The long weekend is coming up, and you might be celebrating with a glass of Canadian wine or two, but what should you pair with your vino beyond BBQ? How about some Canadian books?
Here with her tips is Natalie MacLean, who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes at nataliemaclean.com
So we’re going to start on the west coast Natalie. What do you recommend?
We’re starting with Nk’Mip Cellars (pronounced in-ka-meep) Winemaker’s Series Talon, the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America. Nk’Mip means “Bottomland” because the vineyards are planted at the southern tip of the Osoyoos Indian Reserve in the Sonoran Desert, the hottest, driest part of Canada.
Nk’Mip Cellars Winemaker’s Series Talon
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC V.Q.A., Canada
Winemaker and band member Justin Hall has created this wine named for the Thunderbird, a supernatural bird part of North American native mythology. It’s a delicious, full-bodied blend of Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
Pair it with grilled steak and bison or even better, Return of the Trickster, the third book in the brilliant Trickster Trilogy by B.C. writer Eden Robinson. This national bestseller follows Jared Martin, an Indigenous teen, who has magical abilities and must fight dark forces that threaten his family.
What do you have next for us?
I have this Chardonnay from Sperling Vineyards, planted on high elevation slopes of Kelowna’s eastern benches.
Sperling Vineyards Vision Series Chardonnay 2017
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC V.Q.A., Canada
I should also note that for all of the wineries we’re discussing, the vines are planted on the traditional territories of our Indigenous people, in the case of Sperling, the Okanagan Sylix Nation.
This wine offers aromas of fresh peach, apricot and toasted almond. I’d pair it with roast chicken, popcorn or with, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, winner of both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General Award for Fiction, as well as being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
This gripping novel by Madeleine Thien follows the story of three musicians in China before, during and after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and takes us to present-day Vancouver as a young woman pieces together her family’s past. Although the scope is grand, it’s a hauntingly intimate story.
Let’s move on to Ontario. What do you have for us first?
EastDell Summer Rosé
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
I have a lovely, vibrant wine, the Eastdell Estates Summer Rosé, from Niagara. It offers aromas of fresh field strawberries and melon. They also have a mini-me version for those who want to order tasting-sized samples to try first before committing to a larger purchase.
I should note that all of the wineries ship across the country right to your door, so there’s never been a better time or an easier way to support our homegrown businesses from coast to coast.
I’d pair this wine with grilled seafood or veggies as well as, Unearthed: Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden by Alexandra Risen.
Her father dies just as she and her husband purchase a house with a garden choked with weeds. As she replants it, various flowers, trees and shrubs evoke childhood memories and tangled family relationships. The garden also offers the healing power of nature. This moving memoir was shortlisted for a number of prizes.
Sounds great! What do you have next?
I have the Trius Showcase Pinot Noir from Niagara, a silky, medium-bodied wine with aromas of fleshy ripe cherries and smoke.
Trius Showcase Clark Farm Pinot Noir 2019
Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
This wine is so versatile that you could pair it with cornish hen, veal or True North, A delicious dive into modern Canadian cuisine, by Toronto writer, Chris Johns, one of Canada’s most respected food critics, and Derek Dammann, one of Canada’s superstar chefs. Derek was born in B.C. and is the chef behind Montreal’s DNA and Maison Publique restaurants.
The authors explore regionally inspired, seasonally driven nose-to-tail cooking with Canadian ingredients from coast to coast. There are more than 100 recipes, from Smoked Oysters to Slow Roast Shoulder of Pig.
Delicious! What’s the final wine you have from Ontario?
I have the Kiln Dried Cabernet from Reif Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The grapes were hand picked from the oldest block of vines on the estate planted in 1989, then kiln-dried for two weeks before they were fermented and aged in oak. Kiln-drying grapes concentrates their flavours, creating a rich, deeply flavoured wine with aromas of black currant and smoke, a wine with the ability to age gracefully.
Reif Estate Winery Kiln-Dried Cabernet 2015
Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
I’d pair this wine with leg of lamb, steak or the story of a kiln-dried or at least fire-tested woman who has aged gracefully: If I Knew Then: Finding Wisdom in Failure and Power in Aging by superstar recording artist, Jann Arden. This is a funny, fierce memoir on becoming a woman of a certain age.
As she writes, “If I’m lucky one day a very old face will look back at me from the mirror, a face I once shied away from. I will love that old woman ferociously, because she has finally figured out how to live a life of purpose–not in spite of but because of all her mistakes and failures.”
Would you also pair that wine with your most recent book, Natalie?
Sure, it would pair well with Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Bottles, that blends adventure stories with my travels to wine regions around the world to learn about wine and what value means beyond being a cheapskate.
Natalie will join us again tomorrow for more book and bottle pairings. You can find these pairings on her website at nataliemaclean.com.
Posted with permission of CTV.