, retail shop and fruit stand.  When Gary won his first award as an amateur winemaker for his Vidal ice wine, a family decision was made to move beyond grape growing into winemaking.  Pillitteri Estates Winery has expanded to 100 acres and is a family affair involving Gary, his wife, their three children and the five grandchildren.  Fifty-five or more percent of their production is sweet wines, for which they have won numerous prestigious awards, including a recent gold for their Shiraz Ice Wine at the Syrah du Monde competition.  Yet, with all this success, staff at the winery speak with great affection about the work environment the family has created.  Said one individual, “Mrs. P (Pillitteri) often comes in and makes pizza for everyone on the weekend.  And the family usually gathers in the winery at the end of the day to share dinner.”  Not only does Mrs. P make pizza, as I noticed when we were in the tasting room, she also comes by and helps the staff wash tasting glasses! 

We toured Pillitteri’s barrel cellar, which is one of the largest in the Niagara at 6000 square feet.  In the barrel cellar, Gary Pillitteri has created a fascinating homage to his success in Canada.  He firmly believes that 23 is his lucky number.  He arrived in Canada on that date, and his wife and two of his children were born on that date.  The 42-foot-long single-pour concrete table in the cellar is surrounded by 23 chairs made from a single steel fermentation tank.  The table has 5 supporting legs (2+3) and 23 lights hand above it.  23 steps lead from the barrel cellar to the tasting room. 

After the extensive tour, we were thirsty, so up those stairs we went!!  We sampled the toasty 2007 Sur Lie Chardonnay, the aromatic 2008 Gewurztraminer/Riesling blend, and the Bottled Blond Bradshaw Reserve – Dr. Marc  Bradshaw, Pillitteri’s young winemaker from SouthAfrica, dyes his hair, hence the name!  Among the reds, we sampled both the 2007 Merlot and the 2002 Merlot, each reflecting its unique vintage and winemaker.  And the 2007 Cabernet Franc was a great hit, full-bodied and well balanced with a lingering finish.  One of my favorite sweet wines is Pillitteri’s Select Late Harvest Chambourcin, produced from a hybrid varietal – it has a beautiful balance of tart red fruit, rhubarb and honey.  The grand finale was a taste of the 2007 Sticky Beak Ice Wine, which includes a blend of the Cabernets, Sangiovese and Shiraz – the perfect ending to a beautiful experience.  Pillitteri Estates Wines has been a Savvy Selections feature in past years, and we look forward to showcasing their wines again soon. 

Our thirst sated, we were hungry!  On a recommendation, we headed to Olson Foods at Ravine.  This is the new home of Anna and Michael Olson’s gourmet bakery and deli, located in St. David’s adjacent to Ravine Vineyards.  Opened in the summer of 2008, the single-story rustic building looks like an old farmhouse with an inviting veranda surrounding it. The scarred wooden tables and mismatched chairs make the interior feel like you’re stepping into your grandmother’s kitchen.  Anna was welcoming guests and helping out at the cash, where she willingly signed copies of her recipe books.  The food was great  – sharing plates or modest main plates were freshly made with local ingredients, and very reasonably priced.  A wide range of fresh breads and pastries tempted us to stay for a lingering cup of tea.  And the wide range of condiments, oils, vinegars and kitchen necessities beckoned from the well-planned displays.  This is a must-visit spot whether or not you are visiting wineries!  

If you can’t make it to Niagara but are tempted by some of the great wines I’ve mentioned, contact me to order a selection of wines from Reif Estate Winery,  Frogpond Farm, Southbrook Vineyards or Pillitteri Estates – or any other winery featured in our Savvy Selections .   

Cheers!

Susan

PS – when you are heading to Niagara, contact me for the Savvy ‘must visit’ list of wineries and restaurants.  With over 90 wineries in the area, it can be difficult to figure out where to visit.  The Savvy team of Sommeliers have visited them all and offer you our insight to make your Niagara wine adventure memorable.

