Pair It Up! Chili

As the mercury drops, the snow piles up and the layers go on (at least here in Manitoba), I find myself craving hearty dishes that warm the soul.

Chili: the perfect fit. A weightier dish with plenty of warmth (temperature-wise) and a bit of heat (spice-wise) will help shake off the harshest of chills.

So many people have their own personal preference when it comes to chili — it’s part of the reason chili cook-offs exist, right? Even if you have a favourite recipe, chances are you’ve deviated from it until it’s just right for you.

Let’s start with a classic chili — the meaty chili con carne. A good example of this staple comes from across the pond via the BBC’s Good Food site. Want to try it vegetarian-style? Check out a comparable recipe using Yves Original Veggie Ground Round as a substitute for ground beef.

When it comes to wine, you need something with a bit of body that can stand up to your preferred heat/spice level. The Perseus 2012 Cabernet Shiraz tips the hat to the classic Aussie blend, while retaining that herbal freshness that’s classic B.C.

The Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz in the wine comes from two separate sites in the Okanagan Valley, while the Cabernet Franc comes from Cawston in the Similkameen Valley. The Shiraz provides spiciness while the Cabernet(s) bring tannin, with a hint of leafiness from the Cab Franc that will accentuate chili’s spices nicely.

But what if you’re not a fan of ground beef? Fear not: Emeril’s got you covered. His sausage chili over at Food Network Canada is a tremendous alternative, featuring Andouille or other smoked/spicy sausage.

On the veggie side again, this vegetarian bean chili over at Serious Eats is seriously good. It’s completely customizable based on the amount of spice you want to experience in every bite, and you won’t miss the meat.

Wine-wise, another red blend on the juicier end of things is the Road 13 2012 Honest John’s Red. It’s a Merlot-driven blend with Pinot Noir, Syrah, plus some odds and ends rounding things out. The red berry notes are front and centre, with any/all tannin having mellowed out a bit with age (there wasn’t a ton to begin with).


Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.

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