What to DRINK With That – Local Lamb, Truffled Chèvre, Spring Vegetables

 DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. For our anniversary edition, we asked them to match our special celebration menu featured in the March/April print edition of the magazine.

EAT’s Anniversary Celebration Menu ~

Scrambled Farm Eggs with North Divine Caviar.
There’s no way I could pair this starter with anything other than sparkling wine. Look for House Wine’s Champagne recommendations, or over to the current VINcabulary or my non-Champers sparkling selections.

Local Lamb with Salt Spring Truffled Chèvre, spring vegetables

Dessert: Dark Chocolate Quadruple Layer Cake with Salted Caffe Fantastico Mocha Buttercream Frosting




Our Experts:

brookeBrooke Levie (BL)
Bar Manager, The Marina Restaurant

Though his career in the fine food and beverage industry started at the tender age of 16, Brooke quickly realized that his dreams of becoming a chef were not going to be as he fell hard for the life of a cocktail slinging gangster. After a few years of intensive learning through one wine bottle after another, he found himself in the ideal position of taking over the beverage program at The Marina Restaurant where he’s been taking names and kissing babies for the last four years. Actually, he’s just been reading a ton of books about wine, spirits, and cocktails, completing the WSET  advanced and French Wine Scholar programs. He is currently studying the WSET diploma.


Matthew MMatthew Morgenstern (MM)
General Manager, Ask for Luigi

Not too long ago Matthew was working a 9-5 job and looking for some activities to get himself off the couch after work. He began the WSET program to have something to contribute at stuffy dinner parties. However, his current hours in the restaurant world afford him little opportunity for dinner parties or couch time. His new carrier started as a server working at Mission Hill Terrace Restaurant, C Restaurant, and Salt. His first wine list at Nicli Antica Pizzeria introduced guests to unique southern Italian grape varieties. After a stint at Wildebeest, he is now the General Manager and Wine Director at Ask for Luigi, where his white wine focused list proves that white wine can be serious, complex and diverse.





john weberJohn Weber (JW)
Owner, Winemaker at Orofino
John and his wife Virginia switched up their Saskatchewan lifestyle after a quick visit to the Similkameen Valley in 2001. Their winery has produced 10 vintages of Orofino wines, to much popular and critical acclaim. On any given day, you might find him climbing over barrels, sitting on his 1952 Massey tractor, or playing street hockey on the crushpad with his two sons. John loves wines that stoke conversation and make people linger and ask questions. He wishes he had more time to flyfish the Similkameen River.







What to DRINK with:

Main: Local Lamb with Salt Spring Truffled Chèvre, spring vegetables

BL. I’m a huge fan of regional pairings! There’s a good chance this lamb may come from Salt Spring Island, so how about a local Pinot Noir? Though not typically the first thought when thinking of a big red meat, a local island or SSI Pinot will be bright enough and with enough acidity to keep up with the chèvre. If you want something less fruit forward that emphasizes those beautiful earthy mushroom notes we know and love from classic regions such Bourgogne, Pinot Noir would make a great complement to the truffle. And if you’re looking for something with a little more weight, we can still keep it local and really compliment the gamey flavours of the lamb with a Marechal Foch!

MM. Lamb is a sommelier’s dream, as it is a very versatile meat that pairs well with many different red wines. Syrah is the grape of the Northern Rhone and the last three vintages have produced some classic wines from this region. As these wines age, they develop characteristics of truffle and forest floor that add complexity to the peppery red and black fruit so well known of Syrah. All of these complimenting and contrasting aromas work great with this dish. However, I run a white wine focused list and I feel obliged to stick to my program. To choose a white wine that will stand up to the density and flavours  of lamb it must have great body and intensity. I don’t need to go far, as the Northern Rhone also produces amazing Viognier from the tiny appellation of Condrieu. The floral and fruity component of the wine contracts with the gamey earthiness of the meat to enhance the flavours in both the wine and the dish. Although, Viognier by nature is a low acidity wine, there is still a freshness that compliments the young cheese and vegetables and the indomitable Condrieu will not be overpowered by the truffles.

JW. We love pairing our local Cawston-raised lamb with big red wines that have proper tannins to cut through the fattiness of the meat. The truffled chèvre plays more towards the earthy, gamey notes and I would look for those notes in the paired wine.  A well-chosen Châteauneuf-du-Pape would work well here as it has the structure needed for the meat  and that old world earthiness to please the truffled chèvre. And hey, it’s local lamb! It deserves a special bottle of wine.


Dessert: Dark Chocolate Quadruple Layer Cake with Salted Caffe Fantastico Mocha Buttercream Frosting

BL. Dark chocolate screams for tawny port, but you ever tried white port? With chocolate? You must! Though the flavours are perhaps not obviously comparable, this is one of those contrasting pairings that sings. White ports vary from bone dry to sweet. The one on our market from Taylor Fladgate (not the chip dry) is full bodied, with flavours of vanilla and stewed apricot and the sweetness to make this pair work, letting both the port and chocolate shine separately yet in harmony. The richness of the mocha buttercream and added salt will make the fruit flavours of the port pop.

MM. The sweet Sherry produced from the white grape Pedro Ximenez is my drink with chocolate. The grapes are concentrated by drying them in the sun. During fermentation the process is halted by fortification, creating a sweet, viscous wine with flavours of hazelnuts, brown sugar and raisins. Both cake and wine match in density and richness and the contrasting flavours of chocolate, coffee, nuts, caramel and fruit are tried and true. Come to think of it, I kind of want to take both cake and Sherry down to Wildebeest and throw it into their slushy machine! Sorry Starbucks, this one’s my idea.

JW. We aren’t big on fortifieds in our house and this dish would overpower a red wine. I would pop open a big bottle or two of imperial stout – something boozy and bitter, not soft and sweet. You would get those great coffee and chocolate notes of the stout too pair with the flavours of the dessert. The richness and decadence of the beer mimics the  food.  Yum!





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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