Pairings | Bordeaux
Merlot has one of the widest ranges of styles of any red wine from the light, quaffable merlots of the Veneto to the grandest of Bordeaux. Obviously one type of food doesn’t go with them all but merlot is your flexible friend when it comes to wine pairing, smoother, rounder and less tannic than cabernet sauvignon with which, of course, it is often blended.
Just as pasta pairings are all about the sauce, ravioli are all about the filling so you need to take account of what that’s based on and any accompanying sauce. Seafood is obviously going to need a different style of wine from a meaty filling like ox cheek
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.
Although Bordeaux produces some of the most expensive wines in the world it also produces bottles that are great for everyday drinking. So what kind of food pairs best with them?
Cabernet franc can be the most food-friendly of wines, as good with fish and veggies as it is with meat but as I pointed out in a recent Guardian column it comes in several styles.
Saint-Emilion is a familiar name on a wine list but what sort of food goes with it best? Sommelier Nathalie Gardiner suggests her favourite pairings.
It’s tough to say what the best wine matches for lamb are - it’s served so many different ways and there are so many wines (mainly red) that work but here are my five favourites.
It’s true that lamb is one of the most wine-friendly of meats, as at home with red Bordeaux and Rioja as it is with the fruitier wines of the new world. But if you’re looking for a spot-on wine pairing it’s worth thinking just how - and for how long - you’re going to cook it.
Roast beef has the virtue of being one of the easiest dishes to match with wine. You can really drink any medium- to full-bodied red you enjoy. There are a couple of points to bear in mind, however, which might affect the style of wine you choose.
Roquefort cheese is unusual in having such a frequently recommended wine match (Sauternes) that you may wonder if it’s worth drinking anything else but depending how you serve it there are a number of other options.
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?
For those unfamiliar with the delicacy a scotch egg is a whole egg wrapped in sausagemeat, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Traditionally the egg would have been hard boiled but more recently the fashion has been to serve them soft and even runny like this version from the Opera Tavern. And in some cases - presumably in a vain attempt to make them more healthy - they’re now baked which is wrong on every level.
Sauvignon blanc is many people's favourite wine but what type of food pairs with it best?
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.
The other night I was lucky enough to go out with a wineloving friend of mine and his wife who brought along a bottle of Château Palmer 1990 with them. It was a lovely wine but, as any 20 year old vintage would be, quite delicate so immediately created the dilemma of what to eat.
Eggs are supposed to be one of the trickiest ingredients to pair with wine but I’ve never entirely got it myself. More to the point do you want to drink wine with eggs at breakfast or even brunch, the time you’re most likely to eat them?
Scallops are some of the most delicious seafood around and some of the most flattering to a serious white wine. There’s one grape variety that will almost always see you right but also some other options
Whenever anyone talks about foods that are difficult to match with wine, asparagus always comes up but I reckon the problem is overstated.
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?
Meatballs are essentially comfort food so you don’t want to drink anything too fancy with them but you do need something equally delicious - usually red in my book
Even if not well-hung, as it rarely is these days, pheasant has a stronger flavour than other feathered game such as partridge or duck. And older, tougher birds are often braised or pot-roasted which calls for a more robust wine match still.
There’s no doubt about it, trifle is tricky. If it includes booze already do you serve more on the side? And what kind of booze should that be?
As with many other pairings the best match for steak pie depends how you cook it and whether the sauce includes beer, stock or wine
I’ve recently had the chance to taste through a range of wines and beers with Cheshire - Appleby’s Cheshire to be exact - so the hits and misses are fresh in my mind. As you probably know it’s a British territorial cheese with a crumbly texture and mellow flavour but quite a firm bite.
You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato - apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.
Beef Wellington is real treat and deserves an equally indulgent wine to set it off. It is however less robustly flavoured than a steak or rib roast of beef with other key ingredients such as mushrooms and pastry which offset the flavour of the meat. For me that tends to indicate pinot rather than cabernet but take your pick
I sometimes think partridge is my favourite game bird - less full-on and ‘gamey’ than pheasant, more subtle and delicate than chicken. But what wine should you drink with it?
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
Coronation chicken is an obvious choice for any Royal occasion but what wine - or beer - should you pair with it?
The good news if you’re planning an Easter feast around lamb is that practically any medium to full-bodied red wine you enjoy will be delicious with it. But there are a few variables to take into account that might enhance the pairing
Italian wines with olive oil-based dishes, Bordeaux with butter-based ones. Sound like a no-brainer? Well, yes, if you happen to be in either region: you obviously drink the local wine with the local food. But just think for a moment about today’s top international restaurants.
