Posts Tagged ‘winemaker’

Mama Mia! Unique Italian-styled wines from Ontario

Posted by Derek

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Colaneri Estate Winery

– April 2012 –

It wasn’t too long ago that people would often cringe at the thought of Ontario wines. However, being a Sommelier and wine marketing business owner involved in the Ontario wine industry, I now revel in pride with how the growing wine industry in Ontario and across Canada too, has flourished and is turning heads with impressive wines. Kudos to our talented winemakers. Now, wine enthusiasts like you, look forward with anticipation when discovering Ontario wines.

A large part of this change is due to those brave entrepreneurs and talented winemakers coming from all parts of the wine world to participate in putting Canada on the wine map. A case in point is the Colaneri family.

Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath met up with the Betty Colaneri, the family matriarch. The story of the Colaneri family and their wines was one of the most interesting and touching stories that Derek has ever come across.

In this Savvy eZine, Derek introduces you to the Colaneri Estate Winery as well as the family. Also, he provides you with a little “Savvy University” wine education (don’t worry Derek assured me that there is no test!). Deeply rooted in their Italian heritage, in this month’s feature, you are being treated to three different styles of Italian wines crafted right here in our own backyard.

The Savvy Selections tasting panel had several Colaneri wines to sample and it was a difficult job to only pick three wines as we were impressed by the intensity of the aromas and distinctive flavours of each wine. In the end, we selected for your enjoyment – and discovery too! – the following wines:

  • Fumoso Bianco VQA 2009 – rich & fruity, definitely not a typical Sauvignon Blanc
  • Corposo VQA 2009 – this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc, this medium bodied wine is easy to drink with its long cherry finish
  • Insieme VQA 2009 – a big bold & beautiful blend of dried Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah
  • OPTIONAL WINE: Profondo Mistera Recioto VQA 2010 – a sweet & succulent dessert wine made with dried Gewürztraminer 

In the last couple of pages in this Savvy eZine, Derek has recipes matched to complement the wines. He highly recommends the stuffed pork recipe that he paired with the Fumoso Bianco (Sauvignon Blanc) wine. “Delicious – pretty much sums it up for me”, reports Derek.

Love these unique wines?

All of us in the Savvy Selections tasting panel agree the Colaneri wines are absolute gems. You won’t find these wines at the LCBO. So, if you found a new favorite wine and would like additional bottles, give me a call and I will take care of ordering more for you. That goes for any of the previous Savvy Selections featured wineries too. Simply, call me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or sending me an e-mail at

Cheers & Enjoy! – Debbie & Savvy Team
Savvy Company

Colaneri Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

The first time I talked with Betty, I was so enchanted by her story that I found myself just listening, forgetting to take notes and ask questions. The second time we talked, I was more prepared.

A Passion for Everything they do 
Passion! That is the only word that can be used to describe how the Colaneri family feels about everything from their family, their winery and their wines. Betty explained, “We Italians do everything with passion, we’re a passionate people.”

The story of the Colaneri Estate Winery begins in 1967, when Joseph & Maria Colaneri came to Canada from Italy with their two sons Michele (Mike) and Nicola (Nick). Several years after their arrival here one of the sons, Mike married Angiolina (Angie), while the other son Nick, married Liberina (Betty).  What is touching about this is that two brothers (Mike and Nick) married two sisters, (Angie and Betty).

The Colaneris have been growing grapes in the Niagara region for 34 years. However, they did not become directly involved in the wine making business until 2003. I chuckled as Betty told me that the family agreed to take advantage of an opportunity and replant their grape vines, ”it was either grape vines or Christmas trees”, she recalls. Now, having tasted their wines, I am glad that the family agreed on the grapes!

With the vineyard planted, each family member selected a grape varietal that they felt personified them. Betty chose the Gewürztraminer as she fell in love with the sweet and spiciness of the wine. Once their grape had been chosen, each family member sat with a local artist and had a label designed to reflect their personality. It is definitely intentional that all of the labels have a Leonardo Da Vinci look and feel to reflect the family’s Italian heritage.

During our interview, I remarked to Betty that they sent a large number of wines for the Savvy Team to sample. “The wine is our family; we feel the need to showcase all of them, as it is not right to choose one over the other.”

