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Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Savvy gifts guaranteed to WOW!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
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Santa’s elves & the Savvy Team are working around the clock arranging subscriptions to our of-the-month clubs & gift certificates for wine, craft beer & cheese lovers across the country! Our Holiday Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) is ringing off the hook & our web site is buzzing with last minute shopping.

Here’s our Top 3 Savvy Gifts….you can order with just one click!

 

CRAZY for Cheese!

Savvy Cool Curds is the new ‘whey’ to discover hard-to-find Canadian artisan cheeses. Each month, we deliver 4 to 5 wedges or rounds of ready-to-eat cheese from a featured cheesemaker. The assortment is always different – hard, soft, fresh & aged cheeses made using various milks – cow, goat, sheep….even buffalo!

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa introduces you to the cheesemaker in each issues of Curd on the Street Magazine along with cheese tasting 101 tips & cheese ladened recipes.

The 3 delicious wheys to order:
#1 – One time purchase: $60 + shipping
#2 – Subscribe for deliveries EVERY month: $55/month + shipping
#3 – Subscribe for deliveries EVERY OTHER month: $55/month + shipping

Special Subscription Promo
$55 per month (usually $60) & shipping>>

We’ll ship across Canada

 

PERFECT for craft beer fans

Give a subscription to our Savvy Hip Hops craft beer-o-month club featuring hard-to-find craft beers made across Ontario. Along with the beers, our Beer Backstory Magazine, will give you the skinny on the brewmaster, tasting tips & recipes with the featured beers.

There are 2 sizes of packages:
#1 – Quick Picks – a small assortment each month
#2 – Taste Case – the full selection from the featured brewery.

 

NEW! In addition to featuring a different brewery each month, we are including a Special Savvy Summer 2-4 in June & July AND back by popular demand our Hoppy Holidays Craft Beer Advent Calendar in Nov & Dec.

Wrap up a SUDS-cription for 4, 6 or 12 months>>

 

Wine lovers will LOVE this!

Our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club features an assortment of 3 Ontario wines that you won’t find at the LCBO – each handpicked by our Savvy Sommeliers.

Check out the 2017 line up of wineries we’re featuring >>

To further your enjoyment of the wines, you’ll receive our monthly online magazine with the inside scoop on the winery, neat stories about the people who make the wine, our Sommelier tasting notes & recipes paired with each wine.

Special Holiday Promo
Give a 3 month subscription>>

(regularly 4 month minimum)

 

Still can’t decide?

Here’s FREE Money!

You read that right! Buy a Savvy Gift Certificate to redeem for tickets to an upcoming Savvy Event & we’ll give you 25% more.

Order a $100 gift certificate & we’ll top it up to $125. Order $150, we’ll make it $190…you get the idea.

Give this gift >>

 

Savvy Elves are standing by…

The Savvy Team…errr…elves are at the ready to help you make your Christmas shopping a breeze. Call us each day leading up to Christmas on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

Ho-Ho-Ho & have a wonderful holiday.
Debbie & the Savvy Team

Debbie Trenholm
Sommelier & Founder
Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
Now on Instagram too! instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

We’ll be enjoying the holidays to the fullest. Savvy Company will be closed from December 25 to January 11 all set & ready for an exciting 2017.

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Savvy gifts guaranteed to WOW!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, December 16th, 2016
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Santa’s elves & the Savvy Team are working around the clock arranging subscriptions to our of-the-month clubs & gift certificates for wine, craft beer & cheese lovers across the country! Our Holiday Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) is ringing off the hook & our web site is buzzing with last minute shopping.

Here’s our Top 3 Savvy Gifts….you can order with just one click!

 

CRAZY for Cheese!

Savvy Cool Curds is the new ‘whey’ to discover hard-to-find Canadian artisan cheeses. Each month, we deliver 4 to 5 wedges or rounds of ready-to-eat cheese from a featured cheesemaker. The assortment is always different – hard, soft, fresh & aged cheeses made using various milks – cow, goat, sheep….even buffalo!

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa introduces you to the cheesemaker in each issues of Curd on the Street Magazine along with cheese tasting 101 tips & cheese ladened recipes.

The 3 delicious wheys to order:
#1 – One time purchase: $60 + shipping
#2 – Subscribe for deliveries EVERY month: $55/month + shipping
#3 – Subscribe for deliveries EVERY OTHER month: $55/month + shipping

Special Subscription Promo
$55 per month (usually $60) & shipping>>

We’ll ship across Canada

 

PERFECT for craft beer fans

Give a subscription to our Savvy Hip Hops craft beer-o-month club featuring hard-to-find craft beers made across Ontario. Along with the beers, our Beer Backstory Magazine, will give you the skinny on the brewmaster, tasting tips & recipes with the featured beers.

There are 2 sizes of packages:
#1 – Quick Picks – a small assortment each month
#2 – Taste Case – the full selection from the featured brewery.

NEW! In addition to featuring a different brewery each month, we are including a Special Savvy Summer 2-4 in June & July AND back by popular demand our Hoppy Holidays Craft Beer Advent Calendar in Nov & Dec.

Wrap up a SUDS-cription for 4, 6 or 12 months>>

 

Wine lovers will LOVE this!

Our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club features an assortment of 3 Ontario wines that you won’t find at the LCBO – each handpicked by our Savvy Sommeliers.

Check out the 2017 line up of wineries we’re featuring >>

To further your enjoyment of the wines, you’ll receive our monthly online magazine with the inside scoop on the winery, neat stories about the people who make the wine, our Sommelier tasting notes & recipes paired with each wine.

Special Holiday Promo
Give a 3 month subscription>>

(regularly 4 month minimum)

 

Still can’t decide? Here’s FREE Money!

You read that right! Buy a Savvy Gift Certificate to redeem for tickets to an upcoming Savvy Event & we’ll give you 25% more.

Order a $100 gift certificate & we’ll top it up to $125. Order $150, we’ll make it $190…you get the idea.  Give this gift >>

 

Savvy Elves are standing by…

The Savvy Team…errr…elves are at the ready to help you make your Christmas shopping a breeze. Call us each day leading up to Christmas on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email cheers@savvycompany.ca

Ho-Ho-Ho & have a wonderful holiday.
– Debbie & the Savvy Team

Debbie Trenholm
Sommelier & Founder
Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
@SavvyCoolCurds
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
Now on Instagram too! instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

We’ll be enjoying the holidays to the fullest.  Savvy Company will be closed from December 25 to January 11 all set & ready for an exciting 2017.

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Beat the heat bevvies

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 11th, 2016
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Question: What drink make you think of summer?

