Pairings | Wine
Steak is the ideal foil for a good red but is there a best red wine for steak? You could simply say it’s the one you most enjoy but it also depends on the cut and the way you cook it.
As with most foods, the best wine pairing with pork depends how the pork is cooked, and what it’s served with.
As with white burgundy there’s a world of difference between a simple village burgundy and an elegant premier or grand cru - most of which need 5 years at the very least to show at their best but the dividing line when it comes to pairing wine with red burgundy is age. Is it a light wine you’re dealing with or a more mature, intensely flavoured one. Duck is almost always a winner but here are some other options.
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.
Merlot has one of the widest ranges of styles of any red wine from the light, quaffable merlots of the Veneto to the grandest of Bordeaux. Obviously one type of food doesn’t go with them all but merlot is your flexible friend when it comes to wine pairing, smoother, rounder and less tannic than cabernet sauvignon with which, of course, it is often blended.
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
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?
If you’re looking for the ideal food pairing for cabernet sauvignon you don’t have to look very far. Almost any red meat, especially served rare, is going to do the trick.
Pinot noir is one of the most versatile red wines to match with food and a great option in a restaurant when one of you is eating meat and the other fish.
What most people probably think of in terms of Australian red wine is a Barossa or McLaren Vale shiraz - big, lush, sweet and ripe, the ideal pairing for grilled or barbecued beef. Hunter Valley shiraz typically has a more savoury character that suits meats like venison and kangaroo while Western Australian shiraz is made in a more elegant style, almost like a red Bordeaux, making it a good pairing for lamb.
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.
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.
Coq au vin (chicken in wine) is of course cooked in wine - usually red wine - so does that mean you should pair it with the wine you've used to cook it in?
Fishcakes are one of the ultimate comfort foods - but is there an equally comforting wine pairing?
Look up any guide to food and wine matching and you’ll find a list of foods that are regarded as anathema to wine. I’ve done it myself but have come to the conclusion recently that the problems are overstated.
How on earth to whittle the great food and wine combinations I’ve experienced down to a mere 25? And not to base them all on a few favourite wines and foods?
US-based wine writer and educator David Furer reports on an epic tasting in the homeland of American barbeque, Austin, Texas pairing a selection of international and home-grown reds with different meats.
Wine and cheese are well known bedfellows but if you’re a beginner it might seem daunting to decide exactly which wine to choose for which cheese. This guide will quickly help you to get started pairing wine and cheese like a pro.
Of all the different aspects of wine and food matching I write about, wine and Indian food is the most controversial. What type of wine works best, and indeed whether you should drink wine at all is the subject of endlessly heated exchanges. The subject has recently come up again with the introduction of a number of wines that are specifically designed to go with spicy food. Was this, at last, the solution?
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.
Donald Edwards finds a clue in the traditional Georgian food that was served at a dinner at the Notting Hill restaurant Colchis recently.
Talk to chefs and sommeliers about the wines they like to match with food and only rarely will Cabernet Sauvignon crop up. Many are, in fact, quite openly critical of the blockbuster style of many modern cabs.
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.
Being surrounded by peaches and nectarines at the moment has reminded me what a brilliant match they are for a glass of dessert wine. And, surprisingly, even for a red!
I’ve just spent the past two days at What Food What Wine? tasting wine alongside dishes as disparate as smoked salmon and apple crumble, Stilton and steak and lasagne and lamb - a bit of an assault on the palate (and stomach!) but one of the best ways to work out what wine really works with your favourite recipes
Following our article from former sommelier Zeren Wilson on how to order from a wine list, another, wine educator and consultant David Furer, turns the tables and asks some of the US’s top sommeliers what the biggest challenges and frustrations are in their job.
Our roving gastronome Lucy Bridgers puts Portuguese wine through its paces with a succession of small plates from the inventive Nuno Mendes.
You know your interest in wine has entered the next level when you start to wonder what food goes with the wine you’re drinking. So I thought it might be helpful to put together this beginner's guide, covering the basics of pairing wine with food.
So what stood out in the way of food and wine matches - and pairings with other drinks - in 2013?
Aubergine - or eggplant as it’s called in the US - doesn’t have a strong flavour of its own but tends to enrich any dish in which it’s included especially when baked with tomatoes and cheese.
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!)
The idea of partnering asparagus with wine is contentious enough but red wine? Surely that won’t work?
Since few Californian wineries now have restaurants on their premises* it’s been more of a challenge to showcase their food. But Sonoma-based Kendall-Jackson has come up with an ingenious solution in the form of a food pairing restaurant Partake which opened in Healdsburg this March.
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.
Over lunch with Peter Klosse the other day I re-discovered what a huge difference the way an ingredient is cooked and sauced can make to the wine you choose.
Saint-Emilion is a familiar name on a wine list but what sort of food goes with it best? Sommelier Nathalie Gardiner suggests her favourite pairings.
As you may know if you visit the site regularly I do a regular match of the week - generally a less obvious pairing I’ve come across that has surprised me as much as it may have surprised you. So which were the best ones that would be worth looking out for or repeating? Here’s my top 20.
One of the most popular posts I’ve ever written on this site was one called 20 food and wine pairings to learn by heart - an easy reference guide to commit to memory.
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.
Lucy Bridgers reports on an elegant dinner matching different vintages of Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy with a seasonal spring menu
Those of you who visit the site regularly will be aware I post a regular match of the week - the most interesting wine - or other drink - pairing I’ve come across in the past 7 days.
A chocolate yule log or 'buche de Noël has become an increasingly popular dessert at Christmas but what kind of wine should you pair with it?
While summer isn’t a time one feels drawn to hearty stews Moroccan tagines are a different matter. Exotic and aromatic, they somehow suit the heat and not being particularly spicy are relatively simple to match with wine.
Asking which wine to pair with salad is a bit like asking about what wine to match with meat or fish. There's no single answer. It depends on the vegetables you use, what other ingredients it contains and what type of dressing you use.
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?
Chocolate is supposed to be impossible to match with wine but like any other ingredient it depends on the chocolate and how it’s used.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There was a fascinating report in The Drinks Business this week of a speech by Dr Peter Klosse of the Academy of Gastronomy at the Fine & Rare Specialist Course in Vienna in which he argued that white wine is easier to match with food than red.
The most useful clue to the kind of wine that works with cheesecake is to think of the toppings and flavourings that are used in cheesecake recipes rather than the base.
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?
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?
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).
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.
Natasha Hughes re-orders her hit list of wine matches for pinot following her visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
It’s tough to say what the best wine matches for lamb are - it’s served so many different ways and there are so many wines (mainly red) that work but here are my five favourites.
By paté I’m thinking of what wines to drink with rough country patés and terrines like a paté de campagne rather than fish patés or vegetarian patés which I’ll tackle separately. The sort that you might take on a picnic or eat in a wine bar.
Lucy Bridgers discovers some stunning matches with madeira and gets some inspiration for Christmas entertaining.
Inspired by the recent spate of minimal ingredient cookbooks such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things I thought it might be helpful to come up with 20 wine matches that are easy to remember and which pretty well everyone will enjoy.
Whenever anyone talks about foods that are difficult to match with wine, asparagus always comes up but I reckon the problem is overstated.
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.
You may well have given a fair amount of thought by now to what you’ll be drinking with your turkey or goose and have set treasured bottles of Bordeaux or Burgundy aside for the main Christmas meal. But what about all the other occasions over the festive period which these days tends to stretch a good 10 days into the early New Year?
Despite the growing concern about alcohol levels in wine many reds still clock in at 14.5% or more, a level at which they can become an unbalanced pairing for traditional European food. Many traditionalist would say that they are therefore not ‘food wines’ but as with other types of wine it depends how well they’re made and whether overall the wine is in balance. Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe for example rarely hits the shelves at under 14% but wears its alcohol lightly.
Sauternes is a famously luscious sweet wine from the Bordeaux region of France but what kind of food should you pair with it?
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.
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
Now that winter is firmly upon us it's time to head for the kitchen and knock up a rich beef stew or casserole and leave it simmering for hours.
When we think of pairing wine with lasagna (or lasagne, whichever way you spell it) it’s probably the meaty version that’s uppermost in our minds but these days, as you know, there are many variations. As with pasta sauces, then, your wine choice should reflect the other ingredients in the dish.
I’ve argued before that whisky and beer are the best match for haggis but what if you prefer a wine? What colour and style work best?
There’s no doubt about it, trifle is tricky. If it includes booze already do you serve more on the side? And what kind of booze should that be?
