Pairings | White wine
Which wines pair best with pork?
As with most foods, the best wine pairing with pork depends how the pork is cooked, and what it’s served with.
White or red wine? What's the best pairing for risotto?
Talking about wine matches for risotto is a bit like talking about wine with pasta - it’s depends on the other ingredients you use, not the rice.
The best wine and beer pairings for pizza
Should you drink wine or beer with pizza? No rights or wrongs, obviously but here are a few thoughts which might encourage you to experiment.
Six of the best wine (and other) pairings with chicken pie
Chicken pie - or chicken pot pie - must be one of everyone’s favourite meals but what sort of drink goes with it best? Wine, beer or cider?
What wines (and other drinks) pair best with noodles?
If you’re wondering what to drink with noodles you need to think about the way and the flavours with which they’re cooked rather than the fact that they’re noodles. (Yes, I know pasta counts as noodles too but I’m thinking more of Asian recipes
The best food to pair with Chardonnay
If you're looking for food pairings for chardonnay, you're in luck! Whatever the style it's a fantastic food wine.
The best food pairings for dry (or off-dry) riesling
It’s sometimes hard to predict what type of food will pair well with riesling because they’re all so different - some being bone dry, some ultra sweet, some positively floral, others zingy and citrussy.
What wine goes best with chicken - red or white?
Good news! The best wine with chicken can be either red or white - it depends on your own personal taste and the way it’s cooked.
Pairing wine and cheese: 6 ways to do it better
Ask most people what the best wine is with cheese and most would choose a full-bodied red. But is it really the best pairing? It depends on the wine, it depends on the cheese and it depends on you. If you LOVE red wine with cheese nothing is going to put you off the experience.
The best wine matches for fishcakes
Fishcakes are one of the ultimate comfort foods - but is there an equally comforting wine pairing?
The best food pairings with white burgundy
White burgundy includes a multitude of wines from generic bourgogne blanc to the grandeur of a Bâtard-Montrachet or Corton-Charlemagne. But it’s the affordable wines that I’m focussing on in this post. What type of food do they pair with best?
The best food and wine pairings for Valentine's Day
If you're planning a special meal for Valentine's Day you may be wondering which wine to pair with your menu. I've picked some favourite Valentine's Day foods and suggested some matches that should work well with them.
The best food pairings for assyrtiko
There are few grapes that bring Greece to mind like Assyrtiko, the saline wonder of the Cyclades. But what do you pair with it? As often, the answer depends on the winemaking style and terroir, because there is not one Assyrtiko (I should know, I recently tried 80 of them.)
What type of food pairs with orange wine?
Donald Edwards finds a clue in the traditional Georgian food that was served at a dinner at the Notting Hill restaurant Colchis recently.
Which wines and beers to pair with asparagus
This month I asked my fellow Tweeters to tackle the subject of wine with asparagus - supposed to be a tricky combination, but as @cuvee_corner put it “Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the difficulty.” (It isn't just you. There are plenty of options!)
Top pairings for dry and off-dry Alsace whites
A re-run of an old post following a visit to Alsace, updating my recommendations on the best pairings for the region's dry and off-dry white wines.
The best wine pairings for Navarra wines
Advertising feature: Navarra is one of the most forward-looking of Spanish wine regions offering boldly flavoured wines that are a match for a wide range of dishes.
Five great cheese and wine pairings
You know how difficult it is to find a good wine and cheese match? Well here are five I’ve recently tasted that hit the spot perfectly. Four were at a tasting at the recent Bristol Wine Fair that was conducted by the food and wine writer Andrea Leeman. The other was a serendipitous one I came across the other night when we were eating with friends.
Dry or fruity? Which style of white wine pairs best with simply grilled fish?
About the last place I’d have expected to have an enlightening discussion about food and wine matching is in a fisherman’s shack called Chez Loulou down on the Languedoc coast. Actually I do it an injustice. It’s a restaurant - just - but one that relies for its appeal on fabulously fresh fish rather than fantastically skilled cooking.
Portuguese wine paired with the experimental cuisine at Viajante
Our roving gastronome Lucy Bridgers puts Portuguese wine through its paces with a succession of small plates from the inventive Nuno Mendes.
Top wine pairings with goat cheese (chèvre)
Since goats cheese and Sauvignon Blanc are such a great match it might seem redundant to think of anything else but despite its reputation for being . . . well . . . goaty, goats cheese is easy to pair with other wines.
The best food pairings for white rioja
White rioja is tricky when it comes to wine pairing as it comes in such contrasting styles. There are the crisp fresh unoaked white riojas which behave much like a sauvignon blanc and much richer barrel-fermented ones which can tackle more intensely-flavoured fish and meat dishes
The tricky task of pairing wine and citrus
This is the perfect time of year for buying oranges and lemons but what effect do they have on the recipes you’re making? Quite a marked one, if truth be told. Lemons in particular have a high level of acidity which will make any wine you drink with them taste sweeter. If that’s counterbalanced in the recipe by sugar as in a lemon tart or lemon meringue pie, for example, the result is a dish that’s really quite hard to match.
What wine to pair with hummus
If you’re wondering what wine to pair with hummus or houmous you need to take account of the fact that it’s rarely served on its own.
The best wine pairings with cheese fondue, raclette and tartiflette
Even if you're not currently on the slopes you might want to take your chance to make one of the great ski-food classics, fondue, raclette or tartiflette.
Which wines pair best with eggs?
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?
The best wine pairings for partridge
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?
Wines to pair with fennel
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.
Wine and Indonesian food: which wine pairs best with Rijsttafel?
I posted this last year after trying Rijsttafel - the Indonesian speciality that’s widely available in Amsterdam. Translated literally as ‘rice table’, it’s an elaborate array of curries, salads and pickles which present a tough challenge for any wine.
What type of wine pairs best with Vietnamese food?
Sunday marked not only the start of the Chinese New Year but the Vietnamese New Year celebrations too - known as Tet. As in China there are certain foods which are traditional to the occasion such as pickled vegetables and candied fruits, none of which are particularly wine-friendly but in general I find Vietnamese food, with its milder heat and fragrant herbal flavours easier to match than Thai (although I haven’t had such extensive experience of doing so).
The best wine pairings with monkfish
Monkfish (or lotte, as the French call it) is a meaty fish that is often roasted so pairs equally well with red wine as with white. In fact a lightly chilled red wine would generally be my preferred match, particularly if it’s wrapped in pancetta or bacon
6 versatile wine pairings for a Chinese New Year feast
Asking which wine is the best match for Chinese food is a bit like looking for the best match for European food - it in no way reflects the diversity of Chinese cuisine.
Wine pairing: burrata, beetroot and Albarino
This week I was at Heathcotes Brasserie in Preston, Lancashire for a wine dinner for which I’d had to devise the wine matches. Paul Heathcote, the chef, is an old sparring partner and obviously thought he’d put me on the spot by coming up with some challenging dishes.
The best wine pairings with Caesar salad
As with most salads Caesar salad is all about the dressing which on the face of it sounds tricky, anchovies being notoriously difficult to match with wine.
The best pairings for prawns or shrimp
A freezer staple in my house, prawns or shrimp are quick and easy to cook but what should you drink with them?
Which wines - or beers - pair best with cooked cheese?
Cheese and wine is a notorious minefield but is it any easier when the cheese is cooked? See my suggestions to match Mark Hix's delicious recipes in the Independent today:
The tough task of pairing white truffles
Frankly if you can afford white truffles (currently selling at about 2500 euros per kilo) you probably already have a substantial cellar to pick from but just so you don’t in any way detract from the pleasure of eating your investment let me tell you what the Piedmontese do.
Which wines and beers pair best with mushrooms?
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
Wine with lobster: 6 of the best pairings
There’s such an obvious wine match for lobster (great chardonnay) that you might wonder if it was worth considering anything else but there are other interesting alternatives.
The best wine pairings for spaghetti puttanesca
Spaghetti puttanesca - or 'whore’s spaghetti' to translate it literally - is a full-flavoured pasta dish with strong, punchy flavours but which wine should you pair with it?
6 of the best wine pairings for spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara - spaghetti with a creamy bacon and egg sauce - is one of my all-time favourite pasta dishes but what’s the best wine pairing for it?
The best wine pairings for seabass
Seabass is one of the most popular fish on restaurant menus these days - usually treated quite simply and rarely sauced. But what wine should you pair with it?
The best wine pairings for spaghetti alle vongole
The ideal pairing does of course depend on how you make your spaghetti alle vongole - the classic Italian dish of spaghetti with white wine and clams - but in my book, the answer is simple: a young, unoaked, Italian white wine.
The best wine pairings for eggs benedict
The ideal wine pairing for eggs benedict - that unctuous dish of poached eggs and ham topped with buttery hollandaise sauce - is likely to be dictacted as much by when you eat it as the dish itself.
Which wines pair best with raw food?
If anyone still needs convincing about the virtues of food and wine matching Mark Hix’s fresh seasonal recipes in The Independent today should convince them. Even the ‘drink what you like with the food you like’ brigade would have to admit that a voluptuous Meursault or oak-aged white Bordeaux would totally overwhelm the flavours of raw food.
Seasonal wine pairings for Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy
Lucy Bridgers reports on an elegant dinner matching different vintages of Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy with a seasonal spring menu
What impact does garlic have on wine pairing?
If you’re the kind of person (like me) who puts garlic into practically everything you cook you may regard this question as an irrelevance but some dishes are much more garlicky than others.
Wine, beer and other pairings with Mexican food
The thing you need to ask yourself when you’re wondering which wine - or other drink - to pair with Mexican food is what kind of Mexican. Authentic Mexican or Tex Mex?
Top wine pairings with scallops
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
The best wine and beer pairings for mussels/moules
Just as with every other ingredient the ideal pairing for mussels depends how you cook them, starting with the classic moules marinières.
The best wine pairings for vitello tonnato
One of the best hot weather dishes, this piquant dish of cold poached or roast veal with a tuna, anchovy and caper mayonnaise invariably pops up on menus at this time of year. But what to pair with it?
What wine to pair with goose
If you’ve decided to serve goose rather than turkey this Christmas you’ve already opted to be adventurous. So you could arguably be adventurous about your wine (or other drink) pairing too.
The best wine pairings for a Chinese stir-fry
A stir-fry is a great option for a quick midweek supper but what kind of wine should you drink with it?
The best wine - and other - pairings for leeks
Leeks generally feature in dishes in their own right rather than as a side and have a mild sweet flavour you want to respect.
4 good wines to pair with fish pie
Whether it's topped with mashed potato or pastry fish pie is a relatively straightforward dish to pair with wine but some styles work better than others.
More pairings with Indian food
I spent an interesting evening this week at one of London’s leading Indian restaurants Benares. It was organised jointly by a wine events company called The Wine Nose and SOPEXA, the promotional arm of the French food and wine industry.
What are the best wine pairings for Vacherin Mont d’Or
People occasionally ask me my favourite cheese - an impossible question but Vacherin Mont d’Or is certainly up there in the top 5.
Good wine pairings for Saint-Nectaire
Having spent a few days in the Auvergne recently and eaten more than my fair share of Saint Nectaire cheese with a variety of wines, mostly natural, here’s what I think works best.
The best food pairings for dry Furmint
All countries like to boast that their signature grape variety goes with practically everything but in the case of Hungary’s furmint it’s true.
Which wine pairs best with tomatoes?
Tomatoes are generally held to be a problem for wine but as Jane McQuitty robustly puts it in The Times today - nonsense!
The best wine - and other drinks - to pair with macaroni cheese
The best wine to pair with macaroni cheese, or mac'n'cheese as our friends across the pond have it, depends how fancy - and how cheesy - your mac and cheese is.
Six of the best wine pairings for Christmas 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 Spanish wines to pair with tapas
It shouldn't come as a massive surprise that Spain can provide any style of wine you might fancy to drink with tapas.
Turbot paired with white Chateauneuf-du-Pape
This week I’ve been celebrating a big birthday with some extravagant feasting including a sublime dinner on the night at my son’s restaurant Hawksmoor Borough. (Well, you might as well keep it in the family!)
My 12 best drink pairings of 2014
In my annual round-up of the best matches of the year I usually end up listing around a third of my matches of the week so I thought this year I’d set myself the the challenge of picking one from each calendar month.
What are the best pairings for pancakes?
If you’re planning a Pancake Day celebration for Tuesday and haven’t yet decided what to drink here are few ideas.
The best food pairings for Grüner Veltliner
Winemakers like to tell you that their wines go with everything but in the case of Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s best known white wine, it’s true.
Six of the best drink pairings for kale
Although there's not quite the feverish frenzy there was about kale a couple of years ago there's still a lot of kale lurve around.
Which drinks pair best with Thai food?
The predominant flavours of Thai cuisine are sweet, sour, hot and salty - slightly different from the warm spicing of many Indian curries or the more fragrant, herbal notes of Vietnamese. So which which drinks pair best with a Thai meal?
Eight great drink pairings for sushi
You might think sushi would be tricky to pair with wine but surprisingly that’s not the case. And there are other drinks that work too . . .
Best food pairings with sauvignon blanc
Sauvignon blanc is many people's favourite wine but what type of food pairs with it best?
Two exciting new pairings for asparagus
I’ve been thinking about the tricky subject of wine with asparagus for long enough to have come up with a number of different pairings but I came across two this week that were really a bit of a revelation.
What wine (and other drinks) to pair with poke
If you haven’t heard of poke - the Hawaiian dish of cubed raw fish usually with rice and/or vegetables - you soon will. It’s everywhere (and pronounced, by the way, pokay not poke).
