Moon Curser does off the beaten track varieties very well. Calling these grapes off the beaten track isn't exactly true—they're highly planted in other parts of the world, just not the Okanagan. For over a decade, the folks at Moon Curser (previously Twisted Tree) have been experimenting with plantings in the South Okanagan and they've got great wines to show for it. Here are a few summer food pairings to serve up with their unique Okanagan wines.
Moon Curser 2014 Arneis with Pear, Spinach and Prosciutto Salad. Arneis is the best native white grape in Piedmont. Its name means "little rascal" and it was historically blended into Barolo to cut the tannins of Nebbiolo. Arneis isn't particularly aromatic, but known for its minerality, texture, and stone fruit characters. It also pairs well with salad and will love the saltiness of some thinly sliced prosciutto.
Moon Curser 2014 Contraband Series Tempranillo paired with Chorizo and Shrimp Paella. Okay, realistically very few of us will cook paella this summer (the thought alone of cooking on a hot day makes me tired), but I also like the idea of this wine served with a piece of barbecued chorizo on top of some rice. There's a flavour in most Tempranillo (a dusty, iron, sanguine character) that works really well with the smoked paprika in chorizo and saffron used in cooking paella.
Moon Curser 2012 Tannant paired with Pork with Mole Negro Sauce. Moon Curser makes the only Tannat I've come across in Canada, which is grown in the desert climate of Osoyoos. Tannat is the grape used to make Madiran in Southwest France, they are full and meaty, with firm tannins. Almost every pairing you can find for wines made from Tannat will tell you to pair it up with a grilled steak or a grilled piece of lamb—something simple, smoky and meaty. You'll also hear it works wonders with chocolate dessert. I decided to go out on a bit of a limb and pair this with a traditional Mexican mole sauce. The juiciness of the wine should match the spice and sweetness of the sauce, while complimenting the chocolate notes. This will work even better if the pork is grilled on the barbecue to give it a little more smokiness.
PLUS! Now's a good time to give Moon Curser's wines a try; mix and match six bottles or more this week and they'll ship it to you for free!
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.