If there's one new hobby Montrealers have gladly welcomed into their lives since the pandemic started in March, it's diving into the selection of wines from the SAQ. While everyone's got their own preferences—be they rich Italian reds, crisp Argentinian whites, the punches and kicks of macerated oranges, sips of sake or detecting new notes in biodynamics—there's nothing quite like a good pairing to help you discover new flavours. Order it for takeout here, or order it for delivery here.
Over at Time Out Market Montréal, we gave one of our resident experts a task: Get out there and start tasting, and decide which wines they'd pair with which meal. The only catch: Every bottle they pick needs to be under $20.
The dish: Marusan's karaage curry
Baby, it's getting cold outside, but there's a lot to warm up with the menu from Marusan. This time we want to highlight their recipe for Japanese curry that's served with crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside karaage chicken. The warm curry has a smooth, gravy-like texture but it uses some vegetable stock to keep it from feeling overly heavy—that's where the rice comes in.
The pairing: Château Bellevue La Forêt (France)
This rosé is made of Négrette, Gamay and Cabernet grapes, an affordable option from the south of France that has a round texture in mouth and some elegant notes of spices and rhubarb that will be a perfect match with smooth and sweet curry. It's available at the following SAQ stores, and it holds a spot on Time Out Market Montréal's wine list. — $14.95
The dish: Le Red Tiger's Cánh gà, chicken wings with nuoc mam sauce
Sweet and salty, the chicken wings from Le Red Tiger make for a great snack when you're not feeling up to a full meal, but what it lacks in weight it makes up for in flavour: Glazed in Vietnamese fish sauce with a kick of chili and lime, you can bet these ain't your average, over-the-counter pub grub wings. These are the real frickin' deal.
The pairing: Yalumba Organic Shiraz (Australia)
This organic, Australian wine made of 100% Syrah grapes, and is lightly oaked with a touch of spices and blackberry aromas. With its darker taste, it makes a perfect fit with the sweet and pungent fish sauce that forms a caramelized surface on those chicken wings. It's available at the following SAQ stores. — $17.00
The dish: Paul Toussaint's Djondjon jambalaya
Coupling some hearty, spiced jambalaya with four different kinds of seafood—langoustine, crab, shrimp and mussels—makes some some seriously luxuriant eats, but make no mistake: This recipe from Paul Toussaint is honest, down-to-earth food at its finest from a masterful Haitian chef. It's filling, flavorful, and a must-eat from the Market.
The pairing: Navarro Lopez Laguna De La Nava Gran Reserva Valdepenas (Spain)
This Spanish wine made of Trempanillo grapes is aged for two years in oak barrels and three years in the bottle in order to get the 'Gran Reserva' label—all of which happens before being released for commercial purposes. Tempranillo grapes give the wine some notes of light spices, pepper and cherry, while the way the wine is aged finishes off its full-bodied flavour with soft tannins. It's available at the following SAQ stores, and it holds a spot on Time Out Market Montréal's wine list. — $15.80
The dish: Il Miglio's Mushroom campanelle
This pasta dish from Il Miglio a perennial favourite that (humble brag) is so damn good we could eat it every day of the week. Using different kinds of mushrooms, it's made saucy and rich with a combination of veal jus, herbs and truffle oil. The pasta itself is made with ruffled edges, similar to a bell-like flower that has a nice mouthfeel to it; nothing so sloppy as slurping up spaghetti, for example.
The pairing: Mission Hill Chardonnay Reserve Okanagan Valley 2018 (Canada)
This Canadian Chardonnay from the Niagara Peninsula has an attack to it from a mix of citrus and the slight bitterness of lemon peel. 75% of its grapes are from an aged oak barrel which will balance the wine with a buttery and earthy finish, and compliments very well with this wonderful mushroom pasta. It's available at the following SAQ stores, and it holds a spot on Time Out Market Montréal's wine list. — $19.65