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.
It shouldn't come as a massive surprise that Spain can provide any style of wine you might fancy to drink with tapas.
Tomatoes are generally held to be a problem for wine but as Jane McQuitty robustly puts it in The Times today - nonsense!
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.
Roast beef has the virtue of being one of the easiest dishes to match with wine. You can really drink any medium- to full-bodied red you enjoy. There are a couple of points to bear in mind, however, which might affect the style of wine you choose.
People occasionally ask me my favourite cheese - an impossible question but Vacherin Mont d’Or is certainly up there in the top 5.
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.
This has been one of the most popular food and wine pairings our team at Jascots has put together to date. Mac & cheese has taken the restaurant scene by storm and this month we cooked up a delectable version with three cheeses and a drizzling of truffle oil.
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 match with it?
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:
Crab is one of the most delicious kinds of shellfish and the perfect foil for a crisp white wine. But there are other crab dishes that pair better with a fuller-bodied white or even a red.
With the Thai New Year celebrations coming up you may well be planning to eat in a Thai restaurant or host a Thai meal at home. But which drinks pair best with a Thai food?
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.
Roquefort cheese is unusual in having such a frequently recommended wine match (Sauternes) that you may wonder if it’s worth drinking anything else but depending how you serve it there are a number of other options.
Beef Wellington is real treat and deserves an equally indulgent wine to set it off. It is however less robustly flavoured than a steak or rib roast of beef with other key ingredients such as mushrooms and pastry which offset the flavour of the meat. For me that tends to indicate pinot rather than cabernet but take your pick
This wine pairing may sound difficult to get your head round - let’s face it, it is! - but it was a very clever dessert at the 3 star De Librije in Zwolle, Holland last week
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.
I went to a really interesting seminar last week on matching champagne with food. It was based on the chemical compounds flavourist Danny Hodrien of F & F projects had identified in Mumm champagnes using gas chromatography, solid phase micro-extraction and mass spectrometry (No, I don’t know what they are either). Based on those findings Iain Graham, the executive chef at the Caprice had devised a range of canapes that incorporated the flavours rather than seeking to complement them
Cherry is one of the fruit flavours most often found in wine and liqueurs so does that make them a good pairing for cherry desserts? It depends how intense the cherry flavour is.
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.
A new series for the Wine Pros section on what’s been happening in the world of food and drink pairing over the past few weeks:
Having moaned for years how unhelpful it was for retailers and wine producers to put an incredibly vague ‘good with pasta’ or ‘good with chicken’ on their back labels I’m not sure the pendulum hasn’t swung too far in the other direction.
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.
If you live in the UK and are enjoying pancakes today it’s most likely the classic kind, simply topped with lemon juice and a sprinkling of crunchy sugar. But what to drink with them?
I’ve recently had the chance to taste through a range of wines and beers with Cheshire - Appleby’s Cheshire to be exact - so the hits and misses are fresh in my mind. As you probably know it’s a British territorial cheese with a crumbly texture and mellow flavour but quite a firm bite.
The other night I was lucky enough to go out with a wineloving friend of mine and his wife who brought along a bottle of Château Palmer 1990 with them. It was a lovely wine but, as any 20 year old vintage would be, quite delicate so immediately created the dilemma of what to eat.
With Wimbledon kicking off this week, I’m sure you’ll be enjoying a bowlful or two of strawberries. But what to drink with them?
Last night we opened a bottle of 2005 Nugan Estate McLaren Parish Vineyard Shiraz - a typically big lush Aussie red at a hefty 15% ABV.
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.
As with many other pairings the best match for steak pie depends how you cook it and whether the sauce includes beer, stock or wine
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.
A while ago I encountered a problem that restaurants must deal with every day: the issue of consistency.
Just as with every other ingredient the ideal pairing for mussels depends how you cook them, starting with the classic moules marinières.
Meatballs are essentially comfort food so you don’t want to drink anything too fancy with them but you do need something equally delicious - usually red in my book
You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato - apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.
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
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.
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?
A guest post from award-winning wine writer Jamie Goode who gives his own personal take on Jon Bonné's The New California Wine and the issues it raises.
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?
Although Bordeaux produces some of the most expensive wines in the world it also produces bottles that are great for everyday drinking. So what kind of food pairs best with them?
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.
Most of the time, as you’ll have noticed, I feature the more offbeat wine pairings I’ve come across in my match of the week slot. This week I’ve been reminded of the virtue of some that seldom go wrong.
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.
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 classic tarte au citron is tricky with wine, particularly if it’s home made. And the sharper and more lemony (and delicious) it is, the harder it is to find a good match.
We automatically think of matching wine and cheese or beer and cheese but there are many drinks that work just as well and can give a real ‘wow factor’ to your cheeseboard.
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.
Tokaj or Tokaji Aszu from Hungary is one of the most historic and delicious dessert wines which now has it’s own dedicated day on December 10th but if you’re looking for the ideal food pairing you can take it much further than the dessert course.
I wouldn’t have thought of proferring wine pairings for garlic cheesy bread had I not stumbled across the fact that it was the most repinned image on Pinterest. Exceeding even sparkly toes!
Heavily promoted Apothic is just one of a range of sweeter red wines that have been launched on the market recently. Not having much of a sweet tooth, I must confess it’s not particularly to my taste but I can see that it would greatly appeal to wine drinkers who find drier reds unappealing.
Many people say they don't like chardonnay but as anyone who has a taste for top white burgundy or other premium new world chardonnays will know it’s a spectacular food wine.
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.
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?
“Can you come up with a tastier, more satisfying, more consensual dish than calamari fritti?” asks restaurateur and Guardian columnist Yotam Ottolenghi in the paper today. Well, it’s a tough call but his other mouthwatering recipes would certainly run it close. Ottolenghi’s food is full of flavour and therefore quite a challenge for any accompanying wine but here’s what I would choose.
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).
Even if not well-hung, as it rarely is these days, pheasant has a stronger flavour than other feathered game such as partridge or duck. And older, tougher birds are often braised or pot-roasted which calls for a more robust wine match still.
March 1st is St David’s Day so what better to focus on than Wales’s national symbol, the leek? (Well they have daffodils and dragons too but I’m assuming you don’t want to eat either of those ... )
If you’re planning a Pancake Day celebration for Tuesday and haven’t yet decided what to drink here are few ideas.
Yesterday I picked out some of the wines I’d most enjoyed from Wine Car Boot - London’s first wine car boot sale. Today here are 13 more:
Back in the day if you were invited to go on a stag or hen do for a good friend’s wedding all you had to worry about was making sure you packed enough paracetamol for a raucous night out.
Former sommelier Zeren Wilson of Bitten & Written reveals the tricks of the trade when it comes to choosing a good value wine and how to handle the somm.
I have a bit of a problem with pumpkin pie. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin and I don't have a massively sweet tooth which makes the thought of partnering it with a sweet wine a bit of a killer. But I know I'm in a minority and with Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday here are my top picks:
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
Mangoes are in the news for all the wrong reasons this week with the EU having implemented a ban* on the much-prized Alphonso mangoes, frequently referred to as the ‘king of fruit’.
Given the arguments about how to make a bolognese sauce it’s hardly surprising there should be a difference of opinion about what wine to serve with spaghetti bolognese but here’s what I would go for:
My assertion that custard tarts are the new cupcakes provoked such a heated exchange that I thought I’d stoke the fire by suggesting what you drink with ‘em.
Anyone who has a passing knowledge of cassoulet will know that there are hotly disputed arguments about what constitutes the authentic version. But whichever way you make it it’s a substantial dish.
The best wine to pair with macaroni cheese, or macaroni and cheese as our friends across the pond have it, depends how fancy - and how cheesy - your mac and cheese is.
Like any other red South Africa's Pinotage comes in different styles - some lighter and fruitier than others. When you're matching it with food you take a cue from the sort of ingredients and dishes that go with its two ancestors - Pinot Noir and Cinsault.
Sauvignon blanc is many people's favourite wine but what type of food pairs with it best?
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.
Apple tarts are one of the most flattering desserts to match with sweet wines but what do you drink with other apple-based desserts?
if you're planning to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving here are some great wine and other pairings to serve with it.
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.
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.
It might surprise you to hear it - and maybe you’ve never tried it - but a serious red wine is a really good match for a burger. Not a Maccy D, maybe but a big lush gourmet burger. And why not?
As we swelter through an unusually hot August here are my top wine pairings for one of my favourite summer foods, prawns - or shrimp as they’re known over the pond.
