What to DRINK With That : Spot Prawn Season


DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. On the coast, May can only really mean one thing: SPOT PRAWN SEASON.


Our Experts:

samcasugaSamantha Casuga (SC)
Bartender/Wine Geek, Veneto Tapa Lounge

Since starting as a hostess four years ago in Calgary, Samantha has since hit the ground running and has worked her way up every front of house position. She traded in management for a chance to work behind the bar at Veneto Tapa Lounge in Victoria, and sees the value in mentorship and education. Although heavily involved in the Victoria bartending community, she finds her main focus on wine and has recently completed her French Wine Scholar with highest honours and is a current WSET Diploma student. She is also one of five recipients of the BC Hospitality Foundation/Okanagan Crush Pad Sommelier Scholarships for 2014. With a real love for plant science and viticulture, she dreams of vineyard life where she can get her hands dirty and trudge around in her cowboy boots.


mark filatowMark Filatow (MF)
Executive Chef/Sommelier, Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar

After graduating with honours from the Dubrulle Culinary Institute, Mark honed his culinary skills at some of the most prestigious restaurants in BC including Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn, Vancouver’s Bishops and Diva at the Met and Kelowna’s Fresco Restaurant. In 2001 Mark was accepted into the coveted Sommelier Guild, making him one of the only chefs in Canada with this level of skill in food and wine pairing. By 2005 Mark’s culinary prowess was acknowledged by Enroute Magazine when they recognized Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar as one of Canada’s best new restaurants.


rogermaniwaRoger Maniwa (RM)
Sommelier, Hawksworth Restaurant

After starting his career in Vancouver while earning his ISG sommelier certification, Roger worked in fine dining rooms in Japan and the United Kingdom (Chez Bruce), before moving back to Vancouver to work the floor of one of Canada’s finest restaurants, Hawksworth. In addition to his tableside work, he has recently competed and won the BC heat of the Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup, is an integral member of Vancouver Magazine’s Annual Wine Awards, a board member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommelier – BC Chapter. He is a sought after somm, lending his talents to special events around Vancouver, as well as offering his growing acumen to restaurateurs, including Pidgin restaurant.




What to DRINK With:

Sautéed Wild B.C. Spot Prawns with Garlic, Jalapeños, Fresh Herbs and a Spicy Mayo (via Chef Rob Feenie, Cactus Club)

SC. A lovely example of sweet and spicy, this dish is just asking for a playful partner with just as much vibrancy. I immediately go to chenin blanc for its appealing qualities, specifically one from Vouvray. High acidity graces these wines with a certain freshness that would help keep the palate satiated. A demi-sec Vouvray in particular would do wonders for the spice of the jalapeños and mayo, all the while matching with the sweetness of the spot prawns.

MF. With the jalapeno and spicy mayo I would look for something with little residual sugar, lower alcohol and good fruit intensity. The sweet prawns deserve something with great minerality. My first pick would be a Spätlese riesling from the Mosel which has all of those elements in spades. Second pick would be a demi sec Vouvray, its gravel/chalky soils give the minerality. Chenin blanc with racy acid, enough residual sugar to tame the heat and great anise/minty notes to tie in the herbs nicely.

RM. With lots of bright flavour components on the dish (garlic, jalapenos, herbs, sweet prawns), I’d look for the following qualities in a wine to pair, light to mid body with fresh fruit, crisp acidity, very refreshing. First thing that comes to mind is Txakoli from the Basque in Spain. A staple with pintxos, it’s a slightly effervescent dry white, with bright citrus, hints of white flowers, wonderful minerality and salinity. A wine to be drunk young, find the most recent vintage and enjoy. Other wines that would be just as nice are albariño from Spain and Portugal, slightly sweet riesling from Germany (not above kabinett).


Spot Prawns with roasted spring boletus, espelette oil, lemon thyme, & fried cheese gnocchi (via The Herbfarm Restaurant)

SC. I can think of one style of wine in particular that can herald such a brilliant partnership and that is Champagne. I think an aged vintage Champagne would love to lend its high acidity to cut through the fried cheese gnocchi and dance hand-in-hand with the lemon thyme. The earthy and nutty notes in aged Champagne would be more than perfect for the roasted boletus, and the spot prawns would die to be the key player in this ball… as they would have to. If an aged vintage Champagne is not within reach, a certain NV Pierre Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs Cuis 1er Cru would readily suffice. I had one of the best meals of my life sharing a bottle of this bad boy and a plate of spot prawns on the Sunshine Coast, and the romance of such a pairing has yet to escape me.

MF. Earthy mushrooms, chili, citrus and menthol thyme flavour with sweet prawns and fried cheese. First crack at it would be white burgundy, a good value from the Mâconnais. Clay and limestone soils give minerality and add a little new oak influence for pairing with the richness of the fried cheese. Good fruit intensity to match the intensity of the chili and thyme. There are some top drawer BC chardonnays that would work great as well. If a red is a must I would try a rosé like Cabernet d’Anjou or a dry rosé from gamay. Bright red fruits, low tannin, good acid with good structure would handle the spot prawn mushroom combo.

RM. Depending on how the spot prawns are prepared (poached, sous vide or sautéd, grilled) and with accompanying flavours of earthy mushroom, citrus/herb, and cheese, I’d steer towards a richer white or light fresh red. For a white, a mid to full body, round textured wine with sensible oak influence. A slightly mature white Burgundy where you start to see hints of earth and mineral tones but still with fresh creamed citrus or tree fruit tones and taut acidity would be great. White Rioja, Australian chardonnay can also be some great pairs. With the caramelized tones from sautéing or grilling prawns, a light to mid body red with a balance of fresh red berry and some floral tones with hints of earthy notes would complement nicely. Village-level Beaujolais, some pinot noirs, and frapatto from Sicily are fine examples.


Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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