Yesterday we introduced you to some of the artists on the Interstellar Rodeo Winnipeg bill but we know what you’re really wondering; “What’s this wine and beer pairing thing that they’re on about?” This is the festival that offers featured wines, craft beer and 13 fine local food trucks along with a variety of Americana and Roots performers.
Since the festival’s Winnipeg inception in 2015 (it ran successfully in Edmonton for three years before setting up shop at The Forks) the festival has had local wine connoisseur and writer Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson as wine curator. Ben is both a wine and music aficionado but even had had some initial misgivings as to how to proceed pairing wine with artists or groups “I love both, but wine and music don’t even go into your body in the same place – how do you pair them?” he’s said.
Following in the footsteps of Edmonton’s Interstellar wine curator, Ben now has two years under his belt and seems to have gotten the hang of pairing beverage selections with musical acts. The featured wines for the 2017 festival are all from local private wine sellers: Banville & Jones, Kenaston Wine Market and The Winehouse. The other day, local media and people about town were invited to the top of The Forks parkade to try some of the featured wines (and one beer).
Made with: Old-vine Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre
Tasting notes: Ripe plum, blueberry as well as leather and spice aromas; medium-plus bodied, with a stellar, multi-layered balance of fruit, tannin, subtle oak and acidity.
For a Côtes du Rhône which can sometimes be a bit earthy, this one is light and fruity. If I had been tasting with my eyes closed I would have put my money on pinot noir. Ben said he chose it because it was “super layered, but open and honest” just like Father John.
Made with: Organic Garnatxa
Tasting Notes: Bright violet and dark berry aromas, medium-plus bodied, blackberry, earth, spice, white pepper.
I know people have a lot of feelings about organic wines but this one might leave you pleasantly surprised, it was smooth and the berry flavours really came through. Ben has been big on Catalyuna wines of late and he said he chose this one because it was “complex yet completely accessible” just like Beck’s music.
Made with: Chenin Blanc
Tasting Notes: Honeycomb, red apple, sage, chalky and lemongrass aromas; medium-bodied, multi-layered, ripe red apple, honeycomb and peach flavours, viscous texture, complex yet approachable.
Pro tip: let this one warm up a couple degrees if they’re serving it out of an ice bucket. The flavours change immeasurably for the better without any bite, or oakyness that you might associate with white wine – but what do I know, I’m a red drinker.
Beer Pairing: Sunday – The Dead South – Half Pints Interstellar Wheat, brewed in Winnipeg especially for the festival “a refreshing, unfiltered American-style wheat beer made with Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin hops that provide wine-ish, gooseberry aromas over a bready foundation of malted wheat.”