I’ve been in the Loire for the last two days enjoying a fascinating range of wines but the pairing that stood out for me was one I’d never come across before: roast chestnuts and Bernache.
Bernache is not strictly a wine at all but sweet semi-fermented grape juice - much as it tastes when it comes out of the tank. You can see an excellent description of how it’s made and drunk here.
We found the chestnuts lying round the base of a chestnut tree and couldn’t resist taking them back to our friends Jim* and Carol to roast in the embers of the fire. They even had an old chestnut roaster but despite that it took an age to get them properly roasted and the shells were hard to peel off. (I’ve since discovered that it helps if you put the chestnuts in a bag as you would to peel off the skins of roast peppers.)
That aside, the smoky chestnuts and the sweet grape juice made a lovely pairing. I’m not sure what I’d drink with roast chestnuts otherwise. A light sweet sparkler like a Clairette de Die or a Moscato d’Asti, maybe. Or a strong sweet beer like a barley wine. Oh, and if you have a foolproof method for roasting chestnuts let me know!
Jim, by the way, has an excellent wine blog, a must-read for anyone who wants to keep up to date with what’s happening in the Loire.