CTV Morning Live

CTV Ottawa Morning Live

May 19th, 2017

Theme: Matt’s May 2-4 Long Weekend Wine Picks
Today on CTV Morning Live, CTV’s Lianne Laing and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased some terrific BBQ friendly wines to enjoy this long weekend, and throughout the summer.  Check out the CTV Video link here.

May 2-4 long weekend is a great time to get together with friends, fire up the BBQ and enjoy some refreshing wines that complement the foods you’re enjoying on this special weekend that marks the beginning of summer.

Although beer is a great choice when the temperature is sky rocketing, wines offer terrific food pairing options and knowing the right wine to pair with the right food is the key to ensuring perfect pairings, all summer long!

On that note, here are my top 3 pro tips for getting the most out of your wine and food pairings and backyard entertaining this summer.

Pro Tip #1: PAIR COLOUR WITH COLOUR (white with white, red with red, pink with pink…)

Pro Tip #2: CHILL IT! (chill white, rosé, and red wines in the summer)

Pro Tip #3: MATCH WINE with SAUCE (not just the protein)


If you can remember this one simple rule of thumb you’ll be well on your way to creating perfect pairings all summer long.

Match the colour of the food with the colour of the wine. Examples include: pale gold colour white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc) with white fish, or fresh summer salads with asparagus and goat cheese; golden white wines (like Chardonnay or Semillon) with roasted chicken or corn on the cob; rosé wines and Pinot Noir with seared tuna steak, salmon, charcuterie, or pork tenderloin; red wines with red meat (pair pork with lighter reds (like Pinot Noir or Gamay) and beef with more robust reds such as Malbec, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti (Sangiovese), Rioja (Tempranillo), or Zinfandel).

Pro Tip #2: 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-12C 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 and Gamay, in the summer, are terrific wines to enjoy with grilled fish, burgers, or pork tenderloin. By keeping them slightly chilled the wines are going to be super refreshing and ideally suited with BBQ fare.

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 sauces such as BBQ sauce will make any dry red or white wines taste sour, 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 full bodied, 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.

A couple extra pro tips to help ensure you nail your wine and food pairings like a pro!


Pair spicy foods with wines that a bit of residual sugar (eg: Riesling, Alsatian Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Zinfandel, Moscato D’Asti). Residual sugar helps cool down spice and creates balance between the food and the wine. Benjamin Bridge’s Nova 7 is a great local choice for an off-dry, low alcohol refreshing white wine that’s perfectly suited for enjoying with spicy foods.   Other complementary wines include off-dry Riesling/ Gewurztraminer, or California Zinfandel, the red kind, not the ‘white’ Zinfandel…

Pro tip 4.1: 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, 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.

Here are a few terrific wines to enjoy this long weekend, and throughout the summer, that are sure to complement your BBQ fare and outdoor entertaining:

  1. Ca’del Bosco Cuvée Prestige Brut Franciacorta, Italy – $41.95
  2. Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Sauv Blanc – ON – $29.95
  3. Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand – $16.95
  4. Featherstone Four Feathers – Ontario – $14.95
  5. 13th Street Winery June’s Vineyard Riesling – Ontario – $19.95
  6. 13th Street Winery Gamay Noir – Ontario – $19.95
  7. Malle Rock Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon – S.E. Australia – $14.95
  8. Angels & Cowboys Red – Sonoma, California – $34.95
  9. Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel – Lodi, California – $21.95
  10. Farina Ripasso – Valpolicella, Italy – $14.35

First up, lighter wines that complement BBQ’d seafood, grilled chicken and vegetables:

Starting off with some bubbly to celebrate the occasion, Queen Victoria’s birthday, May 24, and the unofficial kick-off to summer!

When it comes to celebrating there’s nothing like a sparkling wine to do the trick.  I’ve chosen a premium traditional method sparkling wine from northern Italy, from the area known as Franciacorta, where they produce exceptional sparkling wine that is stunning when paired with freshly shucked oysters on the half shell.

Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Prestige Brut Franciacorta available @LCBO – $41.95


Franciacorta sparkling wine, purely Italian, pure tradition and representing the highest quality available. Franciacorta is more than a fine wine, it’s a DOCG, and a winemaking style that produces elegant world-class sparkling wines. Ca’del Bosco’s NV Brut is a great example of the quality that the Franciacorta wine region is producing between Italy’s iconic cities of Milan and Verona. Golden yellow in colour with endless streams of micro bubbles intriguing those awaiting their first sip. Baked bread, yellow apple, and nutty aromas greet the senses. Good depth of flavour with more orchard fruit and nutty layers persisting on the long and refreshing finish. Enjoy this fine Italian sparkling wine with seafood, and my favourite, oysters on the half shell with a good friend. Tasted February 2017. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca


Next up, a delicious version of a traditional method sparkling wine, but this one is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Ontario.

Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc – $29.95 @LCBO or at WineRack.com


Winemaker’s Notes:

The grapes were carefully picked and left to cold soak on skins for up to 24 hours before being gently pressed in an effort to handle the juice as delicately as possible. The Sauvignon Blanc was cool fermented in stainless steel tanks with specially selected yeast 3 weeks. The best and most expressive lot of Sauvignon Blanc was selected to act as the base wine, which was refermented in bottle with specific sparkling wine yeast, and aged “en tirage” (sur lee) for 1 year to extract body, flavour, and aromatics without overpowering the delicate aromas of the variety.

The varietal characters of lemon grass, grapefruit, pineapple, and tropical fruits are brought to full intensity on the lively and vivacious nose. This unique sparkling wine has a persistent mousse complemented by tropical fruit and bright citrus flavours and light toasty notes, all backed by a bright acidity and luxurious finish.

This delightful wine is the perfect accompaniment to dishes like spicy Asian curry, pasta with asparagus in lemon cream sauce, tomato & cilantro marinated chicken, and goat, Brie, and sharp cheddar cheeses.

Oysters with Creekside Estate Winery’s Backyard Bubbly is a great way to kick off a patio party!

Seared Tuna on a bed of citrus rich summer salad – a great complement to crisp and refreshing white wines.
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc – $16.95


Nobilo’s Regional Sauvignon Blanc is a terrific high quality and value wine that I highly recommend. As the number one selling Sauvignon Blanc in the USA, it’s clearly loved by many and I can see why. This Sauvignon Blanc delivers fresh and palate cleansing layers of tropical fruit making it a real hit with any crowd. Sweet stone fruit, refreshing pineapple, passion fruit, lemon-lime, mineral and sweet herbal notes on the nose. The palate is refreshing with juicy acidity, tangy exotic fruit, and minerality on the clean finish. Enjoy pre-dinner as an aperitif and continue throughout your meal when enjoying a wide range of dishes including Thai, Asian-fusion, fish tacos, or summer salads. At this price, this wine offers exceptional value making it a must try! Tasted November 2016, at the Canadian premiere of the 2016 vintage. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc also makes a great pairing with freshly shucked oysters in the summer.
Featherstone Winery Four Feathers – $14.95  (a blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes).

four feathers

As a cool climate wine region, the Niagara Peninsula, in Ontario, Canada, excels in producing crisp and refreshing white wines. Featherstone’s Four Feathers is a blend of four varietals that showcase some of Niagara’s most popular white wines: Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc. Pale straw in colour, with sweet orchard fruit, and honey aromas on the nose. Full bodied with a creamy palate that showcases the layers of sweet pear, floral blossom, and honey with lemongrass persisting on the finish reminding you of that crisp Sauvignon Blanc influence. Enjoy with grilled lemon chicken skewers, Caesar salad, spicy Asian cuisine, or crispy fish tacos. At $14.95 this wine offers terrific value and will be loved by all in the summer sun. Tasted March 2017. 90 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca


13th Street June’s Vineyard Riesling 2014 @LCBO – $19.95 or winery direct


13th Street Winery’s popular June’s Vineyard Riesling is made from old Clone 49 Riesling sourced straight from Alsace, France, which contributes to its expressive varietal characteristics but with the added benefits from the limestone influence of the Creek Shores appellation vineyard. June’s Vineyard Riesling shows crisp stonefruit, lime, bees wax and expressive petrol notes with refreshing limestone minerality making this beautiful Ontario Riesling a fantastic choice for just about anything you can imagine. Enjoy as an aperitif, or pair with grilled seafood, oysters on the half shell, or grilled Thai burgers with pineapple salsa – a personal favourite. Tasted May 2017. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca


Now, into the reds to enjoy with BBQ’d masterpieces or songs by the camp fire.

