Twelve months ago if someone had asked me my opinion on Hungarian wines, I would have responded with a blank stare. However, having since visited Hungary on vacation last summer, I have become smitten, not just with the wines, but with the country itself.
A century ago Hungary was one of the most important wine producers in Europe. However since then, Hungary grape vines were attacked by the phylloxera aphid which resulted in devastating losses. After that, Hungary itself was attacked during the two world wars, followed by a Communist occupation that lasted until 1991.
The g0od news is Hungary is making a comeback. There are now a multitude of small estates producing tasty wines, using a combination of traditional practices and modern sensibility.
With Hungary being situated between the 46th and 49th parallel, it is in the same latitude range as many of France’s top wine regions from Northern Rhône to Champagne. Hungary’s rolling hills are rich in volcanic soils and limestone–idyllic soil types for fine winemaking.
There are 22 wine regions in Hungary which has been highly criticised given the size of the country. However, this has not deterred the Hungarians as they feel the regions are well known and understood by their people. Each region is unique based on the climate, soil composition, and the grape varietals grown.
The climate ranges from having a small amount of rain, dry, extreme summer, cold winter to moderate, sub Mediterranean to cool, small amount of rain, long winter; to cool, rainy, windy and warm winter, dry summer, extreme amount of sunshine. As a result there is a large range in grape varietals grown from one region to the next.
Grape varietals being grown in Hungary include,
Zöld Veltelini (Grüner Veltliner)
Hungary produces not only red and white wine, but Rosé, Sparkling, and Sweet wine as well.
Here is an interesting fact. Hungarian wine producers use Hungarian oak to temper their intense wines. Hungarian oak barrels can also be found in many wineries in Europe and North America. Expect more delicate effects from Hungarian oak than from its French and American counterparts, and soft, creamy, toasted flavors and aromas.
Hungarian wine regions and local styles are as alluring as they are diverse. If a wine shop were organized by flavor profile, Hungarian wines would all belong in different corners of the store. Yet all the wines reflect something of their shared history.
There is one wine that is unique to Hungary – Tokaji, which is pronounced as “Toe-Kye”. To receive the Tokaji denotation, dry or sweet, a wine can only contain the 6 native varieties of Furmint (“foor-meent”), Hárslevelü (“harsh-level-ooo”), Kabar (“kah-bar”), Kövérszölö (“kuh-vaer-sue-lou”), Zéta (“zay-tuh”), and Sárgamuskotály (“shar-guh-moose-koh-tie”). The wine is made from individually picked botrytized grapes that are then mashed and soaked in dry wine or must. The resulting wine, after aging, is golden, extremely sweet (120-180 grams per liter) and has the potential to age indefinitely when properly stored.
This treasured wine often has the flavour of candied tangerines and apricots, cinnamon and cloves, with sweetness somewhere between honey and nectar. Its bright acidity balances out the extreme sugar content. In Hungary, the classic pairing is foie gras, but you can drink it with creamy cheeses, lemon tarts, or simply on its own. A bottle could easily set you back in excess of $60.
In spite of all of the wonderful Hungarian offerings, there is one to avoid, that being Bikavér. These are mass-produced wines dating back to the communist regime. Your local wine retailer should be able to assist you in avoiding these wines.
Hungarian wines are one of the wine world’s under publicised and best kept secrets. Unfortunately they are not as prominent in this country as many of their other European cousins. If you come across Hungarian wines in your local wine store, I recommend trying one. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
While many dessert wines exist, there are a few that define the category, ranging from less sweet to more sweet, light to alcohol-laden, and best for youthful drinking to better when aged for decades.
In addition to fortified wines, which were discussed on February 22, 2020, there are a variety of offerings that are considered to be great dessert wines.
Late-Harvested / Noble Rot Wines
Late-harvested wines are exactly that, wines that are made from grapes that are left on the vine until late in the harvest season. They are then extremely ripe and contain an abundance of sugar.
Included in this group are ice wines. Canada and Germany are the world’s largest producers of ice wines, and about 75% of Canadian ice wine comes from Ontario. As it’s unaffected by noble rot and fermented slowly, ice wines retain many primary characteristics which set them apart from their botrytized counterparts. It is luscious, intensely flavoured, with aromas and flavours of ripe tropical fruits like lychee and pineapple when made with white grapes, although wines made with red varieties can give more concentrated strawberry flavours.
