Pairings | Alcohol
In his latest guest post GP Jonathan Tricker explains why we get hangovers, how to avoid them and how to get over them.
I'm handing over my blog this week to Dr Jonathan Tricker, a practising GP. We were discussing the new UK Government guidelines on alcohol on the train the other day and he offered to share his perspective as a doctor who is also a winelover.
Despite the growing concern about alcohol levels in wine many reds still clock in at 14.5% or more, a level at which they can become an unbalanced pairing for traditional European food. Many traditionalist would say that they are therefore not ‘food wines’ but as with other types of wine it depends how well they’re made and whether overall the wine is in balance. Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe for example rarely hits the shelves at under 14% but wears its alcohol lightly.
As I mentioned in my Guardian column this week the Government has been putting pressure on the drinks industry to reduce the strength of house wines to below 12.5%. Frankly I think that’s more likely to make people spend more on their wine rather than drink less but it’s true that wines have got progressively higher in alcohol particularly from regions like Bordeaux where reds now regularly clock in at 14%. I certainly prefer to drink wines below that myself.
Last night we opened a bottle of 2005 Nugan Estate McLaren Parish Vineyard Shiraz - a typically big lush Aussie red at a hefty 15% ABV.
It's funny how your attitude to food and wine matching changes when you visit a wine-producing area like the Languedoc which is where I've been for the past few days. You tend to drink the local wine because it's what the locals drink. It may not be the best match but it doesn't really matter, particularly at lunchtime when you want something light.