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Tag Archives: food matching

  • Introducing NOYA's Kitchen

    We love any excuse to taste delicious food, and even more so when we have the challenge of matching up wines to challenging dishes. We also love working with local people, because that's what we're all about. So we're thrilled to have teamed up with Bath's vietnamese cookery school guru, Noya Pawlyn, who runs one of the most successful weekly pop up supper clubs in the city.

    Every month, we'll be sharing one of Noya's mouthwatering, and easy-to-make recipes with you, to bring the unique flavours of Vietnam to your table!  And, with all good dishes, you need a good wine, so we've asked food and wine matching expert Angela Mount to pick the ideal wine to accompany each recipe.

    Enjoy…

    Ginger and Chilli Chicken with Green Peppercorn

    Ga Xao Gung | serves 4 people

    Chicken Marinade
    500g chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
    ½ tsp chilli flakes
    1 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp brown sugar

    Ingredients
    50g ginger, cut into matchsticks
    2 tbsp fresh green pepper corns (substitute for 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper if none available)
    3 cloves of chopped garlic
    1 onion, finely sliced
    3 fresh whole chillies (use less if you like it less spicy)
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1 tsp toasted sesame

    Sauce
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    1 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp oyster sauce
    1 tsp dark soya sauce (optional for darker colour)
    ½ tsp corn flour
    90ml of water or coconut water

    Marinate
    In a large bowl, combine the chicken and ingredients for the marinade and mix well. Cover for 30 minutes, or if you have time place in the fridge over night.

    Cooking
    1. In a hot wok, add the oil and stir fry the ginger until it's fragrant. Move the ginger to the side of the wok and add the sliced onion and whole chillies, frying until fragrant. Move all the ingredients to the side.
    2. Add the chicken to the wok, browning on both sides. Mix the ginger and onion together with the chicken. Then add the garlic, green pepper corn and mix well.
    3. Mix the sauce ingredients together and add to the wok, stirring for a few minutes. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins on a low heat.
    4. Remove the lid and increase the heat to reduce the sauce for about 5-10 mins, or to the constancy you like. Stir in the sesame oil and transfer to a dish.
    5. Garnish with the sesame seeds, coriander and serve with Jasmine rice.

    Come along to Noya’s Kitchen's cooking classes to learn more about this wonderful aromatic cuisine.

    Click here to book your classes >

     

    Wine Match

    I love Noya’s clever sleight of hand with her dishes; from the most delicately flavoured of Summer rolls, to strong, punchy, assertive curries like this one, all of which are also stunningly presented. In the interest of research, I felt obliged to try making this one myself last week, and was delighted at how straightforward it was. I know I fell far short of Noya’s legendary presentation, but my guests certainly didn’t complain, and it was utterly delicious – perfect for this time of year, when we’re between seasons.

    So, what to serve? There’s a long-held myth that chunky red wines don’t go with spicy food, but the fact is that they do work, as long as you choose carefully.  It’s all about balance; whilst an aromatic Riesling would go well, sometimes with a rich, flavoursome, warming curry, a bold, velvety red is what’s needed...

    Vina Falernia Carmenere Reserva 2014 | £13.75 

    is my wine of choice for this dish – there’s a riot of different flavours in Noya’s curry – the heat of chillies and green peppercorns, the sweetness of soya, oyster sauce and brown sugar, and the sweet and sour pungency of ginger and fish sauce. All mingle seamlessly to create this sumptuous dish, but make wine matching a challenge. Chilean Carmenere is generally a good match with curry, with its bold, warm, cardamom and spicy character, and this one goes one step further. Produced at high altitude in the rocky hills of the Elqui valley, Vina Falernia are the most northern vineyards in Chile, perched on the edge of the desert. Why does this wine work, with this barrage of sweetness and heat?  Partly because the wine is made in an ‘Amarone’ style, where a proportion of the grapes are dried before they are fermented – this makes for a richer, more intense, more voluptuous red, which has the power and character to match the dish. With its welcoming scents of dark berries, bitter chocolate and warm spice, and its rich, brooding, yet incredibly soft flavours, this ticks all the boxes.

     

    By Angela Mount

  • Our wines in the press

    A Grape Match...

