Pairings | Clams
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.
It’s the time of year to look back and review the best food and wine matches of 2011. Some were comfortingly familiar, some a total surprise to me. What they had in common was that the combination was more than the sum of the parts. The drink - in most cases wine - made the food taste more delicious, the food just made the wine sing. I hope you enjoy something similar in 2012.
Wheat beers are fabulously flexible when it comes to food matching - the beer world’s equivalent of a crisp white wine.
Vermentino is incredibly versatile - a brilliant wine pairing for anything fishy, herby or citrussy and a great wine for spring and summer drinking.
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.
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.
Scallops are normally a sure-fire match for chardonnay so it was quite a challenge to think of some alternatives for Skye Gyngell’s inventive recipes in the Independent on Sunday today.
If I had to sum up the best food pairing for albarino in one word it would be seafood. Which makes sense considering where it comes from on the coast of Galicia in the Rias Baixas region of northern Spain.
The flavours of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - and this is why it is so popular - are powerful and aromatic: citrus, gooseberry and passionfruit in spades. So you need big flavours on your plate to stand up to it.
Despite the emphasis that winemakers place on the different crus or terroirs of Chablis three factors seem to me to influence a food match more than any other for most of the Chablis you’ll taste - the age of the wine, the vintage and the degree of oak influence, if any.
If you’re a fan of Spain’s fashionable white wine albarino you’ll almost certainly like its Portuguese cousin alvarinho which is made just over the border.
It’s always a bit hairy doing a live food and wine pairing if you haven’t had a chance to have a run-through first - and even if you have some variable, usually the food, invariably changes.
As I pointed out in my Guardian column this week Australian wines are fetching some pretty steep prices but to drink a Hunter Valley semillon of this quality it’s absolutely worth it.
A departure this week - a cider not a wine - and an American cider at that. I tasted it in Oddbins at the end of a wine tasting and was really blown away by it
Normally this weekly post features a specific dish and wine but vermentino goes with so many fish dishes I think it’s worth flagging up its sheer versatility.