CTV Morning Live

CTV Ottawa Morning Live

July 23, 2015. 9:35AM

Theme: Sunny Summer Drinks

Today on CTV Morning Live, Matt and the CTV hostess Melissa Lamb, showcased some refreshing wines and ice cold cocktails to enjoy throughout the summer.  The video can be seen here:


Now that the sweltering summer heat is here, it’s a perfect time to enjoy refreshing wines and ice cold cocktails.

Matt has picked a handful of wines that work great with BBQ and summer inspired cuisine.

Summer salads, fish tacos, BBQ fare, all work great with these wines. Remember to keep your wine chilled and a bucket of ice does the trick. Also, smaller pour sizes help ensure your wine doesn’t heat up too much before you’ve had a chance to enjoy it.

In addition to a crisp and cold white wine, ice cold cocktails do wonders at keeping you cool on those scorching hot days. A couple of my favourites include the Mint Julep and the Moscow Mule.

The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It’s been enjoyed by many for a long time. Tasty and super easy to make, it’s the perfect iced cocktail for any size gathering you may be hosting and it’s a fantastic cocktail to enjoy in the summer heat. The Mint Julep is a blend of premium Bourbon, mint, sugar, and lots of ice. I’ve used the premium Basil Hayden’s Bourbon in my premium mint Julep. http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/mint-julep http://www.esquire.com/drinks/mint-julep-drink-recipe


Classic Mint Julep with premium Bourbon. Basil Hayden’s


Another favourite iced cocktail is the Moscow Mule. This cocktail became popular during the vodka craze in the USA during the 1950s. The Moscow Mule is made with a high quality vodka, a spicy ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with a slice or wedge of lime. It is usually served in a copper mug. I mixed my Moscow Mule with Kealy’s Diamond Vodka, recognized as the World’s smoothest Vodka. I’ve used local Ottawa produced Harvey & Vern’s Ginger Beer to add that spicy and sweet kick to the drink.  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/moscow-mule


Classic Moscow Mule with premium Kealy’s Diamond Vodka (smoothest Vodka in the world) and Harvey & Vern’s Ginger Beer
Harvey & Vern’s old fashion Ginger Beer – a must for a top notch Moscow Mule.


Here are a few great wines to enjoy throughout the summer:

  1. Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand – $15.90 (on LTO for $13.90 until September 13, 2015) – New to the LCBO, the Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc shows characteristically exotic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc citrus fruit, gooseberry, herbaceousness, with refreshing minerality. On the palate, crisp tropical and orchard fruits with well balanced acidity make this a great wine to enjoy with summer salads, grilled fruit and veggies, or simply on its own chilled in the company of a good friend. An impressive and very consumer friendly Sauvignon Blanc that I’d highly recommend enjoying this summer. Tasted July 2015. 90 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
  2. Foreign Affair Enchanted 2013, Niagara, Canada – $17.95 – The Foreign Affair winery continues to produce some of the most interesting wines in Ontario, as they experiment with appassimento winemaking and the 2013 Enchanted is another great example of a high quality, low priced wine, something they’re excelling at. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, with the Riesling re-passed over their estate appassimento Riesling which produces further complexity and body to this refreshing white blend. The nose shows flinty minerality, orchard fruit, floral and fresh herbal notes. The palate is dry and remarkably smooth for a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc blend. Ideal with seafood, cedar plank fish, grilled vegetables, and sweet and tangy summer salads. Tasted July 2015. 89 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
  3. Four in Hand Shiraz 2012, Barossa, Australia – $19.95- Remarkably intense nose showing dark fruit, plum, mocha, smoked meat, pepper, soy sauce, and tangy BBQ sauce. The palate is rich and focused. Loads of dark berries, chocolate, and smokey brisket, with great structure. A huge wine at a small price! An Aussie Shiraz from Australia’s most famous Shiraz region, Barossa Valley, it’s built to enjoy with BBQ fare, the smokier the better. Tangy ribs, gourmet burgers, smoked brisket, or smoked duck wings. Fantastic wine, terrific value. Tasted July 2015. 90 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
  4. Silver Buckle Red 2010, California – $21.95 – 98 point wine! This super value priced gem from Central Coast California is sure to put a smile on your face. Another high quality and unique product from the Rutherford Ranch family of wines, the Silver Buckle is a serious crowd-pleaser that will complement any dish you choose to enjoy it with. Soft, refined, and so smooth, this is a very well balanced wine. Gold medal winner and Best of Class at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition it was also a favourite at the California Wine Fair in Ottawa earlier this year. Everyone was raving about how terrific this wine was and of course asking when it would be available for sale. Now’s the time! This is a wine to buy by the case and enjoy over the next few years. Tasted April 2015. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
  5. Mint Julep made with Basil Hayden Bourbon – $46.95 (on sale, regularly $51.95) – Artfully aged at a relatively mild 80 proof, Basil Hayden’s® is as novel and delectable a bourbon whiskey as it was when the master distiller rolled out his first barrel over 200 years ago. Marked by a rich cascade of aromas and flavors, Basil Hayden’s® is still a small batch bourbon, but with broader appeal. And just as it was in 1796, the only ‘rule’ to enjoying our Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey is that it should be done responsibly.
  6. Moscow Mule made with Kealy’s Diamond Vodka (World’s smoothest Vokda!)- $38.95 –