The food of Piedmont in north-west Italy is as highly regarded as its wines so it makes sense to make the local dishes your first choice if you’re looking for a match for a bottle of Barolo or Barbaresco.
Former sommelier Zeren Wilson of Bitten & Written reveals the tricks of the trade when it comes to choosing a good value wine and how to handle the somm.
The good news if you’re planning an Easter feast around lamb is that practically any medium to full-bodied red wine you enjoy will be delicious with it. But there are a few variables to take into account that might enhance the pairing
The type of artisanal cheddar I was writing about yesterday - mature, full-flavoured, unpasteurised - isn’t the easiest cheese to match with wine.
One of the all-time favourite British desserts sticky toffee pudding is super-sweet so will overwhelm most wines you might think of pairing with it so what should you choose?
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.
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.
I always like to respond promptly if someone draws attention to a wine match that’s not available on the site so thanks, Nigel B of Hong Kong for pointing out there was nothing on Brunello di Montalcino.
No visit to Tuscany is complete without a glass of Vin Santo or ‘holy wine’, a (usually) sweet wine that is served at the end of the meal, almost always with hard little ‘cantucci’ biscuits.
Manzanilla, as you probably know, is a fino sherry made in the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda rather than in the cities of Jerez or Puerto de Santa Maria which gives it its characteristic salty tang.
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 . . .
Vermentino is incredibly versatile - a brilliant wine pairing for anything fishy, herby or citrussy and a great wine for spring and summer drinking.
If you’re wondering why I’m devoting a post to Lambrusco you obviously haven’t tasted the real thing and today, Lambrusco Day, is your ideal opportunity to try it.
You may not be familiar with Carmenère but it's a delicious red at this chilly time of year.
Having written a book on beer and food matching and cooking with beer last year (An Appetite for Ale) it’s been heartening to see the growing interest in the subject, especially in the states.
Like many popular dishes chilli con carne has many different versions - some mild and child-friendly, others much more spicy and assertive and often a little smokey.
Sherry gets a bad rap for being granny’s tipple of choice but if you’ve never tried an authentic Spanish style sweet sherry you haven’t lived.
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
Rioja - and by that I mean red rioja - is one of the UK's best-loved wines and one of the easiest ones to match with food too.
I have to thank my colleague drinks writer, wine guru and good time pal Kate Hawkings for this week's pairing. Once she squealed excitedly about it on Twitter I knew I had to drop by her restaurant (Bellita) and give it a try.
Coronation chicken is an obvious choice for any Royal occasion but what wine - or beer - should you pair with it?
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.
I don’t think I ever go to a sherry tasting without coming away renewed in my conviction about what a marvellous match it is for food and the one I attended yesterday was no exception. It was organised by the enterprising Les Caves de Pyrne who are importing for the first time into the UK some rare sherries from Emilio Hidalgo and took place at Dehesa, the sister (if that’s the appropriate word) restaurant of the better known Salt Yard.
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
Judging by my Instagram feed practically everyone is eating avocado toast at least once a day but what do you drink with it?
One of the world's most popular cheeses, Brie can be mild and slightly chalky or decadently gooey and quite strong in flavour so you need to adapt the wine - or other drink - you choose to how mature the cheese is.
Barbera is a versatile red that will happily partner pretty well any meaty dish you throw at it. It is more robust and typically drunk younger than its Piedmontese counterparts Barolo and Barbaresco.
There’s a lot of talk about how the wines of a region tend to match its food but that seems truer of Tuscany than almost anywhere else.
With southern hemisphere wines from the 2016 vintage having been on the shelves for a few months now the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau has become less significant but you may still want to crack open a bottle today.
Beer blogger Steve Lamond has been matching beer and cheese for the past seven years and has compiled an invaluable guide on his blog Beers I’ve Known. Hare are his 5 all-time favourites which include some cracking combinations.
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!)
Peter Pharos argues that his home country's wines deserve a place on the table with the world's most popular cuisines.
Amontillado sherry has richer, nuttier flavours than a classic fino or manzanilla sherry and calls for different food matches. Think more in terms of cured meat, game and cheese than seafood and richer, meatier tapas.
The Spanish are more adventurous than us when it comes to matching sherry and food. I remember drinking a dry oloroso with roast partridge a few years back in Jerez. But what else could you pair with it?
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.
To most westerners the idea of drinking young red Bordeaux with Chinese food seems bizarre. Especially with delicate Cantonese dishes, the most widely available of the Chinese cuisines in the west . Clearly though the Chinese who are paying stratospheric prices for first and second growths - and presumably drinking them - think differently. They don’t turn to riesling and other aromatic and off-dry whites for a reason.
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.
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
So where are the best places in New York for a wine lover to hang out? And what should you drink there? Blogger and winelover Zeren Wilson of Bitten & Written sets out a game plan.
If you're not committed to Dry January you might celebrate 'Tryanuary instead - a month-long celebration of the more obscure corners of the wine world. Let Peter Pharos be your guide:
Naked Wines has been controversial since it launched 4 1/2 years ago but there’s no denying its popularity. The company claims to have over 200,000 customers who buy from it regularly, 125,000 of which are ‘angels’.
Wine writer Matt Walls picks out his favourite wines from Chile, Argentina and South Africa from last week's Beautiful South tasting
You don't have to have a luxury apartment to have a wine cellar argues Peter Pharos. Here's how he did it on a budget.
Hawke’s Bay is a sunny, coastal province, situated in the east of New Zealand’s North Island. The region is gaining repute as a wine and food locale that marries delicious regional cuisine with a diversity of exceptional wines. Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second largest producer of wine, after the South Island’s Marlborough region, known around the world for its herbaceous, tropical Sauvignon Blancs.
Malaga has more to offer than its fortified wines as wine educator and consultant David Furer found on a recent visit.
With middle-eastern food still very much on-trend Dubai-based blogger Sally Prosser of mycustardpie.com tells us which drinks she thinks makes the best pairings
A new online wine store whose USP is only selling 100 wines at any one time - apparently we get confused by more than that.
The news that an organisation called Wotwine has nominated Lidl their supermarket of the year - and M & S the worst for value - inevitably hit the headlines this week. There’s nothing the tabloid press likes better than a story claiming that wine is overpriced.
A grotty car park under a railway intersection in south London might not strike you as the ideal place for a wine event but with rock music blaring and street food on the side Wine Car Boot was the coolest tasting in town yesterday.
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.
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?
Anyway who has a passing interest in natural wine will know that it’s a subject on which feelings run high. A lot of people are outraged that such unconventional wines are praised and fêted when they are (in their view) unpalatable and clearly faulty.
On the floor the lights are low, the customers are munching away on their Dover soles and their duck breasts, the musak is playing gently in the background.
Are Languedoc wines grand enough to stand up to truffles? Our new contributor Donald Edwards reports:
Here's a barbecue with a difference from my book Food, Wine and Friends. The centrepiece is a spiced, butterflied leg of lamb served with a delicious Turkish-style bulghur wheat salad called Kisir. Finish with grilled nectarines or, if you prefer to have your dessert prepared ahead, some refreshing wine jellies.
So sophisticated is the South African food and drink scene now that you can expect to find suggested wine pairings at practically every restaurant you go to but some wine farms have made even more of a feature of their skill at combining the two - a fun way of learning the art of matching food and wine.
Although there’s still plenty of the rich, lush style of Shiraz we’ve come to associate with Australia there’s more than one style as I discovered on my recent trip. If you like more restrained, even funky syrahs, Australian producers can deliver. Unsurprisingly many of them are organic or biodynamic and made with a minimum of sulphur. Most are from cooler vineyards. Take your pick . . .
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 . . . ;-)
The news that London’s latest impossibly glitzy Russian-owned wine shop Hedonism aims to offer a ‘personal, concierge-like approach‘ according to an interview its CEO Tatiana Fokina gave the wine magazine Decanter, doesn’t come as a total surprise. The C-word has been creeping into the wine world for a while.
I have no evidence for it but I’m sure that the vast majority of wine that people buy is bought to drink with food. Yet most of the wine that’s tasted or presented to journalists and bloggers is shown on its own.
Following my tips on buying from wine sales yesterday here are some of the independent wine merchant sales that are currently on and some of the bottles that I would consider buying from them (though I should stress that I haven’t had the opportunity to taste most of the wines). Remember an unsplit case is generally going to be cheaper than a mixed case but a bit of a risk if you haven’t tried the wine. Some deals may have already sold out by the time you read this.
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?
