Posts Tagged ‘wines delivered’

20 Questions: The ‘dirt’ on Derek Barnett

Posted by Debbie

Monday, February 5th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18. My Birthday “Favorite Meal”: Risotto

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

And now for Question #20….

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

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

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




Meldville Wines
By Savvy Sommelier Monique Sosa

July 2016

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

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

…who is Derek Barnett after all?

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Meldville Wines…

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

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

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

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

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

What’s on the bottle?

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

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

So, is Derek really only about wine?

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

Any last words?

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


· Derek’s wines are definitely WICKED! ·

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

Meldville 2nd Edition Chardonnay VQA 2016, $20

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

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

Meldville 2nd Edition Cabernet Franc VQA 2016, $27

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

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

Meldville Barrel Select Syrah VQA 2016, $27

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

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



· Tasting Notes for the other Meldville Wines ·

Meldville Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2016, $27

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

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

Meldville 2nd Edition Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2016, $20

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

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

Meldville 2nd Edition Pinot Noir VQA 2016, $27

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

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


Enjoy these Savvy Wicked Wines!


Summer is far from over! Clink & Drink Pink

Posted by Debbie

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Pour a glass of refreshing rose to quench your thirst and beat the heat. In this month’s One Dozen Roses there are outstanding wine-finds made right here in Ontario. Our team of Savvy Sommeliers have tasted numerous bottles to hand-pick this selection.

Grab your corkscrew or crack open the seal on these rosé wines and enjoy with a picnic, serve with lunch or better yet…sip while you watch the sunset, or even shooting stars!

Each rosé wine is unique, so here is the August Rosé Report, where our Savvy Sommeliers share with you their tasting notes for each wine in your assortment along with some easy summertime recipes from our kitchen to yours.

All this for less than $200 & shipping is FREE!

Enjoying Rose wines is easy – you don’t even have to get off your lawn chair!

Click to order One Dozen Rosés >>


In the August case of One Dozen Rosés you will find…


Vieni Momenti Rose Sparkling

Vieni Estates Momenti Extra Dry Rosé

20 Valley (Niagara)
1 bottle

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: If this wine could speak, it would say “let’s party!”. Bright cream soda like colour, crisp with tastes of cherry & cranberry wrapped up with a whiff of fresh bread. The refreshing acidity is delicious, while the mousse & fine bubbles make this a great crowd pleasing wine.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Here is a fun (not to mention eye catching) hors d’oeuvre to serve at your next party – Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers. If you are not a fan of jalapenos, try bacon wrapped scallops or put out a charcuterie plate with this bubbly.


2014_WHITE_GAMY_0Aure White Gamay VQA 2014


While called White Gamay, it is strictly speaking, a white wine made from a red grapes. The Gamay Noir grapes are the signature varietal originating from the Beaujolais appellation in France. It is traditionally a deep ruby-red hued wine so, naturally, when vinifying this wine with very limited skin contact, some of that pink hue comes through into the juice during the winemaking process. Take a sip and you’ll find all the qualities of a ripe Gamay grape without the tannins. Dry and crisp, it is a delicious summer sipping wine.

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: Alluring aromas of ripe wild strawberries, cherry and a touch of lemon grass loom from the glass. Expressions of strawberry, pink grapefruit and lemon zest come through more on the palate, ending with a crisp refreshing finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Quite versatile! This wine makes for a terrific pairing with a summer salad. Try it with strawberry topped Greek salads, or simply enjoy as a plain ol’ 2 o’clock patio wine.



Casa Dea Cabernet Franc Rose 2013 Casa-Dea Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2014

Prince Edward County

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: Crafted using Cabernet Franc grapes and giving just enough skin contact to give a beautiful cotton candy pink hue. Fresh raspberries & red currants waft from the glass with the raspberry taste continues as you sip. In true fashion with wines made with Prince Edward County grapes there is a minerality about the wine that is laced with acidity.