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Sipping wines with the Black Prince

Posted by Susan

Thursday, June 11th, 2009
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Black Prince Winery

Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep

This month brings royalty to the Savvy Selections featuring Black Prince Winery from Prince Edward County.  If you have not visited yet, ‘The County” is an easy weekend getaway 2 to 3 hour drive from Ottawa or Toronto, Ontario.  With rolling countryside, large farms, quaint Loyalist architecture, orchards, vineyards and the white beaches of Sandbanks Provincial Park on Lake Ontario.

 

The County has become Canada’s fastest growing wine region boasting 17 wineries awaiting your visit. Hand in hand, more boutique inns and gourmet restaurants are opening with renowned chefs from the Toronto area moving from the bustle of the city to the leisurely pace of the towns of Picton and Bloomfield.  The County has been settled for centuries and there is evidence of grape growing as early as 1850. In fact, local history notes that a winemaker from the County won a medal and diploma at the 1867 International Exhibition in Philadelphia. 

 

Not surprising then, that wine lovers are flocking to build their dream of a winery in this picturesque area.

 

We are excited to feature one of County’s wine industry pioneers – Black Prince Winery. This is indeed a dream of wine die-hards that became reality when the winery opened its doors in 2003.  In this month’s Savvy Selections, we feature:

– Chardonnay VQA 2007 – a crisp, refreshing wine – perfect as a summer sipping wine

– Melon de Bourgogne VQA 2008 – a unique white wine that was just released in time to be included in the Savvy Selections

– Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2007 – an impressive red wine that is growing in popularity & winning awards!

 

Fire up your BBQ, set out the deck chairs, uncork a bottle of wine and read this Savvy e-Zine blog, about the winery’s connection with the Opimium Society, the story of the name and its crest. As always, you will find our Savvy Sommelier tasting notes and summer recipes chosen to pair with your wines.

 

Stock up for the summer…

Summer entertaining requires plenty of good wine on hand.  Rather than fighting traffic to shop, have an assortment of wines delivered to your home or office by calling on Savvy Company to make the arrangements for more bottles of your favorite Black Prince wines or bottles from previously featured wineries in the Savvy Selections.  It is that easy!   Put us on speed dial! Savvy Company 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

 

Visiting wine country this summer?

Our Savvy Sommeliers continuously travels and we compile lists of ‘must visit’ wineries with wine recommendations and tips on restaurants to include in your trip.  Let us before you head off to any wine regions across Canada, call on us to map out your trip and to arrange a special tour of the winery for you.

 

Cheers!

Debbie
Follow me: www.twitter.com/savvydebbie



 

Introducing….
Black Prince Winery

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins


Standing on the sun-drenched deck of the Black Prince Winery, sipping a glass of Chardonnay (included in your Savvy Selections) and admiring the just-budded vineyards in the distance, the winery’s general manager Geoffrey Webb, pointed out to me that the warm temperatures of late April brought on bud break sooner than usual. Spoken like an avid gardener, “there’s still a risk of frost through to the full moon”. You can’t control the weather, yet, Geoff has taken all possible measures to produce 100% Prince Edward County wines that express the local terroir as well as the typicity of the varietal. 

 

Originally from Montreal, Geoff attended Queens University and often visited Sandbanks Provincial Park to windsurf. He established a wine business in Toronto that led him to meet John Sambrook – the general manager of the Opimian Society.

 

Geoff was invited to get involved in several aspects of Opimian Society including finding a vineyard to invest in when the Society repatriated an investment it had made in a vineyard in Napa, California.

 

Formerly a horse farm, the 50-acre property is now the location of Black Prince Winery with a gently rolling south-facing slope where the vines are planted in deep sandy loam over limestone. The existing farm buildings were transformed into winery operations and there are have plans for new buildings in the near future. 

 

As one of the pioneers in the County, much experimenting was required to figure out what grapes would grow best.  When the vineyards were first planted in 2002, varietals included Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Marechal Foch, Vidal and Chambourcin.  After a few years, it was decided to tear out the Pinot Noir and Riesling vines.  “We just couldn’t get the quality of wine we wanted from these grapes”, explained Geoff. 

