VOLUME 11 ... MEAT MEET WINE

“Food without wine is a corpse; wine without food is a ghost;

united and well matched they are as body and soul, living partners.”

                                               - Andre Simon (1877-1970)

 

We get so excited and motivated when customers leave our store with the biggest smile on their faces; so eager to get home and try a new recipe with the cuts of quality organic meat they just purchased. The purpose of this edition of Live to Eat is to further enhance that gastronomic experience.  When a wine is happily married to the food it accompanies, the relationship between the two create a synergy that enhances both the wine and the food.

The ‘ole mantra “Red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat” hardly applies in this day and age of vast choices, with most LCBO stores taking up a square block and carrying endless varieties from the around the world, in addition to the numerous quality wine agents we have in T.O. importing the most hidden of wine gems.

 

We consulted with Dick Snyder, editor and founder of City Bites, to match a bunch of easy and quick dishes from The Healthy Butcher with a bunch of wines.  He provides some great reviews and suggestions below.  For those of you who haven’t read City Bites yet, Toronto’s newest food and drink guide, you’re missing out!  Check out http://www.citybites.ca for their current issue or pass by The Healthy Butcher to pick up a print copy.

We also put together a one-page printable pairing sheet to help you choose your wine the next time you go home from our store and need help grabbing a wine from your collection…  print it out and stick it to your fridge for easy reference. 

Just click on the picture to the right and a new PDF window will pop up.

 

 

WHEN THE STUDENT BECOMES THE MASTER...

 

We wish farewell and good luck to our former Head Butcher Sebastian Cortez as he moves to Vancouver to pursue other endeavours.  Taking Sebastian's place as Head Butcher is Ryan Donovan.  A graduate of Stratford Chefs School, Ryan brings a passion to butchery and demonstrates innate knife skills rarely seen. His goal is to bring our customers & farmers closer together so that our customers' thought of food is as nourishing as the food itself.  To learn more about Ryan, or the rest of The Healthy Butcher team on our About Us page.

 

MAKING GREAT SAUSAGES 101

 

Back by Popular Demand

The Healthy Butcher and Slow Food Toronto present

Making Great Sausages,

a class for beginners wanting to learn the basics of Charcuterie’s most popular art...


Tuesday, August 22, 2006 7:45pm - 10:30pm

Click here for more info

 

 

THE HEALTHY BUTCHER TO PARTICIPATE

IN THE 17th ANNUAL FEAST OF FIELDS

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2006  1-5pm, CALEDON

 

Feast of Fields is a unique event that invites organic growers and chefs to

present their delicious selections of organic products and answer questions

about their operations and philosophies.  To learn more, click here

 

 

WINES & SUMMER FOODS

By Dick Snyder, editor & founder of

 

Laying back in summer means we can all loosen up—but it needn’t mean compromising on quality. Good-time grilling should mean having a bunch of friends over, throwing various cuts of meat over the coals (or flame, what have you), tossing some salads on the table and popping open a few nice bottles. And then forget about it: Eat, drink, have a good time.

For us gourmet types, though, this laissez fare attitude can be difficult. We want to know that the wines will work with the smokey-charred-drippy deliciousness coming from the grill. So, in association with The Healthy Butcher, the gang at City Bites magazine assembled a team of experts and amateurs and threw a little patio party. Several generous local wineries and wine agents either came to participate, or tossed a few bottles into the mix. We let people pick and choose whatever wines they wanted to try with each dish, with few hints if they asked. The Healthy Butcher’s Mario Fiorucci commanded the grill, and sent out meat after meat, from sausage to rib steak to elk sausage, with some pork and chicken in between.

 

Sommelier Zoltan Szabo (of SzaboandSzabo.com) helped with pairing suggestions—often steering us toward some unexpected taste sensations. The end result: very few wines were NOT good matches. The smartest plays pitted fuller bodied reds with the weightier meat cuts; no surprises there. But there were some surprising delights: an off-dry Riesling matched to baby back ribs made a perfectly sweet-and-salty pairing.  Read on for more.

Here’s a dish-by-dish account, with the wines that worked best.  All dishes and meats we tried were picked up at The Healthy Butcher, as prepared here, minutes before starting up the grill.  Wine prices are per bottle. Unless otherwise noted, all wines are available direct from winery or from wine agent; agent wines must be purchased in cases of either 6 or 12, depending on availability.

