Ontario Wine’s Time to Shine

Wine. It’s a wonderful thing. Now that entertaining season is just around the corner, you may find yourself spending a little extra time searching for the perfect bottle. If you’re in Ontario, the LCBO is prepared to accommodate all of your needs, and one of their experts has offered some tips.

You most likely choose the same types of wine on every trip, but now is the time to branch out, according to Heather MacGregor of the LCBO, especially if you’re not already going local. Ontario wines have changed over the past few years. Embrace what’s being produced right in your backyard (so to speak). “I would encourage people who are customers of habit for one particular varietal or brand to do that [go local]. This a really great time to do that because this is our month-long Ontario wine promotion. From now until Oct.14, there are 173 wines from 30 different producers in the stores. Twenty-one of these wines are completely new to LCBO, and then there’s 22 VQA wines that are released through Vintages.”

When it comes to entertaining, the days of traditional wine pairings are nearly gone. “This year, there is a focus on pairing wine with pie.  Some of the more interesting combinations that sparked my interest are a Tuscan pork pie. The flavours pair so nicely with a spicy or fruity pinot noir or even a dry sparkling white,” says MacGregor, adding, “I’m really intrigued right now by all of the different combinations of flavours that go with wine that I might not of thought of before.” For example, “A tandoori chicken or a curry chicken would pair really well with a dry, crisp white. Or maybe even a chilled apple cider.”

If you insist on traditional pairings for your guests, however, “Often people will pair turkey with a Riesling, which is quite nice. It brings out a lot of flavours of the wine. It’s very traditional for a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.  If ham might be on the table, then a Pinot Noir from Prince Edward County is a great option.  If people happen to be serving beef, then a Merlot is good.“

If you’re willing to branch out of your wine box, LCBO has eight event kitchens around the province every Saturday until Oct.11. You can sample a local food and wine pairing without committing to a bottle. If you’re still trying to find your wine style, check out LCBO.com for plenty of information on local wines that may interest you.

If you’re in the GTA, check out Taste Ontario on Oct. 2 for everything local.