Much like Sauternes, icewine is a perfect match for strong cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Parmesan. Milder cheeses aren’t strong enough to stand up to the drink’s lusciousness, but cheese-based desserts such as cheesecake are.
Salty hors d’oeuvres like tapenade or salted nuts enhance the fruity acidity of the wine, while balancing out the high sugar levels.
The high acidity also means you can opt for richer foods like pâtés.
Finally, similar to Riesling, ice wines go well with spicy foods, which are often hard to match with wine. This is because of its higher sugar content. Curries and aromatic Thai dishes which are usually difficult to match would go well with an icewine with pronounced tropical flavours.
Red ice wines, made with Cabernet Franc, shine when paired with richer desserts made with chocolate, which bring out their red fruit flavours.
Noble rot, or botrytized wines are a type of late-harvest wine, but the healthy grapes are actually attacked by a fungus called Botrytis cinerea, which punctures grape skins to dehydrate them and concentrate flavors, sugar and acidity. Botrytis adds its own unique flavors as well, such as hints of ginger, orange and honey.
Riesling is one of the most versatile grapes in the world, making not only bone-dry wines, but lusciously sweet, high-quality ones as well. While Riesling is grown all over the world, the sweet versions of the wine come from Germany.
Sweet wines range from off-dry Kabinett and Spatlese with a small distinguishable amount of sugar and fresh, delicate fruit flavors, to late-harvested Auslese with a higher concentration, richer fruit flavors, and a broader mouthfeel, to fully botrytized Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese wines with lusciously-sweet, orange blossom-like, honeyed richness. It is an excellent pairing with apple pie, caramelized desserts, tropical fruit, peaches and cream and sweet desserts.
Austria also makes Riesling using its version of the Pradikat system, and Canada is actually producing some delicious ice wine Riesling as well. All these Rieslings tend to be fairly low in alcohol, with the sweetest wines being in the single-digits of alcohol percentage and the double-digits of years to age.
There are those who would argue that Sauternes is the world’s greatest sweet wine. Sauternes is one of history’s most coveted and expensive sweet wines. It is the gold standard when it comes to botrytis-affected wines, made from the Sémillon grape, along with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. Producers selectively pick only noble rot-affected grapes as the fungus develops. These revolting looking grapes transform into a lusciously sweet dessert wine that is typically aged in oak before release. Dried fruit, saffron, honey, orange, golden apple, crème brulee and much more unfold over time in the bottle and the glass, aging for years and years after the vintage.
Originating in Hungary, made from the local Furmint grape, which is high in acidity and very susceptible to botrytis, Tokaji is best known for its aszú version, made from late-harvested, shriveled, botrytis-affected grapes gathered in containers called puttony. These super-sweet, barrel-aged Tokaji Aszú wines are low in alcohol, have a viscous mouthfeel, and are often quite honeyed. There is also a little amount of Tokaji Esszencia produced, which is made only from the syrupy free-run juice that comes from the aszú grapes. It is possibly the sweetest wine in the world, is extremely rare, can age for over a century and is typically sold by the teaspoonful.
If you happen to find yourself in a position to purchase some Tokaji, dessert pairings include roasted pineapple, caramelized apple, dark chocolate and Christmas pudding.
Late-Harvest Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc, grown in its many Loire Valley appellations, is another one of those very common grapes, but whether dry or sweet, light or full, still or sparkling, it is always very characteristically Chenin.
Vouvray, perhaps the most famous Loire Valley appellation in France for Chenin, can range from dry to sweet even in this one region; the indications of demi-sec, moelleux, and liquereux will indicate the presence of residual sugar.
Sweet Chenin Blanc reaches its pinnacle in the region of Coteaux du Layon, where grapes are late-harvested in many passes through the vineyard. While producers hope for botrytis, it all depends on vintage, and some years will have more botrytis than others. The sub-regions of Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume are even more highly sought-after, and the wines develop golden apple, honey, and orange blossom characteristics. Because of the amount of sugar in these wines, they will continue to develop with age, getting smokier and more interesting over time.
Desserts that pair well with late-harvest Chenin Blanc include fresh strawberries tumbling over shortcake or lemon-meringue pie.
Dried Grape Wines
A technique traditionally used in Italy, Greece, and sometimes Austria, dried grape, or passito, wines are made by purposefully drying healthy grapes after harvest, typically on straw mats or by hanging grape bunches from rafters. This dehydrates the grapes, concentrating the remaining sugar and flavors and creating a sweet wine with clean and often-raisined flavors. The passito process yields less wine than typical vinification does, since the juice is essentially being extracted from raisins, making these wines more expensive than their still-wine counterparts.