SALADS

COUS COUS AND LENTIL SALAD

A nutty, slightly sweet mix of grains and herbs, this salad packs a lot of complexity. The best wine matches brought sweet spice flavours and/or hints of toasty oak. A richer, more dimensional wine brings out the depth of flavours in the salad.

Chateau des Charmes 2001 Chardonnay Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard
Niagara, Ontario

($19.95, at Vintages and winery; www.chateaudescharmes.com)
Simply a perfect match —the rich buttery toasty Chardonnay and the nutty grains went beyond creating a great taste profile. This became an example of complementing textures, with the full-bodied, mouth-filling wine creating a gorgeous delivery mechanism for the salad (okay, perhaps that sounds a bit technical; let’s just say this was awesome!).

Marc Kreydenweiss 2004 Kritt Gewurtztraminer Les Charmes
Alsace, France

($31.95, 416-538-0212, www.wineonline.ca)
Elegant, medium-body—great texture and flavour profile that well complements the cous cous. And it’s from a biodynamic estate.

Greenfield 2005 Manzanita Chardonnay
California, U.S.A.

($14.95, B&W Wines, 416-531-5553, www.bwwines.com)
A medium bodied wine with a judicious amount of oak; crisper than the others, but still a lovely complement to the cous cous.

Tenuta Sant’ Isidoro 2003 Soremedio IGT
Lazio, Italy

($26.95, Portfolio Wine & Spirits, 416-786-9463, www.portfoliowine.com)
For a change-up, go with a bold red—this 100% Montepulciano is earthy with complex spice and moderate tannins. Very pleasant with the spicy, sweet cous cous.

Frog Pond 2002 Riesling
Niagara, Ontario

($12, Frog Pond Farm, 905-468-1079, www.frogpondfarm.ca)
Crisp, medium acidity—excellent citrus flavours. It's local and organic!

Daniel Lenko 2004 Unoaked Chardonnay
Niagara, Ontario

($19.95, Daniel Lenko Estate Winery, 905-563-7756, www.daniellenko.com)
A serious wine with lots going on; good with the beet salad and the cous cous.
 

 

ROASTED CHIOGGA BEET SALAD WITH CITRUS SEGMENTS AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Beets and citrus—earthy with a bracing zing. Go with high-acid wines, said Zoltan, like an earthy herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc. Wise words—you want the crisp acidity of both wine and salad to match. Any wine that picks up and echoes the strong citrus flavours fares very well.

Lilipilly Estate 2005 Sauvignon Blanc
New South Wales, Australia
($19.95, B&W Wines, 416-531-5553, www.bwwines.com)
A simple wine that actually gets better with food, and makes the food taste better too. The flavours wine and salad flavours harmonize, with the high acid notes in each working together to create a very lively mouthfeel. The sweet citrus in the salad tempers the acidity in the wine. Tasty!

Daniel Lenko Estate 2004 Reserve Riesling
Niagara, Ontario
($15.95, Daniel Lenko Estate Winery, 905-563-7756, www.daniellenko.com)
Very dry, with crisp acid carrying gorgeous citrus flavours to the palate. A lovely match if you like a fuller-bodied wine.

Macaw Creek 2004 Semillon Viognier
Gilbert Valley, Australia
($26.25, Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)
Bright flavours and lively acidity, with a long finish. Contrasts nicely with the salad’s earthiness.

Frog Pond 2002 Riesling
Niagara, Ontario
($12, Frog Pond Farm, 905-468-1079, www.frogpondfarm.ca)
To quote: “acidity vs. acidity… Yum!”
 

 

MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH FENNEL, DRIED CRANBERRY AND TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

 

Macaw Creek 2004 Semillon Viognier

Gilbert Valley, Australia

($26.25, Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)
Spicy and crisp, this went quite nicely with the greens, which are often a difficult flavour to match, given their very green-ness (or vegetal flavours, if you prefer).

Cascina Ruris 2004 Cortese di Piemonte
Piedmonte, Italy

($14.95, Portfolio Wine & Spirits, 416-786-9463, www.portfoliowine.com)
A neutral wine that allows the crisp and bitter green flavours to flourish.

