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Would you agree with me if I say there are 2 options when it comes to food and wine pairing? I am suggesting following two:

  1. You know what you are going to eat, and you will choose your wine.
  2. You know which wine you are going to drink, and you will choose the food.

Most of the times, I end up having a wine in my mind and make up a food pairing for it. Today, we will do the same, and we will find food pairings for 6 wines from SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec) when I was in Montreal. I bought these from SAQ Sélection which has a great selection of international wines, especially French wines are very well covered with all the regions. That’s why I ended up buying 3 wines from France, 1 from Portugal, 1 from Austria and 1 from Australia.

Let’s taste the wines together, and talk about the pairings that I have cooked for each one! For the readers in Quebec, I have added the link of the wines, so you can reach them easily.

Alselmo Mendes. Muros Antigos. Alvarinho 2017. Monção and Melgaço, Portugal

I have been reminding myself to drink more Portuguese wines, and this one was definitely a great step for this objective. In Vinho Verde, this small region of Monção and Melgaço is the hub for 100 % Alvarinho wines. As it pours in the glass, it was surprising to see a lemon color with gold reflections in it. Aromas of orange blossom, pear and pineapple lingers from nose through palate. It’s dry and has a well-balanced acidity with a medium body. The moment I’ve tasted it, I knew that it was going to be a good friend with my home-made sushi.


Paired with: Sushi and sashimi platter.

alvarinho and sushi

Home-made sushi and sashimi may sound hard to make but it’s actually not! The trick is to prepare the ingredients (boiling the rice, cutting the fish and veggies) while you are not hungry. Once they are ready, rolling them and cutting into pieces take only minutes. Pairing them with Vinho Verde was a good idea, I would repeat this without any hesitation.

Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg. Gruner Veltliner 2017. Ried Steinsetz, Kamptal, Austria

Gruner Veltliner, my love! I knew that I wouldn’t be disappointed with Gruner Veltliner, coming from Kamptal. Its aromatic nose welcomed me outside of the glass with flowers – jasmine, apple, pear, citrus fruits and white pepper aromas. On the palate it’s fresh, expressive and has a good balance.

gruner veltliner

Paired with: Haddock ceviche with side dish of sweet potatoes, corn and avocado.

ceviche and gruner veltliner

First time I have tried to make haddock ceviche and it turned out pretty good. I’ve cut the haddock into cubes and left them marinated with some fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper. After half an hour I’ve added red onions, red and yellow peppers and wait for another half hour. Side dishes as sweet potatoes, corn and avocados are the bests to accompany any type of ceviche. Gruner Veltliner paired beautifully with this fresh dish.

Chateau de Saint Cosme 2016. Condrieu, France

I’ll be honest, this was “the” wine that I was waiting for! Made from 100% Viognier grapes, wines of Condrieu are definitely worth waiting for. This specific wine impressed me with its intense aromas of blossoms, honeysuckle, peach, apricot, a touch of white pepper and cinnamon, it’s fresh and balanced palate. To me, this is the definition of “elegance”.


Paired with: Digby scallops cooked in butter, with side dish of fresh potatoes and beetroot puree.

condrieu and scallops

A special meal for this outstanding wine. Digby scallops are one of the flagships of Nova Scotia’s seafood options. They are meaty, juicy and delicious. They are generally served as fried or wrapped in bacon in local restaurants, but my favourite is just caramelizing their skin on some butter and not overcooking them to keep the juiciness. For side dish I have chosen new potatoes – since it was the season and they were so delicious. Again, as scallops, I love new potatoes very simple, they are beyond delicious even when you boil them and serve with only some salt on top. For the union of the flavors with the scallops, after boiling them I’ve sautéed them just to give some crunchiness on the skin. Second side dish was a beetroot purée. I gave 10 out of 10 to my own dish for this creation (although obviously I might be partial judging my own dish), it was pretty and delicious at the same. It was an unforgettable wine with a remarkable pairing.

Philippe Alliet 2016. Chinon, France

This wine is coming from heart of Chinon, where Cabernet Franc wines show their best.


Paired with: Ossobuco with side dish of polenta.

chinon and ossobuco

Ossobuco was one of my favorite meals as a kid and I still enjoy it with the same enthusiasm. It’s quite easy to make, only thing you need is patience to keep an eye on it while it cooks in the pot for more than an hour. Side dish polenta is even easier – 1 liter boiling water takes a cup of polenta while I stir it vigorously. Once it’s almost impossible to stir anymore, I take out from the heat and pour it on a buttered pyrex. Only before eating, I cut them in pieces and saute in butter, so outside becomes crispy. It makes a great side dish for any meal with tomato sauce. About the pairing…  A fuller bodied red with ripe red fruits and oak aromas would probably have made a better companion for this dish.

Clos de L’Oratoire des Papes 2015. Chateauneuf du Pape, France

Such an enjoyable product – inside and out, since it represents the Chateuneuf du Pape spirit on the label as well in the wine itself. This wine is a blend of red South Rhone varieties, 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Plum, blackberry and black cherry aromas are accompanied by some nutmeg and white peppers. Complex flavours lingers in the mouth with round tannins.

chateauneuf du pape

Paired with: Barbequed meat, side dishes of barbequed vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic and corn), puree of barbequed sweet potatoes and Chilean style salad (pebre).

chateauneuf du pape and barbaque

I love everything on the barbeque but the veggies are always a real hit! Smokiness of charcoal gives them a great flavor, especially to eggplant. Coming to the pairing, maybe this wine deserved a more elegant dish, but the barbeque definitely loved the company!

The Other Wine Co. Grenache 2018. McLaren Vale, Australia

After long discussions and brainstorming, my only New World wine purchase was this Grenache and it ended up being a very good choice. It was very enjoyable, fruit forward and intensely flavour with soft tannins.


Paired with: Pork ribs with side dish of red cabbage, roasted purple potatoes and tomato salad.

australian grenache and pork ribs

A classic meal that I enjoy quite often, side dishes, harmony of the flavors and colors in this plate makes me happy. And the pairing? It was very harmonious as well.

It was a good brainstorming to find these pairings. Of course after all the effort and energy spent to create them, I got the enjoy them! I hope some of these pairings can inspire you in your kitchen.



All images © 2019 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The wine reviews represent my personal notes taken during the tasting. This is not a paid post.

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