What to DRINK With That : Tour de France Edition

DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. Since we’re big cycling fans here at EAT, she decided to base this edition’s pairings on le Tour de France with two dishes from regions where the cyclists will be racing this July.

*Follow our daily DRINKing Along With le Tour.


Our Experts:

TYLER DawsonTyler Dawson (TD)
Buyer, Manager, Liberty Wine Merchants West Vancouver

Tyler is well known for his unique approach to wine appreciation and education; summing up his “Fun Source, Serious Supply” motto as a surprise and delight practitioner.  Tyler is the youngest grandson of George C. Reifel (a pioneer in local and international beverage markets). With 25+ years of experience in fine wine and retail operations, hospitality beverage management, and educator to both consumers and trade,  his thirst for authenticity, value and deliciousness in the glass, has never waned. He has become a specialist in trade mission prospecting for new experiences to oenotain his customers and the B.C. marketplace, and he is the Ty in the  “Ty the Wine Guy” brand.




brentBrent Muller (BM)
Wine Director, Vic Pub Co.

What started out as a summer job with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has evolved into a fascination with wine and a dedication to the profession. With 6+ years retail experience, French Wine Scholar accreditation and his Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma in progress, Brent is always happy to chat modestly with guests about anything wine, spirits or beer. Ever expanding his skill set, you can now find him plying his trade in Victoria as Wine Director for the Vic Pub Company.


What to DRINK With:

Cassoulet – from Carcassonne, in the south (classic, with white beans, duck legs, pork shoulder, mild pork sausages & pancetta with garlic, celery, carrots, tomato, onion, thyme)

TD. In Carcassonne at the foot of the Pyrenees along the Canal du Midi this rib sticking cuisine is matched with Cabardés A.O.C. (1999) where the vines and climates of the cooler Atlantic South West meet the warmth of the Mediterranean South. Soils of clay and limestone bear Merlot and Cabernet(s) as much as Syrah and Grenache on their preferred ground. In addition, all the other Bordeaux varietals AND the Languedoc ones(minus Mourvèdre) are employed.

“Bord’Oc” ? or “Languedeaux” ?  Your call but Cabardés tastes of it’s unique mix. A perfect blend of warmth and structure to wash down this all time classic dish.

BM. The wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon region are some of the best value out there and this makes pairing the region’s traditional Cassoulet a simple choice. The appellations of Minervois and Corbieres, with their rustic yet juicy character, would be great and most at under $20.  These wines are predominantly Carignan with Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre playing supporting roles. Syrah, in particular, shines here; its deep, wild, animal character combined with the region’s classic notes of garrigue (rosemary, thyme and lavender), would complement the meaty, savoury elements of this dish beautifully. If your mind is closer to home check out some of the really interesting Syrah coming out of the Okanagan!


Grilled line-caught mackerel over smoked beets with arugula and lemon – from Le Touquet Paris-Plage, in the north

TD. Vieux Champagne. The drink. Just a stage away… Glorious, funky, toasty, yeasty, caramelized, slightly deflated, fully mature fizz with a nervous center of acidity still buzzing. Cut and balance to slice through the oily richness and match the zing of a lemon squeeze plus the desirable decrepitude only bottled aged Champagne can bring to a rich full flavoured fish with grill marks.

BM. So many possibilities! My instinct tells me oaked Chardonnay from Bourgogne would be a great place to start. Something like young, vibrant Mâcon-Villages or Pouilly-Fuissé. Here, golden apple and delicate citrus flavours will mingle with the freshness of the lemon while great acidity, good texture and solid barrel influence will play off the fatty mackerel and smoked beets that carry through. And the affordability you can find in the Mâconnais compared with its neighbours to the north simply can’t be beat! In another direction, if you wanted to stay a little closer to home, a barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc from California could be fun too. The real dark horse for me though would be a delicious Pinot Noir from Alsace. You don’t see them very often but if you do, don’t hesitate! Great ripe berry fruit, classic Pinot earthiness, and then fresh acidity make this a really interesting proposition.


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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