CTV Morning Live

CTV Ottawa Morning Live

September 2, 2016. 8:20AM

Theme: Back to School Wines

Guest: Matt Steeves – Sommelier, Wine Writer, & Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild – follow Matt on Twitter @Quercusvino or www.quercusvino.ca

Today on CTV Morning Live,  CTV’s Lianne Laing and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased some great wines to enjoy this Back to School season. Wines that are perfectly suited for getting you through those homework assignments, mid terms, your kid’s teenage drama, parent teacher interview debriefs, and of course, that pair wonderfully with the foods we’re enjoying now from local producers.

Check out the video here


Back to school season means transitioning from the summer ‘routine’ and into the daily grind of packing lunches, frantic mornings, throwing meals together after a long day, homework, etc., and repeating that Sunday eve to Friday…for the next 10 months!


Could there be a better occasion for enjoying the occasional glass of wine!? I think not!


To help you with this assignment, I’ve included a Back to School (wine) Supply List that will ensure you’ve got all the right wines to kick start your back to school routine. These wines have all earned top grades!


With local fresh produce in season and widely available around town it’s a great opportunity to pair that freshly picked produce with complementary wines to enhance the appreciation of both. Since freshly picked produce tastes the best, now is a great time to visit your local farmer’s market and pick up some local goodies to enjoy with your glass of wine.


When I was walking through the Byward market the other day I couldn’t resist picking up a bag full of market fresh fruit and veggies, and preparing a few delicious meals throughout the week. I’ve included a few tasty recipes below that I highly recommend trying and enjoying the suggested wine pairings with too.


So, while you’re out shopping for school supplies, or killing time in between hockey practices, make sure you add some of these wines to that school (wine) supply list. Not only will you enjoy these wines with the foods we’re enjoying this time of year, but they’ll make the craziness of back to school that much more bearable!


Here are a few great wines to enjoy this Back to School season – treat this as your Back to School (wine) Supply List:


My A+ wine picks:


  1. Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – $13.95 (great for post-parent teacher interviews…also great with Grilled Asparagus & Goat Cheese Aioli)



Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is a fun and fruity expression of one of my grilled veggie-friendly white wines. Loads of fresh herbal notes, wrapped in sweet tropical and citrus fruits. Zesty citrus and herbal flavours persist on the crisp and clean finish. A great wine to enjoy with Grilled Asparagus with Goat Cheese Aioli, Pesto Shirmp Kebabs, or simply enjoy on its own. Tasted August 2016. 87 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca


  1. Vintage Ink Chardonnay 2014 – $16.95 (pair with your kids new tattoo…)



Vintage Ink’s 2014 Chardonnay has a great balance of tropical and citrus fruit, baked bread, baking spices, and subtle oak influence that produces a creamy and refreshing wine that’s well suited for enjoyment with dishes like penne with shrimp and herbed cream sauce, or creamy saffron and seafood fettuccine. It’s also delicious when served chilled out of a S’Well thermos to complement a picnic with some grilled chicken and avocado sandwiches. Tasted June 2016. 88 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

  1. Featherstone Winery Rosé 2015 – Vineland, ON – $15.95 (A must after a long day of work, school, evening activities)



Featherstone 2015 Rosé: Featherstone’s 2013 Rosé won an impressive double gold medal at the 2014 Ontario Wine Awards. Year after year this value priced wine delivers on quality and taste, in a dry and palate cleansing style, making it a great wine for any occasion. Dry with juicy fruit, it’s super versatile, making it great on its own, and complements charcuterie platters, grilled fish, or sweet and tangy BBQ dishes. Tasted August 2016. 88+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

  1. Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir 2014 – British Columbia – $28.95 (Teacher’s Pet – flawless!)



Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir 2014 – An incredibly charming Pinot Noir from Canada’s pocket desert, the Okanagan Valley. Terrific growing conditions couple with world-class winemaking expertise and of course the volcanic soils on the Quails’ Gate estate vineyards each contribute to making this wine remarkably complex, refined, and balanced. Sweet dark cherries, baking spice, dried herbs, and a touch of leather lead to a long and silky smooth finish. Subtle tannins give this beautiful Pinot a very warm and inviting texture that makes it ideal with grilled salmon or artisanal cheese platters. Fantastic value. For me this is a buy by the case wine to be enjoyed over the next two years, all year round. Tasted August 2016. 92 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca


