Pairings | Red Bordeaux
Merlot has one of the widest ranges of styles of any red wine from the light, quaffable merlots of the Veneto to the grandest of Bordeaux. Obviously one type of food doesn’t go with them all but merlot is your flexible friend when it comes to wine pairing, smoother, rounder and less tannic than cabernet sauvignon with which, of course, it is often blended.
Steak is the ideal foil for a good red but is there a best red wine for steak? You could simply say it’s the one you most enjoy but it also depends on the cut and the way you cook it.
Although Bordeaux produces some of the most expensive wines in the world it also produces bottles that are great for everyday drinking. So what kind of food pairs best with them?
Saint-Emilion is a familiar name on a wine list but what sort of food goes with it best? Sommelier Nathalie Gardiner suggests her favourite pairings.
Eggs are supposed to be one of the trickiest ingredients to pair with wine but I’ve never entirely got it myself. More to the point do you want to drink wine with eggs at breakfast or even brunch, the time you’re most likely to eat them?
Roast beef has the virtue of being one of the easiest dishes to match with wine. You can really drink any medium- to full-bodied red you enjoy. There are a couple of points to bear in mind, however, which might affect the style of wine you choose.
It’s tough to say what the best wine matches for lamb are - it’s served so many different ways and there are so many wines (mainly red) that work but here are my five favourites.
I’ve been having some fresh thoughts about food and wine matching since I was asked to participate in the Wine & Culinary International Forum in Barcelona this past weekend and come up with pairings for the bottles submitted by the Primum Familiae Vini, 11 of the world's most famous family-owned wineries
Meatballs are essentially comfort food so you don’t want to drink anything too fancy with them. That said, wine is a great pairing with mealballs, especially a hearty red.
You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato - apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.
I’ve recently had the chance to taste through a range of wines and beers with Cheshire - Appleby’s Cheshire to be exact - so the hits and misses are fresh in my mind. As you probably know it’s a British territorial cheese with a crumbly texture and mellow flavour but quite a firm bite.
It might surprise you to hear it - and maybe you’ve never tried it - but a serious red wine is a really good match for a burger. Not a Maccy D, maybe but a big lush gourmet burger. And why not?
For those unfamiliar with the delicacy a scotch egg is a whole egg wrapped in sausagemeat, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Traditionally the egg would have been hard boiled but more recently the fashion has been to serve them soft and even runny like this version from the Opera Tavern. And in some cases - presumably in a vain attempt to make them more healthy - they’re now baked which is wrong on every level.
I sometimes think partridge is my favourite game bird - less full-on and ‘gamey’ than pheasant, more subtle and delicate than chicken. But what wine should you drink with it?
“Isn’t it time you wrote a piece on cooking with wine again?” mused my editor over lunch. “How about cooking with a bottle of first growth Bordeaux?” I gulped. “Er, I don’t think most of our readers would do that.” “Well, we should try it out for them.” he said firmly.
I’ve argued before that whisky and beer are the best pairings for haggis but what if you prefer a wine? What colour and style work best?
As with many other pairings the best match for steak pie depends how you cook it and whether the sauce includes beer, stock or wine
To most westerners the idea of drinking young red Bordeaux with Chinese food seems bizarre. Especially with delicate Cantonese dishes, the most widely available of the Chinese cuisines in the west . Clearly though the Chinese who are paying stratospheric prices for first and second growths - and presumably drinking them - think differently. They don’t turn to riesling and other aromatic and off-dry whites for a reason.
This report on a steak and wine tasting I did at Hawksmoor Spitalfields back in 2007 is now over 10 years old but the advice still holds good. It's quite a long read though so for more concise steak and wine matching advice head to The Best Wine Pairings for Steak.
Most of the time we’re pairing wine and food it’s the food that comes first but for people in the trade it’s more often about what food will flatter the wine. But how do you ensure a successful match?
This is just one of the amazing pies in Calum Franklin's The Pie Room which will happily give you projects to work through all winter. He says it's for 'wintry days when the roads are blocked and you are snowed in' but I'd be perfectly happy to have it on a grey November day. However one can't argue with Calum's conclusion that it's 'rich, decadent and best followed by a nap on the couch'.
Some unusual steak recipes from Jason Atherton (then of Maze, now of Pollen Street Social) that prove you don't always need to drink red with beef.
I’ve always had a bit of a problem finding cheese matches for red Bordeaux. Cheddar is often suggested but I find mature versions have too much ‘bite'. Stilton slays it and so do most washed rind cheeses, oozy Camemberts and Bries . . .
You might be daunted at the idea of cooking grouse but it's a great treat for a small dinner party.
Looking at the recipes online for Thanksgiving turkeys, stuffings and sides they’re very much sweeter (and more imaginative) than the typical UK Christmas turkey. They’re often brined, glazed or spiced (or all three), sometimes deep-fried and often accompanied by cornbread-based stuffings and sweet-tasting vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash.
This week’s match is a blast from the past - a visit to the historic Rules restaurant in London’s Covent Garden where we tucked into the kind of food you’d have eaten 50 years ago - if not 100.
A student gathering is not the first place you’d think of finding a good wine pairing or, indeed, a drinkable wine at all but the talk I gave last week at the University of Bristol Wine Circle produced some great combinations.
Coming home to the UK after 10 days in the Caribbean was a bit of a shock to the system especially when we were snowed in on Friday so I leapt at a neighbour’s invitation to come round for a hearty beef stew.
I don’t know about you but I’m instinctively suspicious about emails about amazing wine deals even if I know and trust the merchant they’re coming from. So I probably wouldn’t have dropped by my local wine shop Davis Bell McCraith had I not needed to pop in for something else.
It’s easy to be so cocky about a wine pairing that you cease to leave your mind open to other possibilities. So duck has always led me to burgundy (or other pinot noir) rather than Bordeaux. But last week’s spectacular meal with Château Le Puy at Hélène Darroze at the Connaught convinced me that mature Bordeaux can be just as delicious an option.
Or 'what wine should I drink with hachis parmentier?' - the French answer to shepherd's and cottage pie.
Hard sheep cheeses are the winelover’s friend.
Having spent two days in the company of the most high profile advocates of the art of food and wine pairing in France, the Gardinier brothers of Taillevent, I have more outstanding wine matches than I know what to do with this week
A question from one of the members of our Facebook group which you may want to join if you enjoy chatting about what you've been eating and drinking.