Posts Tagged ‘Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake’

Château des Charmes make Canadian wine history

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
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Savvy Selections - Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Château des Charmes Estates Winery

– January 2014 –

 

The impressive entrance to Château des Charmes Winery with the formal gardens and the classic façade are reminiscent of an ancient French estate. Hardly surprising, as Château des Charmes has a long history of winemaking, dating back seven generations to Alsace. In the 1840s, the Bosc family ancestors were granted land in Algeria, which at that time was a French colony.

Paul Bosc at Chateau des Charmes WineryPaul Bosc Sr. was born in Algeria and built his career in the wine industry, eventually working as General Manager of one of the country’s largest and most successful wine co-operatives. With the revolution that led to Algeria’s independence in 1962, the family was forced to leave all behind and start anew back in France. It was at this time that Paul Bosc Sr. uprooted his family (his son is pictured left) and started a new life in Canada, settling first in Montreal, where he worked at the SAQ. Eventually, he met a senior representative of Château-Gai wines, who invited him to move to Niagara to apply his knowledge as an oenologist.

Working as winemaker and the Director of Research & Development Château-Gai, Paul became convinced that Ontario had to transition from growing native grapes (Concord & others) to planting vitis vinifera (winespeak: common wine grape varieties grown in Europe) to create world-class wines. By the early 1970s, Paul was crafting Ontario wines that surprised many in the wine world. In 1978, he established Château des Charmes as a 60-acre estate winery and planted the first commercial Canadian vineyard growing only vitis vinifera grapes….this is truly Canadian wine history in the making.

We’re pleased to start the year with fine wines from Château des Charmes. For many of you, this winery is a household name, yet with Savvy Selections you will be treated to their wines that you probably have not yet discovered as they are not available at the LCBO.

In your Savvy Selections you will find:

St David’s Bench Vineyard Gewürztraminer VQA 2012 – a soft silky white wine that our tasting panel of Savvy Sommeliers oohed and aahhed over with each sip.

Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir VQA 2010 – concentrated & highly structured red wine from an incredible vintage & the winery’s top vineyard.

St David’s Bench Vineyard Merlot VQA 2010 – an outstanding complex, round, full bodied red wine.

How does 2013 look?

Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins caught up to the ever busy Michèle Bosc before the holidays to find out how the 2013 vintage is coming along in the early stages. Michèle explains, “Every year Mother Nature throws something new our way. If you were to ask my father-in-law (Paul Sr), he would say no vintage is perfect, but that’s true anywhere in the world. Those like him, with years of experience, can draw on that experience to make the most of any situation.” The talent of the winery team will undoubtedly impress us as they have done in the past 20+ years. Until then, we are confident that you will enjoy the outstanding wines our Savvy Sommeliers have selected for you this month.

On the following pages read more about the Bosc family, find our tasting notes & recipes to use to enjoy when you uncork your Savvy Selections wines. You won’t find these Château des Charmes wines at the LCBO

There are a handful of Château des Charmes wines on the shelves at the LCBO. Yet, many of their wines are not.  If you would like additional bottles from Château des Charmes or other featured Ontario wineries – just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange a special delivery for you. Here’s to a great year filled of delicious wine discoveries together!

Debbie & the Savvy Team


Introducing…
Château des Charmes Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins 

Twenty years ago, Château des Charmes opened its current winery, creating a unique landmark in the Niagara. Paul Bosc designed the building with a green roof, to pay homage to Canadian landmarks such as the Château Laurier & the Château Frontenac, which embodied strength & perseverance to the young immigrant family.

Bosc Family - Savvy SelectionsA true pioneer of the Canadian wine industry, Paul Bosc Sr. (second from left in photo) was honored for his impact & vision with an Order of Canada in 2005.  Recently he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, recognizing his extensive contribution in putting the Canadian wine industry on the world wine map.

Château des Charmes is truly a family business in every sense of the word. Paul’s wife Andrée (far left) is the winery matriarch & ambassador, while son Paul Jr. (far right) is the president, daughter-in-law Michèle (second from right) is director of Marketing & the third generation – Paul & Michèle’s 7 year old son Alex – is often seen walking the vineyards with his grandfather & father. Everyone at the winery is focused on extending the warm Bosc hospitality to each guest that visits.

