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Cellar Showdown

In the spirit of March Madness, we’ve decided to join the fun by putting our own spin on the popular sporting event. Our knowledgeable staff each submitted their go-to wine style/varietal + food pairing and now it’s time for YOU to vote. Play for a chance to win a gift card to Bishop’s Cellar and local-favourite Pane e Circo!

Jump right in and start voting below or continue scrolling and see what our experts think.*



Pinot Noir + Roast Chicken

“The pairing of Pinot Noir and a perfectly roasted chicken is as timeless and classic as a cotton t-shirt paired with your favourite jeans.  It just works.  Many medium bodied red wines with enough fruit, low tannin and medium to high acidity could stand in, but Pinot Noir is my go to.  In our family “Chicken Sunday” is a thing and depending on how many of us show up for dinner, Nonna (my mom) cooks 1-3 birds!  Pinot Noirs can range from being light and bright to soft and creamy; and both styles seem to pair equally well with a juicy, herby, savory chicken as well as all the sides; the earthy and sweet root vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes all drizzled with umami packed pan drippings.”

Alanna McIntyreProduct Specialist, Sommelier

Syrah + Burger(s)

“Burgs come in all shapes and sizes. And you already know where to find your favourite one, whether it’s at Stillwell, Willy’s, McDonalds or your own backyard. What you might be overlooking is the perfect pairing to go alongside your burg. Enter Syrah. Especially when grilling your burgers, this pairing will actually help elevate all the rich, bold and smoky flavours and aromas in both the wine and burger. *Pro tip: add a little BBQ sauce and some smoked Gouda. Make your burger wider, not taller.”

Matt HodgsonRetail Supervisor

Lambrusco + Prosciutto

“Lambrusco might be the comeback wine of the decade, for years it was on the end of the bench while stars like Prosecco got all the playing time, endorsement deals and big contracts. The Pairing with Prosciutto has helped revive Brusco’s Career. The chemistry is clear with Prosciutto’s saltiness and Lambrusco’s smooth touch of sweetness; they are unstoppable as a pairing.  On the palate these 2 are a real threat and could take down this whole tournament. Let Prosciutto bake for 10 mins at 350 and let Lambrusco’s red bubbles pop off!

Jason MacPheeWine Category Manager

Cabernet Sauvignon + Steak

“A classic for a reason. When you’ve got a big, juicy, absolutely prime cut of AAA Alberta steak in front of you, you’re gonna want a wine that stands up to the flavours on your plate. The interplay between the tannins in the wine and the fats in the steak brings out the best features of both: minimising bitterness and astringency from the tannins and the fattiness of the steak, enhancing the juicy character of both. It’s simple! But again, a classic for a reason.

DavidCustomer Service Sales Associate



Chardonnay + Lobster

“It’s a summer day, and you’ve just enjoyed a day at the beach. The scent of the sea lingers in the air as you shake off the sand from your toes. You are spreading newspaper over the picnic table, preparing for the ultimate pairing: lobster and Chardonnay. The rich lobster dipped in butter and paired with a decadent chardonnay (bonus points if it’s local) is guaranteed to be a dinner you will remember all year!”

Kathryn HardingDirector of Customer Experience, Sommelier

Sparkling Brut + Oysters

“Whether it’s Champagne or a Brut Sparkling, crisp bubbles paired with oysters is a classic delicacy enjoyed by many. Oysters are so briny and salty, while champagne has a good amount of acidity, complimenting the oysters; much like the squeeze of a lemon. Whichever your method, you are IN on a not-so-secret gem of Nova Scotia knowing this pair. Maybe on special occasion you make the trip to your favourite valley winery for some yummy Brut and Oysters. Perhaps you frequent Halifax’s many “Buck a Shuck” with a glass (or two) of Champagne. If you haven’t tried this coupling and aren’t afraid of a little shellfish, I highly suggest you give it a shot; the world is your Oyster.”  

Erica PrioloCustomer Service Sales Associate

Sancerre + Fish & Chips

“For all the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc connoisseurs out there, listen up! I’m going to need you to pick up a bottle of Sancerre. For those not familiar, Sancerre is a region within the Loire Valley in France, synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc in the wine world. Next, find your favourite fish & chip shop (mine is in Lunenburg) and pair them up. It’s no secret that the two will go wonderfully together, but it’s nice to be reminded. Next time you’re in the store come and find me so we can talk more about it. Ciao for now!

FernandoCustomer Service Sales Associate

Albarino + Shrimp Tempura

Shrimp tempura is one of my favourite appetisers, combining sweet and savoury shrimp with crispy batter and crumbs, it is a party in the mouth of flavours and textures! Because it is deep fried, a great wine to cut through the oiliness while elevating the dish to mouthwatering levels is Albariño- refreshingly mineral and citrusy, this grape shows fruity and floral aromas of nectarines and white flowers, complemented by flavours of lemon and some salinity. 

Do I hear clapping sounds? Thank y- oh never mind, it’s just the tempura frying.

DanielaCustomer Service Sales Associate



Zweigelt + Mozzarella Sticks

On this day we take a moment to thank the food gods for fried tubes of questionable ‘mozzarella.’ Now, this is where we may differ, but if you’re not dipping your mozzy stickies in marinara sauce, then I don’t know if I can help you. For the rest of us doing it right, when you take a bite into that crunchy, greasy, gooey cheese tube covered in a vibrant red, zingy, peppery sauce, there is just something about it that screams for a light and fresh red wine. 