     

    MALVASIA DEL SALENTO | £10.75

    "The main flavours of this dish are smoked fish, so it needs a wine with just as much punch and power. Stick with white wine here, and stay in the Italian homeland. I've recently discovered this versatile Italian white; gentle, soft and packed with melon and peach character, it has an edge of spice which is a perfect complement to the smokey, powerful flavours of the salmon and mackerel."

    - Angela Mount, Crumbs Magazine -

     

    The Avonmouth Angler Pizza

    Makes 1
    INGREDIENTS
    For the dough:
    4g sachet dried yeast
    1/2 tbsp sugar
    150ml lukewarm water
    250g strong white bread flour
    1/2 tsp sea salt

    For the Sauce:
    Olive oil
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    Small bunch basil, finely chopped
    250ml bottle of pasata

    Toppings:
    50g spinach
    90g smoked mackerel
    80g smoked salmon
    60g mozzarella, grated
    Small handful parsley, chopped
    1/4 lemon

    METHOD
    1. Start by making the dough. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water, stir, then leave for a few minutes.
    2. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Slowly add the liquid to the flour and stir with a fork; it will start to get sticky. When you get to this stage, flour your hands and knead the dough until all the ingredients come together.
    3. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it for approx. 10 minutes, unitl it starts to become more elastic.
    4. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size - this will take approx. 45 minutes.
    5. Add the pasata and allow to simmer for around 20 minutes over a low heat. Add sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Put to one side to cool.
    6. When ready to assemble your pizza, preheat your oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9.
    7. Roll the dough out into a circle, until it's around 12 inches in diameter. Then spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce over the top and cover with an even layer of spinach.
    8. Scatter over the makerel and salmon, and then the mozzarella, making sure all the toppings are evenly distributed.
    9. Transfer to the hot oven tray or stone and cook on the top shelf of the oven. Once the mozzarella has melted, and the crust turned golden and crisp, it's ready!
    10. Scatter over the chopped parsley, and serve with the lemon wedge.

    - Crumbs Magazine -

  • Cider-Baked Pork Chops with Apple

    Recommended with Bogle Chenin Blanc

    "This is a rich dish that can stand up to a white with a lot of clout. The cider-apple flavours match brilliantly with the baked apple notes of the Chenin whilst the wine's ample acidity cuts through the rich fattiness of the pork. Smashing!" - Patrick, Retail Sales Assistant

    Buy the Bogle Chenin Blanchere

    Cider Pork + Chenin Blanc

  • Tried & Tested

    Prawn, broad bean and buttered asparagus risotto with Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc

     

    Last Saturday I decided to cook a yummy summery dish, and after scouring through lots of recipes, I finally decided on a prawn, broad bean and buttered asparagus risotto with Parmesan and home grown salad leaves – now for me, the wine match was easy and with this slightly rich and flavoursome dish, it had to be the Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc from Ken Forrester.

    The prawns and buttered asparagus really hit the spot alongside the fresh crisp acidity. And the creaminess of the risotto was beautifully complimented by the delicious richness and texture of the Chenin blanc.

     

    Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc StellenboschRecipe (serves 4)

    2 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
    250g risotto rice
    1 glass dry white wine
    1 and a half of vegetable stock, kept hot
    asparagus, steamed until just tender, kept warm with knob of butter
    100g blanched broad beans
    200g cooked peeled prawns
    sea salt and freshly ground pepper

     

    Tried & Tested Risotto with Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc

    Method

    Fry the shallots in butter together until the shallots are cooked and soft but not browned. Add all the rice in one go and stir it around with the other ingredients to toast the grains thoroughly without browning.

    After about 5 minutes of toasting, add the wine, and stir it in for about 2 minutes. Then add the first 3 ladles of hot stock and stir it through.

    Continue to add the stock and stir it in each time the spoon opens up a clear wake behind it during the cooking process.

    After about 15 minutes, which is five minutes from the end of the cooking time, add the broad beans and prawns and continue to cook the risotto. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Once dished up, lay asparagus over risotto and grate parmesan over to your liking.

    Recipe adapted from BBC Food - Original here

    Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2014 

    Regular Price: £11.25

    Special Price £9.90

    Prices are valid from 03.06.15 to 30.06.15

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Tried & Tested: Pork Skewers with 'Ou Kalant' Cabernet Sauvignon

    I tend to hit a creative brick wall when it comes to summer BBQ recipes, and always revert to the old classics. There is no harm in this method to be fair - who can say no to a homemade beef burger or chargrilled corn on the cob every now and again?  I did however, want to broaden my horizons and test out something a little different last night, so I played around with my own recipe - using the grill this time but with a combination I will definitely be trying when the BBQ is fired up and the sun is next out...