Akin to many family-owned businesses, there is always someone ready to help out wherever needed. During my interview with Michèle, she explains, ‘During harvest, Paul Sr. is in and out of the winery at all hours of the day. We’re farmers, after all. We all pitch in to do what has to be done’.

A taste of the place

The wines featured in your Savvy Selections are made with grapes harvested from two of the four vineyards within Niagara-on-the-Lake that comprise of the 280 acres owned by the Bosc family.

The founding property

Chateau des Charmes Vineyard Savvy Company wine of the month clubPaul Bosc Estate Vineyard caught Paul Sr.’s attention due to the land’s proximity to the Niagara Escarpment and the distance from Lake Ontario. He understood these were critical conditions in the area, and recognized that these characteristics were similar to those of the Rhône valley in Burgundy France where he studied oenology.

Spanning 60 acres of clay loam, the vines on this estate were initially planted in the early 1980s, with the first grape harvest in 1988. (Five to 10 years is quite typical for wineries to wait until the grapes grown are of quality to use in winemaking).

In this vineyard there are several classic French grape varieties, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, producing wines described as earthy and masculine. This vineyard is also where Paul Bosc Sr. conducts his research of pioneering new grape varieties, as well as the location of the Bosc family home and horse farm.

And across the street…

St. David’s Bench vineyard is located on the other side of the road from the Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard.  Extending over 85 acres, its silky clay loam (‘Halimand clay loam’) provides excellent growing conditions for a broad range of grapes varieties including Château des Charme’s own Gamay Noir ‘Droit’, (the first vitis vinifera discovered & registered in Canada by Paul Bosc Sr), Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer along with other classic Bordeaux varieties. This property sits at a relatively high elevation – 145 to 150 meters above sea level. Its bluff shelters the north-facing vineyards from cool south-westerly winds that predominate in the spring. While the spring is somewhat warmer on this vineyard, the shelter of the Niagara Escarpment creates a tendency to slightly cooler weather during the late ripening season, providing an opportunity to grow fruit full of character that shows through finely crafted wines.

Several shallow, seasonal streams run through the vineyard that provides drainage for the escarpment ground water, bringing limestone-rich water to the roots of the vines and creating the more mineral character found in the wines from this site. To ensure appropriate drainage at the time the vineyard was planted in 1990, they installed the then most extensive under-vineyard drainage system in the world!

An extension of the family

The Vineyard Manager, Miguel Fontalvo, comes from a family of farmers in Columbia & has a distinguished degree in Agricultural Engineering. He comments, ‘The St. David’s Bench is an incredible site, while the Paul Bosc Estate vineyard has some rare south-facing slopes.’

Stewards of the land

Sustainable agriculture practices are extensively used as part of their commitment to be stewards of the land. These laborious practices include tilling under the weeds between the vines to provide additional nutrients (rather than using herbicides), hand-thinning & hand harvesting the grapes, using geothermal energy in the cellar, ensuring no air conditioning or heating is required.

Let’s raise a glass to pioneering spirit of the Bosc family!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


St. David’s Bench Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2012 VQA, $19.95

The grapes for this wine were hand harvested from vines planted in 1996 on the west side of the Château. This wine is vinified with a touch of residual sugar to, says Paul Bosc, ‘round the mouth feel’. Can you feel it when you sip on this wine?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Flourishing that touch of residual sugar, this perfumed ‘Gewürz’ offers lovely floral notes, honey, tropical fruit and sweet spice. It’s silky, well balanced, tangy and slightly pithy, on the finish – as it should be! 

Suggested Food Pairing: Raclette, charcuterie or lightly spiced Asian & Indian foods are classic matches for Gewürztraminer wines.  Susan offers a recipe for Citrus Spiced Chicken to enjoy with this wine.

Cellaring: No need to cellar, uncork & enjoy!


Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 VQA $35.00

Produced only in years in which the vintage warrants (2010 was considered a stellar vintage), this big, structured Pinot Noir also benefits from the sustainable practices in the vineyards & use of geothermal energy in the winery’s cellars.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Intensively aromatic and structured with the intention to lay down this wine, this red wine displays aromas and flavours of cherry, berry and blackcurrant matched to an underlying earthiness. The tannins make their presence felt, followed by a rush of ripe fruit mingling with notes of spicy toast and dried herbs that persist on the mouth-wateringly long finish. Elegant yet powerful. We recommend to decant for 2-3 hours before serving. 

