On the evening of , I had the pleasure of tasting some fabulous Canadian cheeses and pairing them with Ontario wine. Hosted by Natalie MacLean on Google+ Hangouts, I was joined by 9 others where we discussed the various cheeses and wines. Here is the video recording:
Details of the cheese, wine and participants can be found here.
Here are my impressions of the wines, as well as pairings with each cheese:
JACKSON-TRIGGS RESERVE MERLOT 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#618421) (D) - $13.95
Screw top. Light earthy, currant and red fruit and some smoke aromas from the glass. Medium-bodied and dry with red fruit, raspberry on the palate leads to peppery, medium-length finish with hints of dark chocolate.
Paired really well with the Madagascar Green Peppercorn as the pepper flavours in the cheese really bring out the pepper/spice notes in the Merlot, without being overwhelming. There is good balance and mouthfeel with the Alpindon as the cheese really softens and coats the pepper notes. The Comfort Cream camembert is also a good pairing. The Onion Cheddar really mixes and mingles nicely with the pepper/herbal/vegetal notes in the Merlot - good pairing. The Elizabeth Bleu and the 1608 overpowers this mild red.
JACKSON-TRIGGS RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#618413) (D) - $13.95
Screw top. Clean, refreshing lime gooseberry, and herbal aromas give way slight earthiness. Light-bodied with replays of lime, gooseberry, and grass on palate. Has a very fine acidic backbone, medium finish that is a touch hot.
The Alpindon softens the wine acidity and makes the pairing quite delicious. As well, the Green Peppercorn really brings out the herbal/vegetal notes in the wine and makes for an excellent pairing. Average pairing with the Camembert. The Onion cheddar is a bit strong for this Savvy. The 1608 dominates, while the flavours from the Elizabeth Bleu don't mesh.
OPEN CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#305151) (M) - $11.95
Screw top. Almost no nose, some floral, melon aromas. Very faint honeysuckle, peach, melon on the palate. Medium-bodied with little acidity. Finishes with some spiciness. In a blind tasting, I would have trouble identifying this wine as a Chardonnay.
The sweetness level of this wine allows it to be paired with the 1608 and the Onion cheddar, but not quite enough for the Green Peppercorn or the Alpindon. It pairs well with the Camembert, but is completely killed by the Elizabeth Bleu.
OPEN CAB2-MERLOT 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#134957) (D) - $11.95
Screw top. Funky crushed red berry aromas, plus some vanilla, coconut and oak aromas. Medium-bodied, round mouthfeel with little acidity. Flavours of raspberry, coconut, vanilla and hints of oak spice. Mostly well-integrated tannins are slightly chalky. Finish is medium. Easy drinking red.
The easy-drinking nature of this wine lends itself to the Camembert and Alpindon, while the 1608 (with rind) is a bit strong for this Cab-Merlot. The Onion cheddar mutes the wines flavours, while the Green Peppercorn brings out the vanilla oak spice notes from the wine. The Elizabeth Bleu pairing really doesn't do well.
INNISKILLIN PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#261099) (D) - $13.95
Red currant, iodine and smoke aromas. Light-to-medium bodied with currant, pomegranate, cranberry on the palate. Some plummy notes on the mid-palate, hints of raisin. Very good acidity with a medium finish. Chalky tannins need a couple of years, but easy drinking right now.
Again, an easy-drinking red that pairs well with the Camembert and the Alpindon. The 1608 and Onion cheddar dominate the flavour profile. Lots of spicy flavours when pairing this Pinot with the Green Peppercorn.
INNISKILLIN VIDAL SPARKLING ICEWINE 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#560367) (S) - $79.95
Gorgeous peach, apricot and honey aromas with lots of aromas replays on palate dominated by honey. Medium-bodied with good acidity. Silky smooth, creamy mousse on the medium-long finish. In a word: WOW!
Lacking the acidity and finish to pair with the Camembert. Good pairing with the Alpindon, while the pairings with the 1608 and Green Peppercorn start well, but finish with the cheese flavours dominating the palate. This Vidal holds it own quite well against the Onion cheddar. The Elizabeth Bleu is a match made in heaven
JACKSON-TRIGGS RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#526251) (D) - $11.95
Screw top. Pear, orchard fruits and hints of barnyard from the glass. Medium-bodied with flavours of beeswax and pear. Dry. Well-balanced with bright acidity. Finish is long with spiced oak flavours and hints of vanilla.
This white wine brings out some earthy/mushroom flavours in the Camembert. A magic pairing with the Alpindon, nicely balanced and meshed. Pairs well with the 1608 until the wine leaves your mouth and you get a burst of flavour from the cheese. The Onion cheddar dominates the wine, while the Chardonnay does hold its own for a while with strong pepper/spice notes against the Green Peppercorn. The Elizabeth Bleu doesn't pair well.
JACKSON-TRIGGS RESERVE RIESLING 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#526277) (M) - $11.45
Screw top. Mineral, floral apricot and honey aromas. Light-bodied with crisp mineral and lime on the palate. It's on the sweeter side, with good acidity, but has slight tart notes at the mid-palate and a short, supple finish. Would make a good apertif.
Average pairing with the Camembert and the Alpindon. The wine pairing with the 1608 was pleasant. The sweetness from this wine did subdue the onion from the Onion Cheddar. Really did not enjoy the pairing with the Green Peppercorn and the Elizabeth Bleu.
LE CLOS JORDANNE VILLAGE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#033936) (XD) - $30.00
Spring flower aromas from the cork. Silky aromas of buttered popcorn and French oak, with hints of vanilla. Also an intriguing sesame note. Creamy mouthfeel with refreshing acidity and extra dry flavours of minerality, oak and lemon rind. Very smooth with a lasting finish that goes on and on...
This Chardonnay glides smoothly over the Camembert and the Alpindon. However, once the Chardonnay leaves your mouth, there is a blast of flavour from the Alpindon - not bad. Nicely balanced pairing with the 1608. Also enjoyable was the Onion cheddar and Green Peppercorn, however, the Green Peppercorn flavours do last must longer than the wine. The pairing with the Elizabeth Bleu is not bad, but I would be hesitant to praise it, as it's a little harsh.