Match of the week | Roast beef and Bordeaux

Match of the week

Roast beef and Bordeaux

OK, this is one of the most classic wine pairings in the world but none the worse for that.

I was treated to lunch at The Wine Society on Friday following a tasting through some of their latest releases. For those of you who aren’t members and haven’t been there it occupies a rather unlovely '70s (I’d guess*) building on the outskirts of one of Britain’s unlovelier towns, Stevenage. In a private dining room which looks like - and probably is - a conference room they provided a totally resplendent roast dinner including perfectly cooked roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, gorgeously crisp roast potatoes and parsnips and carrots, beans and broccoli. (We Brits love a shedload of vegetables on the side)

With that they served two venerable reds - a 1998 Chateau La Mondotte Saint-Emilion and a Penfold’s 707 from the same vintage. Interestingly there was no qualitative difference between the two wines, except perhaps in stayability - the 707 dropped off slightly before the Mondotte which was still astonishingly fresh but both were mellow sweet and delicious. There was no obvious old word/new world contrast - it was more like comparing two wines from the right and left banks of Bordeaux.

Why does beef work so well? Well it’s deeply savoury, not too powerful - the vegetables are by and large neutral. It’s the perfect backdrop to a fine wine - As the Wine Society would know. Both had been decanted a couple of hours beforehand.

Incidentally The Wine Society, which I'd advise anyone to join, is not just about such rarified treasures. One of the best value wines I tasted on the day was their own 2015 Corbières at £7.75 which I encouraged the friends I was staying with to buy and which rapidly got demolished over the weekend. It’s fabulously vibrant blend of carignan and grenache that would make great everyday drinking. And obviously go well with beef too ….

*Turns out it's 'an unlovely 60s building, extended in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s' according to the Wine Soc's PR, Ewan. And it IS a private dining room not a conference room ;-)

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