Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Has Many Desirable Aspects

I can't believe that it's October and Thanksgiving is now upon us. This has been one tremendously exciting Thanksgiving so far. The week of October 6th started out well with the Madeira tasting that Greg Rist and I attended in Toronto. The following day found me in Prince Edward County visiting some of my favourite wineries and seeing what they were up to. My favourites happen to be those of Norman Hardie and Long Dog. The Pinots and Chards made there are exceptional. October 8th was just a catch up day and also a preparatory day for my first appearance on Midday----the new talk show on Rogers.
The show was pretaped at 11 am and the reason for my appearance was, of course, Thanksgiving. I wanted to use wines between $9 and $20 that would (each) go well as part of the menu or if so chosen, the whole meal.
My choices were as follows: French Cross Rose Sparkling, Jackson Triggs Proprietors' Grand Reserve Chardonnay, Konzelmann Riesling M/D, Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyard Pinot Noir, Luigi Bosca Malbec, Inniskillin Late Harvest Riesling.
I was going to choose a Cave Springs Off Dry Riesling instead of the Konzelmann but for some reason, I chose the latter and I'm glad I did since just before my taping I watched as Roger Ouellette and his lovely wife---both of "Cuisine In Motion" prepare a marvellous meal on the show. Their wine of choice----------Cave Spring Cellars Riesling!
I had met Roger some years ago when my wife and I were invited to his home to a superb dinner. I have never forgotten it and would love to touch base with the Ouelettes again! Anyhow, their show was well done and my turn came.
Really, seven minutes is not long enough to do a super job but The discussion with Casia, the hostess of the show, centred around the meal. Turkey it was decided is very forgiving but a couple of things would make it better. The Sparkling Rose was used as an aperitif though at a pinch it could cover the whole meal. The rest of the food/wine match was elementary. If the Turkey had a butter base such as Butterball brands and especially if the sauce was creamy, I suggested the Chardonnay which was barrel fermented and aged. Roast Turkey with a fruit or berry dressing was a good venue for Riesling while Roast Turkey with veggie trimmings was a good Pinot Noir base. Roast Turkey with heavy gravy and stuffing however needed a powerful wine such as the Malbec from Argentina and dessert----Late Harvest was a definite shoe in for Pumpkin Pie or Mince Meat.
The show endured and ended. I went off to visit Tino Fazio who was not at his restaurant.
The following day was spent picking up wines for some clients and delivering said wines.
Saturday, October 11th was my family's day for Thanksgiving. Darlene's parents came over as did my other daughter Marisa and her husband Giraldo. They brought the pie. Daughter Taryn was working at the barn that day but she came home early enough to get prepared for the banquet to follow. Darlene put on her usual show of round the clock veggies etc. This time she went out of her way to make sure that there was enough for all by buying two turkeys.
The wines used were exactly the wines that I had for the show with one exception. We used Magnotta Harvest Moon Vidal for the dinner---having polished off the Inniskillin earlier on that day (One has to live n'est-ce pas?) I also bought a bottle of Laphroiag Single Malt Scotch for----------me but have not had the chance to zero in on it yet!
I could go on to talk about how great the wines were. I know that the Sparkling Rose started the evening off very well! Sparklers---especially in flute glasses---have a way of livening up the evening. The other wines were all shared----some were appreciated more than others but as a general rule, all were liked---unless you did as Darlene's father did. He enjoyed the luscious sweetness of the Late Harvest and then went back to the great bottle of Luigi Bosca Malbec. No matter how great a wine is reputed to be, one never---never drinks a very sweet wine prior to a dry and somewhat tannic red especially a Malbec. It just does not work. Darlene's father did not work either. Complained about it for the rest of the evening----Ah Life!
Tuesday is the beginning of a new week which will see me at the Le Clos Jordanne dinner tasting in Toronto at the National Ballet School. Should be fun!