Pairings | Grenache
The best wine pairing for steak
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.
The best food pairings for Grenache
Today is International Grenache Day, a celebration of a grape which is (often anonymously) responsible for some of the most generous and appealing reds in the wine world.
Six of the best wine pairings for Christmas ham
If you're serving a ham or gammon as a roast this Christmas you need a more substantial wine with it than when you serve ham as a cold cut. Which one depends on the glaze.
10 top food pairings for South African wines
If you’ve visited the Cape Winelands you’ll know what an amazing food and drink scene it has but you may still wonder what sort of dishes to order in a restaurant or to pair with South African wines at home.
Five great cheese and wine pairings
You know how difficult it is to find a good wine and cheese match? Well here are five I’ve recently tasted that hit the spot perfectly. Four were at a tasting at the recent Bristol Wine Fair that was conducted by the food and wine writer Andrea Leeman. The other was a serendipitous one I came across the other night when we were eating with friends.
Six of the best pairings for a burger
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?
What wines and beers to pair with meaty stews and casseroles
Now that winter is firmly upon us it's time to head for the kitchen and knock up a rich beef stew or casserole and leave it simmering for hours.
Which wines - or beers - pair best with cooked cheese?
Cheese and wine is a notorious minefield but is it any easier when the cheese is cooked? See my suggestions to match Mark Hix's delicious recipes in the Independent today:
What impact does garlic have on wine pairing?
If you’re the kind of person (like me) who puts garlic into practically everything you cook you may regard this question as an irrelevance but some dishes are much more garlicky than others.
What wine should you pair with duck breast in damson sauce?
Q. I have found countless wine matches for duck with plum sauce. Have you any suggestions for duck breast with damson sauce?
What to pair with artisanal cheddar?
The type of artisanal cheddar I was writing about yesterday - mature, full-flavoured, unpasteurised - isn’t the easiest cheese to match with wine.
The best wines to pair with haggis
I’ve argued before that whisky and beer are the best matches for haggis but what if you prefer a wine? What colour and style work best?
Which wines and beers pair best with mushrooms?
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
Which wine pairs best with tomatoes?
Tomatoes are generally held to be a problem for wine but as Jane McQuitty robustly puts it in The Times today - nonsense!
Which foods pair best with high alcohol red wines?
Despite the growing concern about alcohol levels in wine many reds still clock in at 14.5% or more, a level at which they can become an unbalanced pairing for traditional European food. Many traditionalist would say that they are therefore not ‘food wines’ but as with other types of wine it depends how well they’re made and whether overall the wine is in balance. Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe for example rarely hits the shelves at under 14% but wears its alcohol lightly.
Wines to pair with fennel
Fennel is one of the handful of vegetables that can influence a main course pairing - almost always for the better. Its aniseed flavour seems to have a pronounced affinity with many wines, especially whites. Here are some suggested matches with recipes that two British chefs have published this weekend - Gordon Ramsay in the Times and Skye Gyngell in the Independent on Sunday.
Roast beetroot salad and a juicy Aussie grenache
I nearly saved this Aussie grenache for my wine of the week it was so good but it made a great match with this beetroot salad too
Anchovies and Grenache Gris
Anchovies are always reputed to be difficult with food but I found a great match for them over the past few days down in Collioure and Banyuls. Which of course there should be as they’re a speciality of the area.
Tuna Tataki and Grenache Blanc
Perfectly prepared Japanese food is not what you expect to find in the gastronomic desert of the Languedoc but this superb dish of rare tuna was a brilliant match for the richly textured white wine I drank at Côté Mas the other day.
Practically every barbecued meat you can think of and an amazing Aussie grenache
Normally my matches of the week are quite specific - a dish and a drink - but it’s always great to find a wine that sails through everything on the table as this gorgeous grenache did at London’s latest barbecue restaurant Temper last week.
Catalan sausage and beans with southern French Syrah/Grenache
Last week’s highlight without a doubt was the meal I had with my Guardian colleagues at Brawn, Ed Wilson’s new restaurant in Columbia Road. As you may know it’s the new City outpost of the hugely popular wine bar Terroirs with a similar natural wine list which you can read about on my natural wine blog here.
