- Pair leaner beef with lighter bodied wines
- Pair fattier & more flavourful cuts with more full bodied and flavourful wine
- Pair fattier cuts of beef with a well-aged wine
- Pair rare lean beef with a young aggressive wine
You have probably been to a wine tasting but have you ever been to a beef tasting? Well Jay Eatz had the pleasure of attending Canadian Beef's Taste & Terroir event earlier this fall at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College. The campus and facilities were the ideal setting for this day's events which would showcase some delicious Canadian Beef paired with some wines from the Niagara Region. The only thing that trumped the setting was our hosts, two phenomenal chef's, Chef Marty Carpenter, Director of the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence and Chef Michael Olson, Chef Professor at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Niagara College, and one amazing Home Economist, Joyce Parslow, Canadian Beef's Director of Consumer Relations.
This purpose of this event was to illustrate the parallels of wine and beef in relation to the concept of "terroir". What is "terroir" you ask? Terroir is a French word which means land in its simplest translation. It is a term closely tied to viticulture (particularly old world wines) referring to the earth and soil in which grapes are grown. I was fortunate enough to take a course on the history of wine at university (best class ever) which really made it easy to see how the concept of "terroir" relates to Canadian Beef. Our text book for this class was called The Essentials of Wine with Food Pairing Techniques by John P. Lagones. Lagones said "grapes grown further from the equator are the most fragrant and are incredibly food friendly because of their acidity and freshness". The same holds true for Canadian Beef. Canada's geographical location has blessed us with grain growing capabilities. This is prime feed for cattle. Our cold winters make for hardy beef breed stock resulting in Canadian Beef genetics being exported to 100 countries worldwide. Just as the VQA regulatory and appellation system guarantees the high quality and authenticity of Canadian wines so does the Canadian Beef brand which stands for beef that's raised in Canada. The beef grading system is a quality guide for Canadian Beef with Prime being the highest quality beef followed by AAA, AA and A grades. As is the wine grower and the wine maker to wine is the farmer and the butcher to Canadian Beef.
To truly understand the parallels between beef and wine in relationship to "terroir" a tasting of both would be necessary.
Before we dived into these five different cuts of Canadian Beef, Joyce walked us through a quick sensory activity to prepare our tasting abilities. We were given bread and gummy bears to calibrate our tenderness scale and a piece of banana, cucumber and orange to calibrate our perception of juiciness.
After our sensory preparation we were set loose to sample the five different cuts of beef paired with a different red wine. We sampled Canadian Beef tenderloin with Fielding Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc, Canadian Beef sirloin with Creekside Estate Winery 2013 Iconoclast Syrah, Canadian Beef strip loin with Rockway Vineyards 2012 Small Lot Wild Ferment Red, Canadian Beef rib eye with Redstone Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and Canadian Beef short rib with Foreign Affair Winery 2013 Dream. We recorded our visual impressions of the Canadian Beef, judged each cuts tenderness, juiciness, flavour and aroma. One underlying principal was observed just as in wine tasting: Who decides what makes the best beef cut or glass of wine? It all depends on you and what you prefer, don't be afraid to like what you like. My favourites were the rib eye and the short rib as both rated very high for me on the flavour scale.
Some pro wine pairing tips were shared as well.
I must add a disclaimer to this post, on top of the delicious Canadian Beef and wine I was compensated to attend this event with the best lunch I have ever had.
I will let you in on a little secret, you can find the recipe for the beef dish we had at lunch on the Roundup App in the recipe section titled Southwestern Beef Steak with Succotash Saute. You can also download a copy of the Beef and Wine Tasting guideline we used by clicking on the guide below.
I know you probably won't be cooking up five different kinds of Canadian Beef at home to replicate the Taste & Terroir event. I would recommend printing off a few of these sheets and as you taste different cuts of Canadian Beef over the next little while, try this activity, pair your Canadian Beef with some wines from your neck of the woods and compare your notes after you have sampled a few different cuts and taste the Canadian terroir found in Canadian Beef for yourself.