Red wines pair well with most desserts or blue cheeses. The whites are best suited with exotic or candied fruits.
Vin Santo Del Chianti
While “holy wine” can be found in several regions of Italy (as well as a version from Greece), this version from the heart of Tuscany is the most famed. Made from Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia grapes that are hung in whole bunches from rafters, Vin Santo del Chianti is barrel-aged between three and eight years in either small oak or traditional chestnut barrels, allowing some of the wine to evaporate and concentrate flavors in the remaining amber-colored wine. The wine is rich and sweet, with golden raisin and dried fruit flavors.
Dessert pairings include Crostata di Frutta, blackberry mini tartlettes, ginger desserts, pumpkin pie, dark chocolate, and nutty desserts like pecan pie.
Recioto Della Valpolicella
In keeping with the famed red wines of this region in the Veneto of Italy, Recioto della Valpolicella is a sweet red wine made from dried Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. Traditionally, grapes are dried on straw mats or in lofts called fruttai, which ensure that air circulates through the grapes during the drying process so that mold does not form. Recioto winemakers will typically allow the wine to ferment until the alcohol content is around 14% and will then chill the wine to stop fermentation and leave residual sugar. Dried berry and raisin notes characterize the dense Recioto della Valpolicella, along with chocolate and vanilla.
Desserts containing chocolate, coffee, or dried fruit such as Black Forest cake or tiramisu pair well with the Valpolicella. But where Recioto truly stands out is with ripened cow’s milk cheeses, becoming unexpectedly delicious with blue-veined cheese served with macerated fruit.
I must admit that prior to researching dessert wines there are a number of them that I had never even heard of, let alone tried. The wines that are most easily found in local liquor stores will include late harvest wines, fortified wines, and Canadian ice wines. However, if I ever get the opportunity to travel to France and Italy, there are a few selections that I will be on the hunt for.
I previously examined a number of the trending wines from Ontario. This week I will identify a similar group of wines that are on top of the wine scene in British Columbia. The wineries presented here are based on my own interpretation of critic reviews and award results over the past year. The information presented about each winery has been gathered from the winery web site.
Unfortunately, none of this particular group of wines is available in liquor or wine stores outside of B.C., but a number of them are accessible from the winery web sites.
The wineries are presented in alphabetical order. Though the critically acclaimed wines are presented, I doubt you would be disappointed in any of the wines offered from these establishments.
Blasted Church Vineyards
The winery is on a former church site so they focus their story on local folklore; the blasting of a local church with dynamite in order to move it from one location to another. The owners have played out the church theme well, in everything from the wine names and labels to the organization of their web site.
2016 Merlot – $27
2017 Pinot Noir – Sold out
2012 OMFG (white) – $40
Cedar Creek Estate Winery
Cedar Creek has been Canada’s “Winery of the Year” twice. Winemaker Taylor Whelan is building upon three decades of winemaking history and defining a new chapter with estate-grown, organic wines. Both the Home Block and Cedar Creek estate vineyards have been officially certified organic following a three-year conversion of the estate’s viticulture and winemaking practices. For the Kelowna winery, it was a three-year conversion process, accredited by Ecocert Canada, which began in August of 2016.
Because of planting decisions made in the early 1990’s, they now have 30-year-old vines at the heart of everything they do.
2018 Chardonnay – $19
2018 Platinum Block 7 Pinot Gris – $30
2018 Platinum Block 3 Riesling – $30
2017 Platinum Riesling Icewine – $58
2017 Platinum Haynes Creek Vineyard Syrah – $50
2017 Pinot Noir 2017 – $27
Deep Roots Winery
Deep Roots is a family owned and operated winery perched on the clay cliffs above Okanagan Lake on the Naramata Bench.
The family has been farming the land around the winery for 100 years, spanning four generations. After many years of selling grapes to other wineries they produced their first vintage in 2012.
They have two vineyards at two sites on the Naramata Bench: the Hardman Vineyard and Rayner’s Vineyard.
The Hardman Vineyard is home to nine acres where they grow Muscat, Gamay, Merlot, and Malbec. The Rayner property is home to eleven acres of vines including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Malbec, and Syrah.
Both of these farms were planted with fruit orchards for much of the previous century, which has contributed to the unique and rich terroir of the area. All of the vineyard work is done by hand.
