Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Year's Eve Challenge: Wine Pairing

Every year my wife and I along with Hugh and his wife invite a few close friends to join us for a New Year's Eve getaway. The past number of years we have rented a cabin on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast to enjoy a few days away from the city. As a gourmet-chef-hobbyist, each year I plan an elaborate 4-5 course meal of my choosing. It is always a wine fest, but this year I thought I would up the ante a bit and turn it into a wine-pairing challenge for Hugh - put those Sommelier skills to the test.

Below is the menu I have planned with a list of ingredients. Hugh will add his wine-pairing choices below each course as they are selected - with his reasoning for the selection. - LC


First Course: Salad

Prosciutto-Cranberry-Mint Salad with Mango-Pomegranate Vinaigrette.
Ingredients: Lettuce, Fennel Leaves, Mint leaves, Prosciutto, Cranberries, Mango and Pomegranate Juice, Vinegar.

Wine Pairing:

To start things off before the salad a good palate cleanser is a sparkling wine. A nice Prosseco will pair well with brie or other soft, light-tasting, cheeses. This will prepare the palate for the other wines to come. The Prosecco I am choosing is the Prosecco Frizzante IGT - Mionetto Il Prosecco ($17.99 at the BCLDB).

Salad is one of the hardest things to pair with, and Liam made this one a hard with the complexity of flavours. I chose the Heartland Viognier - Pinot Gris ($24.99 BCLDB). I have not been disappointed by the Heartland products and the blend of Viognier and Pinot Gris will offer freshness and good acidity while complimenting the fruits with the fuller, more lucious Viognier.

Second Course: Pasta-Risotto Duo

Lobster and Ricotta filled Pesto Ravioli with Lobster and White Truffle Risotto.
Ingredients: Lobster, Risotto, Pesto Pasta, Basil, Parmesan, Onions, White Truffle Oil, Celery, Butter, Chanterelle Mushrooms.

Wine Pairing:

The ravioli and risotto will be rich and have a fair bit of weight. To compliment the weight of this course I am choosing a soft fruit and honey type Chardonnay. These types of chards are characteristic of areas in California; however, one of Icon Wines' favourite chards of the year was the Joie Farms Reserve Chardonnay from BC ($32 from winery). Weight to weight and bit of soft fruit and floral should be tasty.

Third Course: Meat

Beef Tenderloin in a Peppercorn and Red Wine sauce with Braised Vegetables.
Ingredients: Beef, Peppercorn Seasoning, Carrots, Asparagus, Fennel, Red Wine.

Wine Pairing:

A classic pairing for beef tenderloin with a red wine sauce is a powerful Cabernet Sauvignon. This course commands a wine that can stand up to its weight, but the dish allows for a wine that could have some depth and complexity. I have chosen the Edge Wines - Cabernet Sauvignon from California ($33.99 from the BCLDB). Simplicity with weight and power. The wine can offer some complexity as well.

Fourth Course: Desert

Chocolate Fondant
Ingredients: Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Fudge, Butter, Flour, Sugar, Vanilla,

Wine Pairing:

For the final course I wanted to add a wine from my home town. I chose the Stratus 2007 - Icewine Red ($39.85 from winery). This wine offers mid-sweet flavours of strawberry rhubard with some spice and good acidity. This combo of chocolate with strawberry flavours was hard to resist and should be a great topper to a fantastic meal.

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