 

In addition to grape varieties, weather plays a huge part in the winemaking.  For many varietals, the County tests their hardiness.  As we wandered through the vineyard, Geoff explained to me that all of the work in his vineyards is done manually, so that vigilance can be maintained during the growing season and the quality of the grapes can be maintained through harvest. Unlike other wine regions in Ontario, after harvest, winemakers have one more job to do before wine.  The vines are “hilled up” (grape growing term: buried under a foot of soil) to protect them from the harshness of winter. 

 

In an excellent vintage like 2007, when growing conditions throughout the spring, summer and fall, the grapes were healthy with high flavor concentration, and winemakers left the fruit hang on the vines to optimum sugar levels.  In 2008, the warm dry late summer weather compensated for the wet conditions in spring and early summer. Winemakers are used to working with Mother Nature to grow the best wine possible in the vineyard before harvest.

 

Since inception, Black Prince had a consulting winemaker.  Originally, from California, but more recently they have benefited from the expertise of a Niagara-based consultant, who is transferring knowledge to the local associate winemaker, John Fricker.  John is an award-winning amateur winemaker turned professional involved in winemaking in the County for many years.  

 

John monitors the Black Prince vineyards, and works closely with the growers who supply grapes for the other labels produced by Black Prince in their winery site – Harwood and Bella Vigne. This co-operative concept helps incubate new wineries. Geoff is enthusiastic with this approach as it provides the opportunity to showcase the terroir of other areas of the County with wines made from grapes of smaller growers who have yet to established their own wineries.  “We get excellent quality from these partner vineyards, and our winemaker is actively involved in the management of their vineyards.  We’re proud of our slogan – one winery, many terroir.”

 

Another addition to terroir, is the arrival of a cooper (winespeak: barrel maker) in the County.  Excited to make wine with County grapes barrel aged in County oak, Black Prince purchased 5 of 6 available County oak barrels and are currently aging a reserve Chardonnay.  Geoff offered me a barrel sample- mark my word, it promises to be a beautifully balanced wine. Be on the watch for it in a few years.

 

About the regal name…

Geoff explained that the owners wanted something linked to Prince Edward.  After searching in the history books about all of the royal “Prince Edwards”, they settled on Edward the Black Prince, who was a successful military commander and ruled over a large section of Aquitaine, France – an area that included Bordeaux – a perfect wine connection! 

 

You may be interested to know that the Black Prince winery escutcheon, like those of yore, depicts the history of its founders.  In the top left and bottom right quadrants pertain to the Opimian Society, while the top right and bottom left quadrants recognize the founders and the families which have contributed to the success of Black Prince Winery.

 

Click here to watch Black Prince Winery’s video
 

 

 

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~


Black Prince Chardonnay VQA 2007, $14.75
The fruit was sourced from three County vineyards, including the Wicked Point vineyard.  The fermentation in stainless steel tanks brings out the crisp minerality and zesty fruit, similar to the French styled unoaked Chardonnay – Chablis.  Black Prince Winery is excited that this wine won a bronze at the “Chardonnay du Monde” in Burgundy, France. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A lovely pale gold, this dry wine has delightful aromas of ripe fruits, with a hint of pineapple and citrus.  The fruit flavors are carried through on the palate with a refreshing acidity.  The wine is well-balanced with a crisp finish.

 

Suggested Food Pairing: Served well-chilled, this medium-bodied wine will go well with smoked salmon, a chicken salad, or a light cream-based dish.  Or, sip it on it’s own as you enjoy the lazy days of summer on your backyard or cottage deck!

 

Cellaring: No need to wait…this wine is ready to drink now.

 

 

Black Prince Melon de Bourgogne VQA 2008, $16.75 

We are excited to hear what you think of this unique wine.  To our ‘savvy’ knowledge, only two wineries in Ontario craft a Melon de Bourgogne – and both are from the County!