The best wine pairings for mangoes and mango desserts
Mango is often incorporated into drinks but what should you pair with it if you are eating it as a fruit or an ingredient in a savoury dish like a salad?
6 of the best pairings for pinot grigio
That pinot grigio is many people's favourite white wine should come as no surprise - it’s a refreshing, versatile wine that pairs really well with light, summery food and ever-popular Italian staples such as pasta and risotto.
Top food pairings with Clare Valley and Eden Valley riesling
One of the most distinctive styles of white wine, dry rieslings from the Clare and Eden Valley in south Australia have a distinctive limey twist that makes them a particularly good match for Asian and Asian-inspired food.
The best food pairings for Grenache
Today is International Grenache Day, a celebration of a grape which is (often anonymously) responsible for some of the most generous and appealing reds in the wine world.
The best food pairings for Gewurztraminer
Often compared to rose petals, lychees and Turkish delight, gewurztraminer is the wine world’s most exotic grape variety so what on earth do you pair with it?
Which food to pair with South African chenin blanc
You might think it odd to pick out South African Chenin rather than Chenin Blanc in general but I do think the wines are distinctive, particularly when it comes to the crisper styles which are much zestier than they tend to be in the Loire
The best pairings for albarino (and alvarinho)
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.
10 different drinks to pair with smoked salmon
Smoked salmon is most commonly associated with champagne but in fact it goes with many other wines as well as with beer, whisky and vodka.
The best food pairings for Vermentino
Vermentino is incredibly versatile - a brilliant wine pairing for anything fishy, herby or citrussy and a great wine for spring and summer drinking.
What to pair with artisanal cheddar?
The type of artisanal cheddar I was writing about yesterday - mature, full-flavoured, unpasteurised - isn’t the easiest cheese to match with wine.
What to pair with Coronation chicken?
Coronation chicken is an obvious choice for any Royal occasion but what wine - or beer - should you pair with it?
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.
6 of the best drink pairings for avocado toast
Judging by my Instagram feed practically everyone is eating avocado toast at least once a day but what do you drink with it?
20 top Australian Chardonnays
To celebrate Australia Day here's a feature I wrote a year ago on Australian chardonnay - not as out of date as you might think as many of the vintages will only just have worked through.
My tasting at the Wine & Culinary Forum, Barcelona
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
Matching wine and charcuterie - an experiment
About the most daunting audience that anyone could face is a group of wine writers, especially if a number of those happen to specialise in food and wine matching so it was with some trepidation that I agreed to lead a tasting on wine and charcuterie in London on Monday night on the eve of the London International Wine Fair.
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.
10 food-friendly wines from The Beautiful South
Wine writer Matt Walls picks out his favourite wines from Chile, Argentina and South Africa from last week's Beautiful South tasting
What Britain’s top wine merchants think you should drink
Yesterday was the Bunch tasting, one of the highlights of the UK press tasting circuit. The Bunch is a group of six well-known wine merchants: Adnams, Berry Bros & Rudd, Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman, Tanners and Yapp Brothers. I’ve been seeing the same faces there for well over a decade. (None of them looks a day older, of course. Nor do I . . . ;-)
How long does wine keep?
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.
Pairing Indian wine with Indian cheese
Chef Shaun Kenworthy reports on what he believes to be a unique tasting of Indian wine and Indian cheese.
A wine and truffle lunch with The Wine Society
Are Languedoc wines grand enough to stand up to truffles? Our new contributor Donald Edwards reports:
12 good white wines to buy from Marks & Spencer
It says a lot about Marks & Spencer’s usual prices that they can afford to run a 25% off deal if you buy any 6 bottles of wine or champagne* for a whole month rather than the usual week but you might as well take advantage.
Top wine and beer matches for game
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.
‘Meli Melo’ 2013 and 3 other good wine finds from Yapp
One of the problems of recommending a wine that most people can only buy online is that they generally have to buy a case - either of that wine or others they haven't a clue whether they’ll like or not.
8 bottles to buy from Lidl's Spring 2021 wine tour
It’s good to find that Lidl hasn’t given up its regular ‘wine tours’ which liven up the range every couple of months. Prices aren’t as keen as they once were, admittedly but if you’re in search of something more interesting than the general supermarket offering (or their own standard range) they’re still good value.
French food and Australian Wine
Blogger Denise Medrano of The Wine Sleuth braces herself for a lunch featuring classic French dishes and Australian wine. Was she convinced? Read on . . .
Hedonism, Mayfair: a winelovers' playground
London's most luxurious wine shop by far Hedonism looks as if it's the kind of place you'd need to take out a mortgage to buy a case. Fortunately appearances deceive . . .
When food and wine matching doesn't matter
Although I make my living writing about how food can enhance wine - and vice versa - I would never want to be dogmatic about it and freely admit that there are occasions when it matters less than others.
6 wines from grapes that begin with VE to drink on VE day
With VE day coming up on Friday you may have already made plans for what you’re going to eat and drink which could well be home-grown, UK produced, wine, beer or cider.
What to drink with a kebab - and it's not lager!
Inspired by the British Kebab awards Zeren Wilson wonders what the perfect wine pairing is for a kebab and comes up with some surprising conclusions.
What kind of food should you serve with fine wine?
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?
Grilled lamb chops and ‘orange’ wine
One of the most striking things I’ve noticed during my few days in Rome this past week is how white wine seems a better match for the local food than red does. Even with red meat like lamb? Strangely, yes.
Sip with supper: Guest columnists Jackie and Bianca share their favourite party wines
It's always great to have a fresh voice on the site and few are better qualified than Jackie Dyer and Bianca Ford to talk about matching food and wine. Having both worked in the wine trade they've decided to put their expertise to good use in a joint venture called Sip with Supper (@sipwithsupper on Twitter) which will be hosting events and making videos about food and wine pairing.
Food for wine: glammed up roast chicken and smart white burgundy
In the first of an occasional series on dishes to make at home to show off a special wine Lucy Bridgers devises the perfect romantic dinner for her lucky other half.
What are the best wine glasses to buy?
Much play has been made over the last few years of having different shaped glasses for different wines but for those of us with limited storage space (and a limited budget) that’s simply not practical. So what are the best type of glasses to buy and what should you expect to pay for them?
A quick guide to wine serving temperatures
The mistake most people make when they’re serving wine is to serve whites too cold and reds too warm. Assuming you haven’t got a handy wine thermometer here’s a quick guide to the ideal temperature for different styles of wine:
Which wines and beers match best with Chinese food
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?
The best wine matches for turbot
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?
London Cru SW6, Red Wine 1
The idea of making wine in London from grapes grown in France and Italy sounds a bit of a crazy one but London Cru’s first vintage is an impressive debut.
Wine and cheese: Rosemary and ewes’ milk cheese and (very) old white rioja
Last week I hosted a tasting for Wines of Rioja at Cambridge Wine Merchants. You never know quite how these things are going to work out on the day but happily most of the matches were spot on.
Matching Lebanese food and wine
Many of us are familiar with Lebanon's rich culinary heritage, courtesy of the Lebanese diaspora and food writers such as Claudia Roden and Anissa Helou. Yet the prevalence of popular Lebanese dishes such as tabbouleh and hummous in our supermarkets is not yet matched by Lebanese wines despite a long history of grape cultivation dating back to the Phoenicians.
Top wines to drink with turkey
You may already have your own favourite wine pairing for turkey but if you're looking for inspiration here are some of my favourite matches.
The best wine matches for Comté
After a recent visit to the Jura I've rethought my ideas about which wines make the best wine pairings for Comté cheese.
Sparkling wine and spicy snacks
The idea of drinking sparkling wine with Indian street food might seem crazy but it’s a really good pairing as I was reminded last night when I dined at Masala Zone just off Carnaby Street with Warren Edwardes, the CEO of a company called Wine for Spice.
Duck liver, bacon and onions with orange wine
There’s still a lot of suspicion about orange wine with many in the wine industry taking the view that it’s faulty rather than, what it actually is, a different style of wine.
A winelover's New Year's Eve dinner
After the tradition-bound cooking of the Christmas period (from which the family will never let you deviate . . .) it’s good to branch out a bit with your New Year’s Eve meal and also pick some dishes that will allow you to drink some serious wines. Note you need to start the beef two days in advance.
The 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking
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.
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.
Wine of the week: Virgile Joly Bourret Pays d’Oc 2014
Those of you who have followed me for a while will know I’m not a great fan of Naked Wines but occasionally they come up with a corker that almost tempts me to sign up as an ‘Angel'.
So what IS a food-friendly wine?
People in the wine trade often talk about ‘food friendly wines’, a term so vague you might wonder what on earth it means. Surely all wines are designed to go with food? Is it supposed to be a criticism or a compliment?
How cream can help a fine wine match
It’s become fashionable these days to vilify butter and cream but if you want your wine to shine bring them into play. There’s almost nothing better than a rich creamy sauce to show off a fine white burgundy and whisking a little butter into a red wine sauce will set your Bordeaux off a treat.
Pairing Errazuriz wines at Pollen Street Social
New world wines are sometimes criticised (usually by the French!) for overwhelming subtle Michelin-starred food but award-winning blogger Jeanne Horak-Druiff of Cooksister found much to admire when she attended an Errazuriz food, wine and photography evening at Pollen Street Social.
Mas Querido white field blend
In these early days of September it’s good to drink a wine that reminds you it is still summer and I found it at the Majestic tasting this week in a Spanish white from La Mancha called Mas Querido.
Pairing wine with Szechuan (or Sichuan) cuisine
Just as you think you might have got to grips with matching wine with Chinese food along comes a regional cuisine like Szechuan which is twice as challenging, as I discovered at a wine dinner at Flinty Red in Bristol last night.
What wine to drink with gazpacho
If there’s one dish more difficult to pair with wine than already tricky tomatoes it’s gazpacho, the chilled Spanish summer soup that includes raw onion and peppers as well. So what wine should you match with it?
Spanish wine matches for Moro recipes
For the last couple of weeks The Telegraph has been running recipes from two of my favourite chefs, Sam and Sam Clark of Moro, the iconic Moorish recipe in Exmouth Market in London that I discover, to my amazement, is now 11 years old. Sam (the husband) is very into his wines, particularly sherry, so I'm suggesting Spanish wines for the pairings.
Six of the best matches for Bacchus and other dry English white wines
If you've bough a bottle of English wine to celebrate St George's Day or English Wine Week you may be wondering what sort of food suits it best.
Oaked white rioja and rabbit terrine
This time of year is full of pre-Christmas get-togethers which means a higher than usual number of meals out and an above average number of interesting wine pairings.
Aubergines with walnut sauce and amber wine
It’s hard to pick out one pairing out of the multitude of dishes we were served with amber or orange wine during my first visit to Georgia last week but I’m going for one we barely ever failed to find on the table - grilled aubergine with walnut sauce.
Savatiano 2014/15 Domaine Papagiannakos - a delicious Greek white
Even if you’re into wine I reckon there’s a fair chance you won’t have heard of Savatiano a grape that's indigenous to the Attica region of Greece and which is also used to make retsina.
Dard & Ribo Crozes-Hermitage and Vinujancu Etna Bianco
I couldn’t make up which of these terrific wines to recommend from yesterday’s London Wine Sessions so I’m going for both.
The best wine matches with salt cod
Salt cod, a popular Good Friday dish in parts of the Mediterranean, is cooked many different ways which suggest different wine pairings.
Is Koshu the best match for Japanese food?
I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot about Koshu this year. No, it’s not some unfamiliar aspect of Japanese cuisine but a white wine made from a grape of the same name. A campaign to promote it in the UK was launched at a lunch in London yesterday by a VIP line-up of Japanese goverment officials from the Yamanashi prefecture where most of the winemakers are based.
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.
Does great wine need to be aged?
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?
Two really good wines to buy from Help 4 Hospitality
As I'm sure you know the hospitality industry - i.e. restaurants, pubs and hotels - is in dire straits with no clear idea when businesses can reopen or even if they’ll be viable if they do.
Wine of the week: Crittenden Estate Cri de Coeur Savagnin sous voile 2011
Those of you who read my Guardian column may have spotted that last week’s was devoted to winemakers who tackle an established grape variety or wine style on their own doorstep
The best wine matches for Manchego, Berkswell and other hard sheep cheeses
Hard sheep cheeses are the winelover’s friend.
Pairing Indian food with the biodynamic wines of Bonny Doon
I have to confess I found it pretty hard to concentrate on the finer nuances of the food and wine combinations at the recent Cinnamon Club dinner. But when the speaker is the discursive Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon and you're sitting next to him that's no great surprise. Before the meal had even started we were into Kierkegaard and a vigorous discussion of terroir in the bar below over our glasses of Vin Gris de Cigare (a typically unorthodox full-bodied rosé based on Grenache, Cinsault and Roussanne).
Pairing wine with Chinese cuisine
I’ve written before about pairing wine with Chinese food - and so have some of my contributors but here’s a slightly different way of going about it that may help you decide which bottle to choose and make your pairings more successful. It involves deciding which flavours are predominant in a dish or selection of dishes.
German wine and Scandi food - natural born partners
Scandinavian food is becoming increasingly popular but what type of wine should you drink with it? Lucy Bridgers reports on how German wine fares.
Pairing wine and artichokes
Artichokes have the reputation of being a wine-killer but as with most of these diktats the problem is over-played. True, artichokes can make even dry whites taste oddly sweet but that doesn’t account for the different ways in which they are cooked and how they are served.
