tofino food wine pairing

Tofino Food: Wine Pairing

by Jen Dart, Tofino

T The culinary experiences available in Tofino are numerous and varied—from the many restaurants, to our proximity to fresh seafood. This time of year–or the calm before the storm – is an opportune time to enjoy these experiences to the fullest (and often cheapest!). The perfect enhancement to this pursuit is choosing the right bottle(s) of wine to accompany either dinner at home or out on the town. This task can seem daunting, even to those with a healthy appreciation for the stuff. BC Liquor has been kind enough in the past to provided customers with a handy foldout chart for quick reference food and wine pairings. This is useful for basic pairings (if it is still available), but what if your dinner companion is having crab and you're having beef tenderloin? Or your food choices combine contrasting flavours and styles of cooking (fusion cooking as the kids are calling it these days)? Or you've prepared a seafood feast with white wine in mind and horror of horrors one of your dinner guests doesn't drink white? The dilemmas are endless, but so are the solutions.

The main tenet of pairing wine with food is to find happy combinations, so that each might be enhanced by the presence of the other (or so I read in a wine guide!). However, as you might expect, it's not always that easy. The same guide suggests considering the following factors in relation to both food and wine: weight, intensity, acidity, sweetness and tannin. Generally speaking these characteristics should be alike in food and wine, although there are a few contrasts that work very well. Weight refers to the heaviness or lightness of the ingredients used in a dish and also the way it is prepared. The weight of the wine should correspond to that of the food. For red wine, grape varietals such as Shiraz, Syrah and Zinfandel are heaviest, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. Of course, there are many other varietals that fit into this mix, but these are the more common. For white wine, oaky Chardonnays are usually weightier, followed by Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc. Again, this is not an all-inclusive list.

The intensity of a dish refers to the sharpness or forwardness of its flavour, and this should also be matched with that of the wine. The same goes for acidity. If your dish contains citrus, you should consider an equally acidic wine. This usually means a young white wine made from a lighter varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc. Sweetness should also be matched, or contrasted (ie. salty Cambozola cheese with a sweet late harvest wine or French Sauterne). Also, younger red wines that haven't been significantly aged are usually more tannic and this can reek havoc on a dish. Tannin is the dry, puckery mouth feeling that is subdued by red meat but destroys light and salty food. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are among the more tannic red wines, while Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir and Beaujolais are much less so.

The flavour profiles given on the labels of wine bottles, along with the five factors listed above should be a starting point for choosing wine to go with food. While no two wineries produce the same varietal wine with the same flavour profile, the characteristics of each grape (or varietal) are generally the same. Having said that a BC Chardonnay is infinitely different than the same varietal produced in Burgundy. Differences occur due to particular climates, soils, age of vines, winemakers, and the list goes on. As with all things in life, the more you learn about wine, the more there is to know!

Some beautiful combinations that make this exercise seem worthwhile include oysters with champagne or sparkling wine, steak with a peppery Australian Shiraz, goat's cheese with Sauvignon Blanc, chocolate with Merlot ice wine, and I could go on. And on. BC produces some fantastic choices in an amazing array of grape varietals. According to this author, however, one should not rely on the VQA label to denote the cream of the crop. Many wine producers in BC (and there are a few on the island) do not sell to the liquor store due to low production or simple choice. There are many great wines that are only available directly from BC wineries, so go online and find some! Try for a list of wineries. The wineries sites usually include detailed tasting notes of their products.

" When in doubt add more wine" is a sign posted in a local restaurant and I couldn't agree more. Experimenting with wine and food is unique in this area and also with all the choices available from abroad and south of the border. Traditionally, Europeans drank local wine perfectly suited to their regional cuisine. While our wine and food combinations are not so straightforward, there is a lot of fun to be had during trial and error! Cheers.

Tofino food & cuisine articles

Tofino food & Tofino restaurant profiles

tofino | tofino time | activities | accommodation | events | directory
maps | travel | food | art & artists | photos | horoscope | tides
search | magazine | issues | articles | advertising | contact us

hosted in tofino by & studio tofino
© 2002-2014 copyright Tofino Time Magazine in Tofino Canada
© 2002-2011 Tofino Time Magazine & ThinkTank Design Inc.


tofino time april 2003

quick links:
tofino accomodations
tofino calendar

tofino surf report
tofino horoscope
september horoscope
tofino map
tofino fishing report
tofino tides
tofino weddings

tofino events:
tofino concerts
tofino events
tofino movies
tofino festivals
tofino yoga classes

tofino time magazine:
tofino time september 2012
captain vincente tofino
readers choice: the best of tofino
floating gardens at freedom cove
tofino event listings for september 2012
tofino concerts in september 2012
tofino movies in september 2012
tofino tide table for september 2012
tofino surf reports for september 2012
cox bay | wickaninnish beach
chesterman beach
tonquin beach
tofino brewing co.
horoscope for april 2013
tofino wedding guide

tofino accommodation:
tofino cabin
tofino camping
bed & breakfasts in Tofino
tofino hostels
tofino motels
tofino hotels
tofino vacation rentals
petfriendly accommodation

tofino bike rentals
tofino bear watching
tofino bird watching
tofino boat charters & cruises
tofino fishing
hot springs cove
sea kayaking in tofino
tofino storm watching
tofino surfing
tofino whale watching
tofino yoga

tofino art galleries
tofino books
tofino boutiques & gift shops
food stores in tofino
tofino outfitters

tofino yoga, spa & wellness
tofino restaurants
tofino internet cafes
tofino travel & transportation
tofino real estate
tofino vacation rentals
tofino weddings

tofino events
tofino concerts
tofino movies
tofino calendar
tofino cabins
tofino maps
tofino jobs
tofino media