When we first tasted the 2007 vintage of Black Prince’s Melon de Bourgogne, we were impressed with this lush wine – and so was everyone else who tasted it, as it is now sold out.  With some arm twisting and sweet talking (wink-wink), we convinced Geoff to release the just-bottled 2008 vintage first, to you, our Savvy Selections subscribers! 

2008 was a challenging vintage all around, with heavy rain in the early summer, yet the winemaker has done an outstanding job creating this unique white wine. 

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Also known as Muscadet, Melon de Bourgogne is most commonly grown in the Loire Valley of France.  However, it has found a home in Ontario, partly due to its winter hardiness, and to its ability to “let the terroir sing”, to quote Geoff Heinricks (author of A Fool and Forty Acres a great book about the history of the Prince Edward County as well as first-hand recounts of the trials and tribulations establishing a vineyard in this new region).  Our Savvy Selections tasting panel found Black Prince’s Melon to be aromatic and fresh, with hints of honey, melon and citrus.  Bright citrus and apple peel carry through on the palate of this medium-bodied wine.  Hints of pithy grapefruit and minerality bring a cleansing and pleasant bitter note to the long finish.   

Suggested Food Pairing: made from grapes grown by the sea in France, and in this case by the Lake Ontario in the County, this wine is ideally paired with seafood.  To keep it local, enjoy the wine with the Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Cape Vesey cheese from the County, or a creamy Sauvagine cheese from Québec.  During my tour of the County this spring, I enjoyed tasty crab cakes at the Merrill Inn, and the owners have kindly (yes, more arm twisting and sweet talking was involved…what we do for our subscribers!!) provided the recipe below.

NOTE! Since this wine was literally just bottled in late May, we recommend you don’t open it for 4-6 weeks so that it has a chance to recover from “bottle shock” (winespeak for the change in the wine having quietly rested in tanks for months then moved onto the bottling line & shipped from the winery).  Chill & enjoy it this summer.

 

Black Prince Cabernet Franc Reserve VQA 2007, $15.75 

To produce this approachable Cabernet Franc with softer tannins, the grapes were lightly pressed, the free run juice was captured separately and then blended back into the pressed juice.  The result is a wine that was recognized with a Grand Champion award at the Royal Winter Fair, as well as a Bronze Medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Bravo!

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright ruby hue, this Cab was a favorite amongst our Savvy Selections tasting panel for its ripe cherry aromas and hints of red peppers, sweet herbs and spices.  Made with 100% County grapes from the spectacular 2007 vintage, the flavors include red cherry, pepper…and even roasted red peppers!  The wine is well-balanced, with moderate acidity and integrated tannins.  The fruit and pepper notes carry through on the medium-long finish.

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine is ideally paired with barbequed or roasted red meat, such as lamb, or with herbed roasted pork.  Enjoy with the exotic recipe we offer below: Lamb with Garlic & Dark Chocolate Sauce.

 

Cellaring: This wine is drinking well now, but could be appropriate for short-term (1 or 2 years) in the cellar.

 

Listen to CBC Radio interview about the award this wine won


  

~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

 

With Black Prince Chardonnay…

Argentinean Garlic Chicken with Corn, Tomato & Parsley Salsa

Adapted from the Ottawa Citizen
Serves 6

Ingredients

For the salsa:

1 bunch (~2 C) Italian parsley leaves, chopped
½ shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c white vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano, or to taste
5-6 drops Tabasco sauce
¼ tsp ground pepper
½ c olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, roasted
2 c corn kernels (from can, drained, or cut from fresh cobs)

For the chicken:

1 tsp each pepper, dried oregano, finely chopped garlic, ground cumin (optional)
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

 

Method

1.     First, cut the tomatoes in half, place on baking sheet cut side up, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in oven at 375F for about 30 minutes.

