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Dashing dining at the Winnipeg Wine Festival

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I figured I'd make good on my promise to post the menu for the Winnipeg Wine Festival gala dinner, which takes place Thursday, May 5 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Each course is paired with two California wines (except the dessert, which gets just one). As a whole, I like the pairings — no real wacky wines except for maybe the Apothic red, which is almost off-dry but should do very well with a chocolate dish. I also like the decision to go with one white and one red wine on the second dish — I think if I was picking the wines I'd be torn on that dish as to whether I should pick a white or red.

Course #1: Seared Medallion of Salmon with Red Beet Carpaccio drizzled with an orange ginger glaze, garnished with an orange crisp and pea shoots. Wines: Menage a Trois White, Wente Estates Morning Fog Chardonnay

Course #2: Wild Mushroom and Ricotta Ravioli with a roulade of grilled eggplant, olive tapenade and asparagus napped with a Mediterranean style roasted tomato sauce. Wines: Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay, Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir

Course #3: Sliced Smoked Breast of Chicken with a chili infused chocolate sauce garnished with a tortilla crisp. Wines: Beringer Founders' Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot

Course #4: Grilled Filet Mignon with Dijonaisse Sauce Served with a bacon and potato flan, baby bok choy, baby carrots with tops, and a mushroom sauté. Wines: Gnarly Head Old Vines Zinfandel, Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Ivory Label Cabernet Sauvignon

Curse #5: Mocha Panna Cotta with Vanilla Bean Gelati in a demitasse Tuile cup served with chocolate sauce. Wine: Apothic Red

Tickets are $225 and are available by calling the Winnipeg Wine Festival office at Special Olympics Manitoba at 925-5633. Last time I checked it was three-quarters sold out. It's pricey, but a great opportunity to dress up and help a very worthy cause.

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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

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