13th Street Gamay Noir 2015 – $19.95 @LCBO


Gamay Noir is becoming increasingly popular with wine lovers for its food friendly and refreshing characteristics. Also, it just happens that Ontario is one of the top producers of world-class Gamay (second only to the French wine region Beaujolais where they produce exclusively Gamay), so we’ve got some great Gamay wines to choose from right here in Ontario. 13th Street Winery has become known as a leader in the production of premium Ontario Gamay Noir and this is a great value-priced offering. Their 2015 vintage Gamay Noir shows dark berries, dark cherry, and pepper on the nose. The palate is juicy and fresh with tart dark fruit, tangy cherry, and savoury smoked meat. Enjoy this wine with Port and black cherry-braised lamb shank, or smoked lamb ribs with rosemary and fig bbq sauce.  Both are fantastic pairings! Only 800 cases produced so this wine won’t last long but will be great when enjoyed now until 2020. Tasted January 2017. 89 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.mattswinepicks.com

Smoked Lamb Ribs with Rosemary and Fig Barbecue Sauce – a great pairing for 13th Street Winery Gamay Noir
Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel – California – $21.95

There’s no wonder why this Zinfandel is the No. 1 around the world! From the inaugural vintage back in the early 1980s to today, iconic Zin producer, known as the Godfather of Zin, Joel Peterson, has been crafting this uber popular Zin for a few decades now and it continues to grow in popularity given its ripe and robust style. Ravenswood doesn’t produce ‘wimpy’ wines and this wine is proof of that! Enjoy with BBQ fare, pasta dishes, or spicy Asian cuisine. Highly recommended all year round. Tasted November 2015. 89+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca


Gourmet burgers and pulled pork on a bun make a great pairing with Ravenswood Old Vine Zin!

Mallee Rock Shiraz/Cab Sauvignon – Australia – $14.95

“Mallee” is the aboriginal name for eucalyptus tree, and on the South East Limestone Coast of Australia those sun-drenched mallee trees are a popular sight. A Shiraz-rich blend with a dose of Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Padthaway and Wrattonbully regions. This deeply coloured and richly flavoured blend shows layers of smoky black fruit, kirsch, blueberry, sweet baking spice, and eucalyptus notes. Velvety smooth and well structured, the stewed fruit, black raspberry, and dark cherry are backed with fine tannins making this wine a great choice for enjoying with tangy BBQ ribs, pulled pork, gourmet burgers, or celebrating a great evening with friends. 88 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Buy Mallee Rock Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon at LCBO
Enjoy Mallee Rock Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon with gourmet burgers
Enjoy Mallee Rock Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon with gourmet burgers
Angels & Cowboys Proprietary Red 2014 @LCBO – $34.95


Deep ruby red with dark core, the sun-drenched Sonoma County fruit in this red blend has produced a big, opulent, yet fresh style of wine that’s perfectly suited for enjoying at the table or fireside with good company. A unique blend of Zinfandel, Malbec, and Cabernet, that showcases not only the diversity of these different varietals, but the complexity that’s achieved when they’re assembled together. Dark berries, fresh baked raspberry scones, eucalyptus, and smoky bacon on the nose. Its velvety smooth texture shows a great balance of refreshing dark fruit and integrated soft tannins, with smoky dark cherries persisting on the finish. This big Sonoma red has not only the finesse of an Angel but the power of a Cowboy, making it a terrific choice to enjoy with close friends. Summer BBQ fare including charcoal grilled beef are top of my list to enjoy with Proprietary Red. Tasted March 2017. 92 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Enjoy a charcoal grilled steak with Angels & Cowboys Red
Moroccan Lamb Chops or Mint and Cumin Spiced Lamp Chops pair wonderfully with Angels & Cowboys Red
Farina Valpolicella Ripasso @LCBO – $14.35 ($2 off until May 21)


Ripasso’s offer exceptional value. Farina’s 2013 Ripasso is no exception to that rule. A blend of 45% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara, 5% Dindarella, don’t worry if those don’t ring a bell, as those are the tasty and traditional grapes found in most Valpolicella wines, including the storied Amarone, and it’s little brother, Ripasso. Farina’s Ripasso was refermented on the skins of their Amarone grapes, to concentrate flavours and produce a silky smooth texture. The nose shows dark cherry, raspberry, clove, cedar and leather. The palate is juicy and smooth with dark cherry, plum, and spice on the finish. A great wine to enjoy with beef brisket, grilled lamb, firm cheese, or simply on it’s own.  88 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Farina Ripasso and charcoal grilled lamb chops are a great pairing in the summer.
So to make the most of your summer BBQ and wine pairings, remember these few tips to get the most out of your pairings!

Pro Tip #1: PAIR COLOUR WITH COLOUR (white with white, pink with pink, red with red…)

Pro Tip #2: CHILL IT! (chill white, rosé, and even red wines (a bit!) in the summer)

Pro Tip #3: MATCH WINE with SAUCE (not just the protein)

Pro Tip #4: SWEET WITH HEAT (sweet wines with spicy foods)



Matt Steeves – Sommelier, Wine Writer, & Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild – follow Matt on Twitter @Quercusvino or www.quercusvino.ca