Match of the week

Assyrtiko and cold herb soup

Assyrtiko and cold herb soup

As Greece’s best known grape variety you’d probably think of pairing assyrtiko with meze or seafood but as this week’s match of the week shows it’s good away from its home territory too.

Artichoke and sheep cheese salad and Ciello bianco

Artichoke and sheep cheese salad and Ciello bianco

Much is made of the difficulty of pairing wine with artichokes but this week’s match of the week proves it’s far from impossible with the right accompaniments

 Pistachio and date cookies with Cavendish Vin de Liqueur

Pistachio and date cookies with Cavendish Vin de Liqueur

An incredible pairing this week and one I’m afraid you’re unlikely to be able to replicate - so far as the wine element is concerned anyway. But there are alternatives which I’ll suggest.

Roast beetroot salad and a juicy Aussie grenache

Roast beetroot salad and a juicy Aussie grenache

I nearly saved this Aussie grenache for my wine of the week it was so good but it made a great match with this beetroot salad too

Coffee and chocolate

Coffee and chocolate

This week’s match of the week might sound blindingly obvious but it’s taken to a level I haven’t encountered before.

Crab, chervil and Smederevka

Crab, chervil and Smederevka

There were two wine pairings in contention for my match of the week slot this week. The other being the excellent combination of mature cheddar with Washington State cabernet but that’s not rocket science and this was the more intriguing discovery.

Two exciting new pairings for asparagus

Two exciting new pairings for asparagus

I’ve been thinking about the tricky subject of wine with asparagus for long enough to have come up with a number of different pairings but I came across two this week that were really a bit of a revelation.

Oysters and a Half Shell Gin martini

Oysters and a Half Shell Gin martini

Having always understood you shouldn’t drink spirits with oysters I was surprised to come across the recommendation from oyster specialist Wright Brothers of accompanying them with a gin martini made from their Half Shell gin.

 Nduja and a super-Tuscan red

Nduja and a super-Tuscan red

I don’t often get inspiration from chefs when it comes to food and wine pairing - you’d think they’d be into wine but they often aren’t - but Theo Randall’s suggestion of a super-Tuscan red with his dish of roast sausages with borlotti beans and nduja sauce was spot on.

 Mortadella and Boschendal Rosé Brut

Mortadella and Boschendal Rosé Brut

How much do people love mortadella! You have no idea. Well perhaps you’re a fellow fan and you do. When I posted this pairing on instagram last week there was a massive response. Admittedly provoked by me describing it as posh Italian spam. (Not in a bad way, you understand.)

Champagne and monkfish liver

Champagne and monkfish liver

OK, I appreciate this is a bit left-field but I was given some monkfish liver to try by Bristol fishmonger, Bristol Fish and also had a bottle of Aldi’s Easter champagne promotion to taste and they went brilliantly together. Often the best pairings come about by accident.

Camembeso cheese and Ribera del Duero

Camembeso cheese and Ribera del Duero

I’m an ardent advocate of pairing cheese with white wine so it came as a bit of a surprise just how well the Spanish cheeses I was eating over the weekend went with the full-bodied Ribera del Duero wines I was tasting, many of which were over 14.5%

 Sashimi and koshu

Sashimi and koshu

Given that koshu is Japan's signature grape variety it’s perhaps not surprising that it’s a successful pairing with sashimi but two interesting things emerged from a recent tasting which was hosted by Sarah Abbott on behalf of Wines of Japan.

Curried lentils with Waipara riesling

Curried lentils with Waipara riesling

Riesling is often paired with Indian food though I don’t think it always works with hotter curries. But with this anglicized version of a dal from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book Eat Better Forever it was spot on.

Fennel and apple salad and Solaris

Fennel and apple salad and Solaris

Finding a new salad that you love and will make many times over again is a win for any weekend but when you find the perfect wine pairing with it too it’s a real high point

Mangalitza pork pie and Pomerol

Mangalitza pork pie and Pomerol

I often get asked what the best pairing for a serious red wine is and I don’t think the people who pose the question would expect the answer 'pork pie'.

Cassoulet and red Bordeaux

Cassoulet and red Bordeaux

One of the questions I regularly get asked is what to drink with a special bottle. The general expectation is that I’ll suggest a meal of Michelin-starred quality but as this match of the week shows a rustic dish will do very nicely.

Mushroom risotto with spatburgunder

Mushroom risotto with spatburgunder

OK, this pairing is not rocket science - I’m sure you know that pinot noir is a great match with mushrooms and so obviously with mushroom risotto too. But you may not have totally taken on board just how good German pinot - or spätburgunder, as they call it in Germany - is nowadays.

Pizza and Valpolicella

Pizza and Valpolicella

With time stretching like an aching chasm from one end of the week to another I've no idea how it’s possible to miss out my regular match of the week post but there you go. (Last week’s should have been chilli con carne and Robert Oatley Shiraz which I can heartily recommend)

Hainanese chicken and green tea

Hainanese chicken and green tea

Alcohol-free drinks are sometimes overlooked as an accompaniment to food but tea, in particular, can be a good pairing and may be an unexpectedly good option for those of you who are doing dry January.

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