The Bordeaux wine region produces a multitude of top class red wines that these days tend to be blends of four main grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
On Saturday night I went to a splendid dinner at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol hosted jointly by a group of Bordeaux producers in conjunction with the city’s best-known chef Jean-Pierre Xiradakis of La Tupina and Barny Haughton of BQ, as it’s known locally.
To most westerners the idea of drinking young red Bordeaux with Chinese food seems bizarre. Especially with delicate Cantonese dishes, the most widely available of the Chinese cuisines in the west . Clearly though the Chinese who are paying stratospheric prices for first and second growths - and presumably drinking them - think differently. They don’t turn to riesling and other aromatic and off-dry whites for a reason.
If you're planning to visit Bordeaux this summer these are the hot restaurants according to local wine industry insider 'La Bordelaise'. But which are worth going to? Read on . . .
Last week, the Union des Grands Vins Liquoureux de Bordeaux, the body that represents Bordeaux sweet wine producers, hosted a tasting of wines from six of the appellations they represent to partner savoury and sweet dishes at a lunch at le Cercle restaurant in Chelsea.
I make a point of not going to Vinexpo, the biennial wine fair in Bordeaux (too hectic, too noisy) but it does mean you miss out on the occasional treat like the gala dinner that was held at Château Mouton Rothschild to celebrate the opening of their new chai.
Having spent 3 days in Bordeaux last week I’m spoilt for choice about my match of the week but I’m going for one of the less obvious pairings (so not Pauillac and lamb!).
My heart usually sinks when I’m recommended an Asian-fusion restaurant in France. It generally means a mishmash of dishes devised by a chef who’s never set foot on the continent.
A standout combination from the Hong Kong Tourist Board lunch at Bordeaux’ annual wine festival Fête le Vin last week. It was also the standout dish, a finely worked assembly of delicate flavours and textures from Chef Man Sing Lee of the Mandarin Oriental.
When it’s as warm and sunny as it has been for the last few days I don’t really fancy a traditional English Sunday lunch or the sort of wines that go with it so yesterday we had one with a difference. A roast chicken, served warm or tiède, as the French call it with roast cauliflower and seared asparagus.
Just as last week’s match of the week was a classic - so is this week’s: the main course we had at Oliver Peyton’s National Gallery Café at a dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Circle of Wine Writers.
Coming home to the UK after 10 days in the Caribbean was a bit of a shock to the system especially when we were snowed in on Friday so I leapt at a neighbour’s invitation to come round for a hearty beef stew.
I was sent a really unusual rosé the other day from biodynamic Bordeaux wine estate Chateau le Puy, their 2019 Rose-Marie.
As I've pointed out on more than one occasion pink champers is pretty pricey so if you’re looking for something a little more affordable this sparkling Bordeaux rosé I’ve just discovered in Aldi’s Spring Wine Festival should hit the spot
As you may have already picked up Marks & Spencer is selling 32 top 2014 Bordeaux It bought bought two years ago en primeur.
Talk to anyone about the food scene in Bordeaux - and they’ll say in reverential tones - ‘Aaah, but have you been to La Tupina’. I have, twice now, and while I can understand why it stands out in a city that curiously doesn’t have the quality of restaurants to match its wine I’ve never been quite as blown away as my fellow customers seem to be.
I don’t know about you but I’m instinctively suspicious about emails about amazing wine deals even if I know and trust the merchant they’re coming from. So I probably wouldn’t have dropped by my local wine shop Davis Bell McCraith had I not needed to pop in for something else.
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.
OK, this is one of the most classic wine pairings in the world but none the worse for that.
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.
I’ve always had a bit of a problem finding cheese matches for red Bordeaux. Cheddar is often suggested but I find mature versions have too much ‘bite'. Stilton slays it and so do most washed rind cheeses, oozy Camemberts and Bries . . .
Dry, oaked white Bordeaux is one of the most underrated styles of wine in my view. I can’t understand why it’s not more popular (probably because the Bordelais keep most of it for themselves).
The news that London’s latest impossibly glitzy Russian-owned wine shop Hedonism aims to offer a ‘personal, concierge-like approach‘ according to an interview its CEO Tatiana Fokina gave the wine magazine Decanter, doesn’t come as a total surprise. The C-word has been creeping into the wine world for a while.
This report on a steak and wine tasting I did at Hawksmoor Spitalfields back in 2007 is now over 10 years old but the advice still holds good. It's quite a long read though so for more concise steak and wine matching advice head to The Best Wine Pairings for Steak.
This week’s pairing is as much about the wine as the dish though the two went exceptionally well together.
It’s easy to be so cocky about a wine pairing that you cease to leave your mind open to other possibilities. So duck has always led me to burgundy (or other pinot noir) rather than Bordeaux. But last week’s spectacular meal with Château Le Puy at Hélène Darroze at the Connaught convinced me that mature Bordeaux can be just as delicious an option.