A) Refreshing Rosé
B) Mouth-watering Cider
C) Cold Radler Beer
D) Big bold Cabernet
E) Fruity Sangria
F) All of the above!

This is a multiple choice quiz that none of us can get wrong! With more sun-filled days, long weekends and lazy afternoons lounging on your deck or dock, summer brings more time to relax & unwind with a glass in your favorite beat-the-heat bevvy.

To help you shift from winter warming drinks to summer sippers, here are some tips from our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew:

 

Fielding RoseFielding Estate Rosé VQA 2015

from: Niagara, Ontario

Nothing says summer like a glass of chilled Rosé wine. There are plenty to choose from all parts of the world, ranging in colour from a hint-of-pink to bright candy floss. With a sip, you will discover tastes from bone dry to a touch of sweetness.   To tip you off on just one Rosé to buy is difficult. When the Savvy Sommeliers got together for our spring kick-off, we were impressed with Fielding’s Rosé wine. A soft pink colour with aromas and tastes that will remind you of ripe strawberries and rhubarb. It’s a lovely wine that will be delicious with fish (poached or grilled), prosciutto wrapped asparagus, lemon roasted chicken, corn chowder or even a summer salad.

$15.95 per bottle available at the LCBO all summer long.

County Cider Pear bottle shotCounty Cider Co. Pear Cider

from: Prince Edward County, Ontario

County Cider Company is a family-run operation that has been crafting ciders in The County since 1995 – long before the region became known for its wines. The Pear Cider was inspired when the cidery owners Jenifer & Grant Howes visited Normandy, France – an area renowned for Cavardos (Pear and Apple Brandy). For this summer sipper, pear juice has been blended with carefully selected apple cider – for a dry, delicious quench thirsting summer drink.

$7.95 per bottle – available when you visit The County this summer or contact Savvy Company to deliver some to your doorstep.

radler-can_2048x2048Kichesippi Brewery Radler

from Ottawa, Ontario

Last summer, it seemed that every craft brewery was making a Radler! They are not a new creation, rather a resurgence of a summertime beer that was first introduced in Deisenhofen, Germany back in 1922. Intentionally made to be lower in alcohol (typically 3%), this is a great beer to enjoy during lunch on the patio, or to pop into your panier to quench your thirst during a bike ride. Kichesippi’s Radler is a blend of their lager with grapefruit soda. Be sure to try plenty of Radlers this summer to find your favorite.

$2.85 per can – available at the LCBO throughout Ottawa only for the summer.

 

13th Street Meritage13th Street Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2012

from Twenty Valley (Niagara), Ontario

A powerhouse red blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot & 33% Cabernet Franc. Get out your largest wine glasses as this BIG red wine is begging to be served with anything off the BBQ. Think thick steak, lamb chops, spicy sausages with loads of fresh grilled veggies. A very special wine as only 220 cases were made. Every sip will remind you of black cherry, dark chocolate , black plum with a dash of fresh ground pepper and warm spices (think cloves, Chinese 5 Spice & steak spice). At $34.95 per bottle, this extra special wine is only available when you visit the winery this summer. Alternatively, subscribe to Savvy Selections wine-o-month club & the wine will auto-magically arrive at your home or office.

 Summer won’t last forever, so mix it up with a pitcher of sangria. Whether you make it with red wine or take a new approach and use white wine, this fruit ladened cocktail make your summertime Happy Hour, even happier!

 

Debbie’s Secret recipe for Sangria

from Debbie’s kitchen to yours…

Photo from www.goodtaste.tv

Makes 1 large pitchersangria-3

1 bottle of red wine (select something under $18…afterall you will be adding fruit to it!)
10 to 15 strawberries, sliced
A handful of blackberries
1 lemon, sliced & quartered
1 lime, sliced & halved
1 orange, sliced & quartered
½ of a tin of frozen Five Alive juice concentrate
½ to a full can of Club Soda or 7-Up (optional – if you want a little spritz to your sangria. 7-Up will make your sangria sweeter.)

Place fruit into a large pitcher or jug. Pour in Five Alive concentrate, club soda or 7-Up (if using). Fill with red wine. Stir until well mixed. Chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving to let the fruit marinate. Pour into a tall glass with lots of ice. Garnish with a slice of fruit on the rim. Enjoy.

 

Love Rosé wines? You’ll love this…

bouquet-of-rosesWe make it easy to Clink & Drink Pink! Each month throughout the summer, our Savvy Sommeliers will select a different assortment of six Rosé wines from across Ontario. These are extra special as you won’t find them at the LCBO.

Order a small bouquet (a parcel of 6 different Rosé wines) or a full bouquet (a parcel containing 12 bottles – 2 of each of the featured Rosé wines).

There is a different bouquet of Rosés each month!

Next to the taste, the best part of this new way to buy hard-to-find rosé wines is free shipping.

Order yours or give as a gift at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

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Clink & Drink Pink! The Rosé Report

Posted by David

Sunday, July 10th, 2016
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The dog-days of summer mean vacations, backyard BBQs and hitting the beach to escape cool down. Whatever you’re doing, you’ll find a glass of these refreshing Rosé wines are both refreshing and delightfully surprising.

Our Savvy Sommeliers discovered five wonderful Rosé wines made in Ontario to feature in this month’s Bouquet of Rosés. Mark our words…you’ll love how they pair with everything that defines your summer:bouquet-of-roses

 Aure Wines White Gamay – award-winning Rosé
– Back 10 Cellars “Rose Coloured Glasses” – this is not a whimpy Rosé!
DiProfio Wines Gamay Rosé– Rich and fruity
– Palatine Hills Pinot Gris – easy drinking (maybe TOO easy!)
– Rosehall Run Pixie – a perfect summer sipping sparkling
– Trail Estates Winery Pinot Noir Rose
– A gem from The County

Your Bouquet of Rosés is EXTRA special, as none of the wines are available at the LCBO.

If you would like to order additional bottles or other hard-to-find Ontario wines (we do craft beers, too!), contact me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or debbie@savvycompany.ca.

I’ll be happy to arrange a special delivery for you.

Here’s to summer!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

In this Bouquet of Rosés you will find…

~ Tasting notes by Savvy Sommelier, David Loan ~

 

Aure Wines White Gamay VQA 2014Aure Wines White Gamay VQA 2014

$15.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Did you know? This wine won a Bronze Medal at the 2015 National Wine Awards. Well deserved!

 Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Spicy and savoury, sweet and sour – the descriptors just kept coming as we tasted this. With a peach colour, just tinged with orange, it offers ripe honeydew and rose blossom notes. There’s honey, too, which pairs perfectly with its high acidity. The finish is quite complex, with honey and melon and tangerine.

Suggested Food Pairings: When our Savvy Team got together to sample the wines, Savvy Sommelier Debbie knew just what she wanted with this wine – Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe (very simple recipe follows).

 

Back 10 Cellars ‘Rose Coloured Glasses’ VQA 2015back 10 cellars

$18.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Did you know? The wine’s fun name was inspired by one of the winery owners’ daughters, who always wears her sunglasses with rose-coloured lenses, “because it makes the world a prettier place”.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Blended from Pinot Noir and Gamay, this wine offers the best of both. It has a spectacular pomegranate juice colour and aromas of sour cherry, smoke, watermelon, and mint. The flavours surprise, with candied red fruit, slate and tobacco. Barely off-dry, with medium acidity, it finishes with red cherry notes that won’t quit.

Suggested Food Pairing: Go ahead and challenge this food with big, bold flavours
such as Buffalo chicken wings or ribs slathered in BBQ sauce; this wine will handle it.

 

 

DiProfio Wines Gamay Rosé VQA 2015Di Profio Wines Gamay Rosé VQA 2015

$14.45
Twenty Valley (Niagara)

Did you know? Gamay is best known as the grape of Beaujolais Nouveau, but it has a growing reputation as a true Ontario star! Thriving in our cool climate, Niagara Gamay balances bright, fruity cherry and raspberry notes with lively acidity.

 Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s an explosion of red currants when you sip this, tempered with great minerality, orange blossom, and pomegranate. At 13 per cent alcohol by volume, it’s medium-bodied and has a hint of sweetness. It’s a big, complex rosé that’s ready for the dinner table.

Suggested Food Pairing: This will stand up to spicy food, such as Mexican food.

 

 

Palatine Hills Pinot Gris VQA 2015Palatine Hills Pinot Gris VQA 2015

$15
Niagara-on-the-Lake

Did you know? Palatine Hills is located on land that was once a battleground during the War of 1812. An historic artifacts display in their tasting room shows some of the relics found in the vineyards, including officers’ buttons, clay pipes and musket balls!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Not labeled as a Rosé, but winemaker Jeff Innes has let the skins of the lightly-purple Pinot Gris grapes bleed into the grape juice giving it a lovely copper colour. This shines with typical Niagara minerality, strawberry and gorgeous pink grapefruit flavours. It reminded us, too, of Juicy Fruit gum. This wine is just off-dry, with a pithy and white pepper finish.

This Pinot Gris is so new that at the time of writing it isn’t even on Palatine Hills’ website yet. You are the first to enjoy it. A true Savvy discovery!

Suggested Food Pairing: This accommodating wine easily accompanies summer dishes ranging from grilled peaches to BBQed Pizza (recipe below).

 

Rosehall Run Pixie VQARosehall Run Pixie VQA

$19.95
Prince Edward County

Did you know? Sparkling wines made by the “Charmat Method” become bubbly through secondary fermentation in a large tank, in contrast to “Champagne Method” where it takes place in the bottle. Either way, bottles are initially capped with beer bottle-like “crown caps”, and more and more winemakers are choosing to leave these easily removed caps in place.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Oh, boy, do we love this wine! Blended from Riesling and Chardonnay, it has just enough Zweigelt (one of owner/winemaker Dan Sullivan’s signature grapes) added to give it a lovely gold hued peach colour. The bubbles are light and fun, and this is gently sweet with some bracing lemon acidity for balance. And the flavours! Rhubarb, peach, strawberry, and lots of lemon on the finish.

 Suggested Food Pairing: We’d love to share this with friends in the backyard over a bowl of  Chilled Cucumber Soup – check out our recipe below.

 

Trail Estates Winery Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2014

$21.95
Prince Edward County

Did you know? Trail Estate is one of the newer wineries to enter the scene in Prince Edward County, and they have wasted no time making a name for themselves. Hildegard & Anton Sproll had just retired from running Sproll’s Fine German Bakery in Kitchener-Waterloo for 30 years.  Then, as the story goes, on a trip to The County, they fell in love with region.  They never intended to start up another business, but…

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Beautiful pale pink colour. Wild strawberry and an interesting clover flower notes on the nose give only an illusion of sweetness to come. There are hints of cherry vanilla, tangerine, and orange blossom, and a spice one taster thought was cinnamon.

The palate starts slightly sweet vanilla-cherry, with a slight roundness before going to rhubarb and cranberry for a crisp finish. The 6% Gamay adds some nice structure to the 94% Pinot, and the neutral barrel ferment gives that roundness noticed.

Suggested Food Pairings: A very versatile wine that will work with many dishes including summer salads (grilled lettuce), light appetizers, and grilled salmon.

 

 

 

• Rosé Recipe Box •
Summer time favourites enjoy with your Bouquet of Rosés

 

Chilled Buttermilk-Cucumber Soup

Recipe and photo from marthastewart.com
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients Cucmber soup

2 cucumbers (14 ounces or 400 grams total), peeled, halved, and seeded, plus thin cucumber rounds, for serving
2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

Method

Roughly chop 1 1/2 cucumbers; dice remaining cucumber half.

Place roughly chopped cucumber in a blender with buttermilk and

blend until smooth, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among four bowls and stir in diced cucumber.

Scoop out into bowls and top with cucumber rounds, a drizzle of oil, and more pepper, if desired.

 

Grilled Pizza

Recipe and photo from: Simply Recipes

Serves 4

Following these directions you can make this summer pizza as simple (frozen crust, bottled sauce) or complicated (everything from scratch) as you want.

Ingredientsgrilled pizza

Pizza dough or frozen pizza crust

Olive oil

Standard toppings of tomato sauce, herbs, cheese (fresh buffalo mozzarella is the best!), and maybe some thinly sliced onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, or pepperoni

Some flour or corn meal for dusting the cookie sheet or pizza peel

Method

Make the pizza dough or use prepared pizza dough.

Prepare the grill for high direct heat. Prepare a small bowl with olive oil for greasing the grill grates and for brushing the pizza. Prepare the toppings so they are ready to go on the pizza—tomato sauce, cheese, and anything else you wish.

Shape the pizza dough by flattening it with your hands on a lightly floured surface. Either use your fingers to stretch the dough out, or hold up the edges of the dough with your fingers, letting the dough hang and stretch, while working around the edges of the dough.

