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.


Meeting a Legend!

Photo: Me and the one and only Wolf Blass!!   Too cool!

“My wines are sexy, they make weak women strong and strong men weak”   Wolf Blass


Today I met a legend.

That’s me with legendary wine maker Wolf Blass.  What a treat.  This gracious and kind man signed a few bottles of wine for me, so it’s probably no surprise today’s wine blog is about the man himself.

A little history.  Wolfgang Blass is a German immigrant who arrived in Australia in 1961 with a diploma in winemaking.    One of his first jobs was with Tolley, Scott & Tolley as a winemaker.  I read somewhere that in 1966 he bought land on Bilyara Road in Australia and Bilyara is the Aboriginal name for Eaglehawk.  The Eagle is also the national emblem for Germany, where Mr Blass is from, and that’s why the Eagle is on every bottle of his wine.  Today, the label and the name is probably one of the most recognized in the world.

On tonight’s menu, a Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz.  I am going over to a friend’s house for supper and this is what I am bringing.  I love this wine… it’s a great treat wine.  Quoting from the website… “Perhaps the definitive interpretation of McLaren Vale, Grey Label Shiraz is a deeply flavoured, generous, yet elegantly structured wine which expresses all the hallmarks of the distinctive Wolf Blass style. Barrel fermentation adds complexity to pure, concentrated fruit resulting in a lively, long and balanced wine.  For those of you that read my blog on a weekly basis know I love deep rich plum flavors with hints of pepper, spice and oak.  I love this wine with steak, pasta with lots of fresh ground pepper and grilled food.

One other wine I’m going to feature today is a Wolf Blass wine I haven’t tried yet.  I was shocked to discover that by the way.  I thought I had tried them all, but yesterday found Wolf Blass Gold Label 2008 Shiraz.  I bought three, $29.98 at our NLC store, and Mr Blass signed all three.  I am looking forward to trying this wine.

The website suggests pairing it with aged cheddar cheese, which I love, and also lamb, casseroles and roast beef.   It’s a Shiraz from the Barossa region of Australia, so I know I’m going to love it.   Rich fruit and subtle spicy oak – what’s not to like.  I will let you know once I have tried it.

Pick up this man’s book – “Wolf Blass Behind the Bow Tie”, I know I will.

Wolf Blass Behind the Bow Tie