CTV Ottawa Morning Live

April 24th, 2015. 8:45AM

Theme: White Wines & Sunshine – A perfect pairing!

By: Matt Steeves – Sommelier, Wine Writer, & Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild

Overview: Matt and CTV host, Sarah Freemark, tasted some terrific white wines to enjoy this spring and over the summer.


Check out the video here:http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=599268

Now that spring is here, patios are open, and refreshing white wines are the thing to be enjoying more of!

There are so many wonderful white wines out there that pair terrific with charcuterie, fish, seafood, creamy pasta, summer salads, and BBQ.

One of the best qualities of white wines is its mouthwatering refreshment that makes it ideal on those scorching hot days, and equally perfect to pair with foods, especially rich and creamy foods, or spicy foods.

Today we tasted a few of the most popular white wines: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.

Canada’s northern climate is producing some of the finest white wines in the world. Wines that are refreshing, balanced, and so flavourful, but virtually all wine making regions of the world produce terrific white wines, in various styles.  I personally have a ton of white wines that I love, and they come from all over the world, whether it’s New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, USA, Canada, and Chile and Argentina.  All (and many more countries) are producing top notch white wines and consumers are learning that too and enjoying trying new wines from different regions.

These days many restaurants are selling more Pinot Grigio than any other white wine.  That seems odd when Chardonnay is the most planted white varietal, but when you try a quality Pinot Gris you can appreciate why this wine is becoming increasingly popular.

In case you we’re not aware, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same but often are produced in different styles.

Italian Pinot Grigio are typically lighter-bodied, crisp, fresh, with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas and a touch of spice.

Alsatian Pinot Gris are more full-bodied, richer, spicier, and more viscous in texture. They also tend to have greater cellaring and ageing potential, and quite often a produced with a touch of residual sugar, making them ideal to enjoy with spicy foods.

Wine experts love Riesling, however, patrons rarely will choose that despite its incredible complexity and food friendliness.  Personally, Riesling and spicy BBQ fare is one of my favourite pairings.  Picture spicy ribs with a rich and complex, and slightly off dry, but doesn’t have to be, Riesling.  Germany and Canada (Ontario) are my go-to choices for high quality Riesling, but Australia is producing world class Riesling too.

Here are the wines we showed on CTV today:

  1. Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio 2013 – Italy – $14.95
  2. Grange of Prince Edward County Pinot Gris 2013 – Ontario – VQA PEC – $14.95
  3. Creekside Estate Pinot Grigio 2013 – Ontario – VQA Niagara – $14.95
  4. 13th Street Winery Pinot Gris 2012 – Ontario – VQA Creek Shores – $19.95
  5. OllWiller Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2007 – France, Alsace – $30
  6. 13th Street Winery Riesling – June’s Vineyard – Ontario – VQA Creek Shores – $19.95
  7. Creekside Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – Ontario – VQA Niagara – $13.95
  8. Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – Ontario – VQA Niagara – $14.95
  9. Creekside Estate Winery Laura’s White 2013 – Ontario – VQA Niagara – $18.95
  10. Peninsula Ridge INOX Chardonnay 2013 – Ontario – VQA Niagara – $13.95
  11. Arrowood Chardonnay – California, Sonoma – $26.95
  12. JOIE Farms Unoaked Chardonnay 2011 – Naramata Bench, BC – $23

Some great pairings with today’s wines include: 

Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling with New Orleans BBQ Shrimp


Or try this more savoury dish with any of those wines: Garlic and Herb Shrimp


Try a mouth-watering Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling with Green Mango Salad

Julienned green mangoes are what give this sweet, sour, and spicy salad its signature crunch.


Oaked Chardonnay with Cedar Planked Arctic Char

Small whole fish like trout, char, walleye, bass, and even lake perch are excellent for planking, especially smoke-planking. They get the flavor of the wood plank on one side and a burnished golden color and smoky flavor on the other. An indirect fire is used to slowly cook the whole fish through. Char, in flavor and texture a cross between trout and salmon, is best planked whole. It’s easier to fillet after it is cooked and stays moister that way. This method can be used with fish fillets and steaks, too. Whenever you grill fish, grill lemon halves alongside. The little bit of browning adds flavor, and the heat makes the lemons burst with juice.


Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling with Grilled Chicken Tacos with avocado


 The point is, white wines are great for enjoying in the spring and summer with practically everything you’re eating, whether it’s BBQ’d or not, so consider putting down that ice cold beer from time to time and reaching for a crisp and refreshing, food friendly, white wine to complement your summer fun.




  1. Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio – (Northern Italy – $14.95)

An impressive dry Pinot Grigio from Italy’s northern most province and wine making region, Alto Adige, which borders Switzerland and Austria. Renowned for its snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows, and premium Pinot Grigio, this region has been producing wine since the beginning of time, making it one of the oldest wine growing regions in the world.

