Fall Feasting: Fine Wine & Food of Ontario
Fall has arrived to Ontario and there are few more enjoyable things than a harvest-inspired meals splashed down with bottles on bottles of white and red wine pairings. When matching these heart-warming dishes with wine it’s important to keep in mind that the elements in both wine and food should enhance and not necessarily complement each another. Following are a few of my favourite fall harvest dishes perfectly paired with our local food-friendly Ontario wines.
Thanksgiving Turkey & 13th Street Gamay Noir 2014
Traditionally, Thanksgiving fare includes roasted turkey, sourdough stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes smothered in gravy and cranberry sauce. Best suited wines should be fruity with mouth-watering acidity to mingle with sweet and tarty cranberry sauce. High-acid, low-tannin Gamay Noir with bright cherry and cranberry flavors is a perfect match.
Vinified with hand-harvested 100 % gamay noir grapes grown in Niagara’s Sandstone and Whitty Vineyards, this 13th Street Gamay is bursting with aromas and flavours of ripe raspberries, cherries and strawberries with a touch of spice. Fresh and lively with well-balanced acidity and smooth tannins. Closes in a lingering, polished finish. Try it this year with the Thanksgiving turkey and a home-made tangy cranberry sauce. Serve slightly chilled. Tasted April 2016/92 points.
Pork Roast & Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Estate Riesling 2014
Germany’s most celebrated grape variety feels right at home here in Ontario. It is a great transitional wine from the summer season to fall and it comes with abundant aromas and flavours of dried apricot, ripe peach, honey, petrol, and our recognizable Ontario minerality. When fermented to dryness, it produces fuller bodied, higher alcohol wines, making them exceptionally well suited as a pairing with traditional fall dishes.
From Limestone Ridge, Tawse’s newest estate vineyard comes this pretty aromatic sparkler. Crafted with hand-harvested Riesling grapes in the Méthode Traditionnelle, it displays great complexity imparted by bottle-fermentation. Bright with crisp acidity, it’s bursting with aromas and flavours of green apples, lime and lemon drops with a touch of minerality. Soft and persistent mousse with clean and lasting lemon-hued finish. Tasted June 2016/91 points. LCBO# 370361, $19.95.
Lemon Roast Chicken & Huff Estates 2012 South Bay Chardonnay
Rich white wines, such as Chardonnay, Sémillon and Viognier make a perfect pairing to slow roasting chicken and the aromas coming from the kitchen are hard to resist. It is a perfect fall dish once the cooler weather rolls in. These richer, fulled bodied whites are usually aged in oak barrels to impart classic vanilla/coconut notes and often aged on its lees to add complexity and buttery flavours witch makes for creamier wines with mellower acidity.
An elegant Chardonnay from the warmer South Bay vineyards of Ontario’s Prince Edward County, the winner of 2015 National Wine Awards of Canada is a perfect mach. Big and bold with excellent fruit concentration, depth and complexity. Aromas and flavours of lemon drops, apples and nectarines with a whiff of that unmistakable County minerality. Rich, luxurious mouthfeel, closes in a long, lingering, vanilla-almond-tinged finish. Drink now through 2020. Lip-smacking delicious!! LCBO# 88955, $ 29.95.
Wild Mushroom Risotto & Rosehall “JCR” Pinot Noir
Gastronomical region of Piedmont is a home of risotto. Unlike the rest of Italy, this is the land of butter and hearty fare due to the strong French influence from Savoy just across the border. Originally cultivated by Burgundian monks in France, Pinot Noir makes a fantastic pairing with any mushroom based dish. When finding a perfect wine match for risotto, it is important to consider its flavouring.
Wild mushrooms bring richness and earthiness to the dish, which makes Pinot Noir a perfect match. Vinified with 100% county grown fruit, this Pinot Noir beautifully showcases the unique sense of place and character of the County wines. Medium-bodied, dry and fruit forward, it’s bursting with aromas and flavours of red fruit; sour cherries and a touch of earthiness. It closes in a long, lingering, smoke-tinged finish. VINTAGES#: 326504, $39
Apple Galette & Inniskillin’s Late Harvest Vidal
Apple tarts are one of the most flattering desserts to match with dessert wines. Traditional apple pies generally served hot or warm are beautifully matched with the late-harvest wines vinified with grapes left on the vine longer. Riper, naturally dehydrated grapes when picked make for more concentrated flavors and raisin-like qualities, imparted by high sugar content.
When matching desserts with wine, keep in mind that the wine should always be sweeter than the dessert. This delicious and intensely aromatic Vidal Icewine comes from Inniskillin’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Winery. Vinified from premium thick-skinned Vidal grapes suitable for late season picking. Bursting with tropical aromas and flavours of ripe mangoes, white peaches, candid lemons and creamy honey while maintaining crisp acidity. Great dessert on its own, or paired with fruit tarts and pies. VINTAGES#: 551085, $ 49.95