Pairings | Sparkling wine
The best wine to pair with appetizers and hors d'oeuvres rather depends on whether they precede a meal, as is traditional, or, as is the way now, actually ARE the meal. We all seem to enjoy grazing these days.
If you’ve visited the Cape Winelands you’ll know what an amazing food and drink scene it has but you may still wonder what sort of dishes to order in a restaurant or to pair with South African wines at home.
Last week I had three dishes that went unexpectedly well with sparkling wine - for slightly different reasons:
Asking which wine is the best match for Chinese food is a bit like looking for the best match for European food - it in no way reflects the diversity of Chinese cuisine.
The ideal wine pairing for eggs benedict - that unctuous dish of poached eggs and ham topped with buttery hollandaise sauce - is likely to be dictacted as much by when you eat it as the dish itself.
Calamari or squid is often served as a starter or appetiser with other dishes so you need to bear that in mind when you’re choosing a wine to pair with it. It also depends on the way you prepare it.
Advertising feature: Let’s face it, we’re creatures of habit. If it’s sparkling wine we think party time - and party nibbles. But the beauty of Cava is that you can partner it with almost any kind of meal from classic Spanish tapas to …. well, look below for some dishes you probably wouldn’t have thought of.
If you’re planning a Pancake Day celebration for Tuesday and haven’t yet decided what to drink here are few ideas.
A new series for the Wine Pros section on what’s been happening in the world of food and drink pairing over the past few weeks:
I wouldn’t have thought of proferring wine pairings for garlic cheesy bread had I not stumbled across the fact that it was the most re-pinned image on Pinterest.
Hampshire’s Black Chalk is a relative newcomer to the English wine scene. It launched in 2018 and currently produces two vintage English sparkling wines; Classic and Wild Rose. Both wines are small batch and made in the traditional method and are a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.
December’s prize is very much a personal pick - a champagne-style sparkling wine that not only looks different but tastes different too and I absolutely love it.
A really fascinating pairing from a wine dinner at Skye Gyngell’s restaurant, Spring in collaboration with Domaine Hugo (and their vegetable supplier Fern Verrow)
Looking out of the window this wet bank holiday morning it’s hard to credit that we produce wine successfully in this country but we most certainly do. Especially sparkling wine which many pundits reckon is beginning to rival Champagne in quality.
There’s so much English fizz around now it takes something special to make them stand out. These two All Angels wines, have the advantage, for a start, of coming from Berkshire, a county which is not as well known for its wines as more southerly counties such as Hampshire, Sussex and Kent.
If you’re planning to celebrate the Jubilee with a glass - or two - of bubbly you’re not alone. According to Majestic the UK is going to be consuming 114 glasses of fizz per minute over the bank holiday weekend (not sure how they calculate this but fair to say it’s likely to be a fair bit!)
One of the innovations at the Marks & Spencer wine tasting this week was a chocolate and wine tasting based on a Single Origin Tasting Box designed to help consumers explore chocolate pairings with different wines.
I much prefer a 25% across the board discount to offers on individual wines as you can get a good reduction on the bottles you most enjoy. Waitrose does them two or three times a year and the current offer which applies off any six bottles over £5 lasts until next Tuesday, March 9th.*
The mistake most people make when they’re serving wine is to serve whites too cold and reds too warm. Assuming you haven’t got a handy wine thermometer here’s a quick guide to the ideal temperature for different styles of wine:
I was going to recommend an English sparkling wine this weekend (what else with THE wedding of the year?) but came across some other good deals at the Waitrose tasting this week I thought you might want to pick up as well
I’ve always been a huge fan of Graham Beck, one of South Africa’s best champagne method sparkling wines, so I was thrilled when they came on board with a fabulous prize this month. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
If I saw this wine on a supermarket shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. There’s the name for a start, which sounds like something a marketing department has invented
The standard of English sparkling wine is already high but I can’t remember being as impressed by a homegrown sparkling wine for a while as I am by this bottle. Of course you could argue that it’s not really English at all as it’s made by the team at Vranken Pommery in collaboration with Hattingley Valley in Hampshire.
