Wines of Niagara are making it an exciting time for local food and wine lovers with perfect food pairings.
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. (April 13, 2015) — Among the many attributes of Ontario’s growing roster of VQA wines is the way they pair perfectly with so many foods.
While the Niagara viticulture area is on the same latitude as the well-known wine region of Tuscany in Italy, its cooler average temperatures during the grape growing season make it a cool climate wine region, similar to New Zealand, Germany and Austria. Grapes grown in these regions ripen and accumulate their flavour slowly. The wines tend to be quite complex and balanced, with a slightly higher overall acidity in both reds and whites, a trait that makes a wine a better match with a variety of dishes.
“Hot climate wines can often seem jammy and overpowering when it comes to pairing them with food,” says Marcel Morgenstern, a Sommelier and sales manager of PondView Estate Winery. “A bit of acidity in our wines helps balance cream-based sauces and the rich, fatty textures of meats. It can also create a sense of sweetness when matched with lemon or lime acidity that you may find in a filet of fish or calamari.”
The Europeans have a long culinary history of pairing locally crafted wines with local cuisine; think about a German Riesling with pork, or a rich Syrah blend with the stronger cheeses of Southern France.
In comparison, Ontario’s culinary cuisine and local winery scene is very young, but it is quickly evolving. Thanks to some very innovative chefs and visionary winemakers, there is a distinctly local food culture growing around Ontario’s wine regions.
There are already some classic food and wine pairings coming from the Niagara appellation:
- Local cheeses and cured meats are being used to create some spectacular antipasto platters and charcuterie plates, usually accompanied by some handmade chutneys made from locally grown fruits and preserved and pickled local produce. A refreshing, light and crisp wine that cleanses your palate and also matches the chutneys, like a Pinot Grigio, is a popular and great pairing for this course of your meal. Enjoy it chilled, but not too cold, to enjoy all of its fruity and refreshing characteristics.
- Niagara’s Cabernet Merlot blends tend to lean more towards a Cabernet Franc base, and these rich, fruit driven wines with red berry, rich cherry and some earthy notes are a perfect match for the flavourful lamb that is being raised in Ontario. Try an herb-crusted rack of lamb with a ripe, juicy medium bodied Cabernet Merlot.
- When it comes to desserts, Icewine is the absolute go to wine. Known for its richness and sweetness, great Icewines also have a good backbone of acidity, which balances out the wine, leaves your taste buds wanting another sip (no sweet cloying in the back of your throat) and makes it ideal to pair with desserts. Just make sure the wine is sweeter than the dessert, otherwise the wine will seem flabby. A favourite for food and wine lovers in Niagara is local peach pie and Vidal Icewine. Simple and heavenly at the same time!
- Don't want pie? Skip to the cheese course at the end of the dinner and choose some stronger cheeses to pair with the Icewine and experience the delicious contrast of salty and sweet on your palate.
“If you want to design a truly local menu, it’s a no brainer to also go local with your wine or craft beer,” says Morgenstern. “It is exciting time for wine and food lovers in Ontario. We have seen incredible growth in the quality of both Ontario chef cuisine and the wines we are producing.”
About PondView Estate Winery
Drawing on more than three generations of winemaking experience, PondView Estate Winery is one of the newest additions to the Four Mile Creek appellation in the heart of Niagara’s wine country. Family owned by Luciano and Adriana Puglisi, Pondview crafts exceptional Ontario VQA wines rooted in an Italian heritage. Luciano’s enthusiasm and respect for the winemaking process, alongside his dedication and commitment to excellence, earned him the prestigious title of Grape King in 2008, awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture to the finest vineyard operator in Ontario. The secret to the success of Pondview Estate Winery is the long-held belief of the Puglisi family: Great wine is a harmony of earth and vine.