Jean-Luc Colombo Rose de Cote Bleue
Cote d’Aix en Provence, France
($14.95 Vintages, and through B&W Wines, 416-531-5553, www.bwwines.com)
A rose of subtle elegance; more depth than most.

Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2004 Rosé
Niagara, Ontario
($9.95 at LCBO. 905-684-8423, www.henryofpelham.com)
Solid, dry “French-style” rose. Spicy and raspberry fruit. Great summer sipper.
 

CHICKEN

THAI CHICKEN SAUSAGES

Delicate texture, mild yet assertive spice flavours. Still, at heart, these sausages are about chicken.

Henry of Pelham 2005 Reserve Riesling
Niagara, Ontario
($13.95 at LCBO. 905-684-8423, www.henryofpelham.com)
Pretty florals and citrus notes in the wine provide a nice lift to the thai flavours in the sausage. Riesling is a really versatile wine, and the Henry of Pelham is perhaps one of the best values around.

Nichols Edna Ranch Vineyard 2000 Pinot Noir
Pasa Robles, California

($49.95, Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)

This is a very serious Pinot Noir — which is why it goes so well with so much of The Healthy Butcher’s food!  Here, the wine’s spice and complexity wonderfully integrates with the rich yet delicate flavours of the sausage.

Marc Kreydenweiss 2004 Kritt Gewurtztraminer Les Charmes

Alsace, France
($31.95/btl, 6 btl/case; 416-538-0212, www.wineonline.ca)
Floral, elegant flavour profile brings out the delicate sweet flavours of the chicken sausage.  A refined match.

Daniel Lenko Unoaked Chardonnay
Niagara, Ont.
($19.95, Daniel Lenko Estate Winery, 905-563-7756, www.daniellenko.com)
Good. Reeeeeeal good.

Valdievieso Cabernet Sauvignon
Chile
($11.95, Carriage Trade Wines & Spirits, 519-941-8390, www.carriagetradewines.com)
And we quote: “Spicy Thai chicken sausage goes good with a bold/strong red.”  A complex wine from a veteran Chilean estate; matches well with the mellow, rich chicken sausage.

 

CHICKEN BREAST MARINATED WITH LEMON AND TARRAGON

Subdued marinade takes the back seat to the chicken - moist and lovely, with just a hint of grill.


Peninsula Ridge Estates 2005 Beal Vineyards Reserve INOX Chardonnay
Niagara, Ont.
($19.95. Peninsula Ridge Estates, 905-563-0900, www.peninsularidge.com)
Quite a big wine, even without oak. Floral, fruity and creamy — it does go well with the chicken.

Daniel Lenko Unoaked Chardonnay
Niagara, Ont.
($19.95, Daniel Lenko Estate Winery, 905-563-7756, www.daniellenko.com)
Real good.
 

 

PORK

PORK BUTTERFLY CHOPS

Grilled with absolutely no added flavourings apart from salt and pepper, this heritage pork is sweet, moist and delicate. There are lots of wine options, keeping in mind that lighter and fruitier is better, so as not to overpower the meat.

 

Nichols Edna Ranch Vineyard 2000 Pinot Noir
Pasa Robles, California

($49.95, Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)
The wine adds just a hint of spice to the meat, acting kind of like a sauce. Really nice!

Leaping Horse 2002 Merlot
Sierra Foothills, California
($12.95 at LCBO. Lifford Wine Agency, 416-440-4101, www.liffordwineagency.com)
For fans of ripe, almost sweet Merlot, this is an excellent pairing. You’d think this full-flavoured wine would overpower the pork, but it doesn’t.

Tenuta Sant’ Isidoro 2003 Soremedio IGT
Lazio, Italy
($26.95/btl. Portfolio Wine & Spirits, 416-786-9463, www.portfoliowine.com)
The wine brings a refined spicy profile to the buttery, delicate chops. A sublime match.

Chateau des Charmes 2001 Chardonnay Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard

Niagara, Ontario
($19.95 at Vintages and Winery; www.chateaudescharmes.com)
Just a great wine with a simple, gorgeous meat course. Both rich and delish, with the oaky spice in the wine bringing an extra level of flavour to the pork.
 

