Match of the week

Vitello tonnato and Etna Bianco

Vitello tonnato and Etna Bianco

It’s not often you find a wine that sails through every dish you put in front of it but I’d say on the basis of Friday night’s Italian feast at Wild Artichokes in Kingsbridge that the Tenuta Tasca Buonora Etna Bianco 2017 would see you through almost any Italian meal.

 Milk fed lamb and aged Vega Sicilia

Milk fed lamb and aged Vega Sicilia

One of the questions I get asked most often is what to drink with a treasured bottle and this week’s match of the week provides the answer it it’s a red.

 Pappardelle with beef shin and Barolo

Pappardelle with beef shin and Barolo

It’s not often that I choose from a menu based on the wine I’m drinking but then I don’t often drink wines good enough to justify that - in restaurants at least where mark-ups tend to make the best wines unaffordable.

Mackerel and red gooseberry juice

Mackerel and red gooseberry juice

Pairing food with no and lo-alcohol drinks is still in its infancy, alcohol-free drinks being pretty new on the scene themselves so it was lovely to have the opportunity to run through a series of alcohol-free pairings that were offered as an accompanying flight to the tasting menu at restaurant Hjem near Hexham in Northumberland.

Napoleon ewes cheese and mature white Saint Mont

Napoleon ewes cheese and mature white Saint Mont

It’s always a bit of thrill to come across a cheese you don’t know especially when you’re bowled over by it as in the case of the Napoleon ewes milk cheese I tasted at the Plaimont pop-up wine bar in Marciac, in south-west France last week. (It's the one at the top of the board in the picture above.)

Mezze and pomegranate juice

Mezze and pomegranate juice

If you find yourself in an Iranian restaurant (or a Persian one as they often still describe themselves) you’ll be lucky to find much in the way of wine options and in many ways the food is better suited to the cordials or sharbats they would generally drink.

 Chargrilled baby lamb, salad and Rueda

Chargrilled baby lamb, salad and Rueda

If you think of lamb you almost certainly think of red wine but in a white wine producing region like Rueda white is the normal go to.

Chardonnay and charred aubergine with coriander chutney

Chardonnay and charred aubergine with coriander chutney

When I think of coriander I rarely think of chardonnay - more like a sauvignon blanc or a riesling - but the tasting sponsored by Wine Australia at Imbibe the other week before last really surprised me.

Date and Nutella balls and cold brew coffee

Date and Nutella balls and cold brew coffee

I’m a recent convert to cold brew coffee - I never used to think I liked iced coffee much maybe because it was made with instant coffee back in the day but cold brew coffee made with freshly ground beans is another matter altogether.

Foie gras and white Hermitage

Foie gras and white Hermitage

Those of you who remember the post I wrote 10 years or so ago about why I wasn’t going to eat foie gras any more might reasonably ask how come it’s appearing in this match of the week?

Lobster and Condrieu

Lobster and Condrieu

There were so many outstanding wines at Yapp Brothers 50th anniversary lunch that it’s tough to pick out just one but I’m going to go for this pairing of lobster with Condrieu.

Chocolate layer cake and single vineyard rioja

Chocolate layer cake and single vineyard rioja

I’ve always been sceptical about the combination of red wine and chocolate but I came across one in Moscow last week that was simply sensational

Asparagus and Rondo (English red)

Asparagus and Rondo (English red)

A wine-loving friend and I weren’t sure what to order the other night at Native in Southwark. The menu was suitably springlike but having had a glass of white beforehand (at the excellent Bar Douro) we fancied a red

Orange, yoghurt and filo cake and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh

Orange, yoghurt and filo cake and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh

Every so often you come across a recipe that is such a winner you know you’re going to make it at every dinner party - or, rather more my style, kitchen supper - for the next year.

Migas and San Miguel

Migas and San Miguel

Last week I was in Malaga for Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is the most mind-blowing experience, marked by daily - and nightly - parades through the town. In between - and when the streets weren’t rammed solid with spectators - we managed to snatch the odd meal, the best of which was at a tapas bar called Meson Iberico.

Challans Duck and Château le Puy

Challans Duck and Château le Puy

It’s easy to be so cocky about a wine pairing that you cease to leave your mind open to other possibilities. So duck has always led me to burgundy (or other pinot noir) rather than Bordeaux. But last week’s spectacular meal with Château Le Puy at Hélène Darroze at the Connaught convinced me that mature Bordeaux can be just as delicious an option.

Crab tartine and Sancerre

Crab tartine and Sancerre

Last week was a week for revisiting the classics. Oysters and Chablis, Fino and fried almonds (and excellent jamon croquetas at Paco Tapas) and this absolutely textbook match at Bar Boulud in Knightsbridge which recently reopened after last year’s devastating fire in its host hotel, the Mandarin Oriental.

Baron Bigod cheese and Sipsmith orange and cacao gin

Baron Bigod cheese and Sipsmith orange and cacao gin

I really didn’t know which match to choose from the spectacular 10th anniversary dinner which Sipsmith held in their distillery last week. Most of the pairings were cocktails (I also loved the combination of roast Iberico pork fillet with a Red Cat, an invention of master distiller Jared Brown’s*) but I’m going to go for the line-up of four cheeses which was paired with four different gins

Slow-cooked beef cheek and Cotes du Rhone

Slow-cooked beef cheek and Cotes du Rhone

There’s so much inexpensive Côtes du Rhône about that it’s easy to forget that it can be a sufficiently substantial wine to take on a richly flavoured dish, especially if it comes from a named village and a good vintage.

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