The family recruited renown winemaker Andre Lipinksi, and although he is not Italian, he was a natural fit because he had experience in producing wines crafted in the appassimento style (read below for an explanation). The Colaneris specifically wanted to focus on styles that emphasized their Italian heritage.

A Sister now watches over …
Betty’s sister and Mike’s wife, Angiolina was a huge part behind the winery. “She was larger than life”, Betty recalls. Although she was able to see the beginnings of the family’s dream during the construction of the winery, she was not able to see it to completion as she unfortunately passed away before it was finished. Betty paused and shared, “Angie’s presence is still felt today”.

As we ended the interview, Betty told me that, “Italy is the inspiration for our wines, while family is the inspiration of the winery. Having family work together to create a legacy that can be passed down to other generations is something that Angie would have wanted.”

Savvy University – Italian Wine Styles 101

Italian wines are as diverse and as unique as the people and the country. Given this, I thought I would dedicate a portion of this article to provide you with basic information about the styles you will be enjoying.

Appassimento: A style of wine in which some or all of the grapes are partially dried before they are fermented into wine. By drying the fruit, there is more sugar, less water and therefore a greater concentration of flavour with the finished wine.

Ripasso (pronounced ree-PAH-soh): In Italian ripasso literally means “re-passed”. After the wine is fermented in the usual way, it is placed in casks containing the lees (winespeak for grape skins) from a prior batch of wine. Usually, the lees of an Amarone wine are used. This process, which lasts from 2 to 3 weeks, adds colour, tannins, body and complexity of flavors to the new wine.

Recioto (pronounced reh-CHEE-oh-toh): This is a distinctive style of wine from the Veneto Region located in northeastern Italy. Grapes are dried in a cool, airy room for up to 4 months until semi-dry, which produces concentrated sugars and flavors. This is like a sweet dessert wine, along the lines of a late harvest.

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Fumioso Bianco VQA 2009


Colaneri’s Sauvignon Blanc was crafted in the appassimento style with 45% of the grapes being kiln dried before being fermented. In addition to including the dried fruit, this Sauvignon Blanc was both barrel fermented and then barrel aged in French Oak. The combination of these two winemaking techniques resulted in a Sauvignon Blanc that is rich in body and fruit forward in taste. This is definitely not your typical New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Vibrant gold in colour with powerful aromas of apricot, ripe apple and peach. The palate is very fruit forward with banana, peach and ripe pear. The use of dried fruit and oak during the vinification process (winespeak for winemaking) has resulted in a dry wine with a rich mouth feel and a long ripe fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: BBQ chicken with a lemon-tarragon sauce or ravioli stuffed with butternut squash would pair quite well with this Sauvignon Blanc. Derek highly recommends pork tenderloin stuff with ricotta cheese, baby spinach and artichokes. The recipe below is super easy for a main course!

Cellaring: This wine can most certainly be enjoyed now or it can be cellared for up to 18 months.

Corposo VQA 2009


This is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is made in a ripasso style where the wine was re-fermented using Cabernet Sauvignon skins which were used in the production of Colaneri’s signature Amarone wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful deep garnet colour. Your nose will be drawn in by intense aromas of white pepper, eucalyptus and dried fruit (can you detect dried cherries?). The palate is a complex array of red currants, dark cherries, tobacco leaf and white pepper. Dry, medium bodied in nature, with a relatively long finish of dried cherries. Try decanting this wine 30 minutes to an hour before serving to allow it to breathe.

Suggested Food Pairing: Crispy duck with spice plum chutney or venison stew would pair well with this wine. The Savvy Selections tasting panel suggests that you pair this wine with roasted garlic lamb leg and rosemary potatoes. A recipe for this crowd pleasing wine follows.

Cellaring: Give it 2 to 3 years in the cellar or enjoy it tonight while watching your favourite movie or show!

