Pairings

Pairings | Merlot

Does Bordeaux need butter?

Does Bordeaux need butter?

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.

Chocolate and chilli cheesecake and Merlot

Chocolate and chilli cheesecake and Merlot

You may be unconvinced about the wisdom of incorporating chilli into achocolate cheesecake, let alone accompanying it with Merlot but bear with me!

Kylie Kwong's roasted beef fillet with Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot

Kylie Kwong's roasted beef fillet with Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot

Celebrations come thick and fast at this time of the year - first Burns' Night, and now Chinese New Year and Australia Day. Since both fall on the same day this year I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone (terrible expression but you know what I mean) and mark the Year of the Ox with a beef recipe matched with an Australian wine.

Mount Rozier Merlot 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa

Mount Rozier Merlot 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa

South African wine is in a good place at the moment - better quality than ever and terrifically good value as this bargain underlines.

Parcel series Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2012

Parcel series Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2012

South African reds are on a roll right now but few are better value than this elegant Bordeaux style red from Majestic.

What food to match with red Bordeaux

What food to match with red Bordeaux

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?

Beef fillet in red wine and soya sauce

Beef fillet in red wine and soya sauce

In our final extract from Cape Wine Braai Masters we feature a recipe intended for Gemsbok from Michael Bucholz, winemaker for the Obikwa range but as antelope are a bit thin on the ground in the UK I've adapted it for beef fillet.

Matching wine with Chinese food - time for a rethink?

Matching wine with Chinese food - time for a rethink?

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.

The 5 best wine (and best cocktail) pairings for garlic cheesy bread

The 5 best wine (and best cocktail) pairings for garlic cheesy bread

I wouldn’t have thought of proferring wine pairings for garlic cheesy bread had I not stumbled across the fact that it was the most repinned image on Pinterest. Exceeding even sparkly toes!

Six of the best pairings for a burger

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?

9 great wine matches for duck

9 great wine matches for duck

There’s one wine that’s invariably recommended as a pairing for duck and that is Pinot Noir but of course duck, like any other meat, can be cooked in different ways. How does that affect the match?

Top wines to drink with turkey

Top wines to drink with turkey

If you were eating it entirely on its own roast turkey would be one of the easiest ingredients in the world to match. You could drink your favourite white, red, ros or even sparkling wine with it and it would work fine.

Pitch perfect pairings at Providores

As the old saying goes, it’s a small world. I was already booked in for a Pegasus Bay wine dinner in London when I ran into their winemakers, Matt Donaldson and Lynette Hudson last week on my trip to Oregon - not once but twice. So they felt like old friends by the time I caught up with them again at Providores where chef Christian Hossack (Peter Gordon was away) came up with some really well thought out pairings.

Macaroni cheese and Montagne-St-Emilion

Macaroni cheese and Montagne-St-Emilion

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)?

What to drink at a wedding . . .

Q I am the best man at a wedding and agreed to provide the wine for the head table. The couple is serving a soy, ginger salmon and chicken dish (i assume you get a choice). Any thoughts?

Spiced Venison with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce

Spiced Venison with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce

An elegant main course recipe* from one of my favourite food writers Sue Lawrence's A Cook’s Tour of Scotland that would be a great option for a haggis-free Burns' Night supper.

Barbecued Chicken with Yellow Mustard Sauce

Barbecued Chicken with Yellow Mustard Sauce

If you fancy a proper US-style barbecue this weekend try this brilliantly easy recipe from chef Brad McDonald's book Deep South: New Southern Cooking

Possibly the best truffle dinner ever

Possibly the best truffle dinner ever

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.

Wine and lamb: my 5 favourite pairings

Wine and lamb: my 5 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.

Which wine (or beer) to pair with roast beef

Which wine (or beer) to pair with roast beef

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.

What to pair with Camembert: 5 great drink matches

What to pair with Camembert: 5 great drink matches

Although it seems similar in style to Brie, Camembert is a trickier cheese to pair with a slightly funky edge that can clash with many wines, particularly reds.