Once you’ve stretched the dough, let it sit for 5 minutes and then push out the edges with your fingers again, until you have a nice round shape, about 12-inches in diameter. Do not make a raised rim, it will interfere with the grilling process.

Once the grill is hot (you can hold your hands an inch over the grates for no more than 2 seconds), dip a tightly folded up paper towel in olive oil and use tongs to wipe the grill grates. Then place a pizza dough round on a lightly floured (or you can use cornmeal) rimless cookie sheet (or pizza peel if you have one). Let the dough slide off the cookie sheet onto the hot grill grates. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, open the grill and check underneath the dough to see if it is getting browned. If it is on one side, but not another, use a spatula or tongs to rotate the dough 90 degrees and cook for another minute. If it is not beginning to brown, cover the grill and continue to cook a minute at a time until the bottom has begun to brown. It should only take a couple minutes if you have a hot grill. The top of the pizza dough will start bubbling up with air pockets.

Once the pizza dough has browned lightly on one side, use your cookie sheet or pizza peel to remove it from the grill. Use a spatula to flip the dough over so that the grilled side is now up. Keep the grill covered so it retains its heat for the next step.

Paint the grilled surface of the pizza with a little olive oil, then cover with 1 ladle of sauce – no more, or you’ll end up with a soggy pizza. Sprinkle on your toppings, ending with Mozarella cheese (if using), and if using meat, put that over the cheese. Remember to go light on the toppings, or your pizza will be heavy and soggy.

Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill. If you are using a gas grill, reduce the heat. If working with a charcoal grill, close the vents on the cover almost all the way. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the bottom begins to char and the cheese is bubbly. Pull off the grate with a spatula onto a cutting board or other flat surface and let rest for a couple minutes before cutting into slices.

Slice and serve!

 

Red Curry Lentils

Recipe and photo from Pinch of Yum

Serves 6

Ingredientslentils

1½ cups (300 g) lentils, rinsed and picked over
½ large onion, diced
2 Tablespoons (30 mL) butter
2 Tablespoons (30 mL) red curry paste
½ Tablespoon (4.5 g) garam masala
1 teaspoon (3 g) curry powder
½ teaspoon (1.5 g) turmeric
1 teaspoon (3 g) sugar
1 teaspoon (3 g) minced garlic
1 teaspoon (3 g) minced ginger
a few good shakes of cayenne pepper
1 14 ounce (385 mL) can tomato puree
¼ cup (125 mL) coconut milk or cream
cilantro for garnishing
rice for serving

Method

Cook the lentils according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant and golden. Add all the spices (curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, sugar, garlic, ginger) and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce; stir and simmer until smooth.

Add the lentils and the cream. Stir to combine and simmer for another 15-20 minutes (the longer, the better)!

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Melon

Recipe from Savvy Company
Photo credit: Pinterest

Serves 8 (hors d’oeuvres)

Ingredients wrapped melon

One cantaloupe
4 oz (112 g) paper-thin prosciutto

Method

Peel and seed the cantaloupe. Cut it into cubes or wedges.

Wrap each piece of cantaloupe with a slice of prosciutto.

Serve and enjoy the rave reviews!

 

Have your fridge full of Rosés all summer long…bouquet-of-roses

Always have refreshing Rosé wines on hand this summer. To order additional bottles of your new-found favourite Rosés from this assortment OR to receive a Bouquet of Rosés next month call the Savvy Team at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online at www.savvycompany.ca/rose.

The August Bouquet of Rosés will have a completely different selection of hard-to-find wines.

To order the August Bouquet of Rosés, call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online www.savvycompany.ca/rose

 Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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

Posted by Julie

Thursday, July 7th, 2016
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This weekend at the LCBO features “Great Values for Summer” on the store shelves at Vintages and a real cool event that takes place in Niagara called “i4C” – the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration.  Years ago my husband and I attended this festival, set on the hills of lovely Tawse Winery in along the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment).vintages magazine cover

Winemakers & Sommeliers from around the world transcended to Niagara to sip & savour Chardonnay all weekend.  Events of all kinds shone the spotlight on this featured grape.  At one event, Canadian singer songwriter Murray McLaughlin played live as the icing on the cake to make this annual event memorable for me.

Join me to fill your shopping cart with bottles of Chardonnay to celebrate i4C along with “Great Values for Summer” that await your discovery at Vintages.

Heres to the dog days of summer…I wish they could last forever.

Cheers & enjoy,

Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday July 9, 2016

 

Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014

BC VQA Okanagan Valley
$ 19.95 (Vintages #378489) 14 % alcohol

Straight from the Okanagan Valley, this dry, smooth Chardonnay has no shortage of tropical fruit plus the green apple taste offers perfect acidity. Medium-bodied and fresh there’s a bit of toasty oak and vanilla. It is an elegant Chardonnay with luscious brioche and a hint of coconut at the end. Grilled salmon with new potatoes, buttery and parsley.

                                             

Casa Del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2015

DO Casablanca Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #974717) 14% alcohol

Very pale in colour but not in taste, this Sauvignon Blanc is very clean and refreshing. Talk about a palate cleanser.

There’s lots of citrus, especially white grapefruit flavours with a pithy aftertaste that sends you back for more…and more…and more!   Light-bodied that makes it perfect for a picnic.  At this price, it is a great value wine to have in your fridge until Labour Day, or heck, buy more and keep on drinking it until Christmas!

 

 Timulqui Single Vineyard Torrentes 2015Timulqui Single Vineyard Torrentes 2015

La Rioja, Argentina
$13.95 (Vintages #450486) 14.5 % alcohol

Torrentes is such an interesting grape varietal. When I serve a Torrentes everyone always asks what kind of wine is this since it is so different from our  usual varietals like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. It is produced only in Argentina and has an incomparable flavor.  The Torrentes grape originated in Mendoza apparently under the leadership of Jesuits. Pale golden in colour with floral, geranium aromas, lots of  orange and passion fruit on the palate with a touch of oregano or white pepper at the end. It’s interesting, fresh and another fantastic value.

Waterkloof Circle of Life 2012

Waterkloof Circle of Life 2012

WO Stellenbosch, South Africa
$19.95 (Vintages #284588) 13.5% alcohol

Although Circle of Life reminds me of a Disney movie, the winery has certainly taken it’s title seriously embracing a sense of origin with the bio-dynamic vineyards.

I found this wine unusual in taste. I’m not sure whether it was the forest, almost tree-like aromas or that there was so much going on with its Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc (also known as Steen in South Africa) blend. Some tropical fruit, yellow apple and lime mingles with a pinch of honey on the aftertaste making this medium bodied blend very smooth and satisfying. I liked it immediately and can’t wait to pick up a bottle to enjoy with seafood.