Insieme VQA 2009


Insieme is named in honour of Joseph & Maria Colaneri, the original matriarch and patriarch that came to Canada from their home country of Italy. In Italian, the word “insieme” means together and as Betty explained, insieme is so fitting a name because Ma and Papa Colaneri did everything together. This wine is an equal blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It too was made in the appassimento style with 50% of the Syrah and Merlot along with 100% of the Cabernet Sauvignon was kiln dried before fermentation.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Garnet red in colour with captivating aromas of warm spices, dried figs and cooked fruit. The palate is loaded with layers of red and black fruit, dried fig accompanied by subtle hints of mocha. The wine is medium to full-bodied with a long and intriguing black cherry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This rich wine would pair well with strip loin roast or pasta with a bolognese sauce. We are recommending that you pair this wine with crusty barbequed beef with a horseradish mayonnaise. The recipe for this dish can be found on the following pages.

Cellaring:This wine is drinking well now or if you so desire allow it to evolve in your cellar over the next 5 years.

OPTIONAL WINE: Profondo Mistera VQA 2010


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:
Rich, honey gold in colour, with an intense and extreme complex nose. Floral aromas (violets perhaps?
) along with sweet aromas as lychee, ripe pear, honey and sweet spice are definitely detectable. These wonderful aromas follow through on the palate as you will enjoy flavours of honey, brown sugar along with lychee and ripe pear. This is a definite sweet wine, with a cloying mouthfeel and a long pleasantly sweet finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: The food pairing possibilities with this wine are endless. Given the Italian style of you can’t go wrong if you serve this wine slightly chilled accompanied by a traditional Italian antipasto platter of Genoa salami, Capacola ham, thinly sliced prosciutto, roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke heart, stuffed green olives rounded out with Gorgonzola, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Another great pairing would be melon wrapped in prosciutto, the combination of the sweet from the wine along with the saltiness from the prosciutto or antipasto platter is what makes this a classic pairing.

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


~ Recipes to Enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Colaneri Estates Fumoso Bianco

Super-Stuffed Tenderloin
Men’s Health Nutrition Guide
Serves 4

2 lbs pork tenderloin
1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach leaves
½ tsp dried basil
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained and diced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Butterfly the loin by splitting it down the centre, cutting it almost but not all of the way through and the opening the two halves so that they lie flat.
  2. Stir the cheese, basil, spinach and artichoke hearts together and spread the mixture on the inside of the cut loin.
  3. Roll the loin closed and tie it with cord in approximately five places.
  4. Place the pork in a roasting pan, brush it lightly with oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F and roast it for 35 to 45 minutes.


With Colaneri Estates Corposo

Roasted Garlic Lamb Leg with Rosemary Potatoes
Serves 6-8

4 lb leg of lamb, bone-in, trimmed
2 heads garlic, halved
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp Rosemary, chopped
3 lbs small red potatoes, halved
grilled asparagus or preferred vegetable, to serve


  1. Cut off the tips of the heads of garlic and brush the cut sides with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Set garlic cut-side down on a sheet pan and roast until it is soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let garlic cool for 5 minutes, and then squeeze the roasted cloves out of the garlic and into a bowl. Mash with a fork and spread over the top of the lamb (see tip).
  2. Meanwhile, place the lamb in a large roasting pan and season with salt, pepper and half of the rosemary. Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Place the potatoes in an oven-proof dish and toss with the remaining oil and rosemary. Set aside.
  3. Roast lamb for about 1 hour 40 minutes, until it registers 130-135°F on a meat thermometer for a medium-rare roast, or until the juices run clear when a sharp knife or skewer is inserted in the thickest part of the meat.
  4. When the lamb has been roasting for 40 or 50 minutes, place the potatoes in the oven and bake until well browned and tender.
  5. Transfer the lamb to a warm platter and let rest for 15 minutes. (It will continue to cook as it rests.) Carve and serve with the potatoes and asparagus.

The garlic can be roasted and mashed the day before. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. You could also spread over the lamb the day before and marinate overnight for a real garlic flavor. Just remember to cover well, and bring lamb to room temperature before roasting.

