Summer Wine Pairing Tips To Help You Entertain Like a Sommelier

Posted by Nads on May 30, 2014


I had the chance to attend a super fun event hosted by our lovely friend Melissa from The Sweet Escape.  We spent an afternoon filled with wine tasting, amazing Thai bites and lots of girlfriend chatter with some of our favourite bloggers.  Union Wines supplied the wine and Linda Modern Thai provided us with a delicious spread.  Yum!

This was an excellent way to spend a couple of hours learning about some of the fantastic wines from Union and sample some incredible Thai food.  I had a chance to grab a few minutes with Andrew von Teichman, President/CEO of Union Wines and get some invaluable tips for summer entertaining and wine pairings.  Here’s a couple of excellent tidbits that will help you throw an awesome summer party and make you look like a wine expert to boot.  Thanks Andrew!

Can you recommend a wine to serve earlier in the day, for instance with lunch or brunch?
I am a huge fan of Rose’s, so my first selection would be a local Rose. Our 2013 Union Rose is packed with soft red berry flavour and a great bet on ice with a summer brunch. If Rose isn’t quite your style, than a sparkling wine would be up next. Look to Spain and their Cava’s or Italy and their Prosecco’s.  Lastly, if you are craving a red, try a Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir chilled for 20 minutes before pouring.

Which of your products would you recommend for a BBQ with smoked or grilled meats?
Union Noir is a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir and it is light bodied. Pinot and pork are a match made in heaven, so if pork tenderloin is on tap, definitely try Union Noir. If you are into a heartier meat, check out our limited production Union Squared, due out on in Vintages in June. It is a Bordeaux style blend and perfect to stand up to the grill.

Readers are always looking for ways to update the traditional wine and cheese.  Can you give us some ideas for wine and cheese pairings?
I’ll suggest two slam dunks: 1- Sauvignon Blanc and goats cheese. This is a tried, tested and true pairing celebrated around the world. 2- Go Local with some fresh OKA from Quebec and pair it with a new world Merlot.

For new wine enthusiasts, are there any tips for serving your wines?  Which and how to decant, proper temperature to serve at, how to store, etc?
Absolutely! Union White is our little chameleon as it presents itself very differently, depending on the temperature you serve at. Try getting it ridiculously cold, tasting it, then over the course of the next hour, if the bottle makes it that long, experiment with the flavor profile as it warms up in the bottle/glass. In terms of storage, no need to lay our wines on their sides as we are using screw-cap across the board. Serve the whites early and don’t look to age them. They show best when they are nice and fresh/young. For the reds, serve Noir at or below 55F allowing for the temperature to bring out the fruit. For our Union Red, decant away and serve just below room temperature.

What is your best recipe or twist on wine cocktails or sangria
My favourite is called a Bolle. Take Union White, add 500ml of soda or Perrier and then load up the drink with fresh cut Ontario strawberries and raspberries. Finish off with loads of ice and you won’t find a drink much more refreshing when it is 30 humid degrees outside!

Like the food we sampled, it is always a challenge to pair ethnic foods with a wine choice.  I love Friday night takeout with my local ethnic favourite food, what would you recommend as a good pairing?
Ethnic food is tricky to pair with at times, as the flavors can be really bold or spicy. These spices can over power or twist wines into a mangled mess sometimes. Your best bet is going for an off-dry or sweet white. The sweetness can stand up to spice and present a ying-yang experience that enhances the food substantially. Give it a try!

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One Response to “Summer Wine Pairing Tips To Help You Entertain Like a Sommelier”

  1. Melissa says:

    Great write-up and great tips! I gotta try that Sangria recipe.

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