Get Stuffed 


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The grapes are plucked late, "crushed gently," and aged in oak barrels, but with nowhere near the amount of care that would go into a Chardonnay.

"It starts off sweet and goes sour," says Wesson. "The aftertaste is dry, and there a bit of grapefruit bitter at the end, but in a good way."

There’s no carbonation, so the 11.5 per cent alcohol content is more noticeable, but it’s still refreshing.

Because spice and fruitiness tend to go well together, like a mango chutney, or pineapple salsa, the effect is contrasting and complementary all at once, says Wesson.

Pairing with Szechuan Beef

Because contrast can be a good thing, a sweet Lake Breeze 2000 Ehrenfelser, from the Okanagan, is needed to offset the spiciness and thick flavour of the meat.

"It can be sweet, as long as it’s not cloying," says Wesson. The Szechuan sauce is sweet as well, but it’s not the dominant flavour.

Matching spicy with spicy, sweet with sweet, and fruity with fruity generally amplifies the overpowering flavour, hiding the other flavours in your food and wine. A good balance of dominant flavours, however, will allow the other flavours to emerge.

"Wine is to be chewed," says Wesson, "not chugged. If we weren’t supposed to enjoy our food, we’d boil it down until it tasted like putty – and then we’d be British."

You can also forget the old adage that white wine goes with fish, red wine goes with meet, "and when in doubt, drink beer." According to Wesson, that’s a bit of snobbery concocted by nobles in France who bring 12 pieces of cutlery to the table with every meal. The rules go out the window when you’re talking about a $16 bottle of Lake Breeze that was fermented last year.

Pairing with Szechuan Pork Balls

Although the Rosemount Estate 2001 Grenache Shiraz from Australia was a more full-bodied wine than any of the previous bottles – "like a melted wildberry Jello" – Wesson paired it with the pork balls to illustrate another unconventional idea; that red wines are better chilled.

"Nothing tastes good at room temperature. Not orange juice, not coffee, not milk, not soft drinks, and especially not wine," says Wesson, who put the Grenache Shiraz in the fridge for half an hour before the seminar. "That’s another old world idea that’s still lying around from the days when they didn’t have refrigerators and drank everything at room temperature."

Although this wine had a higher alcohol content and smelled strongly of fruits, the chill made it a refreshing complement to the heavy pork balls.

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