Thursday, June 24, 2010

"D" is for Dips and Wine

The ‘dip’ is a timesaving and easy hors d’oeuvre to prepare for BBQ dining this summer. When you’re pairing your favourite wine to dips, it’s more interesting to serve original recipes than to serve store bought versions.

Dips are easy to make and you don’t necessarily need a recipe. Use your taste buds as your guide.

Fresh fruit refresh the palate during the summer. If the dip has sweetness due to chunks of fresh fruit like pineapple or mango, even cranberry, be sure the wine offers sweetness as well. A sweet dip will make a dry wine taste offensive. Hot and spicy dips also require a matching wine with sweetness. Sweet and/or hot and spicy dips work best with an off dry white wine.

Just remember that light bodied wines work best with sour cream based dips, while heavier vintages complement cream cheese based ones. The same holds true for adding cheese. Add fresh cheese like feta and Chevre or salty cheeses like parmesan to dips that will be paired with light bodied whites. Use heavier cheeses, such as cheddar and blue cheese when matching a red wine to your dip.

If you’re beginning your party or event with a crisp, dry sparkling wine or brut Champagne or crisp, dry white wine, such as pinot gris and sauvignon blanc, create a yogurt or sour cream based dip. Sour cream is tangy, which is the same as the prominent taste sensation in this style of wine.

How about an avocado dip? Combine sour cream, avocado, finely chopped fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, diced onion, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Artichoke and parmesan and spinach and artichoke dips also work with crisp, dry whites.

Complementary wines to serve with these dips include Henry of Pelham cuvee Catherine Brut (CSPC # 616441), $29.95 and Cooper’s Creek sauvignon blanc (CSPC # 957407), $15.45.

A riesling wine with a hint of sweetness works nicely with sweet, hot and spicy and/or cream cheese based dips. Fielding Estate riesling semi dry (CSPC # 36202), $15.95, and Vineland Estates riesling semi-dry VQA (CSPC # 232033), $13.85 both complement pineapple and ham dip. Combine cream cheese, chunks of fresh pineapple, diced ham, diced onion and salt and pepper. Hot and spicy and curry based dips also work nicely with this style of wine.

Asiago cheese dip is ideal to match to a big, fat white wine, such as a barrel fermented and aged chardonnay. Bring together mayonnaise, cream cheese, shredded asiago, and diced onion, salt and pepper. Flat Rock Cellars 2004, (CSPC # 681247), $16.95 is perfect to pair with this dip. This dip can also be paired with reds, as well.

Bacon blue dip is perfect for a red wine offering forward fruit character. Bring together cream cheese, chunks of blue cheese, minced onion, and crumbled bacon (include some of the bacon fat), salt and pepper. In fact, any dip highlighting bacon will work with red wine. Bacon has enough fat to stand up to the weight of reds. Pair this dip with Frog’s Leap 2005 zinfandel (CSPC # 593525), $37.95 or Henry of Pelham baco noir VQA (CSPC #270926), $13.75.

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