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Garth Eichel: Top nominees for savouring the Oscars

Every year, I play an important role on Oscar night.

Every year, I play an important role on Oscar night. Last year I won an award from my girlfriend for Most Indifferent Viewer in the Room, which was an improvement on the previous year's performance, which saw me win the coveted Voiceover Narration award for my ongoing commentary on the glitterati parading on the red carpet.

Gratifying as these accolades are, I'm concerned about being typecast as a villain. I've decided to break out of my comfort zone this year and challenge myself in the unfamiliar role of Best Supporting Host. To that end, I've invited my partner and her girlfriends over on Sunday so they can watch the Oscars on my shameless new widescreen television. And to assure a lock on this year's award, I'm preparing the Oscar appy menu Eric Akis unveiled in Wednesday's Times Colonist, along with the following pairings:

STARLING LANE N/V CÉLÉBRATION BRUT

Saanich -$28

Starling Lane's Célébration Brut is a great way to greet the girls at the door, kicking off an evening of celebrating celebrities. This sparkling white pairs well with cheese, so it should be a good fit with Eric's Stilton mousse canapés, in tribute to Colin Firth's performance in The King's Speech. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown at the Starling Lane winery on Old West Saanich Road, the Célébration Brut has the creamy mousse, mouthfeel and yeasty notes you'd expect from a quality sparkling wine made in the traditional method, but it also has distinct aromas and flavours of apple and strawberry that linger on the finish.

PENTÂGE WINERY 2009 ROSÉ

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley -$19

Rosé is versatile, having gained respect in recent years, much like Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter. As such, it is a good match for Eric's smoked salmon on Irish soda bread. Made with Gamay grapes, Pentâge Winery's Rosé has pronounced ruby colour and lots of red fruit aroma and flavour -cherry, raspberry and strawberry -with a slight hint of spice. The finish is dry and crisp with clean acidity.

DRIFTWOOD BREWERY, FAT TUG IPA

Victoria -$5

There are sure to be boyfriends and husbands in tow on Oscar night, so I'm going to have a case of Fat Tug IPA on hand for all the middle-aged males watching the Canucks game in the kids' room, where they can enjoy Eric's mini tostados with tomato and avocado, which is in keeping with The Kids Are All Right theme. I'm confident the gents will like this India Pale Ale. Showcasing a pronounced hoppy profile and light malt notes, this IPA delivers complex aromas and flavours that will please any hop or hockey fan.

RED ROOSTER WINERY 2008 SYRAH

Okanagan Valley -$30

What better way to pay homage to Jeff Bridges' portrayal of "Rooster" Cogburn than with Red Rooster Winery's 2008 Syrah paired with the charred, chilispiced steak Eric has developed in tribute to the Coen brothers' remake of the 1969 classic, True Grit. With notes of black fruit, sweet spice, leather and sweet tobacco, this full-bodied Syrah is tannic and acidic enough to tackle a big role with a big steak.

SEE YA LATER RANCH 2009 RIESLING

Okanagan Falls -$15

Escape is a recurring theme for Woody, Buzz and company in all three Toy Story movies, so it is fitting that See Ya Later Ranch's Riesling should pair well with Eric's spicy mini potatoes, roasted with cumin and cayenne, and set on rounds of cucumber with lemony mayo. Refreshing and vibrant, this Okanagan Riesling is bursting with citrus, melon and green apple.

FORBIDDEN FRUIT WINERY PLUMISCIOUS PLUM MISTELLE 2009

Cawston, Similkameen Valley -$27

Nothing says double entendre like this dessert wine pairing with Eric's Black Swan-inspired black and white shortbread cookies. Like Natalie Portman, I'll do whatever it takes to succeed, right up to the final act.

Note: Some of these products are harder to find than others, so you might have to phone around. The best places to search in Victoria are the private retailers that specialize in carrying B.C. wines and beers, including: Cascadia Liquor, Spinnakers Spirit Merchants, Metro Liquor, Hillside Liquor, Cook Street Village Liquor Store, B.C. Wine Guys, the Strath Ale, Wine & Spirits Merchants, Six Mile Liquor Store, Liquor Plus, Penny Farthing Wines, Smuggler's Cove Pub & Liquor Store, Harris Green Liquor Merchants and Everything Wine.

garthe@shaw.ca

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