What to DRINK With That : Spring on the Coast


L-R Stacey Brennan, Sebastien Le Goff, James Nevison *photo credits below


What to DRINK with That : Spring on the Coast

DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. This time we are focusing on quintessential west coast spring ingredients.


Our Experts:

Stacey Brennan (SB)
Manager, Hillside Liquor Store
Stacey feels very lucky to be able to eat and drink for a living. Being in the retail wine, beer and spirit business for 9 years at The Hillside Liquor Store and the restaurant business for 10 years prior (The Marina, Cafe Brio and Suze) has given her the opportunity to taste an extensive amount of wine. Being married to Chef Sean Brennan of Brasserie L’Ecole provides her with the chance to pair delicious food and wine every day!

Sebastien Le Goff (SLG)
Service Director & Sommelier, Cactus Restaurants Ltd.
A highly talented and respected veteran of the Vancouver restaurant scene, Sebastien works with the front of house team to build the service program, and as a decorated sommelier, he also works with the bar operations team on the wine and beverage program. His esteemed career as a sommelier and restaurant manager has been built in top rooms worldwide, including GM for db bistro moderne in Singapore, Director of Operations and Beverage Manager with Uva Wine Bar and Cibo Trattoria, Director of Operations and Wine Director at Lumière and Feenies; Restaurant and Wine Director at CinCin; and various roles at select Oliver Bonacini Group restaurants.

James Nevison (JN)
Wine Columnist & Author
James is the weekly wine columnist for The Province newspaper and the author (or co-author) of seven best-selling books on wine. His latest, Had a Glass 2013: The top 100 wines under $20, was recently published through Appetite by Random House.


What to DRINK with:


Grilled Halibut with Asparagus, Garlic Scapes & Wild Morel Mushrooms with Sorrel Butter

SB. There is nothing more West Coast than fresh halibut – its firm texture, low fat content and clean taste pairs perfectly with the sweet flavour of asparagus and nutty earthiness of wild morels. My favourite wine pairing with this dish is a dry, pale pink Côtes de Provence Rosé with notes of strawberry, cherry and spice. The sea winds, Mediterranean soil, sunshine and vineyards surrounded by lavender, rosemary and thyme lend perfectly to the earthy qualities of the dish.

SLG. The charred flavour of grilled fish, along with the asparagus and mushroom would ideally pair well with  a light, cru Beaujolais from the southern part of Burgundy. It is best served cool but not cold (at around 12 to 14 degrees Celsius). The 2009 or 2010 vintage from the following villages would be a great match for this dish: Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent or Julienas. In addition, you could also pair this dish with a lovely lighter-style local Gamay (Cru Beaujolais are made from 100% Gamay grape). If you prefer red, try to stay away from anything that is too oaky.  Keep it fresh and with low tannin.

JN. The bold, fresh flavours of spring call for equally bold bottles. But do you go with off-dry and fruity to contrast the grill? Or earthy and audacious to play off the fresh produce? In the end I’m choosing the latter and going with Vinho Verde from Portugal, BUT not the simple, slightly spritzy whites typically associated with the region. I’m seeing a handful of serious, and seriously tasty Vinho Verde that pours this stereotype out the bottle – wines made from indigenous grapes like Loureiro that tease the tastebuds with floral notes, citrus, and an intense wet stone mineral quality that builds as the wine warms in the glass.


BONUS : Roasted Bone Marrow, Sea Urchin, Bacon Crisp

SB. The combination of bone marrow, sea urchin and bacon creates an incredibly rich, salty, unctuous meaty dish. I would pair an Alsatian off dry Pinot Gris – the bold aromatics and balanced acidity will stand up to the saltiness and fattiness of the dish perfectly!

SLG. With something as decadent, rich and high in umami as bone marrow, bacon and sea urchin, I would open a bottle of wine that offers high acidity and is very refreshing. You need a beverage that is going to cut through the food. Bubbles would be the ideal pairing. Either something from BC such as the Blue Mountain Brut or the Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc. Or, if one wanted to indulge, which I highly recommend, go for a bottle from Champagne. Charles Heidsieck or Larmandier Bernier would be my picks.  If I had to pick my last meal on earth, it would be sea urchin and aged Champagne.

JN. Whoa, talk about an umami bomb! Let’s keep to the Iberian Peninsula and head over the border into northwest Spain. A fresh, bone-dry Albariño will counterbalance the rich bone marrow – and if you close your eyes while sipping you might even get a smidge of salinity in the wine, which will complement the briny sea urchin and salty bacon.


*Le Goff photo credit Claudette Carracedo, Nevison photo credit Klee Larsen 

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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