One of the advantages of BYO is that you can have a stab at matching your wine to the menu. Particularly when you know exactly what each course will be. But sometimes the description is a bit vague as in Saturday’s ‘layered salad’ at the Montpelier Basement supper club in Bristol.*
It turned out to be a delicious French-style ‘verrine’ - a layer of fresh tomato salad, egg mayonnaise and a topping of pea-shoots which perfectly suited the crisp, citrussy 2010 Tresolmos Verdejo we’d brought with us (currently on the 2011 vintage from The Wine Society). A Sauvignon Blanc would have worked equally well - perhaps surprisingly. You wouldn't normally think of Verdejo or Sauvignon with egg.
The Verdejo also sailed through the second course of pan-fried mackerel in oats and piccalilli vegetables - a lightly pickled salad of crunchy veg including cucumber, carrot and cauliflower.
Interestingly the other wine we’d taken along - a really lovely 2008 grand cru riesling from René Muré didn’t match as well with either despite the fact that it was dry by Alsace standards. Though it was unexpectedly good with the warm cheesy biscuits that were served at the beginning of the meal which accentuated its fresh apple notes.
It all goes to show that, just as with cooking, there are always new combinations to be discovered with food and wine pairing.
* Sadly this was the last supper at 'The Basement' as its proprietors Elly and Dan are moving on. But they will be hosting other events in the future.