Archive | July, 2010

On Location…

21 Jul

8:30 a.m. The Chief arrives, it immediately starts raining as I run to his car.

“Great timing” says I.

“Why? The rain?” he asks.

“Well that… and the toaster just popped.”

8:35 a.m. Coffee stop. Immediately feel blessed that a Starbucks is on the way to the highway. Order a venti-double-shot-skinny-vanilla-latte and realize I’m that kid now.

9:00 a.m. Arrive at The Good Earth Food & Wine Company – our set for the day. Meet up with our photographer, Jeffrey Kirk and his assistant, Dustin. The four of us meander our way through the property talking about different shots. The rain is holding off, but it’s cloudy – which kinda works in our favour since we are supposed to be shooting for the Harvest cover after all.

10:00 a.m. After a recycling bin, a half block, some cardboard and one of the Chief’s old wine boxes all are propped lucy goosey upon themselves, I wonder about gravity briefly before oh-so-carefully plopping a wine glass and bottle on top. Safety first, kids.

10:15 a.m. Nigel, who I can only describe as the Good Earth’s loving, camera-hogging mascot, comes for a visit and a roll around in the grass.

11:30 a.m. After somehow turning summer into autumn, Jeff and Dustin tear down all our cover shot stuff and we head over to the new home of Nicolette’s pizza oven. Pretty much instantly, my stomach grumbles. I’m officially Pavlov’s dog.

12:15 p.m. Nicolette’s on set for her photo which will run in the Good Earth feature next issue. She might be one of the funniest people to shoot ever, simply because she has so much to say.

12:30 p.m. The ‘other’ Amanda (she’s the Good Earth’s ‘retail therapist’) brings me a treat of sugared pecans. It’s official, I’m moving in.

12:45 p.m. We’re on the move again. Its time for Patrick Engel’s shot. He’s the Good Earth’s ‘food alchemist’ so we wanted to put him amongst the peach trees. That idea expires quickly due to the sun that’s magically appeared (thanks a lot, Mr. Accurate Weather Man). It’s hot as blazes outside and three out of the four of us are wearing black. Smart move.

1:16 p.m. We’ve settled in against the weathered red barn at the front of the property. It’s gorgeous – minus the potential of the bees nest to the right of our subject erupting in a- ‘I’m covered in beeeeees’-Eddie Izzard-type-fashion. We may move to the other side of the building to avoid lawsuit. Again, smart move.

2:30 p.m. Jeff’s on to shooting the Sip & Savour trio outside. Figuring out heights and views takes a bit, but the end result is as stunning as the wine and food pairings themselves. I know I mentioned it already – but go try the Cab Franc and roasted tomato and oregano pinwheel.

3:15 p.m. We’re sitting in the shade waiting for Tony de Luca to arrive. VINES is giving his new cookbook some love in a future issue and thought a profile picture would be just lovely. The Chief delivers a candy-gram – The Good Wine 09 Rose. Spoiled, I am.

3:30 p.m. Tony shows up. I jokingly call him a diva, but the guy could be no closer to one than I am a supermodel. Every time that we meet, I feel like I can only come up with one adjective – ‘refreshing’. He’s got a great laugh that makes shooting winter photos in July seem almost natural. Plus, he makes hand cut papparadelle noodles with pancetta, mushrooms, baby arugula and cheese shards, which is pretty much a piece of heaven on a plate. This from a guy who doesn’t particularly love pasta… and he’s Italian.

4:00 p.m. We sit down for lunch. Two of us have the Vineyard Hands Platter and two of us have the Artisinal Cheese Platter. They’re both yummy, with delish spreads, smoked goodness and pleasing wine to cap off our meal.

5:00 p.m. The Chief and I head out, while Jeff and Dustin go on the hunt for some off-road adventure shooting. It’s hard to decide, but I’d say those are the images I’m always most excited to see. They seem like magic little time capsules that Jeff manages to capture and put on our pages. He’s good people that way.

5:30 p.m. Time for a long, cold shower to rinse away the grime and sunscreen. Thanks to the Good Earth staff, Tony, Jeff and Dustin for an exciting kick off to our next issue!

It’s all good…

18 Jul

The Good Earth Food and Wine Company folk are literally haunting my dreams.

