Match of the week | Cauliflower tortellini with hazelnuts and 10 year old Muscadet

Match of the week

Cauliflower tortellini with hazelnuts and 10 year old Muscadet

I agonised over which match to highlight this week - there were so many good ones, especially from my trip to the Jura which I’ll report on in the next couple of days but I’ve gone for this intriguing and off the wall pairing from a seasonal wine dinner at Lido in Bristol on Saturday night.

First the Muscadet - a 2001 vintage from Nicolas Choblet which spends 9 years on its lees in an underground tank. You’d think it would be dead as a dodo after that but in fact it was still extraordinarily crisp and fresh though with a nutty richness that proved the key to the pairing.

The dish was lovely too. Smooth rich cauliflower puree, toasted hazelnuts, melted butter plus a few chopped capers and olives to offset the richness. The nuttiness of the wine keyed into the hazelnuts and the acidity kept the combination fresh in the way that a more full-bodied Chardonnay, say, wouldn’t have done.

I also liked a younger Choblet Muscadet le Pavillon 2009 with a dish of plaice, crab, lovage, shrimp and ground elder. (Many of the ingredients in the dinner were foraged and added a note of bitterness that also worked well with the crisp young wine). It also worked well with a spicy Moroccan-style dish of rabbit, broad beans, peas, morcillla and mint which had a fair hit of chilli and rather overwhelmed the light Cabernet blend which was served with it.

Someone asked me the other day on Twitter whether I thought there would be a Muscadet revival and I said I didn’t see why not. It’s much improved as a wine, flexible with light, modern food - this is another wine dinner that was dominated by white wine - and has retro appeal. Let’s see if it happens!

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