Ask and ye shall receive...
I'm often asked for my wine/drink suggestions so I thought what the heck it’s time to start a very easy and very basic wine & info-graphic series.
I’m calling the series “Drink & Food Basics”. The first segment is called "15 Types of Wine You Should Know".
Let me first start off by saying that wine needn’t be expensive or be an intimidating experience -- in fact it should be fun for all! With these few basic pointers and thoughtful suggestions you’ll be on your way in no time (directly to the LCBO or SAQ.)
With this series I’ll share with you my very straightforward rules or guidelines for picking and discovering wines/drinks to complement most any of your dishes for every occasion -- guaranteed to leave you and your guests happy and satisfied.
These posts might include me sharing ideas, tips and recipes to take your food & drink pairings to a whole new level of tastiness.
And I will strive to keep the suggestions under $20.00 unless I deem the drink splurge-worthy.
This first info-graphic is about “Grape Varieties”.
In my honest opinion these are the top 15 Types of Wine You Should Know. There are plenty of others but I will talk about those in a later segment.
But before I get to the list I must mention that the timing of this post was well-planned as Christmas and New Years were quickly approaching and you know what that means -- Holiday celebrations. Well actually this list can be used throughout the year.
So what are you having for your Christmas Eve or that special dinner? Turkey? Beef? Lamb? Seafood? Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich (yes it is a legit possibility)? No matter what, your meal of choice is, I have you covered. I’m officially upping the wine game. Who’s with me?
So let’s get to the part you’re all really interested in -- the suggestions.
1) Champagne or Sparkling wine is perfect for anything salty. They have a faint hint of sweetness to them. Classic pairing Oysters, hors d'oeuvres or all on its own as a palate cleanser per dinner -- instant satisfaction.
Bargain: Villa Sandi Prosecco | Italy | LCBO#: 194191 $9.45
Bargain: Villa Conchi Brut Selección Cava | Spain | VINTAGES#: 386979 $14.95
Bargain: Villa Maria Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc | Marlborough, New Zealand | LCBO#: 429969 $17.95
2) Rosé Champagne or Rosé Sparkling wine has the depth of flavor and richness to go with a wide range of main courses. Try with grilled fish or seafood. Side note: Cavas and Proseccos are a great alternative to champagne and sparkling wines and are usually great value for the money.
Bargain: Codorniu Seleccion Raventos Pinot Noir Rose | Spain | LCBO#: 370080 $16.95
Splurge: Pierre Sparr Brut Rosé Crémant d'Alsace | Alsace, France | VINTAGES#: 39016 $18.95
3) Off-Dry Riesling pairs well with sweet & spicy dishes. The slight sweetness of many Rieslings helps tame the heat of spicy dishes. Try this “Spicy Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-fry”.
Bargain: Cave Spring Riesling Dry | Ontario | LCBO#: 233635 $15.95
Splurge: Trimbach Riesling 2013 | Alsace, France | VINTAGES#: 734517 $23.95
4) Sauvignon Blanc goes well with tangy, tart dressings and sauces. Try this LCBO recipe “Creamy Citrus Linguine with Prosciutto”.
Bargain: Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough | Marlborough, New Zealand | LCBO#: 426601 $17.45
Splurge: Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc | Marlborough, New Zealand | VINTAGES#: 677450 $24.95
5) Pinot Grigio is lovely with light fish dishes + light seafood dishes.
Bargain: Montalto Pinot Grigio | Sicily, Italy | LCBO#: 73148 $9.45 This is a great bargain!
Bargain: Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio IGT | Veneto, Italy | LCBO#: 589101 $13.45
6) Chardonnay pairs well with fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce.
Bargain: Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay | Wellington, South Africa | LCBO#: 367698 $14.95
Splurge: La Crema Chardonnay 2014 | California, USA | VINTAGES#: 962886 $29.95
7) Dry Rosé pair it with rich, cheesy dishes. For an indulgent cheese dish, try pairing with my version of a "Baked Italian Cheese Sandwich". I make this sandwich fresh basil, sliced provolone cheese and prosciutto, bake under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and the prosciutto is crispy. Or better yet, slather with butter and fry in a pan. Nomnom.