Does biodynamic wine make a difference to food pairing. Wine writer and educator David Furer investigates:
You may have a fixed idea of what constitutes a vino da meditazione but, as Peter Pharos argues, many wines are well suited to sipping thoughtfully on one's own.
One of the things that still surprises me after all these years is how scared otherwise confident people are of wine. The number of people who preface a comment on a bottle with ‘I really don’t know ANYTHING about wine’ as if their view didn’t count is ridiculous. Even people like chefs and food writers who taste for a living.
This report on a steak and wine tasting I did at Hawksmoor Spitalfields back in 2007 is now over 10 years old but the advice still holds good. It's quite a long read though so for more concise steak and wine matching advice head to The Best Wine Pairings for Steak.
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.
Can Tokaji – the great dessert wine of Hungary, and one of the sweetest wines in the world – go with Chinese food, asks Margaret Rand? And if it can, would you want it to?
With media interest in vegan food at an unprecedented high you might wonder which wines vegans can drink. Quite a lot as it happens ...
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 . . .
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.
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.
When asked at a tutored tasting when his Grand Cru Chablis would be ready to drink, the maverick Burgundy and Luberon producer Jean-Marie Guffens replied in his usual opaque way "It's not a question of when the wine is ready, it's a question of when you are ready". Guffens was, I think, attempting to get away from what he saw as the tyranny of 'the perfect moment', the year, the month, the day even, when a wine is 'at its best'.
The answer most people would give to the question ‘should you use wine to make cocktails?’ is ‘Why ever not?” Yet there is a general feeling, of which I must confess I’m occasionally guilty, that it’s a waste of a wine that may be perfectly well balanced in itself.
Chef Shaun Kenworthy reports on what he believes to be a unique tasting of Indian wine and Indian cheese.
There's no tradition of wine & food pairing in Georgia because, "we're permanently in the process of eating and drinking, so everyone is continuously matching for themselves," firmly declared Georgia's 'wine queen', Tina Kezeli, my host for a week's tour of eastern Georgia's Kakheti wine region. Georgian meals are lavish affairs with tables laden with dishes appearing in regular sequence but without regard for timing or harmonious wine pairing. Some guidance is needed.
“Isn’t it time you wrote a piece on cooking with wine again?” mused my editor over lunch. “How about cooking with a bottle of first growth Bordeaux?” I gulped. “Er, I don’t think most of our readers would do that.” “Well, we should try it out for them.” he said firmly.
Blogger Denise Medrano of The Wine Sleuth braces herself for a lunch featuring classic French dishes and Australian wine. Was she convinced? Read on . . .
"Apart from it being the basis for all known life, I have long harboured an interest in the nuances of H2O, visiting Buxton and Vittel’s bottling plants and Bath’s Roman Spa" writes Douglas Blyde. "I was thirsty, therefore, to see what the ‘Best Sommelier in the World’, Andreas Larsson had to say on the subject at his presentation at the recent Identita conference at London’s liquid theme park Vinopolis. (This post was first published in 2009)
You don’t often get the chance to have a philosophical discussion about what makes a wine great with a winemaker that actually makes one. Let alone one who thinks more like a philosopher than a marketing man.
We've got a fabulous case of Australian wines as our flagship prize this month from the lovely guys at Great Western Wine. The case of 12 bottles, worth £273, includes wines from some of the best respected winemakers in Australia - an absolute treat for any Aussie wine fan.
When I received an invitation to a lunch that would see a range of wines from giant Australian wine producer Hardys paired with food prepared by Pied--Terre’s Shane Osborne, I have to admit that my inner wine snob rather expected the stuff in the glasses to be outclassed by the stuff on the plates.
Author and food blogger Signe Johansen reports on a visit to spice blender Rolf Gast.
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.
If friends and family have drunk you out of house and home over the holiday you may be looking to top up your stocks at this time of year, especially as many merchants have bin end or clearance sales. But is buying wine that way a good idea?
The other day I went to an Asda wine tasting. It was held not as you might imagine in a well-lit modern tasting room but in the chandeliered splendour of Dartmouth House in Mayfair. Some of their wines were displayed in wooden Pomerol cases.
Take 6 top international chefs and 6 Argentinian wineries determined to prove their wines outlast anyone else’s and what do you get? A fascinating dinner but some titanic struggles on the plate and in the glass.
To kick off my coverage of the first Wine & Culinary International Forum in Barcelona last weekend (and while I disentangle the many complex threads on food and wine pairing) here are some highly practical points which were made by a high level panel of restaurant and wine critics including Jancis Robinson, Victor de la Serna of El Mundo and Nick Lander, restaurant critic for the Financial Times and author of the recently published The Art of the Restaurateur. (My comments in italics)
A few weeks ago I was invited to try out the menu at the Hotel du Vieux Moulin, Domaine Laroche’s wine bar and restaurant in a converted water mill in Chablis. What they didn’t mention was that they’d just opened a cutting edge boutique hotel.
As those of you who read my Guardian column will know I had a big rant about the quality of Fairtrade wine at the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight. Now on the last day it seems like a good opportunity to explore how it might be improved
The second London Wine Sessions took place last Saturday - rather appropriately in über cool Hackney. It was a day of wine tastings and discussions featuring some prominent, established names such as Fiona, Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak, the Telegraph's Victoria Moore and the Independent's Anthony Rose as well as current trail-blazers.
The results of this year’s What Food, What Wine? competition were announced yesterday and, as in previous years, I’m sure eyebrows will be raised at some of the trophy winners.
Q We’re getting married shortly and thought we’d ask our friends to give us wine as we’d like to start putting together a cellar. Do you have any ideas on the type of wines we should include and who could help us?
Last week, the Union des Grands Vins Liquoureux de Bordeaux, the body that represents Bordeaux sweet wine producers, hosted a tasting of wines from six of the appellations they represent to partner savoury and sweet dishes at a lunch at le Cercle restaurant in Chelsea.
It has been both the handicap and the saving grace of the English-speaking countries not to have a recognised centuries-long gastronomic tradition behind them. Settlers and colonists brought their own food customs with them to what became the British dominions.
Just as with every other kind of store, specialist wine shops have sales at this time of year largely to clear stocks that have been slow to sell through and make way for new vintages they've ordered. But is wine the sort of product you should be buying in a sale? Well it depends . . .
A post from the archives that still holds good today ...
A report on the fascinating food and wine matching workshop that was held at the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon last month which showed that you can find a pinot pairing for almost any kind of lamb dish.
Those of you who are lucky enough to live in Oz have the enticing prospect of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival coming up next month - a two week extravaganza of feasts, workshops and tastings with some of the country's top foodies and wine experts.
The Chinese New Year, which starts tomorrow, 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.
Just as in every other kind of store, specialist wine shops have sales at this time of year largely to clear stocks that have been slow to sell through and make way for new vintages they've ordered. But is wine the sort of product you should be buying in a sale? Well it depends . . .
An establishment bearing the name Taillevent sounds scarily expensive - the main restaurant is - but don’t let that it you off eating in its very innovative and well-priced brasserie which opened in Paris just under a year ago.
Regular contributor Lucy Bridgers, who is in the unusual position of having worked on the World Atlas of Wine herself takes a comprehensive look at the latest edition and considers whether you should buy it in book or electronic form.
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.
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.
I’m really excited to let you all know about a series of pop-up wine classes I’m doing at the wonderful Honey & Co in London
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.
Pairing cheese and wine was once a no-brainer. In that post-rationing era when the British were just rediscovering wine, and had no idea what to drink it with, cheese and wine evenings provided an answer. Cubes of Cheddar on cocktail sticks made the vin rouge taste a little nicer, and were a useful way of soaking up the alcohol.
Wine writer Stuart Walton casts a sceptical eye over accepted wisdom:
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.
Mulled wine is a seasonal staple but although it's easy to make it's also easy to spoil. Here are my top tips for getting it right
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.
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.
If you’re one of those people who get off on the rarified byways of the wine world this bottle is for you - for what could be more obscure than a Chinese ice wine?
If any sommelier looks set for Gordon Ramsay-style super-stardom it has to be Enrico Bernado.
Signe Johansen recently competed in - and won - a food bloggers challenge to come up with the perfect dish for a Casillero del Diablo Chilean Cabernet. Here’s how she went about it. (You can find the recipe for the winning dish, Pigeon breast and chocolate mole with redcurrants and parmesan mash here.)
The marriage of the aromatic wines of Alsace with spicy foods (Chinese and Thai cuisines leading the charge, with Indian usually not far behind) has become such an axiom of modern gastronomy that we might be forgiven for wondering what on earth anybody drank them with before.