What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes

What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes

If you’re used to choosing wine - or other drinks - to match with meat or fish you may be flummoxed when it comes to chosing one for vegetarian friends. But as I explain in my Guardian column today it’s a question of finding out how the wine is made - and in particular whether any animal-based products have been used in the fining process.

Six of the best wine matches for glazed ham

Six of the best wine matches for glazed 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.

6 of the best matches for Brie

6 of the best matches for Brie

One of the world's most popular cheeses Brie can be mild and slightly chalky or decadently gooey and quite strong in flavour. Try one of these top wine and other matches:

Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!

Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!

Few these days dispute that red wine goes with fish - it’s just a question of which wine and how the fish is cooked. Most would accept ‘meaty' steak lookalikes like grilled or spiced tuna or salmon work with Pinot Noir but would hesitate to take it much further than that but last week I found a couple of surprisingly good fish matches at one of my favourite new wine bars 28-50.

Roast turkey and Chivite Coleccion 125 reserva 2001

Roast turkey and Chivite Coleccion 125 reserva 2001

A bit of a departure with the turkey this Christmas - a magnum of Chivite Coleccion 125 from Navarra we unearthed in a cellar sort-out the other day. It's based on Tempranillo with a proportion of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - I'm not sure what the percentages were that year - but was probably at the optimum moment for drinking - the fruit still bright but super-smooth and beautifully in balance.

Pasta with Stilton and onion sauce and a new wave Spanish red

Pasta with Stilton and onion sauce and a new wave Spanish red

When I’m not writing about food and wine matching I’m writing a book - and a blog - about budget eating called The Frugal Cook. So this week’s match is a chance discovery with a scratch supper I knocked up last night (for which you can find the recipe on the blog)

New season's olive oil and vino novo

New season's olive oil and vino novo

Last week I went on a flying visit to Tuscany to take part in the olive oil harvest and had the rare treat of being able to sample oil that has just been pressed. As you can see from the picture, it’s an incredible colour - literally deep olive green and has the most fantastic grassy flavour.

Grilled ox tongue with radishes and Mr Thirsty vin de soif

Grilled ox tongue with radishes and Mr Thirsty vin de soif

As soon as I heard Will Lander of The Quality Chop House and Portland had opened a new restaurant, Clipstone, I couldn’t wait to check it out - and I wasn’t disappointed.

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

I’ve just had a sneak preview of a very lush new B & B Langford Fivehead which opens next week (March 1st) in the Somerset Levels just outside Taunton. The building dates back to 1453 and is owned and run by former BBC Good Food editor Orlando Murrin and his partner Peter Steggall

Which wine to choose for Thanksgiving

Which wine to choose for Thanksgiving

The first thing to bear in mind about Thanksgiving - and for that matter Christmas - is that it’s as much about mood as food. Who you’re inviting, what age they are and how big your party is are factors every bit as important as what you’re eating.

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

Here's a barbecue with a difference from my book Food, Wine and Friends. The centrepiece is a spiced, butterflied leg of lamb served with a delicious Turkish-style bulghur wheat salad called Kisir. Finish with grilled nectarines or, if you prefer to have your dessert prepared ahead, some refreshing wine jellies.

Berry Bros & Rudd Reserve Red

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.

Eureka! A red wine match for artichokes

Eureka! A red wine match for artichokes

Everyone knows that artichokes are one of the most difficult ingredients to match with wine - especially with red wine. Only last weekend we struggled to find a pairing at the food matching forum I was taking part in.

Braised ox cheek and Lalande de Pomerol

Braised ox cheek and Lalande de Pomerol

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.

Which foods pair best with high alcohol red wines?

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.

Pairing cheese and claret

Pairing cheese and claret

I’ve always had a bit of a problem finding cheese matches for claret. 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 . . .

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.

Palais Royal and Roquefort

Palais Royal and Roquefort

We’ve been down in the Languedoc for the past week, revisiting some of the winemakers we haven’t seen for a while. They included Domaine de l’Arjolle, one of the first wineries we bought from when we bought a holiday home down here in the early 1990s.

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