Suggested Food Pairing: Michèle suggests pairing this with herb-crusted lamb (recipe below) or enjoy with a hoisin-glazed planked salmon. 

Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 5-8 years. 


St. David’s Bench Vineyard Merlot 2010 VQA $29.95

Akin to the Pinot Noir, this wine is made only in the best vintages.  It is no wonder why this wine is award winning. Fermented in temperature-controlled conditions, aged 12 months in French oak and crafted for you to stash away in your cellar.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This is a robust, complex wine with flavours of black cherry, plum, berries, black licorice, vanilla and a whiff of cedar. Dry, medium-full bodied, it’s round and fruity, yet well-framed by ripe tannins and fresh acidity. There’s a touch of mineral on the palate, clean juicy fruit, pepper and notes of toast and dark chocolate through the long dry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Try this with pepper steak (recipe below) or garlic & herb pork loin rack.

Cellaring: This wine is drinking well now & it will cellar a further 5-8 years. 


~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With St. David’s Bench Vineyard Gewürztraminer…

Citrus Spiced Chicken

Dinner Tonight Cookbook by Lucy Waverman
Serves 4

Ingredients

Grated rind & juice of 1 orange
Grated rind & juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander (optional)
2 lb. chicken thighs (may use boneless/skinless) or 4 boneless chicken breasts
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp butter

Method

Combine rind and juice of orange & lime, mustard, hot pepper flakes, cumin, soy sauce & 2 Tbsp coriander.

Place chicken in dish & pour half of marinade over chicken. Reserve remaining marinade.

Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F & remove chicken from marinade, draining well and season with salt & pepper and discard marinade.

Heat oil in skillet on medium-high heat, then fry chicken, skin side down, for 3 minutes. Turn & fry second side for 3 minutes.

Place chicken in baking dish & bake for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear. Combine remaining marinade, honey & balsamic vinegar in small saucepan and bring to boil on high heat & simmer 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low & whisk in butter, then stir in remaining 2 Tbsp coriander.

Pour sauce over chicken & serve on rice, couscous, or noodles. 

With Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

Herbalicious Rack of Lamb

The Flavour Principle by Lucy Waverman & Beppi Crosariol

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 ½ C fresh bread crumbs
¼ C finely diced seeded tomato
½ C chopped fresh thyme
½ C chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
Salt & freshly ground pepper
¼ C butter, melted
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 lamb racks (8 chops each), frenched
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Method

Combine bread crumbs, tomato, thyme, parsley, rosemary, garlic, salt pepper and melted butter.

Mix well & transfer to a shallow dish then put aside. Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat & add oil. Season lamb with salt & pepper. Sear lamb, fat side down, for 2 minutes. Turn over & sear for 2 more minutes. Upend racks & sear meaty ends. Turn racks bone side down & place skillet in oven.

Roast racks for 7 minutes then remove from oven & brush mustard over meat. Roll racks in bread crumb mixture & return to pan, bone side down.

Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until just pink.Let lamb rest 5 minutes before carving.

 

With St. David’s Bench Vineyard Merlot…

Bistecca Fiorentina

The Flavour Principle Cookbook by Lucie Waverman & Beppi Crosariol
Serves 2-3 – Let the wine shine with this simple recipe!

Ingredients

1 porterhouse Steak (2 lb., 2” thick)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 1 Tbsp olive oil (optional) & Maldon, or other finishing salt

Method

Preheat grill to high and brush steak with oil & season with salt & pepper.

Grill for 7-8 minutes per side for rare, turning once then let sit for 10 minutes.

Carve off both the filet & the sirloin. Slice both the filet & the sirloin into ½” slices.

Drizzle a little olive oil on steak if desired & season with Maldon salt.

Bistecca can be finished as follows:
-served with lemon quarters
-drizzled with a drop of balsamic vinegar
-served with an arugula salad, or
-sprinkled with chopped garlic & parsley.

Roast vegetables would make an excellent side dish with this special steak & wine.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

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Taste the different terroir makes

Posted by Velma

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Coyote’s Run Estate Winery

–  November 2013 –

Coyote’s Run is a small, family-owned vineyard, situated in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region, which has been blessed with two very distinct and geographically separated types of soil – a heavy black clay loam and a rich red one.  When you’re talking about wine with other wine enthusiasts, a topic that ultimately comes up at some point is that of “terroir” – wine speak for the influence that the environment can have on grapes and, ultimately, the wine created from them.

