What to DRINK With That – Vij’s Cuisine

clockwise from left: John Clerides, Barbara Philip, Vij's Indian Spices, Jacques Lacoste


DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. This month’s challenge is inspired by dishes from one of the top Indian chefs in the world, who just happens to reside in Vancouver – Vikram Vij.


Our Experts:

Barbara Philip (BP)
Master of Wine, Portfolio Manager for BCLDB

Barbara Philip MW was the first Western Canadian to achieve the Master of Wine designation and is the only female MW in the country. She is currently European Portfolio Manager for the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB). With her husband, Iain, Barbara runs Barbariain Wine Consulting and works as an international presenter, journalist and judge. 

John Clerides (JC)
Owner, Marquis Wine Cellars

In 1977 John’s career began like any other good Greek Canadian, in the family restaurant. Ten years in the restaurant business gave John a strong foundation for working with people and listening to his customers. Aware of the frustrations locals had by the limited selection of wines and indifferent service, John jumped at the opportunity to open Marquis Wine Cellars in 1986. John has travelled extensively though Australia, Washington, Oregon, California, Italy, Spain, France and Austria, sourcing unique, flavourful, undiscovered wines.

Jacques Lacoste (JL)
Sommelier, Lure Restaurant, Delta Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa

For the past 27 years Jacques has worked in various restaurants around the globe, along the way receiving formal training from I.T.H.Q. in Montréal and at L’I.N.F.A.T.H. in Paris, and gaining hands-on experience at vineyards in Bandol, Nuit St-Georges and Naramata. Jacques obtained his diploma from the International Sommelier Guild, vintage 2001, graduating among the Top 5 students in Canada. In May 2010 he was  the WOSA (Wine of South Africa) Western Canadian Champion in the World Cup of Sommeliers, and in July 2011 he was named  “Sommelier of the Year for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands” at Taste Victoria.


What to DRINK with:

Tamarind Marinated Rib Eye with Mango Puree & Roasted Red Pepper Chutney


BP – Rib eye clearly calls for red but we have to keep in mind the other savoury/sweet flavours in this dish. I would recommend a Chianti Classico: mouthcoating tannins to stand up to the beef, orangey acidity to play off the tamarind, and ripe fruit to balance the mango and chutney.

JC – There is a lot going in this dish. The tamarind is sweet/sour with a great acid backbone which blends in nicely with the mango and red pepper chutney. This type of dish can work with either white or red although a little more thought needs to be put into the red wine. Lower alcohol whites with a hint of sweetness would work well – Ehrenfelser, Riesling, and Insolia come to mind. Red would be a little trickier. Try a good regular or cru Beaujolais, but not too minerally (avoid the Cote de Py unless you know for sure the wine has shed its youthful exuberance), a balanced Cote du Rhone or smartly crafted wine from one of the new age Languedoc growers.

JL – In this dish do not look at the protein but what it comes with! For rare meat fans I suggest a Cabernet Franc based wine either from Chinon or the Okanagan Valley – moderate tannins and good acidity to match the tamarind, and though will likely have a argument with the mango puree, the bell pepper will act as mediator. If you like your beef more well done, try a new world Sauvignon Blanc, from New Zealand, Chile and South Africa. Yes – white with steak! The acidity of the wine and the tamarind will neutralize each other to let the fruit shine through, and bell pepper and Sauvignon Blanc have the same flavour characteristics, which should work well together.


BONUS Side Dish: Winter Squash Sautéed in Mustard Seeds with Grilled Coconut Kale

BP – I like a medium-bodied red with this and would go to one of my fall favourites: Cru Beaujolais. The Château de Pierreux Brouilly, with its juicy ripe fruit and scents of anise and wild flowers, would offset the sweet flavours of this dish beautifully.

JC – One has to think out of the box for this one. A wine with weight, some viscosity and acidity is necessary – a tall order but not impossible. A wine from Rudea in Spain comes to mind. It could be a 100% Verdejo or one with a slight hint of Sauvignon in it.

JL – When I see coconut in a dish the first thing to come to mind is Chardonnay. Not just any old one, but an opulent, voluptuous Chardonnay. Grilling the coconut will enhance its flavor and by sautéing the mustard seeds they will develop a very elegant nutty taste. For those reason I recommend a Californian Chardonnay which has received a lavish American oak treatment. This will give the wine flavours profiled in this dish. I suggest you try this well priced wine from Yolo county, northeast of Napa: R.H. Phillips Toasted Head Chardonnay.

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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