My match of the week for last week has to come from the sublime WIMPS lunch I had at the Ledbury which members can read about here. It was hard to decide which the best pairing was but I think the calf’s kidney and 1998 Gilles Barge Côte Rôtie just shaved it.
Interestingly that wasn’t the wine I liked the best out of the line-up of three that were served with the dish - that distinction went to the gorgeously supple, fragrant Jean Paul Jamet 1998 Côte Rôtie but the Barge was the one that worked best with the dish.
The kidney was cooked in smoked kidney fat with grilled onions, bacon and sweet sherry and served very rare. The umami taste of the onions and bacon certainly contributed to the match but the sherry, which added a note of sweetness to the dish, may have been the element that threw the Jamet slightly off course. (A drier sherry might possibly have preserved its character better).
The Barge, which had a slightly gamey, ‘animal’ quality flourished by contrast, becoming fruitier and more opulent. A match where the whole was more than the sum of its very considerable parts - quite some achievement.