Food Pairing Suggestions: It is tomato season! If you grow them in your backyard, you’re probably looking for different recipes to use up your never ending crop. This wine would be delicious with this easy Leek & Tomato Tart. Other food pairings for this wine would include kale salad, grilled salmon or even steamed mussels.



Devils Wishbone Pinot Gris Rosé VQA 2013

Prince Edward County

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: This light salmon coloured wine is a gem. “Each sip says summer”, commented Patti when she sampled this wine. Reminders of fresh juicy peaches, apricots, and even crunchy roadside apples with a hint of straw. There is a medium acidity that makes this wine a joy to drink. 

Food Pairing Suggestions: “It’s a 3 o’clock Rosé”, says Savvy Sommelier Eva. Sipping this wine mid-afternoon sounds perfect! On its own, with a picnic or a delicious fish dish such as Perch with Strawberry Salsa.


Greenlane Rosé VQA 2013

20 Valley (Niagara)

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: Summertime in a glass! Refreshing notes of strawberry & rhubarb…but not tart. This wine is dry, crisp with a light sweetness. Smooth custard like mouthfeel, it is a delicious & well balanced wine.

Food Pairing Suggestions: when pairing with food, it is good to accentuate the dominant flavour – in this case rhubarb. Make your favorite rhubarb dish like the Rhubarb Salad we have in the Rosé Recipe Box on the following pages. If you rather accentuate the strawberry taste serve with the Perch with Strawberry Salsa.


Vieni Alleria Rose WineVieni Alleria 2012

20 Valley, Niagara
1 bottle

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: An interesting blend of Riesling & Pinot Noir, this light salmon wine has subtle floral notes with a dash of white pepper. With your first sip, you’ll remark on the vibrancy of acidity that will either quench your thirst or smooth out when you enjoy with food.

Food Pairing Suggestions: this is definitely a picnic wine. Easy drinking, especially perfect for those who are white wine lovers, this wine would be delicious with hummus, tabbouleh, green salads or smoke salmon. Simply, chill, sip & enjoy.


Vineland Rose The Game Changer 2014Vineland The Game Changer VQA 2014

Vineland, Niagara

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: A blend of 80% Cabernet Franc with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon this pretty salmon colour has bright refreshing acidity, floral & berry aromas that continue into the taste. There’s a base of minerality that makes this medium bodied rosé so delicious. Imagine if they took the same grapes and let them sit on the skins long (with the juice) the remarkable red wine that could be created.

Food Pairing Suggestions: our friend Chef Brad Long shares in our Rosé Recipe Box his Fast Poaching Lil Fish recipe which would hit top marks with this wine. If fish is not your forte, then try with light dishes like prosciutto & asparagus, lemon roasted chicken, corn chowder…or a summer salad.

One Dozen Rosés is only available during the summer!
Call us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order here>>





Summer is here…Let’s Clink & Drink Pink!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

It’s time to raise a glass of Rosé wine to welcome in summer…our One Dozen Rosés is back!  For the second year in a row, we’re offering an assorted case of refreshing & delicious Rosé wines crafted in Ontario to be delivered to your home, office or even cottage. Our team of Savvy Sommeliers has tasted too-many-to-count bottles to hand-pick this selection for your enjoyment all summer long.  In fact, there were so many great Rosé wines that we’re offering a different One Dozen Rosés  each month.

Grab your corkscrew or crack open the seal on these Rosé wines to enjoy with a picnic, serve with lunch or better yet…watch the sunset as you unwind on your deck or your dock.

You don’t even have to get off your lawn chair!  Click & order >>

Each Rosé wine has a cool story. To add to your enjoyment of the selected wines, our Savvy Sommeliers have compiled this Rosé Report – a different one will appear here each month – with our Sommeliers’ tasting notes for each wine in your assortment along with some easy summertime recipes from our kitchen to yours.

Only $199 & shipping is FREE!


In July’s case of One Dozen Rosés you will find…

Huff Cuvee-JanineHuff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling

Prince Edward County

Winemaker Frederic Picard is true to his French roots when making wines at Huff Estates.  Raised amongst the vineyards and wineries in Burgundy France, this man has wine running through his veins.  Both of the selected wines from Huff are great examples of how Frederic lends his winemaking talent (nurtured in France, South Africa & other parts of the world) to craft elegant wines in Prince Edward County.