You can tell we’re already in the run-up to Christmas with supermarkets making a pitch for those who like to do their shopping early.
There's nothing like a glass of mulled wine to get you into the festive spirit. Here's three variations - including a seasonal sangria - plus a gorgeous mulled cider
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?
One of the most captivating wine books I’ve read is Nina Caplan’s The Wandering Vine which explores the footprint the Romans left on the wine growing areas of Europe. Part wine guide, part travelogue, part personal journey and exploration of her Jewish roots, Caplan traces the interest in wine she derived from her late father.
An hour and a half on matching fine wine and chocolate and every pairing a winner? Impossible I would have said. But in the experienced hands of Roberto Bava, not only a winemaker but the President of the Italian chocolate society, the Compagnia del Ciccolatto, the tasting ran as smoothly as clockwork.
Having had to come up with four wines for my curated wine list at Foxlow this month I’ve got newfound respect for anyone who puts together anything longer.
The dinner I mentioned earlier this week was ostensibly to present Zalto wine glasses but was interesting in its own right too as an example of a well-devised wine dinner. Goodness knows, it should be. Neville and Sonia Blech, a former professional chef, have been entertaining winelovers at their Kensington home for years and before that in their own restaurant, Mijanou.
There are always so many wines at the Waitrose tasting I rarely end up doing justice to the whites but here are some bottles I’ve picked out for Christmas, along with some fizz and stickies.
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.
Author (and self-proclaimed shopkeeper) Sally Butcher of Persepolis asks whether Grenache rosé reminds you of patchouli and Malbec of Beethoven. And are we missing out if we’re not fellow synaesthetes?
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.
The decision of Domaine Huet to ban the influential commentator Chris Kissack from tasting their wines at this years Salon des Vins de Loire which has been extensively documented in his blog Winedoctor is the latest example of a sneaking trend that wines are only made available, visits arranged, samples sent or comped meals or rooms provided in return for a ‘review’, the assumption being that review will be favourable.
This weekend I’ve been down at my favourite food festival in Dartmouth where I’ve been giving a number of wine talks. One of them was a forum on food and wine matching with wine writer and TV presenter Susy Atkins and former sommelier and wine supplier Tim McLoughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice.
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.
If I saw this wine on a supermarket shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. There’s the name for a start, which sounds like something a marketing department has invented
Lucy Bridgers reports: The quintessentially English Quo Vadis in London was the setting for a recent lunch hosted by Australia’s First Families of Wine, a group of 12 long-established family-owned companies
Italian wines with olive oil-based dishes, Bordeaux with butter-based ones. Sound like a no-brainer? Well, yes, if you happen to be in either region: you obviously drink the local wine with the local food. But just think for a moment about today’s top international restaurants.
Those of you who enjoyed the recent events I’ve been doing with the lovely people at Honey & Co will be pleased to know we have a new series coming up, starting next month. Billed as Wine Adventures around the Med, we’ll be focusing on three countries and regions and the wines we feel go with their food best.
The results of a unique competition in Hong Kong suggest that Asia-based judges may have a different take to Europeans on matching wine to Chinese food. The judging panel at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition awarded several medals to full-bodied reds in preference to the more common aromatic white wine styles such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer
For the past couple of days I’ve been involved in a groundbreaking tasting called What Food What Wine designed to find the wines that best match 10 of the most popular dishes in the UK. It’s a brilliant idea - wine is meant to be drunk with food after all - but you wouldn't believe how tricky it is to pull off.
As I'm in the process of helping my son create a wine cellar I asked my Twitter followers if they had any tips to share. This incredibly helpful and detailed response came back from Mike of the wine blog Please Bring Me My Wine and he gave me permission to share it with you.
Food and wine writer Marc Millon recounts a memorable celebration of the new vintage last week with his Piemontese winemaker friends
Last night I finally caught up with The Remedy, one of the latest of London’s new wave of wine bars. On a Tuesday night - admittedly a week before Christmas - it was absolutely rammed, so much so we were grateful we’d reserved a table
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!
Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I’m an enthusiast about natural wine so I was particularly interested to go to a couple of natural wine dinners this last week at Artisan and Vine and Angela Hartnett’s Murano
Regular contributor and former sommelier Donald Edwards tastes his way through the latest Penfolds' releases and is blown away by a cabernet.
If i'm asked what my favourite wine is I usually say I don't have one as there are always moments when I fancy one wine more than anything else. But Pinot Noir has to be up there, especially a glorious, hedonistic Pinot like this Domaine Lucci Wildman Pinot which is one of the most delicious wines I've tasted all year*.
Although I’m supposed to be the wine expert in the family my husband has an uncanny knack of alighting on exactly the right bottle when we go out to eat, unfailingly plucking the bargain from any wine list.
The problem with practically every food and drink having its own day or week now is that it’s all too easy to miss one. Which is how I come to be doing my bit for English Wine Week with less than 48 hours to go before it finishes tomorrow.
While I can usually find a great match for an individual cheese or for a careful selection it’s always a struggle to find a wine - particularly a red - that will take on all-comers. But I was reminded this weekend just how good a candidate mature Zinfandel is for this job. We found a bin end of Ridge’s Geyserville 2000 on the wine list of one of our favourite local restaurants at such a good price that we couldn’t resist it.
Vegetarians often get overlooked at this time of year so if you’re vegetarian yourself or cooking for one here are some perfect pairings for some delicious festive recipes from the web.
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.
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'.
One of the hoariest old chestnuts in discussions about the ethics of wine writing is whether wine writers should buy the wines they write about themselves rather than attending tastings or being sent samples.
At the Cape Wine Legends dinner in London showcasing some of South Africa's greatest old vintages, Lucy Bridgers wonders which was the hero - the wine or the food?
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.
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.
Here's an important area where the science is not fully formed, though a sufficient consensus exists to give useful advice.The uncertainty arises from the different storage environments that exist in different countries around the world. The ambient temperature in warehouses and cellars in Burgundy, for example, or in Spain, has been higher than in Britain, yet these are regions with traditions of long term cellarage.
Inspired by the recent British Kebab awards Zeren Wilson wonders what the perfect wine pairing is for a kebab and comes up with some surprising conclusions.
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?
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.
Although I’m deeply sceptical about ‘half price’ offers, the periodical 25% off promotions if you buy six bottles that the supermarkets put on are a great opportunity to buy your favourite wine at a bargain price. Waitrose is the latest to do it and here’s my pick of the wines I’ve tasted recently.
I’ve thought for a while that Scandinavian food is on the way up so am not surprised to find another new cookbook on the subject from Trina Hahnemann who Telegraph cookery writer Xanthe Clay dubs ‘Denmark’s answer to Nigella’ in the paper today.
Marylebone has been regarded as a foodie mecca for a while but the action's been mainly at the northern end. Now posh wine bar 28-50 has conveniently established an outpost at the entry to Marylebone Lane, not far from Bond Street tube - a new haven for weary shoppers or workers in need of a restorative glass of wine.
After a recent visit to the Jura I've rethought my ideas about which wines make the best wine pairings for Comté cheese.
It’s always satisfying when a challenging food and wine hit it off and both cheesecake and icewine undoubtedly present their problems.
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.
We know you love a case of wine so this month we’ve got no less than THREE to give away from the family-owned supermarket Booths.
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.
This isn’t the first time I’ve remarked how well Beaujolais pairs with a terrine but sometimes it’s worth being reminded what really, really works. And both were particularly good in this case - as indeed you’d expect at one of London’s best wine bars, Noble Rot.
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 . . .
As was the case with his previous restaurants, Corrigan’s, which I reviewed yesterday, has a fascinating and idiosyncratic list put together with the help of the ingenious Douglas Wregg of Caves de Pyrne, the company which is also behind the excellent new Terroirs ‘natural’ wine bar* just off Trafalgar Square.
Our roving gastronaut Lucy Bridgers discovers why German Mosel riesling is the ideal wine pairing for Vietnamese food
Like everyone else who came in touch with him I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Serge Hochar of Chateau Musar this week, apparently as a result of a swimming accident while he was on holiday. He was one of the most inspirational and charismatic winemakers I ever had the privilege of meeting.
This week Bristol finally has its own natural wine bar*, Bar Buvette which has been opened by a local chef, Peter Taylor who runs one of my favourite places in France, the Auberge de Chassignolles.