8 great wine matches for brussels sprouts
The idea of doing a post on wine matches with brussels sprouts might strike you as a tad over the top - after all who eats sprouts on their own? (Answer: me. Whenever I get the chance.)
Scallops with Sauternes butter and oaked white Bordeaux
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.
Matching German Riesling made easy
Well, I don’t know about easy but there must be some easier way to get people into German wine . . .
Salt cod, oxtail and Ferñao Pires
It’s not often you have a wine flight with a tasting menu in which every pairing is so perfectly constructed that it’s almost impossible to say which was the best. Every match at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw deserved to be a match of the week but if pushed I’m going to go for this one because it was so unexpected.
Beer vs wine: experiments with cheddar
The other evening I had an interesting session with a few food bloggers matching Davidstow cheddar for which I’d been asked to come up with some drink pairings*. My task was to talk about the wine. The company’s Head Grader Mark Pitts-Tucker brought along a couple of Cornish ales - Sharp’s Doombar and St Austell Tribute.
Wines to drink with risotto
Like other dishes the perfect wine match for risotto depends on the flavourings for the risotto rather than the rice itself - the lighter the dish, the ligher and fresher the wine.
Wines to match three very nice simple recipes from cookery writer Ken Hom
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 and pepper
Like salt, pepper has a pronounced effect on wine, often making reds taste softer and lusher than they otherwise would. Unlike salt though, you also find peppery flavours in wines such as Northern Rhône Syrah and Austrian Grüner Veltliner.
How to host a wine dinner
Ollie Couillaud’s inaugural wine dinner at The Lawn Bistro in Wimbledon, west London yesterday was a masterclass in how to get it right.
10 top wine matches for Christmas starters
You may well know what you’re going to drink with the turkey by now but here are some ideas for what to match with your Christmas starters, paired with recipes from some of Britain’s favourite chefs and cookery writers.
The lemon dilemma
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.
An overview of the 2010 Penfolds releases and 2008 Grange
Regular contributor and former sommelier Donald Edwards tastes his way through the latest Penfolds' releases and is blown away by a cabernet.
Matching food and Priorat
I was reminded about my trip to Priorat almost exactly two years ago by my recent visit to the Roussillon which has a similar terroir. And I think the wines would go with similar kinds of food. These were my suggested pairings at the time . . .
Pairing food and Chablis
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.
Caesar salad with a Godello based Spanish white
A lot of the time when we’re eating out we’re not matching dishes exactly - we simply buy a bottle we like the sound of and hope it will cope with everything we throw at it.
Two bargain buys from The Wine Society
The Wine Society held its summer tasting yesterday where the buyers pick out six bottles they’re particularly enthusiastic about. Normally it’s a social event - a chance to get together and chat over lunch - but inevitably this year it was on Zoom.
Ramona Grapefruit wine spritz
With no end to this sizzling hot summer in sight you may even be tiring of rosé so here’s something cool and different to drink that I came across the other day.
The best wine matches for sardines
Freshly caught grilled sardines are a treat at this time of year but how easy is it fo find a wine that will go with them? Look to the French and Portuguese for inspiration!
Six of the best wines with a nut roast
You might be surprised that a nut roast isn’t that different from a conventional roast when it comes to finding a wine pairing. The savoury flavours are designed to act as a satisfying substitute for meat and so work best with similarly full-bodied red wines.
Dry wines with fresh fruit
One of the welcome reminders of this long hot summer (in the Languedoc at least) is just how well dry wines go with fresh fruit. I’ve been happily drinking whites, ross and even reds with fruit such as peaches, apricots, melons and figs. Sweet wines, of course, go well with all of these but sometimes sweet wines seem too intense, particularly if, like me, you don’t have a very sweet tooth.
What wine to drink with cuttlefish
Cuttlefish is a pain to prepare as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall points out in the Guardian today but it is particularly delicious to eat. It’s often partnered with robust flavours so you need to think in terms of equally intense flavoured wines.
Octopus with orange wine
Orange wines - white wines that are made in a similar way to a red, leaving the juice in contact with the skins - have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, proving impressively versatile with food.
Gorwydd Caerphilly and white burgundy
Cheese and wine is always a bit of a minefield so it’s good to find a partnership that works really well. This was one of six pairings laid on for the launch of the Bristol Wine and Food Fair which takes place next month (and at which I’m holding a number of Cheese and Wine Masterclasses, so do come along).
Wine of the week: Colomé Torrontes 2015
The last couple of weeks have passed in a flurry of tastings marked by a number of standout (and some depressingly bad) wines.
Wine of the Week: Weiber Crémant d’Alsace
If you’re popping into Lidl this weekend to buy the wines I’ve recommended in my Guardian column*, try a bottle of this inexpensive sparkling wine too.
Two Greek wines you really should try
There are so many interesting wines in Marks & Spencer’s new ‘Found’ range that it’s hard to single out the best, but as it’s Greek Easter this weekend I’m going for the two Greek ones.
Why Mosel riesling matches Vietnamese food
Our roving gastronaut Lucy Bridgers discovers why German Mosel riesling is the ideal wine pairing for Vietnamese food
Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red
I agonised over whether this should be the standout pairing from this marvellous Lebanese meal at Arabica last week but it won by just a whisker.
Chargrilled baby lamb, salad and Rueda
If you think of lamb you almost certainly think of red wine but in a white wine producing region like Rueda white is the normal go to.
A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight
Here's a barbecue I've dug out of the archives - a middle-eastern inspired BBQ from my book Food, Wine and Friends.
Gundog Estate Wild Semillon 2015
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.
Wines to match wild salmon
Forget for the moment my often-advocated match of chilled red wine with salmon, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a wild fish it deserves one of your best whites. Here are my suggested matches for Mark Hix’ recipes in the Independent today:
Wine for turkey: the difference between a Thanksgiving turkey and a British Christmas turkey
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.
What to eat with your favourite wines this Christmas
Although we wine writers like to think we might be able to encourage you to be more adventurous in your wine choices this Christmas the truth is you’re probably going to stick to the wines you're familiar with.
The best wine matches for tomatoes
Although not the problem they're generally made out to be tomatoes do have an influence on a wine pairing.
Is wine the best partner for pie?
We Brits don't need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
Sweet herring and mackerel rillettes with an aromatic Greek white
Paris isn’t the obvious place you’d think of drinking Greek wine - in fact it’s a rare sighting in a city whose wine lists are almost 100% French. So when I came across one in a hip little bar called Clamato I was intrigued
Red mullet, tapenade and white Saint Joseph
Last week I was in the Northern Rhone where the biggest challenge, from a food and wine matching perspective, is what you eat with its distinctive whites which are made from Marsanne and Roussanne
Burrata and a Cape White blend
It’s been such a hectic week I haven’t been cooking or eating out much so I had to scratch my head for a standout match.
Two Sainsbury’s Fairtrade wines to try
Every Fairtrade Fortnight I seem to end up bleating about the quality of Fairtrade wines so I thought this year I would give it a break. And then I found - too late for my Guardian column - a couple of better than average examples in Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range.
Wine of the week: Melonix 2014
One of the best ways to make new wine discoveries is to experiment with wines by the glass. And that is how I found Melonix, a fabulous wine from biodynamic Loire producer Domaines Jo Landron at the newly opened Frenchie in Covent Garden yesterday.
Two massively drinkable natural wines for under £10
I’ve long been a fan of natural wine but can’t argue with the fact that it’s expensive. For good reason - it’s often made on a very small scale by artisan producers but that generally takes it out of the realm of everyday drinking.
On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 4
What happened to days 2 and 3 you may be asking and indeed that’s what I’m asking myself. We swept through Eastern Washington as fast as a tornado, barely pausing to sleep, never mind write.
Why Pinot Gris hits the spot with spicy food
You may think tasting wine sounds arduous but a major wine and food tasting, I assure you, is a much greater assault on the system as I was reminded the other day when Victoria Moore of The Guardian and I ran 14 Pinot Gris through their paces with foods that ranged from smoked eel to chicken tikka masala. Neither of us was able to eat much for several days.
Radicchio, pickled pear and blue cheese salad and Le Bistro Montmija white
This crisp white wasn’t chosen as an exact match more like a wine I thought would run along with everyone’s starters when we went out to lunch at The Bull in Totnes last week
Pumpkin ravioli and a Douro white
You wouldn’t necessarily expect an Italian dish like pumpkin ravioli to pair with a Portuguese white but the match was just perfect.
Plaice with clams, girolles and mash with FMC Chenin
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.
Duck tagine and Moscatel
I certainly feel duck’s status as one of the best ingredients to pair with wine has been enhanced by this week’s match of the week
Chargrilled endive, hazelnut crumble and Bayonne ham with white Bairrada
I’m having a bit of thing about Portuguese wine at the moment - it’s so great with food and such brilliantly good value. Especially on restaurant wine lists where it’s invariably underpriced in comparison to better known wine producing countries and regions
Les Perles de Jones Carignan Gris, Côtes Catalanes
This week’s Wine Society tasting was, as always, impressive but there’s one wine I’d urge you to buy now, despite the £16 price tag, as I suspect there isn't much of it.
Wine and beer matches for Mexican food
Mark Hix may have been knocking back the tequila on his recent trip to Mexico but if you’re not made of such stern stuff try my alternative suggestions for his Mexican-inspired recipes in the Independent today.
Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook
The book I’ve been looking forward to most so far this year has just started being serialised in the Guardian today. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi who founded two exceptional London restaurants and is simply called Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. l love Ottolenghi's food - it’s so generous and big-flavoured, piled high on bright, colourful platters - you can't fail to be tempted by it. It also lends itself perfectly to entertaining for large numbers at home.
Whitebait and Muscadet-sur-Lie
Regulars may have noticed a distinct French bias in my matches of the week and have wondered why this is. The truth is that my husband is an unreconstructed Francophile so French wine is mainly what we drink at home and what we order if we’re out together.
Stilton quiche and white burgundy
This week’s match of the week is the perfect illustration that you shouldn’t be led astray by your basic ingredient.
Pike and crayfish pithivier with white burgundy
If you’re looking for a match for a serious white burgundy you couldn’t do better than this elaborate pike and crayfish pie or tourte de brochet, bisque écrevisse as they billed it at the Château de Montreuil last week.
Foie gras and white Hermitage
Those of you who remember the post I wrote 10 years or so ago about why I wasn’t going to eat foie gras any more might reasonably ask how come it’s appearing in this match of the week?
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with this delicious seafood supper
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.
Mature Marlborough chardonnay with modern Japanese food
I don’t often go to wine lunches or dinners, preferring to experiment with a range of wines from more than one country and producer with the food I’m eating but I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying New Zealand producer Astrolabe’s wine with the food at Sake No Hana in London's St James's.
An alternative Burns Night supper for six
Haggis may be traditional fare for Burns' Night but let's face it, it's not everyone's cup of tea. So here's a Scottish inspired menu that I suspect you'll probably enjoy rather more (unless you're born and bred Scots, of course...)
The Society’s Saint-Aubin 2017: a poor man’s Puligny-Montrachet
This wine is a winner on three counts - it’s from a lesser-known - and very good value - Burgundy appellation, Saint-Aubin, which is just next door to the better known and more expensive Puligny-Montrachet, it comes from the excellent 2017 vintage and it's an own label bottling from the admirable Wine Society,
Pairing wine and Indian seafood
It’s less common to come across Indian-spiced seafood dishes than it is fish and vegetable-based ones so what sort of wine works? Yesterday I had a chance to find out
Which wine to match with Dover sole?
When you have a fish as fine as Dover sole you don’t want to mask its delicate sweet flavour in any way. Here are my suggestions for Gordon Ramsay’s recipes in the Times today.
Can any wine survive a Vindaloo?
The widely held belief that wine doesn’t pair with curry has largely been dispelled with the new and more subtly spiced curries on the market. But what of really hot curries like a Vindaloo?
Roast turbot with wild mushrooms and white Minervois
I spent last week in the Languedoc where we visit quite regularly so there weren’t many new food and wine discoveries to be made but I think the most thought-provoking match was a main course dish of roast turbot with girolles and a bottle of Château Cabezac 'Alice' 2008 from the Minervois I had at a restaurant in Agde called Le Bistrot d’Hervé.
Roast chicken with tarragon and asparagus and oaked white Bordeaux
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.
Wine of the Week: Tesco Finest Soave Classico Superiore
Soave is one of the most underrated Italian wines - and one of the most keenly priced.
Wine of the week: Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2010
If you’re a fan of mature Chablis - or are looking for a special white for Christmas - this is a marvellous bottle from one of Chablis’ most idiosyncractic and interesting winemakers
Vignole and Friulano
As those of you who follow me on instagram (@food_writer) will know I’ve been in Venice for the past few days - and if I could would still be there!
Morrisons The Best Marques de Los Rios Rioja Blanco Reserva 2011
I’m flagging this up not because I think you’re all going to love it - mature white wines are not for everyone* - but because I think it’s a fantastic achievement for a supermarket to stock a six year old wine of such quality in its own label range.
Tales from South Africa: Falling back in love with Sauvignon Blanc
Having spent my first two days in South Africa in regions that specialise in Sauvignon Blanc (Elgin and Constantia) it won’t greatly surprise you I’ve been drinking a fair bit of it. The greater surprise, as someone who has become Sauvignon-weary is how much I’ve been enjoying it.