What is Terroir?

It’s all about the environment & the grapes and how they work together, particularly as it relates to the soil in which the grapes are grown. This is of great interest to Jeff Aubry, the president and founding partner of Coyote’s Run Estate Winery, this month’s featured winery. Having two different soils on the same property (where other environmental factors such as sun and temperature remain the same) has made it possible for the winery to experiment with terroir. 

Jeff, who has planted the same grape varietals on both the “Red Paw” Vineyard and the “Black Paw” Vineyard, knows from first-hand experience that terroir certainly can make a difference.  During our Savvy Tasting Panel of Coyote’s Run wines last month, we had the opportunity to taste two 2011 Cabernet Sauvignons – one from the Red Paw Vineyard and one from the Black Paw Vineyard. Needless to say we had a lot of fun with the ‘dirty’ experiment. After a lot of discussion about terroir, our Sommeliers were able to make their short list for you.

In your your November Savvy Selections you will find:

2012 Dave Sheppard Vintage 30 Gewurztraminer – This premium wine celebrates winemaker Dave Sheppard’s 30th vintage & is now sold out!

2011 Red Paw Vineyard Chardonnay – A class act.

2011 Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon  – This is the first Cabernet Sauvignon from the Black Paw Vineyard. Hearty stews or Sunday roasts – here we come!

OPTIONAL WINES: Have your own mini-wine tasting!

Coyote’s Run of NOTL has a unique property. Half of their vineyard is grown in red soil & the other half in black soil.   Taste the difference the soil makes by trying these 2 wines (Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Paw Cabernet Sauvignon)  side by side. They are similar in weight & texture, yet noticeably different.  Warning: it will spark great dinner party conversations!

2011 Red Paw Cabernet Sauvignon  – Similar to Black Paw Cab Sauv in weight & texture, yet noticeably different. 

Similar to other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections, some Coyote’s Run wines are at the LCBO, yet many are not.  If you would like additional bottles of your favourite Coyote’s Run wine – or other featured Ontario wineries – just give me a call on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca to arrange an additional delivery for you. It is always my pleasure to introduce you to wonderful new Ontario wines! 

Cheers!

Debbie & the Savvy Team 

 

Introducing…
Coyote’s Run Estate Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Velma LeBlanc 

 

I remember the first time I came across Coyote’s Run Estate Winery. It was at a Taste and Buy event that Savvy Company was hosting at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa several years ago. At the time, I was new to the Savvy Team and Debbie encouraged me to take a ‘tour’ around the event & talk to the winemakers – Coyote’s Run stood out for me. 

In front of the wine bottles on the table were two handfuls of dirt from its vineyards – one red and one black – and I thought to myself “what a great way to engage people in conversation about the influence that soil and other elements in nature have on wine production”. 

I had the opportunity to catch up with Jeff Aubry, the co-founder, while he was in Ottawa. Here’s what I learned about Jeff and his family-owned winery that prides itself on producing wines that reflect its unique terroir and microclimate. 

The wine business is so unique

When Jeff was laid off from a high-tech company for the second time in three years, he decided it was time to change careers. 

“I had had my fill of working for other people and big companies and not being able to do what I wanted to express my excitement and energy. My father and I were talking one day and I said ‘You know, I really dig the wine business. I think it would be fun.’ My father said, ‘Let’s do it’.” 

And do it, they did. In April 2003, after a six-month search, they purchased an existing vineyard in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region, about 20 minutes from St. Catherine’s – where Jeff now lives. By September, less than six months later, Coyote’s Run Winery was up and running, and Jeff hasn’t looked back. 

“What intrigued me most about the wine business was the uniqueness of the product. In the high-tech business, you are selling minutes or packets on a network and those minutes and packets are undifferentiable. A Cisco packet is the same as a Nortel packet which is the same as a Juniper packet. At the end of the day, they are all the same. 

“The wine business is the complete opposite. We create and sell a product that is entirely unique. No one else can reproduce the wines we make from our property. Ours are unique to what we do in the vineyard, to the ground we have, to what we do in the cellar, to the winemaker we have. And, for me, that’s attractive.” Savvy Sommelier & founder Debbie Trenholm visited Coyote’s Run Winery just before harvest this year, in the photo at left they are inspecting the grapes at Coyote’s Run.