A smashing recipe from Chris and Jeff Galvin's Galvin: a Cookbook de Luxe which you could make to impress on Father's Day. It's one of those books that teaches you to cook like a Michelin-starred chef - so also a great present for any Dad who fancies himself in the kitchen.
Scandinavian food is becoming increasingly popular but what type of wine should you drink with it? Lucy Bridgers reports on how German wine fares.
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?
With Chinese New Year being celebrated this week the shelves are full of stir-fries so what are the best wine pairings?
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.
No Christmas goes by without some wine pairing discovery and this year it was the delicious Jorge Ordonez Malaga Seleccion Especial no. 1 2007 with some simple fresh clementines we had at the end of a post-Christmas meal with friends.
I’d already flagged up southern Italian red wines as a good pairing for aubergine (or eggplant) but it was good to be reminded just what a great match nero d'avola can be, especially with aubergine parmigiana
I was praising Australia’s new generation of pinot noirs in my column in The Guardian today but didn’t have room to mention more than one, ironically one of the cheapest wines in the line-up.
As some of you may have spotted I’ve just uploaded a couple of posts* with my recommended buys from Tesco which, like many supermarkets these days, has week-long promotions where it knocks 25% off the cost of six bottles.
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?
One of the innovations at the Marks & Spencer wine tasting this week was a chocolate and wine tasting based on a Single Origin Tasting Box designed to help consumers explore chocolate pairings with different wines.
Ollie Couillaud’s inaugural wine dinner at The Lawn Bistro in Wimbledon, west London yesterday was a masterclass in how to get it right.
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.
It might surprise you to learn that Napa’s famous French Laundry has an English pastry chef, Claire Clark who previously worked at Claridges and The Wolseley in London. I know Claire from way back when we did a number of food and wine pairing exercises together and thought it would be fun to get her and head sommelier Gregory Castells to come up with some pairings for her incredibly exciting and creative desserts.
The recent lunch hosted by Alfred Tesseron of Château Pontet-Canet at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester revealed the extraordinary versatility of red Bordeaux and how it can be served right through a meal.
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.
Lucy Bridgers selflessly devotes herself to finding the perfect pairing for tapas on a tapas crawl through some of London's leading tapas bars
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.
Looking out of the window this wet bank holiday morning it’s hard to credit that we produce wine successfully in this country but we most certainly do. Especially sparkling wine which many pundits reckon is beginning to rival Champagne in quality.
So maybe Austria’s signature grape grüner veltliner is the perfect pairing for tricky-to-match artichokes?
I tasted so many great wines last week in Piemonte but this was one of the most fascinating. It’s made from freisa, a grape variety that according to the Vajra family was once the second or third most cultivated grape in the region and used to make vermouth.
Everyone knows that artichokes are one of the most difficult ingredients to match with wine - especially with red wine. Only last weekend we struggled to find a pairing at the food matching forum I was taking part in.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about formal wine tastings, more particularly that they’re far from being an ideal way to show off wine. But what’s the alternative?
When I knew I was going to spend 24 hours in Toulouse recently I asked my followers on Twitter - as you do - what restaurants and wine bars they would recommend. Unusually they all suggested different places which didn’t help that much so I ended up trawling around online.
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.
Regular visitors to the site might have noticed that the title of this annual review has changed this year. Not the 'best’ matches of the year but the ‘most exciting’. That’s partly to avoid trotting out over-familiar pairings like steak and Cabernet or Chablis and crab, excellent though those were but also to reflect that this year has been a particularly inspiring one for food and drink combinations. And not just wine.
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.
I couldn’t make up which of these terrific wines to recommend from yesterday’s London Wine Sessions so I’m going for both.
I'm handing over my blog this week to Dr Jonathan Tricker, a practising GP. We were discussing the UK Government latest guidelines on alcohol on the train a while back and he offered to share his perspective as a doctor who is also a winelover.
If you thought food and wine pairing was the least likely recipe for a raucous night out you’d be wrong. This week’s ‘Wine Wars’, the first in a series* at London restaurant Arbutus, was a noisy partisan event that had guests arguing passionately over the respective merits of Piedmontese wines over a 4 course menu of Italian-inspired dishes.
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.
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.
This week’s wine highlight was the Australia Day tasting which seems to get better every year. I could have picked out a whole load of interesting bottles but this came from the producer who made the biggest impact on me, Lethbridge of Geelong
Although this site is called matchingfoodandwine.com you may have spotted it contains a fair few other drinks including beer, cider, spirits and soft drinks. So I’ve been thinking for a while of creating a weekly slot to showcase some some more off-beat bottles and bevvies I come across.
A muggy evening in mid-July might seem an odd occasion to focus on wine and game matching but there were two reasons for last night’s Louis Jadot game dinner and the Westminster Kingsway catering college. One is that they hoped to engage the attention of consumer magazines who work 4-6 months ahead in terms of feature planning and the second is that the Game-to-Eat campaign is trying to encourage us all to think of eating game year round.
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:
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).
This is possibly the most off-the-wall pairing I encountered on my recent Chilean trip and for that reason the most exciting - both on account of the food and the wine.
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
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 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.
Although Christmas might feel firmly over many people will still be celebrating Twelfth Night this week. In France they mark the occasion with a Galette des Rois - a round cake filled with frangipane (almond paste) and topped with a golden paper crown.
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.
Marks and Spencer has always been known for its adventurous food ranges but now the wine department has turned its attention to the Eastern Mediterranean
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.)
This was recommended by the manager at my local Oddbins in Bristol and I really love it.
It’s almost 20 years ago now since Josh Wesson wrote his first book on food and wine pairing - the ground-breaking Red Wine with Fish: the new art of Matching Wine with Food which he co-authored with David Rosengarten. He then went on to set up the attractive and innovative wine store Best Cellars which groups wines by style
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.
Last night I went back to The Greenhouse for the first time since its revamp, for dinner with its owner Marlon Abela and his head wine buyer Jean-Marc Heurlière.
With four days in Edinburgh and three at the Ballymaloe Food & Drink Litfest in Co Cork this weekend I’ve been overwhelmed with good food and drink matches but as I haven’t singled out a dessert for a while I’m making Tom Kitchin’s Rhubarb cheesecake my hero dish this week.
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).
One of the problems about today’s ultra-complicated restaurant food is that dishes tend to be what I once heard aptly described as ‘ingredient-heavy’. Which can mean that a wine of character may just be one flavour too much.
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.
If you haven't yet decided how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey try this fabulous Italian stuffing from ex-pat American food and wine writer Brian St Pierre.
There is an argument that you don't need anything to drink with the classic Christmas pudding*, especially if you've sloshed brandy all over it but if you're pairing other courses of the Christmas meal you might fancy a small glass of something sweet.
I'm pretty sure most of you don't have a fraction of the half-finished bottles I do in my kitchen but I bet you have one or two. And that you don't want - as with other ingredients - to waste them. The solution, of course, is to cook with them and that's what my new book Wine Lover's Kitchen is all about.
The standard of English sparkling wine is already high but I can’t remember being as impressed by a homegrown sparkling wine for a while as I am by this bottle. Of course you could argue that it’s not really English at all as it’s made by the team at Vranken Pommery in collaboration with Hattingley Valley in Hampshire.
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.
Well, I don’t know about easy but there must be some easier way to get people into German wine . . .
The mistake most people make when they’re serving wine is to pour 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:
Even casual restaurants tend to have such good winelists these days that you might wonder whether there’s much of a market for wine bars. But from the heaving crowd at the newly opened branch of Vinoteca in Beak Street this week it looks like they’re on to a winner.
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.
I subjected myself to a somewhat daunting experience last Thursday trying to persuade a largely sceptical audience of journalists and bloggers of the virtues of natural wine. I think/hope I made some modest headway, helped by the fantastic feast laid on by chef Stevie Parle and his team at Dock Kitchen.
Occasionally a wine pairing comes along that you simply don’t expect. Invited to a barbecue at the weekend, I took along some reds I’d been tasting which I frankly wasn’t sure would go with the sweet marinades you generally encounter at a BBQ.
About the most unlikely wine match you could imagine - a delicate fish with a 19 year old red wine - but it worked! Which shows you can always be surprised by food and wine pairing.
If you thought orange wine was the exclusive province of hipster natural wine bars, think again - one has just gone on sale in Aldi. And while most cost nearer £20 than £10 this one is on sale at a very affordable £5.99.
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.