Quick tiger prawns (shrimp) with pinot grigio, fresh tomato and basil sauce
It's always a struggle to think of something quick and delicious to make for a mid-week supper. This easy Italian-inspired recipe from my book Cooking With Wine solves the problem.
Napoleon ewes cheese and mature white Saint Mont
It’s always a bit of thrill to come across a cheese you don’t know especially when you’re bowled over by it as in the case of the Napoleon ewes milk cheese I tasted at the Plaimont pop-up wine bar in Marciac, in south-west France last week. (It's the one at the top of the board in the picture above.)
Mature Savennières with chargrilled carrots, burnt aubergine, miso and walnut pesto
OK, this pairing at Jason Atherton’s new Social Wine and Tapas isn’t exactly easy to reproduce at home but it was certainly the highlight of my food and wine matches last week.
Lamb rogan josh with huitlacoche and Torres Milmanda chardonnay 2008
This may well be the most off-the-wall pairing I post this year: chardonnay with a lamb curry? Extraordinary - and this is why
Laurent Miquel Vendanges Nocturnes Viognier 2013, Pays d’Oc
I like the lushness of Viognier but often find cheaper ones a bit muted, however this one from Languedoc producer Laurent Miquel which is on offer currently at £6.70 in Waitrose and online* is the real deal.
Kaiken Terroir Series Torrontes 2014
This week I’ve managed to be in both Chile and Argentina so it was a toss-up which should provide the wine of the week . . .
Clos Floridène Blanc Graves 2012
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).
Can any wine stand up to Stinking Bishop?
We Brits don’t have a long tradition of washed-rind cheeses but we have a true champion in the aptly named Stinking Bishop, which shot to worldwide fame when it was featured in the Wallace & Gromit film. But can any wine (or other drink) stand up to it?
Seared diver-caught scallops and mature white burgundy
I was trying to think what food and wine match I would most like to be presented with on Valentine’s Day. I’m off foie gras. Caviar is horrendously expensive and very un-PC. Smoked salmon is nice, certainly, but no longer quite the special treat it once was (unless it’s wild). And I must be one of the few people in the world who isn’t anyone’s for a gooey chocolate pud.
John Dory poached in red wine with Daniel Rion Nuits-St-Georges
It was hard to pick just one pairing from the stellar meal I had at Marcus Wareing in London last week but this combination of robustly cooked John Dory and 2005 Nuits-St-Georges from Domaine Daniel Rion was the most interesting, underlining that red wine can be just as good a partner for white fish as for meatier fish like tuna.
A Viognier-dominated Languedoc white and a Chinese/Thai takeaway
The first thing we do when we get back from France is to eat some kind of spicy food. It’s not impossible to eat ethnic down in the Languedoc (there are a couple of Vietnamese restaurants locally) but it’s not good.
Wine of the week: Josmeyer Mise du Printemps 2014
Who could resist a wine with a label like this at this time of year yet I ordered it before I’d even seen it.
Wine of the week: Bohoek Semillon 2017
One of the grape varieties that has impressed me most over the last few days in South Africa has been semillon and here’s a chance to try it at a really good price.
Wine of the week: Ataraxia Chardonnay 2013
Every so often (sadly not THAT often) you come across a wine on a wine list that’s so well priced you can’t quite believe it. Which is what happened to us last night at the St Vincent in Clifton.
Wine of the week: Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2015
This is not so much a new find as a rediscovery. I’ve been a fan of James Millton’s wines since the early 1990s when he was virtually a lone pioneer of biodynamics and each time I revisit them they get better and better.
Oysters with gazpacho and godello
I love oysters but generally find myself ordering the usual suspects with it from a wine list so am also super-pleased to find a new pairing.
Vidonia Suertes del Marques 2013, Valle de la Orotava Tenerife
Some of the most exciting wines in Europe right now are coming out of Spain as this glorious white from Suertes del Marques in Tenerife proves.
When should you drink Yquem?
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.
What to drink with Turkish food
Turkish food is not traditionally accompanied by wine. And although the Turks do have a wine industry not much of it makes its way over here. But here are some thoughts on possible pairings for Mark Hix's Turkish inspired recipes in the Independent this weekend"
On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1
For the next 10 days I’m going to be visiting the vineyards of Oregon and Washington State so the site will turn into more of a blog. Our first day yesterday included lunch at Chateau Ste Michelle, by far Washington’s largest wine producer.
White onion and bay leaf soup with Ogleshield and hazelnuts
I ordered this amazing soup at one of my favourite local Bristol restaurants Wallfish (now Wallfish & Wellbourne) and begged the recipe from the chef, Seldon Curry. It's tastes like the sweetest of oniony fondues and is soooo delicious.
What's the best match for a barbecue?
Should it be wine or beer - or even a cocktail? Last year I asked the Twitter community what their favourite barbecue bevvy was and this is what they came up with . . .
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.
What to match with Christmas ham
A fair bit gets written - including by yours truly - about pairing wine with turkey but what type of drinks go best with the Christmas ham?
Wild asparagus and Istrian Malvazija
This week’s wine pairing couldn’t be anything else but Istrian having spent three days in this northern part of Croatia last week. Surprisingly it turns out to be a great gastronomic destination - not from the point of view of fine dining but of respect for local traditions, ingredients and grape varieties.
Vitello tonnato and Etna Bianco
It’s not often you find a wine that sails through every dish you put in front of it but I’d say on the basis of Friday night’s Italian feast at Wild Artichokes in Kingsbridge that the Tenuta Tasca Buonora Etna Bianco 2017 would see you through almost any Italian meal.
Scallop tartare and sauvignon blanc
What on earth do you do when you have a line-up of some of the best wines in the world in front of you? Do you attempt to match them or reflect more the mood, the company and the time of year? Or, given that they're indisputably the hero of the occasion, do you just go with the sort of food the kitchen does well anyway?
Sauvignon-semillon and seared salmon carpaccio
Some weeks are tougher than others when it comes to picking my match of the week. Last week which included an excellent lunch with Carolyn Martin of Creation Wines at Sexy Fish was one.
Pumpkin gnocchi and gewurztraminer
I’ve always thought of gewürztraminer as a bit of an inflexible wine - brilliant with spicy food. rich patés and pongy cheese but not much else. However it went brilliantly with several dishes at my local, Bellita in Bristol the other day including a classic Italian dish of pumpkin gnocchi with sage and brown butter.
Grosset off-dry riesling with a Chinese New Year’s Eve feast
We had a great feast with friends on Saturday night to celebrate the Chinese New Year, cooking a range of dishes from Fuchsia Dunlop’s fabulous Every Grain of Rice about which I was raving last week.
Sashimi and koshu
Given that koshu is Japan's signature grape variety it’s perhaps not surprising that it’s a successful pairing with sashimi but two interesting things emerged from a recent tasting which was hosted by Sarah Abbott on behalf of Wines of Japan.
Indian veggie food and sauvignon blanc
After a lively discussion about what to drink with curry on my #weekendwinematching slot it was good to discover a new angle on pairing wine with Indian food.
Wine of the week: Casal de Ventozela Alvarinho 2015
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.
Koyle Costa Sauvignon Blanc, Colchagua Costa 2012
If you’re a Sauvignon Blanc fan but are looking for something a little different try this deliciously fresh, elegant Chilean Sauvignon.
Joseph Drouhin Rully rouge 2012
The dilemma for us wine writers is when to recommend a wine we're really excited about. Do we save it up for a round-up of the best wines we’ve tasted in that category or tell you about it straight away on the basis that every other journo will be pushing it too?
Wines for some tricky Chinese dishes
When I read Mark Hix recipes in The Independent today they were so challenging that I nearly gave up but as everyone else seems to be writing about asparagus today and I’ve done a lot on asparagus recently there was no other option . . .
Alternative wine matches for lamb
The perfect match for lamb is red wine, right? Well, mostly but not always as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipes in the Guardian this weekend and my own recent experience have demonstrated
Sushi and an oaked Luis Pato white
About the last thing you’d think I’d be recommending after 4 days in Portugal last week would be a wine pairing for sushi - but that was the outstanding match.
Stir-fried lobster, egg white and scallop mousse with Chateau Fombrauge Bordeaux Blanc 2009
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.
Wine of the week: Candelilla Albarino 2018
If you’re an albarino fan you’ll have watched with dismay as the price has crept up over the last few years so much so that an albarino under £10 has become something of a rarity.
Wine of the Week: Asda Extra Special Fiano
Finding drinkable wines under a fiver these days is a tough call but Asda’s Extra Special Fiano is worth anyone’s money
Gaintza Txakoli 2013
If you dread pronouncing wine names and steer away from flute shaped bottles you may want to give this wine a wide berth if you see it on the shelf but put your prejudices aside - it’s well worth a try.
Blankbottle Limbic 2015
One of the most original and inventive wine producers I’ve come across is Pieter Walser of Blankbottle in Stellenbosch, South Africa but this is his zaniest concept yet.
What to eat with Cloudy Bay
For most people the New Zealand winery Cloudy Bay is synonymous with sauvignon blanc but their range now extends to sparkling, sweet and red wines, a message underlined by a dinner at Hix Mayfair (in Brown’s Hotel) the other day.
Pairing wine and cheese with Max McCalman
An archive post from a fascinating tasting with maître fromager, educator and author Max McCalman, one of the US's foremost cheese experts, back in 2009.
The best food matches for Semillon and Semillon-Sauvignon blends
One of the world’s most underrated grapes yet capable of making some of its most delicious dry whites, Sémillon isn’t on the radar for many. So if you get hold of a bottle what should you pair with it?
Tuna Tataki and Grenache Blanc
Perfectly prepared Japanese food is not what you expect to find in the gastronomic desert of the Languedoc but this superb dish of rare tuna was a brilliant match for the richly textured white wine I drank at Côté Mas the other day.
Spicy prawns and Chilean riesling
Last week I hosted a fabulous wine dinner at my local Indian restaurant Nutmeg in Bristol. We’d had the opportunity to have a run through beforehand and I was really happy with all the wines which were chosen in conjunction with their supplier Talking Wines.
Smoked duck and blood orange salad with Chilean Gewürztraminer
Gewürztraminer is a tricky wine to match, one that one usually falls back on recommending with oriental food, so it’s always good to come across something that’s outside the Asian register.
Sea bass rillettes and Joseph Burrier Mâcon-Vergisson 2007
One of the most reliable wine matches is white fish with white wine and cream and/or butter and white burgundy - one of those blissful combinations that actually makes the wine taste better than it otherwise would.
Poached langoustines and Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc
Last week I caught up with Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte which I visited a couple of years ago when the winery was nominated Wine Tourism Champion by the Great Wine Capitals of the World (you can find my Decanter article on the experience here).
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.
Langoustine ravioli and Errazuriz Las Pizarras chardonnay
Last Thursday’s dinner to celebrate Decanter’s 2018 Man of the Year, Eduardo Chadwick of Viña Errazuriz was a treat - a line-up of the winery’s very best wines. It was obviously sound thinking to pair two of his top reds, the Don Maximiliano Founder’s Reserve 2014 and Kai 2005 with fillet of beef but I thought the more intriguing match was the first course of langoustine ravioli with their 2015 Las Pizarras chardonnay.
Gorgonzola dolce and La Stoppa Ageno 2005
I’m a bit obsessed with orange wine* at the moment. It seems to go with so many things not least blue cheese as this match with gorgonzola at Le Baratin in Paris underlined.
Godello and seafood
I’m increasingly impressed by the new generation of Spanish wines that are arriving on the shelves. The other day I had a fabulously crisp, zesty white called Godello from the up and coming region of Bierzo, in the region of Castilla y Leon in the north-west of Spain, not far from Galicia.
Artichoke barigoule and grüner veltliner
So maybe Austria’s signature grape grüner veltliner is the perfect pairing for tricky-to-match artichokes?
Artichoke and sheep cheese salad and Ciello bianco
Much is made of the difficulty of pairing wine with artichokes but this week’s match of the week proves it’s far from impossible with the right accompaniments
Prawns with ouzo, orzo and courgette and Greek rosé
I didn’t have plans to go to Greece this year but staying in the UK for the summer has given me itchy feet so I’m cooking my way round the Med instead.
A Hallowe'en supper for 4-6
With Hallowe'en just a few days away here's a sophisticated supper for those of you who don't have to go out trick or treating . . .
Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin ‘en chalasse’ Cotes du Jura 2012
I’ve tasted this wine before but was reminded how absolutely delicious it is when we had a bottle at lunch at Bell’s Diner in Bristol this week. (No I don’t spend my *entire* life there despite this article in the Guardian.)
Collefrisio Falanghina 2012, Terre di Chieti
Not that many people get past pinot grigio in their exploration of Italian whites but Falanghina (pronounced fal-an-ghee-na) is certainly one you should try.
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.
Wine, beer or cocktails - what’s the best match for a 4th July barbecue?
If you’re celebrating July 4th this week and haven’t yet made up your mind what to drink here are some last minute suggestions.
White fish in cream sauce and Alsace Riesling
It’s hard to pick out the best match from my trip to Alsace last week but I think it has to go to this classic combination you find in every traditional restaurant.
Prawn raviole and white Bordeaux
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!).
Mushroom 'caviar' and Californian sparkling wine
Every so often you come across a great little recipe than does wonders for almost any wine you pair with it. And so it is with mushroom ‘caviar’, a regular offering from the takeaway section of my favourite local restaurant Culinaria. Basically it’s a mushroom pâté but so reduced and wickedly intense it’s like pure essence of mushroom. Except for the perfect counterpoint - a tiny touch of tarragon.