With Colaneri Estates Insieme …

Crusty Barbecued Beef with Horseradish Mayonnaise
The Canadian Living Entertainment Cookbook
, Carol Ferguson
Serves 12

2 round steaks, 2ibs each

½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ tsp hot pepper flakes
1 cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup chopped fresh chives
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
4 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp mustard seeds


  1. To make the marinade; in a large shallow glass dish or heavy plastic bag set in a bowl, combine vinegar, oil, onion, garlic and hot pepper flakes. Add steaks turning to coat all over; cover tightly. Marinate for 24 to 48 hours in refrigerator, turning occasionally.
  2. To make the horseradish mayonnaise, combine 2 tbsp of mayonnaise, chives, parsley and horseradish. Refrigerate until serving time.
  3. To prepare the coating; mix together the remaining 2 tbsp of horseradish, mustard and mustard seed. Remove steaks from marinade; spread half of the coating over one side of each steak.
  4. Cook in covered barbeque, coated sides up over medium heat for 12 minutes.
  5. Turn meat and spread remaining mustard mixture on cooked side. Barbeque for about 15 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 140°F for rare or to desired doneness.
  6. Let meat stand for at least 10 minutes before carving into thin slices.
  7. Serve with horseradish mayonnaise.


Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!


2009 harvest report: grapes are looking good!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, September 18th, 2009



Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Lailey Vineyard
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep

Time flies when you are having fun…. It is hard to believe that almost four years has passed since we launched Savvy Selections in December 2004. Coincidentally, our first featured winery was Lailey Vineyard of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Since then, we have explored nearly 50 wineries with our subscribers.  We are excited to showcase again the talented winemaker at Lailey Vineyard – Derek Barnett.





For those subscribers who have been with Savvy Selections since the beginning – there are a number of you – this is an opportunity to see how Lailey’s wines have progressed in the past years.  If you still have a bottle of Lailey wine in your cellar, it is dig it out and have a mini wine tasting using this months Savvy Selections wines:


·         Riesling VQA 2008

·         Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2007

·         Pinot Noir VQA 2007  – Derek’s signature wine

·         Impromptu VQA 2007 – optional addition


In the following pages of this Savvy e-Zine, read about all that is happening at this time of the year as Derek prepares for harvest.  One thing for sure – we should all keep praying for sunshine this month! You will also find our Savvy Sommelier tasting notes and recipes specifically chosen to pair with the selected Lailey wines.


As always, when you would like more Lailey wines or bottles from other previously featured Savvy Selections, contact me directly to make the arrangements for you.


Make it a weekend getaway….

Saturday September 26 – Prince Edward County is celebrating harvest with their 8th annual TASTE! A great reason to getaway to ‘The County’ to enjoy 19 local wineries & breweries, 16 chefs from regional restaurants, cheese makers, chocolatiers, and more culinary talent all under one roof at Picton’s picturesque Crystal Palace. Tickets are $25 and available online at


Special Prize – I have 2 complementary tickets available for TASTE. Be the first to email me on & the tickets are yours!


Enjoy September’s Savvy Selections (try saying that fast!)

Debbie & the Savvy Team




Lailey Vineyard

Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

When you visit Niagara-on-the-Lake, it is striking that there are more vineyards than orchards. More wineries than roadside fresh fruit stands. In fact on a recent trip to Niagara this summer, I was on the hunt for fresh Niagara cherries and found none…until I returned home, where they were awaiting me at my local grocery store.


The transformation of orchards to vineyards dates back to the 1950’s when fruit farmers started to experiment with French hybrid varieties.  William Lailey was one of these pioneers experimenting with growing vines on parcels of land amongst his pears, sweet cherry and peach orchards.  In a father-like-son fashion, David Lailey purchased the family farm in 1970 and continued transforming the orchard into vineyards.


David and his wife Donna, broke ground in the Ontario wine industry on several facets. Donna was one of the founding members of Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA).  She was crowned the first-ever Grape Queen of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival in 1991. This is a prestigious industry recognition is awarded to the best vineyard of the season. (normally crowned as Grape King, yet exceptions were made to include the first awarded female grape grower). And Lailey Vineyard was one of a handful of wineries across Canada that incubated the idea of crafting Canadian oak barrels to age their wines.  


Today, the vineyard comprises of 20+ acres with grape varieties including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal and Zweigelt.


