A relaxing evening on the lake calls for sharing wine and good food

Sandra  Gadd, Gary Cherry, Sylvia Harnesberger, and Keith Williams are enjoying a more relaxing change in venue following the Wine Group's successful Wine Tasting fund raiser in April.

Wayne on Wine
By Wayne Crawford
wayne crawford
Wayne Crawford
After a highly successful April Wine Tasting fund raiser the Big Canoe Wine Group moved outdoors with spouses to enjoy a relaxing easy evening on Lake Petit sharing wine and good food and selecting a few wines for this article.

The ubiquitous signs of spring are a signal for wine drinkers to transition from the bold red wines nurturing robust winter meals to medium and light-bodied succulent reds, white, rose and sparklers to complement lighter spring cuisine.  And, with gas prices hovering near $4 per gallon, we are likely to spend a tad more time at home cooking and pairing wines.

Spring is a time for light hors d’oeuvres, light cheeses, fresh fruit, garden salads, fresh air, fellowship and tantalizing crispy wines on the porch while the dogwoods and mountain laurels blossom. Here are some interesting food pairings to consider, thanks to suggestions from the latest Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2011:

  • Dry, fruity sparkling wines like Cava and Prosecco pair with crispy buttermilk fried chicken and as always Champagne with popcorn (my favorite).
  • Spanish Albariño and Vinho Verde (see my last article on Albariño) with crisp citrus flavors pair well with Thai turkey burgers or braised halibut and shrimp.
  • White burgundy and low-oak Chardonnay match with mustard seared Tuna, spiced corn and chicken chili.  
  • Pinot Noir pairs well with grilled ham and cheese with strawberries, herbed turkey or perhaps grilled squid.
  • Reach into your vast library of cook books and either pick a wine, perhaps from the list below, or find a light food you crave and match a light crisp wine.

Wines drinking well now
Paul Cheneau NV Brut Cava Catalonia, Spain priced at $11. Classical Cava with nuts and citrus aromas, pear and anise flavors on the palate. Medium bodied bubbly with 45% Macabeo, 40% Xarello, and 15% Parellada. The art series bottle shouts out to spring and light foods like fried fish, sushi and of course Spanish tapas. Worth buying half a case to keep around for quick light meals! Best Buy.

Colterenzio 2006 Alto Adige Pinot Grigio Italy, priced at $13. Very light gold color on the nose fairly fragrant, with scents of pear, earthy stones, and minerals. On the palate the wine is light and lively, but with a profile of minerals, acidity, and apples with a medium finish. Don’t serve overly cold and allow the wine to open and breathe.

Brassfield Estate Winery 2009 Serenity California, priced at $15. This crisp white wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer and Semillon.  Intense fragrances of gooseberry, green apple, pineapple and juniper berry are followed on the palate by honeydew melon.  This was a wine chosen for the Big Canoe wine tasting fundraiser and is a Best Buy.

Domaine Servin 2008 Chablis Première Cuvée Les Pargues, France priced at $26: The Domaine Servin "Premiere Cuvee Les Pargues" is an outstanding example of authentic Chablis at a relatively modest price. It is not a delicate wine, but rather bold and straightforward, with a fresh juiciness. Hints of pear, tropical fruits and citrus blend are on the palate with a nice minerality. Consider pairing with pasta, salmon, scallops and other complementary light foods. Highly recommended.

Sonoma Loeb 2009 Chardonnay California: The low priced Sonoma County 2009 Chardonnay earned a Silver medal beating out many other high priced wines. The under $20 wine has been a big success for winemaker Phillip Titus. He describes it as a wine “with pineapple, pear and ripe citrus flavors, with nutmeg and cinnamon and a nice rounded oak and fruit finish.”  A pleasing Chardonnay!  

Tiger Mountain 2008 Georgia Rose, Clayton Georgia priced at $15: This was a pleasant semi dry rose wine drawn from Cabernet Franc juice during the crush and blended with a little Viognier. The wine group liked this wine and it was a nice complement to several appetizers. Consider pairing with grilled shrimp or white fish. The 2009 Rose has been released and if you plan to visit Clayton, you will find Tiger Mountain a warm and safe port in rough weather at 2,000 feet. Try it. You will like it!

J. Lohr 2009 Falcon’s Perch Monterey Pinot Noir, California priced at $15. “This first-ever release of our Falcon's Perch Pinot Noir from the 2009 harvest. Falcon's Perch Pinot Noir is produced from cool climate grapes grown in select vineyards within and surrounding the Arroyo Seco region of central Monterey County” from the wine maker.  A fruit forward red wine providing a burst of raspberries and cherries, together with a coat of sweet, oak, but crisp acidity and smooth tannins provide a balanced wine. Highly recommended.

Drink what you like!

In the next article break out your favorite grill recipes since we will be pairing barbecue and tail gate food with red and white medium bodied wines.

Although he calls Big Canoe home, Wayne Crawford, is frequently on the road with his consulting practice. Wayne is a Certified Specialist of Wine CSW, member of Society of Wine Educators and the American Wine Society.


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