A special price on this Bubbly! We were delighted when the team at Huff Estates offered us an extra special price (regular $30) so we could include this bubbly in this month’s assortment.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Everything about this wine exudes fun – the colour, the refreshing dry tastes and all of the possibilities for food pairings.  Made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes, the wine is made using the classic French Méthode Champagnoise that is aptly named for the winemaking technique for Champagne. The second fermentation (that creates the bubbles) happens in each individual bottle.

A vibrant cranberry coloured bubbly with a lovely nose of red fruit, a touch of mineral and a hint of sweet citrus (pink grapefruit or blood orange). Very dry and medium bodied, it’s juicy and refreshing with tastes of red cherries, berries and tangy cranberries that play through garnished by a lively touch of white pepper on the finish.

Food Pairing Suggestions:  Put in your fridge for any occasion (we do!) – a beautiful sunset, friends dropping by or why not begin a long weekend with the popping of its cork!  In our Rosé Recipe Box, we share with you a stunning looking (and delicious) Gorgonzola and Strawberry Canapé that is easy to make. Chill & enjoy every sip of this sparkling wine.

Huff Rose 2013Huff Estates Ros
é VQA 2013

Prince Edward County

This is one of Huff’s signature wines. Rosé lovers clamour for it every year.

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: Lively, this refreshing wine is bone dry with a light pink hue that resembles classic Rosé wines from Tavel, France. In two words: pink grapefruit.  Added to that, light floral notes with citrus (think lime and mandarin) to create a well-crafted refreshing balance. Made with 100% Cabernet Franc grapes grown in The County, there is the regional characteristic minerality & crisp acidity that makes this a class act wine. Now that you’ve been tipped off about this wine, you’ll be on the lookout for it each year. Always a solid wine.

Food Pairing suggestions: Serve chilled on its own to unwind, with sushi or pack for a picnic.  In our Rosé Recipe Box, we have included the Smoked Salmon Sushi Pizza recipe to make for your next picnic.

Di Profio Gamay Rose 2013
DiProfio Gamay Rosé

This boutique winery has a growing reputation for making outstanding wines. Sandwiched between the 20 Valley region and Niagara-on-the-Lake, this is definitely worth the stop…and they have a wonderful B&B on the estate!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A stunning colour in the glass. Aromas of beets, candy floss, it smells sweeter than it is…in fact, it is deliciously dry. Each sip is loaded with tastes of red fruit (cherry, raspberry or strawberry perhaps). This Rosé has a nice refreshing acidity, a long berry finish. Bring on summer with this outstanding wine!

Suggested Food Pairing: Another one to pack for a picnic or serve on the dock. Chill & pack in your basket (no need for a corkscrew) to enjoy with tabbouleh, hummus, quinoa salad. In our Rosé Recipe Box, we have included a Chickpea, Barley & Feta Salad that will do the trick!


Kacaba Rebecca Rose 2014Kacaba Vineyard Rebecca Rosé VQA 2014

Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)
Looking for great red wines made in Ontario? Kacaba is definitely one of our top picks. This year’s of rosé wine is made with 100% Gamay grapes grown on the estate, this is ‘not just another summer sipper’ states John Tummon, Kacaba’s winemaker. It is a wine to be enjoyed year round… before or during a meal.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright cotton candy pink colour. Concentrated aromas of fresh juicy red cherries, ripe red berries and cotton candy of course! These aromas continue into the taste with an added cranberry flavour to give it even more body. A smooth texture in your mouth, this bright and refreshing wine is so easy to enjoy.

Suggested Food Pairing: One definitely to serve during a meal – lunch or dinner. Chicken satay, grilled vegetable kebabs would be delicious. We also think that it would be perfectly paired with pan seared fish – such as the perch recipe that we’ve provided for you from Port Restaurant located in Pickering. The recipe is found in our Rosé Recipe Box. Enjoy!