2009 Harvest Report

I spoke with Lailey’s winemaker Derek Barnett last week while he was walking through the vineyards examining his grapes. From the end of August through early September, winemakers are constantly talking about ‘véraison’.  This is the stage when grapes change from hard lime green balls into colourful plump grapes.  Derek explains, “It is exactly the same with tomatoes in your garden. In the few weeks before harvest, tomatoes change from green to red.  In the vineyards, the clusters (winemaker speak: bunches of grapes) take on natural sugar and the acid levels come down while the colour changes.” The red grapes are the most noticeable.  Pinot Noir grapes change first.  Derek was excited to report that 90% of his Pinot Noir clusters are in véraison stage. “Pinot looks fantastic.  The grapes are small, meaning that there is lots of concentrated fruit that will show through in the wine”.  Merlot grapes are at approx 20% and Cabernet Sauvignon is 15% véraison. 


With all of the rain this summer and the slow growing fruit, Derek reports that harvest might begin later this year – Mother Nature only really knows.  In comparison to 2007 – a spectacular vintage – Derek began harvesting Pinot Noir on September 25th.  With the past weeks of solid sunshine and cool nights, Derek is ever optimistic. He predicts that he may be starting to pick his Pinot around Oct 1st.


Harvest is indeed a busy time.  It can be similar to playing chess with Mother Nature as your opponent. All of the equipment is ready, the pickers are on alert and winemakers like Derek are constantly walking the vineyard observing the fruit, tasting them and carefully measuring the Brix levels (amount of natural sugar in the grape). The process may be well defined, yet still “harvest is different every year”, Derek explains with a chuckle.


It’s stressful, but he is happy to do it

Derek has been a winemaker since 1991 where he began his career at Southbrook Farms (the same winery as Steve Byfield of Nyarai Cellars – August’s Savvy Selections featured winery). A prominent fixture at Lailey for the past 8 years, Derek absolutely loves his job. What gets him excited about winemaking? “Working with the fruit”, states Derek without missing a beat. “We grow grapes in the summer and make wine in the fall.”  Certainly there are sleepless nights, stressful moments and incredible pressure when your business is subject to all weather conditions – days of rain and heat just as equally as the extreme cold, yet it is the creativity of growing grapes to make premium wine that fuels Derek’s passion for his job. 


And Derek is not always roaming the vineyards, riding the tractor or amongst the tanks in the cellar, he is also Lailey’s ‘offical tour guide’. When your travels take you to Niagara-on-the-Lake, be sure to contact him to arrange a personal tour “of his workshop” – you will certainly have a fun time exploring Lailey’s cellar. 


Great things grow in Ontario

The team at Lailey Vineyard has been instrumental in putting Ontario and for that matter Canada, on the wine map. In the past 5 years, Derek has noticed that more people are drinking and embracing Ontario wines. “I love when people visit the winery and get excited about the whole wine experience – meeting the Lailey team, trying our wines and walking through the vineyards”, says Derek. 


All of us at Savvy Company too are excited to showcase Canadian wines in our events at the Savvy Selections. 


Here’s to great Ontario wines and their impressive winemakers.  Cheers & Enjoy!


~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~


Lailey Vineyard Riesling VQA 2008, $18

Derek recalls that 2008 was a phenomenal vintage for Riesling.  He harvested the grapes with loads of acidity to ensure that the wine would result in a crisp, dry & refreshing wine.


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine lives up to Derek’s master plan – the acidity is noticed as soon as you uncork the bottle. Elegant aromas of fresh grated ginger, lemongrass with a hint of white grapefruit.  These aromas continue into the taste leaving you salivating for more with every sip.


Suggested Food Pairing: Serve chilled (at about 11C) on its own or light foods.  Be weary not to overpower the wine with a dish of many flavours as the elegance of the wine will be lost. A favorite of the Lailey family is a classic Alsatian Onion Tart (recipe below).  Alsace, France is renown for their dry, crisp Riesling wines – just like Lailey’s Riesling.


Cellaring: No need to wait…just chill this bottle and serve during this Indian summer weather!



Lailey Vineyard Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2007, $20

Made with Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes from the Lailey property (Lailey purchases grapes from Niagara grape growers too), Derek reports, “The berries (winemaker speak: grapes) were very small in 2007 due to the lack of rain during the summer.  The result is a concentrated wine with a lot of depth and modest amount of tannins that gives this wine aging potential.”


