Pairings | Salt

Salt and pepper squid with Asian dressing and Fleur du Cap unfiltered chardonnay

Salt and pepper squid with Asian dressing and Fleur du Cap unfiltered chardonnay

One of the highlights of last week’s trip to South Africa was a salt pairing dinner with Fleur du Cap wines at the Bergkelder. The chef Craig Cormack was a real salt fanatic having hunted down dozens of different varieties and experimented with matching them with different wines.

Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!

Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!

Few these days dispute that red wine goes with fish - it’s just a question of which wine and how the fish is cooked. Most would accept ‘meaty' steak lookalikes like grilled or spiced tuna or salmon work with Pinot Noir but would hesitate to take it much further than that but last week I found a couple of surprisingly good fish matches at one of my favourite new wine bars 28-50.

Salt cod with ciambotta di peperoni and 2004 Argentiera, Bolgheri Superiore

Salt cod with ciambotta di peperoni and 2004 Argentiera, Bolgheri Superiore

Another interesting insight on pairing red wine and fish in Tuscany this week. We were served lightly salted cod with a rich tomato and pepper stew called ciambotta at Tenuta Argentiera which proved a perfect match for the mature 2004 vintage.

Grüner Veltliner and salt cod

Grüner Veltliner and salt cod

I came across this unlikely combination while I was flying back from Argentina with the Brazilian airline TAM* who have this year decided to inaugurate a Brazilian menu in business class devised by a woman chef called Ana Luisa Trajano. And quite right too.

Aron's Jewish Delicatessen - Brooklyn comes to Bristol

Aron's Jewish Delicatessen - Brooklyn comes to Bristol

So it’s not Aaron with two ‘a’s and it’s not a deli but this small, modestly furnished American/Jewish/Hungarian-inspired neighbourhood restaurant is a great addition to the Bristol eating-out scene.

First Impressions: Ember Yard, Berwick Street

First Impressions: Ember Yard, Berwick Street

As the fourth restaurant in the Salt Yard Group which specialises in Spanish and italian food Ember Yard has a fine pedigree but does it live up to its stablemates?

Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin ‘en chalasse’ Cotes du Jura 2012

Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin ‘en chalasse’ Cotes du Jura 2012

I’ve tasted this wine before but was reminded how absolutely delicious it is when we had a bottle at lunch at Bell’s Diner in Bristol this week. (No I don’t spend my *entire* life there despite this article in the Guardian.)

Wine and pepper

Like salt, pepper has a pronounced effect on wine, often making reds taste softer and lusher than they otherwise would. Unlike salt though, you also find peppery flavours in wines such as Northern Rhône Syrah and Austrian Grüner Veltliner.

Clever pairings for rare sherries

Clever pairings for rare sherries

I don’t think I ever go to a sherry tasting without coming away renewed in my conviction about what a marvellous match it is for food and the one I attended yesterday was no exception. It was organised by the enterprising Les Caves de Pyrne who are importing for the first time into the UK some rare sherries from Emilio Hidalgo and took place at Dehesa, the sister (if that’s the appropriate word) restaurant of the better known Salt Yard.

How to counter the acidity of young wines

How to counter the acidity of young wines

Wines, especially dry whites and rosés, are released so early these days that they’re often still uncomfortably tart but, as I discovered on a trip to the Centre-Loire wine region recently you can choose food that will round out their harsher edges.

Seabass crudo, Felsina olive oil and Meriggio sauvignon blanc

Seabass crudo, Felsina olive oil and Meriggio sauvignon blanc

Given that I’m not a massive sauvignon fan it might surprise you that it features as my match of the week for the second successive week but it’s a question of quality. With the right dish good sauvignon is a joy.

The best food pairings for white rioja

The best food pairings for white rioja

White rioja is tricky when it comes to wine matching as it comes in such contrasting styles. There are the crisp fresh unoaked white riojas which behave much like a sauvignon blanc and much richer barrel-fermented ones which can tackle more intensely-flavoured fish and meat dishes

Mackerel pasty and Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006

Mackerel pasty and Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006

This actually wasn't the dish with which I drank this brilliant new sparkling wine at Rocksalt in Folkestone last week - I'd unfortunately finished my glass by then - but it would certainly have been a knockout wine pairing.

Sweet Bordeaux and savoury food

Sweet Bordeaux and savoury food

Last week, the Union des Grands Vins Liquoureux de Bordeaux, the body that represents Bordeaux sweet wine producers, hosted a tasting of wines from six of the appellations they represent to partner savoury and sweet dishes at a lunch at le Cercle restaurant in Chelsea.

Smoked trout and a Tricycle

Smoked trout and a Tricycle

My problem this week is that I have a terrific wine pairing but I can't tell you about it because it's the result of a tasting I was running for Decanter magazine. So you'll have to hang on till December for that. Sorry.

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