Pairing Canadian Wine with Salmon, Crab, Lobster (Video)

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?

Here with her tips is Natalie MacLean, who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes at


So we’re going to start on the west coast Natalie. What do you recommend?

We’ll start with this lovely, zesty Sauvignon Blanc from Red Rooster Winery, nestled high above Okanagan Lake on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley. It has crisp, fresh aromas of lime zest and lemon sunshine.





Red Rooster Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC V.Q.A., Canada





It would be perfect with fresh Pacific coast salmon, especially wild sockeye salmon–whether you serve it broiled, baked, smoked, or grilled on a cedar plank. This wine would be a great match for this intensely flavourful fish.

One of my pairing rules is what grows together, goes together, so regional matches of wine and cuisine often work well.





What do you have next for us?


This Gray Monk Rosé is from the Okanagan’s oldest family-owned and operated winery. It offers notes of fresh field strawberries and watermelon, which makes it ideal for Dungeness Crab. These crabs have luscious, almost buttery meat, and can be steamed or served in tacos.






Gray Monk Estate Winery Rosé
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC V.Q.A., Canada





Another pairing rule is that pink wine and food go together. So this Rosé would also work with lobster and the salmon we just discussed.

You have one more wine from B.C. Tell us about that one please.

I have a delicious, full-bodied Sangiovese from Sandhill Estate that specializes in single-vineyard wines and is one of the few Canadian wineries to produce wines made from Italian grapes, like Sangiovese and Barbera.






Sandhill Small Lots Sangiovese
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC V.Q.A., Canada






The aromas of fleshy ripe blackberries and plums would be a great match for wild game meats, such as moose, deer or bison, the traditional cuisine of our Indigenous people. I should also note that for all of the wineries we’re discussing, the vines are planted on the traditional territories of our Indigenous Nations.





Let’s move on to Ontario. What do you have for us first?




We’re starting with this Rosé from Wayne Gretzky Estates in Niagara. Could there be anything more Canadian than the Great One? This Rosé offers aromas of field berries and a hint of spice, making it perfect for those most bizarre, but thoroughly Canadian pairing of ketchup chips.






Wayne Gretzky Estates Niagara Rosé
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A.





I tried this combo a few months ago, thinking it would never work. Ketchup has more sugar in it than ice cream. But in fact, the chips weren’t as sweet as I thought, and their tomato base went smashingly well with the berry notes in this dry Rosé. Until recently, ketchup flavoured chips could only be found in Canada, but I hear there’s a new brand in the U.S., just one of our many exports along with music from Celine Dion, comedians like Mike Meyers and athletes like Wayne Gretzky, though they all still think of Canada as home. You’re welcome, America!


Sounds great! What do you have next?


This robust red wine blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon comes from PondView Winery’s Bella Terra Vineyards. The vines are more than 30 years old, so the grapes are more concentrated in flavour, as is the wine. It’s loaded with aromas of black currant and toasty oak.






PondView Estate Winery Bella Terra Red
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada




It would be terrific with the wild games we discussed, or try it with a slab of the deep-fried dough that is the decadent base for beavertails, a pastry shaped like a beaver’s tail and often topped with cinnamon sugar, crumbled oreos, Nutella or chocolate hazelnut. There’s a hint of molasses on the mid-palate of the wine, which would be perfect with the cinnamon beavertail.





Delicious! What’s the final wine you have from Ontario?


I have a Vidal Icewine from Peller Estates in Niagara. Icewine, of course, is what Canada is best known for around the globe. This one has gloriously luscious aromas of apricot, peach preserves and marmalade.





Peller Estates Signature Series Riesling Icewine
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, V.Q.A., Canada





It would soak beautifully into our traditional butter tarts, made from flaky pastry shells filled with butter, sugar and egg.

Or you could pair this wine with Nanaimo bars, named after the city of British Columbia where it was first created. This no-bake dessert has three layers, with crumbled coconut and graham cracker base, yellow custard in the middle and chocolate on top, for the ideal combo of crunch and gooey richness.

I have one more pairing for this icewine: maple syrup taffy, made by pouring boiling maple syrup over snow so that the cold hardens it just enough to roll it into a Popsicle stick to eat it. Maple syrup was first collected by our Indigenous people, and Canada is now the world’s largest producer of it.


You can watch our second segment on pairing Canadian wine and food here.





Published with permission from CTV.








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