Chablis at Nobu
Sometimes you go to a wine dinner with some trepidation wondering if the wine will stand up to the food but I was pretty optimistic that Domaine Long-Depaquit’s Chablis would survive at Nobu (the original Metropolitan hotel restaurant in London, not LA, sadly!)
Sheekey's famous fish pie
Any of you who have been to J Sheekey's in the West End will probably have succumbed to their unbelievably good fish pie. Here's the recipe from their cookbook J Sheekey Fish.
Monkfish, chorizo, saffron and chickpea stew
One of the things I’ve been trying to do in the current crisis is to support local producers and importers who are obviously affected by the closing down of restaurants and pubs.
Wood-roasted fish and assyrtiko
This might not sound like the most cutting edge pairing - unless you haven’t heard of assyrtiko which is perfectly possible - but bear with as they say …
Wagyu beef steak and Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay
Last night was my first in a two week trip of Australia - an informal dinner with Vasse Felix at a Chinese restaurant in Perth (Grand Palace).
Smoked eel with crab remoulade and Slovakian Müller-Thurgau
A good obscure pairing to kick off the week from the newly opened Vinoteca wine bar at Seymour Place.
Smoked cods roe and Metissage
This week’s pairing is as much about the wine as the dish though the two went exceptionally well together.
Sauvignon blanc and salsa verde
Sauvignon blanc might not strike you as the obvious wine to pair with lamb but when it’s accompanied by a salsa verde, as it was in this dish we made at a cookery class at the Square Food Foundation* last week it can work really well.
Roast poulet de Bresse and aged Jura chardonnay
Roast chicken with chardonnay - what’s new about that I hear you say? Well, nothing, obviously but imagine some of the BEST chicken you’ve ever eaten and a GREAT chardonnay - in this case the 2005 Stephane Tissot Arbois chardonnay Les Graviers - and it becomes one of those stellar wine pairings you dream about.
Roast monkfish and chips with Tonnix
There’s a long story behind this week’s match but it’s a good one so bear with me . . .
Octopus and albarino
Octopus is a bit of a cult ingredient on restaurant menus at the moment. I’ve already noted two good wine pairings for it - with Baga and orange wine but this weekend I found another at the Sabor pop-up Polperia at the Dartmouth Food Festival.
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).
Lobster and Condrieu
There were so many outstanding wines at Yapp Brothers 50th anniversary lunch that it’s tough to pick out just one but I’m going to go for this pairing of lobster with Condrieu.
Fried chicken with Kung Fu Girl Columbia Valley Riesling
It’s not that often you find a wine that’s perfectly suited to every dish you throw at it but The Lockhart’s well chosen Kung Fu Girl riesling sailed right through our lunch there last week
Chicken katsu and Feteasca Regala
I’ve been wondering lately what the best wine pairing for chicken katsu curry is, a dish you suddenly find everywhere and I’ve found a bottle where I least expected one - from Romania!
Bacchus and cucumber
Hot on the heels of its best ever medal tally in the International Wine Challenge, English wine is under the spotlight again this week which has been designated English Wine Week. It was sparkling wines that did particularly well in the Challenge but I have a soft spot for a variety called Bacchus, a white wine with a refreshing, sappy hedgerow freshness, not unlike a Sauvignon Blanc. Camel Valley in Cornwall makes a particularly good version.
Asparagus with poached egg, watercress sabayon and Chateau Doisy-Daene Sec
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.
23 year old Chablis and crispy chicken wings
There were a couple of contenders for match of the week this week. I particularly enjoyed a gin and tonic with my king prawn coconut curry for a start but I’m going for this pairing as it’s always tricky to know what to drink with an very old wine.
Smoked eel and potato soup with dry Moscatel
I could have picked any number of pairings from the really inspiring wine dinner hosted by Bodegas Bentomiz at Gambas tapas bar in Bristol last week but this marginally inched it.
Carrot, lemon and tahini soup with Roussanne
i haven't written about soup and wine for ages - I've always felt a bit ambivalent about it on the grounds that it seems counter-intuitive to pair one liquid with another - but this is the second post in as many weeks (the other one being here)
A perfect vineyard lunch
As I mentioned in my last post our last lunch of the Oregon trip was at Cristom where sales director (no less!) John D'Anna cooked us a great meal. Here's how he did it and - where I have a link to them - the recipes he used. Try it!
Weekend wine bargain: Yalumba Y series Viognier 2015
If you’re a viognier fan here’s a chance to buy Yalumba's excellent Y series viognier at a very good price
Verus riesling 2013, Slovenia
I’ve been dithering about which of the Verus range to recommend as my wine of the week because frankly they’re all delicious but if you haven’t tried them before the riesling is a good starting point
Specially Selected Roussanne Pays d’Oc (and 2 other Aldi bargains)
Roussanne may not be on your radar but it should be. It’s one of the white wine varieties you find in the Rhône and Languedoc - often in a blend - and has a gorgeous peachy character that makes it particularly delicious with roast chicken.
Mon Vieux Hell’s Heights Sauvignon Blanc 2013
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.
Txakoli and practically everything on the Palomar menu
I think Txakoli may be my new favourite restaurant wine - or at least it is this summer. It’s a unique, sharp, very slightly fizzy white wine from the Basque region of Spain. The one we were drinking - at the Palomar in Soho - was the Agerra Txakoli which comes from the designated origin of Getariako
Seabass crudo, Felsina olive oil and Meriggio sauvignon blanc
Given that I’m not a massive sauvignon fan it might surprise you that it features as my match of the week for the second successive week but it’s a question of quality. With the right dish good sauvignon is a joy.
What to drink with Heston’s Diamond Jubilee picnic
Heston Blumenthal’s Jubilee picnic hamper was unveiled yesterday - to be served at Buckingham Palace before an open-air concert on June 4th. The picnic is being funded by Waitrose who must be pleased as punch to have the Palace’s endorsement in this video. The guests will also apparently be given vouchers for a glass of Moët or a bottle of Cobra beer (the other sponsors of the event).
Great Heart Chenin Blanc
I'm sure you're familiar with Fairtrade wines but it’s good to see a project which, although not certified, has similar aims and raises the bar both in terms of content and ambition.
Porc à la moutarde
This typically Burgundian dish of pork with a wine, cream and mustard-based sauce is quick, easy and versatile. You could equally well use it for chicken.
Asian food isn’t the only way into German riesling
Having spent five days in Germany this week I’ve been thinking a lot about riesling and food. And my conclusion is that the heavy focus on Chinese, Thai and Indian food may be doing German wine a disservice
The charming eccentricity of Rye Bay Scallop Week
One of the more endearing aspects of the current British food scene is the number of festivals devoted to a single food. I’d heard of oyster festivals, crab festivals and cheese festivals but I’d never come across a scallop festival before.
Celery, tomato and echalion sauce - a simple way of serving fish
My friend cookery writer Andrea Leeman is one of the best home cooks I know with a knack of making even the simplest food taste utterly delicious.
Can Can chicken
Continuing with our series of South African Braai recipes to celebrate the World Cup, here’s winemaker Paul Cluver’s version of beer-can chicken made with apple juice rather than beer.
6 of the best matches for fish and chips
Now that fish and chips can found in every posh fish restaurant, wine has become as popular a pairing as a nice cup of builders' tea (good though that is). But which one?
Wigmore cheese and 13 year old Pouilly Fumé
It’s still not widely recognised that white wines have the capacity to age, particularly wines that are noted for their freshness and bright acidity so it was fascinating to try a range of older wines from the Centre-Loire yesterday with a range of different cheeses.
Smoking Goat ‘fish sauce wings’ and Peter Lauer 'Fass 16' Saar riesling
It’s well established that riesling is a good match for spicy food but you don’t often get as good a pairing as the new Soho bar Smoking Goat’s already fabled ‘fish sauce wings’ and Peter Lauer’s 2013 ‘Fass 16’ Saar riesling..
Sea bass carpaccio and Grüner Veltliner
The other day we went to Il Vino d’Enrico Bernardo, an innovative new restaurant in Paris run by the world’s best sommelier in 2004 which has just won a Michelin star. The unusual aspect is that there is a wine rather than a food menu. You choose what you want to drink and they create a dish or a menu around it.
Scallop and crab risotto with inexpensive French Sauvignon
I know I’ve highlighted crab as a match for a number of different wines but it really is a great dish to pick if you’re drinking a serious white. This time however the wine was far from stellar: the basic house Sauvignon at Culinaria in Bristol where I was doing a photo shoot for our next book.
Saint-Nectaire with Domaine Matassa Cuvée Alexandria 2012, Côtes Catalanes
While orange wines are becoming more common I’m still not sure most people know when and with what to drink them so here’s a pairing that worked really well from a dinner I hosted for Bar Buvette, one of my favourite Bristol haunts, last week.
Lobster and Condrieu
The advantage of having chefs and wine merchants as friends is that you don't really need to go to restaurants*.
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.
Grilled monkfish with salsa verde and vermentino
Monkfish is regularly referenced as a meaty fish you can pair with red wine, especially when it’s wrapped in pancetta but suppose you serve it with salsa verde instead as they did at the Seahorse al Mare pop-up in Dartmouth last week?
Grey mullet, fennel and muscadet
This isn’t the first time I’ve made muscadet my match of the week but it’s a wine that’s great value, constantly improving in quality and unbelievably versatile with food.
Fresh crab salad and 17 year old Muscadet (and yes, you did read that right!)
Apologies for returning once again to the subject of crab but it is one of my favourite summer foods and this was the outstanding match of last week.
Fish tacos and Clare Valley riesling
Last week I pushed the envelope a bit further with wine and spice pairing with a Wine and Chilli dinner at The Spicery in Bristol
Fennel and apple salad and Solaris
Finding a new salad that you love and will make many times over again is a win for any weekend but when you find the perfect wine pairing with it too it’s a real high point
Chardonnay and charred aubergine with coriander chutney
When I think of coriander I rarely think of chardonnay - more like a sauvignon blanc or a riesling - but the tasting sponsored by Wine Australia at Imbibe the other week before last really surprised me.
Cauliflower tortellini with hazelnuts and 10 year old Muscadet
I agonised over which match to highlight this week - there were so many good ones, especially from my trip to the Jura which I’ll report on in the next couple of days but I’ve gone for this intriguing and off the wall pairing from a seasonal wine dinner at Lido in Bristol on Saturday night.
Bao and Bacchus
Who would have thought a few years ago that it would be as easy to drink local wine in southern England as it is over the channel in northern France? (Well, almost. I’m not counting Burgundy!)
Salad caprese and malagousia
One of the objectives of the organisers of our trip to Greece last week was to try to show how Greek wines pair with other international cuisines and flavours. It resulted in some quite bizarre dishes like black eye beans and kiwi fruit and chicken with carrot cream and tangerine gel but also provided some useful new insights.
Segredo do Lisboa Castelao-Syrah, Lisboa 2011
For obvious reasons* I was all set to recommend a handsomely bottled Irish whiskey I’d discovered this weekend but then I tasted it and actually didn’t rate it so here’s a fantastically good value wine deal I found in my local Co-op instead.
Domaine Gueguen Sacy Cepage Confidentiel Coteaux Bourguignons 2018
It’s always a thrill to come across a grape variety you don’t know, especially from an area with which you’re fairly familiar and when it adds another dimension to the wines already on offer there.
Chardonnay is back - but did it ever go away?
There’s been a bit of a media frenzy this week about the idea that chardonnay is 'back'. Waitrose has apparently nominated it the wine trend of the year on the strength of a 16% increase in sales. My colleague Victoria Moore devoted a column to the subject in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.
Grilled sardines and - eeek! - Sir Cliff's Onda Nova Verdelho
As the best summer for a barbeque for some years it’s been a frustrating time for us flat-dwellers but when I was sent some fresh sardines* the other day I knew I was going to have to find some way to grill them outside if the flat wasn’t going to smell of fish for days.
Anchovies and Txakoli
What pairing can I possibly I pick from a trip to San Sebastian, the most gastronomic city in Spain, possibly even in Europe?
Planeta Alastro 2015
If you’re a fan of sauvignon blanc you’re going to love this fresh, aromatic Sicilian white from one of the island's best known wineries, Planeta.
Audacia Godello 2012, Les Trois Amis, Valdeorras
I don’t often get the chance to taste wines from the northern supermarket chain Booth’s but fell hook, line and sinker for this gorgeous Spanish white they served at their pre-Christmas lunch this week.
Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger
This is one of my favourite recipes ever - made famous by the late, great George Perry-Smith and faithfully reproduced by one of his most talented protegés Stephen Markwick.
French Onion Soup
French onion soup is one of the classic French bistro dishes, famously served to late night Parisian partygoers. But if you don't feel up to it at 2am or whenever you roll in, it makes a warming supper for a chilly winter evening.
A foolproof cheese fondue
If you’re making a dish as simple as fondue you need to use top quality cheese. Emmental and Gruyère are traditional but once you’ve got the hang of it you can play around with other alternatives.
Tamworth belly ribs and 2006 Qupé Roussanne
Sometimes the best matches are the unexpected ones. I was (shameless plug alert) helping the team at my son’s restaurant Hawksmoor select wines for a dinner to celebrate their 10th anniversary which will feature some of the classic dishes they’ve had on the menu since the early days.
Smoked haddock and leek risotto and Albarino
If you were thinking of a wine pairing for risotto you’d probably reach for an Italian white such as a Pinot Grigio but Spain’s famous Galician white Albarino works equally well as I discovered the other day.
