Pairings | Natural wine
Should natural wine be called 'craft wine'?
Anyway who has a passing interest in natural wine will know that it’s a subject on which feelings run high. A lot of people are outraged that such unconventional wines are praised and fêted when they are (in their view) unpalatable and clearly faulty.
Wine and cheese: is natural wine the best match for unpasteurised cheese?
I’ve done a fair few cheese and wine tastings in my time but none quite as challenging as the one I did at the RAW natural wine fair last year matching natural wine with unpasteurised cheese.
Biodynamic food and wine matching
Does biodynamic wine make a difference to food pairing. Wine writer and educator David Furer investigates:
Pairing wine with vegan food
With media interest in vegan food at an unprecedented high you might wonder which wines vegans can drink. Quite a lot as it happens ...
Goat biryani and natural wine
I subjected myself to a somewhat daunting experience last Thursday trying to persuade a largely sceptical audience of journalists and bloggers of the virtues of natural wine. I think/hope I made some modest headway, helped by the fantastic feast laid on by chef Stevie Parle and his team at Dock Kitchen.
Bar Buvette: Bristol’s first natural wine bar
This week Bristol finally has its own natural wine bar*, Bar Buvette which has been opened by a local chef, Peter Taylor who runs one of my favourite places in France, the Auberge de Chassignolles.
A natural wine dinner at Murano
Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I’m an enthusiast about natural wine so I was particularly interested to go to a couple of natural wine dinners this last week at Artisan and Vine and Angela Hartnett’s Murano
Thai food and orange wine
Orange wine wouldn’t have been the first pairing I’d have turned to with Thai food but what I love about this business is that there are always opportunities to revise your opinion
Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine
We all know that roast lamb is a great pairing with red wines but the assumption is often that it’s prepared in a classic French way so it was interesting to note over the weekend that if you give it a middle-eastern spin exactly the same applies
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.
Cramele Recas Orange Wine
If you thought orange wine was the exclusive province of hipster natural wine bars, think again - one has just gone on sale in Aldi. And while most cost nearer £20 than £10 this one is on sale at a very affordable £5.99.
Soft cheese and onion spread and a natural sparkling Vouvray
This week’s pairing is a short (and I imagine welcome) respite from Christmas fare - a wine we enjoyed with a number of small dishes yesterday lunchtime at a natural wine bar, Toast in East Dulwich.
Steak and Trousseau
'Hmmm, steak and red wine - nothing particularly original about that' you might be thinking but bear with, as they say.
Three things I’ve learnt this weekend
This weekend I’ve been away at Mawgan Porth in north Cornwall attending a champagne dinner (yes, tough) and chilling out by a beautiful beach. Actually the best thing has been just having 24 hours to draw breath in the hectic run-up to Christmas. And three things have particularly struck me:
Roast carrots with rocket pesto and a Catalan red
Choosing a wine to go with a number of widely differing dishes is always a challenge so I usually try to find a lightish wine that will rub along with both meat and vegetable dishes.
Catalan sausage and beans with southern French Syrah/Grenache
Last week’s highlight without a doubt was the meal I had with my Guardian colleagues at Brawn, Ed Wilson’s new restaurant in Columbia Road. As you may know it’s the new City outpost of the hugely popular wine bar Terroirs with a similar natural wine list which you can read about on my natural wine blog here.
Auberge de Combes: a real taste of the Languedoc
Over the past few years we’ve become so disillusioned with restaurants in the Languedoc that we almost invariably end up eating at home.
Lamb tagine with dates, prunes and apricots and a very good Beaujolais
Now here’s an unexpected match. I would be wary of pairing a Beaujolais - even a Morgon - with something as sweet as a lamb tagine with dried fruits thinking it would make the wine taste slightly sharp but the combination worked perfectly.
Joue de boeuf and a rich Roussillon red
I've been in Paris for the last few days so this week's pairing had to be from here. There are so many possibilities but as I haven't written about a meat match for a while I'm going to pick the braised beef cheek and vegetables we had with a quirky wine called KM31 from the Roussillon.