‘Red Paw’ vs ‘Black Paw’ soil…can you taste the difference?

The uniqueness of the soil that’s found in the vineyards also attracted Jeff. The property boasts two very different kinds of soil that are geographically separated from each other. The red Trafalgar clay loam, which is quite scarce in the region, is stony, iron-rich, and rather infertile, creating ideal conditions for premium grapes. The heavier black Toledo clay loam contains more organic matter than the red soil, which means it holds more water and heat. That combination makes it more challenging to grow grapes (which thrive more in austere conditions) but that also produce rich, robust wines. Wines produced from grapes grown in the red soil are marketed as “Red Paw” and those grown in the black soil as “Black Paw”. 

“I knew going in that the soils would be really interesting and would add some complexity to the grapes, but I didn’t really understand at the time just how profound that difference would be. Wine derives a lot of its flavour and structure from the soil, so when the soil changes, you get a different wine.” 

Over the years, the winery has experimented with the impact of soil on the grapes by planting the same grape varietals in both types of soil and then comparing the results. To date, they’ve done comparisons with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. 

“We see the terroir effect shining through each and every time. For us, that’s exciting.” 

Naming the winery

In addition to the different soil types at the vineyard, another key point of interest that people want to know about is the name of the winery. 

Jeff says he had no interest in naming the winery after himself and didn’t feel the property featured anything geographically or historically significant that would lend itself obviously to a name. “We don’t have any rivers or lakes or streams or hills or mountains. What we do have, though, are coyotes – and lots of them – running from one side of the property to the other. So, naturally, we called it Coyote’s Run”. 

Although the coyotes are primarily out in the evening or early morning, Jeff has occasionally come in close contact with them while out in the vineyards walking his dog.

Flying the flag for Ontario wineries

Jeff’s days are busy and varied, ranging from meetings, to managing up to 15 employees at one time, to dumping boxes of grapes into bins. He also engages in many promotional efforts. Jeff explains, “You have to fly the flag. There are thousands of wineries trying to sell wine in Ontario. We are up against a tsunami of subsidized wines from other countries. The wines we make here are as good as, if not better than, other regions of the world.  So, you have to be out there, pouring your wine, and telling your story.” 

Which is something that Jeff loves to do.  “The wine business is unbeatable. I love it. To make this unique product and sell it is good, good fun. I would never go back to anything else.”

In the photo at left, Debbie strolls through the vineyards with Coyote’s Run owner, Jeff Aubry.

 

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!  

    

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~ 

2012 Vintage 30 Gewurztraminer $24.95

As soon as the grapes arrived on the crush pad at Coyote’s Run, the winery team knew they would be producing their white wine of the year. Through the skill of winemaker Dave Shepperd and his ability to give full expression to the fruit, that belief became reality, creating a wine that has sold faster than any other of their wines to date. Savvy Selections subscribers, in fact, are getting the very last of this premium wine, – it has all sold out! 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This slightly off-dry Gewürztraminer is extremely aromatic and well-balanced with floral and fruit notes and a long peppery finish. 

Suggested Food Pairing:  This premium wine can be sipped on its own or enjoyed with Asian and/or other spicy food such as the stir-fried shrimp with pepper sauce recipe below.

 

2011 Red Paw Vineyard Chardonnay $19.95

This full-bodied Chardonnay – the first from the Red Paw Vineyard – gets its subtle oak flavour from Hungarian oak. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Aromas of tropical fruit and butterscotch come through on both the nose and palette, as do hints of vanilla and pear. This subtly oaked Chardonnay also boats a nice buttery finish. 

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine can be enjoyed on its own or with a rich meat or poultry dish that includes butter, oil or cream. Try it with the Chicken Marbella recipe below for lunch or supper on a cold winter day, along with some garlic bread. 

 

2011 Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon  $21.95

This is the first Cabernet Sauvignon from the Black Paw Vineyard, and is extremely food friendly. 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: More full-bodied than a typical cold-climate Cab, this is a well-balanced wine that features aromas and tastes of pepper, cloves, cherry, raspberry and mint. 

Suggested Food Pairing: Would pair well with any pork or red meat dish, including a roast or stew. Try it with the meat loaf below and mashed potatoes for a casual Friday night dinner with friends. 


