Wine and food pairing dinners are always fun. You get to find out which types of wines you like paired with particular dishes. There are usually surprises as well. I was invited to taste some Italian wines from the Vinum & Cibus Italici consortium in the Veneto region paired with dishes from Wildebeest Restaurant in downtown Vancouver. The Veneto region is where you will find Prosecco sparkling wine and the wide range of Valpolicella wines.
The setting for these types of dinners though does not give you the time to make meticulous notes on the wines and the pairings. I’ve done my best on the notes side and hope some of these Italian wines, and the dishes from Wildebeest will get you out to try them. Enjoy the notes and photos.
The wines we tried from the Vinum & Cibus Italici consortium are:
- Anna Spinato Organic Prosecco Brut – Stone fruit nose. Off-dry, medium bubble. Crisp stone fruit and apple flavours. Some salty minerality. –
- Canella Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2016 – Pale lemon with a green tint. Very light stone fruit and an oaky component. Semi-sweet, with a medium bubble that dissipates quickly. Light stone fruit and lemon flavours.
- Anna Spinato Organic Moscato Spumante Dolce – Lots of lychee aroma which continued to the palate. I also get fig and bruised apple on this sweet wine. It does have a good level of acidity so that the sweetness is not overpowering. –
- Tinazzi Campo Delle Rose Bardolino Chiaretto DOP – A lighter orangy colour in the glass. Light red fruit, raspberries and a hint of orange aromas. Medium body, very smooth with a cognac-like flavour, along with light red fruits. Medium minus acidity.
- Anna Spinato Organic Spumante Brut Rose – Pale pinkish colour. Fresh wild strawberry nose. Higher acidity with crisp red apple and strawberry flavours. Salty minerality toward the finish. Small, light bubble. Slightly off-dry.
- Cantina di Negrar Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2014 – Medium translucent garnet. Nice smoky, red fruit nose. Lighter bodied, smoky, bramble and red fruits, and peppery on the palate. Medium plus acidity. Very good.
- Cantina di Negrar Corvina Verona 2016 – Bright, medium translucent garnet in colour. Smoky, bramble and red fruit nose with more on the palate. Lighter bodied with medium acidity and soft tannins. Tangy red fruit and peppery on the finish. Tasty.
- Cantina di Negrar Le Roselle Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2015 – Deeper, bright garnet colour. Light smoky, dark fruit nose. Medium plus body, dry, with a round mouthfeel and higher acidity. Ripe red fruits, bramble and some spiciness. Light tannins. –
- Cantina di Negrar Amarone Classico DOCG 2014 – Deep garnet colour in the glass. Red fruit and a port-like nose. Full body, round with higher acidity. Bright red and black fruit, some smokiness and pepperiness. Medium minus acidity giving the wine some smoothness. Light tannins.
Our dishes from Wildebeest:
- Deviled eggs with foie gras, Old Bay and Acadian caviar
- Antipasto platter
- Atlantic smelt with kimchi, avocado puree, pickles, olive oil and micro greens
- Heirloom vegetables; carrots & beets, with pickled pumpkin, Cashel blue cheese, spiced maple granola and Douglas fir vinegar (Karl’s note: tastes like Christmas)
- Horse Tartare with egg yolk, pickled gherkins, shallots, whole grain mustard, La Leyenda cheese, and potato chips
- Game pie made with ground elk, venison, and liver, spices de Campagne, black trumpet mushroom puree and smoked blueberry jus
- Cache Creek Ribeye & Lobster; locally raised organic, bone-in, grass-fed beef, dry-aged for 40 days and served with huckleberry jus
- Roasted Crown Prince Pumpkin, lemon, sage, Grana Padano cheese, and olive oil
- Glazed Carrots with fig-aged balsamic vinegar and hazelnuts
- Alba Truffle Ganache, smoked boar drippings, 74% dark chocolate, espresso, almond, and porcini ice cream
My Favourite Pairings
Overall sparkling wines tend to pair well with many food dishes in my opinion. The acidity in the wine plus the lightness of the wines compliments many dishes. Dishes that do have a significant amount of fat in them are also lightened by the acidity of the sparkling wine.
With that being said, the Anna Spinato Organic Prosecco Brut was my favourite pairing with the appetizers. And the Anna Spinato Organic Spumante Brut Rose worked the best with the First Course dishes. In particular the silky horse tartar with the salty, grated La Leyenda cheese, went well with the bubble and acidity of this prosecco.
For the Main Course dishes, I noted that the Cantina di Negrar Le Roselle Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2015, with its richer fruit flavours and smokiness paired very well with the game pie and the Cache Creek Ribeye. The Ribeye was done especially well. Not overcooked, the meat was very tender and flavourful. Also I must mention how sweet the lobster meat was and soft to eat. I did not make a note about which wine I preferred, but I think the lighter Corvina had the edge.
Our dessert had such a range of flavours. The chocolate from the ganache, the smoky boar drippings (think bacon), and the earthy porcini ice cream kept your taste buds busy. Both the Anna Spinato Organic Moscato Spumante Dolce and the Cantina di Negrar Amarone Classico DOCG 2014 paired nicely with the dessert. The Amarone’s red fruits paired with the chocolate and boar drippings, as well as the acidity in the wine with the ice cream. The Spumante made a complimentary pairing to this dessert with its sweetness and its pronounced lychee and fig flavours to match to the ice cream and to balance with the smoked boar drippings.
I hope you enjoyed this culinary experiment with wines from the Veneto region and the dishes from Wildebeest.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
- Anna Spinato – Prosecco Brut Organic 374769 BC Liquor ON SALE $16.99 + tax (usually $17.99)
- Anna Spinato – Spumante Brut Rose Organic 623306 BC Liquor ON SALE $14.99 + tax (usually $15.99)
- Canella 2016 Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 675785 Everything Wine & Marquis Wine Cellars $30.49 + tax
- Cantina Negrar 2014 Valpolicella Classico (1.0L) 74963 Marquis Wine Cellars $14.69+ tax
- Cantina Di Negrar Verona Corvina 59919 Everything Wine $18.99 + tax
- Cantina Negrar 2015 “Le Roselle” Valpolicella Ripasso 292250 Marquis Wine Cellars $28.61 + tax
- Amarone Classico – Negrar 2015 44784 BC Liquor ON SALE $38.99 + tax (usually $42.99)
- Anna Spinato – Moscato Spumante Dolce Organic 266437 BC Liquor ON SALE $14.99 + tax (usually $15.99)