    I layered together some pork, beetroot and chorizo skewers - packed with flavour, served on a rocket salad with a MAN Family Wines 'Ou Kalant' Cabernet Sauvignon wine match. The ripe, juicy, fruity flavours of the wine were a great balance for the bitter bed of rocket, and added an element of sweetness to compliment the salty dish.

    Pork, chorizo & beetroot skewers with a Cabernet Sauvignon wine match

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    400g diced pork
    225g diced chorizo
    200g diced beetroot
    8 bamboo skewers
    1 bag rocket
    1 bag mixed salad

     

     

    Method

    Preheat the grill.  Before preparing your dish, soak the bamboo skewers in water for about 15 minutes.  Layer up the beetroot, pork and chorizo along the skewers - this recipe provides enough for two skewers each.  Place under the grill and cook for around 15 minutes, turning every now and again.  Whilst the skewers are cooking, arrange your rocket salad as a bed for the skewers, and when ready, rest them on top, drizzling the beeetroot and chorizo juices around the dish as a dressing.

    I put a very light sprinkling of black pepper over the dish to finish, but very little extra flavour is necessary, as the chorizo and beetroot nicely add to the subtlety of the pork, producing an overall dish full of flavour.

    By Olivia Moore

    Buy the MAN Family Wines 'Ou Kalant' Cabernet Sauvignon for just £7.70 during our South African promotion + 10% off any 12 wines.

     

  • A Simple Guide to Food & Wine Matching

    Solving one of the most frequently asked questions, here’s my guide to some simple suggestions for choosing the right style of wine, for whatever you’re cooking.

    There’s a great deal of nonsense talked about food and wine matching, and I’m probably as guilty as any wine writer.  We shouldn’t get too serious about this, and actually, there is no right or wrong; taste is entirely subjective. However it’s true that some partnerships work better than others – it’s no different from combinations of different foods – roast beef and horseradish, lamb and mint, cheddar and chutney, strawberries and cream.

    It’s the same with wine – a few simple pointers will help bring out the very best in both the dish and the wine. Try a curry with a thin, acidic white, and the wine will taste sour; try it with an aromatic , rich white, or a juicy red, and the entire experience will be more enjoyable, with the wine and the spices, bringing out the overall richness of flavours.

    I’ve put together some simple ideas to reduce the uncertainty of what to select, and to dispel some of the myths – and yes, red wine does go with fish… if you choose the right one.  One of the key things to remember is that it’s usually not the main ingredient that dictates the best wine choice, it’s the sauce or the spices. It’s all about balancing flavours, spice, saltiness, sweetness and heat.

    Fish

    White wine is the obvious choice here, but it’s not so much the fish, it’s how you cook it:

    Seafood, and simply cooked white fish, with maybe lemon and herbs are best with fresh, crisp, unoaked whites – Italian whites, Chablis, Sancerre, zesty Sauvignon and Albarino

    Salmon -  unoaked or lightly oaked chardonnay to go with this richer fish

    Tuna – Dry Rosé is great with tuna ( and also prawns), or chilled, light reds

    Smoked fish Riesling, and aromatic whites

    Thai and Indian fish and seafood – aromatic whites – Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Viognier and Gewurztraminer

    Fish and chips – Sauvignon Blanc or fizz!

    Poultry

    Once again, match the style of the wine to the richness or spiciness of how the bird is cooked

    Roast chicken – buttery chardonnays, fruity Pinot Noir and Chianti

    Chicken in red wine – Pinot Noir, Cotes du Rhone

    Chicken pie – creamy chardonnay, Gavi, Beaujolais

    Chicken with fruity saucesChenin blanc, Viognier

    Spicy Thai and Indian chicken  - Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Viognier

    Duck  - Pinot Noir or Tuscan reds

    Pheasant and game – Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Chianti, Rhône

    Meat

    Roast beef and steak – good, full bodied reds – Bordeaux, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec

    Roast lamb and lamb chops – Bordeaux and Rioja are classics, but other Spanish reds, and Rhone work well

    Rich lamb or beef stews – Southern French reds, Southern Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and New World Shiraz – big and bold is the key thing