Rafael Cambra Soplo garnacha 2018
If you think of grenache or garnacha as its known in Spain as a rich sense full-bodied red that often hits 15% you need to try this wonderfully vibrant juicy example from Valencia which falls into the category of what Aussies are calling a ‘bright and crunchy’ style of grenache*. (And it’s only 13.5%)
Win a case of Armit At Home Masterclass wines
If you’ve always wanted to learn more about wine now’s your chance with this month’s competition prize from Armit Wines.
Marks & Spencer might not be the first place you think of looking for a wine bargain but their Terrenal garnacha from the Cariñena region of Spain is an absolute steal.
What's the best match for a barbecue?
Should it be wine or beer - or even a cocktail? Last year I asked the Twitter community what their favourite barbecue bevvy was and this is what they came up with . . .
Braised short ribs in red wine with Les Clos Perdus Corbières
The weather has been so absurdly autumnal this week that I cooked a substantial stew for friends on Saturday night, an intensely flavoured braise of beef short ribs (or pot au feu as our local butcher describes them) with plenty of lush, red wine (a Valdivieso Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley in Chile which is part of the Waitrose own label range).
Richard Turner's beef rendang
If you like a bit of a project make Richard Turner's beef rendang this weekend - one of his favourite recipes, he tells me, from his brilliant new book PRIME.
The best wine matches for turbot
Turbot is a luxurious fish you might well be serving over the holiday period, most probably roast or seared. But what sort of wine should you pair with it?
Six of the best wines with a nut roast
You might be surprised that a nut roast isn’t that different from a conventional roast when it comes to finding a wine pairing. The savoury flavours are designed to act as a satisfying substitute for meat and so work best with similarly full-bodied red wines.
Wine of the week: Monfil Garnacha 2020
I came across this exuberant garnacha when I was tasting wine at Lea & Sandeman in Notting Hill the other day and it struck me as the most incredible bargain at £8.95 (or £8.25 if you’re buying a case).
Wine of the week: El Bombero Gran Reserva 2009 Carinena
If I saw this wine on a supermarket shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. There’s the name for a start, which sounds like something a marketing department has invented
Berry Bros & Rudd Reserve Red
Only a merchant with a pedigree like Berry Bros & Rudd could consider an £8.45 bottle a ‘house wine’ but if your usual fare is classed growth claret I guess it is.
Pairing wine and artichokes
Artichokes have the reputation of being a wine-killer but as with most of these diktats the problem is over-played. True, artichokes can make even dry whites taste oddly sweet but that doesn’t account for the different ways in which they are cooked and how they are served.
Parsnip, Miso, Oat and Shallot Boulangère
A gorgeously hearty, warming vegetable-based dish from Gizzi Erskine's inspiring book Restore which is full of and advice on how to eat ethically and seasonally.
Top wine and beer matches for game
We Brits have always had a reputation for liking our wines old and our game high but times have changed. Today the key factor in matching game tends to be not how ‘gamey’ it is but how it’s cooked and what is served with it.
Pot roast pheasant with St-Chinian
Once the game season starts to get into full swing my husband ventures into the kitchen. Pheasant, of course, doesn’t come into season until the 1st of October but our local butcher was obviously clearing out last year’s stocks and we picked one up for a song.
Braised pheasant with chestnuts and Vacqueyras
Our final pre-Christmas meal at our favourite local restaurant Culinaria the other night was a real feast of winter flavours. Unusually every dish went well with the bottle we chose, a 2005 Vacquéyras Cuvée des Templiers from Le Clos des Cazaux, a wonderfully full-flavoured blend of Syrah and Grenache that was as good as many minor Châteauneuf-du-Pâpes I’ve tasted. A real treat.
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.
The lemon dilemma
I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about ingredients that cause problems for wine and have come to the conclusion that lemon is one of the major culprits. Of course we add lemon to many things for a subtle lift - I’m talking about recipes where lemoniness (if there is such a word) is the essence of the dish.