 

Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec 2015Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec 2015

Uco Valley, Mendoza
Bodegas y Videos La Esperanza
$15.95 (Vintages #65664) 14.1% alcohol

In February my husband and I traveled to Buenos Aires and ever since there’s always lots of Malbec in our wine cupboard. It’s dark, inky purple almost opaque in colour (it’s going to look fabulous in my big bowl wine glasses!) and exhibits layers of spice, tobacco, blackberry and a little cassis. It packs serious punch. It’s smooth, lingering with persistent length and depth. It’s another fabulous value wine.  Bring on anything grilled.

 

Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2010

Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2010

DOC Gioia del Colle, Puglia
$14.95 (Vintages #724674) 13.5% alcohol

I learned in the LCBO release report that the Latin word, “Primitivo” translates to first to ripen. Just when I thought Primitivo grape made great medium to big red wines that are perfect ‘spaghetti wine’ (you know…perfect with a bowl of spaghetti!) Vibrant dark plums, ripe red berry and violet aromas, lead you to a delicious, medium-bodied palate of ripe black cherries, fleshy raspberry, some ground pepper and noticeable tannins. The fruit is ripe and remains start to finish.

 

Grand Total: $99.75  – how is that for being on budget! 

 

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Newsletter Jan 2014 – Happy SAVVY New Year! Don’t miss our Wine & Cheese ‘classes’

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
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Do you want to learn more about wine, artisan cheese & craft beer this year?  Resolutions like this make our team of Savvy Sommeliers smile – BIG time. Like all resolutions, the hardest part (if there is a hard part!) is starting. Don’t despair because we have made it easy to keep your 2014 resolutions and to begin as soon as this month!

Join us for these all day ‘classes’ with a Savvy Sommelier:

Book your spot at either the wine or the artisan cheese class . . . or come to BOTH!

These ‘classes’ will take place in Ottawa’s coolest wine venue: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar in the Byward Market. No need to bring a lunch – the chef will be whipping up a gourmet meal.

These are fun ‘classes’ & you will definitely WANTto do the homework!

Wine Appreciation 101 ‘Class’

Back by popular demand! Join me for my annual Wine Appreciation 101 ‘Class’ on Saturday January 18. It is a fun-filled day enjoying wines from around the world that you may have never tried, learning wine lingo, tasting the difference glassware makes & deciphering a restaurant wine list. And because I absolutely LOVE wine, I will share all kinds of tips & tricks . . . even show you how easy it is to sabre (yes, with a sword) a bottle of bubbly!

Everyone, regardless of your wine knowledge . . . is sure to have fun learning more about the world of wine & have a shopping list of new favorite wines.

Book your spot & SAVE $15 – use promo code ILOVEWINE

Psst . . . Did you see my 5 minute wine ‘class’ on CTV Ottawa Morning last week? Watch it on online or Savvy Company’s Facebook page.

Cheese FUN-damentals ‘Class’

NEW! On Saturday January 25th, come in from the cold & learn about fabulous fromages with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons. She will introduce you to cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers while you learn the ‘whey’ to buy cheese, make a delicious cheese board & talk the talk like a ‘BIG Cheese’!

And there’ll be a pop quiz . . . is artisan cheese better with wine or craft beer? Think you know the answer? Your tastebuds may be in for a surprise!

Book this week & SAVE $15 > >

Set your PVR or tune in to CTV Ottawa Morning this Thursday January 16th at 8:45am. Vanessa will be sharing tips on how to create a delicious cheese board.

 

Want to learn about wine AND cheese?

Your resolution to go on a diet can wait! Join us for a Wine AND Cheese Extravaganza by registering for both classes. Book now & save BIG time! > >

Looking for a craft beer ‘class’?

We are working on it…and we have another announcement ‘brewing’ too! Email us to be the first to get the brew news.

 

Hibernate with these GREAT DEALS on Ontario wines

Our Savvy Bin Ends is a great way to enjoy hard to find wines at super discounts! Our Sommeliers definitely give these wines ‘2 thumbs up’:

AND save even more when you order a case (12 bottles) of these wines – shipping is FREE.

 

Hosting a dinner party?

Relax. . . our Savvy Sommeliers have selected 6 bottles of outstanding wines from Niagara’s Fielding Estates Winery that will WOW your guests. This Special Dinner Party Pack includes a bottle of sparkling wine to start the evening, then 2 whites & 3 red wines to enjoy with dinner. . . and we’ll give you easy-to-make recipes too!

Special price only from Savvy Company: $149 total (shipping by courier is free)

Now, all you have to do is invite your guests & set the table.

Mark my words, 2014 will be an absolutely DELICIOUS year!

 

Cheers,
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

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We’re heading west to San Fran & Napa

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
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In Denver, as well as San Francisco, we had several opportunities to meet Canadians who had decided to work south of the 49th parallel. An interesting conversation was particularly had when we met Marcy Grossman – Canadian Consul General in Denver (centre left in black & white) who during her career, has been posted in various Canadian consulates throughout the US. During our meeting, we learned about how these consulates are an instrumental resource referring and assisting Canadian businesses to create business relationships with American companies. “We can help vet and find appropriate American businesses in the various regions to work with,” Marcy explains. “$1.9 billion of trade crosses the Canada-US border.  And over 8 millions jobs in the US rely on trade with Canada”. Marcy highlighted that in Colorado there are 100+ Canadian and internationally owned business including Suncor, EnCana, Great West Life, Molsons Coors, Agrium & Enerplus.

Each consulate has a list of priority industry sectors.  In Denver, Marcy explained that they are:

  • North America Energy Security (pipeline, tar sands, etc)
  • Border Security
  • Agriculture and Trade Policies
  • Trade issues affecting competition

You can see the Rolex flipping in Marcy’s head as we explained the nature of our businesses. Without a beat, Marcy offered to make introductions, send useful documents and provide connections to firms that she and her team has existing relationships. What an incredible resource.  Marcy was ready to help in every way.

We then peeled back the Canadian flag (figuratively) and turned the tables to ask Marcy about personal experiences about being a Canadian businesswoman working in the US. Afterall, for the past 2 weeks we have been exposed to all of the resources and initiatives that the American government has geared towards growing women entrepreneurs in their country. Finally we had the opportunity to talk with another Canadian businesswoman & were curious of her perspective from a Canadian point of view. Let’s just say, we could have spent hours more with Marcy. I look forward to our paths crossing again.