Matt’s Pro Tips for wine pairing in the summer:


Pair spicy foods with wines that a bit of residual sugar (eg: Riesling, Alsatian Pinot Gris Chenin Blanc, Zinfandel, Moscato D’Asti). Residual sugar helps cool down spice and creates balance between the food and the wine.

Similarily, avoid pairing spicy food with highly alcoholic or tannic wine (example: Italian Barolo). The heat of the food will actually intensify the alcohol and the tannins in the wine, which in turn will make the dish seem even spicier.

And never pair sweet food with a dry wine. Match the sweetness in your wine with that in your food to ensure one doesn’t taste bitter. I recommend that your wine be slightly sweeter than your food, otherwise your wine will taste bitter, and that’s no fun! An example is tangy BBQ sauce based pork tenderloin paired with a sweet and tangy California Zinfandel. The bold flavours in both the wine and the BBQ sauce covered pork will complement each other very well.


Pair BBQ fare with wines that have been aged in oak (eg: oaked Chardonnay, Fumé Blanc, Semillon, Zinfandel (same as Primitivo), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon). Because oaked wines are often more intense, and fuller bodied, they can overwhelm the flavors in a dish, so they need to be paired with foods that match that intensity. BBQ grilled foods tend to balance that vanilla rich oaked intensity and allow the fruit flavors of the wine to shine.

Pro Tip #3: MATCH WINE with SAUCE

Instead of pairing your wines just based on whether it’s fish, chicken, or beef, think of what sauce you may be placing on it and try to match the characteristics of the sauce with that of the wine (eg: sweet and spicy BBQ sauce on beef or chicken commands a wine with characteristics that are equally intense and that will stand-up to the sweet and tangy BBQ sauce), whereas lemon on fish or chicken pairs best with crisp white wines such as unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Gris.

Be mindful of the sauces you’re adding to your meat. Simply using salt and pepper is a great way to season fish and beef. Typically that will make the most options for wine pairing, whereas adding high sugar based sauces such as BBQ sauce will make any dry red or white wines taste bitter, so think ahead when planning your wine and food selections.

I’m a big fan of tangy BBQ sauces so I tend to reach for slightly sweet white and expressive red wines which work out terrific. Examples include: slightly off-dry Riesling and Chenin-Blanc, or Zinfandel and Primitivo (same grape!) for the reds. These wines complement sweet and tangy foods perfectly! If reaching for a beer, Porter, or Russian Imperial Stouts offer great pairing for rich and tangy BBQ fare.


If you’re lost for wine pairings go with this basic rule of thumb:

Match the colour of the food with the colour of the wine. Examples include: light white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc) with salads, vegetables, white fish; golden white wines (like Chardonnay or Semillon) with roasted chicken or corn on the cob; rosé with tuna steak or charcuterie; red wines with red meat (pair pork with lighter reds and beef with more robust reds).

Pro Tip #5: CHILL IT!

When enjoying wine outside in the heat of the summer, chill it first.

That’s right, chill not only your white and rosé wines, but throw your red wines in the fridge or place them on ice before service to ensure they’re kept cooler than ambient temperature. Pinot Noir should be served around 10C and big red wines should be served around 15C. If those wines get warm, they won’t be as refreshing as they otherwise would have been had they been properly chilled prior to service.

Chilled Pinot Noir in the summer is a terrific wine to enjoy with grilled fish.