Rosewood Trois Femmes Rose 2013Rosewood Trois Femmes Rosé VQA 2014

Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)
From the family run winery and Ontario’s first Meadery, this year’s Rosé from Rosewood is 100% Pinot Noir grapes. The wine was made with the skins intact with the juice for 3-5 days then fermented until it reached the fruity flavours and the colour that the winemaker wanted to create.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: One word will describe this wine: STRAWBERRY. From its colour, the aroma and taste, this wine has the wonderful summery taste of fresh strawberries. “It has the zippiness of rhubarb too”, commented Savvy Sommelier Debbie during the Savvy Team tasting of 40+ Rosé wines. A very well-balanced, smooth wine that combines notes of strawberry tastes of watermelon and freshly crushed ripe berries – all things that are iconic about summer.

Suggested Food Pairing: This is a no fuss wine. It would be delicious with anything off the grill, seafood, homemade pizza, charcuterie and light meals. Try something completely different – Beet-zza! We will provide this cool new recipe in our Rosé Recipe Box.


Sue Ann Staff Fancy Farm Girl Foxy Pink 2013Sue-Ann Staff Foxy Pink VQA 2013

Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)
This has been an amazing year for our friend Sue-Ann. In April, she decided to finish the chapter of her career where she was making wine at other wineries and focus 100% on her namesake winery – Sue-Ann Staff Estates. And the decision quickly paid off. Her new Fancy Farm Girl wine brand has won label design awards as well as accolades for her wines. This one is the Rosé in her portfolio. Be sure to read the back label to learn more about Sue-Ann’s style – a farm girl who loves to be a diva too!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The bright coral pink colour alludes to the style of this wine. Bright vivid aromas of watermelon, strawberry candy, even marshmallows leap from the glass. These aromas continue as you sip on this off-dry wine, then the bright zippy acidity will make your mouth water while prepping your palate for another sip and another.    Enjoy on its own with friends (or not!) or with sushi, tuna, salmon, pizzas, picnics, salads and soooo much more.

Suggested Food Pairing: Keep chilled in your fridge for when friends come over for a spontaneous get together. Call out for sushi or fire up the gill with some salmon steaks or better yet…get fancy with the Grilled Chicken & Strawberries with Balsamic. This simple recipe will be in our Rosé Recipe Box – stay tuned!

Creekside Cabernet Rose 2014Creekside Estates Cabernet Rosé VQA 2014

Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)
Another great winery to visit when you take a summer getaway to wine country. Not only do they make lots of great wines, but their patio overlooking the vineyard is also worth stopping for.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright neon pink in colour with gorgeous aromas of wild strawberries, flowers& green apple that follows into the taste. This crowd-pleasing wine is juicy yet dry. Medium bodied and well balanced with refreshing acidity…it is summer in a glass.

Suggested Food Pairing: You can’t go wrong with this wine. The colour, the bouquet & the taste…they all will remind you of summer. This versatile wine can be served chilled on its own or with any of the creations in our Rosé Recipe Box. Be sure to have a batch of the Rosemary & White Bean Dip in the fridge at the cottage just in case you feel the urge coming on to crack open this bottle of wine as the sunsets.


Clink & Drink Pink all summer long!

Here is a sneak peak of the wines that will be featured in the upcoming months.

In August the One Dozen Rosé will include:

Aure Rose VQA 2011, Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Casa-Dea Cabernet Franc Rosé, VQA 2014, Prince Edward County

Devil’s Wishbone Pinot Gris Rosé VQA 2014, Prince Edward County

Greenlane Rosé VQA 2013, Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Vieni Momenti Sparkling Rosé, Beamsville (1 bottle)

– Vieni Alleria Rosé VQA 2014, Beamsville (1 bottle)

Vineland Estates ‘The Game Changer’ Rosé VQA 2014, Beamsville

Order your One Dozen Rosé at



The fun story of Riverview Cellars Syrah

Posted by Eva

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Many winemakers will tell you that ‘wine is made in the vineyard’. This is very true at Riverview Cellars located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  Similar to neighbouring Colaneri Estates , Cattail Creek & Pondview wineries, at Riverview, the Pillitteri family are grape growers first & they recently opened a winery.  Since older vines, produce better fruit to make better wine, get ready to taste the age of Riverview’s vineyard with each sip of this Syrah! Our Sommeliers rave about this wine.

