Thai food is particularly difficult to match with wine. Not only do you have the heat to contend with but the tricky sweet-sour flavours and - as with many Asian cuisines - several dishes on the go at a time.
I’d have been hard pushed to explain exactly what sukiyaki was before I had it this week at Jason Atherton’s swish new restaurant Sosharu in Clerkenwell.
As I’ve been down in the Languedoc for the past week most of my food and wine combinations have been classic. Picpoul and oysters (always great), a rich grenache/syrah/mourvedre blend called Cascaillou* with a beef daube (spot on) and my wine of the week, Mas des Chimères Oeillade (a cinsault) with grilled lamb and herbs.
This, I think, was the standout pairing from our Honey & Co wine club on Sunday and a great illustration of the difference a dish can make to the way a wine tastes.
It’s always good to come across a soft drink that pairs as well with food as an alcoholic one and the Mexicans have a particularly refreshing one in agua fresca.
If you’re an albarino fan I’m sure you know it pairs brilliantly with seafood but here’s a twist to take the experience to another level.
One of the most striking things about my trip to Tuscany last week was the reminder of how good young red wines are with Tuscan food - right the way through the meal, not just with the main course.
I don’t normally go for the wine pairings with tasting menus as it’s one of the most expensive ways of ordering wine but thought it was worth a whirl at a recent pop-up by chef Stephen Harris at the much-lauded Noble Rot wine bar.
I’ve highlighted the affinity of pork and IPA before but it’s good to be reminded just what a brilliant pairing it is.
I was casting around for a dessert to make for friends on Saturday when I remembered this fantastic coffee cake from chef Margot Henderson’s book You’re all Invited. I suppose it’s more of a mid-morning or tea-time treat but I sometimes prefer cake to a full-blown pudding at the end of a rich meal.
I spent last week on the road in Ireland with wine importer Febvre hosting food and wine matching events for some of their restaurant customers. We covered a lot of ground from Enniskillen to Cork taking in Belfast, Galway and Dublin on the way and enjoyed a lot of amazing food matches.
Sometimes the best matches are the unexpected ones. I was (shameless plug alert) helping the team at my son’s restaurant Hawksmoor select wines for a dinner to celebrate their 10th anniversary which will feature some of the classic dishes they’ve had on the menu since the early days.
A full-flavoured red and seafood? Doesn’t sound like the kind of pairing that would work but as ever it depends on the wine and how the dish is prepared.
Given that it’s been in the mid-30s in the Cape Winelands recently it’s not surprising the local prefer their beef cold rather than hot but that also requires a change of thinking - from full-bodied to lighter reds.
This might not have been the best match of the week - that honour goes to the turbot and orange wine pairing I experienced at Ellory which I’ve already written up here - but it’s the one that’s easiest to replicate at home.
I certainly feel duck’s status as one of the best ingredients to pair with wine has been enhanced by this week’s match of the week
As you may know if you visit the site regularly I do a regular match of the week - generally a less obvious pairing I’ve come across that has surprised me as much as it may have surprised you. So which were the best ones that would be worth looking out for or repeating? Here’s my top 20.
By now you might think I’d have explored all possible permutations with turkey but sommelier Jacob Kocemba was singing the praises of Mencia with turkey on Twitter the other day and as we had a magnum handy I thought I’d give it a try.
One category of wine pairings that pretty well always works are ‘terroir-based’ matches - in other words wine and food combinations that have grown up with each other - and this week’s is one of those.