“Pome" Fruit Flavours Delight
with Chardonnay and Riesling!

With most of the summer fruit harvest complete, stone fruits are being replaced by apples and pears, which are considered pome fruits. If that term is not familiar, it refers to the family of fruits that have a core of several small seeds, surrounded by a tough membrane. (Think of the French word for apples: “pommes”). More than 15 varieties of apples are grown in Ontario along with five major varieties of pears, with Bartlett being the most popular. These fruits can be the perfect ingredients to a delicious autumn food and wine pairing! After all, what grows together goes together.

Both oaked and unoaked Chardonnays are a wonderful match for apples and pears.

Chardonnay is an ideal candidate to match with fresh orchard fruit. The aromas and flavours of Chardonnay are reminiscent of freshly picked/fallen orchard fruit. Both unoaked and oaked versions can be wonderful matches for apples and pears. Fermenting or aging Chardonnay in oak barrels gives further complexity to the wine. These include elements of vanilla, coconut, nutmeg and cloves, which helps make Chardonnay compatible with a wide array of cooking methods, flavours and textures.

Another great option is Riesling. A noble, cool-climate grape, the quintessential characteristic of Niagara Riesling is fresh green apple and ripe, sweet pear. Rieslings pair well throughout the sunny, autumn – evoking the orchard scents of freshly picked apples and pears! Dry Rieslings are extremely food-friendly wines.

If you belong to the ABC School of wine enjoyment (Anything But Chardonnay), then Riesling is your answer.

Here are some examples of how Niagara apple dishes can be paired with both Chardonnay and Riesling:

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  • Company coming over? Start the festivities off right with a selection of locally sourced cured meats and a side of apple chutney. The acidity in the wine will help cut through the fat of the meats, while the saltiness will temper the crispness of the wine. The apple chutney will help pull all the flavours harmoniously together. Pair with Strewn 2013 “Cottage Block” Riesling ($12.95 - Winery/Online).
  • Pork and apples are a classic combination  – so try roasted pork tenderloin with creamy sautéed Niagara apples. The perfect Strewn pairing: 2012 “Terroir” Chardonnay French Oak ($27.95 - Winery/Online).
  • Looking for a fabulous local dessert? The Wine Country Cooking School’s Apple Cider Cake uses both local apples and local cider to create a wonderfully moist cake that pairs delectably with the newly released 2013 “Select Late Harvest” Riesling ($17.95 - Winery/Online). You can download a PDF of the Apple Cider Cake Recipe>> to try it yourself.
  • Need an autumn salad? When it comes to pears, roasted pears tossed with mixed greens, bleu haze (smoked blue cheese) and a grainy-mustard vinaigrette makes a fabulous and easy autumn salad. Match with an older Riesling such as Strewn’s 2007 Riesling Dry (SALE- WAS $23.95 NOW: $13.95 - Winery/Online).
  • Say Cheese - Bartlett pears are fantastic with a wide range of cheese. Top rich, creamy cheese with a generous slice of a Bartlett pear on a toasted baguette. Pair with Strewn’s popular 2013 Chardonnay Barrel Aged ($13.95 - Winery/L.C.B.O). Bleu cheese, salted nuts and dried pears have also proved to be fantastic with aged Niagara Icewine. The perfect Strewn pairing: the award-winning, barrel fermented 2006 Riesling Icewine ($58.00 - Winery/Online) - a match not to be missed!

Not a Fan of White? Pining for a Red?

Due to the inherent flavour profile and structure (mainly acidity) of apples and pears, sommeliers classically favour white wine pairings. However if your guests drink red wine only, lighter styles of Merlot or lighter Cabernets would work well in many of these cases. The 2013 “TwoVines” Cabernet/Merlot ($12.95 - Winery/L.C.B.O) and the 2011 Merlot (Small Case Production - Winery/Online) are two reds that would be more than suitable for those pining for red wine.

by Graeme Dargavel, Estate Sommelier