What to drink with a kebab - and it's not lager!
Inspired by the British Kebab awards Zeren Wilson wonders what the perfect wine pairing is for a kebab and comes up with some surprising conclusions.
Is red wine a good match for chocolate?
I’ve never totally bought into the idea but a recent wine and chocolate tasting put on by Australian Wine at Australia House in London went halfway to convincing me.
Which wines and beers match best with Chinese food
With Chinese new year coming up this weekend you may be planning a trip to a Chinese restaurant or planning a Chinese meal at home. But which wine to serve?
Which wine to drink with paella?
If you’re a bit hesitant about the idea of matching fish and red wine you might automatically think of pairing paella with a white wine. But I think it goes just as well with a rosé or a red.
5 good matches for roast pork belly
Pork belly has become one of the most popular main courses on restaurant menus so what should you drink with it? It doesn't have to be wine . . .
Wild boar and Monty's French Red
If you've been following the new alternative lifestyle programme Château Monty on Channel 4 you’ll know that ‘Monty’ is wine writer Monty Waldin who set out to make his own biodynamic wine in the Roussillon down in the far corner of south-west France
Stichelton (or Stilton) with Maury 1974 and Bristol Beer Factory Glenlivet-cask stout
Two matches for the price of one this week - both killer pairings at our Christmas Cheese School* last week.
Smoked haddock and apple salad with New Zealand Riesling
I was overwhelmed with good wine pairings last week but given that quite a few were similar to ones I’ve written about before I’m making this my star match.
Roast turbot with wild mushrooms and white Minervois
I spent last week in the Languedoc where we visit quite regularly so there weren’t many new food and wine discoveries to be made but I think the most thought-provoking match was a main course dish of roast turbot with girolles and a bottle of Château Cabezac 'Alice' 2008 from the Minervois I had at a restaurant in Agde called Le Bistrot d’Hervé.
Roast carrots with rocket pesto and a Catalan red
Choosing a wine to go with a number of widely differing dishes is always a challenge so I usually try to find a lightish wine that will rub along with both meat and vegetable dishes.
Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine
We all know that roast lamb is a great pairing with red wines but the assumption is often that it’s prepared in a classic French way so it was interesting to note over the weekend that if you give it a middle-eastern spin exactly the same applies
Joue de boeuf and a rich Roussillon red
I've been in Paris for the last few days so this week's pairing had to be from here. There are so many possibilities but as I haven't written about a meat match for a while I'm going to pick the braised beef cheek and vegetables we had with a quirky wine called KM31 from the Roussillon.
Italian cheese and a Provence red from Microcosmos
I don’t often pair red wine with cheese, let alone make it my match of the week but the Italian cheeseboard I had the other day at Bocca di Lupo in Soho proved a great pairing for a highly unusual Provencal red
Couscous royale and 2011 Chateau Romanin Les Baux de Provence
Last week we returned to one of our much-loved haunts, Arles, and ate our way round some of our favourite restaurants (the ones that weren’t closed as a number mysteriously seemed to be at what you’d think was still peak holiday season).
Couscous and Languedoc rosé
It's funny how your attitude to food and wine matching changes when you visit a wine-producing area like the Languedoc which is where I've been for the past few days. You tend to drink the local wine because it's what the locals drink. It may not be the best match but it doesn't really matter, particularly at lunchtime when you want something light.
Cold roast veal with herbs and St Chinian rosé
It’s been so hot over the last couple of days here in the Languedoc I haven’t felt much like cooking so we raided the very good local traiteur (takeaway) in Murviel yesterday for our weekend’s eating. The highlight was some beautifully cooked rare roast veal with herbs - in the style of Italian porchetta.
Clams with rice and Verd Albera
What do you drink with tapas? My immediate go-to is sherry but having indulged that whim the other day in the form of a glass of tangy manzanilla amontillada from Lustau’s almacenista collection I unusually followed it up with a glass of white.