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Fire engine red in colour, this is a powerful wine.  Aromas reminded our Savvy Selections tasting panel of field berry jam & garden fresh beets.  The blackberry taste continues with chalky tannin texture (can you find that?).  “The wine has delicious chalky tannin in this vintage’, noted Derek.

Suggested Food Pairing: This is a versatile blend that can either be enjoyed now or put away in your cellar. As you age the wine, the blackberry taste and the chalky texture will be less prevalent. If you choose the open now, serve this Cabernet-Merlot with a hearty pasta dish, roast beef with all of the trimmings, BBQed steak or Harvest Ratatouille (recipe below) the chalky tannin texture will lessen with the food.


Cellaring: This wine is impressive as is, or as Derek reports, it has aging potential of 7 to 10 years.



Pinot Noir VQA 2007, $25 (special price to Savvy Selections subscribers – usually $30)

“I still remember the 2004 Pinot Noir.  It was one of the best that I ever made”, proudly recalls Derek.  If you subscribed to Savvy Selections back in December 2005 when we launched – and we have a number of loyal long time subscribers! – you may too remember the Pinot Noir that was one of the Savvy Selections.  Derek is definitely a master of Pinot Noirs.  Considered one of the hardest grapes to grow and temperamental to create a wine, Derek has a special touch that you will enjoy when you open this bottle of wine.


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “The colour reminds me of plush red velvet,” remarked one of our Savvy Selections tasting panelist.  The aromas? “A bouquet of long stem red roses”, commented Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm. There is a stunning elegance in the wine from the colour in the glass to the floral aroma to the warm taste of red fruit. The light tannins and the long finish make this a masterpiece of a wine that it is no wonder it Derek’s signature wine.


Suggested Food Pairing: This Pinot was thoroughly enjoyed by our Savvy Selections tasting panel and Accredited Sommeliers all on its own. Grilled Salmon is a classic match, as is a mushroom ladened dish. From Lailey’s recipe box, Mushroom Bruschetta with Mushroom Syrup will be outstanding with this wine.  


Cellaring: This wine is ready to serve right now or if you choose, it could cellar it for 5 to 7 years.  


Impromptu VQA 2007, $45 (optional addition)

You are the first to receive this wine as it will be released at the winery on September 25.


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This full bodied wine is absolutely delicious.  An unusual blend of 68% Syrah, 12% Malbec, 12% Petit Verdot & 8% Cabernet Sauvignon from the infamous 2007 vintage.  This is the 2nd vintage for this wine (winespeak: 2nd year this wine has been made) and won’t last long as it has a ‘cult-like’ following of wine lovers.  Smooth velvety texture, with rich flavours of blackberry, dark plums and blueberry pie with warm finish.  “I could get addicted to this wine’, commented one of the participants in the Savvy Selections tasting panel.


Suggested Food Pairing: If you choose to open the bottle now – make the accompanying meal a special occasion.  Grilled beef tenderloin and blue cheese or a rack of lamb with mint sauce would be a delicious menu for this wine. 


Cellaring: This elegant wine is ready to drink now or will continue to evolve by cellaring it 2-3 years. 




Wine & Food Pairing Tips offered by Lailey

To understand the personality of a wine, the wine needs to be experienced alone and in the company of food. It is interesting to discover how the wine changes with different company and to learn which company highlights the aspects of the wine that you most enjoy. All of the recipes below come with wine recommendations. We encourage you to do more than accept them. We want you to experience the wine alone, then with the food. We also want you to venture from our recommendations and discover food and wine pairing for yourselves. Try orchestrating some un-convential pairings to taste what happens.

A few basic tips…
1. Wine that is high in alcohol will make hot foods taste hotter. If you serve high alcohol wines with foods that carry some sweetness, however, the sweetness will quell the alcoholic heat of the wine and, therefore, soften the experience of the wine. The sweetness may simply be in the form of a sweet sauce in an otherwise savoury dish.

2. Wine that is high in tannin (that astringent feeling you experience on your gums and the insides of your cheeks which you get mainly from red wines) sometimes tastes coarse, especially in its youth. If you taste tannic wine with salty food, the wine will become softer – less coarse.