The 2013 Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio is a beautiful pale straw colour with a golden hue. The nose displays rich stone and orchard fruit, floral blossoms, sea breeze, and baked bread. The palate is round yet refreshing, thanks to the 5 months of sur lie aging. A buttery texture with a lively crispness making it clean and refreshing. A terrific wine to enjoy with salads, roast chicken, seafood, and of course the company of a dear friend. Great value. Enjoy now. Tasted February 2015. 88-89 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

  1. The Grange of Prince Edward County Pinot Gris – (VQA PEC – $14.95)

Clear, pale straw colour; aromas of crisp apple, nectarine, mineral (from the limestone rich soils in PEC). This easy going dry white wine would complement a wide range of dishes like fish tacos, pasta salad, or grilled chicken kabobs. At $14.95 it offers great value. Tasted April 2015 – 88 points. Matt Steeves – www.quercusvino.ca

  1. Creekside Estate Winery Pinot Grigio – (VQA Niagara Peninsula – $14.95)

Pale gold colour; peach, apple, guava and passion fruit aromas and flavours; medium bodied and quite complex for a Pinot Grigio.

  1. 13th Street Winery Pinot Gris – (Ontario – VQA Creek Shores – $19.95)

Wow! What a unique Pinot Gris! Such an enticing bouquet of apple, pear, beeswax, petrol, white pepper and mineral. Reminiscent of a very well balanced Riesling, however, with all the attributes that make Pinot Gris so adorned around the world by a wide range of wine enthusiasts. This is a Pinot Gris for any serious wine lover to taste and enjoy – guaranteed! Winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas has done it again. Producing such interesting varietal expressions that demonstrate the depth of flavour and quality that he and his team produce year after year. The VQA Creek Shores fruit when combined with the winemaking expertise at 13th Street Winery is a winning equation that will be sure to put a smile on your face. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. Tasted April 2015. 90+ points – Matt Steeves – www.quercusvino.ca

  1. 13th Street Winery Riesling – June’s Vineyard – (Ontario – VQA Creek Shores – $19.95)

13th Street Winery winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas has done it again! Another fantastic Riesling from the June’s Vineyard. This example offers forward aromas of sweet fruit blossom, candied lemon, light green herb and mineral aromas. Tangy, very fresh and light to medium bodied with a lift from youthful residual CO2 and a nice core of stony acidity. Just off-dry with good persistence, this wine is excellent alone now or serve well-chilled with fresh seafood ceviche, smoked fish and a wide assortment of fresh summer salads.

In his 2014 book, The Best White Wine in the World, Stuart Piggott says of our 13th Street Riesling, “…the best genuinely dry Riesling produced on the Niagara Peninsula.” Of our June’s Vineyard Riesling he says, “almost as dry and almost as impressive is the equally powerful June’s Vineyard Riesling.”

  1. Creekside Estate Winery – Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – (Niagara – $13.95)

Creekside’s signature white varietal, Sauvignon Blanc, is done so well at this niche Niagara Peninsula winery. The 2013 is a pale lemon colour with intense aromas of tropical passion fruit and gooseberry; tangy guava flavours with a zesty grapefruit finish.

  1. Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc – (VQA Ontario – $14.95)

Pale straw; gooseberry, citrus and grass aromas with tropical fruit notes; dry medium bodied; orange, lime and grapefruit flavours with a mineral note to finish

  1. Creekside Estate Sauvignon Blanc Backyard Block 2013 – (Niagara – $17.95)
  1. Creekside Estate Winery Laura’s White 2013 – (Niagara – $18.95)

Creamy mouthfeel with lush tropical fruit, asian pear, and herbal notes. Very nice wine that would be terrific on a patio in the summer sun – think BBQ chicken, BBQ shrimp, veggies, this blend of white varietals is going to be a fan favourite this summer. Tasted March & April 2015 (paired fantastically with glazed ham for Easter)! 90 points – Matt Steeves – www.quercusvino.ca

  1. Peninsula Ridge INOX Chardonnay – Niagara – $13.95

Pale to medium yellow straw colour; delicate apple, ripe asian pear and lemon aromas and flavours with hints of butterscotch; extra-dry, with well balanced acid structure, refreshing, citrus flavours.

  1. Arrowood Chardonnay – (Sonoma, California – $26.95)

Along with his partner, Alis Arrowood, iconic winemaker Richard Arrowood released the first wines of Arrowood Vineyards & Winery in 1988. Richard was the first winemaker for the renowned Chateau St. Jean, where he crafted some of California’s earliest single-vineyard Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Heidi von der Mehden took over winemaking duties in 2010. From California’s excellent 2012 vintage, this Sonoma County Chardonnay was sourced primarily from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma-Los Carneros and will be a round, plush wine with tropical fruit and toast notes.

  1. JOIE Farms Unoaked Chardonnay – Naramata Bench, BC – $23 (winery direct)

An impressive boutique winery from the prized Naramata Bench region in the Okanagan. Each year the Noble family produces incredible old-world style wines from this premium location in Canada. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on some (hint…winery direct purchasing if outside of BC).