Your holiday wine and cheese party made easy

holidaywineandcraftparty-73

One of my favorite activities is to plan a wine and cheese gathering. I traveled to one of my local cheese maker, Golden Ears Cheese in Maple Ridge to purchase some cheese for a tasting. When I thought about  matching wines it occurred to me that there is a lot of information on the web regarding ideal matches but because they are typically from the US or Europe they feature suggestions that are not easily available here in British Columbia.

To assist fellow British Columbians I have created wine and cheese selections that are widely bought at most grocery stores and local wine shops. After all it’s very frustrating to have a list and find that most are not available with 100 kilometres of your home.

There are four basic categories of cheese and so I will recommend the cheeses in those categories and the matching wines that are easily purchased:

Soft cheese: These include goat cheese, Camembert and brie which are the perfect foil for Sauvignon Blanc, a lightly oaked Chardonnay or a refreshing Prosecco.

Semi-soft cheeses: Cheeses in this style include popular selections such as Swiss, Colby, Fontina and Havarti. Riesling, Pinot Grigio and sparkling wines like Spanish Cava and German Sekt are value driven wines that will deliver great taste.

Semi-hard cheeses: favorites like Cheddar, Sonoma Jack, Gouda and Blue reside in this category. Look to reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti Reserva or Ruby Port to impress guests at your next gathering.

Hard cheeses: Gruyere (look for the Swiss version), Edam, Manchego and Asiago pair well with Sauvignon Blanc (yes, a white wine!), Rote du Rhone (a value blended French wine) and Rioja from Spain.

These selections will make it easy and fun to plan your holiday party and as a note many of these wines and cheeses are crafted right here in our own province. More reason to shop and buy local.

Pope receives surprise answer from 92 year old Grandmother

Yesterday in St. Peters Square the Pope stopped his motorcade to talk to an excited Grandmother. He asked her the secret of her joy this late in life and she replied, “I make homemade Ravioli”.

ravioli2

Now I don’t know about you but this struck a chord, sometimes the simplest things in life are the best and food made with love that spreads joy is definitely one of them.

Along with pasta wine adds pleasure to meals and this made me think of what types of wines I would pair with grandma’s ravioli. The wine match will depend on the sauce and the filling. Red tomato based sauce with meat filling would work well with Chianti or a light Brunello. Cream and butter sauces with cheese filling are best with whites, perhaps a Pinot Gringo or Pinot Blanc.

Slowing down and cooking a homemade meal, thoughtfully pairing it with a good but simple wine and sharing it with friends and family is the way to enjoy life to its fullest. If you don’t believe me ask some grandmas in Italy, they’ll set you straight.

What type of vegetarian dish is perfect with Chardonnay? by John Gerum

I found this recipe a perfect match to a good New Zealand or BC Chardonnay with just a touch of fresh oak.The clean,fresh taste contrasts the creamy potatoes perfectly.You can refrigerate this dish and warm it up with a glass of Chardonnay during the week for a treat. Also experiment with different cheeses for the topping.
qg chard
Scalloped Potatoes recipe for Chardonnay pairing
Ingredients
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked sea salt
• 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
• 2 cups homogenized milk
• 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded medium aged cheddar cheese
• 5 cups thinly sliced peeled russet potatoes (about 6 medium)
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Add potatoes, onion and garlic
2. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and add cheese, return to oven for 15 more minutes.

BBQ grilling & wine matching made easy by John Gerum

Most people think of beer and bbq when the season rolls around but wines are an interesting and refreshing change of pace. There are a few general guidelines to matching wines with your favourite summer recipes.

bbq wine

The first one is enjoy the wine you will be drinking, there is no use trying to pair a wine if you don’t enjoy that type or style of wine in the first place. The second is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good bottle of wine. In the market today, $12 to $18 will get you a good bottle of red or white wine. The third is to keep it simple, after all you don’t want to spend your time indoors trying to figure out a good match when sunny days are short and few between.

The following are a few guidelines:

Pork Butt
Pork Loin

Riesling (Off Dry)
Lang Vineyards (BC)
Gray Monk (BC)
Any German Riesling

Spicy Ribs

Zinfandel
Cabernet Sauvignon

Any California (real Red Zinfandel not the blush!)
C/S from California or Australia, the less oak the better


Beef Brisket, Prime Rib, Steak

Shiraz
Good Australian Shiraz should do the trick!

Hamburgers

Merlot or Pinot Noir
Merlot from Chile or Pinot Noir from BC

Chicken

Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio
Good Italian (Masi)
or BC

Shrimp or White Seafood

Sauvignon Blanc
Any good New Zealand or BC (ie: Sumac Ridge)

Salmon

Pinot Noir
BC, Oregon, California
or Burgundy Red

Lamb

Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz
Need the full bodied versions, California or Australia

Vegetables, Tomato, Peppers, Onions

Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris or
Un-Oaked Chardonnay
BC and Australia are good choices

Your next wine and cheese party made easy

cheese
One of my favorite activities is to plan a wine and cheese gathering. Last week I travelled to my local cheese maker, Golden Ears Cheese in Maple Ridge to purchase some cheese for a tasting. When I thought about matching wines it occurred to me that there is a lot of information on the web regarding ideal matches but because they are typically from the US or Europe they feature suggestions that are not easily available here in British Columbia.
To assist fellow British Columbians I have created wine and cheese selections that are widely bought at most grocery stores and local wine shops. After all it’s very frustrating to have a list and find that most are not available with 100 kilometres of your home.
There are four basic categories of cheese and so I will recommend the cheeses in those categories and the matching wines that are easily purchased:
Soft cheeses: These include goat cheese, camembert and brie which are the perfect foil for Sauvignon Blanc, a lightly oaked Chardonnay or a refreshing Prosecco.
Semi-soft cheeses: Cheeses in this style include popular selections such as Swiss, Colby, Fontina and Havarti. Riesling, Pinot Grigio and sparkling wines like Spanish Cava and German Sekt are value driven wines that will deliver great taste.
Semi-hard cheeses: favorites like Cheddar, Sonoma Jack, Gouda and Blue reside in this category. Look to reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti Reserva or Ruby Port to impress guests at your next gathering.
Hard cheeses: Gruyere (look for the Swiss version), Edam, Manchego and Asiago pair well with Sauvignon Blanc (yes, a white wine!), Rote du Rhone (a value blended French wine) and Rioja from Spain.
These selections will make it easy and fun to plan your next soirée and as a note many of these grape varietal wines and cheeses are crafted right here in our own province. More reason to shop and buy local this summer! Wine and cheese tastings at BC Uncorked Wine Festival. Visit bcuncorked.ca