Pairings | Red wine
Which foods pair best with Merlot?
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.
The best wine pairing for steak
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.
The best pairings with red burgundy
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.
Six of the best pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon
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.
White or red wine? What's the best pairing for risotto?
Talking about wine matches for risotto is a bit like talking about wine with pasta - it’s depends on the other ingredients you use, not the rice.
The best wine and beer pairings for pizza
Should you drink wine or beer with pizza? No rights or wrongs, obviously but here are a few thoughts which might encourage you to experiment.
The best food pairings for Pinot Noir
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.
The best food pairings for Zinfandel
Like most wines made from red grapes Zinfandel comes in a number of styles from light and juicy to blockbuster ‘killer’ zins but they have a common thread of ripe brambly fruit and in most cases a richness that makes them a good match for red meat and other hearty dishes, especially those with a hit of smoked chilli.
Six of the best food pairings for Australian Shiraz
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.
What wine goes best with chicken - red or white?
Good news! The best wine with chicken can be either red or white - it depends on your own personal taste and the way it’s cooked.
Pairing wine and cheese: 6 ways to do it better
Ask most people what the best wine is with cheese and most would choose a full-bodied red. But is it really the best pairing? It depends on the wine, it depends on the cheese and it depends on you. If you LOVE red wine with cheese nothing is going to put you off the experience.
Four favourite wine matches for coq au vin
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?
Which wine to pair with Texas BBQ
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.
Portuguese wine paired with the experimental cuisine at Viajante
Our roving gastronome Lucy Bridgers puts Portuguese wine through its paces with a succession of small plates from the inventive Nuno Mendes.
So what DO you pair with a blockbuster cabernet?
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.
What food to pair with Ribera del Duero
Advertising feature: As one of Spain’s most highly regarded red wines you want to pair Ribera del Duero with food that will fully show it off but as it comes at a number of different price points and styles what type of ingredients and dishes work best?
Which wines and beers to pair with asparagus
This month I asked my fellow Tweeters to tackle the subject of wine with asparagus - supposed to be a tricky combination, but as @cuvee_corner put it “Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the difficulty.” (It isn't just you. There are plenty of options!)
The best wine pairings for Navarra wines
Advertising feature: Navarra is one of the most forward-looking of Spanish wine regions offering boldly flavoured wines that are a match for a wide range of dishes.
When you can pair asparagus with red wine
The idea of partnering asparagus with wine is contentious enough but red wine? Surely that won’t work?
My tasting at the Wine & Culinary Forum, Barcelona
I’ve been having some fresh thoughts about food and wine matching since I was asked to participate in the Wine & Culinary International Forum in Barcelona this past weekend and come up with pairings for the bottles submitted by the Primum Familiae Vini, 11 of the world's most famous family-owned wineries
10 Argentinian wine pairings that don’t involve steak!
Everyone knows that malbec and steak is a classic pairing but the Argentinians do of course eat other foods and drink other wines. Here are 10 that I came across on my recent trip that might possibly surprise you.
If you don’t eat meat what should you pair with your best red wines?
This was a question that popped up in our Matching Food & Wine Facebook group so I’ve included a couple of our members' suggestions but it’s well worth following the full thread
The best food and wine pairings for Valentine's Day
If you're planning a special meal for Valentine's Day you may be wondering which wine to pair with your menu. I've picked some favourite Valentine's Day foods and suggested some matches that should work well with them.
When to pair red wine with fish
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?
A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight
Here's a barbecue I've dug out of the archives - a middle-eastern inspired BBQ from my book Food, Wine and Friends.
Which foods pair best with high alcohol red wines?
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.
The best wine pairings for cheddar cheese
As with most cheeses the ideal wine pairing for cheddar depends how mature it is. A mild to medium block cheddar is going to be a lot easier to match (and in most cheeselovers’ eyes a lot less interesting) than an aged cloth-bound cheddar of 18 months or more.
