Photo by David Stobbe from Gold Medal Plates Public (NGM Enterprise)
Chef Chris Hill
Chef Chris Hill of the Delta Bessborough (team Saskatoon) selected the McWatters Collection Meritage as a wine pairing to go with his dish.
The Canadian Culinary Championships are held every year in February in Kelowna, BC. With them comes the all-important wine pairing. Championships can be made or broken with an improper pairing.
It’s a good feeling when someone chooses you, or your creation. Harry McWatters had his McWatters Collection Meritage selected as a wine pairing by Chef Chris Hill of the Delta Bessborough (team Saskatoon) to go with his dish.
McWatters recommends winemakers create the wine first and then decide what it goes best with, then market it accordingly. “Wines created for pairings are usually more intense and complex to go with intense and complex foods,” he said. “The wine should never scream out, “Here I am!” If it’s been paired well it can take both to a new level. It can be a complimentary or contrasting characteristic.”
When it comes to sparkling wines, McWatters had this to say. “If your sparkling wine can’t be paired with food, don’t put it in your mouth; that’s how versatile sparkling is.” He recommends that for a wine-pairing event the creator of the dish and the creator of the wine should do what they do best. After all, it all comes down to an individual's taste.
Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines knows a thing or two about pairing wines. He’s one of the few chefs in Canada who is also a sommelier, and won the Gold Medal at Vancouver’s Gold Medal Plates in 2012.
“It is very important to pair properly,” Filatow says, “as it constitutes a good chunk of marks in the judging criteria. As well, the entire impression of the dish can really be swayed by the pairing. Especially on the flavours of the food, as wine can bring out good and bad flavours or bring others to the forefront which might otherwise be background flavours.”
As a chef, Filatow enjoys pairing his food to the wine. “If you have a great food idea, there is a huge choice in styles of wine out there. Then you can do comparative tastings with the major flavours of the dish. That is how we did it for the year we won.”
Orchard and Vine sends their well wishes to everyone involved in Gold Medal Plates and the Canadian Culinary Championships. ■
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