Chicken and vegetable tagine with southern French rosé
Today, as you’ll probably not need reminding, is le quatorze juillet which marks the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French revolution. These days the French are more likely to head for the beach than onto the streets as it’s a public holiday and the start of the month long summer vacation for many but it’s celebrated with street parties all over France.
Burrata and a Cape White blend
It’s been such a hectic week I haven’t been cooking or eating out much so I had to scratch my head for a standout match.
Beef shin pie and a Languedoc red
It’s amazing how many different styles of eating you can pack into a week, particularly when you’re travelling. At the moment I’m in sunny Chile stuffing myself with seafood and sauvignon blanc so I'm finding it hard to remember that just six days ago I was in rain-ravaged Britain craving pies and stews.
A rich jus and Ju de Vie
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.
Mas de Libian Bout d’Zan, Côtes du Rhône 2012
If you’re after a bright, fruity, sunshine-filled red to carry you through the dark, dreary days of winter you couldn't do better than this delicious Côtes du Rhône.
Domaine Marie 2013 Faugères - the perfect autumn red
I’ve a soft spot for the Faugères wine region which is just up the road from our house in the Languedoc. It’s a beautiful wild hilly area on the foothills of the coastal range which produces some lovely warm spicy reds.
Delas Grignan-les-Adhemar 2013
One of the problems about buying wine these days is that there’s just too much choice. But if I had to stick to just one wine this Christmas it would be this gutsy red from the Rhone.
Blankbottle Limbic 2015
One of the most original and inventive wine producers I’ve come across is Pieter Walser of Blankbottle in Stellenbosch, South Africa but this is his zaniest concept yet.
Wine of the week: Tesco finest McLaren Vale GSM 2015
If you’re mystified by the initials GSM they stand for grenache, syrah and mourvèdre, three Rhône grape varieties which are often blended together in Australia to make generous hearty reds.
St John and the art of the long lunch
Everyone I know who’s into food has a soft spot for St John. True, it has/has had its ups and downs but It’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking it was when it opened 19 years ago. And how absolutely right its values still are in terms of serving great ingredients simply,
Matching food and Priorat
I was reminded about my trip to Priorat almost exactly two years ago by my recent visit to the Roussillon which has a similar terroir. And I think the wines would go with similar kinds of food. These were my suggested pairings at the time . . .
Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook
The book I’ve been looking forward to most so far this year has just started being serialised in the Guardian today. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi who founded two exceptional London restaurants and is simply called Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. l love Ottolenghi's food - it’s so generous and big-flavoured, piled high on bright, colourful platters - you can't fail to be tempted by it. It also lends itself perfectly to entertaining for large numbers at home.
Beer vs wine: experiments with cheddar
The other evening I had an interesting session with a few food bloggers matching Davidstow cheddar for which I’d been asked to come up with some drink pairings*. My task was to talk about the wine. The company’s Head Grader Mark Pitts-Tucker brought along a couple of Cornish ales - Sharp’s Doombar and St Austell Tribute.
So what IS a food-friendly wine?
People in the wine trade often talk about ‘food friendly wines’, a term so vague you might wonder what on earth it means. Surely all wines are designed to go with food? Is it supposed to be a criticism or a compliment?
Josceline Dimbleby's Crispy Pigeon Pie
This impressive Moroccan-style pie from Josceline Dimbleby's food memoir Orchards in the Oasis would make a great centrepiece for a dinner party or more casual supper with friends.
Beef bourguignon pie
Why has no-one had the genius idea of putting beef bourguignon into a pie before? Here's the recipe courtesy of the brilliant Ginger Pig Meat Book which I reviewed here.
Lobster and sweetcorn with Allende Rioja Blanco
I came across this pairing at a dinner to launch the London Restaurant Festival. It was held at Nuno Mendes Loft Project, a permanent East London pop-up - if there is such a thing - where he normally hosts visiting chefs of a similarly experimental bent. Mendes is one of the most talented chefs in London at the moment and normally cooks at nearby Viajante in Bethnal Green which I reviewed here.