 

LONGANIZA CUBANA CALIENTE SAUSAGES

A stumper, this one.  At least, we thought it would be. This sausage is deep and delicious, with a real peppery kick. The knee-jerk match would be a bright Shiraz.  But the ringer came from a wildly different vine.

Nichols Edna Ranch Vineyard 2000 Pinot Noir
Pasa Robles, California

($49.95,. Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)
Older Pinot Noir begins to take on a really earthy almost musty character, with the spicy and fruity characters of the young grape refining into a complex, darker profile—all of this makes a really interesting, unusual but ultimately successful match with the hot spicy sausage.

Koura Bay 2005 Walesback Pinot Noir
New Zealand

($32.95. Portfolio Wine & Spirits, 416-786-9463, www.portfoliowine.com)
A very different kind of Pinot Noir than the Nichols, this is much fresher, with characteristic cherry and dried cranberry fruit. Until it ages, it doesn’t have quite the stuffing to take on the full force of the Cubana, but it nonetheless delivers a refreshing quality.

 

SWEET ONION HONEY GARLIC SAUSAGES


Penley Estate 2004 Hyland Shiraz
Coonawarra, Australia
($29.69, B&W Wines, 416-531-5553, www.bwwines.com)
A textural delight! Sweet toasted garlic in the sausage matched to rich blueberry fruit in the wine. A juicy wine with a vaguely sweet sausage — very nice match. (Although some, in their enthusiasm, used less elegant terms.)

Tenuta Sant’ Isidoro 2003 Soremedio IGT
Lazio, Italy
($26.95/btl. Portfolio Wine & Spirits, 416-786-9463, www.portfoliowine.com)
A great match: sweet spicy sausage gets a flavour boost with this very complex, fruity yet somewhat austere wine. This wine was a major favourite, on its own and with this sausages.

Macaw Creek 2002 Yoolang Shiraz
Gilbert Valley, Australia

($28.25, Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)
A lesson in weighting: both sausage and wine have similar heft, sort of a medium body kind of thing. Delicious match-up. This wine is made without preservatives!

Tyrrell’s Old Winery 2004 Shiraz
Australia

($14.95 at LCBO. Maxxium, 416-535-7899)
Tasty, rich, yummy.

 

SMOKEY SPARE RIBS

Meaty, smokey goodness. Not much more to say.

Penley Estate 2004 Hyland Shiraz
Coonawarra, Australia
($29.69, B&W Wines, 416-531-5553, www.bwwines.com)
"Outstanding match!", said Zoltan. The wine has the muscle and complexity to take on these flavourful smokey ribs. This was a crowd-pleasing pairing.

Nichols Edna Ranch Vineyard 2000 Pinot Noir
Pasa Robles, California
($49.95, Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)
A nice little dance—although some might find the ribs’ bold flavour overpowers the wine. But for Pinot fans, this is fun.

Chateau des Charmes 2001 Chardonnay Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard

Niagara, Ontario
($19.95, at Vintages and Winery. 905-262-4219, www.chateaudescharmes.com)
Rich, spicy, flavourful wine; same with the ribs. If you feel like a white wine with your ribs, this is the way to go.

Quinta de Ventozelo DOC 2003
Douro, Portugal
($14.95, Vintages and through B&W Wines, 416-531-5553, www.bwwines.com)
A wonderful wine that brings out the best in all the red meats. It doesn’t overpower, just let’s the flavours sing.

Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2004 Reserve Baco Noir

Niagara, Ontario
($24.95, at Vintages and Winery. Henry of Pelham, 905-684-8423, www.henryofpelham.com)
A wine of incredible dimension and muscle, but with a soft, approachable side. It’s crisp acidity and round, complex spice profile make it an ideal match with the smokey ribs.

Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2005 Reserve Riesling
Niagara, Ontario
($13.95 at LCBO and Winery. Henry of Pelham, 905-684-8423, www.henryofpelham.com)
Yep, Riesling!  Very refreshing with the ribs! A great summer match, especially—the citrus notes and acidity do a great number on the saucy ribs.

Mount Oakden 2002 Shiraz Clare Valley
Clare Valley, Australia
($13.99. Lifford Wine Agency, 416-440-4101, www.liffordwineagency.com)
Sweet fruit, a good bit of spice and a little toasty oak but this wine firmly within the realm of a picante sausage.

