Virtue vs Vice: What to Drink with That


DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. For early 2015, we’re looking at Virtue vs Vice.

Our Experts:

Sharon McLean (SMC)
Founder, Cru Consultancy, Victoria

Sharon is a leading wine educator, responsible for delivering Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and French Wine Scholar (FWS) courses on Vancouver Island and for introducing the Italian Wine Specialist certification to BC. Most recently, she has joined as the roving beverage reporter. After completing the WSET Diploma in 2009 with the highest marks in Canada, she finished the Sherry Educator, French Wine Scholar and Center for Wine Origins (Port & Champagne) certifications. Sharon is a second year Masters of Wine candidate – one of the few in Canada currently attempting wine’s most prestigious and rigorous academic honours. When not engaged in a wine glass, she is a highly sought after management consultant with more than 20 years of international experience.

Hao-Yang Wang (HYW)
GM, Sommelier, Farmer’s Apprentice, Vancouver

Based in Vancouver, Hao-Yang began his career in the restaurant industry where he discovered his passion for wine. While he was completing his WSET Level 4, he had the opportunity to manage one of the Liberty Wine Merchant’s boutique wine shops. He returned to the restaurant scene as an Assistant Wine Director at West Restaurant. In 2013, Hao-Yang assumed the role as the AGM/Sommelier, opening Pidgin in Gastown. Currently, Hao-Yang is the GM at Vancouver’s Farmer’s Apprentice Restaurant and is anticipating the opening of its sister wine bar, Grapes and Soda.

What to DRINK With:


Grilled Chicken Breast Salad with Avocado, Walnuts and Green Beans and a Ginger-Miso Vinaigrette

SMC. So many flavours and textures here. We need a wine that has a distinctive character and won’t get drowned out by the food. We also need some bright acidity to match the vinaigrette. I’d reach for a Riesling from Alsace with beautifully intensive aromatics and racy freshness. Being virtuous isn’t so bad after all.

HYW. Grill marks, creamy avocado, and a dressing with Asian flair; I look to the diverse southwest of France to pair up here. While well known for their full-bodied and bold red wines, their whites often over-deliver for value and are packed with personality. From Gros Menseng and Petit Menseng, the wines will provide both the weight, as well as refreshing quality to compliment the salad. Or further south, we can go to the Spanish’s Galicia coasts; Rias Baixas’ Albariño grape would fair well here with its herbaceous, but stone fruit-driven notes.


Roast Chicken with Pancetta, Porcini Mushrooms, Rosemary and Cream Sauce over Garlic Capellini Pasta

SMC. Definitely a ripe, lightly oaked Chardonnay for this one. The richness of the food demands an opulent, creamy-textured wine. The mushrooms and the rosemary point me towards a wine that has both fruit and savoury elements. Bourgogne, the home of Chardonnay, is an easy choice, but I’ve enjoyed some Italian versions from Tuscany and Sicily recently that I’d hunt down.

HYW. One can easily be seduced to stay in the Mediterranean faced with such rustic flavors. Piedmont, Italy has always been a soft spot for me; home to the famous Nebbiolo, I would seek out its little brother, Barbera, for its racy acidity, juiciness and diversity in style. The lighter-weight, refreshing style will cut through the richness of the fatty pancetta and cream sauce, bringing light-hearted fruitiness to the pairing. The richer, more tailored styles will showcase more earthy and savory notes, deliciously complimenting the mushrooms and the rosemary-driven sauce.

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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