Wine and Canada’s poutine, a great match

Poutine, a common dish found in Canada, has started to make itself known in the states.

What would probably be considered comfort food by our friendly neighbors to the north, is popping up as trendy food over the border in states like our own.

With its savory flavors, hand-cut French fries and endless topping possibilities, it’s a dish that can single-handedly take out will power and lure even the healthiest eater into temptation.

As Ann Vogel notes in her recipe, poutine originated in Quebec. There’s some disagreement over exactly where in Quebec the dish was first crafted, or who gave it its name, but as one story goes a well-known restaurateur exclaimed in the way most French love to do, that a customer’s request to add cheese curds to a bag filled with fresh fries would make a mess, or “poutine.”

Cheese curds are a specialty to the area, and popular among local eaters. Gravy was later added to the concoction to keep the fries warm longer.

For this original French “hybrid” dish we would like to recommend another original French wine made from a hybrid grape called Baco noir.

Starting around the 1880s it was common for vineyard growers to cross European grape varietals with American grapes. On the scene at the time was Francois Baco, who managed to make a tasty, lush red wine that was unusually resistant to cold weather.

The grape was a cross between a white grape known as folle blanche, grown chiefly for cognac, and an unknown American red grape.

Baco noir is planted where cold winters are a problem — the Midwest, East Coast and of course, Canada.

One of the best baco noirs from the Northwest region comes from Oregon’s Girardet Wine Cellar. We think it’s a perfect match for the poutine.

On a side note, if you’re thinking of trying the poutine but don’t want to spend the time making it, here’s something to consider: Seattle-based Jones Soda will be launching a poutine-flavored drink for consumers to try. The catch? You have to travel to Canada to give it a try.