~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Coyote’s Run Gewürztraminer…

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Pepper Sauce

From Foods of the World, TimeLife Books and www.alleasyrecipes.com

Ingredients

1 pound fresh shrimp in their shells (about 26 to 30 to the pound)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped garlic
4 scallions, including the green tops, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or pale dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato catsup
1
 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in2 tablespoons cold chicken stock, fresh or canned, or cold water
2 tablespoons peanut oil, or flavorless vegetable oil 

Method

Shell and devein the shrimp. Then wash them under cold running water, drain and pat them dry with paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Have the shrimp, and the oil, ginger, garlic, scallions, red-pepper flakes, wine, soy sauce, tomato catsup, sugar, salt and cornstarch mixture within easy reach.

Set a 12-inch work or skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds. Pour in 2 tablespoons of oil, swirl it about in the pan and heat for another 30 seconds, reducing the heat to moderate if the oil begins to smoke.

Immediately add the chopped ginger, garlic, scallions and red-pepper flakes, stir-fry for about 20 seconds, and drop in the shrimp.

Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and firm. Add the wine, soy sauce and tomato catsup, sugar and salt; stir once or twice.

Give the cornstarch mixture a quick stir to recombine it and add it to the pan, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and coats the shrimp with a translucent glaze. Transfer to a heated platter and serve at once.

 

With Coyote’s Run Chardonnay…

Chicken Marbella

From Silver Palate Cookbook
Servings 10-12 servings

Ingredients

4 chickens  approx. 2 ½ pounds each, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juices over chicken.

 

With Coyote’s Run 2011 Black Paw Cabernet Sauvignon…

Best Ever Meat Loaf

From Canadian Living Magazine
serves 8

Tips from the kitchen: This loaf maybe frozen baked or unbaked if using fresh grd. beef. So it can be made ahead. This is definitely one meat loaf you can serve to company. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten lightly with a fork
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
3 slices fresh bread, crumbled
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup or chili sauce, or both
1 tbsp prepared mustard

Method

Beat eggs in large bowl. Add milk, salt, pepper and crumbled bread; beat until bread disintegrated.  Add onion, carrot, cheese & beef mixing well. Then pack into 9×5″ loaf pan.

Combine brown sugar, ketchup, chili sauce & mustard and spread the mixture over loaf.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hr. Let stand 10 mins., remove from pan. Serve hot or cold. Make 8 hot slices or 12 cold slices.

TIP: A food processor comes in handy as everything can be chopped in it. 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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Shine the spotlight on Ontario wines

Posted by Susan

Friday, September 13th, 2013
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This weekend’s LCBO Vintages release celebrates Ontario wines, from the vineyards of Prince Edward County in the east, Niagara in south-central Ontario, and the north shore of Lake Erie in the west. Click to see a map. With so many great wines to choose from, our Savvy Sommelier Susan – who has visited all of these wine regions several times – gives you a brief history of the Ontario wine biz, so that you have a taste of how far we have come!

Early days for Ontario grapes

Not many realize there was a thriving wine industry in Ontario in the late 1800s & early 1900s, primarily in Pelee Island area. Settlers from the United States began growing grapes on the island in the mid-1860s. By the end of the 19th century, with the help of an enterprising gentleman, W.J. Hamilton, wines from Vin Villa Winery were being sampled across eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. The winery garnered widespread fame when one of its wines won a bronze medal at a competition in Paris. Changes in agriculture caused the industry to disappear from the area for many decades. 

Pioneers then move to Niagara…

As the prohibition era ended, a new wine business T.J. Brights was founded in 1874 with a substantial investment to improve the quality of Ontario wine, including the hiring of French-born winemaker and chemist, Adhemar de Chaunac, who imported a number of French hybrid grape varieties. Fast forward 100 years, by the 1970s, hybrids grapes were becoming more common in Ontario vineyards, yet consumer tastebuds were shifting to dry, low-alcohol tables wines rather than the slightly sweeter wines made with the hardy hybrid grapes. To go with the flow of this change, Ontario grape growers had already begun planting vitis vinifera vines (winespeak: the vine species that produces 99% of the grape varieties used in winemaking today – example: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot etc) and began to see a vibrant future for these classic varieties in Ontario vineyards.

