Which wines to drink on St Patrick's Day
It’s hard to avoid the obvious on St Paddy’s Day. Guinness, Bailey’s and Irish whiskey are the usual suspects but if none of these appeals here are the sort of wines that will work with classic Irish fare.
Here’s where the Guinness comes in but if you don’t like Guinness, what then? A crisp white like Chablis, Muscadet or Picpoul de Pinet hits the spot
Smoked salmon and soda bread
Sauvignon Blanc is a better match for smoked salmon than champagne if truth be told. I’d go for one from the Loire myself like a Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé or - bargain drinking - Côteaux du Giennois, available in Majestic and Marks & Sparks
A lovely recipe from TV’s Rachel Allen. The blissful combination of shellfish and cream generally calls for a Chardonnay. Chablis would be classic but any other cool climate chardonnay would do. Or try an Italian white like Soave or Gavi
A plain, old-fashioned dish that works better with beer (bitter or pale ale rather than Guinness, I suggest) than with wine to be honest. Otherwise try a decent (but not too alcoholic) Côtes du Rhône or a mature Rioja
Again I really like stout with this kind of dish but wine-wise I’d be looking at a cru Beaujolais or other Gamay, an inexpensive red Burgundy or a young Syrah. Natural wines with their vivid fruit flavours work well with ham. Try the Raisins Gaulois I recommend in the Guardian today. Cider would also be a good pairing.
Another classic St Patrick’s Day dish from Darina Allen. Basically this is boiled salted brisket and vegetables - a simple meal that will make any accompanying wine taste sweeter than it otherwise would. I’d probably go for an inexpensive red Bordeaux though you could drink a crisp white like an Aligoté, Chablis or Grüner Veltliner.
Beef and Guinness pie or stew
Anything cooked in Guinness like these braised beef and champ pies or sausages in Guinness gravy are a good match with Guinness or other stouts or porters. There’s a useful list of stouts on the Guardian website at the moment but I personally love the Bristol Beer Factory stouts. Wine-wise I’d go for a robust Languedoc red, Syrah or Malbec
Roast rib of beef with horseradish sauce
There’s a long tradition of Irish-owned chateaux in Bordeaux so a good claret would be in keeping with the occasion. But any medium-to full-bodied red you enjoy is going to do the trick.
An Irish cheeseboard
Ireland has some fantastic cheeses like Adrahan, Coolea, Gubbeen and Cashel Blue though they tend to be quite strong. I’m not sure this isn’t an occasion to crack open a bottle of vintage port if you’ve got one. A good Late Bottled Vintage or 10 year old tawny if you haven’t.
There’s no classic St Patrick’s Day dessert that I'm aware of. Darina’s Rhubarb Bread and Butter pudding would do nicely (I’d pair a Sauternes with that) or try these clever Irish whiskey shots with a cream float from Rachel Allen
Photograph © Brent Hofacker - Fotolia.com
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