Sesame prawn toasts and Ortega
English wine might not be the first thing you’d think of pairing with prawn toasts - more likely something like a riesling but at the Caravel restaurant in London the other night it just hit the spot.
Semillon and seafood
This week I’m on a wine trip in South Africa (so posting may be slightly more spasmodic). There have been many great matches already but two interesting ones have involved Semillon a grape the country is beginning to handle very impressively.
Rabbit (or chicken) with spring vegetables and Viognier
On Saturday I was in London’s Borough Market which was full of the most wonderful spring vegetables - artichokes, broad beans, peas and asparagus. It reminded me of a dish I normally make this time of year when we’re at our house in the Languedoc in southern France which is rabbit braised with spring vegetables and Viognier.
Prawns and Aligoté
To those who have spotted on Twitter that I'm down in the Languedoc it might seem odd that to be drinking aligoté but we’d picked some up in Burgundy on our journey through France and wanted to try it out.
Pork, chilli, coconut and gapi salad with Momo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
I’ve been tasting a lot of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc this week but was also reminded how well it goes with Asian food at Peter Gordon’s new restaurant Kopapa.
Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2007 and roast chicken with tarragon
I never understand why retailers tell me it’s so hard to sell Hunter Valley semillon. It’s such a unique style of white wine which tastes (lusciously) of fresh pineapple when it’s young and of baked or grilled pineapple as it matures.
Morbier cheese and Savagnin
It’s been a very cheesy few days this past week - and I mean that in the sense of being cheese-focussed rather than corny.
Monkfish and Meursault - and Muscadet, come to that
One of the best restaurants to enjoy well thought out food and drink pairings is Trivet in London which comes as no great surprise when you learn that the two partners - Jonny Lake and Isa Bal - worked at one of the UK’s most famous restaurants, The Fat Duck.
'Meat fruit' with Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Larmes Célestes 2004
I know I’ve already raved about this stunning combination at Heston’s new restaurant Dinner but it's already a candidate for one of my top 10 pairings of 2011, never mind my match of the week.
Macaroni cheese and Alsace Riesling
As those of you who follow me on Twitter (as winematcher) will know I’ve been in New York this week and have a huge number of interesting wine and other matches to tell you about but the most unexpectedly successful - and therefore my pairing of the week - was a match of macaroni cheese and Alsace Riesling.
Lobster burger and Kumeu River Chardonnay
I’m conscious there’s a marked French bias in the pairings on this site so I’m going to go not for the excellent Alsace riesling and choucroute combo I had last week - or the many amazing wine matches at the Szechuan dinner which I’ve written up here but a very flashy lobster ‘burger’ and chardonnay I had at the Soho restaurant Bob Bob Ricard
Lobster and sweetcorn with Allende Rioja Blanco
I came across this pairing at a dinner to launch the London Restaurant Festival. It was held at Nuno Mendes Loft Project, a permanent East London pop-up - if there is such a thing - where he normally hosts visiting chefs of a similarly experimental bent. Mendes is one of the most talented chefs in London at the moment and normally cooks at nearby Viajante in Bethnal Green which I reviewed here.
Linguine carbonara and English chardonnay
Spaghetti carbonara is one of my favourite pasta recipes so it seemed a brilliant idea to alleviate the boredom of lockdown by having a ‘carbonara night’ with some friends on Zoom.
Laksa and Riesling
Laksa is one of those dishes you hesitate to pair with wine being both a soup and really spicy but the pairing I came across at the Pegasus Bay wine dinner at The Providores the other night was spot on.
Hot smoked salmon, Korean carrots and pinot gris
This is one of those serendipitous pairings you sometimes stumble across when you rustle up a scratch meal and pair it with an open bottle in the fridge.
Greco di Tufo with grilled seabass
I was reminded just how spectacularly, unexpectedly good southern Italian whites can be by a Slow Food wine dinner the other night at Flâneur to celebrate the publication of the English edition of their restaurant guide Osterie & Locande d’Italia. It was hosted by Feudi di San Gregorio, the iconic winery from Campania whose wines I haven’t tried for a while.
Gazpacho and Rueda
Just squeaking in in time for this week’s match of the week is a great gazpacho and Rueda combo I had at lunch today at a new London winebar 28-50.
Fish curry and Gruner Veltliner
Last week I hosted a tasting for Bristol-based spice company The Spicery in which we explored a number of different wine pairings for different styles of curry - including an Indian Shiraz!
Choucroute and Alsace riesling
I do love a tried and tested terroir-based wine match and there’s nothing better to pair with a dish of choucroute (almost Alsace’s national dish*) than a glass of the local riesling
Bacchus and coriander salsa
English wine isn’t probably not the first bottle you’d reach for if you were serving a punchy salsa but on the basis of last week’s experiment maybe you should!
Meursault and black truffle crisps
Food is always a secondary consideration when you’re enjoying a really great bottle of wine but you don’t want anything to detract from it either.
Weingut Brundlmayer Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 1999
A cellar clear-out at our French house this week unearthed this neglected treasure from 1999. I couldn’t imagine that it would still be drinkable having travelled from England to France when we moved most of our belongings here six years ago.
Nero Oro Grillo Appassimento
Appassimento - letting wine ferment on semi-dried grapes - is a technique normally used to give extra sweetness and richness to red wines but it has been used in this highly unusual Sicilian white called Nero Oro (which means black gold)
Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2008
As I’m off to New Zealand in January I’m trying to get up to speed with what’s going on over there so I leapt at the opportunity to attend a vertical from one of Marlborough’s leading producers Dog Point.
Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
As those of you who read my column in the Guardian will know I’m not a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc but this is a wine I’m more than happy to make an exception for.
Off the shelf: Tesco Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
At just £5* and 11% this is the perfect wine for this cash-strapped, trying-to-be-a-bit-healthier time of year.
St John and the art of the long lunch
Everyone I know who’s into food has a soft spot for St John. True, it has/has had its ups and downs but It’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking it was when it opened 19 years ago. And how absolutely right its values still are in terms of serving great ingredients simply,
With the first serious snow of the season you may be craving après-ski food but lack the time, energy or ingredients to rustle up a fondue or tartiflette.
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.
Vermentino and seafood
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.
Salt and pepper squid with Asian dressing and Fleur du Cap unfiltered chardonnay
One of the highlights of last week’s trip to South Africa was a salt pairing dinner with Fleur du Cap wines at the Bergkelder. The chef Craig Cormack was a real salt fanatic having hunted down dozens of different varieties and experimented with matching them with different wines.
Layered tomato and egg salad with Verdejo
One of the advantages of BYO is that you can have a stab at matching your wine to the menu. Particularly when you know exactly what each course will be. But sometimes the description is a bit vague as in Saturday’s ‘layered salad’ at the Montpelier Basement supper club in Bristol.*
Crab, chervil and Smederevka
There were two wine pairings in contention for my match of the week slot this week. The other being the excellent combination of mature cheddar with Washington State cabernet but that’s not rocket science and this was the more intriguing discovery.
Clams with rice and Verd Albera
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.
Fresquito Vino Nuevo de Tinaja
If you want proof of how adventurous a wine retailer Marks & Spencer has become you only have to try this unusual Spanish white made from Pedro Ximenez, which is more usually used to make a sweet syrupy style of sherry.
Warm lamb salad with a pea, mint & feta cheese dressing
A fabulously summery recipe from the very appealing Great British Farmhouse Cookbook - perfect for this time of year.
Lobster thermidor baked potatoes
Another run-out for Mark Hix's wonderfully decadent recipe for a lobster-stuffed baked potato from his book Hix on Baking. Such a great idea . . .
What to drink with chicken wings (and your other Superbowl snacks)
Let’s face it a well-honed wine pairing probably isn’t top priority on Superbowl night but there’s no reason why you can’t sip something delicious as you’re nervously nibbling your chicken wings (or your nails).
Matching fish soup
I’m a huge fan of Nigel Slater’s. I buy the Observer every week just to read his recipes. Yes, I know I could read them online (as you can here) but you don’t get the luscious Jonathan Lovekin photographs. Not that you need them. Slater’s prose is so evocative you can taste the recipe as you read.
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.
Stuffed piquillo peppers with brandade and Hunter Valley Semillon
Like many of you, I suspect, I’ve been working my way through the older bottles in my cellar* and unearthed a 2014 vintage of Brokenwood Semillon the other day which I visited on my last wine visit to the Hunter Valley.
Smoked trout and artichoke linguini with a dry Pfalz Riesling
The other day I found myself at a meeting just round the corner from the newly opened Princess Victoria in Shepherds Bush in West London and popped in for lunch. It’s a splendid old building with a wonderfully baroque ceiling, one of the best I’ve ever seen in a pub.
Seared tuna with sesame and 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah
My final meal in New Zealand last week was also one of the most impressive of my recent trip: lunch at the award-winning Elephant Hill winery in Hawkes Bay.
Rheinhessen silvaner and penne with tomatoes and peppers
I must confess I’ve never associated German wines with pasta dishes especially ones based on summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers but then I haven’t come across many genuinely dry German wines in Italian restaurants before.
Provençal-style fish soup and Picpoul de Pinet
We’re down in the Languedoc for a few days and ended up at one of our favourite fish restaurant Le Glacier at Marseillan.
Leeks vinaigrette and Vermentino
There were leeks everywhere you looked in the Languedoc last week so I decided to make a classic dish of leeks vinaigrette (and finely sliced serrano ham) as a starter for Sunday lunch with friends. Despite the vinegar and mustard in the dressing it’s not a sharp dish - the dominant note is the delicate, sweet, oniony taste of the leeks so I was looking for a light, unoaked white which wouldn’t mask that flavour.
Jasnières, Gorwydd Caerphilly and apple, pear and ginger jelly
With the icy weather it’s been a week for staying duvet-wrapped indoors as much as possible so I haven’t encountered my usual range of stimulating food and wine matches but this was a top one, facilitated by my friends Todd and Jess of cheesemongers Trethowan's Dairy.
Fresh prawns and Greco di Tufo
Odd though it sounds it's unusual to find a chef who's really knowledgeable about wine let alone one who's involved in creating his own list. Sam Harris of Zucca is one of the rare exceptions and the other day showed me some of the wines he's excited about.
Foie gras and Sauternes
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.
Dry German riesling and cured salmon
Cured - or marinated - salmon is something you’ll find on a lot of menus these days but what’s the best wine to drink with it?
Courgette, seed and curry leaf cake and dry German riesling
The more I taste authentic Indian food the less I think it causes problems for wine. A group of us cooked up a whole load of recipes on Saturday night including this savoury cake called handvo from Anjum Anand’s I love India.
Chilled cucumber and garlic soup and Chenin Blanc
On Saturday, as I mentioned in my blog, I was at a food and wine festival in Constantia, where we wandered round the impossibly beautiful Buitenverwachting estate sipping wine and grazing on upmarket canapés devised by a selection of the area's best local chefs. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon ....
Cheese fondue and Chasselas
I was beginning to think we’d managed to skip winter this year before last week’s icy blasts and snow came as a timely reminder we’ve got a good few weeks to go yet. So there’s still time to enjoy one of winter’s great favourites - a Swiss cheese fondue.
Braised brill with truffles and La Rocca Soave
I’ve already mentioned this wine pairing as part of my write-up of the Action Against Hunger pop-up with Rick Stein but it was the outstanding match of last week.
Assyrtiko and cold herb soup
As Greece’s best known grape variety you’d probably think of pairing assyrtiko with meze or seafood but as this week’s match of the week shows it’s good away from its home territory too.
Artichokes and Trebbiano
Artichokes are a notoriously tricky match with wine but don’t have to be an insuperable one as last week’s artichoke dinner at Bocca di Lupo proved.
Valpolicella Ripasso 2013 Cantina Valpantena
If you’re on holiday in the wilds of nowhere chances are your only shop - in the UK at least - is a Spar. I would at one point have said that spelled death to the chance of a decent bottle of wine but was recently sent a selection which really wasn’t half bad.
Two cheap South African Fairtrade sauvignon blancs
If you want to do your bit for Fairtrade projects during Fairtrade fortnight the good news is that you can do yourself a favour in the process. The Co-op which has consistently been the greatest supporter of Fairtrade wines has two well-made, well-priced South African sauvignon blancs which any savvy blanc lover should snap up
Planeta Eruzione Bianco 1614
One of the most interesting things that’s happening in wine at the moment is how big producers are pursuing new areas and old grape varieties and Planeta is no exception
Col del Mundo ‘Sunnae’ Abruzzo Bianco 2020
If you’ve been inclined to dismiss trebbiano as an uninteresting grape variety, think again. I’ve seem it in a whole new light since my trip to Abruzzo last month as you can see from my recent Guardian column.
Albarino with arroz negro (rice with squid ink)
If you’re an albarino fan I’m sure you know it pairs brilliantly with seafood but here’s a twist to take the experience to another level.
Nigella makes Riesling fly off the shelves!
According to Tesco in the UK, sales of Riesling are up 30% since TV temptress Nigella Lawson used it to make the French classic coq au Riesling - in one programme succeeding in what a generation of wine writers have conspicuously failed to do: to make this grape variety sexy.
Risotto of smoked haddock, leeks and cauliflower with a vadouvan dressing
An unusually complicated recipe for this site but one which should be absolutely worth the effort. It comes from Phil Howard's fantastic The Square: The Cookbook volume 1 which I suspect is already well-thumbed in many restaurant kitchens.
Pork loin with rhubarb and balsamic vinegar
An elegant, quick roast from Fran Warde's New Bistro that makes the best of in-season rhubarb. You could even serve it on Valentine's night.