  1. Young Brute 2014 – Australia – $18.95 (the high school jock of wines – bold and powerful and awesome when devouring a few burgers)



A juicy, robust, smooth Australian red wine blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produced by the Casella family. Loaded with flavours of fleshy ripe purple and black plums, blueberries and toasty oak (but not too muck). Mouth-watering and mouth-filling: this wine packs a punch without being overpowering, which is quite remarkable for a young brute. A terrific regional expression of Wrattonbully which experience a windty but dry spring followed by a hot summer in 2014 for tremendous depth of ripening and flavour. A luscious finish with some eculypt and dark spice. Pair with a juicy steak or hamburgers. 89 points – Natalie MacLean.

  1. Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – California – $26.95 (Touchdown! The QB of the team, he’s smart, handsome, a leader in every way).



Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – Rutherford Ranch excels in the production of high quality, complex, and consumer friendly wines. The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, from Napa Valley, shows concentrated deep dark fruit, sweet spice, vanilla, herbs and earthiness on the nose followed by a silky smooth and well integrated palate that perfectly integrates the refreshing fruit with the mouth covering tannins. Very well balanced and what a bargain for a beautiful Napa Cab! All in all, this is one heck of a sexy beast that’s sure to please…Tasted September 2015. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

  1. Ferrari Perlé Metodo Classico 2007 – Italy – $39 (Ph.D in quality and taste, and perfect for celebrating those A+ grades)


 Ferrari Perlé 2007: Ferrari Perlé 2007 was recently awarded finest sparkling wine in the world, outside of Champagne, “World Champion Sparkling Wine Outside Champagne” in the “Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships” organized by Tom Stevenson, the world’s foremost authority on sparkling wine.

This is an exceptional Metodo Classico Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine, produced from 100% estate grown Chardonnay, from the finest high altitude hillside vineyards in Trentino. The 2007 was aged for over 5 years on its lees, then cellar-aged the balance of its life. Now 8 years old, it’s reached incredible complexity and harmony in every imaginable way. The colour is straw yellow with a rich golden hue, indicative of its age and the complexity that you’re soon to experience with that first sip. Rich and nutty, with citrus and tree fruit accents, it’s very fresh in the glass, and above all displays the elegance and harmony one expects from a fine Italian luxury product. When there’s a major milestone to celebrate I can’t think of a more appropriate sparkling wine than this premium vintage Ferrari. Enjoy with pasta carbonara, rich German cuisine, or elegant Japanese cuisine. Tasted October 2015. 94 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Ferrari was also recently nominated for ‘Best European Winery’ by Wine Enthusiast at the Wine Star Awards, the prestigious prize that the American magazine will hand out at the end of 2015. The winners will be announced in the Wine Enthusiast’s special “Best of Year” issue, and they will be honoured at a gala black-tie dinner in New York City on Jan. 25, 2016.






Here is some good ole Back to School wine humor. If you like wine, and are facing back to school you’ll like this: http://vinepair.com/wine-blog/the-amount-of-wine-you-need-to-drink-to-survive-every-back-to-school-parenting-situation/


Here are some delicious recipes that  make the most out of fresh local produce and wines. Highly recommended!

Grilled Asparagus with Goat Cheese Aioli

Asparagus is among the earliest and tastiest crops of the season. It is actually a perennial and the tender spears are shoots. Look for bright green stalks with tightly closed, compact tips. Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc VQA is the perfect match with its citrus, grassy and gooseberry aromas and bold, refreshing taste.


Serves 6

1 large bunch of asparagus

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 cup                   goat cheese aioli (recipe below)

1 cup                   crispy shallots (available at most Asian grocery stores)

Preheat your BBQ to high heat.

Break off the bottom of the asparagus stalk, roughly 1” from the base. This lower portion of the stalk is “woody” and needs to be removed. Clean the asparagus by rinsing in cold water and drain.

In a large bowl, toss the asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill over high heat for roughly 4 minutes, or until just tender.

Remove from grill and cut into bit size pieces.

To finish, top the asparagus with crispy shallots and serve with goat cheese aioli on the side.

Goat cheese aioli

1                   egg yolk

2 tbsp                   white wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh goat cheese

1 tbsp                   roasted garlic

1/2                   lemon, juiced

Salt and pepper to taste

Add yolk, vinegar and 1 tsp of warm water to a food processor.