 

2.     Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a food processor, combine the parsley, shallot, garlic, vinegar, oregano, Tabasco, pepper.  Process until finely chopped.  With motor running, slowly add oil and process until well blended but with coarse texture.  Pour into a bowl.  Stir in the corn kernels.  Once the tomato halves have cooled, add them and stir.

 

3.     To prepare the chicken, combine the pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic and olive oil.  Brush each chicken breast with these ingredients.  Grill on BBQ 3-5 minutes each side, or until chicken is not pink inside.

 

4.     Serve the parsley sauce on the side or spooned over each breast, along with small roasted potatoes.  Enjoy with Black Prince’s summer crisp Chardonnay!

 

 

With Black Prince Melon de Bourgogne…

Merrill Inn’s Crab Cakes
Recipe kindly provided by Chef Michael Sullivan, Merrill Inn
Serves 6 (12 2 oz. patties)

Many thanks to Amy Shubert, owner and innkeeper at the Merrill Inn for providing
this delicious recipe which we enjoyed during our stay.

Ingredients
1 lb. crab meat
½ C white bread crumbs
1 stalk celery, diced
½ red pepper, diced
½ medium onion, diced
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp Old Bay Spice (or ½ tsp Cajun spice) cheese
pepper, to taste
Dash of lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter

 

Method

1.   Sauté peppers, onion, celery and Old Bay Spice in 1 Tbsp oil until soft.

 

2.   Stir in bread crumbs followed by crab meat.  Add egg and mayonnaise, pepper and lemon to taste.
Chef’s tip: Don’t stir too much to avoid breaking down crab meat. 

 

3.   Refrigerate immediately for about 1 hour.

 

4.   Form the mixture into 2 oz. patties (2 ½ ” wide by ¾” thick).

 

5.    Preheat oven to 400F.  Preheat a cast iron pan with a light coating of vegetable oil on medium heat until the oil just starts to smoke.  Place patties in the pan.  Add a small piece of butter and gently sauté for 1 minute.  Place the pan in the preheated oven for 4-5 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven, turn over the patties, and brown the other side on the stovetop over medium heat.

 

6.    Serve 2 patties over mixed dressed greens. Garnish with Cajun mayo if desired.

 


With Black Prince Cabernet Franc…

Peppered Lamb Loins with Garlic & Dark Chocolate Sauce
Recipe adapted from LCBO Food & Drink Magazine, Winter 2009
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 Tbsp freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp herbes de Provence
2 boneless lamb loins (about 1 lb.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c unsalted or low-salt lamb or chicken stock
½ oz. dark bittersweet chocolate (70-80% cocoa), chopped
 

Method

1.    Combine pepper, herbes de Provence and 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Brush lamb loins with mixture.

 

2.    Preheat oven to 200F.  Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a small pan on medium heat.  Add chopped garlic, lower heat and cook until the garlic is just golden.  Remove pan from heat.  Add stock and return to heat.  Bring stock to a boil and reduce to ¼ -1/3 C.  Add chocolate, stirring until melted.  Reduce heat to minimum.

 

3.    While the stock is being reduced, grill lamb on BBQ 12-15 minutes, or until pink inside.  Transfer to a dish and keep warm in the oven as you finish the sauce.

 

4.    Once the sauce is ready, slice the lamb into thick slices and pour over a tablespoon of sauce.  Timing is everything with this recipe, as you don’t want the chocolate sauce to overcook!

 

5.    Taste your Black Prince Cabernet Franc alone, and then with the lamb.  Do you notice a difference?

 

 

Cheers to the arrival of summer!

 

 

Would you like to subscribe to Savvy Selections
It is simple…and delicious. 
Register online for 4, 6 or 12 month subscription and get ready to discover what Canadian wineries have to offer.

 

 

Already a Savvy Selections subscriber?  
We hope that you are enjoying the wines as much as our Sommeliers enjoy finding them for you.  When you have found wines that you would like a few more bottles, simply contact the Debbie and she will gladly organize a special shipment for you.