Every so often you come across a great little recipe than does wonders for almost any wine you pair with it. And so it is with mushroom ‘caviar’, a regular offering from the takeaway section of my favourite local restaurant Culinaria. Basically it’s a mushroom pâté but so reduced and wickedly intense it’s like pure essence of mushroom. Except for the perfect counterpoint - a tiny touch of tarragon.
If you're looking for a sparkling wine or champagne for a party here's my pick of what's available under £15 in ascending order of price. I've deliberately picked that figure rather than £10 as I haven't found a champagne I really rate under the £10 mark.
If you haven’t tasted Spain’s best known sparkling wine Cava recently you’re in for a surprise at the quality of the wines, many of which are now produced from organic and biodynamically cultivated vines. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
This morning I posted a round-up of what I think are the best champagne and sparkling wine offers at the moment but I don’t want you to get overly excited.
What to recommend as my match of the week in this astonishing week for British sport, and especially athletics? Well, what else but Jessica Ennis' post-event treat of “a few glasses of wine and lots of rubbish food”!
I know a lot of you are going to be looking for a well-priced sparkling wine for Mother's Day this weekend and this is the perfect bottle
After several months (feels like years!) of work we’re finally relaunching the website this week with a smart new look and what better way to celebrate than a bottle of bubbly? Not champagne, you may be surprised to hear, but one of my favourite English sparkling wines, Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé from Hampshire.
Advertising feature: Cava might not be the first bottle you’d think of taking to or serving at a barbecue but if you think of it simply as a meal cooked over fire rather than under the grill or in the oven why not? And being an exceptionally food-friendly wine it will sail through.
In general I use the drink of the week slot to feature a wine - or other drink - that’s really impressed me but occasionally it’s all about the right wine for the moment.
This week’s wine of the week is a bit of a mystery. It’s an exceptionally good English sparkling wine which Morrisons has bottled under its own label for the very reasonable sum of £20. (There’s also a brilliant 2010 vintage for £25)
We know you LOVE champagne (who doesn’t?) so one of you is going to be very happy indeed to win this month’s prize, a case of Gosset champagne and six champagne glasses.
Expensive Franciacorta might not be the first wine you’d think of drinking with a pizza but bear with, as they say … And not just because it’s Italian.
Last week I was in Piemonte exploring the world of vermouth with Roberto Bava of Cocchi. I discovered many startlingly good pairings about which more about in due course but the one I was most intrigued by was their Alta Langa sparkling wine with pizza, not a combination I would have expected at all.
I’m not a big fan of champagne with raw oysters. Most have a level of dosage (added sugar) that tastes even sweeter when you pair them with a briny mollusc but Tasmanian sparkling wine is different
Heston Blumenthal’s Jubilee picnic hamper was unveiled yesterday - to be served at Buckingham Palace before an open-air concert on June 4th. The picnic is being funded by Waitrose who must be pleased as punch to have the Palace’s endorsement in this video. The guests will also apparently be given vouchers for a glass of Moët or a bottle of Cobra beer (the other sponsors of the event).
We know you love a champagne competition but this is really something exceptional: a case of one of my own favourites, family-owned champagne house Billecart Salmon’s Sous Bois Brut.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
You have to feel sympathy for Italian sparkling wine producers who don’t happen to make prosecco (except possibly those from Franciacorta who manage to charge much the same as champagne).
Let’s face it a well-honed wine pairing probably isn’t top priority on Superbowl night but there’s no reason why you can’t sip something delicious as you’re nervously nibbling your chicken wings (or your nails).
Having just been enjoying prosecco in its home town of Venice I thought you might like some too so I’ve twisted the arm of my good pal Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice case to offer a case from one of the region’s best producers Nino Franco.
This week I have been mainly driving around the south of England in a large open-top Beemer. No, it’s not our car, we were offered it by the nice people at BMW who obviously got me confused with the Guardian motoring correspondent. But who was I to disillusion them?
This may be a mystifying pairing to those of you who don't live in the UK but bear with me ....