Turn the food processor on low and begin to add the olive oil SLOWLY, in a very thin stream.

Next add goat cheese, garlic and continue to blend until well combined and smooth.

Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Wild Leek and Potato Soup with Wilted Leek Greens

Leeks are easy to grow from seed and are a hardy vegetable. To clean leeks, cut off the root, and then slice through the green ends of the leek, leaving the white part whole. Fan open the leek and place under cold running water to thoroughly rinse out any dirt or sand in between their layers.The white portion of the leeks have a sweeter milder flavour than onions. Pair this hearty soup with Jackson-Triggs Reserve Chardonnay VQA.


Serves 6

3 tbsp                   butter

1                   medium onion, diced

18                   wild leeks or 3 farmed leeks, green tops reserved and the whites roughly chopped

2                   garlic cloves, minced

3                   potatoes, peeled and roughly diced

8 cups                   vegetable stock

1 tbsp                   olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a medium size pot over medium high heat.

Add the onion, the whites of the leeks and garlic, cook while stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables just begin to soften.

Add in potatoes and vegetable stock. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and simmer until the vegetables are completely tender (roughly 30 minutes).

Clean the leek greens, cut into thin strips and reserve.

Transfer the soup to a blender. Blend on high speed for at least 1 minute to ensure a smooth texture.

Season with salt and pepper. Add additional stock or water to adjust consistency if needed.

Return the soup to a clean pot and keep warm over low heat.

Heat a small pan over medium high heat. Add in the olive oil and leek greens. Cook until just wilted, then use the leeks and the olive oil to garnish the soup.

Root to Tip Radish Salad

Radishes are fast-growing, with the seed germinating in three or four days and the crop maturing in three to four weeks. Appreciated for their crisp texture and mild, tangy and sometimes peppery flavour, radishes are great in salads like this one that pairs nicely with Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling Gewurztraminer VQA.


Serves 6

10-12                   radishes with their greens attached

6 cups                   baby arugula

6 cups                   baby kale

1 bunch                   basil (green or purple)

1 bunch                   chives

1/2 cup                   warm butter vinaigrette (recipe below)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the radish greens from the root, rinse and place the greens into a large bowl with the arugula and kale.

Slice the radish root very thinly, preferably using a mandolin.

Gently pick the basil leaves and slice the chives very finely.

Toss the greens with sliced radish and herbs.

Add the warm butter vinaigrette to the greens and mix well.

Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.

Warm Butter Vinaigrette

1/4 cup                   salted butter

2 tbsp                   white wine vinegar

1 tbsp                   Dijon mustard

1 tbsp                   honey

2 tsp                   truffle oil, optional

2 tsp                   truffle paste, optional

Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat.

Once melted, whisk in white wine vinegar, mustard and honey.

If using, add truffle oil and truffle paste.

Use this vinaigrette while warm.

I love this with a nice Merlot!

Warm Beet Salad with Charred Mushroom Vinegar

The beetroot is often enjoyed boiled, roasted, pickled or raw. Raw, they are crunchy and when cooked they turn soft and buttery. Not all beets are red/purple in colour – there are also golden and candy cane beets. Whatever the colour, they are all nutritious and sweet. This recipe also uses the green, leafy tops and pairs well with Jackson-Triggs Reserve Merlot VQA.

Serves 6

9                                     medium size beets, tops on

1 small                   red onion, finely diced

1/2 cup                   hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

6 tbsp                                     mushroom vinegar (recipe below – make 2 days prior)

4 tbsp                                     olive oil

3                                     stalks rosemary, picked and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400˚F.

Cut the stalks and leaves off of the beetroot. Remove the stalks from the leaves then cut the leaves into bite size pieces.

In a pot, cover beets with cold water and cook until fork tender.

While still warm, wipe the skin off of the beets using a kitchen towel or paper towel.

Allow to cool then cut into wedges.

Toss the cut beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a high sided roasting pan.

Roast the beets for 10 minutes then remove from oven. While warm, mix through the beet greens, mushroom vinegar, red onion and rosemary.

Transfer to a serving dish and top with hazelnuts.

Mushroom Vinegar

500 g                                     mushroom stems (preferably shiitake)

500 mL                   seasoned rice vinegar

100 mL                                    soy sauce

Over high heat grill or pan sear the mushroom stalks until a medium char exists.

Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar and stalks.

Place into a covered container. Allow to sit for at least 2 days before using.