The best food pairings for syrah
Syrah and shiraz, as you may know, are the same grape variety but quite different in character. Syrah, especially from the Northern Rhône, tends to be savoury, shiraz from Australia, far more sweet-fruited. Here I’m concentrating on food pairings for syrah. Read this post if you’re looking for matches for shiraz though there is obviously some overlap.
Top pairings for Pinot Noir: some new ideas from Natasha Hughes
Natasha Hughes re-orders her hit list of wine matches for pinot following her visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
Six drinks you might not have thought of pairing with Indian food
Asking what to drink with Indian food is a bit like asking what to drink with European food - it’s so incredibly varied - but there are pointers that should hopefully make the decision a bit easier.
The best food pairings with Saint-Emilion
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.
Matching wine and charcuterie - an experiment
About the most daunting audience that anyone could face is a group of wine writers, especially if a number of those happen to specialise in food and wine matching so it was with some trepidation that I agreed to lead a tasting on wine and charcuterie in London on Monday night on the eve of the London International Wine Fair.
Which wines pair best with eggs?
Eggs are supposed to be one of the trickiest ingredients to pair with wine but I’ve never entirely got it myself. More to the point do you want to drink wine with eggs at breakfast or even brunch, the time you’re most likely to eat them?
Five great cheese and wine pairings
You know how difficult it is to find a good wine and cheese match? Well here are five I’ve recently tasted that hit the spot perfectly. Four were at a tasting at the recent Bristol Wine Fair that was conducted by the food and wine writer Andrea Leeman. The other was a serendipitous one I came across the other night when we were eating with friends.
Which wines and beers pair best with mushrooms?
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
The day I cooked with Léoville las Cases
“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.
What food to pair with a 15% ABV wine
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.
Which wine (or beer) to pair with roast beef
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.
In search of the perfect steak wine
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.
My top wine pairings with strawberries
I’m sure you’re enjoying a bowlful or two of strawberries at this time of year. But what to drink with them?
Wines to pair with fennel
Fennel is one of the handful of vegetables that can influence a main course pairing - almost always for the better. Its aniseed flavour seems to have a pronounced affinity with many wines, especially whites. Here are some suggested matches with recipes that two British chefs have published this weekend - Gordon Ramsay in the Times and Skye Gyngell in the Independent on Sunday.
Wine (and other) pairings for peaches and nectarines
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!
Seasonal wine pairings for Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy
Lucy Bridgers reports on an elegant dinner matching different vintages of Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy with a seasonal spring menu
What food to pair with red Bordeaux
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?
6 good wine pairings for aubergine/eggplant
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.
The best wine pairings for lasagna
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.
The best food pairings for Grenache
Today is International Grenache Day, a celebration of a grape which is (often anonymously) responsible for some of the most generous and appealing reds in the wine world.
Which wine to pair with a Moroccan tagine?
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.
Wine and lamb: my 5 favourite pairings
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.
What wine - and other drinks - to pair with cheesecake
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.
What to pair with artisanal cheddar?
The type of artisanal cheddar I was writing about yesterday - mature, full-flavoured, unpasteurised - isn’t the easiest cheese to match with wine.
What wine to pair with goose
If you’ve decided to serve goose rather than turkey this Christmas you’ve already opted to be adventurous. So you could arguably be adventurous about your wine (or other drink) pairing too.
The best wine pairings for partridge
I sometimes think partridge is my favourite game bird - less full-on and ‘gamey’ than pheasant, more subtle and delicate than chicken. But what wine should you drink with it?
Which wines - or beers - pair best with cooked cheese?
Cheese and wine is a notorious minefield but is it any easier when the cheese is cooked? See my suggestions to match Mark Hix's delicious recipes in the Independent today:
The tough task of pairing white truffles
Frankly if you can afford white truffles (currently selling at about 2500 euros per kilo) you probably already have a substantial cellar to pick from but just so you don’t in any way detract from the pleasure of eating your investment let me tell you what the Piedmontese do.