2017 Syrah – Sold out
2016 Parentage Red – Sold out
2017 Malbec – Sold out
Fort Berens Estate Winery
Fort Berens Estate Winery is a culmination of the dreams, vision and pioneering spirit of several entrepreneurs. The winery is owned by a team of eight individuals who share a common belief in the incredible winemaking potential of British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon and a shared vision to make Fort Berens into one of Canada’s leading producers of fine wine.
2017 Cabernet Franc – $28
2017 Cabernet Franc Reserve – $32
2017 Pinot Noir Reserve – $30
2017 Meritage – $26
2017 Meritage Reserve – $32
2017 Red Gold – $45
2018 Pinot Gris – Sold out
2018 Chardonnay – $20
2017 White Gold Chardonnay – $26
2018 Riesling Reserve – $24
Gold Hill Winery
Gold Hill opened in 2009. The founders, brothers Sant and Gurbachan Gill, are farmers from the Indus Valley region.
Sant moved to B.C. as a 20-year-old. He headed straight for the Golden Mile fruit belt and began growing. His younger brother, Gurbachan, soon followed. The brothers grew grapes for a number of wineries from their home vineyards, in their natural element. They understood the area’s microclimate and its dry, rocky soil to perfection.
In time, they bought land and planted vines. Soon they had a healthy business selling grapes to a growing number of notable B.C. wineries–but they had bigger plans for their land.
In 2009, Sant and Gurbachan decided to open a winery with the support of their family. For the location, they chose their prime vineyard on the slopes of a hill along the Golden Mile, between Oliver and Osoyoos.
They partnered with winemaker Philip Soo, a well-respected wine consultant with a terroir-driven approach and scores of great wines to his credit.
Gold Hill’s inaugural 2009 Cabernet Franc was honoured with the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence in 2012.
2013 Syrah – Sold out
2014 Syrah – $35
2013 Merlot – Sold out
2014 Cabernet Franc – $35
Grow the best quality fruit possible, pick at optimum physiological ripeness, ferment cool, and intervene with nature only when necessary are the objectives of Hillside. The temptation to constantly “fiddle” and “improve upon” Mother Nature is really more about manufacturing. Natural, beautiful wine is not manufactured—rather, it is carefully guided through natural phases to become the glorious essence of the effects of sun and soil on specific grape varieties.
It is their belief that great wines start in the vineyard, and to this end, they use only the best quality fruit available from their twenty acres of grapes densely planted on hillside terraces surrounding the winery. They also have partnerships with select vineyards along the Naramata Bench.
They are committed to producing hand-crafted, naturally fruit-forward, well-balanced wines that represent the true character of the grapes. The wine is fermented and aged in many small batches to maintain the varietal character and integrity of each grape type and vineyard.
Cool temperature fermentations for the whites using state of the art steel fermenters allow them to produce intensely aromatic and flavourful wines that captivate the senses. More traditional techniques are applied to the reds involving open top fermenters, French and American oak barrels, and a very hands-on winemaking team, resulting in rich, classic style wines that have consistently won accolades from wine judges.
2016 Cabernet Franc – Available to their wine club members only
2016 Merlot Malbec – $26
The Kitsch family’s Okanagan roots stretch back to 1910, when Kelowna was still a small, lakefront pioneer settlement. Four generations later, this entrepreneurial family takes great pride in helping to shape the past and the future of the Okanagan Valley.
Founders Ria and Trent Kitsch have blended their passion for wine and creative entrepreneurship to produce premium, sustainably-grown wines. With a little help from some friends, the young family transformed overgrown fields into lush vineyards, set on historic apple orchards that originally served as the Kelowna Land and Orchards (KLO) headquarters.
2017 5 Barrel Pinot Noir – $69
2018 Maria’s Block Riesling – $25
Lake Breeze Vineyards
The wines of Lake Breeze are known to be clean, crisp and fruit driven in style. They endeavour to take the natural expression of the grape and transfer it to the bottle with as little intervention as possible.
The newly introduced Lake Breeze Cellar Series is a luxurious collection. Each varietal pays tribute to the regional wind that embodies its unique winemaking style.
In 2016 they introduced an additional premium wine made by Garron Elmes under the MacIntyre Heritage Reserve label. These wines are a bold and prideful celebration.
2017 Aura – Pinot Noir – Sold out
2016 Mistral – Syrah – Sold out
Lakeside Cellars is situated on the eastern shores of Lake Osoyoos. The estate is comprised of a 14-acre parcel of land that was originally a vast cattle and agriculture enterprise dating back to 1882. In 2015, Harbans and Harkesh Dhaliwal purchased the historical landmark and resting place of the old Haynes Homestead.