Riverview Cellars ‘Red Truck’ Syrah VQA 2010

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Whether you call it Syrah or Shiraz, the wine is made with the same grape variety.  This bold wine overflows the glass with BIG aromas of red & black plums, berries with warm spices that carries into the taste…then lingers forever.

Suggested food pairings: Fire up the BBQ! Serve with steak with blue cheese, beef tenderloin with all the trimmings, even hamburgers would be delicious.  And it would be delicious with a piece of dark chocolate cake too!


Want to buy this wine?  Subscribe & it will be delivered!

 Riverview has been a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. You won’t find this outstanding wine on the shelves at the LCBO.  Would you like this wine? Subscribe to our wine of the month club or call on us to make the arrangements for a special delivery to your home or office!


Outstanding Undercurrent wines from Creekside

Posted by Julie

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011


Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Creekside Estate Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep


When you hear the names Winston, Garfunkel, Mrs. Robinson, Aristotle, Marilyn, Figaro and Socrates, the last thing that would probably come to your mind is wine, yet at Creekside Estate Winery located in Niagara, these names refer to the large steel tanks found in the cellar where wine is fermenting away. Not surprisingly, these “named” tanks have their own personality too.


The name game continues… 

Does emergence of an undercurrent conjure up an image in your mind of a gale force wind or swift moving water? At Creekside, “Undercurrent” is the name of a new series of small lot wines (limited quantities crafted) that are the expression of the passion, curiosity and skill in the Creekside winemaking team. We are excited to feature two Undercurrent wines this month, drawing from an already limited supply (35 to 50 cases) of premium wines made from the grapes of the remarkable 2007 vintage.  You are in for a treat! 


Savvy Sommelier, Julie Stock, recently caught up with Creekside’s award winning winemaker, Rob Power and Director of Sales and Marketing, Matt Loney while they were on tour in Ottawa.


Julie’s interview with Rob & Matt follows on the next page as well as the tasting notes of the Savvy Sommeliers who had the forever difficult job of deciding which three wines we would feature.  We had a hard time choosing between the Malbec and the Cabernet Sauvignon – Malbec blend. Since the Malbec grape is particularly uncommon in Niagara, we selected it in order to offer you the 100% expression of this grape variety. 


We are excited to introduce you to this month’s Savvy Selections wines:

·         Reserve Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2007

·         Undercurrent White Blend VQA 2008

·         Undercurrent Malbec VQA  2007

·         Optional Wine: Undercurrent Cabernet Sauvignon – Malbec VQA 2007


Continue reading on the following pages about Creekside’s approach to blending, experimentation and craftsmanship.


You won’t find these wines at the LCBO

If you would like more of these premium wines from Creekside, simply call on us to arrange an order for you.


Cheers & Enjoy!


– Debbie & Savvy Team


NEWSFLASH: At last weekend’s Cuvee Awards – considered the Academy Awards for the Ontario wine industry, Creekside took home three of the top honours awarded by their peers. One of these prestigious awards was for the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc that is included in your Savvy Selections.  Enjoy!


Creekside Estates Winery

Presented by Sommelier Julie Stock

In 1998, Laura McCain Jensen (of PEI’s famous McCain family) and her husband, purchased a 15 acre site on Fourth Avenue near Jordan, in the heart of the Niagara Escarpment. Their address is actually Jordan Station, but Matt and Rob laughed saying – small as it is, no one thinks of us in the town of Jordan, “we’re three quarters of a mile out”. Ggeographically, the winery sits north on a sixteen mile creek which runs through the vineyard – hence the winery’s naturally fitting name. Laura already had some winemaking experience having owned a vineyard in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. While there was some Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc grapes already growing on the property, the vineyard was replanted with additional Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vines, then Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Viognier planted later.


