Bison Chili Wine Pairing

I asked Georgia and Susanne, aka The Wine Ladies, for a pairing for Bison Chili where I was using the hot, citrusy, smoky and nutty flavours of dried Pequin Peppers and Cumin.  The Wine Ladies emphatically stated power with power and spice with spice, then recommended Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Carménère or a Malbec.  My dear husband, Rick, won’t buy French wines saying that they just send their swill to Canada, so I headed for an Argentinian wine to try.

According to Wine Folly because Malbec doesn’t have a super long finish, it’s a good choice for meats with less fat like Bison.  It also works well with “funky flavors like blue cheese and rustic flavors like mushrooms and Cumin”, which is exactly the spice in my chili.


LCBO directed me to the Argentina section for a large selection of Malbec wines.  I don’t know one vintner from another, which is why we need people like the Wine Ladies, so I choose a couple of bottles by a tried and true method … a pretty label.   Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2011 and Norton Reserva Malbec  2010 were selected.

There is so little time and so much damn wine, but I really need to visit the Ontario wine trail just like we did in Sonoma.  Visiting wineries, especially the small ones, does two things.  Most obviously you get to taste wine, but what I love is learning about the vintner and picking their brains.   What grapes they are using, what they are trying to accomplish and what food comes to mind when they are designing their wines.

I won’t buy Canadian wines without having tasted them or by a recommendation from a foodie like me.   I was delighted when an unexpected recommendation of Henry of Pelham’s Baco Noir, as being a “lush red, best served with food”, was dropped by a Twitter acquaintance Shelley Nelson.

I opened the Norton and the Henry Pelham and gave for a blind taste test with dear hubby.  Rick confirmed the smooth short finish on them both, saying that the Norton was a little fuller, while I commented on the lovely bouquet on the Pelham.  With no clear preference, but being patriotic, we opted to serve the Ontario wine with the Bison chili and sadly both are all gone.