Lakeside now also sits on the site of the first commercial orchard owned and planted by Leslie Hill. The Hill Ranch stretched 1,100 acres on the eastern slop around Lake Osoyoos. Orchards of cherries, apricots, nectarines, plums, prunes, peaches, pears and apples were the first planted in the Okanagan north of the U.S. border.
Upon purchasing the lakeshore property in 2015, the Dhaliwals inherited old-vine plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc planted in 1998. Their mission was to continue the tradition of agriculture on the property and guide its rich history towards the current Okanagan lifestyle.
2016 Portage Red, Okanagan Valley- $24
2016 Syrah, Okanagan Valley – $26
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Okanagan Valley – $26
2016 Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley – $28
Martin’s Lane Winery
The winery consists of three tiny estate vineyards. They take a micro view of the vineyard and think about wines right down to the single block or vine. They consider their winemaking approach gentle and guiding. The wines are tended, harvested and crafted by hand. They don’t use a single pump as they believe this brings out elegant and complex expressions of Pinot Noir and Riesling.
2016 Simes Vineyard Riesling – Sold out
2016 Naramata Ranch Vineyard Riesling – Sold out
2016 Frtizi’s Vineyard Riesling – Sold out
2014 Simes Vineyard Pinot Noir – $100
2015 Simes Vineyard Pinot Noir – $100
2015 DeHart Vineyard Pinot Noir – $100
2015 Fritzi’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – $150
2015 Naramata Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir – Sold out
Mission Hill Family Estate
Making great wines and providing a special place where people can enjoy them is the aim of Mission Hill. They want their winery to be a refuge from the hurried pace of daily life.
2018 Terroir Collection No. 19 Brigadier’s Bluff Rosé – Sold out
2017 Terroir Collection Border Vista Cabernet Sauvignon – Available only to wine club members
2017 Reserve Shiraz – $27
2017 Reserve Pinot Noir – $28
2018 Reserve Rosé – Sold out
Moon Curser Vineyards
Moon Curser Vineyards is a small, family owned winery on the East Bench of Osoyoos, BC. It has been in operation since 2004, when Chris and Beata Tolley purchased an old orchard in need of replanting and set about converting it into what is now the Moon Curser home vineyard block, winery and tasting room.
The winery is known for growing unusual varieties such as Tannat, Dolcetto, Touriga Nacional, and Arneis to name a few. These varieties have not historically been a part of the South Okanagan viticulture but thrive in the unique terroir on the Osoyoos East Bench.
The vines have thrived in Osoyoos and continue to deliver unique, world-class interpretations of these traditional wines. Moon Curser has brought home many a gold medal from Canadian and international wine competitions.
2017 Touriga Nacional (red) – $40
2017 Dead of Night (red) – $40
2017 Syrah – $26
Nk’Mip Cellars Winery
Nk’Mip Cellars is the dedicated guardian of a proud legacy. They claim to be the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America and they express their culture in everything they do. The winery itself is a bold celebration and a strong reflection of their commitment to authenticity and deep respect for their colourful past. They have had international award-winning wines.
2018Qwam Qwmt Riesling – Price not provided
2018 Winemakers Dreamcatcher – Sold out
2016 Red Merriym Meritage – Price not provided
Red Rooster Winery
Red Rooster Winery was founded in 1990 by a European couple who settled in the area. The first vintage was released in 1997. It was not long before the winery became known for producing award-winning wines that express the very best of BC and the Okanagan.
2018 Riesling – Sold out
2017 Rare Bird Series Pinot Noir – $35
Each bottle of Sandhill wine is made from grapes that come from one of six unique BC vineyards – Sandhill Estate, King Family, Phantom Creek , Osprey Ridge, Hidden Terrace and Vanessa Vineyard. Each vineyard possesses a unique combination of soil composition, slope, sun exposure and drainage.
Each vineyard manager employs techniques that bring subtle influences into the growing environment. These one-of-a-kind conditions inevitably produce grapes with unique characteristics.
This, in turn, provides the opportunity to create a wine that’s truly distinct. In the winery, a non-interventionist approach allows the character of the fruit to shine through in the wine. This allows the complex, subtle, unique character of each vineyard to reveal itself.