At the same time, a number of the recognized pioneers of Ontario’s modern wine industry were moving to the Niagara area from Europe: Paul Bosc Sr., Karl Kaiser, Ewald Reif, Herbert Konzelmann, and others.  Still to this day, these gentleman are praised by the Canadian wine industry as the founding fathers of the Ontario wine industry.

First new winery since 1929

In 1975, Inniskillin, pioneered by the dynamic duo – Don Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser – was granted the first new winery license in the province since 1929.  Don harvested his first Riesling, Chardonnay and Gamay grapes in the fall of 1977.  In 1984, Karl Kaiser produced the first icewine from Vidal grapes grown in the Inniskillin vineyards.

The beginning of VQA

In 1988, Don Ziraldo was instrumental in establishing a team of grape growers and winemakers to develop VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) as an appellation of origin system and a method of setting standards for wines in Ontario. More recently, sub-appellations have been established in Niagara to recognize the unique terroirs across the region. Interesting to note that VQA is not a national standard, rather established for Ontario and recently adopted by British Columbia.  Nova Scotia currently has a different system in place.

Ontario wines win awards around the world

Ian d’Agata, a world renowned correspondent for International Wine Cellar stated in the September 14, 2013 Vintages magazine, ‘Ontario is one of the premier cool-climate viticulture areas of the world . . .’.  Pretty impressive don’t you think?

And the world has been watching the Canadian wine industry grow and recognizing that we are producing fine wines. In 1990, Ontario wines leaped onto the world stage, when Karl Kaiser’s 1989 Vidal Icewine won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at the prestigious Vin Expo – France.

Open your door to the discovery of spectacular Ontario wines

Today’s Ontario wine industry has rapidly grown and the quality has increased exponentially as winery owners, winemakers and growers focus on terroir, viticultural practices and excellence in winemaking. With just over 100 wineries in Ontario now, not all of their wines are on the LCBO store shelves.  Enjoy the ones in this Shine ON feature and continue your discovery by subscribing to Savvy Selections, which features all those wines not available at the LCBO or Vintages.

Wineries we recently featured included Lailey Vineyard, Daniel Lenko Estate Winery & Pondview Winery.  Next month we will showcase wines from Casa Dea  Estates of Prince Edward County.  A subscription to Savvy Selections is like having a personal Sommelier!

For this “If I had $100, I would buy at Vintages”, I have selected a variety of Ontario wines along with some from Chile & Italy too. And for the first time in a long time, my shopping list was not even close to $100. I’ve $12.25 spare.  With this extra, take advantage of your savings & Go Local to sample a few more Ontario wines! Let me know which ones you put in your shopping cart!

Are you on Twitter? Share your Ontario wine discoveries with others using #ShineON. 

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

Fielding Pinot Gris 2012

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$21.95 (Vintages #251108) 12.0% alcohol
There’s a lovely hint of pink to the pale gold hue of this fragrant white wine. Aromas of ripe stone and orchard fruit mingle with melon and spiced floral notes. Dry, medium bodied and smooth, the clean fresh fruit and lively acidity build harmony, while hints of spice and a pithy note linger through the tasty, fruity finish. Enjoy it with roasted white meats or grilled sausages.

Miguel Torres ‘Santa Digna Reserva’ Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Curicó Valley, Chile
$13.95 (Vintages #342857) 13.5% alcohol
Brilliant yellow-green, there are pungent grassy and gooseberry notes mingling with tropical fruits, hints of lemon balm and other herbs. Dry, medium-bodied, the white wine replays focused flavours of gooseberry and herbs, underscored by vivid tangy acidity. Finishing long, clean and mouth-watering, this wine will work very well with pan-fried fish or a salad garnished with goat cheese and grilled peaches.

Tawse ‘Sketches’ Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2011

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$20.95 (Vintages #130252) 13.0% alcohol
This well-crafted blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot results in a red wine to enjoy with late fall barbeques. A beautiful ruby tone, the wine marries ripe black cherries, berries, cassis, sweet spice and a whiff of milk chocolate with fine-grained tannins and lively acidity. It’s dry yet approachable, mid-weight and skillfully balanced, leaving a hint of well-integrated oak on the persistent, fruit-filled finish.

