Photos courtesy of Cheri-Lynn Buchanan
Admittedly, the spring season for 2018 is quite young, but the good people in Niagara-on-the-Lake want you to start thinking about the upcoming season of backyards and barbeque and what you are going to eat and drink outside.
In May, grape meets grill with Sip & Sizzle, a month-long wine and food pairing event taking place at more than 25 wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Not only will this flavour extravaganza inspire your summer wine and menu planning, but you will get to taste great wine and food pairings and decide for yourself what works best for your palate.
Here are just a few of the flavour combinations on offer:
- Riesling paired with grilled shrimp, pickled garden root vegetables, spicy citrus, lime and sweet basil. Riesling is a wine with high acidity, making it a great contrast for rich shrimp and a slight sweetness in the wine will pair perfectly with a bit of spice.
- Sauvignon Blanc paired with smoked white bean hummus and grilled Niagara eggplant "bomba" on crostini. The green and sometimes vegetal nature of Sauvignon Blanc makes it a great wine for vegetarian dishes as the aromas and flavours will complement each other nicely.
- Rosé paired with grilled lamb brochette and a tangy Herbs de Provence glaze. Rosé can be either big and structured enough to match many summer barbeque dishes or light and fresh to enjoy on its own. With this savoury lamb the acidity in the wine will cut through the fattier meat but the lighter flavours and tannins will not overpower the dish.
- Baco Noir paired with bourbon glazed hickory smoked maple bacon wrapped chicken drumettes. Although densely flavoured and full of fruit, Baco Noir is often more medium bodied than Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and therefore a good weight to serve with lighter meats. The smoky flavours in the food will be a good contrast to the ripe, sweet fruit of the wine.
- Cabernet Sauvignon paired with balsamic marinated flank steak served on a fresh Ciabatta bun with creamy coleslaw. Nothing like a rich and structured Niagara-on-the-Lake Cabernet to match a full-flavoured marinated steak – tannins love red meat and you will love this pairing!
- Vidal Icewine paired with S'mores Pie: chocolate cream cheese, chocolate graham and toasted marshmallows. Who said the outdoors can’t be classy? Serving Icewine with any summer dessert raises the bar for your entertaining (just make sure your wine is sweeter than your dessert).
Pass holders for Sip & Sizzle will be treated to one wine and food pairing at each of the participating wineries and passes are good every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in May. So don't try to do all of the wineries in one day. Take your time and enjoy the pairings (and perhaps some other wine tastings while you are there) and visit a few wineries each weekend. Find out more about Sip & Sizzle and purchase your touring passes here: https://wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/event/sip-sizzle/
Anjana Viswanatha [Sommelier CAPS, CMS] is the founder and principal of Wednesday Night Wine (www.wednesdaynightwine.ca), a wine instructor at George Brown College and is the Marketing Manager for Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake (www.winieriesofniagaraonthelake.com, @niagarawine on Twitter and Instagram, @wineriesofniagaraonthelake on Facebook). Get in touch with Anjana: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram @wednesdaynightwine.