Match of the week
There were two wine pairings in contention for my match of the week slot this week. The other being the excellent combination of mature cheddar with Washington State cabernet but that’s not rocket science and this was the more intriguing discovery.
I’ve been thinking about the tricky subject of wine with asparagus for long enough to have come up with a number of different pairings but I came across two this week that were really a bit of a revelation.
Having always understood you shouldn’t drink spirits with oysters I was surprised to come across the recommendation from oyster specialist Wright Brothers of accompanying them with a gin martini made from their Half Shell gin.
I don’t often get inspiration from chefs when it comes to food and wine pairing - you’d think they’d be into wine but they often aren’t - but Theo Randall’s suggestion of a super-Tuscan red with his dish of roast sausages with borlotti beans and nduja sauce was spot on.
How much do people love mortadella! You have no idea. Well perhaps you’re a fellow fan and you do. When I posted this pairing on instagram last week there was a massive response. Admittedly provoked by me describing it as posh Italian spam. (Not in a bad way, you understand.)
OK, I appreciate this is a bit left-field but I was given some monkfish liver to try by Bristol fishmonger, Bristol Fish and also had a bottle of Aldi’s Easter champagne promotion to taste and they went brilliantly together. Often the best pairings come about by accident.
I’m an ardent advocate of pairing cheese with white wine so it came as a bit of a surprise just how well the Spanish cheeses I was eating over the weekend went with the full-bodied Ribera del Duero wines I was tasting, many of which were over 14.5%
Given that koshu is Japan's signature grape variety it’s perhaps not surprising that it’s a successful pairing with sashimi but two interesting things emerged from a recent tasting which was hosted by Sarah Abbott on behalf of Wines of Japan.
Riesling is often paired with Indian food though I don’t think it always works with hotter curries. But with this anglicized version of a dal from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book Eat Better Forever it was spot on.
Finding a new salad that you love and will make many times over again is a win for any weekend but when you find the perfect wine pairing with it too it’s a real high point
I often get asked what the best pairing for a serious red wine is and I don’t think the people who pose the question would expect the answer 'pork pie'.
One of the questions I regularly get asked is what to drink with a special bottle. The general expectation is that I’ll suggest a meal of Michelin-starred quality but as this match of the week shows a rustic dish will do very nicely.
OK, this pairing is not rocket science - I’m sure you know that pinot noir is a great match with mushrooms and so obviously with mushroom risotto too. But you may not have totally taken on board just how good German pinot - or spätburgunder, as they call it in Germany - is nowadays.
With time stretching like an aching chasm from one end of the week to another I've no idea how it’s possible to miss out my regular match of the week post but there you go. (Last week’s should have been chilli con carne and Robert Oatley Shiraz which I can heartily recommend)
Alcohol-free drinks are sometimes overlooked as an accompaniment to food but tea, in particular, can be a good pairing and may be an unexpectedly good option for those of you who are doing dry January.
One of the treats I’ve lined up during lockdown is to have a weekly takeaway from a local restaurant, both to give me a break from cooking and hopefully help keep them in business and my first was a meal from one of my favourite Bristol restaurants littlefrench.
Back in March when Covid first hit I remember thinking ‘no-one’s going to want to think about food and wine pairing’ and put my match of the week feature on hold.
You’d think a rich winey sauce or jus would be the easiest thing to match with red wine but that isn’t necessarily the case as it tends to compete with it.
Funny, isn’t it, how there are lots of pairings for mince pies but few for Christmas cake. Maybe that’s because we tend to eat it mid-afternoon well before wine o’clock but that could equally apply to Christmas pudding for which I also have plenty of recommendations.
You might not immediately think of wine in the context of Moroccan food but in fact Morocco has been a significant wine producer since the days of the French protectorate. And they planted the same grape varieties - grenache, syrah and cinsault that thrive in the south of France.