Vintages - Fall Feasts

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Feature Story

When autumn arrives, so too does the season of hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dishes. And with a little know-how, pairing wines with these fall favourites can be a snap. Here, we explore four classic comfort foods and the wines that go brilliantly with them.

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Pairing Principles

Understand wine’s key characteristics – which are often outlined in the tasting notes we provide – and you’ll be well on your way to creating perfect pairings.

Tannins: Tannins are compounds in red wines that create that drying sensation you also get from drinking black tea. They’re more about texture and mouthfeel than flavour. Tannins soften proteins and provide a nice counterpoint to fatty foods, making wines high in tannins great with rich meats and cheeses.

Body: Body is the perception of “weight” in a wine. A light-bodied wine will feel a bit lighter and leaner in your mouth than a full-bodied one. Foods and sauces also have body, and the best pairing results come from matching the weight of the food with that of the wine. Rich, heavy comfort foods often go best with big, full-bodied wines.

Acidity: Just like fruit, wines have acidity, typically ranging from soft and light like a ripe pear to crisp and bright like a lemon. Acidity is great for cutting through rich, fatty foods and brightening up the palate between bites. Wines with plenty of bright, crisp acidity contrast well with rich meats and cheeses, creamy sauces and oily foods.

Intensity: Intensity is about how fast the aromas and flavours hit your sense of smell and taste buds. In general, if it’s quick and strong, it’s likely a more intense wine. Intense wines really stand out with subtly flavoured comfort foods that are more about hearty texture than flamboyant flavours, such as mild cheeses and creamy pasta or risotto dishes.

Sweetness: Sweetness is about how wine tastes (not necessarily the amount of sugar). An extra-dry wine won’t taste sweet; a dessert wine will be at the other end of the spectrum. When pairing, you want the wine to be as sweet or sweeter than the food, so the complexities of the wine aren’t overshadowed. Sweet wines are also a good foil for spice.


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Roast Duck

With its crispy skin, succulent meat and savoury stuffing, roasted duck featuring a mélange of fruits and herbs and an orange sauce makes a hearty cool-weather dinner. For a stuffed duck recipe that would work with our featured wines, visit lcbo.com/foodanddrink and search “perfect roast duck.”


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Short Ribs With Mushrooms

Featuring a rich marinade and a cornucopia of herbs, these ribs are served over mashed white sweet potatoes with mushrooms sautéed in butter. Find this recipe at lcbo.com/foodanddrink.


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Cassoulet

Bringing together white beans and tomatoes with pork and poultry or mutton, this comfort classic is as versatile as it is hearty. Find a range of cassoulet recipes at lcbo.com/foodanddrink.


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Eggplant Parmesan

Rich tomato sauce, seasoned breadcrumbs and three different cheeses make baked eggplant parmesan a multi-faceted comfort food. Find a delicious recipe to pair with these wines at lcbo.com/foodanddrink.


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You’ve mastered pairing, now start cooking with wine, too!

All the flavour principles explained in this feature can be applied to deciding what wine to use in different recipes. See “Wine and Dine” in the Autumn issue of Food & Drink magazine (lcbo.com/foodanddrink) for great tips and ideas for cooking with wine.

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