William Smith and Anthony Demetre found a formula for success selling their winelist by the 250ml carafe at Arbutus. Now they have pulled the same trick at their latest opening Wild Honey, just off Bond Street. It has been received pretty well on the whole by the critics (including Giles Coren and A A Gill of the Times and The Sunday Times respectively who curiously went together then wrote about each other).
The Bordeaux wine region produces a multitude of top class red wines that these days tend to be blends of four main grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
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.
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.
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.
The last couple of weeks have passed in a flurry of tastings marked by a number of standout (and some depressingly bad) wines.
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.
The wine cocktail trend still seems to be going strong with a company called Formula Wine (a play, presumably, on Formula One) coming up with a selection from some leading London restaurants.
A perfect autumnal dinner party recipe from James Ramsden's lovely book Do Ahead Dinners.
There’s been a huge focus on calories in the last couple of weeks - whether wine should be labelled with calories and whether we’re counting them the right way. For once I’m inclined to agree with the Department of Health which says it sees little benefit in revising the system according to this recent report in the Guardian.
I was lucky enough to dine in a Cambridge college, Peterhouse, last week and even more fortunate to drink a 1982 Chateau Talbot.
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.
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
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that most chefs would be pretty good at food and wine matching, not least French chefs. Well, you’d be wrong! I’m constantly shocked by the number of chefs who haven’t the faintest idea what wine goes best with their recipes or indeed, who drink wine at all. (Some of them possibly because they’ve, er hem, enjoyed it a bit too much in the past . . . )
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 . . .
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.
There’s still a bit of resistance to drinking red wine with fish, let alone with a white fish like cod but last week I had the perfect dish to combine with a good red burgundy.
Now that malbec has become the Rioja de nos jours there are so many brands on the market that it’s hard to choose which to buy.
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.
Advice on food and wine matching tends to focus on such issues as flavour intensity and finding a wine to complement or contrast with the dish in question (not an approach, I admit, of which I’m overly fond) but a meal I had the other day reminded me of a couple of other factors that it’s worth bearing in mind.
Former sommelier and wine consultant David Furer writes about a tasting at leading London chocolatier William Curley
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 . . .
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.
I’m always in two minds about whether to write about the beginning of the grouse season. After all only a tiny number of people will be sufficiently interested - or well-heeled - to bag the first birds that arrive on restaurant tables this evening.
Just as UKIP has shaken up the political landscape so Aldi and Lidl have changed the face of retailing in the UK. You might not have considered buying your wine there before but you certainly should this Christmas.
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?
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.
As many will be celebrating both Bonfire Night and British Sausage Week this weekend there’s a fair chance that you’ll be eating bangers of some kind, so what’s the best pairing?
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.)
It’s almost impossible to pick out one pairing from last week’s trip to the Lebanon but if I’m forced to it has to be a dish of wild boar with cherry sauce I ate with Habib Karam the owner of Karam winery (and - extraordinarily - the airline pilot who flew us to Beirut)
Some of the best meals - and the best wine pairings - come about without a great deal of forethought. Like the pasta I threw together last week in France from storecupboard ingredients then accompanied with a cracking bottle of inexpensive Tuscan red we’d just bought from a winemaker at a natural wine fair. Yes, Italian wine. In France! Who’d have thought it?
This isn’t the first time I’ve singled out pinot noir as a good pairing for rabbit (see here for one back in 2011) but it’s good to be reminded what an adaptable wine a relatively modest red burgundy can be.
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!
I don’t often pick a wine you can’t buy in the UK for my wine of the week but as it’s Canada Day I’m making an exception. (Plus there are regular Canadian visitors to the site who may be able to get their hands on it. Lucky them!)
It’s a mystery to me why we need a Chocolate Week. Surely no-one (except aberrants like myself who have an inexplicable preference for potatoes) needs encouraging to eat chocolate. But there we have it and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy your favourite food in the country’s classiest chocolate shops over the next few days.
If you’re mystified by the initials GSM they stand for grenache, syrah and mourvèdre, three Rhône grape varieties which are often blended together in Australia to make generous hearty reds.
This week is National Pie Week in the UK - not that we Brits need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
It’s hard to pick out a single pairing from last week’s brilliant pop-up beer dinner at the Independent Manchester Beer Convention (IndyManBeerCon) but I’m going for this one because it’s Chocolate Week in the UK.
Before you get too excited about this week's wine of the week you’re unlikely to be able to buy it unless you live in South Africa or Sweden but I want to flag it up because it’s the best Fairtrade wine I've tasted.
On Saturday night I went to a splendid dinner at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol hosted jointly by a group of Bordeaux producers in conjunction with the city’s best-known chef Jean-Pierre Xiradakis of La Tupina and Barny Haughton of BQ, as it’s known locally.
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.
A really robust pasta dish from my book Cooking with Wine - perfect for cold weather eating. The wine gives a richer, more warming flavour than the usual tomato-based sauce.
The reaction of many people to the news that the new BBC Food & Drink show was to be co-hosted by Kate Goodman would have been Kate who? I confess it was mine.
Hard sheep’s cheeses are the winelover’s friend.
Now here’s an unexpected match. I would be wary of pairing a Beaujolais - even a Morgon - with something as sweet as a lamb tagine with dried fruits thinking it would make the wine taste slightly sharp but the combination worked perfectly.
This gorgeous fruity Austrian red ticks all my boxes. It’s exactly the sort of wine I want to drink at this time of year - light (12.5%), fragrant and juicy - the type I can equally well drink with fish as meat.
Sometimes when I go to a Wine Society tasting I find myself wondering why on earth anyone would buy their wine anywhere else.
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.
One of a brilliant trio of Uruguayan wines that were shown at the Wine Society’s spring tasting, this rich spicy red shows that unyielding Tannat can be made positively seductive with a dash of Merlot - in fact they seem made for each other.
With wall-to-wall tastngs this week I could easily have picked out at least 50 matches of the week but I’m choosing this delicious Alsace white from Jean-Michel Deiss I tasted at Lea & Sandeman's table at The Bunch tasting because it’s so unusual.
Today, if you weren’t aware, is the first day of Organic September, a month-long celebration of organic food and drink. So maybe a good opportunity to explore organic wine.
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.
In the run-up Christmas there’s not much time for time-consuming dinner parties so this tasting and light supper is a fun and indulgent way to entertain good friends. Ask each of them to bring a chilled* bottle of bubbly - Champagne or otherwise - provide a couple of your own, cover up the bottles and taste them ‘blind’. Great fun for a start to see who can spot the ‘real’ Champagne (don’t worry if you can’t - many professionals are fooled by these kind of exercises) and a delicious way to get into festive mood.
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?
Salt cod, a popular Good Friday dish in parts of the Mediterranean, is cooked many different ways which suggest different wine pairings.
The weather has been so absurdly autumnal this week that I cooked a substantial stew for friends on Saturday night, an intensely flavoured braise of beef short ribs (or pot au feu as our local butcher describes them) with plenty of lush, red wine (a Valdivieso Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley in Chile which is part of the Waitrose own label range).
Apple tart is a pretty forgiving kind of dessert but here's a brilliant new pairing I found at Casanis restaurant in Bath last week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Given that I’ve been in Napa and Sonoma County for the past few days you might expect me to select a cab or a pinot noir as my wine of the week (more on those in due course) but I’m going for this fantastic syrah I tasted at the Rhone-fixated Girl and The Fig in Sonoma
I was going to recommend an English sparkling wine this weekend (what else with THE wedding of the year?) but came across some other good deals at the Waitrose tasting this week I thought you might want to pick up as well
One of the most useful tricks to master, especially when you’re dealing with a tricky-to-match ingredient, is to introduce a ‘bridge’ ingredient - in other words an element in the dish that makes it easier to pair with the wine you want to drink. It can be something as simple as cream or mashed potato or something rather more specific that picks out a flavour in the wine you’re serving.
Few people now throw up their hands in horror at the idea of matching red wine with fish. But how many realise just how often you can pair the two?
I’ve never totally bought into the idea but a recent wine and chocolate tasting put on by Australian Wine at Australia House in London went halfway to convincing me.
I make a point of not going to Vinexpo, the biennial wine fair in Bordeaux (too hectic, too noisy) but it does mean you miss out on the occasional treat like the gala dinner that was held at Château Mouton Rothschild to celebrate the opening of their new chai.
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.
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...)
If you’re a Sauvignon Blanc fan but are looking for something a little different try this deliciously fresh, elegant Chilean Sauvignon.
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.
It’s easy to overlook the familiar in favour of the esoteric, particularly when you’re a wine writer but it’s hard to think of a bottle that consistently gives more pleasure than Cune’s Gran Reserva Imperial Rioja.