Always a place at the dinner table…

Each city we visited, the 6 of us had the opportunity to meet an even further extension of people and to experience non-business setting. We all remarked about the unexpected kindness and generosity of the people in each city who opened their own homes for us and welcomed us for dinner and great conversations. All done completely voluntarily through their affiliation with the US Institute of International Education program office their respective city.

Not only did we enjoy this personal connection, I was inspired and in return, I will look into doing the same for international visitors to Ottawa. Thank you to whose who set a spot for me at your table – Anar & Todd in San Jose (Anar is seated 2nd from left & Todd is in back row), Roy & Laurie (in Denver), Marty (in Kansas City) and Katrina (in Austin)….and their friends who joined us at the table too. While the food on the table was good, it was the people in the chairs that were most memorable.

Go west young ladies, go west!

While Denver was fascinating and held many more opportunities and ventures to experience, San Francisco awaits! After nearly a week in Denver, we re-packed our luggage one last time and headed west to enter into another time zone and to see the western most coast.

I have visited to San Francisco several times for both fun as well as for wine related work. It is such a dynamic city, I was looking forward to see what San Francisco Institute of International Education had arranged for us. Their itinerary covered a lot of freeways and certainly did not leave much free time to explore this fantastic city. We’ll be back!

During our entire trip we have been trying to land dinner in Chinatown. We promised ourselves (and Amina as it was her birthday) that when we arrive in San Fran, it was the first thing we’d do. True to that plan, I asked the concierge at Park 55 Hotel not for his recommendations, rather for the Chinese restaurant he goes to. “The Capital on Clay Street has the best food and has the best chicken wings – hands down!” I was surprised by this comment, yet claims of San Francisco’s best wings was proudly plastered on the front door and the cover of the menu. And so…when in Rome, do as the Romans do…we ordered a plate of these mysterious wines along with an array of interesting Chinese dishes. Every mouthful was loaded with fresh ingredients, fish and spices. Delish!

Lending a hand to grow a business

The meetings in San Fran & the Bay area were different from the other cities. We were invited into businesses focused on kick starting small businesses, primarily for immigrants.

We met with Opportunity Fund (located in Silicon Valley) to learn how they help small ‘Ma and Pa’ businesses in the Bay area from dry cleaners to taxi cab drivers with microlending. With their regional, they are providing loans mainly to Hispanics – 55% are women, and 42% are under 35 years old. “We are the first stop BEFORE they go to the bank for a loan”, explained Devin McAlpine.

From there, we met with Joanne Gan at Kiva to learn about the impact of ‘crowd funding’ – individuals like you and me offering a minimum of $25 to an emerging business in a different corner of the world. They are currently lending $400 million by means of 800,000 lenders (aka you & me) around the world supporting budding entrepreneurs with uber low interest rates. “We are a website that provides connections to people with money to people who are looking for ways to make money” explained Joanne. And wandering around their open space office, Kiva demonstrated a novel workspace format that those of us from the east would coin as ‘very west coast’. Lots of photos were taken to remind us that a cube farm does not nurture a successful business.

Leaving the cheque book behind, we then moved away from lending funds to lending space in a commercial kitchen with our visit to La Cocina. This is an incubator kitchen primarily for immigrants to create unique foods from their homeland in a certified FDA kitchen with the goal to grow into a new business venture. Complete with all of the industrial kitchen equipment you can imagine, professional development courses and business coaching as well as a dedicated team focused on creating opportunities (farmers markets, catering, festivals) their culinary creations to sell. We were all impressed us with the commitment to create both the push and pull to help build a community of new businesses, or as renown business author & blogger Seth Godin would call it – a tribe.

We were interested midst of other communities at work when we visited the beautiful campus of Standford University. ‘It is so invigorating to be amongst young people learning’, Fiona mentioned as she looked around the campus & outdoor patio. Known as one of the most expensive universities in the US, I could not help myself from imagining what some of these young 20 somethings aspire to do once they graduated.

Do you know the way to San Jose?

Throughout my high tech career, rarely did a day go by when Silicon Valley goes unmentioned at the watercooler. In previous trips, I had driven past San Jose, but never stopped. This time, we arrived at our meeting earlier than planned, so we walked around the streets of San Jose and soaked up some California rays.

This Silicon Valley mecca that creates vibrant minds, innovative technologies and millionaires overnight was surprisingly dull and run down. Certainly there were corporate towers and campuses with familiar logos, but the main street lacked energy while the retail & restaurants were stagnate. Strange. The downtown core seemed to be somewhat ghost town, while surrounded by highrise corporate empires with logos of household names.

An afternoon in Napa with meetings of a different pace

Other flipside, in my wine career, Napa is the iconic mecca and I was thrilled that our last afternoon was dedicated to visiting the boutique wineries of Ceja Vineyards and St Supery Winery. Both businesses have a woman at helm. These two wineries are making an impression both locally as well as internationally with their wines. While for the past weeks, our meetings have been in boardrooms with death-by-Powerpoint slidedecks (ok, not that bad – it is just an expression!), I was excited to show the other ladies what a meeting in my wine world involved: sampling wines with the winery owner, talking about vintages, rambling through vineyards and visiting cellars.

Our tour was organized by Napa’s newest business (owned by 3 women no less!) – Verve Napa Valley Tours. First stop: Family run Ceja Vineyards where owner Amelia Ceja was holding down the fort at the tasting bar while juggling other buying clients. In contrast, our meeting at St Supery was in a private room overlooking 2200 oak barrels aging something amazing. Each meeting provided an educational & personalized tasting peppered with stories about the history of the business,  commercial growth along with mentions of the significant buildings on the estate …and whatever else came to mind over a glass of wine!

In keeping with our mantra to ‘go local’ at each city, I succumbed (yes, me of all people!) and the others too purchased some of our favorite Napa wines. These wines had connection to our tour and will be savoured & shared with those back home to remind us of our brief visit to experience first hand how California wine industry grows.

What? It’s done!?!?

Just like the day we started, we boarded our bus & conversations about our experience kept us entertained all the way back to San Fran. The only difference from before, was that was the end of our scheduled itinerary. Our last appointment. Our last day. Weird…our IVLP trip was done.

3 weeks and 5 cities with 6 phenomenal women had come to a close. It felt odd. The day that followed felt even more empty, as we departed at different times to back to our home city. Fiona left a day early as she was already booked for a vacation with her son in Mexico. Amina switched to an airport hotel to catch her 5am flight (which she did not make in the end). I set my alarm for 4:30am to surprise & see Nancy, Jennifer & Stephanie off, then went back to bed before getting ready for my flight at 10am.