Mas de Libian Bout d’Zan, Côtes du Rhône 2012
If you’re after a bright, fruity, sunshine-filled red to carry you through the dark, dreary days of winter you couldn't do better than this delicious Côtes du Rhône.
Oysters and La Amistad 2013 - a young fresh red from Alicante
It’s generally held that red wine doesn’t pair with oysters unless they’re served, as in Bordeaux, with little crepinettes (pork patties) or spicy sausages but I found a wine last week that suited them perfectly.
Montlouis Sec and crab
This great pairing arose as a result of a new interest my husband has in natural wines. Actually no-one has come up with a watertight definition of ‘natural’ but it’s generally agreed that the vines are treated organically and/or biodynamically and the wines made with as little sulphur and chemical additives as possible (in some cases none).
Charcuterie and young Syrah
Last week I had lunch at my new favourite London hangout, the wine bar Terroirs which is run by a partnership including the quirky and original Caves de Pyrène. It's a place that you'll absolutely love if you're a Francophile: it feels just like a Parisien wine bar - without the surly service. The food is also cracking but as we'd resolved to kick off the new year by splitting a Vacherin Mont d'Or, as you can read on my cheese blog The Cheeselover, we didn't get a chance this time to sample chef Ed Wilson's robust bistro food.
Roast lamb with wild garlic risotto, asparagus and feta with a chilled Languedoc red
This match, which I enjoyed at Plateau wine bar in Brighton last week, breaks a couple of wine pairing conventions. Firstly that you match red meat with a full bodied red. And secondly that you don’t drink red wine with asparagus.
Epoisses and marc de Bourgogne
Epoisses has to be one of the most difficult cheeses to match, not least when it gets to the almost liquid stage shown in this photo (a stage too far IMHO)
Apple tatin and sparkling perry
The surprise match of the natural wine dinner I went to last week at Bar Battu was not a wine but a perry - 'sydriculteur' Eric Bordelet's sparkling Poire Granit.
7 hour leg of lamb with Cot (Malbec)
When you’re roasting lamb you’re almost spoilt for choice. Almost any red you enjoy will go with this most wine-friendly of dishes but my pick of Thierry Puzelat’s quirky KO In Cot we Trust (2005) proved a winner
Da Cesare al Casaletto, Rome - the perfect neighbourhood trat
With trattorias on every street corner you might wonder why you need to jump on a number 8 tram and go to the end of the line to eat but Da Cesare is well worth the detour, as Michelin famously puts it.
Tête de cochon, chou and chenin blanc
Pork and chenin blanc is a tried and tested pairing but this delicious way of serving it at Le Saint Eutrope in Clermont Ferrand the other day made the wine we were drinking - a Pineau de la Loire from Thierry Puzelat of Clos de Tue-Boeuf - really shine.
Lemon roast chicken with spring vegetables and Brouilly
I’m always undecided as to whether I prefer red wine or white with roast chicken but of course it depends on the accompaniments and the time of year.
Camembert-style cheese and amphora-aged Bacchus
I’ve long felt that white wine is as good, if not a better match for cheese than red but it takes chutzpah to serve it at the end of a wine dinner as Mark Hix and Rob Corbett of Castlewood Vineyard did at an event I took part in last week at The Fox Inn at Corscombe
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic and Thierry Puzelat Pinot Noir
Last week’s highlight was a trip to the newly opened downstairs restaurant at Terroirs, a restaurant of which regular readers will know I’m a huge fan (along with the rest of the UK’s wine-writing fraternity).
Duck a l’orange and Gramenon Poignée de Raisins 2011
It’s such a long time since I’ve eaten duck à l’orange that I’ve rather lost track of the best match for it but the vivid, joyous Gramenon Poignée de Raisins I was offered last week by the sommelier at Brasserie Chavot proved the perfect pairing.