Pair It Up! Spring Catch

With spring comes the stream of fresh produce and variety in the seasonal seafood catches. It's also a time when we return to lighter eating habits. Western Living Magazine celebrates spring with a recipe by Joe Forte's chef Wayne Sych: Sole with Brown Butter, Hazelnuts and Capers. The sole is baked simply with olive oil and topped with brown butter, hazelnuts and capers. It's a great dish for a transitional season as it has the lightness of a flakey white fish like sole, but the weight of brown butter.

Do our wine drinking habits change with the season as well? Maybe it's a response to a shift in cuisine, or maybe it's a similar desire to keep things light. As the days get longer, many people turn to lighter reds, aromatic whites, and rosés.

Sole, traditionally, is Chardonnay territory; white Burgundy or Chablis, especially when a butter sauce is involved—also Chardonnay-forward Champagnes and sparkling wine. The grape has the mineral, citrus, butter and toasty notes to complement the flavours of sole, but it also wont overpower what is generally a delicate-flavoured fish. While I don't quite buy the desire to drink wine seasonally (I'm happy to drink a nice rosé in the dead darkness of winter), for argument's sake, let's say a bright, minerally Chardonnay is the perfect spring wine. It's white and when it isn't bogged down with oak, is quite refreshing. It tends to be rich, fuller-bodied, and not as aromatic as some of its more summery siblings.

Here are a couple great ones that I think fit the bill:

Tantalus 2012 Chardonnay from South East Kelowna - I've always appreciated the minerality, intensity, and lemon/lime freshness of winemaker David Paterson's Chardonnay.

Rosehall Run 2012 JCR Chardonnay from Prince Edward County - it was only a month ago I first tasted this wine from Dan Sullivan, and I was floored. Barrel fermented, it has some spice and toast notes on top of great citrus and mineral characters.


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.

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