Experience The Goods

What you have in your box:

1. Malivoire 2013 COURTNEY GAMAY
2. Stratus Vineyards 2012 SCREW RED

1. Malivoire 2013 COURTNEY GAMAY

Your mission: There’s a term wine geeks use—“mouth feel”—that is pretty much self-explanatory. It sums up the sensation a wine transmits to your tongue, taste buds and related sensors. Gamay is known as a soft-textured wine. It sits in the light-bodied camp of brightly fruity, zesty wines that are easy to drink and ready to go. Similar wines include some of those made with Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Tempranillo.

Zoltan Szabo, kwäf Taste Bud and super-star sommelier, calls Gamay a chameleon. It’s “the ‘matches all’ food-and-wine compatibility champ.” Good on its own, slightly chilled poolside in the summer, with a plate of charcuterie, with roasted birds, or to finish off a meal and freshen the palate. Wow! Gamay can do just about anything!

Yes it can. Taste Bud Lindsay Groves calls it the “vinous equivalent to cranberry jelly when it comes to turkey, white meats and stuffing.” In cooler climates, like Ontario and Beaujolais, when “done properly, it has beautiful acidity, plump texture and juicy red fruit with earthy undertones.”

Your mission is to think of mouth feel as you taste this voluptuous Malivoire 2013 Courtney Gamay. Try it on its own, then with food. How would you describe the texture of the wine? Of the food? Together? Think of terms like soft, silky, velvety, supple, crisp, bright, zesty. Take a bite, then a sip. Or, the other way around. Pay attention to the interplay.

2. Stratus Vineyard 2012 SCREW RED

Your mission: There’s Gamay in the Stratus 2012 Screw Red. But there’s also a lot of tannin coming via the “big boy” grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Tannat. In its role here, Gamay adds a perfume of bright red berries and a little voluptuous texture in the mouth. Can you discern it? What else do you smell?

Food tip: Tannins are protein molecules that come from grape skins, stems, seeds and even the barrels that age wine. They give wine longevity and stability—and they give your mouth (and teeth) a drying, bitter sensation.

But tannins clash with fish and acidic foods like tomatoes, salad greens, vinaigrettes. Gamay doesn’t have a lot of tannin—ergo, it makes friends with all kinds of foods. Red wine with fish? You bet. Try salmon, haddock, tuna and even an oily grilled sardine. This will work very well with the Malivoire Courtney Gamay, but will clash with the Screw.

The Stratus 2012 Screw Red is a good wine to invite to a party. It’s refined enough for dinner, and fun-loving enough for sipping and snacking. For the perfect pairing, we went to one of Toronto’s most recognized chefs, Jamie Kennedy, whose new cookbook features this outstanding rendition of Quebec’s famous tourtière meat pie. This recipe makes six small pies, the perfect amount for a one-person serving, so you can use serve them as a main course dish. Or you can put them out for a cocktail party, with lots of fun garnishes like pickles, relish, chilis and ketchup. The Screw Red will take them all on. It’s got just enough tannin to stand up to the fat in this substantial meat dish, and act as a kind of fruity side dish all on its own. 

Tannin is handy when you’re eating fatty, buttery, rich foods, as it helps to break down the grease. A perfect food match for a tannic wine is the classic French Canadian meat pie, tourtière. So here’s a recipe from Toronto chef Jamie Kennedy, from his new book J.K. The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook.

Individual Tourtière with Mustard Pickle

by Chef Jamie Kennedy

Pairs with: Stratus 2012 Screw Red

Makes 6 pies

Sometimes there is nothing I want more than a meat pie. The sandy texture of the sablée pastry and the rich, warmly spiced meat and potato mixture within is so satisfying. I put it on the lunch menu at Gilead, where I serve it with my Aunt Myrtle’s mustard pickle. People clamour for these pies. There is a fair amount of preparation to do, but the execution is simple. I make a large batch of pies and freeze them, with excellent results. Sometimes I even serve them in [co-author] Ivy [Knight] calls the traditional Acadian style, with ketchup.

6 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour
1 pound (500 g) lard
Pinch of salt
1 cup (250 mL) cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

¼ cup (60 mL) lard
1¼ pounds (625 g) ground pork
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
5 whole allspice, ground
2 whole cloves, ground
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the pastry, in a large bowl, combine the flour and lard. Using both hands or a pastry blender, cut in the lard until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Dissolve the salt in the cold water and add the water all at once to the flour mixture. Mix the dough just until it comes together. Do not over-mix. Form into a thick log, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball; wrap and refrigerate 6 of the balls. On a floured surface, roll out the remaining 6 balls into 9-inch (23 cm) circles. Fit each round into a 6-inch (15 cm) pie plate. The dough should hang over the rim slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To make the filling, melt the lard in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the ground pork and gently sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the onions, potatoes, allspice and cloves; continue gently sautéing, stirring regularly, for 20 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Set out the 6 pie shells on 2 baking sheets. Divide the meat filling among the shells, mounding it slightly in the centre. Roll out the remaining 6 balls of dough into rounds that will cover the individual pies. Paint a bit of water onto the rim of each pie and place a lid on top. Pinch the lid and the rim of each pie together to seal. Poke a few holes in a decorative fashion on each lid to allow steam to escape. Brush a little egg wash over each pie.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the kitchen smells heavenly (or freeze, unbaked, in resealable plastic bags and bake from frozen for about 1 hour). Serve warm or at room temperature with mustard pickle [or ketchup].

Reprinted with permission from J.K. The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook published by Harper Collins.