The Pleasures of Summer Wine
Many of us find the warmer summer days to be a good time to shed our winter wine habits along with all the other winter paraphernalia. We switch from more substantial red wines to less full-bodied, fruitier reds; various whites; rosés and cooler style wines. Much of this has to do with the food we are consuming – more salads; small plates; grilled chicken and fish.
We also have the opportunity to participate in many outdoor activities, Ottawa in particular offering up a wonderful assortment of outdoor music festivals and under-the-tent wine events.
Linda and I had the privilege and immense pleasure of participating in “Classical in the Clos”, a superb music/food/wine that took place in an old beautifully renovated barn amongst the vineyards of By Chadsey’s Cairns, Wellington (just outside of Picton), on the shores of Lake Ontario. The musicians were senior members of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Their music choices were selected on a theme of forest frolics and melodies.
Making the music and the setting even more spectacular, Executive Chef Jonathan Korecki of Side Door/Restaurant 18, set up his outdoor kitchen beside Chadsey’s fabulous tasting room, located in a former apple storage building, in front of row upon row of flourishing grape vines. Prior to the start of the concert we were treated to a delicious starter of blackened corn, topped with pan-seared duck, lavishly decorated with small fresh greens, dressed with a sweet/sour vinaigrette.
Cue the music: Bach, Debussy, Mendelssohn.
At first intermission we wandered outside to enjoy Jonathan’s lovely roast chicken accompanied by new potato and greens; sauced with a fresh coriander preparation that showed off the richness of the chicken. Yet more fabulous music, with the lake breeze wafting through the barn, seated 6 feet or so from the musicians, on massive hay bales.
At final intermission we were treated to a sumptuous coconut, lemongrass scented panna cotta dessert, topped with sugared blackberries, raspberries and mint leaves. It was served in small jam-sized mason jars, allowing the various components to show to their full advantage.
Many of the concert-goers took full advantage of the opportunity to taste various wines and select a bottle for the meal. What did Linda and I end up with? The perfect match – a 2008 Gamay (the grape that produces Beaujolais). It was crystal-clear; a shimmering ruby colour; raspberry and other summer fruits on both the nose and the palate.
The wonder of the day for us was the mix of the calibre of music, the proximity of these fine musicians, the beauty of the surrounding vineyards in full bloom, the opportunity to sample various wines in a relaxed and informal setting, and Chef Korecki’s fine culinary offerings.
It was a breathtaking combination that made for a stellar day that we will long remember.
Prepared for Wine Kitz Ottawa Iris
by Wendy Smyth, Certified Sommelier