Cauliflower curry, boiled eggs & coconut crumble
Cauliflower and eggs are two of my favourite things, here ingeniously combined by Dan Doherty of the Duck & Waffle in his brilliant book Toast, Hash, Roast, Mash.
A robust Spanish fish stew from Stevie Parle's fabulous new Dock Kitchen Cookbook. Stevie is one of the best -travelled and most original chefs in London with a well-honed magpie tendency of picking up ingredients and techniques from every country he visits. He also writes a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph.
What to drink with the turkey leftovers
The answer to that may well be ‘whatever wine’s left over’ - if there is any, of course - but if you’re looking for a wine that will match specific dishes here are a few ideas:
What to drink with asparagus part I
Last night I had dinner at the Dorchester Grill Room, one of London’s grander hotel restaurants which has been given an absurdly baroque makeover reminiscent of what Balmoral must have looked like in Victorian times. The team in the restaurant though are bang up to date with one of the smartest sommeliers in town, Jason McAuliffe doing an impressive double act with the talented young chef Aiden Byrne.
Vincisgrassi and Saint-Aubin
I love a collaborative cooking project so when I stayed with my friend food writer Fiona Sims at the weekend we embarked on a vincisgrassi, an elaborate mushroom lasagne from Rachel Roddy’s fantastic book, an A-Z of Pasta. It was made famous by Franco Taruschio of the Walnut Tree but you can find Rachel’s version here. (Note the fabulous crisp edges!)
Velouté of asparagus with Grüner Veltliner
It's been a while since I've posted about soup - it's notoriously tricky to match with wine - but this weekend I came across a great combination at a new restaurant in Bath, the oddly named Menu Gordon Jones*
Truffled egg toast and Bianco di Custoza
I was sure I was going to be featuring the splendidly retro Brown Windsor Soup and Madeira as my match of the week this week - a combination suggested by Ben Austin of number1wino for the underground supper club I went to on Friday - but sadly I left the Madeira at home by mistake. (Ben, who went the following night, said it was a treat.)
Spicy spam and Mosel riesling
I can’t say spam is high up on my list of things to eat let alone pair with wine but in New York last week I discovered a brilliant match for it at a quirky Hawaiian Lower East Side restaurant called Noreetuh
Smørrebrød and a Sonoma County Sylvaner
I’ll be focussing on some of the more conventional wine pairings I came across during my recent visit to Napa and Sonoma later this week but here’s a really off-the-wall match I encountered in San Francisco
Salmon with leeks and Chardonnay
In the general flurry of celebrations last week I missed out on St David’s Day (the patron saint of Wales) and the opportunity to write about leeks. Leeks tend to excite a certain amount of derision but I think they’re a fabulous vegetable, much milder, subtler and sweeter than onion and much more sympathetic to a fine white wine (for I think they go much better with a white wine than a red one).
Prawn laksa and dry German riesling
It was a bumper week for wine pairings with some classic favourites such as pork and Beaujolais (an excellent Fleurie at Cora Pearl) and oysters and muscadel (at the new Hawksmoor in Edinburgh) but I’m going for this riesling pairing as it solves the thorny problem of what to drink with laksa.
Pasta with truffles and chardonnay
Although chardonnay is grown practically everywhere that grows grapes (with notable exceptions such as Bordeaux) it’s not a variety you may associate with Italy. But the country produces some fine examples and Isole e Olena’s Collezione Privata is one.
Parma ham and figs with Malvasia
I’ve always tended to go for Prosecco with Parma ham but last week I found an even better wine pairing - Malvasia.
Maroilles and premier cru Chablis
Visitors to this website will be used to my recommending white wine with cheese by now but I didn’t anticipate how good this particular combination would be.
Little Beauty Marlborough riesling and Indian or Pakistani food
I’ve always thought of riesling as a better match for the fresh flavours of south-east Asian-inspired food than curry but a visit to the Lahore Kebab House proved otherwise this week.
Langoustines and caviar with Faiveley’s Puligny Montrachet 1er cru La Garenne 2009
A celestial combination I enjoyed at a burgundy dinner at the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux last week. Burgundy in Bordeaux? Yup - I guess they want to ring the changes from time to time but it does seem heretical.
Kedgeree and Western Australia Semillon
I realised the other day that there’s a marked French bias to this site. Partly because I spend a fair bit of time in France but also, I have to admit, because I do enjoy drinking French wine. So here, in an attempt to redress the balance and to celebrate Australia Day is an unusual but highly successful Aussie pairing.
Dumplings and grand cru Chablis
You might think dumplings were humble fare, not best suited to show off a great wine but as last week’s tasting lunch at Bob Bob Ricard proved, that’s not necessarily the case.
Crispy chilli lime squid with edamame bean and coriander salad and pinot gris
Having picked up a heavy cold a couple of days before flying to New Zealand last week I arrived unable to taste a thing but this delicately pretty wine from Brick Bay Winery in Matakana managed to penetrate the fog.
Chicken korma and viognier
I spent last week on the road in Ireland with wine importer Febvre hosting food and wine matching events for some of their restaurant customers. We covered a lot of ground from Enniskillen to Cork taking in Belfast, Galway and Dublin on the way and enjoyed a lot of amazing food matches.
Carrot and basil-infused slugs and Saumur Blanc
For the first time my match of the week is not one I’ve experienced myself but was reported by Ron Zimmerman of The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Washington on Twitter (where he tweets as Herbguy - and I tweet as winematcher)
Bacchus and chilli
The most surprising wine pairing discovery of the year so far is that England’s Bacchus is remarkably good with chilli
Anchovies and Grenache Gris
Anchovies are always reputed to be difficult with food but I found a great match for them over the past few days down in Collioure and Banyuls. Which of course there should be as they’re a speciality of the area.
40 day aged fillet of Black Angus beef with Henschke’s 2010 Mount Edelstone Shiraz
This has been one of the most difficult weeks ever to pick my match of the week but this, by a whisker, was it.
Black truffle and fontina pizza and Puligny Montrachet
It’s easy to get into a mindset with food and wine pairing where you automatically revert to a tried and tested combination. Like pizza with Peroni or a Sicilian red
Beetroot-cured salmon with horseradish and Furmint
It’s always good to find a new wine that will take on all comers and I think I’ve found it in dry Furmint.
A Greek-inspired summer supper
With this unseasonably hot weather why not look to Greece for inspiration when you're entertaining. Here's a simple meal for 4 that was inspired by a trip to Greece a few years ago.
Tesco finest* Swartland Shiraz Bag-in-Box
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve recommended Tesco’s juicy, vibrant ‘finest’ Swartland Shiraz but now it’s appeared in bag-in-box format which makes it even more versatile.
Montes Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
You’re probably expecting me to recommend a Mother’s Day fizz but I’m going to suggest a great red to pour for the Sunday lunch you’re going to (I hope) treat her to instead. Especially if you’re having roast lamb.
Clos Michet 2009, Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, Montlouis
This week has been all about dipping into bottles in the cellar in our house in France. Well, not strictly the cellar - more like the cupboard under the stairs. It’s not ideal wine storage - it’s a bit too warm in the Languedoc - but it stays cooler than the rest of the house.
Yoghurt-baked fish with walnut-herb crumbs
This recipe came from a fascinating dinner at which chef Greg Malouf cooked a selection of Iranian dishes from his book Saraban which he wrote with his former wife Lucy with whom he still collaborates. This unusual and simple fish dish in yoghurt particularly appealed to me and I thought it would to you too.
Fridge- or freezer-foraged cheese, onion and parsley pie
This is the kind of recipe (or rather idea) that I used to put on my old blog The Frugal Cook. But as I’ve given up on it (I know - I shouldn’t have done) I’m posting it here.
Fish in coconut milk (Macher Malaikari)
I don't always think of using fish in a curry but it takes such a short time to cook it makes a brilliantly quick meal.
Crab macaroni cheese
I always think it's hard to improve on macaroni cheese but adding crab, which my mate Fiona Sims has done in her brilliant new The Boat Cookbook, is an inspired touch.
Seafood tapas and Txakoli
Despite its almost unpronounceable name Txakoli (pronounced chackoly) is the new kid on the block for anyone who likes a crisp dry white wine.
Normandy cider and creamy sauces
Our final port of call on our recent French trip was a modest family run restaurant at Bourneville called Risle-Seine, a few minutes off the autoroute between Le Havre and Rouen (and therefore ideally placed for a last minute lunch before catching the ferry). It has no great pretensions but does what it does really well: simple classic country food served with decent, well-priced wines - and cider, we discovered this time.
Morrisons The Best Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur Lie
If you're looking for a crisp dry wine to drink with seafood muscadet fits the bill perfectly.
Lima, London: a splash of colour in Fitzrovia
It’s unusual these days to come across a menu that’s totally unfamiliar. You can almost predict it. Pork belly? Check. Steak? Check. Sticky toffee pudding? Check. But the recently opened Lima, which specialises in modern Peruvian food, is so startlingly original that it feels like taking a two hour trip to Peru.
Twice-baked goats' cheese soufflés
A classic starter from the ‘70’s but one that our customers seem to enjoy every bit as much today. This version originally came from a book called Take Twelve Cooks and was one of Pru Leith’s recipes. However Stephen Bull attributes it to Peter Kromberg of Le Soufflé at the Intercontinental who was also featured in the book . . .
Roast vegetable stacks
Another recipe for your World Cup celebrations from the Van Loveren family. It comes from the new Wines of South Africa cookbook Cape Wine Braai Masters but you could equally well cook it with a conventional oven and grill.
Bayonne ham tart with garlic (Tarte au Jambon et à l’Ail)
A great recipe to make for any Bastille Day celebrations you might be having from Pierre Koffmann's fabulous Memories of Gascony, one of my all-time favourite cookbooks.
Which beers to drink at Easter
You may find family and friends resistant to the idea of putting beer on the Easter table (though some will be secretly pleased) but stick to your guns.
Tuna tartare with wasabi aioli and Prager Grüner Veltliner
Not last week's match, actually but a great one from a couple of weeks' back just before I went to Paris and which got overlooked.
Sashimi and Koshu
This week’s match had to involve the extraordinary Kaiseki meal I had at Umu. I wrote it up extensively a few days ago so I won’t dwell on it again but rather focus on the pairing that I think would work best in a less rarified contest. And that’s sashimi and unoaked koshu.
Salmon with shellfish sauce and aged semillon
Last week I was in Australia’s beautiful Hunter Valley enjoying their two great specialities semillon and shiraz.
Salmon ceviche and Soave
With its intense citrussy flavour ceviche - marinated raw fish - is a tricky dish to pair with wine.
Salmon and Pinot Noir
If you think you automatically need to partner a fish dish with white wine think again! Meaty fish such as salmon and tuna take really well to Pinot Noir, the grape variety that the hero Miles raved about in the hit movie Sideways.
Grüner Veltliner and salt cod
I came across this unlikely combination while I was flying back from Argentina with the Brazilian airline TAM* who have this year decided to inaugurate a Brazilian menu in business class devised by a woman chef called Ana Luisa Trajano. And quite right too.
Goats cheese and mature Alsace Riesling
Last week I had the greatest cheese and wine tasting I’ve ever experienced conducted by France’s most famous affineur Bernard Antony who supplies cheese to most of France’s top chefs. You’ll have to wait till the article comes out in Decanter in a couple of months’ time for the full details but here’s a star match to whet your appetite.
Glazed bacon ribs and Meursault
What do you pair with a classic Irish dish of bacon and cabbage? Guinness might the traditional answer but when the bacon is celebrated northern Ireland butcher Peter Hannan’s amazing French trimmed dry cured bacon rack, glazed and cooked on the barbecue and served with an outrageously creamy parsley sauce then something a little more extravagant is called for.
German spätlese riesling and rare venison
One of the most interesting things I noticed on my trip to Germany last week was how Germans drink riesling with red meat. I wouldn’t have thought it would work but was utterly convinced by this pairing of super-tender rare venison with an exotic spätlese (late picked) riesling.
Fish pie and Chardonnay
With just over three weeks to go to Christmas it’s time to begin planning your holiday drinking if you haven’t done so already. You may have already decided what to eat and drink for the Big Meal itself but chances are you’ll have to provide several other meals over the holiday period for which it’s useful to have an appropriate bottle.
Crisp duck salad with Fielding Estate Riesling
I came across so many great wine pairings in Toronto last week it's hard to pick out one but this dish just shaves it as my match of the week.
Crab tartine and Sancerre
Last week was a week for revisiting the classics. Oysters and Chablis, Fino and fried almonds (and excellent jamon croquetas at Paco Tapas) and this absolutely textbook match at Bar Boulud in Knightsbridge which recently reopened after last year’s devastating fire in its host hotel, the Mandarin Oriental.
Coq au riesling and Alsace riesling
One category of wine pairings that pretty well always works are ‘terroir-based’ matches - in other words wine and food combinations that have grown up with each other - and this week’s is one of those.
Chablis and snails
I’m a great believer in eating and drinking like the locals when I’m on holiday so when we stopped overnight at Le Pot d’Etain in L’Isle sur Serein in Burgundy last week there was nothing for it but to order a starter of snails with the Chablis we were drinking.
Chablis and Jambon à la Chablisienne
I’m in Chablis for a couple of days this week and last night enjoyed one of the classic local pairings: a basic Chablis and a dish of Jambon à la Chablisienne - thick slices of ham in a cream, tomato and white wine sauce. This version also had a touch of tarragon which cut the richness of the sauce. It contained all the elements that kicks a young Chablis into touch - saltiness (of the ham), acidity (the tomato) and richness (the cream), a perfect counterfoil to Chablis’ own crispness.