Waiting for me in the lobby was Johnsy (middle row with black hat) – our US State Department representative – who was with us every step of the way – literally.  Johnsy made sure that we were always on schedule and stayed together. Thank you Johnsy for making sure that the trip went as smoothly as it did. I knew that you did so much more behind the scenes than you let on. Coincidentally, that once she was no longer watching over us, flights were delayed or missed & bags were lost. We all mentioned in email threads afterwards ‘where was Johnsy when we needed her?’

The best part of going away…is coming home

This saying is true of any holiday or time away from family for business travel. This trip was different though. While we arrived as strangers with a simple common thread of being Canadian, the experience that the US Embassy in Canada and the US State Department offered us by hand selecting the six of us to be part of their IVLP delegation focused on Women Entrepreneurs & Trade provided me personal growth, education that I probably haven’t realized its fullest impact yet, along with countless connections (not to mention a brick of business cards), and a greater appreciation for the importance of women being involved in growing the economy by starting their own businesses or breaking the glass ceiling – in any industry.

No post-trip report was required to be filed back to the US Embassy, rather I wrote this blog & tweeted as a way to give you a glimpse of my daily experiences as a proud women entrepreneur from Canada on the IVLP. Within days of my return, an email found its way into my inbox announcing that I was now an IVLP alumni and that there were still more connections and resources available in the months and years to come. The whirlwind trip may be done, yet the rest is only beginning.

In fact, last week, I had a quick voicemail from Amina saying that she was coming to Ottawa for a meeting the following day. I was excited to see her again! Picking her up at the station, we feverishly caught up all within 15 minutes while I drove her to her meeting. Little small talk was made and it was great to see her in her element….and later in the day, I found her ‘Afrique Expansion’ brochure left in the back seat of my car. She is definitely a businesswoman who never stops!

I imagine that this will be the way it is between the 6 of us now on. A friendly phone call to say hello, a tweet about an interesting tidbit or a group email to share the latest family or work news. I know that while we are spread across the country we will be inseparable.  We will always be there for each other. What a cool feeling to have of a group of women I had a hard time keeping track of their names less than a month ago.

Efforts to make plans to get together or arrange a quick rendez-vous when our travels brings us to our home cities of Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg or Prince George. Whatever may be the reason that our paths cross again, one thing is for certain, I have wonderful friends and business advisors who I can reach out to at anytime.

A million thanks!

Thank you to those at the US Embassy and US State Department who nominated and selected me to be part of the International Visitor Leadership Program featuring Women Entrepreneurs and Trade. I am truly grateful for the opportunities that you have created for me and look forward to those that are still to come.

With a glass of California wine in hand, I raise a glass to all of the people involved in making our trip memorable.  Cheers to you!
-Debbie

OK….so what is our combined shoe & luggage count now?

Total number of checked luggage: 12 pieces – increased now to include a case of wine from Napa – guess who that belongs to? 
Total number of shoes & boots between the 6 of us: 42 pairs total
Weight of each piece of luggage: well, we all ‘hovered’ at the airlines’ maximum 50lb mark per suitcase

Quotable quote & bloopers

Let’s just say that there are many inside jokes, stories and expressions that “will stay on the road”.

Continue to follow us on Twitter:

While we are not tweeting about our trip, we invite you continue to follow us on Twitter as we will be talking about #IVLP and the trip for a long time to come!
• @savvydebbie (me)
• @Halifax_Gateway (Nancy Phillips)
• @JenniferBrandle (Jennifer Brandle)
• @PillPak (Fiona Webster Mourant)
• @amigerba (Amina Gerba)
…while Stephanie had all of the latest tech gadgets in her purse, she never really got ‘onto’ Twitter…we’re still working on her!

 

What our fortunes say…

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Savvy Company is Award Winning!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, March 19th, 2009
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We are excited to announce that we have won Small Business of the Year in this year’s Kanata Chamber of Commerce People’s Choice Business Awards.  Many thanks to all of you who voted for Savvy Company and recognize our talented team of Sommeliers.

We raise a glass of wine to celebrate all that we have accomplished in the past 5+ years and the wonderful people who we have met in the world of wine.

Cheers!

Comments from supporters:
WOW – I am so glad there is such recognition for all of your hard work, Debbie.  Actually, it is much more than hard work.  It takes an intuitive, insightful, creative – not to mention Savvy – person to accomplish what you have.  Congrats! – Vicki

This is amazing news. Congrats to the Savvy Team!  – Amy

Fabulous news!  A big congrats from Marc & I – Lynne

Fantastic & well deserved.  Congrats to everyone in the Savvy Company – Peter

Congrats debbie! you deserve it! – Jess

Congrats!  It’s time for a celebration – Tim

Well Done!!! Congratulations!!! – Naomi

Congratulations Debbie.  We should celebrate.  – Siva

Awesome! – Chef Ken of Chop Chop Catering

To people who have experienced Savvy Company…there was never a doubt that you are award winning.  Congrats Debbie and team. – Peter

Congratulations!  A well-deserved win! – Su

Saw your photo in the paper. Congratulations Deb! – Danielle

Congratulations Debbie to you and your team – Allyson

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Old and New Tastes

Posted by Wayne

Friday, December 19th, 2008
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When people select, drink and enjoy wines these days, the concept of ‘style’ plays a big role in the character, profile and experience of wine. It is a way of familiarizing the unknown. There are many ways of referencing style with wine as there is referencing style with people. One can talk about style with winemaking or growing or marketing or bottling or flavour…  just like you can with art or clothing or behaviour. Often, the concept of ‘New’ and ‘Old’ World styles run through discussions and pleasures that are a part of the wine experience too. There is no well-defined identity for one or the other, particularly now that vines and winemakers and techniques move from traditional Old World regions to New World regions and back again.

There is still value in referencing these styles because it helps to uncover the identities and assets of wines we might not be familiar with. In a way it is like discovering a tasting profile for wines. Here are some ideas that might clarify ‘Old’ from ‘New’ and “open up” some wines for you.

Old World:  These wines are usually wines that have a long, documented history and are primarily found in Europe and around the Mediterranean. Here the traditions of winemaking are very important to the production of wine. “Terroir” (the impact of soil, weather, nutrients, sunlight, agricultural method, etc.) also plays a large role in the way wine is made.

Austria, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland are wine regions with a long history of growing grapes for wine that would qualify as “Old World”.