 

 

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The Essence of Okanagan Wines

Posted by Susan

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
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The 2009 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival’s featured region was British Columbia – a treat for those of us who enjoy BC wines, yet rarely see the range of them here in Ontario.  The opening plenary, and a number of the trade seminars, provided a unique opportunity to meet and hear from the owners and winemakers, as well as to taste some of their most outstanding wines.

And then, to bring all these attributes together into fabulous wines, you have the “cultural mosaic” of owners and winemakers – pioneers Adolf Kruger and Anthony von Mandl, who left Europe for the BC interior; John Symes, one of the early pioneers who emigrated from New Zealand; Grant Stanley, a Canadian who spent many of his early years in New Zealand, only to return to the Okanagan to produce outstanding Pinot Noir; Lawrence Herder, who came back to the Similkameen after years of producing “big Cabs” in California; Tom di Bello, who has migrated up the coast from California ahead, as he said, of global warming; and the newer arrivals, Brooke Blair of Australia, who produced a Shiraz judged best in the world in 2004, her first vintage here; and Pascal Madevon, a Bordelais who moved his family to the Okanagan in 2002 and has become a Canadian citizen who produces outstanding Bordeaux-style blends.  The outstanding wines of BC are created from this mosaic of terroir, varietals and people, and are enhancing Canada’s reputation on the world wine stage.

BC wines ready to be enjoyed

BC wines ready to be enjoyed

As I listened to the various speakers, the concept of a mosaic came to mind.  In fact, many aspects of the wine industry can be characterized as ‘mosaics’.  The terroir includes a range of soil types, aspects, exposure, microclimates, elevation.  And this wide range of conditions facilitates growing many varietals, and ripening them in ways not found anywhere else in the world – from fully-ripened Cabernet Franc, to brawny tannic Merlot, to lean, crisp Riesling, Ehrenfelser or Gewurtztraminer with exquisite acidity.

 

 

 

These themes were threaded through the discussions and tastings, but an overarching theme was the “coming of age” of the BC wine industry.  As pointed out by the moderators, the industry has grown from 13 wineries and 1500 acres under cultivation in 1990 to now over 160 wineries with more than 9100 acres under cultivation.  Yet, BC is still a small player on the large wine world scene.  Quoting Scholefield, a well-known BC wine critic and one of the moderators, “Yellowtail began producing Pinot Gris two years ago, and now delivers approximately 1.5 million cases to the market.  This is the ENTIRE production of the BC wine industry.”  BC is a niche market that must be characterized by high quality wines, a unique story, and its incomparable terroir. 

Anthony von Mandl, owner of Mission Hill, said it is time to “take BC wines to the world.  As the Okanagan, as BC winemakers, we have to go to the world . . . There’s an enormous opportunity.”  There was a consensus that BC has what the world wants!

And speaking of the terroir, there were many discussions concerning the varying terroir from north to south in the Okanagan, and into the Similkameen valley.  According to Anthony Gismondi, wine critic and Editor-in-Chief of Wine Access magazine, his opinion is that while the rest of the world is attempting to move away from big, bold, powerhouse and overextracted wines, BC wines are naturally crisp, clean and fresh wines.  “Acidity is our friend” was an oft-quoted phrase, attributed to Grant Stanley of Quail’s Gate  

Howard Soon, a veteran of the industry and winemaker at Sandhill Winery, discussed his Pinot Gris.  “This is how we might describe BC white wine to the world:  lean, edgy, crisp, fresh.  Profoundly food friendly and appetizing.” 

As I listened to pioneers of the industry including Harry McWatters, who founded Sumac Ridge on a golf course; Anthony von Mandl, who founded Mission Hill and used to come to the Okangan for holidays during his childhood, as well as some of the more recent arrivals – Brooke Blair, Australian winemaker who immigrated to work at Jackson-Triggs and who made an immediate impression with her first Shiraz in 2004 winning best Shiraz in the world at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London. 