Ceviche and sauvignon blanc
It’s rare that you keep on coming across a wine pairing that impresses you but my 10 days in Chile over the past couple of weeks have finally convinced me that sauvignon blanc is the perfect match for ceviche which seems to have become Chile’s national dish.
Celeriac, celery and caerphilly soup with Coteau des Treilles Anjou blanc
It's always difficult to decide what to drink with soup - one liquid with another never seems quite right as I've remarked before - but the thicker the soup is the easier it is.
Beef carpaccio and chardonnay
Beef and chardonnay doesn’t sound like an obvious combo at first glance but it depends, as always, how the beef is cooked.
Asparagus mousse, peas and oyster with Donkiesbaai Steen
I’ve been reminded during the last few days in the Cape Winelands of the great versatility of Chenin Blanc also known locally by its Afrikaans name Steen but this was the standout pairing.
Italian spinach and ricotta pie with Soave (or Vermentino)
To tell you the truth this is as much about the story behind the pie as the wine match but that was good too so let’s kick off with that.
Cappellacci with cime di rapa and alvarinho
OK, I know I wrote about dumplings last week and stuffed pasta isn’t *that* different but if they’re both delicious with wine why not?
A Valentine's dinner for lazy lovers
Whatever you get up to on Valentine’s night (and truly, I’d rather not know) my guess is you’ve got better things to do than spend it slaving over a hot stove. So this is an unashamed cheat’s menu from the archives for you to romance your loved one with the absolute minimum of effort.
A spring lunch for 4
Although the blossom is out it still feels a bit nippy at night so here's a light lunch to enjoy with a couple of friends that has a touch of spring about it but still includes a warming stew.
Maria Elia's carrot keftedes
If you're giving up meat for Lent try these delicious carrot keftedes from Maria Elia's excellent book Smashing Plates, one of the cookbooks that impressed me most last year.
Lemons filled with tuna cream
It may feel far from summery in the UK but one can always hope so get yourself into the mood with this lovely recipe from Eleonora Galasso's As the Romans Do.
Butternut squash with pistachio pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds
Finding a special occasion vegetarian dish is tough if you're not a veggie yourself but try this show-stopping recipe from Sabrina Ghayour's Persiana which won best new cookbook at this week's Observer Food Monthly awards.
Tagliatelle of raw cuttlefish and passerina
Having spent most of our week in Abruzzo inland we seized the opportunity to have a meal at La Barcaccia a fish restaurant on the seafront at Pescara before flying back and this clever dish of cuttlefish ‘tagliatelle’ was one of the crudi (raw dishes) on the menu.
Spinach and ricotta gnudi and Pecorino
“Tender little dumplings, as fragile as a pasta filling” is how Diana Henry describes gnudi in her fabulous new book How to Eat a Peach. (The word, which is pronounced new-dee means naked)
Anchovies and alvarinho
If you don’t like fish don’t go to Olhao! Restaurants in this bustling fishing port on the Algarve serve almost nothing else which is fine with me but less good for people, like my friend J, who has a real phobia about fishbones.
A menu for Riesling
Earlier this week I was involved in judging a selection of South African rieslings at High Timber in London and afterwards we had a three course lunch that had been designed to match with them. This is what we ate and drank.
What to drink with a TV dinner?
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 ;-)
Steak that doesn't need a red
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.
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?
Simon Hopkinson's Oysters Rockefeller
I've always been intrigued by Oysters Rockefeller, described by the great Simon Hopkinson as "the best hot oyster dish I know". Here's his recipe.
Simit with lemon and thyme-baked feta
If you've ever toyed with the idea of buying a wood-fired oven Genevieve Taylor's new book The Ultimate Wood Fired Oven Cookbook should persuade you. (And it didn't even cost a fortune. She built it herself!)
Pea, parsley & cheddar dip with pumpkin seed crackers
A recipe from a charming and inventive cookbook this week - blogger Rejina Sabur-Cross's Gastrogeek. I've picked it because I love dips - who doesn't? - but also because of the amazing-looking crackers.
Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber
A simple but spectacular Japanese-style dish from Diana Henry's marvellous new book A Change of Appetite which I've also reviewed on the site here.
Five-spice smoked tofu nuggets
Tofu has never been my favourite ingredient to be honest but these brilliant smoked tofu 'nuggets' from my friend Elly Curshen's book Let's Eat are positively addictive.
Carrot pie with apple and goat cheese
This unusual recipe from Dutch cookery writer Yvette van Boven's lovely Home Made Summer is a great way to kick off National Vegetarian Week.
Artichoke and preserved lemon dip
This brilliant storecupboard dip was taught to me by my friend cookery writer Trish Deseine who rustled it up in no time when I was staying with her recently.
The best food matches with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
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 if you're looking for a food match need big flavours on your plate to stand up to it.
Thai beef salad and off-dry Riesling
It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking red wine is the only accompaniment for meat, especially red meat but in these days of multi-cultural eating that’s not necessarily true. And a good case in point is a Thai beef salad with its zingy, hot/sour flavours which influence the match much more than the beef does.
Smoked trout and a Tricycle
My problem this week is that I have a terrific wine pairing but I can't tell you about it because it's the result of a tasting I was running for Decanter magazine. So you'll have to hang on till December for that. Sorry.
Smoked haddock and apple salad with New Zealand Riesling
I was overwhelmed with good wine pairings last week but given that quite a few were similar to ones I’ve written about before I’m making this my star match.
Smoked eel, beetroot and Malbec
This pretty dish was served the other night at what is still our favourite Bristol restaurant, Culinaria, even if we now live over the other side of town. It provided everything you want from a starter - light, appealing, appetite-stimulating.
Potato spread, potato bread and weissburgunder
This may seem a bit of a random pairing but it was the ‘amuse’ at the start of a really delicious meal at Schloss Ottersbach during our trip to Austria’s Südsteiermark (Styria) region last week.
Poached salt pollock and cauliflower with Julien Meyer's 'Nature' Sylvaner/Pinot Gris
Like half the world it seems at the moment I’m a bit obsessed with cauliflower so was drawn to this dish at Birch in Bristol on Friday like a moth to a flame
Petit Munster and Gewürztraminer
Sometimes Match of the Week is not so much about an undiscovered pairing but one that’s executed in a particularly inventive way. Which was absolutely the case at a dinner at Monica Galetti’s restaurant Mere last week with the famous Alsace producer Famille Hugel.
Pasta with pesto and Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
This past week has reminded me yet again what a great match Italian whites are for food. Their lack of obvious character means they tend not to stand out in a tasting but they explode into life with a dish.
Langoustine cannellonis and citrus with Pacherenc de Vic Bilh
It's always a challenge to pick a single wine with an elaborate tasting menu but the Jardins de Bouscassé 2008 Pacherenc du Vic Bilh sec from Alain Brumont we ordered with our meal at La Renaissance in Argentan last week hit the spot with almost every dish.
Lamb biryani and grand cru gewurztraminer
Sometimes it’s worth revisiting your prejudices. I’ve never been a huge fan of gewürztraminer with Indian food although it’s an established pairing. It always seems to me slightly jarring, especially with tomato-based curry sauces. But this week I changed my mind.
Japchae and a Happy Ending cocktail
I really think there are some cuisines that work better with cocktails than wine and Korean is one of them as I was reminded at the opening of celebrity chef Judy Joo’s JinJuu last week
Ham and Barossa Semillon
Thos of you of a certain age may remember that great ‘70s favourite ham and pineapple which conisisted of a large limp gammon steak, curling at the edges and a couple of fried pineapple rings. From a tin. There was one thing that was good about the dish though and that is that ham and pineapple are great together, something we’ve rather forgotten in these more sophisticated times.
Fritto misto + vino bianco
One of the real treats of our trip to Venice is fritto misto which used to refer to the assorted small fish that were too small to be sold from the fishermens’ catch but nowadays takes all manner of shapes and forms including vegetables and polenta (usually to keep the price down).
Curried lentils with Waipara riesling
Riesling is often paired with Indian food though I don’t think it always works with hotter curries. But with this anglicized version of a dal from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book Eat Better Forever it was spot on.
Cucumber fritters and Sancerre
I think I’ve found the perfect match for Sancerre - and the perfect Sancerre to drink with them!
Crab tian and premier cru Chablis
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.)
Cold roast pork with apple and Chardonnay
I had a reminder last week of just how good Chardonnay can be with meat given the right accompaniments.
Chocolate and roasted Oolong tea
The most interesting meal I had last week was undoubtedly at Viajante, an innovative new restaurant in what used to be Bethnal Green town hall. You can see my full review on decanter.com but I just wanted to write a bit more about the pairings.
Chicken vol-au-vents and La Crema chardonnay
I don’t know why a group of us got swept up by a bout of nostalgia for vol-au-vents on Twitter last week but it became so irresistible my friend Kate and her lodger Mike felt compelled to rustle up a batch to accompany an informal wine tasting the other night.
Chicken caesar salad and blonde ale
It’s so automatic to think of a wine match these days that one sometimes overlooks the fact that a beer will work just as well, if not better. So it is with that great restaurant favourite, chicken caesar salad.
Ceviche and pisco sour
I’ve been in Chile for the past week at the World’s Best Sommelier competition and have plenty to report about that but here’s a great non-wine match in the meantime - and a couple of tips about how to make an authentic Pisco Sour.
Beetroot-cured salmon and Godello
Despite the razmatazz surrounding the launch of Dom Perignon 2003 and a serious amount of wine and truffle action to which I’ll devote more space shortly I’m picking a more modest match from last week - the delicious beetroot-cured salmon, capers and egg yolk and 2010 Godelia Godello I had at José Pizarro’s new London restaurant Pizarro.
Asparagus salad and Grüner Veltliner
I’ve been in Vienna for the past few days so couldn’t really avoid eating asparagus. Not that I wanted to. Austria’s white asparagus is one of the highlights of the spring and early summer so we grabbed any opportunity we could to wolf it.
A vegetarian harvest supper
Before we finally plunge into winter here's a late autumn supper menu from my book Food, Wine and Friends that combines the best of autumn’s produce with a couple of convenience products.
A St Patrick's Day supper
It’s a tribute to the sheer joie-de-vivre of the Irish that we regard St Patrick’s Day with much more enthusiasm than St George’s, St Andrew’s or St David’s Days (the patron saints for England, Scotland and Wales for those of you who aren’t into your saints). So your friends are going to be more than pleased to be invited to celebrate it with you.
Smoked trout with griddled lemon, cucumber & sourdough croutons
A fresh, simple, clever recipe for two from one of the most charming of last year's cookery books, Rosie Birkett's A Lot on her Plate
Fideos negros con calamaritos with alioli and Rueda
I’ve never been a huge fan of Rueda, a sauvignon-style wine from the north of Spain, but seem to have been drinking it non-stop since I arrived in Malaga.
An insider's guide to the fish restaurants of Marseille and Cassis
Travel writer Philip Sweeney hobnobs with the locals, checks out the best places to eat and discovers why fishing for bouillabaisse isn't as easy as it once was . . .
Seamus Mullen's kale salad with apple, toasted pecans and yoghurt and dill vinaigrette
I've never really 'got' kale but this delicious salad would convert anybody. AND it's healthy too!
If you're looking for an impressive dish for Valentine's Day try this delicious scallop ceviche from Rick and Katie Toogood's Prawn on the Lawn: Fish and Seafood to Share. (It feeds 4 but I'm sure you can manage it between you!)
Prawn, lime, peanut and herb rice noodles
If you've always thought cooking for yourself is a bit dispiriting buy Signe Johansen's book Solo which is full of delicious and inspiring recipes like this zingy pad thai-ish dish of prawn noodles.
Potato and lemon frittata with watercress & almond salad
An unusual and fresh-tasting frittata that would make a perfect brunch dish from Ryn and Cordie's In Search of the Perfect Partner (The Food and Wine Matching Formula) reviewed here.
Moqueca baiana (Bahia-style fish stew)
If you're inspired to cook Brazilian with the Olympics kicking off this weekend try this classic fish stew from Thiago Castanho and Luciana Bianchi's Brazilian Food.
Gizzi's Thai Roast Duck & Watermelon Salad
If you want to make just one dish to celebrate the Thai new year try Gizzi Erskine's fabulous Thai-style duck and watermelon salad from her most recent book Gizzi's Healthy Appetite.
Frying pan Turkish flatbreads
Today marks the start of Organic September and what better way to kick it off than this great recipe from much-acclaimed vegetarian cookery writer Anna Jones, author of A Modern Way to Cook
Cured brill with mint and peas
Chefs' recipes are often complicated but you couldn't ask for a simpler, more summery dish than this fabulous fish recipe from Nathan Outlaw's Fish Kitchen*.
Celeriac, potato and anchovy gratin
I love the idea of cooking everything in one dish (quick, easy, no washing up!) so Sue Quinn's book Roasting Tray Magic is right up my street.
Barbequed brochette of prawns, squid and courgette with sauce vierge
A stunning recipe from Bruce Poole's cookbook Bruce's Cookbook that shows barbeques don't have to be all about burgers and ribs.
What to drink with Scandinavian food
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.
What to drink with dal
Generally of course dal wouldn’t be eaten on its own but with a curry or a biryani but given it makes a pretty good midweek dish on its own or with rice you might fancy a glass with it. Here are some options