Match of the week | Salt cod, oxtail and Ferñao Pires

Match of the week

Salt cod, oxtail and Ferñao Pires

It’s not often you have a wine flight with a tasting menu in which every pairing is so perfectly constructed that it’s almost impossible to say which was the best. Every match at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw deserved to be a match of the week but if pushed I’m going to go for this one because it was so unexpected.

It was course 4 and a beautifully balanced dish of salt cod (freshly salted, not dried) oxtail, crisply fried parsnip and chilli. Given the oxtail and the fact I’d drunk white wine up to that point I was expecting a red. But in fact sommelier Damon Little boldly stuck to white all the way through the meal and he was right - the richly textured Ferñao Pires from Quinta da Boa Esperança near Lisbon stood up to all the ingredients without overwhelming them in just the same way as the other elements in the dish respected the fish.

Ferñao Pires is a much underrated Portuguese grape variety - well, isn’t all Portuguese wine underrated? - with an exotic tropical fruit character but not in anyway coarse, confected or cloying. (You can buy it through Sommelier’s Choice in the UK)

While I’m at it let me tell you about the other course where I thought Damon might have brought in a red but which again worked with a white - in this case the Terrace 2015 from Keermont in Stellenbosch South Africa - a ‘Cape White’ blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc and viognier - with a dish of turbot, and swede with red wine and sage. Despite the red wine sauce the white was perfect due, I suspect, to a generous amount of butter. (That wine comes from Swig)

If you’re not a white wine drinker don’t worry - there are plenty of reds on the list and I’m sure Damon could construct you a whole wine flight around them!

I ate at Nathan Outlaw as a guest of the restaurant.

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