2018 Riesling Icewine – Sold out
2017 Single Vineyard Syrah Sandhill Estate Vineyard – $40
2016 Single Vineyard ONE Vanessa Vineyard – Sold out
Township 7 Vineyards and Winery
Township 7 focuses on the production of small lot wines made from carefully chosen grape suppliers from the Okanagan Valley and from estate vineyards in Langley and on the Naramata Bench.
2018 Pinot Gris – $19
2018 Raju Vineyard Viognier – $25
2017 Merlot – $25 at the winery
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon – $28
Van Westen Vineyards
Situated in one of the most scenic wine regions in all of North America, Van Westen Vineyards has evolved from over 50 years of family tradition cultivating the soils of The Naramata Bench and producing some of the best wines in British Columbia.
With their expertise and emphasis on sustainable, cool climate viticultural practices, they continue to grow quality vinifera grapes and make premium wine.
2016 Vulture (red) – $40
2018 Viscous Riesling – $25
Wayne Gretzky Okanagan
The Wayne Gretzky Okanagan winery doesn’t appear to have a web site and www.gretzkyestateswines.com only provides information on the Niagara winery.
2016 Signature Series Shiraz – No price
2016 Signature Series Riesling – No price
The majority of these wineries are smaller family run operations built on pride and personal commitment to the creation of high quality wines. Prices can range dramatically on the wines within and between the various wineries. Some of the wineries have been producing great wine for many years while others are newer operations who are quickly making an impressive name for themselves.
Easter is traditionally a time for family celebrations that end with a scrumptious dinner. I will look at traditional menu options but given the current climate where traditional family gatherings may not be possible, I will look at adding some glam to an everyday meal.
Also, given the strains being experienced by the local economy, all of my wine suggestions will be Canadian.
Starting with the traditional Easter menu, the first option is lamb. Lamb has a long tradition of being part of Easter celebrations. It is available in many forms, suitable for any budget, ranging from a leg of lamb, to a loin, to chops, or even burgers.
Lamb in any form is well complimented with a Cabernet such as Lakeview Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.95) or Featherstone Cabernet Franc ($19.95).
Ham is another classic Easter dish that can be prepared in a multitude of ways. It can be baked using cloves and or a number of different glazes, ranging from savory to sweet. Ham is also available in a variety of cuts ranging from the traditional ham on the bone, to small packaged hams to ham steaks.
Pinot Noir is a good option for serving with ham. Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir ($34.95) or Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir ($16.95) are a couple of options.
Turkey is a classic choice for Easter. Not only is it suitable for large family gatherings but provides options for smaller dinners. Alternatives to purchasing a full-size bird include, prepackaged turkey thighs or turkey breasts, or you can substitute chicken for turkey.
There are both red, as well as white wine alternatives to have with your turkey or chicken. White wine suggestions include, Flat Rock Chardonnay ($19.95) or Inniskillen Montague Vineyard Chardonnay ($25.95). Red wine options include Kew Vineyards Pinot Noir ($23.95) or Tawse Growers Blend Pinot Noir ($25.95).
Over the years roast beef has been the choice of many for Sunday family dinners and Easter is no exception. Featherstone Cabernet Franc ($19.95) or The Foreign Affair Dream ($29.95), which is a Merlo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend , are two good choices.
Salmon, though less traditional, is a good healthy option for your Easter dinner. It can be baked, poached, or my favourite, tossed on the grill, wrapped in lemons, onions, and capers. It can be a great alternative if you are forced to a smaller than usual family gathering.
Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé pairs well with salmon. Options include Wildass Sauvignon Blanc ($16.95) or Malivoire Vivant Rosé ($19.95).
Vegetarian alternatives to the traditional meat dishes are very popular. These dishes are obviously a good alternative to meat any time, not just on special occasions. Wine pairings for vegetable mains are the same as those for salmon; Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé.
No matter what your mood or what you are serving, wine can make the simplest of meals more elegant. Here are some general options:
Chicken based soup – Angels Gate Chardonnay VQA ($14.95)
White fish – Sandbanks Summer White VQA ($14.95)
Mac and cheese – Peninsula Ridge Pinot Grigio VQA ($15.95)
Pasta with a white sauce – Mission Hill Five Vineyard Pinot Blanc VQA ($16.95)
Poultry – Tawse Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay VQA ($19.95)
Sea food – Cave Spring Riesling Dry VQA ($15.95)
Beef ribs – Strewn Rogue’s Lot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc VQA ($14.95)
Beef based soups – Peninsula Ridge Merlot VQA ($15.95)