Laura hired winemaker, Craig McDonald, formerly of the internationally acclaimed Penfolds Winery in Australia and Rob Power to oversee the vineyards and the vinification (winespeak: for grape growing) who had recently graduated from the Brock University Oenology and Viticulture program.  A couple of years later, Craig & Rob teamed to be a dynamic winemaking duo that in 2008, they won the distinguished Winemaker of the Year award at the Ontario Wine Awards. Just recently, Craig moved onto a different winery & Rob now heads up the winemaking with an assistant winemaker, Erin Harvey.


The winery coming together…

While the vineyards were growing, in 1999, Creekside began ramping up its farming equipment and nicknamed each one as they were put into use: “Beverley”the new crush/de-stemmer pad, “Barney”the big purple Must pump (winespeak: must refers to the mixture of grape juice, grape skins, seeds and pulp that is left over from the crusher and de-stemmer process) and “Mitsi” the harvest forklift. In 2000, the impressive barrel cellar housing 600+ barrels was built. This cellar has modern equipment, yet the charm of an old cave.


To expand, Laura purchased an additional 50 acre block on the St.David’s Bench in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  They named this property the Queenston Road Vineyard (QRV). The Signature Shiraz VQA 2002 was grown here & impressed many to wine an Ontario Cuvee award winner.


QVR is home for most of their premium red wine production – Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and the latest being the Malbec grape, with a couple of parcels of Chardonnay and Viognier vines. In fact the Undercurrent Malbec that we are featuring in this month’s Savvy Selections is called “Small Malbec Parcel” since it was grown on a small parcel of land and only produced 110 cases of wine. 


Name that Barrel!

Rob explains, “the numbering system typically used at wineries for organizing their barrels is very boring. Since tanks and barrels can be different sizes, we started to name the tanks depending on the row they are located in the underground cellar. Logic to some, Rob continues “For example, there are rows of tanks designated as the musical corner, some tanks are named after the Beatles. There is also a row of scientists. One tank is called Buddha on account of its rotund shape (not to mention it is a 600 litre barrel!). There are 3 voluptuous barrels named after, well never mind, you get the picture!”


It is obvious that the winemaking team has fun as it shows in the quality of the wine.  To use Rob’s words, the team is eclectic, but dedicated to experimentation, creativity and joie de vivre”.


While there are also parcels of grapes used in white wines such as the Reserve Viognier, Chardonnay and Muscat,  Rob considers the Sauvignon Blanc as Creekside’s flagship wine. And the wine critics believe the same! The Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2007 included in your Savvy Selections won Gold for Best Sauvignon Blanc at the 2009 Ontario Wine Awards. Interestingly, the grapes in this wine were harvested from the “Short Block” (older vines) and the remaining 47% from the “Long Block” on the eastern end of the vineyard. When looking at the label on the Uber Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2007, the word “uber” stumped me.  Was it a grape that I forgotten about during my sommelier studies? When I confessed this during our interview, Matt and Rob both laughed explaining that it is a German word which means superior or better. And with a sip of this wine, I certainly tasted why Sauvignon Blanc is their flagship – outstanding.


Definitely a place to visit…

Rob and Matt certainly don’t sit still very long.  “we’re all about wine”, comments Rob.  They shared with me plans to focus more on organic viticulture, new projects while changing their labels & web site.  To experience the buzz at Creekside, be sure to visit & have relaxed lunch at The Deck.  And who knows, if you mention that you are a Savvy Selections subscriber, you might even get a chance to meet and greet Marilyn, Buddha and the new Rhythm and Blues barrels called Aretha and Marvin.




Reserve Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2007, $26.95  

2007 was a Canadian winemaker’s delight with a mild winter that ensured the vines were healthy and productive during the 2007 growing season. The grape juice was 100% oak barrel fermented with a variety of yeast strains and aged for a further 10 months. Besides the oak and yeast selection, it aged on lees for 11 months which all contribute to highlighting the intense tropical character found in the grapes.


