Match of the week
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.
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.
Last week I had three dishes that went unexpectedly well with sparkling wine - for slightly different reasons:
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
One of the encouraging things going on in restaurants now is the increasing number of interesting alcohol-free drinks on offer which I find particularly welcome at lunchtime when I don’t particularly want to drink.