The best food pairings for cabernet franc
Cabernet franc can be the most food-friendly of wines, as good with fish and veggies as it is with meat but as I pointed out in a recent Guardian column it comes in several styles.
Food pairings for Apothic and other sweet red wines
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.
What wine to pair with hummus
If you’re wondering what wine to pair with hummus or houmous you need to take account of the fact that it’s rarely served on its own.
The best wine pairings with Roquefort cheese
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.
The best wine pairings with monkfish
Monkfish (or lotte, as the French call it) is a meaty fish that is often roasted so pairs equally well with red wine as with white. In fact a lightly chilled red wine would generally be my preferred match, particularly if it’s wrapped in pancetta or bacon
The best wine pairings with meatballs
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
An alternative Burns Night supper for six
Haggis may be traditional fare for Burns' Night but let's face it, it's not everyone's cup of tea. So here's a Scottish inspired menu that I suspect you'll probably enjoy rather more (unless you're born and bred Scots, of course...)
A wine and truffle lunch with The Wine Society
Are Languedoc wines grand enough to stand up to truffles? Our new contributor Donald Edwards reports:
5 wine and beer pairings for shepherd’s pie
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.
What to drink with Middle Eastern food?
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
Wine and Indonesian food: which wine pairs best with Rijsttafel?
I posted this last year after trying Rijsttafel - the Indonesian speciality that’s widely available in Amsterdam. Translated literally as ‘rice table’, it’s an elaborate array of curries, salads and pickles which present a tough challenge for any wine.
What food to pair with mature Margaux
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.
Top wine pairings with goat cheese (chèvre)
Since goats cheese and Sauvignon Blanc are such a great match it might seem redundant to think of anything else but despite its reputation for being . . . well . . . goaty, goats cheese is easy to pair with other wines.
Some top beer and wine pairings for Cheshire cheese
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.
6 of the best Spanish wines to pair with tapas
It shouldn't come as a massive surprise that Spain can provide any style of wine you might fancy to drink with tapas.
Which wine pairs best with tomatoes?
Tomatoes are generally held to be a problem for wine but as Jane McQuitty robustly puts it in The Times today - nonsense!
The best wine pairings with cheese fondue, raclette and tartiflette
Even if you're not currently on the slopes you might want to take your chance to make one of the great ski-food classics, fondue, raclette or tartiflette.
The best wine pairings with Beef Wellington
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
Why the Chinese prefer to drink red wine with food
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.
10 good wine pairings with paté
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.
The best food pairings for Mencia
When I scoured the website for existing pairings with mencia I was amazed how many dishes I’d suggested it with. It really is an incredibly versatile food wine.
From the archives: Does Bordeaux need butter?
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.
What type of wine pairs best with Vietnamese food?
Sunday marked not only the start of the Chinese New Year but the Vietnamese New Year celebrations too - known as Tet. As in China there are certain foods which are traditional to the occasion such as pickled vegetables and candied fruits, none of which are particularly wine-friendly but in general I find Vietnamese food, with its milder heat and fragrant herbal flavours easier to match than Thai (although I haven’t had such extensive experience of doing so).
Six of the best drink pairings for kale
Although there's not quite the feverish frenzy there was about kale a couple of years ago there's still a lot of kale lurve around.
Wine, beer and other pairings with Mexican food
The thing you need to ask yourself when you’re wondering which wine - or other drink - to pair with Mexican food is what kind of Mexican. Authentic Mexican or Tex Mex?
The best wine pairings for pheasant
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.
The best wine pairings for spaghetti puttanesca
Spaghetti puttanesca - or 'whore’s spaghetti' to translate it literally - is a full-flavoured pasta dish with strong, punchy flavours but which wine should you pair with it?
The best wines to pair with haggis
I’ve argued before that whisky and beer are the best matches for haggis but what if you prefer a wine? What colour and style work best?
Six of the best wine pairings with cassoulet
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.
