My match of the week has to include Gladstone Pinot Noir from Wairarapa in New Zealand which featured in two unexpectedly good pairings at two different restaurants.
The first was at Bistro Bruno Loubet where I discovered to my surprise it was a better match for a super-rich dish of hare royale than the full bodied Argentinian red (Clos de los Siete) both I and the sommelier had thought would be the ideal partner.
The second was at Texture where it proved a surprise hit with a subtle fish dish of cod with barley risotto, prawns and shellfish jus.
The common factor? Both dishes had a umami element - the hare in its rich savoury sauce, the risotto in its shellfish jus and umami is flattering to most wines, especially Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The hare also had a sweet pumpkin and dried mandarin pure which accentuated the acidity and freshness of the wine.
It’s an interesting comment on the increasing open-mindedness of French sommeliers and restaurateurs in London that both restaurants should offer a New Zealand Pinot by the glass instead of a burgundy. That wouldn’t have been the case a few years ago.