New World: These wines are grown outside of the traditional wine regions of Europe. Each of these countries has its own history with wine that often is about the importation of vines in many cases ( often by the Church for various rituals). The growers brought their grape growing and winemaking traditions with them, but had to modify some of their procedures (like irrigation) to accommodate the conditions and resources of their new sites.

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico and the United States are the more notale examples.

Style: Knowing this information is helpful.

Old World wines because of their reliance on tradition and terroir will display more of the characteristics of the soils and climates they are in like the foods grown right along side them. Much Old World wine, to oversimplify, is intended as a food partner, a wine whose crop yields, alcohol levels, acid levels, aging processes and geographical boundaries are highly regulated. Filtering of many of these wines is done with natural products like clay or egg whites so sediment levels tend to be higher and the wines tend to absorb rather than reflect light. These wines often show a minerality, an earthiness and a flavour profile that leans towards barrel flavours like vanilla and smoke or wood and they show tannic characteristics more readily. Intended to be food partners, Old World often improves its impact with local fare as an accompaniment.

New World, on the other hand, is more winemaker driven. It is intended to be more a “cocktail” experience. It is designed for the consumer with its fruit forward, high sugar and alcohol profile. These wines are grown to be drunk now. Longer growing seasons, less regulations, controlled irrigation and fertilization render bountiful crops and copious supplies of wine that is brilliantly reflective because of the .005 gauge screening it goes through when it is filtered. Drinking wine on its own suits the New World very well.

That is not to say that these are hard and fast rules for “Old” and “New”. Many is the Old World vintage that is tasty and sweet all by itself. Many is the New World vintage that marries very well with food. A lot of Old World wineries have New World winemakers and vice versa, but these characteristics are helpful in recognizing New and Old World ‘Styles’ of wine which may help you share your wine experiences with someone else or choose the right wine for someone you know. 

Cheers and Salute!
Wayne

Do you have more ideas about styles of wine, New or Old World? Email me as I would like to hear from you.

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Buying The Right Wine: 5 Easy Steps

Posted by Wayne

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
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Some questions I think you should answer BEFORE you walk into the store (in this order of importance):

1. WHO is the wine for and what is their flavour and texture preference?
The character of the person you are buying the wine for is very important. Not everyone is impressed by high end expensive vintages that might have a complex flavour/texture profile that intimidates them because they can’t relax with the wine and just enjoy whatever it has to offer. Often, simplicity, purity and elegance prevail. Ask yourself if the recipient likes sweetness (fruit) flavours. Do they enjoy liquor over beer as an alternative drink? Do they smoke? Do they like light or heavy textured foods? Are they a person who likes to savour their food and their drink after they have eaten or drunk them?

By answering these and other questions about what they like to drink and eat, you can discover if you should be looking for light, sweet white wine with high thirst quenching acidity or a fuller-bodied red wine with a balance of fruit, acid, tannins and good alcohol that requires reflection and a strong finish. Or perhaps, a heavy, white Chardonnay or lighter, red Pinot Noir to have a combination of all these characteristics. They will appreciate your choice without knowing it was their choice.

2. WHAT event are you shopping for?
The central consideration here is: How private or public is the event and will it include food? If you are choosing wine with the intent of consuming it cocktail-style, then  I recommend that you choose a New World wine. That is what Australian Shiraz, California Zinfandel, Argentinian Malbec, South African Meritage, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc… are very good at being wines that are meant to be enjoyed as wine drinks, like a cocktail. That does not mean they do not match with food well, it just means that New World wines tend to favour drinking rather than food matching and show best when they are part of ‘Happy Hour’.

If food is intended to be an integral part of the event, then I suggest to choose an Old World Wine. This is not to say that Old World wines do not drink well alone, but Old World Winemaking has a penchant for the concept of ‘terroir’ which brings with it all the regional richness of soil, weather, harvesting and winemaking that express the culture of not only local wine, but local food as well. Most Old World wines were meant at some point to be married with food, both by nature and by the people who make and consume them. Not often do you drink wine in Europe without some sort of food accompaniment. The amount and variety and intensity of the wine you choose should take into consideration the ambience it will be served in, with or without food as a partner.

3. WHERE will we be enjoying this wine?
When you have answered this question you will have accommodated the ideas of: the temperature of the wine, how it will be opened, displayed and stored, its portability, how it will be served and by whom, what quantity will show a discretionary purchase (a wine gift of a case of wine that can never be drunk as opposed to a one bottle purchase of quality wine suggests something about expectation and the anxiety to ‘cover all the bases’), how it will be opened (cork, screw cap…) as this might contribute to tradition or ambience, how long the event will transpire… and what may follow?

You might even want to think how you might want to personalize the wine beyond matching it with the event, like ribbons, wrapping, sticker messages, personalized gifts… jewelry wrapped around the bottleneck.

 

4. What SENSE can I make of the LAYOUT and RESOURCES of the store where I am going to buy the wine to help me find the right wine? I am looking for a CHARACTER here so what STYLE will have this character?

Get familiar with how the store displays its wines. Is it by country? Price? Wine region? Varietal? Are there sale bins? Is there a Staff picks section? A Vintage section? Reds here? Whites over there? Dessert wines? Is there anyone to assist me in finding the character profile of the wine I am looking for that I have firmly entrenched in my mind by having confident answers to questions 1,2,3 above. I know what I need because I am buying wine for a person who has a particular taste preference and it is going to be served at this event. I AM DOING THE MATCHING OF CHARACTERS AND THE SELECTION OF WINE!

It isn’t necessary to find the perfect wine because there is more than one “perfect” wine so a “perfect” choice is a given.  My approach is to:
#1-Navigate the landscape of the store.
#2-Narrow the choices.
#3-Select a manageable number of finalists (I recommend tops 3 wines).
#4- READ the front and back labels of the bottles even if it is in another language and you need to ask a store clerk what it means (because even if you don’t know what it means this time, you will next time after you have tasted the wine!).
#5- Fit the drinking preferences of the person this wine is for with the style of wine described on each of the labels of your finalists off the shelf.
#6- Buy the one you think they will like. You’ll probably like it too! Especially when they do.

 

 

5.What is MY price point?
Make this your last, not your first consideration. And keep it flexible in a range you are willing to pay. NOT ALL GOOD WINE COSTS A LOT OF MONEY! Nor is all sale wine good! These are two very good reasons to give price a lesser priority than numbers 1 through 4 above. That is not to say price should not be a consideration at all. Just remember this:

 “A wine of character will help you find a good price, but a good price won’t help you find a wine with character.”

December 9, 2008

 

How do you choose wine? Write me. Share your methods. I love to discover new ways to find good wine!

Cheers!
Wayne Walker

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