    Roast pork -  Chardonnay and Chenin blanc

    Moroccan tagines – rich, spicy Southern Italian or Spanish reds

    Sausages – Southern French, New World Merlot and Spanish reds

    Gammon, ham ,pate – Beaujolais, Spanish Garnacha, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

    Asian beef curries and stir friesZinfandel, juicy soft reds, Merlot, Shiraz

    Vegetables

     

    Asparagus – Sauvignon blanc all the way – classic match; or unoaked chardonnay if with hollandaise

    Tomatoes and peppers– southern French or Italian whites

    Otherwise, it depends on how the vegetables are cooked:

    Frittata/omelettes – unoaked Italian whites, and juicy young Italian reds, or Cotes du Rhone

    Quiches and vegetable pies -  fresh unoaked Chardonnay, lively Spanish and Italian whites, Verdejo

    Roasted vegetables – Viognier, Chenin blanc

    Mushroom pasta and risotto – a dream with northern Italian reds

     

    Cheese

    Forget the old adage that  cheese only goes with red wine, play around a bit, and try some of these matches:

    Goats cheese – perfect with fresh Sauvignon blanc styles of wine

    Camembert and brie style – best with creamy Chardonnays, and juicy, unoaked light reds

    Cheddar and hard, mature cheeses – Rhone, Shiraz, Cabernet – good, full on reds

    Blue cheese – best with Port, or perfect with sweet whites, Sauternes and Muscat

    Desserts

    Light, creamy fruit desserts – Asti, sweet sparkling, and sweet Bordeau

    Chocolate, toffee and rich puds – Muscat, liqueur Muscat, sweet Tokay, dessert reds, sweet sherry and Port

    By Angela Mount

  • Tried & Tested: Steak Night with Janasse Côtes du Rhône

    Last Friday I invited my carnivorous twitter-loving friend @baconchop around for dinner. His steak eating prowess is legendary, beating fellow tweeter and award winning food blogger @hollowlegs in a steak eating contest a few years ago. The contest, Man vs Legs, contributed to him doubling both his twitter followers overnight and his weight. Now leaner and meaner, Mr Chop was ready for the challenge: 3 different steaks, a bottle of Côtes du Rhône and some bone marrow for kicks. Read on...

    The menu:

    Rib eye, Sirloin and Onglet served with bone marrow and a pepper sauce.

    We sourced the steaks from a brilliant butcher, Ginger Pig, in Borough Market;  none of that supermarket, pre-packaged stuff for us! Please use your local butcher - you'll see the difference.

    The idea for the pepper sauce came from an email sent by Bluebird restaurant’s PR people which included a Cheat’s Pepper Sauce video. It takes 2 minutes so can be done while you are resting your steaks – a good way of de-glazing the pan too.

    The bone marrow recipe is borrowed from St John’s restaurant in Farringdon, London, via food critic Matthew Fort. This is a classic dish – just right for our meaty challenge.

    For a little respite from the carnivorous delights we prepared a green salad with our mate Vincent’s famous French dressing.

    The result:

    Meat-fest! We decided to leave out the chips (controversial) due to large amount of meat products available and the toasted bread mopping up the bone marrow. The rare-to-medium rare steaks were excellent:  we voted the rib eye and onglet as top choices – the onglet slightly pipping the rib eye to the post in terms of sheer beefy flavour.

    The Janasse Côtes du Rhône was peppery and smooth with some refreshing redcurrant acidity cutting through all that meaty richness – particularly useful with the bone marrow. We also tried the steaks with a pricier, rich, hearty, oaky Spanish red – and this also worked a treat with the robust flavours of the meat. Red wine, red meat – you can’t go too far wrong!

    You’ll need:

    • Rib eye x 250g
    • Sirloin x 250g
    • Onglet x 250g
    • Piece of 10 inch long-ish bone marrow, sliced through the middle

     

    Vincent’s green salad:

    • 2 x little gem lettuce
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Dash of water
    • Dash white wine vinegar

     

    Parsley salad for bone marrow:

    • Half bunch parsley - chopped
    • 2 shallots, very thinly sliced
    • 1 small handful extra-fine capers
    • 1 lemon, juice of
    • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • Freshly ground salt and black pepper
    • Crusty bread - toasted

     

    Cheat’s Pepper Sauce:

    • 100ml Worcestershire sauce
    • 200ml single cream
    • Meat juices

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Prep:

    Get healthy first. Adam (Mr Chop) has been seeing a personal trainer and is in tip top condition. I have been ‘walking around a bit’ which constitutes ‘match-fit’ as far as I can tell.