Anthony von Mandl (standing with mic), Harry McWatters (sitting at right with beard)

Anthony von Mandl - owner of Mission Hill Winery (standing), Harry McWatters - founder of Sumac Ridge Winery (sitting at right)

There was also a significant amount of discussion regarding the unique character of varietal wines made from Cabernet Franc in the Okanagan.  Not only has the Cab Franc in the southern Okanagan been shown to have unique terpenes (winespeak: flavor components), it continues to ripen through the summer heat (some other varietals shut down temporarily) and well into the late autumn.  It delivers wonderfully rich, intense wines with aromas of cocoa and herbs.  And Merlot, which is often soft and round in other regions, is the tannic backbone of the outstanding red Bordeaux style blend wine created by such wineries as Osoyoos Larose (wine name: Le Grand Vin), Mission Hill Winery (Quatrain), Black Hills Winery (Nota Bene), Herder Winery (Josephine), the newly named Road 13 Winery (Fifth Element).  Tom di Bello, of CedarCreek Estate explained, “The Okanagan is one of the best places in the world to grow Merlot.  The fruit is bright, vibrant, with more natural acidity.  And we’re getting mature tannins with less sugar because the fruit ripens sooner physiologically.”

 

 

 

To these pioneers – old and new – BC’s microclimates are critical.  Early pioneers planted with their palates, for instance, trying to grow Pinot Noir in the southern Okanagan.  But the ‘heartbreak grape’ lived up to its reputation, suffering through the long hot summers.  It was soon either ripped out or grafted over with more suitable varietals, such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Shiraz.  Brooke Blair’s award-winning Shiraz thrives in the deep sandy soil beside a sun-warmed rock formation on the 49th parallel.  And winemakers have learned that the aspect and soils of the Black Sage bench are uniquely different from those of the Golden Mile, although these sites sit across from each other in the narrow valley near Oliver. 

Lawrence Herder explained that the components of his red assemblage come from three very different parcels in the Similkameen Valley.  “We’re barely discovering what to plant where.  Each section of the valley is a specific microclimate.”

But along with this diversity, there is a unique defining character to the wine of the Okanagan.  You might call it the essence of these BC wines.  Both David Scholefield and Anthony Gismondi highlighted the characteristic earthiness and the unique flavors of Okanagan wines.   “I think you’ll find a dry herbal character somewhere in every single one of these wines.  Herbal, savory character . . . when you see that, think Okanagan,” said David.  “I encourage visitors to get out of their car, walk off the road and look at the sagebrush and everything that’s growing there . . . and smell.  That scent is somehow transposed into our wines,” said Anthony.    

While there was great focus on the wines, Howard Soon reminded us all that you have to remember to lift your head up when you’re in the vineyard – there is a breathtaking view to be had, whether you are near the lake just south of Kelowna, in some of the higher vineyards near Okanagan Falls, or on the Black Sage bench near Oliver.  “Don’t forget the unique scenery that is the Okanagan.” 

So, if you’re planning a trip to a wine region, consider a visit to the Okanagan.  Whether you visit this dynamic wine region after next years Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival in 2010 (tip: the Okanagan Spring Winefest occurs April 29-May 8, 2010), during the peak summer months, or in the fall (the Fall Winefest is September 30-October 10, 2010), there are a wide range of wineries to visit, all led by people passionate about their wines and excited to share the fruit of their vines with you.

Drop me a note if you’re planning a trip to the Okanagan, as I’d be happy to help you plan your winery visits. 

Here are a few of the many BC wines I discovered while in Vancouver last month:

  • CedarCreek Ehrenfelser
  • Wild Goose Stony Slope Riesling
  • Thornhaven Estates Gewurztraminer
  • Road 13 Old Vine Chenin Blanc
  • Quail’s Gate Family Reserve Pinot Noir
  • Nk’Mip Qwam Qwmt Merlot
  • Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc
  • Jackson-Triggs Sunrock Vineyard Shiraz
  • Herder Winery Josephine
  • Mission Hill Quatrain
  • Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin

 Cheers & Enjoy,

 Susan

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