3. White wines can often be very acidic. This may be an aspect of white wine that you enjoy and find refreshing. If you want to downplay the tartness of a wine, however, it is best to serve such a wine with highly acidic food, like a fresh summer tomato salad or a dish with lots of fresh citrus – especially lemon or lime. The acidity in the food will downplay the acidity in the wine and this will connect the wine to the food quite nicely.





Recipes to Enjoy with your Savvy Selections

With Lailey Vineyard Riesling VQA 2008

Tarte de l’Oignon

From Lailey Vineyard’s recipe box. This onion tart or flan is a French recipe from the region of Alsace, France, also the same region famous for crisp, dry Riesling wines.



7 oz flour
4 oz unsalted butter
4 Tbsps (approx) iced water
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks

2 oz butter
10 fl oz cream
1 egg
1 1/2 lbs onions, thinly sliced
nutmeg, salt, freshly ground pepper to taste




Preheat oven to 375 F


Rub the 4 oz of unsalted butter into the flour and salt, until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until a firm dough may be formed. Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for an hour.


Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line a 9″ flan tin. Prick the bottom with a fork and blind bake with ceramic baking beads ( alternatively, the crust may be lined with tin foil and filled with dried beans or rice). Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove baking beads. Allow crust to cool.


Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the butter in a large frying pan or wok, add sliced onions, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring often. Do not allow the onions to brown. Allow onions to cool.


Mix the cream, egg, egg yolks, nutmeg, salt and pepper together. Add the onions and pour into the baked crust.


Bake for approximately 30 minutes, the eggs should be set and the top golden brown.Serve hot or cold  


With Lailey Vineyard Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2007


Harvest Ratatouille

Serves 12
From Lailey Vineyard’s recipe box & Silver Palate Cookbook


2 cups best quality olive oil
4 small eggplants, about 4 pounds in all, cut into 1 and 1/2 inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
11/2 pounds white onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
7 medium-size zucchini, washed, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and cut into 2-inch strips
2 medium-size sweet red peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips

2 medium-size green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips
2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 cans Italian plum tomatoes, drained
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper to taste




Preheat oven to 400 F


Line a large roasting pan with foil and pour in 1 cup of the olive oil. Add the eggplant, sprinkle it with salt, and toss well. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes, until eggplant is done but not mushy. Uncover and set aside.


In a large skillet or in 2 small skillets, heat remaining oil. Sauté onions, zucchini, red and green peppers and garlic over medium heat until wilted and lightly coloured, about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, dill, basil, oregano and black pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add eggplant mixture and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning.

Serve hot or at room temperature.
* great to have some feta cheese or sausages to add as you serve
* some freshly grated parmesan sprinkled on top is also very nice
* leftover ratatouille heats up nicely in a pot on the stove over medium heat and may be served over a bed of pasta or rice

With Lailey Vineyard Pinot Noir VQA 2007

Mushroom Bruschetta with Mushroom Syrup

Serves 4
From Lailey Vineyard’s recipe box & Simple to Spectacular Cookbook by Jean Georges Vongerichten &Mark Bittman



2 tablespoons butter
extra-virgin olive oil as needed
8 ounces button mushrooms, washed and chopped
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 thick slices sourdough bread or other good white bread

clove garlic, peeled and cut in halves
1 pound mixed mushrooms, trimmed, washed, drained and chopped
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill, chervil, basil, and/or tarragon
minced zest of 1 lemon
lemon wedges for serving



Preheat the broiler or prepare a grill. Put half the butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter melts, add the button mushrooms, shallots, chopped garlic, and salt and pepper to taste and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give up their liquid and begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water, stir, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Strain and return the liquid to the skillet; discard the mushrooms. Cook over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until quite thick and syrupy.


Meanwhile, brush the bread on both sides with oil and grill lightly, turning once. Rub with the cut garlic clove.

Put the remaining butter and another tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter melts, add the mixed mushrooms, shallots, minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and begun to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped herbs and lemon zest.


To serve, spoon the mushrooms onto the grilled bread and drizzle with the mushroom syrup. Serve with lemon wedges.




Cheers & Enjoy your September Savvy Selections