This week I had a really fascinating vegetarian tasting menu at the Lecture Room and Library at Sketch, Pierre Gagnaire’s London restaurant. The sommelier, Fred Brugues, claims not to believe in food and wine matching (too complicated, he says, with large tables all ordering different dishes) but he actually came up with some inspired pairings.
I stumbled across a recipe for cooking spaghetti in red wine when I was researching my latest book Wine lover's kitchen. It sounded so bizarre I had to give it a try and can vouch for the fact that it’s delicious! It would be a bit expensive to make for a crowd so this quantity is designed to feed 2–3. And my version is dairy-free.
In our final extract from Cape Wine Braai Masters we feature a recipe intended for Gemsbok from Michael Bucholz, winemaker for the Obikwa range but as antelope are a bit thin on the ground in the UK I've adapted it for beef fillet.
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.
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.
We all know that roast lamb is a great pairing with red wines but the assumption is often that it’s prepared in a classic French way so it was interesting to note over the weekend that if you give it a middle-eastern spin exactly the same applies
Most of the pairings in this weekly slot are chosen for the way they flatter food but here’s one that’s designed to show off a very special wine: a 2010 Argentinian Pinot Noir called Chacra Cinquenta Cinca or Chacra 55.
Romanian wines may not be on your radar but judging by this incredibly delicious red you should look out for them.
Those of you who read the Guardian will have spotted that I’ve devoted this week’s column to independent wine merchants but here’s a slightly different business model from a firm called Dashing Wines which bills itself as offering ‘estate wines at everyday prices’.
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 . . .
Some of the most difficult people to buy presents for are serious wine collectors. Unless you have a cellar of your own from which to pluck a suitable bottle it’s quite hard to find something that will ring their bell (obscure sweet wines and sherries, I generally find, being the best bets)
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
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:
Wow, the celebrations are coming thick and fast this week! After lovers, now mothers . . .Well, curiously, a similar psychology applies. Mums come in all shapes and sizes so what will appeal to one may not necessarily appeal to another. It’s all about thinking about the individual and picking the bottle they would most enjoy.
This impressive Moroccan-style pie from Josceline Dimbleby's food memoir Orchards in the Oasis would make a great centrepiece for a dinner party or more casual supper with friends.
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.
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.
The peaches are so fabulous here in Arles, so gorged with sweet, ripe juice that we’re eating them almost daily. One great way to serve them which I was reminded about the other night when we dined at a local restaurant, Le Corazon is with red wine - just as good as the better-known pears in red 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.
This coming weekend sees the 16th annual festival of the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) in San Francisco. I went one year and it was an absolute blast - two great sheds filled with hundreds of enthusiasts enjoying this great belter of a red.
I sometimes forget to put the wine first in a pairing when it should be the star of the show and this 1995 Close du Bourg Vouvray from Huet was truly spectacular: still fresh as a daisy but subtly, seductively honeyed it was pure pleasure from the first to last sip.
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 . . .
I’ve been getting a fair amount of flak recently - can you BELIEVE it? - for recommending wines that are too cheap so this bottle at £62 for 50cl should satisfy those of you who are itching to splash the cash
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.
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.
If you’d asked me a week ago whether I thought it was a good idea to cook grouse in a tandoor oven and then to serve it with a full-bodied red I’d have said no, and no. Which shows how you can continually be surprised by this food and wine pairing lark.
This might not have been the best match of the week - that honour goes to the turbot and orange wine pairing I experienced at Ellory which I’ve already written up here - but it’s the one that’s easiest to replicate at home.
South African wine is in a good place at the moment - better quality than ever and terrifically good value as this bargain underlines.
Today’s Guardian column was all about getting out of your wine drinking rut which in the case of Spanish wine most likely means Rioja.
Just as we get used to the idea that there is an ideal wine glass foreach grape variety along comes a producer who suggests the enjoyment isall in the angle of the glass.
A recent email from a reader asked me to suggest a wine to go with “a triple coconut cake with a tangy pineapple icing served with fresh fruit salsa that has kiwi, strawberry, madarine oranges, blueberries and fresh pineapple in it”. Quite a challenge (I suggested demi-sec Champagne or a peach-flavoured liqueur topped up with fizz) but it got me thinking that there are many possible matches for cake beyond a cup of tea or coffee, particularly if you're serving it as a dessert.
The sharp-eyed among you will notice that my recommendations have changed since I posted this article earlier today. I've revised my opinion since retasting Cornish Blue which I found in my local deli - Arch House Deli.
There’s one wine that’s invariably recommended as a pairing for duck and that is Pinot Noir but of course duck, like any other meat, can be cooked in different ways. How does that affect the match?
Beans are one of the great underrated aids to matching full-bodied wines as I was reminded at the weekend when we combined a dish of pork and lima beans with a fine St-Joseph.
There were two strong candidates for match of the week this week but as my last three pairings have involved a crisp white wine (which reveals something about my current preferences) I didn’t think I could feature yet another one*
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.
This may well be the most off-the-wall pairing I post this year: chardonnay with a lamb curry? Extraordinary - and this is why
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.
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.
I wouldn’t say that yesterday was a typical day in the life of this particular wine writer but it was certainly an eclectic one, starting with one huge supermarket tasting (Asda), going on to a Dom Pérignon lunch and finishing with another one (Morrisons).
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.
Friends came round the other night and I cooked one of my favourite new recipes - a chicken, lemon and olive tagine (which appears in my forthcoming book Food, Wine and Friends, she adds, unable to resist a cheap plug!). One of the reasons it’s slightly different from the authentic Moroccan version is that I remove the chicken skin which makes the dish a lot lighter.
What to recommend as my match of the week in this astonishing week for British sport, and especially athletics? Well, what else but Jessica Ennis' post-event treat of “a few glasses of wine and lots of rubbish food”!
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.
I know a lot of you are going to be looking for a well-priced sparkling wine for Mother's Day this weekend and this is the perfect bottle
One of the pleasures of being at our house in the Languedoc is diving into the cellar and fishing out old, overlooked bottles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This menu was created as part of a series of pieces I wrote for Sainsbury's magazine. The idea was to invite your friends round for a wine tasting then all have a slap-up meal afterwards. This meal was based on a tasting of South American reds from Argentina and Chile but it would be just as fun to base it round Malbec (Malbec being the perfect wine for a steak).
If you’re after a bright, fruity, sunshine-filled red to carry you through the dark, dreary days of winter you couldn't do better than this delicious Côtes du Rhône.
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.
If you're looking for a sparkling wine or champagne for a party here's my pick of what's available under £15 in ascending order of price. I've deliberately picked that figure rather than £10 as I haven't found a champagne I really rate under the £10 mark.
A newbie's guide to sake from wine writer Natasha Hughes.
Although not the problem they're generally made out to be tomatoes do have an influence on a wine pairing.
An irresistible dinner invitation came my way a few weeks ago, to attend a game dinner and tasting of René Rostaing’s Côte Rôties at Emanuel College, Cambridge. Cambridge colleges are famous for their wine cellars but these wines came from the personal wine cellar of its ‘wine steward’ Dr Jonathan Aldred, the fortunate fellow (in both senses of the word) who buys all the wine for the college.
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*
It’s been so busy the last few weeks that good pairings have been coming thick and fast but this was a great match I enjoyed at an offbeat new occasional restaurant which was launched by food and wine writer Marc Millon in Topsham, Devon the other day. (He’s also contributed a couple of pieces to this site including this wonderful piece about Bagna Cauda)
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.
Few these days dispute that red wine goes with fish - it’s just a question of which wine and how the fish is cooked. Most would accept ‘meaty' steak lookalikes like grilled or spiced tuna or salmon work with Pinot Noir but would hesitate to take it much further than that but last week I found a couple of surprisingly good fish matches at one of my favourite new wine bars 28-50.
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.
If you’re a fan of dessert wines here’s an absolutely cracking bargain from Lidl’s latest limited edition release which went on sale on Thursday.
A lot of chefs - particularly male chefs - don't really get salads, making them either an afterthought or wildly, elaborately fussy. Mark Hix of the Independent is an exception - his are always simple but imaginative, reflecting the season perfectly. Here are my matches for his recipes in the Independent this weekend.
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.
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 . . .
This doesn’t, I admit, sound a particularly tempting proposition so let me explain. By oxidised sweet wines I mean dessert wines which have been deliberately exposed to air through extended barrel ageing, giving them a complex nutty, treacley flavour.