I’ve been having some fresh thoughts about food and wine matching since I was asked to participate in the Wine & Culinary International Forum in Barcelona this past weekend and come up with pairings for the bottles submitted by the Primum Familiae Vini, 11 of the world's most famous family-owned wineries
The recent lunch hosted by Alfred Tesseron of Château Pontet-Canet at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester revealed the extraordinary versatility of red Bordeaux and how it can be served right through a meal.
The question I get asked most often as a wine writer is how long you should keep a bottle of wine. It’s one of those ‘How long is a piece of string?’ questions: it depends both on the bottle and the drinker.
This week’s match is a blast from the past - a visit to the historic Rules restaurant in London’s Covent Garden where we tucked into the kind of food you’d have eaten 50 years ago - if not 100.
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'.
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?
Most of the time we’re pairing wine and food it’s the food that comes first but for people in the trade it’s more often about what food will flatter the wine. But how do you ensure a successful match?
One of the things I love about social media is that it's just that: social. You make friends with people through exchanging tweets and 'liking' their images on Instagram.
Looking at the recipes online for Thanksgiving turkeys, stuffings and sides they’re very much sweeter (and more imaginative) than the typical UK Christmas turkey. They’re often brined, glazed or spiced (or all three), sometimes deep-fried and often accompanied by cornbread-based stuffings and sweet-tasting vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash.
“Isn’t it time you wrote a piece on cooking with wine again?” mused my editor over lunch. “How about cooking with a bottle of first growth Bordeaux?” I gulped. “Er, I don’t think most of our readers would do that.” “Well, we should try it out for them.” he said firmly.
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?
I think I’m a bit fixated with figs at the moment. Last week’s match of the week involved them and so does this week’s but it’s a totally different affair.
This week is British Cheese Week - and, by the looks of it, the start of autumn proper - so what better time to rustle up a macaroni cheese (or mac and cheese as they call it in the US)?
While I no longer eat foie gras myself (as explained here) for the French there is no other way to celebrate the réveillon, or New Year’s Eve.
OK, I don’t expect you to have a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem to hand, let alone a 1999 or 1989 vintage but this would work with any mature or not-so-mature Sauternes or similar sweet Bordeaux
Last Friday I attended the Soil Association annual Organic Awards lunch at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol. The menu was based on the winning ingredients which in the case of the main course was Langley Chase organic mutton served with chard and spelt risotto.
South African reds are on a roll right now but few are better value than this elegant Bordeaux style red from Majestic.
A recent trip to Beijing and Shanghai opened my eyes anew to the possibilities involved in drinking wine with Chinese food. Many of the conclusions we have painstakingly arrived at in the west turn out to be less obvious when tried out in situ.
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.
With just over three weeks to Christmas - and even less time to order the Christmas wine if you haven’t already done so - it’s time for us laggards to focus on what we’re going to be drinking and that’s what I’m going to be doing this week.
Having spent two days in the company of the most high profile advocates of the art of food and wine pairing in France, the Gardinier brothers of Taillevent, I have more outstanding wine matches than I know what to do with this week
The Chinese New Year, which starts on February 1st, is one of those annual events that really captures the imagination. It is celebrated in such a colourful and joyous way and Chinese food is so delicious, quick and simple to make that I hope you won't be able to resist having a go at it, inauthentic though it absolutely is.
This month’s issue of Observer Food Monthly hasa special on TV dinners featuring celebrities talking about their favourite snacks. Very few beverages are mentioned so I thought I’d suggest a few pairings ;-)
Some unusual steak recipes from Jason Atherton (then of Maze, now of Pollen Street Social) that prove you don't always need to drink red with beef.
I was interested to read in the Telegraph this weekend that Ken Hom is planning to move from his French base in Cahors to spend more time in Italy and Thailand.
Wine writer Stuart Walton casts a sceptical eye over accepted wisdom:
I made this simple, classic French one-pot meal down in the Languedoc in April last year - proof that a stew hits the spot at what can still be a chilly time of year.
This is just one of the amazing pies in Calum Franklin's The Pie Room which will happily give you projects to work through all winter (just as well in the circumstances!). He says it's for 'wintry days when the roads are blocked and you are snowed in' but I'd be perfectly happy to have it on a grey October or November day. However one can't argue with Calum's conclusion that it's 'rich, decadent and best followed by a nap on the couch'.
The last two days have been quite, quite beautiful, starting mistily, basking midday in an unseasonally warm sun and finishing with an extended dusk that announces that spring is finally here. I immediately want to eat lighter meals: the new season’s vegetables are not quite in yet but I can at least plan for summer and that means a spring clean of the cellar, pushing the full bodied reds to the back and assessing what whites, lighter reds and rosés I still have lurking in the racks.