Enter Zweigelt, a bright and refreshing Austrian red that’s packed with zippy acidity, fresh herbal notes, cracked pepper, and loads of fresh red fruits. Perfectly in stride with many of the same notes of the breadcrumb coating and marinara spices. Now, go buy your favourite bag of frozen fromage sticks, make the best marinara you possibly can, and crack open a slightly chilled bottle of Zweigelt and sit back and enjoy the ride.

 Lucas MaderCategory Manager for Beer, Refreshment, & Spirits, Cicerone

Sangiovese + Pecorino

“In Italian cuisine, food and wine go hand in hand. When I think of wines that are food friendly, sangiovese is the very first variety that comes to mind. With firm tannic structure and electric acidity, sangiovese-based wines including Chianti and Brunello just beg to be sipped alongside some equally exquisite food. While tomato-based dishes, lighter meats, and pasta dishes are commonly seen alongside this style of wine, I suggest experiencing the simple elegance of sangiovese with pecorino cheese. If this hard, crumbly, salty, and nutty pecorino graces your cheese board, let the fat and salt of the cheese soften out the edges of the wine, allowing sangiovese’s bright red fruit and herbaceous character shine through.

GennyCustomer Service Sales Associate, Sommelier

Sauternes + Blue Cheese

Put the bottle of dry white wine back on the shelf, trust me on this one. Let’s set the scene.

A hunk of blue cheese is sitting all alone on the charcuterie board. What do you grab? Its other mouldy best friend Sauternes. Sauternes is a dessert style of wine from Bordeaux, lovingly (and intentionally) affected by Noble Rot, a fungi which helps create a richer, more intense profile.

The high acidity of the Sauternes and its slightly sweet demeanour pair oh so perfectly with the salty, funky, and equally complex flavours of blue cheese. A match made in heaven, you might feel like you’ve gone up a tax bracket with this pairing.

Sam, Customer Service Sales Associate

Sauvignon Blanc + Goat Cheese

“Sauvignon Blanc brings the vibrant, crisp fruit flavours that complements the wonderfully creamy profile of goat cheese. Think of having a big garden salad of your choice, with fresh sprinkled goat cheese, then harmonise this meal with a balance of refreshing citrus notes and zippy texture. The wine’s acidity will cut right through the richness of the cheese, showcasing both distinctive qualities of both elements. Serve your bottle with a slight chill and this pairing will offer you a redefined love for the perfect year-round healthy indulgence!

IrelandCustomer Service Sales Associate



Bardolino + Bagel Bites

“I was very excited to have something like this on our shelves and immediately grabbed a bottle. Let me tell you, it was everything I wanted and then some. Driven by juicy raspberries, there is a touch of floral notes and hints of spice, I love how quaffable this wine is. Perfect for pizza…but do you know what’s even better than one pizza? 12 tiny frozen bagel pizzas (aka bagel bites) that you can 3rd degree burn your mouth with and it’s worth every bit of pain. But it’s okay! you have a whole bottle of delicious Bardolino to remedy that.

Kate FraserSpirits Specialist, Retail Supervisor

Champagne + Pistachios

“Champagne typically has crisp acidity, subtle fruitiness, and a light effervescence. Pistachios, on the other hand, have a rich, slightly sweet, and nutty flavour. The contrast between the lightness of Champagne and the richness of pistachios can create a harmonious balance on the palate. Champagne’s versatility makes it an excellent pairing for a wide range of foods, including nuts like pistachios. Whether you’re enjoying Champagne as an aperitif or pairing it with a meal, pistachios can add an extra layer of complexity to the tasting experience without overwhelming the delicate flavours of the wine.

Gaby McCotterRetail Manager

Manzanilla Sherry + Olives

“In the world of food and wine pairing, the versatility and delicious potential of a dry sherry is often overlooked. Coincidentally, the brininess and saltiness of olives can often prove challenging when trying to match a wine to their distinctive flavour. Do you see where I’m going with this? If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying this combination, I urge you to give it a try – over the years I’ve converted many anti-sherry drinkers over to the side of the Light with these complementary flavours. Seriously, sherry is super cool and delicious so just trust me on this one, okay?

Stefan NielsenRetail Supervisor, Sommelier

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio + Pretzels

Those salty and toasty pretzel sticks or chips may not be the most flavourful snack in the world, but when it meets the gently fruity, minerally and dry Pinot Grigio they can really complement each other. 

You can find more mineral driven Pinot Grigio from northern Italy, or a  fruit forward style from USA and Australia. You may also find some orange wines lying around  from Italy,  Loire Valley  France and Ontario Canada offering a fine tea like tannin and a bit more texture.

TianjunCustomer Service Sales Associate

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*Contest details:

    • Must be 19+ to enter. 
    • First Name, Last Name, and Email are required.
    • FIRST ROUND voting: Tuesday, March 19th 10am-Sunday March 24th 10pm.
    • SECOND ROUND voting: Tuesday, March 26th 10am-Sunday March 31 10pm.
    • FINAL ROUND voting: Tuesday, April 2nd 10am-Sunday April 7th 10pm.
    • WINNER PAIRING will be announced Tuesday, April 9th.
    • All participants will be entered to win a $100 Bishop’s Cellar gift card and $25 Pane e Circo gift card.
    • Contest winner will be contacted Thursday, April 11th.



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