Chef Matt Basile with Open Wines at Lisa Marie Restaurant

Open Wines were featured at the #BeOpen dinner party at the Lisa Marie Restaurant on 638 Queen Street West on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015.  Open Wines, in concert with Matt Basile of Fidel Gastros food truck and owner of Lisa Marie Restaurant (and from the show Rebel Without a Kitchen on the Cooking Channel), created an intimate wine and food pairing event that hit all the right notes.


Open Wines is a VQA quality wine produced with 100% Ontario grapes from the Niagara region that aims to elicit the youthful, joyous, approachable and open side of life. A familiar and easy drinking wine that aims to be satisfying on its own or paired with good food.

A three course tasting was served at Lisa Marie’s long communal table that is indicative of what Open Wines is about; a shareable, intimate but lively atmosphere with sociable company in the backdrop of some eclectic music and Lisa Marie’s stylish and fun decor with Elvis accents.

As we took our seats, Matt Basile takes time to explain the pairings that he’s selected to enhance the flavours of the wines presented that night.

The First Course
Open Riesling-Gewürztraminer accompanied by Seared Scallop and Fennel Salad

This Riesling has a nose reminiscent of the long awaited Spring season and of aromatic citrus, spice and apple. The residual sugars of this off-dry wine play nicely with the tropical fruit palate and light acidity. Paired with seafood, in this case lightly seared and dressed scallops, the Riesling-Gewürztraminer adds a sweet buoyancy to accompany the scallop’s soft texture and slightly sweet taste. Fennel, salt and pepper, blood orange, caper berries and lemon complete the symphony as it serves to highlight the freshness of the ocean scallops. This wine is also ideal for pairing with other seafood and spicy Asian foods.

The Second Course
Open Smooth Red accompanied by Mushrooms and Toast

A nose of aromatic berries, spice and cherries from this wine is inviting and approachable.  On the palate, a smooth and rich dark berry taste with a hint of toasted oak is straight forward in marrying the taste and texture of caramelized cinnamon cap mushrooms with boiled egg and Parmesan cheese on top of toasted rye bread. Spanish onions, chives and butter facilitate while a slight hint of Thai chillies and lime help balance the dish out. Finished with a sip of Open Smooth Red, and it all works together. The minimal tannins and the sweetness in the wine balance out the heavier aspects of the dish. My personal favourite combination of the night.

The Finale
Open Smooth Red accompanied by Carne Asada

Open Smooth Red indeed goes well with steak. A premium steak lightly seasoned and seared to rare with a base of guacamole and accented with heirloom tomatoes, fresco cheese, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and cilantro. A sip of Smooth Red rounds the taste of the meat on one end and the guacamole on the other.

A most pleasurable tasting experience by Open Wines and Matt Basile leaving us hungry and thirsty for more. At the end of the night, we still had our wine glasses in hand to enjoy the wine just by itself.

For more info about Fidel Gastro visit

Open Wines can be found at LCBO and for more information:

Twitter: @OPEN_Wines

Photos by James Shay

In Photos: Canada's National Ballet School gala "An Affair to Remember" Gala
In Photos: Holt Renfrew X Melin Brand "This is Earned"

James Shay