Archive for the ‘Wine Pairings’ Category

It’s cold, grey and rainy today – a good day for soup!  There is nothing more inviting in the midst of a lazy Sunday than to smell the aromas of spices and sweet vegetables throughout the house.  One of my all-time favorites, butternut squash and apple bisque, delivers sweet mouthfuls of goodness with a good boost from cinnamon and nutmeg.  This soup makes an excellent first course to a special fall meal or a lovely luncheon main and although the results are impressive it is deceptively easy to cook.

I first started making this soup in Canada during the fall when I lived in to my first apartment with my good friend Jill.   We were both novice cooks, liked to experiment with wholesome foods and share our creations.  Both of us loved the sweet flavours in this soup so we looked forward to enjoying a bowl and a good gab. Jill’s most memorable creation for me was a soft goat cheese, raisin and spice carrot sandwich.  Years later I found a similar recipe for such a sandwich on the internet and as you would guess I make myself.  Delicious!   She was definitely on to something.

Butternut squash is best in the fall so now is the time to enjoy this gem.  MaryFrances has created a couple of gorgeous wine pairings that will send you into heaven.  I wish you a happy fall enjoying all the beautiful produce and look forward to cooking with you soon.

Continue for recipe and here for a lovely wine pairing

Read Full Post »

Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque…instantly a reminder of a fresh autumn day of bright fall colours, crisp air, low sun … and a full belly warmed by the perfect wine that is crisp like the air yet toasty warm.

The wine journey starts in the old world region of Burgundy, France where white wine is Chardonnay. We step into the most southern region of Burgundy, the Maconnais. Here lies the small limestone and clay plot of St Veran, near to the prestigious Pouilly-Fuisse appellation.

Chateau-Fuisse, St. Veran 2010, 13.5 abv. pours a simple pale clear yellow colour offering no hint to the lovely sensory experience that follows…

A crisp nose of apple mingling with distant notes of warm cooked applesauce, hints of mineral flint, lime blossom, honeysuckle and sweet orange tantalize a further investigation.   The palate does not disappoint bursting with the acidity of tangy granny smith apples which quickly and gently soften with hints of vanilla, honey, and touches of baked custard finishing with surprising persistence.  This white cuts through the creaminess of the soup and pairs elegantly with the spices and apple ingredients.

For the creamy buttery toast this soup beckons, we paired a classic new world Chardonnay. The tasting takes us to the Alexander Valley in northern Sonoma County, California, USA, where the valley at the foothills of the Coastal Range Mountains is a mere 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Souverain Chardonnay 2009, 13.9 abv offers such style.  It pours a light golden yellow with a viscosity that says savour me slowly.  The nose offers no surprise with big vanilla bean, French vanilla ice-cream, apple- vanilla custard with hints of lemon, peach and apricot a distant breeze beneath.  The palate has a rich and creamy texture much like the nose. It mingles with stone fruits and buttered toffee rounding out the warm spices of the soup that carry us to a long satisfying finish.

Both whites, impressive for under $28 CAD or less than 20 Euro must not be over chilled for full sensory pleasure. Toss the roasted pumpkins seeds on the soup  to further develop the wine`s potential to tease.



Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Read Full Post »

Every bite of this brined pork crown roast is a scrumptious juicy mouthful of savory flavors demanding a perfect wine to compliment it’s full and complex intensity.

Let me introduce Cuvée Arthur, Pinot Noir, 2009, 13% abv, Alsace, France which gets a standing ovation with this meal.  Arthur, a fine fellow who meets the challenge with the elegance of a true Old-World gentleman, gracefully provides harmony with the savory mouth watering white meat.  Arthur hails from Alsace, France, and is a regional misfit, as Alsace is not a usual home for a French Pinot Noir.

A clear ruby red appearance, edged with purple, color welcomes you with a refined nose of dark cherry and dusty raspberries. The palate of soft round tannins, offers a fresh finish that boasts gentle dark berries, a field of wild flowers with a touch of vanilla providing an easy, balanced compliment to this savory juicy white meat.

It was too tempting not to open a bottle of Castillo de Monseran Garanach, 2010, this years National Post Wine of the Day and one of Wine Access Magazine’s 2012 Top 25 Value Wine Awards Deal of the year.   This clear deep ruby red Grenache provides a subdued grapy, black cherry and herbal nose with a youthful combination of easy drinking black currant jam and candied red liquorice, soft round tannins and refreshing acidity.  Our curiosity about the wine provided a delightful surprise but we quickly realized not for this dish! The initial mouthful cancels the savory delight and fills the mouth with its candied  freshness.  I suggest saving this inexpensive youthful Spanish gem for casual pizza night.

No tasting is complete without a splash of white for those so inclined.  This Canadian gal turns once again to the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada for a New World version of an Old World style.  Desert Hills Estate Winery 2011 Gewürztraminer offers an elegant noseful of roses, cold cream, perfume and lanolin. The palate of fresh lime infused acidity combines honey, and tropical fruits with a hint of ginger coming forth from the background, leaves a touch of sweetness balanced by full round acidity, absolutely scrumptious but it’s regal magnificence slightly over powers the subtle savory flavors of this meal.



Read Full Post »

To warm my very old world heart…
I imagine a rather rustic red with soft round tannins and dark fresh fruit red to pair with this spicy chicken dish with full flavored veggie ensemble.

I pick two versions of the varietal of Gamay from France.
Clos del’Elu: Indigene 2011, 12% abv. is a 50/50 Gamay/Grolleau blend.

The bright violet color leads us gently into a palate of round mellow tannins, inspired by medium fresh acidity just enough to open and compliment the spices in the meal.
 The palate of rustic stemmy stick and earth, wrapped in a furry leather coat opens up a bright juicy pomegranate-cherry, dark raspberry fruit. A most interesting sip, mingling the food and wine palate with balance.

For a more traditional expression of Gamay (and better!) of juicy dark raspberry, sappy strawberry vibrancy try
 Domaine Robert Serol, Les Originelles, 2011, 12% abv 100% Gamay.
Here we find the identity crisis of the part Loire, northeast of Beaujolais region of Cote Roannaise, France. The typical fresh vibrant dark fruit so lovely, yet not in your face, smooth and soft sip after sip ( after sip ) with this spicy fresh meal.

Serve both these Gamay`s slightly chilled.

This Old World/ New World Canadian gal looks to the Okanagan region, of British Columbia in Western Canada to offer a white selection.

Going directly to Desert Hills’s exclusive Okanagan Valley, Osoyoos vineyard offering of the old world turned new version of Viogner, 13.3% abv.

This full, fat, fragrant, fresh and forward white is a crisp mouth full of apricot, lime and honeysuckle blossom absolutely scrumptious with full yet round acidity inspiring true delight in this spicy mixture of flavors in this meal.

Lastly, for those invited over to the feast who don`t prefer the wine, try Pinkers Organic unfiltered Wheat Ale from Germany for a palate cleansing, spice reducing lemon peel, bubble-gummy refreshment of effervescent tanginess.

MaryFrances, Sommelier

Read Full Post »