Friday, June 25, 2010

Pairing Nova Scotian wine and seafood

Pairing Nova Scotia’s seafood with the province’s award-winning wines: A lesson in balance with winemaker Gina Haverstock.
Gasperau vineyards in the Annapolis Valley have produced some award-wining wines. From their terrific red and white wines, to their delicate ice wines and crisp sparkling wine, Crescendo, Gasperau delivers some of the province’s finest.

This weekend, at the CATCH Festival, Gaspereau’s winemaker, Gina Haverstock gave a demo about pairing wine and food. Obviously a wine enthusiast, this winemaker’s passion also extends to what is on her plate, and had a variety of tips to share in order to make both your food and wine’s flavours shine.

“Pairing wine with food is really just a matter of taste,” she says. “If something tastes good to you, go with it!” Haverstock recommends deciding on the food you want to eat first, and then pair the wine to compliment it.

There are a couple things to consider when pairing food and wine, “Always look for balance,” Haverstock says, “pair food and wine with similar intensities, so that one doesn’t overpower the other.” She adds that sweetness and acidity are the two most important factors in the balancing equation, and that to have a good pairing, these two components must compliment, not compete with each other.

Food preparation also plays a role in the pairing process. When you’re preparing food, consider the cooking method as this plays a role in which wine will pair the best. Barbequing adds a touch of smokiness to a meal, while steaming helps to maintain a fresh quality; a heavy cream sauce, or spicy rub also changes the intensity of flavour, and the wine selection should reflect these factors.

When cooking with wine, such as steaming Nova Scotian mussels, or adding L’Acadie Blanc to a cream sauce, make sure to serve that same wine with your food. By using the same wine, you emphasize its flavour and characteristics, making it a sure thing for a great pairing.

Haverstock adds a few words of wisdom when cooking with Nova Scotian or any wine for that matter: “Don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink.” she says. “Drink and serve the wine that you’re cooking with.” Haverstock adds with a smile, “Serve the chef wine and the food will taste better!”

When asked for some recommendations for pairing Nova Scotian seafood with the province’s wonderful wines, Gina was full of suggestions. Some of her favorite food and wine pairings, and preparation methods include:

• Sparkling wine with Nova Scotian oysters;
• Crisp L’Acadie Blanc with salty fish & chips;
• Cedar planked salmon on the BBQ with a sweet, yet dry rose or Gaspereau Vineyard’s
own Maple Ice Wine;
• Pepper crusted tuna with a rose, pinot noir, or Nova Scotian Marechal Foche;
• Floral Muscat with rich mussels, crab cakes or lobster.

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