    Put the oven on and heat to 190°C. While you’re waiting for the oven to warm up you can prep your salad.

    Salad with Vincent's French Dressing

    Take two little gems, wash and drain then dress just before serving with Vincent’s French dressing. Take the Dijon mustard, olive oil and water, whisking to emulsify, then add a spike of white wine vinegar. Voila! Add the dressing at the table just before serving.

    St John’s Roasted Bone Marrow on Toast with Parsley Salad

    Combine the parsley, shallots and capers in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil to make a dressing. Add the dressing to the other ingredients and season.

    This can be spread on to the bone marrow once it has cooked for 20 mins in the oven – the marrow should be loose and giving, but not melting away.

    Once cooked, season the marrow with some sea salt and spread onto toast with the parsley salad.

    Cooking the steaks:

    While the bone marrow is cooking, get your frying pans on – you want them nice and hot to seal the meat and cook rapidly.

    Baconchop acted as consultant and wingman, manning the stop watch while I flipped the steaks. He came up with an ingenious plan of cooking the three different steaks in 3-2-1 formation. The thicker, more marbled rib eye was to be cooked for 3 minutes each side while the slightly thinner, leaner sirloin would be cooked for 2 minutes per side. Lastly the Onglet would be cooked for just 1 minute per side as it was very lean and thin.

    Each steak was then rested on a warmed plate for around 5 mins before serving.

    Cheat’s Pepper Sauce

    While we waited for the steaks to rest, we made a Cheat’s Pepper Sauce:

    Take 100ml of Worcestershire sauce and reduce by ¾ in the frying pan. Pour 200ml of single cream into the pan and bring the sauce to a boil for 30 seconds. When the steaks have rested for five minutes you can whisk the juices into to the sauce.

    By Chris Penwarden

  • In The News

    New Year’s Cheer for Yealands

    The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown has just reviewed 2013 Yealands Estate Sauvignon Blanc, giving the wine an impressive 90 points. Top scores usually go to heavy reds meant for ageing, so it’s good news that Robert Parker’s publication is recognising the crisp, freshness of Yealand’s top notch white.

    “Made with fruit that comes 100% from the Seaview Vineyard, the 2013 Yealands Estate Sauvignon Blanc shows off lovely grapefruit peel and peach skin notes, crushed stones and dill seed.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate, January 2015.

     

    The Beckett list

    Fiona Beckett blogged about her ‘12 Best Drink Pairings of 2014’, including Henschke’s Mount Edelstone Shiraz.  For her most memorable food and wine match from May 2014, she chose a pairing created for a Great Western Wine fine wine dinner at Allium in Bath - 40 day aged fillet of black angus beef with the 2010 vintage of the Shiraz. As Fiona pointed out: “No, not rocket science but sometimes you can’t beat the classics - and a welcome reminder...just what a good buy the Mount Edelstone Shiraz is."

     

     

    A Cut above

    For Wine Searcher, respected wine writer Wink Lorch posted an article highlighting the best value reds and whites listed on the website, compiled from their comprehensive database.  The website’s top red, as rated by at least three critics, was the 2010 Heartland Directors' Cut Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, Australia. Wink noted that although specific vintages were chosen, all the wines selected “show consistent good quality/price ratio through the vintages”.

  • Wines for Christmas Day

    Making sure you're prepared for the whole gang this Christmas

    By Angela Mount

    The Big Day is rapidly approaching, and, in the seasonal rush to complete the endless shopping list for food and presents, choosing the wines for the holiday period, often ends up as a last minute rush.  However, it needn’t be. You also don’t need different wines for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. If you pick carefully, you can glide through the festive season with some delicious wines that will fit the bill for each of these occasions.  Here are my top choices and a few tips…

    THE FIZZ

    Prosecco Stelle d'Italia BrutThere’s no better way to start Christmas Day , than with a glass of Bucks Fizz – but why waste good Champagne, by diluting the flavours with orange juice, when Prosecco will do just the job.  At a fraction of the price, it keeps the alcohol levels low at the start of a long and busy day.   For classic Bucks Fizz, I’d opt for the very reasonably-priced Le Stelle d’Italia, a fresh, lively, crisp Prosecco, which is clean and bright.

