Celebrating Mardi Gras Food with Wine!

Mardi Gras is coming up on March 8. What food and wine will you be serving? I took a trip to New Orleans, the Big Easy, just before Hurricane Katrina. It was an amazing food experience. Lots of rich and delicious food.

For Mardi Gras, there are some well loved dishes.  I was thinking to tell you about some of them, and then offer some wine pairing suggestions.  And maybe get invited to a few Mardi Gras parties!

What are some Mardi Gras dishes?

Courtesy Epicurious.com

  • Oysters Bienville
  • Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
  • Gumbo

The Oysters Bienville dish on the half shell cooked with butter and egg and of course oysters is quite a rich dish.  A riesling or maybe an unoaked chardonnay may pair nicely with this.  For a riesling maybe try a Tantalus Vineyards Riesling from the Okanagan, BC or a Pikes Traditionale Clare Valley Riesling from Australia. For unoaked chardonnay, you could pick a La Chablisienne Chablis from France or Township 7 unoaked chardonnay from Okanagan, BC.

The Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya will be a spicy dish with a tomato based sauce.  A wine with good fruit and low tannins would pair well.  Maybe a grenache or a zinfandel.  On the grenache side, I really like the Sorrento Dry Grown Grenache 2008, McLaren Vale, Australia.  I just tried it last month and it is wonderful, lots of red fruit flavours.  Nice raspberry and toffee on the nose and on the palate. If you prefer a garnacha from Spain, try the Las Rocas Garnacha. For a zinfandel Kenwood Vineyards Yulupa Old Vine Zinfandel 2007 or Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2006.

What is gumbo?  Gumbo is a roux-based stew made with andouille sausage, cubes of beef, crab and shrimp. Again this will be spicy.  A New World pinot noir could match well.  From last years Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair, I can recommend the Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2007 and the Woollaston Estates Tussock Nelson Pinot Noir 2007. My wine reviews for these 2 wines are here.  If you want a BC Pinot Noir, try the Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir?  One of my reliable pinots in BC!

In case you don’t have a recipe for these dishes, I’ve added the links for you.
Jambalaya

Oysters Bienville

Gumbo

Enjoy these dishes from the Big Easy and these wines from around the world!

IVSA New Products Salon – Wines of Note

Today was the Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) New Product Salon tasting to the wine Trade in Vancouver, BC. It was a very full event with at least 50 tables from what I could see through the crowds. And consider that at each table, they would be pouring at least 6 different NEW wines, there was at least 300 wines to sample today! Some of the wines are wines that are already in the store, but what is new is the vintage, e.g. a 2008 sauvignon blanc coming out.

I always enjoy attending the IVSA, in part to meet other Trade people, I tweet with, but also to find new and interesting wines. So for the rest of this week’s blog, I’d like to list a few white and red wines that I enjoyed. The wines come from all different price ranges.

Some nice whites:
Rudolf Muller Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Kabinett 2008 (Germany). This riesling had a light lime nose. Medium sweet but good acidity to balance it and a red apple flavour. $16.99
Sacred Hill Pinot Gris 2008 (Marlborough – New Zealand). Light lemon in colour, with lychee and pear aromas. Round mouthfeel. Off dry with lychee and apple flavours $19.99 (spec)
Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Marlborough – New Zealand). I was told that this winery is a joint venture with Antinori from Italy. The wine had a light herbal nose. Halepeno pepper and herbal flavours. Medium acidity. Restrained. Quite nice. $28.99 (spec)
Torresella Pinot Grigio Veneto IGT (Italy). This pinot grigio had light peach, apricot and mineral aromas. Light effervescense. Apricot and apple flavours. $14.99 (spec)
Miner Family Vineyards “Napa Valley” Chardonnay 2007 (California). Vanilla and pineapple on the nose. Toasty oak, pineapple and spice on the palate. Round mouthfeel. $39.95 (spec)

Some nice reds:
Ata Rangi ‘Crimson’ Pinot Noir 2008 (Waiparapa – New Zealand). Light cherry colour. Raspberry aroma. Red cherry and raspberry flavours. Soft tannins. Very elegant. $27.99 (spec)
Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir (Burgundy – France). Light cherry and vanilla on the nose. Cherry flavour builds in your mouth with a bit of aeration. Also some flowers and apple flavours. $21.99 (spec)
Belle Gios Meiomi 2007 (California). This one is a pinot noir. Light garnet in colour. Light red currant and chocolate aromas. Nice cherry, raspberry and vanilla flavours, and balanced tannins. $33.99 (spec)
Row Eleven Santa Maria Pinot Noir 2005 (California). Medium garnet colour. Cherry and smoke on the nose. Cherry, vanilla and raspberry flavours. Dry tannins with a long finish. A premium wine! $46.99
Kenwood Vineyards Yulupa Old Vine Zinfandel 2007 (California). Medium garnet in colour. Nice raspberry jammy nose. Lots of raspberry fruit flavour. Medium tannins. A deal. $19.49
Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California). Deep purple in the glass. Capsicum and cherry aromas. Tar and cherry on the palate, with firm tannins. $34.99
Farnese Vini Primitivo Puglia 2007 (Italy). Primitivo and Zinfandel are the same grape variety, if you didn’t know. This one had nice reddish purple colour in the glass. Light violet and red fruit on the nose. Full ripe red fruit flavours, with soft-medium tannins. Easy to drink and an exceptional price. $9.99 (spec)

An unexpected red wine was the L.A. Cetto Private Reserve Nebbiolo 2003 from the Baja part of California in Mexico! I never knew the Nebbiolo was grown in Mexico. This one had delicious ripe berry flavours, ripe but restrained, and firm tannins, but not to the extent that you would get from an Italian Nebbiolo. Drinkable right now. Sorry I didn’t get the price but I believe it is in the $20 range.

Enjoy!