Charcuterie, cured meat, smoked meat…whatever you like to call it, it's one of my favourite foods. Yes, I have been guilty of eating only charcuterie plates for dinner and when I say plates, I mean more than one at the same dinner. So imagine my thrill at receiving the Carnivore Club's monthly selection of cured meats, an assortment of salamis, saucisson sec, and lomo from Ottawa artisan-maker Seed to Sausage. This happiness was matched only by the receipt of Creekside Estate Winery's wine portfolio for tasting. A divine pairing it was, read on to see our sometimes surprising wine and charcuterie recommendations.
Calabrese Salami & 2013 Reserve Viognier ($29.95)
This was the pairing that most surprised me as I was pretty sure that I would be pairing this meat with a red wine. However, upon tasting the dry cured salami and witnessing its intense heat (you can count the hot chili peppers!), it was the 2013 Reserve Viognier with it's stone fruit, floral characters and touch of sweetness that balanced the Calabrese best.
Water Buffalo and Cranberry Salami & 2014 Cabernet Rosé ($14.95)
A match made in heaven! Creekside has released a fantastic rosé that's simple, unaffected, and very fruit driven. Strawberry, watermelon and cherry sailed out of the glass and dovetailed gorgeously with the cranberry in the cured buffalo sausage. Although it was game meat, the buffalo was lighter in flavour than I expected and the cranberry addition lent a very pleasing balance to the saltiness of the meat. For a lighter meat with fruit notes, the rosé was a perfect partner.
Saucisson Sec & 2014 Pinot Noir ($18.95)
Saucisson Sec is an aged French-style salami flavoured with garlic and pepper. The version from Seed to Sausage was flavourful and well-balanced. It paired well with the 2014 Pinot Noir which, besides the dark cherry and plum notes, also has a hint of black pepper in it.
Lomo & 2012 Broken Press Syrah ($42.95)
This lomo was no ordinary cured pork tenderloin - cayenne pepper, black pepper, and other fiery spices loudly demanded centre stage. The taste of the meat actually reminded me of biltong from southern Africa; intensely dry, salty and spicy. As soon as I tasted it, I thought of the 2012 Broken Press Syrah, a signature expression of black pepper and dark cherry. But would the fiery spice of the lomo overwhelm the Syrah? Luckily, the Syrah held its ground and complemented the tenderloin very well.
Stay tuned for more details on Creekside wines when sommelier Jake Skakun spotlights the winery on April 13.
Try out these charcuterie-pairing gems today by clicking on the bottles below!