It was my first time attending an event of this format, and I was very impressed. The tasting was held at the Buschlen Mowatt Galleries on West Georgia, with a self serving format. That means the over 70 types of wine, 7 types of food pairings (since there was a lot more wine than food, I will refer to them as food pairings), and a whole lot of glasses are there ready for you the second you come through the door. It was hard to not go overboard: I had to keep reminding myself that I’m an adult, and moderation is a virtue. I think all in all I managed well.
The huge selection was a little overwhelming at first, but after a few turns inside the gallery to orientate myself, it all made sense. The wines are organized in sections, with descriptions laid out; also, everything you need to know about every bottle of wine is in the guide book, organized in sections as well. The gallery is the perfect size and layout for this event. The separate, yet connecting rooms created a sense of flow, and aided in differentiating the many categories of wine.
In the back of the gallery, lies the delicious “food pairings” prepared by Chef Dino Renaerts of Fraiche and Beachside Forno. Before this day, I never quite appreciated wine pairings. Too often they seem to be randomly thrown together, not exactly following “the whole is great than the sum of its parts” principle. This experience changed my mind completely. The hor d’oeuvres and the wines are only halves of a tasty dynamic duo—each can’t live out its full potential without the other.
Ok enough talk about the event, let’s move onto what we are here for—food and wine.
Wine and Food pairings
Yum would best describe this wine and dine experience, and it all started with these wine and food pairings. Here I will be going into a bit more detail with my favourites.
Dungeness crab spoon with mango, wrapped in pineapple – Chardonnay
Delicious sweetness wrapped in more sweetness, with the slight tanginess from the chardonnay. This was my favourite pairing.
Chanterelle mushroom crostini with madeira jus – Shiraz
I never had anything with madeira jus before; it brought out a nice meaty taste from the mushrooms. The richness of this dish is paired well with the Shiraz.
Smoked duck prosciutto crostini with cherry gastrique and arugula – Pinot Noir
I’m not usually a fan of smoked duck prosciutto. They are often too dry and not fatty enough. This was a nice example; cooked to a medium, with a slight smokey taste.
Braised beef short rib bite with truffle aioli – Cabernet Sauvignon
It’s better to enjoy this with two bites. The first bite will release the wonderful smell from inside, as you chew on beef that’s as tender as pulled pork. The second bite is even better because now there’s more of it in your mouth.
And here are some other food pairings at the event:
Fig and blue cheese tart with a spiced citrus glaze – Fortified
Herb chevre and golden beet with toasted hazelnut – Semillion
Seared albacore tuna tataki, perched atop maki roll with soy pearls and micro coriander – Riesling
Please stay tuned for part 2 of this post, as I use my rudimentary yet honest experience with wine to talk about the six categories of wine sampled at this event.