6 versatile wine pairings for a Chinese New Year feast
Asking which wine is the best match for Chinese food is a bit like looking for the best match for European food - it in no way reflects the diversity of Chinese cuisine.
The best wine and beer pairings for steak pie
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
10 food-friendly wines from The Beautiful South
Wine writer Matt Walls picks out his favourite wines from Chile, Argentina and South Africa from last week's Beautiful South tasting
Six of the best pairings for a burger
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?
6 of the best pairings for spaghetti bolognese
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:
What are the best pairings for pancakes?
If you’re planning a Pancake Day celebration for Tuesday and haven’t yet decided what to drink here are few ideas.
Which wines pair best with raw food?
If anyone still needs convincing about the virtues of food and wine matching Mark Hix’s fresh seasonal recipes in The Independent today should convince them. Even the ‘drink what you like with the food you like’ brigade would have to admit that a voluptuous Meursault or oak-aged white Bordeaux would totally overwhelm the flavours of raw food.
Good wine pairings for Saint-Nectaire
Having spent a few days in the Auvergne recently and eaten more than my fair share of Saint Nectaire cheese with a variety of wines, mostly natural, here’s what I think works best.
Which wine to pair with moussaka
If you’re wondering what type of wine to serve with moussaka the obvious answer is a Greek red. The dry, dark-fruited character of the country’s indigenous grapes suits the dish perfectly.
The best food pairings for Carmenère
You may not be familiar with Carmenère but it's a delicious red at this chilly time of year.
A vegetarian harvest supper
Before we finally plunge into winter here's a late autumn supper menu from my book Food, Wine and Friends that combines the best of autumn’s produce with a couple of convenience products.
What food to pair with Malbec
Malbec has become so popular it may have become one of your favourite red wines but what are the best kind of dishes to pair with it?
What to pair with Coronation chicken?
Coronation chicken is an obvious choice for any Royal occasion but what wine - or beer - should you pair with it?
The best food pairings for Pinotage
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.
4 tips to bear in mind when pairing Easter lamb
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
Three surefire pairings for pinot noir
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.
The best wine pairings for vitello tonnato
One of the best hot weather dishes, this piquant dish of cold poached or roast veal with a tuna, anchovy and caper mayonnaise invariably pops up on menus at this time of year. But what to pair with it?
The best wine pairings for a Chinese stir-fry
A stir-fry is a great option for a quick midweek supper but what kind of wine should you drink with it?
Wine and cheese: is natural wine the best match for unpasteurised cheese?
I’ve done a fair few cheese and wine tastings in my time but none quite as challenging as the one I did at the RAW natural wine fair last year matching natural wine with unpasteurised cheese.
Top wine pairings with scallops
Scallops are some of the most delicious seafood around and some of the most flattering to a serious white wine. There’s one grape variety that will almost always see you right but also some other options
The best wine - and other drinks - to pair with macaroni cheese
The best wine to pair with macaroni cheese, or mac'n'cheese as our friends across the pond have it, depends how fancy - and how cheesy - your mac and cheese is.
Six of the best wine pairings for Christmas ham
If you're serving a ham or gammon as a roast this Christmas you need a more substantial wine with it than when you serve ham as a cold cut. Which one depends on the glaze.
The best food pairings for Barolo and Barbaresco
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.
What to pair with Camembert: 5 great drink matches
Although it seems similar in style to Brie, Camembert is a trickier cheese to pair with a slightly funky edge that can clash with many wines, particularly reds.
The best food pairings for rioja
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.
6 of the best wine pairings for spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara - spaghetti with a creamy bacon and egg sauce - is one of my all-time favourite pasta dishes but what’s the best wine pairing for it?
The extraordinary food and wine of Georgia
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.
The best food pairings for Lambrusco
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.
The best food pairings for Chianti and other Tuscan sangiovese
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.
Red wine and red meat - what could possibly go wrong?
Wine writer Stuart Walton casts a sceptical eye over accepted wisdom:
Top food pairings with Barbera
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.