Bargain: Ogier Cotes du Ventoux Rose AOC | Rhône, France | LCBO#: 134916 $13.95
Splurge: Miraval Rosé 2015 | Provence, France | VINTAGES#: 342584 $22.95
8) Sangiovese derives from the Chianti Classico Region or Tuscany. The wine has fruit forward flavors and high acidity which is easily paired with tomato based dishes of Italian origin, such as pasta and pizza. Outside of Italian food, it goes well with rich, roasted meats and hard, aged cheeses.
Bargain: Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico | Tuscany, Italy | VINTAGES#: 741769 $18.95
Splurge: Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale DOCG | Tuscany, Italy | LCBO#: 45195 $24.95
9) Pinot Noir is one of the most sought after wines in the world -- usually making it one of the more expensive or premium wines to purchase. Pinot Noir’s versatility pairs well with a wide range of foods from ethnic cuisine to classic dishes. It goes notably well with creamy sauces and poultry or fish -- the perfect match to that beautifully basted turkey you might be having at your Christmas Dinner.
Bargain: Ara Pathway Pinot Noir | Marlborough, New Zealand | LCBO#: 416230 $16.95
Worthy Splurge: Norman Hardie Unfiltered Niagara Pinot Noir | Ontario, Canada | VINTAGES#: 208702 $45.20
10) Merlot’s mild, balanced nature pairs well with a wide range of foods. It shines next to grilled or baked poultry, beef or game, and next to any dishes that feature the use of a strong cheese, like sharp cheddar.
Bargain: Santa Carolina Reserva Merlot | Chile 124 | LCBO#: 324590 $12.95
Bargain: Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot |Washington, USA | LCBO#: 454835 $14.95
11) Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous with juicy, flavorful red meat. The firm tannins in these wines refresh the palate after each bite of meat.
Happy Compromise: McManis Cabernet Sauvignon | California, USA | VINTAGES#: 212126 $19.95
Splurge: Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon | Western Australia, Australia | VINTAGES#: 606624 $21.95
Splurge: Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Cabernet Sauvignon | California, USA | VINTAGES#: 521021 $27.95
12) Zinfandel works really well with pâtés, mousses and terrines. Also great with BBQ ribs, steak or other red meats.
Bargain: Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2014 | California, USA | VINTAGES#: 678698 $17.95
Splurge: 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel | California, USA | VINTAGES#: 59311 $24.95
13) Syrah matches well with highly spiced dishes or lamb and red meat dishes.
Bargain: Wakefield Promised Land Shiraz | South Australia, Australia | LCBO#: 441543 $14.95
Splurge: Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2014 | South Australia, Australia | VINTAGES#: 9480 $24.95
14) Late Harvest wines are a result of grapes being left on the vine for several weeks or in some cases months after the usual harvest. The grapes dehydrate and the sugar content becomes more concentrated, resulting in a very sweet, syrupy dessert wine. You should try a bottle of late harvest wine at least once in your life. And try with this recipe it is a really simple pairing - Easy Ricotta Dessert Créme.
Happy Compromise: Inniskillin Vidal Icewine | Ontario, Canada | VINTAGES#: 83931 $22.75
Worthy Splurge: Château Suduiraut 2013 | Bordeaux, France | VINTAGES#: 386839 $59.85
15) Port is nicely paired with a cheeseboard (Stilton and aged hard cheeses are the best matches), chocolate dessert (dark with little sugar) or try making an intense Port wine reduction to drizzle over vanilla bean ice cream.
Bargain: Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port | Portugal | LCBO#: 46946 $18.10
Happy Compromise: Warre's Otima 10 Year Old Port | Douro, Portugal | LCBO#: 566174 $21.95
Splurge: Warre's Otima 20 Year Old Tawny Port | Douro, Portugal | LCBO#: 224179 $39.85
I'm curious do you have a favorite wine that you would like to see added to this list? And what was your most favorite wine and food pairing? Or leave me a message (below) if you have a particular pairing you want advice on!
Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional wine taster, instead I consider myself to be a keen wine, drink and food enthusiast who is studying to be a Sommelier. All thoughts and comments are based on my own tasting experiences as such our tastes may vary. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should always drink and eat what you like.
Cheers Cora at Sip, Sample & Stroll