Did I want to go on a truffle trip to Spain at the end of January? Balmy Barbados seemed like a better option but since that wasn’t on the cards and the enquiry came from an old friend I said yes. The 2 day visit - the annual Viñas del Vero ‘Days of Wine and Truffles’ in Somontano would include an outdoor picnic in the foothills of the Pyrenees (eek), a truffle hunt and - the clincher - a multi-course truffle menu by one of the region’s most talented chefs followed by a gastronomic brunch. “Bring the Gaviscon”. my friend sagely advised.
It’s been an article of faith as long as I’ve been writing about wine that you need to age the best wines in your cellar. We sniff at consumers who buy and crack open a first growth as unsophisticated but maybe they’re the ones who know best?
A question from one of the members of our Facebook group which you may want to join if you enjoy chatting about what you've been eating and drinking.
If culture and ‘terroir’ are a basis for deciding which drinks bestmatch a particular cuisine then beer must have a strong claim to bepaired with Scandinavian food.
There are very few occasions on which sausages don't appeal but what’s the best pairing for them?
Hard sheep cheeses are the winelover’s friend.
After a recent visit to the Jura I've rethought my ideas about which wines make the best wine pairings for Comté cheese.
Or 'what wine should I drink with hachis parmentier?' - the French answer to shepherd's and cottage pie.
I’ve thought for a while that Scandinavian food is on the way up so am not surprised to find another new cookbook on the subject from Trina Hahnemann who Telegraph cookery writer Xanthe Clay dubs ‘Denmark’s answer to Nigella’ in the paper today.
My first Match of the Week of the New Year is a classic but none the worse for that: an award-winning South African Bordeaux blend with a slow roast leg of lamb flavoured with garlic and rosemary.
I was lucky enough to dine in a Cambridge college, Peterhouse, last week and even more fortunate to drink a 1982 Chateau Talbot.
I only have to look at how many of my matches of the week involve fish to realise that it now appeals to me more than meat. Not that I’m anti-meat by any means it’s just that the sort of wine you pair with it is fairly predictable, well-trodden ground.
A student gathering is not the first place you’d think of finding a good wine pairing or, indeed, a drinkable wine at all but the talk I gave last week at the University of Bristol Wine Circle produced some great combinations.
There’s nothing I love more than a surprise when it comes to food and wine pairing and I would not in a million years have predicted that a pukka Bordeaux would go with this exotic Turkish dish.
We had a celebration dinner with old friends the other night at my favourite local restaurant Culinaria so cracked open a bottle of La Réserve de Léoville Barton 2004*, a St Julien and the second wine of Léoville Barton. It really was quite lovely - rich, plummy, velvety - at its peak but with a few more years to go. It was everything you want from red Bordeaux (unless you have bottomless pockets)
Another week of brilliant pairings, another tough decision to make but I’m going for this combination at Delaire restaurant in Stellenbosch because it was such a great dish.
You might think the idea of eating bacon and egg with good claret is sacrilege but bear with me.
Asparagus and fine white Bordeaux sounds a bit of a risky wine match but the way the dish was prepared made it a standout pairing.
Why don’t more people make souffls these days? I include myself in that. They’re not that difficult, look so impressive and are such a lovely match for a dessert wine.
Despite the fact that white and sweet wines go just as well with cheese as red wine the idea persists that red is the better pairing
If you’ve travelled in France you’ll be aware that the counties there are referred to as departements and my friend Liam Steevenson of Vineyard Productions wanted to reflect their individual character in a range of wines. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
Not a question I normally have to trouble my head about, I admit but which was prompted by an extraordinary wine dinner I went to last week at The Don in St Swithin's Lane.
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.
You might be daunted at the idea of cooking grouse but it's a great treat for a small dinner party.
A classic match for this time of year but no less enjoyable for that.
I went to a very posh lunch at Fortnum & Mason last week (about which more to follow) which has to be the most festive place in London. If you’re in the vicinity this week make sure you check out their Christmas decorations department on the first floor. And don't miss the spectacularly expensive crackers! (I was told the £1000 boxes had already sold out.)
As is often the way Christmas wasn’t a time for any startling food and wine discoveries, rather for celebrating favourite combinations but I realise I forgot to mention one pairing just before Christmas at Angelus restaurant in Lancaster Gate.
Although I’ve visited posh St James’s wine club 67 Pall Mall several times for tastings I hadn't ever had lunch there until last week. I don’t know quite what I expected - perhaps the sort of roast and overcooked veg you’d find in a gentleman’s club but certainly not a rare burger in an airy brioche bun with perfectly cooked onion rings on the side.