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A slight greenish tinge in this polished clean pale straw coloured wine. All of the Savvy Sommeliers were impressed with the smorgasbord of aromas that results in a complex and intense nose and it is certainly unlike other Sauvignon Blanc’s we have tasted. Aromas of pineapple, gooseberry, grapefruit, grass, nuttiness and passion fruit follow through on the palate creating an elegant and silky mouthfeel with an aftertaste reminiscent of baked apple or crème caramel. The slight smoke and tropical character is no doubt the result of its having aged in oak barrels.


Suggested Food Pairing: While this wine is delicious on its own, we thought it would pair well with a light cuisine. Vietnamese spring rolls and green mango salad came to mind, and a lemon roasted chicken or steamed mussels would be perfect too.


Cellaring: Best enjoyed now, or it can be cellared 3-4 years.


Undercurrent White VQA 2008
$14.95 (500mL bottle)

The production notes state that the Muscat fruit is from a tiny planting of Muscat d’Alsace at Creekside’s Butler’s Grant Vineyard. One barrel underwent natural wild fermentation, while the other barrel of Muscat was subjected to, as Rob puts it “a bizarre yeast trial” using a strain usually reserved for full-bodied red wines. The result is a unique wine of 91% Muscat, 4.5% Sauvignon Blanc and 4.5% Gewürztraminer aged 6 months in the barrel on the original ferment lees with no lees stirring. Of course, Rob adds that the undercurrent rationale was a quirky blend of “happenstance.”


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There are few wines that conjure up the word “elegant” but this one receives the bouquet. The Savvy team all said, “WOW” after we swirled and sniffed. The wine is extremely aromatic of orange blossoms, rose petals, lychee, kiwi and apricot went to our notes. These beautiful aromas follow through on the palate creating a taste that reminded Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm of “Turkish Delights” – medium bodied with just the right amount of acidity. One Savvy Sommelier coined the finish by saying “it has a delightfully long tangerine and peach finish.”


Suggested Food Pairing: Initially, we all wanted to embellish the aromas and sip the wine on its own, but then one Savvy member said – it would be great with a quiche, or cheese soufflé, then came suggestions of proscuitto and melon and blanched almonds. The food need not be a struggle since this wine is a classy aperitif on its own. Don’t wait til summer to enjoy this treat.


Cellaring: This wine drinks well now or up to the autumn of 2012.


Undercurrent Malbec VQA 2007, $32.95

Rob tells me that, “the Creekside team have an insane desire to always try something new and make their winemaking a blend of art and science”. The Malbec grape originated in southwest France and is known for its inky dark colour and intense plum flavours. It is more at home now in Argentina and Chile where the hot climate allows it to reach its concentrated flavours. This Malbec was harvested in Niagara during October 2007, the year the grapes finally were able to show their concentration. 21 months of ageing in 100% American oak barrels. Only 110 cases were produced.

The Undercurrent wines are rarities in their limited production.


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Deep purple, dark and definitely opaque.  Enormous concentration of blueberry, black plums, hints of licorice, cassis and sweet spice. This full-bodied beauty showcases silky soft tannins on the palate and is a stunning example of the Malbec grape – levels of richness, well balanced with a beautiful long finish of ripe dark berries.


Suggested Food Pairing: All the Savvy Sommeliers agreed to prime rib or steak with blue cheese, but any grilled red meat would be a match made in heaven.  


Cellaring: The wine drinks well now or up to 2016.



OPTIONAL PURCHASE: Undercurrent Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec VQA 2007, $32.95

Undercurrent wines show the winemaker’s penchant for experimentation. The wines are uniquely numbered and in extremely limited volumes – not to be repeated. They are advertised as being “highly collectible misfits” that won’t see the light of day for long.


The Savvy Sommeliers can understand why. Notice the word “dripper” on the label below. A “dripper” is a barrel filled from the last drops out of a red fermenter tank at the end of ferment. The free run wine is “run off” to another tank, but the skins remain in the fermenter. A hose is attached to the bottom valve of the tank and fed into a barrel and the gradual compacting of the skins as they settle squeezes out more wine which goes directly into the barrel. Due to the high skin to wine ratio and the extended contact, this “Dripper” portion tends to have a massive, but fine-grained tannic structure and enormous concentration.


Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Another deep purple beauty, with aromas of black plums, dark berry jam, and black pepper. On the palate these flavours carry through with some hints of figs, molasses, and a little dustiness or smoke. The tannins are pronounced with a medium, dark fruit finish.


Suggested Food Pairing: Ribs came to mind along with bbq’d sausages which would be a great match to the tannins.


Cellaring: We enjoyed it now but can be cellared until 2020.



With Creekside Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2007

Shrimp, Mango and Avocado Salad

From Good Friends Cookbook

Serves 4


Ingredients – Salad

2 avocados, cubed

2 mangoes, cubed

1 pound of large shrimps, cooked, shelled, deveined

1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

small head of Boston lettuce


Ingredients – Dressing

1 teaspoon ginger juice (press peeled ginger through a garlic press)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill



Place avocados, mangoes, shrimps and mushrooms in a glass salad bowl.


To make dressing, combine all dressing ingredients and shake well. Toss salad with dressing just before serving. Toss salad with 1 head of Boston lettuce torn in bite-sized pieces.


Makes a nice starter or a luncheon dish with some artisan bread.



With Undercurrent White Blend VQA 2008

Cheese Straws
From Barefoot Contessa – Barefoot in Paris

Note from Julie: These are really simple, but from my experience, folks always inhale them!



2 sheets (1 box) of frozen puff pastry, defrosted in frig overnight

1 extra large egg

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (I use dry)

1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.



Preheat oven to 375 degrees


Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until its 10 x 12 inches.


Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and some pepper.


With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavourings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.


Bake 10- 15 minutes until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake another 2 minutes. Don’t overbake or cheese will burn – cool and serve at room temperature.



With Undercurrent Malbec VQA 2007

T-Bone Steaks with Herb Garlic Butter
From Canadian Living Magazine

Serves 4



1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup mixed minced fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, parsley)

1/4 cup vermouth or marsala (optional)

2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 t-bone steaks (3/4 inch thick) (rib steaks work well too)



In a food processor, blend oil herbs, vermouth if using, shallots, lemon rind and lemon juice. Brush over steaks and let stand for 30 minutes. Place steaks on greased grill over high heat, cook for 5 minutes on each side or until medium rare or desired doneness.


Remove steaks and top each with a pat of Herb Garlic butter (recipe below).



Ingredients – Herb Garlic Butter

3 tablespoons of butter softened,

1 tablespoon each minced basil, rosemary and parlsey

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic minced  – and sprinkle of pepper



Combine, cover and chill for up to 3 days – makes about 1/3 cup


Or a delicious alternative if to combine desired amount of crumbled blue cheese with a tablespoon of horseradish, place on steaks after grilling – let it melt in and serve. Open the wine!




With Undercurrent Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec VQA 2007

Braised Lamb Shanks with Wine & Herbs
From Friday Night Dinners by Bonnie Stern

Serves 8



8 lamb shanks, trimmed

1 tablespoon of salt

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 onions, coarsely chopped

12 cloves garlic, peeled

2 cups dry red wine

2 lb fresh tomatoes, peeled chopped OR 1 28 oz. tin can plum tomatoes with juices

1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsely (optional)



Pat lamb dry and sprinkle with salt.


Heat oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat. Brown lamb well on all sides, in batches if necessary – remove from pan.


Add onions and garlic to pan and cook for a few minutes, add wine, bring to a boil and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half.


Add tomatoes and thyme and bring to a boil, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon. Return shanks to pan. Place parchment paper directly on the surface of the lamb. Cover with lid and cook in preheated 350 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until meat is very tender.


Remove shanks from pan, skim any fact from surface and discard, Puree sauce in a food process or blender and return sauce to pan.


Remove lamb from bones in large chunks and return to sauce and heat thoroughly, garnish with parsley.




Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!