    Torelló Brut Reserva Cava Special Edition

     

    To impress guests for a festive Christmas Eve, or Boxing Day party, without breaking the bank, why not try a top quality Cava, whose label is a conversation starter and party ice-breaker all on its own…with its funky, retro packaging and rich, creamy flavours, Cava Torello Brut Reserva is an altogether warmer, riper style of fizz.

    Champagne J-M Gobillard, Brut Grande Réserve Premier Cru

     

    However, to celebrate in style on Christmas Day, look no further than the stylishly elegant Gobillard Brut Grande Reserve Premier Cru Champagne NV, a smooth, ripe, yet delicate style, produced by a small family grower – knocks spots off many of the bigger brands.

     

    THE WHITE

    My top tip for white is to keep it relatively fresh and lively. Christmas Day isn’t the one to bring out your carefully cherished treasures, especially if you have a large gathering. These special bottles deserve to be the stars of the show in their own right, but on Christmas Day, the wine is the supporting act to the richness and indulgence of the feast, so let them slumber a little longer!

    I tend to avoid overoaked whites, and pick a crisp, minerally Chablis, a zesty Sauvignon Blanc, or an aromatic Riesling.  Both of the latter are great matches for smoked salmon or seafood starters.

    Strandveld First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc

    Strandveld First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc 2013, from the most southern tip of South Africa is a terrific, vibrantly tangy white, equally perfect as a mouthwatering aperitif or as a superb reviver for jaded palates on Boxing Day.

     

    Howard Park Great Southern Riesling

     

    The lime-fresh, aromatic, scented yet bone dry Howard Park Great Southern Riesling 2013 is a great choice as a white for the rich flavour of turkey or goose with all the trimmings.  It’s also a cracking match for a Boxing Day turkey curry.

     

    THE RED

    The first rule with reds is to avoid stringy, over tannic reds. Christmas Day is one of indulgence and festive rich food – the red wines need to be soft, ripe and fruit-packed. Turkey and goose are both very wine-friendly birds, but it’s the medley of flavours in all the trimmings that poses the challenge, especially if you’re using dried fruit in the stuffing.

    Heartland Dolcetto Lagrein Langhorne CreekBring out soft, silky reds, that can cope with this barrage of tastes – Pinot Noir is always a firm favourite on Christmas Day, but to ring the changes a little, a great red would be Heartland Dolcetto Lagrein 2012, a rich, yet velvety soft, gently spiced red made from two Italian grape varieties in Southern Australia by Ben Glaetzer, one of the country’s finest winemakers. This is also a great red for a warming glass of cheer on Christmas Eve, and a delight with Boxing Day roast gammon.

    La Chapelle d'Escurac Medoc

     

    For traditionalists, La Chapelle d’Escurac, Medoc 2011, ticks all the boxes, with its glorious, textured style – sink into its classic, yet beautifully soft, blackcurrant and allspice character. Smart, elegant, classic.

     

    THE SWEET STUFF

    Quinta Do Crasto, Late Bottled Vintage PortAnd so to the finale… Christmas pudding, mince pies, Yule log, or maybe cheese.  For stalwarts, the celebratory pud follows straight on from the festive bird, but in other households there may be a more leisurely slice of cake or platter of cheese later in the evening. For sweet things, you need sweet wine, that’s the only rule. Port is a classic, and a glass of the duskily rich Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008 is just the ticket with a slab of sweet, yet salty Stilton, or an indulgent dark chocolate truffle.

    I’m personally a great fan of a lighter, refreshing style of sweet wine, to revitalize the palate and cut through the dense richness of mincemeat, plum pudding and chocolate, so I’ll opt for a deliciously sweet, yet grapily fresh sparkler, such as Fontanafredda’s Moscato D’Asti Moncucco – bright, lively, and providing a burst of freshness to jaded palates.

    Peller Icewine VidalHowever, for wrapping presents in front of the fire on Christmas Eve, or for an indulgent and relaxing treat, when the cooking is done and the guests have gone, a mince pie and a glass of sumptuously rich, honeyed, yet fragrantly fresh Peller Vidal Ice Wine, would be my tipple of choice- worthy winner of a coveted Decanter gold medal, and simply sublime.

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