Montreal's Culinary Mosaic: A Simple Guide to Food & Wine Pairing

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Photo: Ron Fletcher Photography

Wine--a combination of richness, depth, balance, textures, flavors and aromas, all of which ever so perfectly appeal to the senses. Since its ancient beginnings, this lavish beverage has been a regular accompaniment to meals all around the world, and with so many varieties available, it's easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to pairing a meal with just the right wine. Do you ever walk up and down the aisle and stare at the wines not knowing where to start? The minute you step into an SAQ, or any other liquor store, a number of questions come to mind: Red or white? Dry or sweet? Bold or light? While the process may seem daunting at first, it's actually pretty simple.

I've been working at the SAQ for almost five years now, acquiring quite a bit of wine expertise along the way. Needless to say, I've become a sort of go-to person for anything wine-related among my friends. Let's face it, Montrealers love to wine and dine, so I'll regularly get text messages come lunch or dinner time: "We're going to that new Japanese hotspot, will this wine go well with sushi?" or "We're having Mexican tonight, should I go for a white or a red?" All of this got me thinking about the one thing Montreal is guilty of lacking: a simple and easy-to-use guide to food and wine pairing... À la Montréal.

This is where Jonathan Thivierge comes in. Jonathan, 32, eats, sleeps and breathes wine, and has been working at the SAQ since 2003. A co-worker and true wine connoisseur, I chose to recruit his help in order to provide you with memorable wine recommendations that should leave you more than satisfied. If you're looking to purchase some wine and happen to be in Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal area, look out for the guy with the new corkscrew tattoo on his left forearm!

Montreal, this one's for you. We're taking you on a journey to discover the world's best cuisines, combining all of their particular flavors with those of our wine suggestions--but wait, there's more. We've paired our top picks, all of which are available for under $25, with dishes you'll easily find in some of Montreal's most popular bring your own wine restaurants. Once you've read this guide, all you'll have to do is decide where you're eating and head over to the nearest SAQ before enjoying wine and food combinations that were practically made for each other. Simple, isn't it? Now, let's begin!

Rule #1 - Determine the origin of your dish. Research the cuisine. Do they make their own wine in this country? Local alcoholic beverages may pair better than wine (there are some exceptions, of course).

Rule #2 - Don't let the wine overpower your dish. Flavors should harmonize, rather than clash. When you pair a light wine with a heavy dish, the taste of the wine gets lost, and vice versa. A wine that is too bold, acidic or high in alcohol will not complement the main ingredients of a light dish. For this same reason, you should never pair a spicy dish with a wine that is high in alcohol, as doing so will only increase spiciness.

Rule #3 - The sweeter the dish, the sweeter the wine. For example, a sweet dessert will generally pair best with a Port or dessert wine.

Now that you've learned the fundamentals of food and wine pairing, let's see how these three simple rules apply to cuisines of the world. Please follow the links below to find out more about pairing wine with the cuisine of your choice:

Mediterranean cuisine

Asian cuisine

Latin American cuisine

Carribean cuisine

Middle Eastern cuisine

Vegetarian cuisine

Montreal cuisine

There you have it, Montréal. A simple go-to guide to wine & food pairing according to your favorite bring your own wine restaurants! Keep in mind that, when it comes to wine, everyone has different tastes and each wine offers something special. The above rules and pairings are meant to serve as general guidelines. Don't forget to check the availability of each product via the SAQ website before heading out! I'll leave you off with a list of some of my current personal favorites, enjoy!

Marqués de Cáceres Excellens, $17.95

Tedeschi Capitel dei Nicalo Appassimento, $18.20

Sebastiani Sonoma County Cabernet-Sauvignon, $21.75

6th Sense Syrah, $24.20

Belle Glos Wines Meiomi, $26.95

Planeta La Segreta, $17.25

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, $19.85 and it's cousin New Harbor
Sauvignon Blanc
, $16.50

Errazuriz Fumé Blanc, $15.20

Francis Coppola Diamond Chardonnay 2013, $22.20

Yalumba The Y Series Viognier, $17.20

Domaine du Ridge Champs de Florence, $15.90

1 Comment

Tania, this article is epic. The work that went into this is colossal! Greatly written and well organized article. Loving the links to the different pages; this feature keeps your article nice and neat! A for A+!

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