Making Hay When the Sun Shines

With the temperature hovering in the mid 20's over the weekend and plenty of sunshine, it was the perfect opportunity to fire up the BBQ and enjoy a meal on the deck. Days like this will be few and far between now, and here in Canada we know to make hay when the sun shines.

Realizing that I needed to head to the butcher anyway, I decided to let my wine cellar steer‎ my dinner choice. Sifting through my dwindling supply (note to self: order more wine) a Merlot from Thornhaven Estates piqued my interest when a quick read of the label suggested bison, or game, as a food pairing. Thornhaven has become a favourite winery of mine because they punch above their weight class – the calibre of wine they produce well exceeds the price point. Besides the great value of their Platinum award-winning Syrah (which we have gushed about before), they also make excellent Pinots (both Noir and Meunier) at under $20.

I'm not normally drawn to cool climate Merlots. I often enjoy wine on its own, and for me I find that Merlots from cooler regions can be a little too tannic and lacking in fruit profile to be enjoyed with nothing more than another glass. I generally prefer to get my fill of Merlot when it has been blended with Cabernet varieties, as it so often is here in Canada. However, knowing Thornhaven as I do, I was eager to give this bottle a try with dinner and thanks to help from the local butcher I settled on 8 ounce organic bison burgers (technically 80% bison and 20% grass fed beef).

Sitting down in the backyard to enjoy this simple meal of burgers and a side of creamy coleslaw with the sun just slipping away, casting these wonderful long shadows across the lawn, and the leaves already starting to turn was nothing short of magical. The Merlot was smooth and elegant, more fruit forward than anticipated but with a nice lingering smokiness that stood up to the gaminess of the burgers. The beef gave the meat some added richness, and the extra fat content was a nice match for the dry finish of the wine.

What a great way to finish off a perfect fall day.

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