Zuccardi ‘Santa Julia’ Magna 2011

Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #93799) 14.0% alcohol
Scoop up a few bottles of this outstanding red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah. Inky purple and alluringly rich in aromas of ripe dark fruit, mint, spice and vanilla, this is a subtly well-balanced wine. Supple tannins and fresh acidity underpin the full-flavoured, luscious fruit—cassis, blueberry and raspberry—while the well-integrated oak offers a long-lasting spicy, peppery finish. Serve it with grilled or roasted red meats.  

Emiliana ‘Novas Gran Reserva’ Petit Verdot 2011

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #325662) 14.5% alcohol
For well-made organic wines offering great value, it’s hard to beat this producer. Rich dark fruit melds with exotic spice and smoke on the intense nose. Dry and full bodied, this red wine showcases firm tannins and clean acidity, yet in harmony with the concentrated spicy dark fruit—blueberries and blackberries come to mind. Robust and flavourful, dry and persistent on the finish, it’s a great choice for lamb.

Grand Total: $87.75

 

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A Special Double Header: Rare Wines & Recent Releases

Posted by Debbie

Sunday, May 5th, 2013
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 The Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake are returning to Ottawa to treat their ever-loyal fans to a double billed evening of a Rare Wines Tasting, followed by One Unforgettable Taste & Buy.  Hosted by Savvy Company, these back-to-back events will take place Tuesday May 28th in the new Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum located in the Central Experimental Farm, 861 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa.

New this year, the Rare Wines Tasting will feature a selection of hard-to-find wines dating back to the early 1990s.  “Winemakers are dusting off bottles from their private cellars to showcase how their finest wines have evolved.  This is truly a unique experience for any Ontario wine enthusiast”, says Derek Barnett of Lailey Vineyard. Only 50 tickets will be available for this special first-of-its-kind event taking place from 5pm to 7pm, meeting winery owners and winemakers as guests enjoy the finest wines of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

 

The evening will continue with One Unforgettable Taste & Buy from 7pm to 9pm featuring wines from the 2012 vintage.  “2012 provided us with spectacular conditions for growing grapes”, explains Lailey’s Barnett .  “Ottawa will be the first to try these excellent wines.”

Returning to Ottawa for its 3rd year, One Unforgettable Taste & Buy provides the opportunity for guests to order any combination of their favorite wines.  The featured wines are not available at the LCBO or Vintages.  As an extra bonus, free shipping by courier will be offered for orders of 12 bottles or more.  This is a perfect opportunity to stock up for summer entertaining.

Wineries to be featured at both events:

Advance Tickets Only

$75 per person for the back-to-back events of Rare Wines Tasting and One Unforgettable Taste & Buy. Only 50 tickets are available.

Admission to One Unforgettable Taste & Buy only is $55 per person when purchased before May 20, 2013 (regular $65).

Ticket price includes HST.  Visit www.savvycompany.ca/events to purchase tickets and for event details.

What is a Taste & Buy event?

Event goers can sample featured wines and order directly from the winery.  None of the wines are available at the LCBO or Vintages.  Exclusive at this event, orders can be placed for ANY combination of wines from ANY of the wineries and the wines will be delivered by courier within a week.   Savvy Company’s Sommeliers will be on hand to share wine recommendations and guide event goers to ‘must try wines’ based on their personal preferences.

 About Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Every day, the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake welcome guests into their Wine Country to savour the richness of the region and to experience the 27 distinct wineries, each with its own personality reflected in the wines they craft.  Visit www.wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com. Follow on Twitter @NiagaraWine or find on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wineriesofniagaraonthelake

 About Savvy Company

Savvy Company, www.savvycompany.ca, specializes in creative social experiences –  making the enjoyment of wine accessible to all, exploring the worlds of craft beer and discovering artisan cheeses.  Their team of accredited Sommeliers delight in designing wine, beer and food events and shining the spotlight on the people who make them.  Savvy Selections  is Ontario’s largest Wine of the Month Club featuring Ontario wines not available in the LCBO and delivered directly to the subscriber’s home or office.   Follow on Twitter @SavvyCompany or find on Facebook at www.facebook.com/savvycompany

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Media who are interested in attending the One Unforgettable Taste & Buy,  please contact Debbie Trenholm to be added to the guest list.

Media Contact

Debbie Trenholm
President & Sommelier
Savvy Company
debbie@savvycompany.ca
613.SAVVYCO (613.728.8926)
cell: 613-851-1785
@savvydebbie

 

 

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