by Tawse Winery, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter

An off-dry Riesling described as a perfect match for holiday cheese plates has been named White Wine of the Year by the Wine Access Magazine Canadian Wine Awards.

In blind tasting by wine experts, Tawse Winery’s 2009 Sketches of Niagara Riesling won top honours in the stringent, international-calibre competition, with judges calling it a “textbook racy, intense and top-quality Ontario Riesling.” The award was announced at the recent Ottawa Food and Wine Festival.

In early October, Tawse was named Canada’s Winery of the Year for the second year in a row, also through the magazine’s Canadian Wine Awards.

“This Riesling is a fantastic wine to enjoy with a mixed cheese plate,” says Tawse sommelier Dieter Unruh. “Because of perfect acidity and being slightly off-dry, it can cover two general families of cheese – both salty, like old cheddar and blue vein cheeses, and creamy ones, like Brie. The citrusy character of the Riesling compliments and enhances flavours to make your taste buds sit right up and take notice.”

The acclaimed Quatrefoil Restaurant, in Dundas, Ontario, is among those which feature Tawse wines on their wine lists. Quatrefoil chef Fraser Macfarlane likes to pair Sketches of Niagara Riesling with Coconut Curry Mussels (see the recipe below).

In addition to being named Canada’s Winery of the Year in 2010 and 2011, Tawse has been awarded a Canadian record-setting six gold medals, seven silver and 11 bronze medals through the Canadian Wine Awards in October 2011.   In addition, Tawse’s winemaker, Paul Pender, was named Winemaker of the Year through the Ontario Wine Awards in July 2011.

Tawse Winery is located in Vineland, on the bench of the Niagara Escarpment along Ontario’s popular Wine Route. A certified organic and biodynamic wine producer, Tawse uses no pesticides, fungicides or chemical fertilizers. Horse-drawn equipment is used and farm animals roam the Tawse vineyards, eating weeds and excess vine foliage as well as providing natural fertilizer.

Recommended Food Pairing with Sketches of Niagara Riesling…

by Chef fraser Macfarlane

Quatrefoil Restaurant’s Curry Coconut Mussels
4 lbs fresh P.E.I. mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
1 large white onion, finely diced
2 pieces celery, finely diced
4 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemon grass, bashed with a rolling pin
4 tablespoons curry paste (your favorite brand and preferred heat level)
3 cups Tawse Riesling
1 can coconut milk
½ chicken bouillon cube
4 leaves mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 lime

1. In a pot large enough to hold the mussels, sweat half the onion the
lemon grass and two of the minced garlic cloves in plenty of butter. Once
 they are translucent add the mussels, 1 cup of wine, 1 cup of water and
 the chicken bouillon. Cover with a lid and cook over high heat for about
 four minutes until the mussels have opened but are not dried out.

2. Remove the mussels to a bowl and strain the cooking liquid into another
 bowl through a fine mesh sieve to remove any sand. Discard the onions and
 garlic in the sieve.

3. Clean the pot and place back on the stove over medium heat. Add a knob
 of butter and allow it to melt. Add the remaining onion, garlic and the
 celery. Sweat it for four to five minutes until translucent. Add the curry
 paste and allow it to cook out for three minutes.

4. Add the remaining wine and the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add
 the reserved mussel juice and reduce the liquid until it is just thick
enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5. Return the mussels to the pot and coat well with the sauce. Squeeze the
 juice from the lime over the top and sprinkle with the mint and coriander.

6. The mussels are ready to serve. They can be served with store bought
naan bread, garlic bread or French fries.

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