I hardly feel qualified to write about wine. I’m not a trained sommelier, though I have attended many tutored tastings and I’ve certainly read a great deal about wine. I won’t let a lack of credentials stop me, though! Much like my friends Claire and Jared of Drink What U Love, I have a pretty free-spirited approach to wine and food pairings. I don’t agonize over choosing the perfect wine to go with a meal, even if I have spent countless hours on food preparation. For most dishes, there are several good matches so I usually feel like even if I don’t hit the bullseye, I’ll at least be on the board. Besides reducing my stress levels about wine, this approach also serves me well in another way: it encourages me to try new pairings on a regular basis. When I received two lovely bottles last week from Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, I thought ever so briefly about what dishes I thought might be good matches and then I got busy cooking.
The winery is located on the Staff family’s 200 year old estate farm in Jordan, Ontario, on the Niagara Escarpment. Sue-Ann is a fifth generation grape grower and winemaker recognized as one of Canada’s most decorated wine-makers, including as “Ontario Winemaker of the Year” (first female and youngest ever). Typical of Niagara wines, her wines bear the area’s hallmark minerality and intensity, with a longevity that makes them worth cellaring…if you can. The Fancy Farm Girl series currently includes two varieties which will only be available at the LCBO for three months (Feb 7 – May 7, 2015): Frivolous White and Flamboyant Red. Future releases are planned.
So why the Fancy Farm Girl branding? According to winemaker Sue-Ann Staff, “Years back while tending my family farm, I had a revelation. I loved the farm life. This is my Paris, my Australia, my South Africa, my freedom. So I dress the part and enjoy life through the rose coloured glasses of the fancy farm girl. Fancy Farm Girl is a brand concept I have been searching for since the inauguration of my winery. It brings together my personal style regarding both winemaking and attitude.”
As for the pairings, I tested out the 2012 Fancy Farm Girl Frivolous White with Pad Thai and it was a big success. Like most Rieslings, its fruitiness really complemented the spicy Asian dish with its zesty lime and cilantro garnish. Next up was the 2012 Fancy Farm Girl Flamboyant Red, which is a balanced Cabernet-Merlot with lots of personality. I enjoyed this bottle with both a Moroccan-spiced chicken dish (recipe coming very soon!) as well as with pizza and it shone in both instances.
I’ve visited many of the wonderful wineries of Prince Edward County but I am thinking now that a trip to the beautiful Niagara area is in order. Just to further my research and learning, of course.
Disclosure: I am grateful for the gift of wine from Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery; all opinions are my own.