Match of the week | Braised pheasant with chestnuts and Vacqueyras

Match of the week

Braised pheasant with chestnuts and Vacqueyras

Our final pre-Christmas meal at our favourite local restaurant Culinaria the other night was a real feast of winter flavours. Unusually every dish went well with the bottle we chose, a 2005 Vacquéyras Cuvée des Templiers from Le Clos des Cazaux, a wonderfully full-flavoured blend of Syrah and Grenache that was as good as many minor Châteauneuf-du-Pâpes I’ve tasted. A real treat.

I’ve singled out the braised pheasant with chestnuts as the star match because that was the most pitch-perfect combination but my braised shoulder of mutton with root vegetables and pearl barley also went very well with it. So did our two starters, a deep-flavoured game terrine served with spiced onions and an unusual but incredibly moreish dish of braised squid with fennel, leek and orange which had a subtle touch of Moroccan spicing.

Incidentally before choosing the Vacquéyras we hovered over a 2002 Cune Rioja reserva which I think would also have worked well with this robustly flavoured style of food.

Image © Igor Klimov - Fotolia.com

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