Since last week when the Chief and I made a visit about our next Harvest issue (stay tuned), my mind has been obsessed with sugared pecans, medium-dry Riesling and cherry preserve topped Canadian cheese slathered on home-made crostini.

Honestly, get thee to Good Earth immediately, if not sooner. As their website is so cleverly divided, they’ve got Good Food, Good Wine, Good Times and Good People. You really can’t go wrong.

Enjoy pizza from the wood-oven or impeccably dressed greens fresh from the on-site garden while you take in the view from the patio. Swing by The Pantry Shed to stock up on the aforementioned sugared pecans, double-smoked bacon (insert drool face here) or jams. Sip & Savour your way through a flight of three wines matched with three bite-sized appetizers – the ’08 Cabernet Franc with the sundried tomato and oregano pinwheel was unbelievably mouthwateringly good.

Regardless of which path of wonderous delight you choose, you’ll be even more lucky if owner Nicolette Novak stops to chat. The joy she exudes for her work is contagious – and all the staff have drunk the kool-aid. These aren’t just Good People, these are Great People.

We left Good Earth with smiles from ear to ear and a bag of goodies each. They just might tide us over until our visit next week.

I’ll tell ya what definitely didn’t make it for long in my presence – The Good Wine 2009 Rosé.

Called the “little sister” of the Cab Franc, this wine has the same affect on The Good Earth patio as caesars do at cottage parties – you see one, you want one. It’s a happy wine, smelling of candy apple and tasting like strawberries, but is less sweet than both those flavours insinuating. Both my glass on the patio with lunch and my bottle back at home went sayonara lickity split. Isn’t that really what it’s all about – enjoyment?

Do yourself a favour and take yourself down to Beamsville. Enjoy the good life.

The Screwcap?

17 Jul

“Always carry a corkscrew and the wine shall provide itself.”

– Basil Bunting

I try to talk myself out of it.

I take out that pair of shoes I don’t really wear because they hurt after any considerable walking distance or that extra black tank top that’s identical to the other two I already have in my bag. I start with the smallest suitcase possible in attempts to limit my available space, knowing I’ll cram something into that tiny front pocket if given the option. But, despite any of these perfectly rational measures, I still over pack. There are just very few things I’m willing to leave behind just in case – one such thing is a corkscrew. I find it to be the necessary travel companion, besides good company and banana-chocolate chip muffins.

Yes, most hotels these days have a chinzy plastic opener in the room. Yes, I don’t need one when I’m going to an all-inclusive resort where every Cuban server has two that they guard with their life. Yes, I normally travel in places where buying one would be less than a problem.

I pack one anyways.

So, it’s probably not surprising that I slipped one into my giraffe-print tote in preparation for a trip south of the border for a recent long weekend. I mean, a winery stop was guaranteed with my bestest (we kindly refer to her as ‘Charlotte’ in these parts) beside me.

Alas, I never ended up using it. It eventually got piled under Boston souvenirs, a seafood bib and one particularly sandy bathing suit. Though it wasn’t for a lack of trying that my poor buddy didn’t make an appearance – the wine was a-flowing. However, we were blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) to be surrounded by refreshing, affordable whites and rosés all bottled under screwcap.

No complaints here, the weather was beautiful and these wines hit the spot with our mostly seafood and potato chip diet.

Even our stop at Newport Vineyards (about 10 minutes from Easton Beach – trust me, make a day out of it and see the mansions and the gorgeous beaches) found us putting rosé in the trunk.

Enter Newprt Vineyards 2009 White Merlot ($14.99 US).

If you ever get a chance to hit up Newport Vineyards, this definitely has purchasing potential. I mean, taste your way through their wine list and I’m sure you’ll find something worth the bucks, but my money is on the White Merlot. A great mix of snappy acidity and strawberry sweetness, this is a enjoyable summertime sipper. It’s not the most complex wine on the market, but since when does that matter? It’s gulpably good and it goes down quick with zippy cherry and berry notes.

And hey, it’s screwcapped, so your corkscrew can remain buried at the bottom of your bag, right where it belongs. Basil was right – carry a corkscrew and even if you don’t use it, the wine will provide itself.