The Vino Enthusiasts wine club is a gathering for people who appreciate wine and want to learn more about it. The group gets together to taste, pair and learn on a monthly basis.
At the most recent wine club, the group drank sparkling wine paired with seafood to discover the array of types and how they all pair differently with food.
The goal was to compare and contrast the most popular sparkling styles with local, Ontario options that are made and accessible in our own backyards.
The food pairings included crab and goat-cheese crostini, lemon-butter calamari, salted edamame, potato chips, bacon-wrapped scallops, old cheddar cheese, double-cream brie and local olive tapenade.
The results of the night were fascinating and satisfying. All of the wines tasted well and had their own, personal appeal. Choosing a sparkling really comes down to personal palate and the style of the evening or event for which the wine is being consumed.
Cava is the name of Spain’s sparkling wine. Cava is almost always made extra dry and is usually a good value wine. This wine has a very affordable price tag of $14.25.
This Cava was produced using the méthode champenoise technique and had pleasant notes of toast and apricot with great acidity. It should be recognized as a drier option for sparkling with less fruit and more structure in flavor.
Food Pairing: Bacon-wrapped scallops
Prosecco, Italy’s sparkling wine, is the easiest drinking with light characteristics and the highest potential for cocktail mixing.
This wine is an affordable option at $13.95 with good acidity and delicate characteristics of citrus. If you’re making mimosas or sparkling wine cocktails, use this Prosecco.
Food Pairing: Crab and goat cheese crostini and double-cream brie
The word “Champagne” can only be used if the wine comes from Champagne, France. Moet & Chandon is a leading producer of premium Champagne. If you’re looking to celebrate and you want to spend a few more dollars, at $62.85, this isn’t a bad choice.
The expected toastiness was the most apparent on this wine with a palate of cooked pear, lemon peel and an evident minerality.
Food Pairing: Salty potato chips
Cave Spring Cellars utilizes the méthode champenoise technique for their sparkling wine. The result is a rich and complex product with an evident toastiness, almost reminiscent of the Champagne. A crisp and refreshing palate of granny smith apple and lemon peel.
For only $29.95, this wine is a great alternative for that celebration Champagne.
Food Pairing: Crab and goat-cheese crostini
Henry of Pelham’s Cuvée Catharine Series wines are great examples of a high-quality sparkling from Ontario. This Brut Rosé is a fantastic depiction of sparkling Rosé and is more than worth spending a few extra dollars on. This wine is $29.95.
The vibrancy of red fruit on the palate was very pleasant, the creamy texture and mouth-feel is ideal and the racy acidity is everything I want in a really good sparkling wine.
Food Pairing: Lemon-butter calamari and double-cream brie
The Ontario competitors more than impressed the group of tasters. Although we weren’t able to taste all of them, other Ontario sparkling wines to keep under your radar come from The Grange Estate Winery and Hinterland Wine Company, both of Prince Edward County.
Melissa Pulvermacher is an inspired vino enthusiast working as Director of Wine and Beverage Management in Guelph.
Pursuing wine as a discipline through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), she is currently acting as founder and coordinator of The Vino Enthusiasts Wine Club, as well as head researcher of a wine buyers and wine agencies project.
Melissa is an active writer for Natalie MacLean and for her own personal wine and culinary blog and intends to continue on a forever pursuit of wine knowledge.