Match of the week

Match of the week

 Black truffle and fontina pizza and Puligny Montrachet

Black truffle and fontina pizza and Puligny Montrachet

It’s easy to get into a mindset with food and wine pairing where you automatically revert to a tried and tested combination. Like pizza with Peroni or a Sicilian red

 Leerdammer and black coffee

Leerdammer and black coffee

Cheese is so inextricably linked in my mind with beer and wine I sometimes forget there are other delicious pairings out there but coffee? Well, actually yes.

 Txakoli and practically everything on the Palomar menu

Txakoli and practically everything on the Palomar menu

I think Txakoli may be my new favourite restaurant wine - or at least it is this summer. It’s a unique, sharp, very slightly fizzy white wine from the Basque region of Spain. The one we were drinking - at the Palomar in Soho - was the Agerra Txakoli which comes from the designated origin of Getariako

Chicken liver paté and cherry beer

Chicken liver paté and cherry beer

I often feel I don’t get - or make - enough opportunities to try beer with food so was especially pleased to be invited to a Dea Latis beer dinner at The Albion in Bristol last week

Coffee and maple syrup-brined pork with Saint Joseph

Coffee and maple syrup-brined pork with Saint Joseph

Occasionally a wine pairing comes along that you simply don’t expect. Invited to a barbecue at the weekend, I took along some reds I’d been tasting which I frankly wasn’t sure would go with the sweet marinades you generally encounter at a BBQ.

 Eggs, chips, truffles and Cava gran reserva

Eggs, chips, truffles and Cava gran reserva

You might think egg and chips was too humdrum a dish to be paired with wine but not the way the Spanish make it.

Scallop tartare and sauvignon blanc

Scallop tartare and sauvignon blanc

What on earth do you do when you have a line-up of some of the best wines in the world in front of you? Do you attempt to match them or reflect more the mood, the company and the time of year? Or, given that they're indisputably the hero of the occasion, do you just go with the sort of food the kitchen does well anyway?

Krug Grande Cuvée and brioche

Krug Grande Cuvée and brioche

It’s not every week you spend the best part of the day drinking Krug (on and off) so what else could I choose as this week’s match of the week?

Fish curry and Gruner Veltliner

Fish curry and Gruner Veltliner

Last week I hosted a tasting for Bristol-based spice company The Spicery in which we explored a number of different wine pairings for different styles of curry - including an Indian Shiraz!

Lobster and Condrieu

Lobster and Condrieu

The advantage of having chefs and wine merchants as friends is that you don't really need to go to restaurants*.

Maple syrup square with Neige Noir Ambré

Maple syrup square with Neige Noir Ambré

I’ve experienced so many terrific wine - and other drink - pairings during the past week in Canada that I think I’m going to have to devote several posts to them, not just this one. And the best - well, I’m struggling but I think it’s got to be this match which was suggested by the sommelier at Le Filet in Montreal - which is a bit ironic as their big thing is fish.

 Ribs and rum cocktails

Ribs and rum cocktails

Sweet sticky ribs aren’t the easiest thing to pair with wine so why not look elsewhere? At cocktails, for example?

Roast beef and Bordeaux

Roast beef and Bordeaux

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

 Milk-fed lamb with Bolgheri Coronato 2011

Milk-fed lamb with Bolgheri Coronato 2011

Last week was a bumper week for wine pairing but setting aside the matches with older vintages of Pazo Senorans albarino at El Celler de Can Roca which were so mind-blowing they deserve a longer post, this is the one that stood out.

Caesar salad with a Godello based Spanish white

Caesar salad with a Godello based Spanish white

A lot of the time when we’re eating out we’re not matching dishes exactly - we simply buy a bottle we like the sound of and hope it will cope with everything we throw at it.

Peas and pinot

Peas and pinot

Having been flying around the world for the best part of the past month I had a quiet week at home last week which (unusually for me) involved no outstanding drinks pairings.

 Spiced whitebait with sriracha and Chinon rosé

Spiced whitebait with sriracha and Chinon rosé

As you’d expect many of the usual suspects featured in my pairings this weekend (chocolate, anyone*?) but the match I was most impressed by was nothing to do with Easter

 Oysters and Tasmanian fizz

Oysters and Tasmanian fizz

I’m not a big fan of champagne with raw oysters. Most have a level of dosage (added sugar) that tastes even sweeter when you pair them with a briny mollusc but Tasmanian sparkling wine is different

Salmon with shellfish sauce and aged semillon

Salmon with shellfish sauce and aged semillon

Last week I was in Australia’s beautiful Hunter Valley enjoying their two great specialities semillon and shiraz.

 Raan and Grover Chêne

Raan and Grover Chêne

I’ve been thinking a fair bit about red wine and Indian food lately - of which more in due course - but wanted to flag up one pairing from my trip to India last week which definitely worked.

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