With cooler temperatures comes the desire to curl up with a blanket and a glass of wine. Nothing chases away the chill of autumn better than a rich Merlot!
However, one main challenge that many face is pairing the right wine with their meal. White, red, sweet, or dry; what’s to be served when both seafood and steak are on the menu?
Luckily, Kevin Cornish, Beverage Director at acclaimed restaurant Canoe, knows a thing or two about delicious wine.
There are three main things to keep in mind when pairing wine with food: the protein’s fat content, the acidity of the wine, and the secondary components of the meal. Foods such as fruit can alter the flavor of the wine in ways you might not expect.
“Spicy foods are difficult to pair with and need a sweet wine,” says Cornish, “If spicy foods aren’t paired with sweeter wines, the taste will become bitter.” Experimentation is key, however, and the more you try the more adept you’ll become at pairing flavors. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules! Wine should always be a way to enhance the dish that you’re serving.
“In Rias Baixas, Spain, they make wine to pair with seafood and more coastal cuisine since they are a coastal town. In Italy, they make red wines to pair well with lamb since lamb is prepared across Italy,” Cornish explains. If you’re having shrimp, find a wine made near the coast. A good steak? Inland vineyards won’t steer you wrong.
And with the changing seasons comes new opportunity for wine pairings. According to Cornish, Malbec is a popular fall choice because of its spice content and peppery notes. Canoe is constantly changing up its selection as well; new combinations and wines from around the world are always on the menu, especially when the seasons change.
While oysters and champagne pair well together year-round, there are other pairings that lend themselves to this season. “Lean meat pairs best with Malbec and Pinot. Bigger dishes, such as the [New York] strip, pair with the Stonestreet Cabernet made in Alex Valley, California,” Cornish says. “They mix well because of the fat content, heaviness, and dark blue notes.”
Canoe prides itself on offering interesting variations of classic wines, as well as educating their staff about the intricacies of wines from around the world. Cornish recently traveled to Argentina to learn more about the unique wine that Catena Vineyards produces. He was immersed into Argentinean culture and all aspects of their old-school wine-making process. He then brings that knowledge, and those wines, back to Canoe.
“We want the average consumer to be able to come in and enjoy a nice glass of wine, and we like to work with winemakers that are passionate about their product,” says Cornish. “The Catena family has been making wine since 1902.” Their high-altitude Malbec impressed Cornish immediately.
To taste unique wine offerings like these, head over to Canoe and give their fall menu a try!