Wine & Food Pairing (Part 2)

As I sat in my chair with my cup of coffee, contemplating today’s blog, I felt a little daunted.  To take on the topic of pairing wine with chicken – I felt a little intimidated, mainly because there are so many possibilities.  Let’s start to explore them together.

Gone are the days of ‘white wine with chicken’ and ‘red wine with beef’.   Remember our mantra from last week’s blog “It’s all about personal preference”!  My good friend Andrew Facey told me a great way to pair food and wine, and that’s by region.    Just think, what do they eat where the wine comes from?  For example Salmon – how about a Pinot Noir from Oregon.  Or Roast Pork – an Alsace Riesling could be a good pairing.

But back to…… chicken!!!

First of all, my personal favorite with roast chicken or roast turkey is Vouvray, a Chenin Blanc.  And the one I like the most is the J. Moreau & Fils Vouvray available at the NLC.  I haven’t found it in Nova Scotia yet.  With its natural high acidity I love how this wine pairs with roast chicken or roast turkey.  On my palate, it’s a match made in heaven.

J Moreau & Fils Vouvray Demi-Sec, a Vouvray Chenin Blanc by J. Moeau & Fils

Chicken cooked in a rich thick cream sauce may pair well with either a Chardonnay if you’re a white drinker, or a Burgundy if you’re a red drinker.  With thick cream sauces, you could go with a number of Red wines and it will match quite well.   Where as, if you’re having fried chicken, I would personally go for a lighter Sauvignon Blanc.  One of my favorites is Matua Bay Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.

One of the things I have found is that Pinot Noir, one of my favorite reds, goes with just about any chicken dish.

One of my favorites is from right here in Canada, and its Inniskillen Pinot Noir.  The cool climates of Canada make for a good Pinot Noir grape, and although some say, ‘Never trust a Pinot Noir under $20″, this one suits me just fine.

If you’re having chicken, try different wines, and see which one compliments the chicken dish, or detracts.  I would love to hear your opinion.



Wine & Food Pairing

Those that know me, know I not only love wine, but I love food as well.  I’m a Foodie!   And there’s nothing I love more that matching great food with a great wine.

Now I have to tell you, I have done a tremendous amount of ‘experimentation’ on my own, and one of the classes of my Wine Fundamentals Course was dedicated to food and wine pairing and I believe it comes down to one thing…… personal preference.

I may love a certain wine with a certain food and you may not.  I may find a certain wine flavor echo’s that of the food, while you may think the wine contrasts with the food flavor.  Personal preference.

Elements in the food can compliment or detract from one another.  Eating and drinking to find your favorite is the best way.  So please keep in mind, the following wine and food pairings are some of my favorite.  And I look forward to hearing your favorites.

Let’s start with salad.  I love a green salad with a homemade olive oil & balsamic dressing that has fresh garlic, grainy mustard and brown sugar.  And my favorite wine to have with this salad and salad dressing is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region.

Stoneleigh is one of my favorites but I have tried several Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand and I love them all with salad.

Steak – won’t come as a big surprise to anyone that I love a big full-bodied red, like a Shiraz.  Wolf Blass Grey Label and Angove McLaren Vale Shiraz are two of my favorites.

Only one can be the star of the show.  Complex wines tend to go better with simple dishes and simpler wines with more complex dishes.  A simple roast beef with an aged top quality red and a simpler wine with more complicated dishes.  I like a light Pinot Grigio with spicy and Asian foods.

Next week we will get into chicken – and with chicken anything goes.

Till next week – Cheers.


Discovering Local Wine

Monday, October 8th was the Thanksgiving Day holiday in Canada, and I took a break from unpacking to visit the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.   If you are not familiar with the Annapolis Valley, it has spectacular views, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  It also has some pretty nice local vineyards and I got to visit a few of them.

In my wine fundamentals class I learned that Pinot Noir likes to grow in the cooler climates.  And Canada is known for its cooler climates!   So, Pinot Noir may be called temperamental, picky and the heart-break grape, I have been trying to taste as many Pinot Noir’s as I can from Canadian vineyards.  It’s not easy here in Nova Scotia, one NLSC does not carry one bottle of a Pinot Noir from Canada.  Shame.  While on my journey, I picked up a bottle of 2008 Pinot Noir from the Gasperau Vineyard in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

Gasperau Winery was the first vineyard in the Annapolis Valley, and won the 2011 Winery of the Year in Atlantic Canada award.  That said, I was looking forward to trying the Pinot.   And I have to tell you, I was totally impressed, and I’m embarrassed to say ‘surprised’.   The grapes themselves were grown in Canning, Nova Scotia in Kings County.  I loved the taste of vanilla and oak.  I came to find out it was aged in new Hungarian Oak, older French oak and stainless steel.  Interesting.   It also had a peppery taste, and I love the hint of pepper in wines.  It was $20 for a smaller 500 ml bottle, but totally worth it.

Till next week, Cheers.


Discovering New Wine

I have recently moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  And I am loving everything about this city.  One of the most exciting things for me, is to discover new wines that I couldn’t get before.

I have 2 new finds to tell you about.

The first was a housewarming gift, and I loved this wine.

This unique name comes from the practice of toasting barrel heads and staves to impart a mellow toasted flavor to the barrel aged wines made in California.  With flavors of vanilla, dark cherry fruit, blackberry,  and of course toasty oak.    Selling for under $20 here in Nova Scotia, this is a great wine at a great price.

My second find this week was a Bordeaux.  A 2010 Louis Eschenauer Bordeaux

In my opinion this is an easy to drink – easy on the pocketbook Bordeaux.  Still fairly young, this medium body wine has hints of smooth spice and wood.   I always like to learn the story behind a wine, and I found it interesting that the Eschenauer family is originally from Alsace.  When I took my Level 1 Wine Fundamentals course, Andrew talked a lot about the wines from Alsace, but they are known for their white wines.  The family moved to Bordeaux in 1821 and started making red wines.   I had it with pork and I thought it paired very well.   Again, under $20, you can’t go wrong.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did a blog, because I was in transition.  I’m looking forward to sharing my new finds with you each week.

In Vino Veritas.