Sparkling wine + food = fantastic

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Norwood’s restaurant in Ucluelet, British Columbia. This tiny (less than 20 tables) restaurant has been getting rave reviews for its intensely local-focused cuisine. In addition, the restaurant has a wonderful wine list, which features many Canadian wines, but also pays tribute to all of the important countries world wide.

Situated on the wild west coast of BC and a two minute walk from the harbour, it is no surprise that the menu is heavy on seafood. When we sat down at the chef’s table (reserve in advance, as it books up quickly), my attention turned not just to the menu but the wine list. We were in the mood for bubbles, so I went in reverse and selected the wine first and then picked food off the menu to pair with the sparkling wine.

I picked the Blue Mountain Brut, from Okanagan Falls. I had been hearing great things about this sparkler, but hadn’t had the opportunity to taste it yet. Many people reserve sparkling wine for celebrations and often drink it on its own. While there is no bad time for sparkling wine, I feel that it is perhaps under-appreciated in some circles as a wine to pair with food.

It is tough to match the versatility of a sparkling wine. The natural pairs are with sushi, oyster, cheese and chocolate and strawberries. All wonderful celebration foods, but people shouldn’t shy away from other pairings. The crisp acidity of the Blue Mountain Brut made it an excellent pair with both the grilled octopus and local albacore tuna appetizers. The fine bubbles but robust body made it a hit with the halibut main course.

While seafood was the name of the game that evening. I would go so far as to say other than 1) big red-meat meals, 2) super spicy entrees, 3) hearty soups, stews & chili, you could pair a quality dry sparkling wine with anything.

Blue Mountain Brut – 47% Chardonnay, 47% Pinot Noir, 6% Pinot Gris, Alcohol: 12.5%, made in the method traditionnelle style.