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Wine Pairings - Posted by Airdrie Life Summer 2010

Posted by story by Alex Frazer-Harrison photo by Sergei Belski, July 1st, 2010 | 0 Comments

Photo - Patricia Morrison, manager of The Home Vintner in Airdrie, savours the perfect pairing of gewürztraminer and potato chips.

Good food and good wine go naturally together


So when summer rolls around and you find yourself with bottles of vino to choose from at the store (or that you've made your­self), how do you know what wine works with what kind of food?

"As a rule, heavier-style wines go with heavier foods; anything off the barbecue, you want a heavier style," says Paul Sass of The Home Vintner, an Airdrie shop that sells kits for making wines and offers classes on various aspects of wine appreciation, in­cluding pairing.

"We do classes on wine, cheese and chocolate-pairing," says Sass. "We find people aren't aware of the complexity of chocolate - if you put the right choco­late with the right wines, they can work hand-in-hand."

Sass says it should be dark chocolate, at least 75 per cent ("not a cheap candy bar"), and with "darker reds, ice wines, it completely enhances the whole experience."

If you're planning a 'staycation' this sum­mer, you can still enjoy wines reminiscent of say; an Italian cafe. Prosecco is a wine often found on the streets of Rome and Florence, says Remo Martucci, product manager with Calgary Co-op, which has a Wines & Spir­its shop in Airdrie. "Prosecco [goes with] a nice, fresh salad, or light seafood," Martucci says.

Sauvignon blanc is also a good combina­tion with salad, as well as light pasta with white sauces, Martucci says. On the subject of chocolate pairings, he says dark chocolate goes well with cabernet.

According to Sass, wine and cheese, al­though a classic pairing, can be a tricky one. "Wine and cheese actually hate each other," he says. "You have to have the right cheese for the right wine or you totally wreck the wine."

He says having a lighter cheese with a lighter wine works better than mixing a heavy cheese with a light wine or vice versa. Some combinations Sass recommends include gewürztraminer and Greek feta; cabernet/merlot with old strong cheddar; and cabernet franc ice wine with Danish blue cheese.

Sass says it also helps to look at the food choices where the wine originates as a po­tential clue for good pairings. For example, he says, "If you have darker Italian reds with a red pasta sauce they work fantastic togeth­er: Super Tuscan can be pretty dry, but put it together with a couple of cherry tomatoes and red pasta sauce and that wine has just taken a big leap in its characteristics." And, he adds, you don't even have to think fancy.

"Gewürztraminer is classic with salty ­style foods, so a bag of Lays' potato chips and a bottle of gewürztraminer chilled down works well," he says, "Pinot noir works with a bag of M&Ms', if you have a bad day!"

Both The Home Vintner and Calgary Co-op Wines & Spirits have websites which include lists of wine and food pairing options.

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