Match of the week
Those of you who visit the site regularly will know that I’m a great advocate of drinking white wine with cheese and a bit of a sceptic about how well red wine pairs with it.
I’ve been enthusiastically cooking from Sami Tamimi’s new book Falastin this past couple of weeks and made his recipe for koftas with tahini, potato and onion over the weekend during a Zoom cooking session with a couple of pals in Bristol.
Like many of you, I suspect, I’ve been working my way through the older bottles in my cellar* and unearthed a 2014 vintage of Brokenwood Semillon the other day which I visited on my last wine visit to the Hunter Valley.
To tell you the truth this is as much about the story behind the pie as the wine match but that was good too so let’s kick off with that.
Those of you who follow the site closely might have noticed the Match of the Week slot had disappeared. Because I was no longer travelling and eating out I thought what I was drinking with what would be of little interest and that you probably wouldn’t be able to get hold of the bottles I was writing about anyway
The way things are looking I don’t imagine there will be many standout matches of the week over the forthcoming months given that I’m out and about much less than normal. But this one, from Trivet in Bermondsey last week is truly excellent.
In a week of pretty amazing wine pairings (it’s not every day you get to taste five different vintages of Harlan Estate* over dinner) there was one really interesting match I wouldn’t have predicted - and that’s what this weekly slot is all about.
Roast chicken with chardonnay - what’s new about that I hear you say? Well, nothing, obviously but imagine some of the BEST chicken you’ve ever eaten and a GREAT chardonnay - in this case the 2005 Stephane Tissot Arbois chardonnay Les Graviers - and it becomes one of those stellar wine pairings you dream about.
I know I talked about ox cheek a couple of weeks ago (with nero d’avola) but here it is again in an even better combination with Jumilla at a lunch hosted by wine importers Morgenrot at Bar 44 in Bristol.
One of the standard ways of devising a wine pairing is to pick out flavours in the wine and put them in the accompanying dish. Not too much or it can cancel out the flavour of the wine but done with skill, as it was by chef Des Smith at The Hunting Lodge, it’s pretty impressive.
I don’t drink beer often enough so I'm particularly pleased when I find a pairing that makes my match of the week slot
Nero d’avola may not be a grape variety you’re familiar with but in a recent blind tasting of 25,000 consumers carried out by Majestic it proved by far the most popular choice
Showing off a mature bottle of red is usually a question of keeping it simple but it adds an extra dimension if you can serve the perfect cut.
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.
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.