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Wines to match Mark Hix's summer main courses and desserts

The Independent runs an extract from Mark Hix British Seasonal Food for which he recently won a Guild of Food Writers award for Cookery Book of the Year. Here are my suggested pairings for the recipes - two of which include tricky-to-match blueberries

Wood pigeon with blaeberries
Berry-flavoured sauces are quite problematic for wine, stripping the character from wines that don’t equal their fruitiness and sweetness. Add port and you’ve really got quite an intense sauce to contend with. I think I’d go for a mid-priced Chilean or Australian Cabernet Sauvignon or possibly a red from the Douro, the same region from which port comes. I suggest mid-priced because I'd be looking for a wine that was rounded and mellow rather than one that was high in alcohol and heavily extracted as pigeon is quite a delicate meat, particularly served rare like this. Another option would be an elderberry wine.

Farmhouse salad with Scotch duck egg
There’s something quite rustic about this salad - which also includes rabbit, bacon and black pudding that makes me think more of a good strong (but not too dry) cider rather than wine. If you prefer wine though I suggest a rustic French red like a Marcillac or a Ctes du Rhne though with the accompanying tarragon vinaigrette you’d probably find a lightly oaked Chardonnay would taste pretty good too.

Barbecued or griddled mackerel with wild fennel
Almost any sharp citrussy white goes with mackerel so you’d be on safe ground with a Sauvignon Blanc but I’d probably go for a characterful Italian white like a Verdicchio or Vermentino to pick up on the lovely fennel flavours

Blueberry cheesecake
Again, it’s hard to think of a wine that would really pair well with this classic American-style cheesecake and although I’m a fan of fruit beers with cheesecake I’m not aware of a blueberry beer. But there are some very good blueberry juices around though that I think would work, most notably from the Dorset Blueberry Company

Wild strawberry trifle
A modern style trifle using fresh fruit and without sherry which makes it much lighter than the traditional type. A young Sauternes is a classic match with strawberries and cream and I think would pair well with this too if you can run to it but similar sweet wines from Bordeaux and the surrounding area such as a Monbazillac should work too.

 

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