La Rosine 2004 Syrah
Cotes du Rhone, France
(32.95. 416-538-0212, www.wineonline.ca)
Harmony! Smokiness of both wine and ribs meld wonderfully.
 

 

LAMB

LEG OF LAMB ROASTED WITH HERBS AND CHILI

Lamb that has a gorgeous sweet flavour and wonderfully juicy/tender texture. The taste lingers… inviting another sip of wine, then another bite.

Peninsula Ridge Estates 2002 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Niagara, Ont.

($39.95. Peninsula Ridge Estates, 905-563-0900, www.peninsularidge.com)
A big, dry, forceful wine with moderate tannins and a wide flavour profile—herbs and black fruit—that cuts through the richness of the lamb. A very pretty match.

Frog Pond 2002 Cabernet Merlot
Niagara, Ont.

($16. Frog Pond Farm, 905-468-1079, www.frogpondfarm.ca)
Full-flavoured yet surprisingly fruity, this wine has the herbal notes backed by just enough tannin to help make the lamb shine. This is a fantastic Cab-Merlot - and it’s local & organic! 
 

 

ELK

ELK SAUSAGE WITH HERBS AND WHITE WINE
The Elk Sausage with Herbs and White Wine is a brilliant piece of work.  Elk is usually quite mild. This sausage, with just a hint of herbs and white wine, is remarkably flavourful—mildly gamey, with hints of dried fruits like cranberries and blueberries. My new favourite burger!


Tenuta Sant’ Isidoro 2003 Soremedio IGT
Lazio, Italy

($26.95/btl. Portfolio Wine & Spirits, 416-786-9463, www.portfoliowine.com)
A dry, complex old-world style, but fruity and a great match with the elk, which is lean but meaty, and similarly somewhat fruity, reminiscent of dried cranberries or blueberries.

Bruno Giacosa 2001 Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive

Piedmont, Italy
($147. Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)
Simply an incredible wine—complex, perfectly in balance, with a firm tannic structure rounded out by gorgeous mineral black fruit and a faint hint of herb. On its own, wonderful; with the elk, perfection.

Quinta de Ventozelo DOC 2003
Douro, Portugal
($14.95, Vintages and through B&W Wines, 416-531-5553, www.bwwines.com)
A fruity and spicy wine, with hints of mint and licorice: just what an elk would drink.

 

BEEF

RIB EYE WITH BORDELAISE SAUCE
Meaty beef, simply grilled, is the best.  With homemade Bordelaise sauce, this is divine.  Beef of this quality demands strong, complex wines with real character.


Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2004 Reserve Baco Noir

Niagara, Ontario
($24.95 at Vintages and Winery. Henry of Pelham, 905-684-8423, www.henryofpelham.com)
A wine of incredible dimension and muscle, but with a soft, approachable side. It’s crisp acidity and round, complex spice profile make it an ideal match with the smokey ribs.

Daniel Lenko 2003 Old Vines Merlot
Niagara, Ontario

($24.95. Daniel Lenko Estate Winery, 905-563-7756, www.daniellenko.com)
A wine worth holding back for the big guns. With the beef—full of flavour and texture—this Merlot brings a complement of blackberry spice and hint of mint. Lovely, a textural delight.

Marc Kreydenweiss 2003 Barbabelle
Costeres des Nimes, France

($12.95. 416-538-0212, www.wineonline.ca)
The deal of the century—a wine you can’t stop drinking, for just under $13. Crazy. With any meat, it shines—rounded complex berries, a hint of tannin, a warm spicy texture. A lighter wine, but with cajones enough to take on the rich beefy flavours. Biodynamic, organic—and extremely tasty. Don’t just feel good about the world… you can drink this wine because it rocks.

Quinta de Ventozelo DOC 2003
Douro, Portugal

($14.95, Vintages and through B&W Wines, 416-531-5553, www.bwwines.com)
Nobody could possibly not like this wine… with this beef.

Bruno Giacosa 2001 Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive

Piedmont, Italy
($147. Le Sommelier, 416-603-7026, www.lesommelier.com)

If you have to ask about the price, then it’s out of your league.  Simply stellar.

 

 

 

DON'T FORGET TO PRINT OUT YOUR

1-PAGE GUIDE TO WINE PAIRING!

 

 

 

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