Pairings | South-west France
Anyone who has a passing knowledge of cassoulet will know that there are hotly disputed arguments about what constitutes the authentic version. But whichever way you make it it’s a substantial dish.
Last night we had a fun five course wine and food matching dinner at Rockfish Grill in Bristol which showed the range of wines you can match with fish. Here’s a few thoughts about how we approached it for those of you who are organising a similar event.
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:
Although France is famous for wine there are parts of the country that fall under the radar and one of these is south-west France which is represented by the growers’ co-operative Plaimont which has vineyards which stretch from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the hills and valleys of Gascony. Benedictine monks grew vines in the region back in the 11th century. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
The two days I spent in the Gers region of the south-west of France last week (members can see a full report here) reminded me just what a strong terroir-based match the local Tannat-based wines are with duck confit. I tried it both with a Madiran and a humbler Côtes de St-Mont which uses the same grape varieties.
Hard sheep cheeses are the winelover’s friend.
Matching a rich dish like pigeon with wine is quite challenging, especially if you serve it with an intense jus like this one so should you go for something equally rich or a refreshing contrast?
If you want to show off a fine dessert wine the ideal match is a simple French apple or pear tart, so there should be no surprise then at this pairing of a pear frangipane tart (pears with a spongey almond base) and a Pacherenc de Vic Bilh cuvée 'Octobre'.
One of the pleasures of the huge clearing and putting away operation at our new French home is the discovery of forgotten bottles. The other day it was a Marcillac from Domaine Laurens which went incredibly well with that night’s supper of seared calves’ liver.
Although I’m supposed to be the wine expert in the family my husband has an uncanny knack of alighting on exactly the right bottle when we go out to eat, unfailingly plucking the bargain from any wine list.
The idea of matching a soup with a full-bodied south-western French red wine might seem bizarre but it proved a surprisingly good pairing.
As those of you who are familiar with this site will know I’ve got issues about drinking red wine with cheese. It may seem an obvious partnership but all too often it seems a warring one.