Win a fantastic case of Ribera del Duero wines
If you’re already a fan of Ribera del Duero wines you’re going to LOVE this case of wine. If you’ve never tasted them before you’re in for an absolute treat. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
6 of the best pairings for Brie
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.
What type of food pairs best with Brunello di Montalcino?
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.
A Hallowe'en supper for 4-6
With Hallowe'en just a few days away here's a sophisticated supper for those of you who don't have to go out trick or treating . . .
What kind of food should you serve with fine wine?
Most of the time we’re pairing wine and food it’s the food that comes first but for people in the trade it’s more often about what food will flatter the wine. But how do you ensure a successful match?
French food and Australian Wine
Blogger Denise Medrano of The Wine Sleuth braces herself for a lunch featuring classic French dishes and Australian wine. Was she convinced? Read on . . .
Bagna cauda and the new Dolcetto
Food and wine writer Marc Millon recounts a memorable celebration of the new vintage last week with his Piemontese winemaker friends
What to pair with Beaujolais Nouveau
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.
6 of the best pairings for chilli con carne
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.
What to drink with a kebab - and it's not lager!
Inspired by the British Kebab awards Zeren Wilson wonders what the perfect wine pairing is for a kebab and comes up with some surprising conclusions.
Can food at a wine dinner be too distracting?
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?
A winelover's New Year's Eve dinner
After the tradition-bound cooking of the Christmas period (from which the family will never let you deviate . . .) it’s good to branch out a bit with your New Year’s Eve meal and also pick some dishes that will allow you to drink some serious wines. Note you need to start the beef two days in advance.
Pairing Errazuriz wines at Pollen Street Social
New world wines are sometimes criticised (usually by the French!) for overwhelming subtle Michelin-starred food but award-winning blogger Jeanne Horak-Druiff of Cooksister found much to admire when she attended an Errazuriz food, wine and photography evening at Pollen Street Social.
Top wine and beer matches for game
We Brits have always had a reputation for liking our wines old and our game high but times have changed. Today the key factor in matching game tends to be not how ‘gamey’ it is but how it’s cooked and what is served with it.
Pairing Indian wine with Indian cheese
Chef Shaun Kenworthy reports on what he believes to be a unique tasting of Indian wine and Indian cheese.
10 Australian Shiraz - and Shiraz blends - that might surprise you
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 . . .
Pairing Pinot Noir and lamb
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.
The 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking
The last two days have been quite, quite beautiful, starting mistily, basking midday in an unseasonally warm sun and finishing with an extended dusk that announces that spring is finally here. I immediately want to eat lighter meals: the new season’s vegetables are not quite in yet but I can at least plan for summer and that means a spring clean of the cellar, pushing the full bodied reds to the back and assessing what whites, lighter reds and rosés I still have lurking in the racks.
A steak and Malbec supper
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).
Matching Lebanese food and wine
Many of us are familiar with Lebanon's rich culinary heritage, courtesy of the Lebanese diaspora and food writers such as Claudia Roden and Anissa Helou. Yet the prevalence of popular Lebanese dishes such as tabbouleh and hummous in our supermarkets is not yet matched by Lebanese wines despite a long history of grape cultivation dating back to the Phoenicians.
How long does wine keep?
The question I get asked most often as a wine writer is how long you should keep a bottle of wine. It’s one of those ‘How long is a piece of string?’ questions: it depends both on the bottle and the drinker.
Hedonism, Mayfair: a winelovers' playground
London's most luxurious wine shop by far Hedonism looks as if it's the kind of place you'd need to take out a mortgage to buy a case. Fortunately appearances deceive . . .
A St Patrick's Day supper
It’s a tribute to the sheer joie-de-vivre of the Irish that we regard St Patrick’s Day with much more enthusiasm than St George’s, St Andrew’s or St David’s Days (the patron saints for England, Scotland and Wales for those of you who aren’t into your saints). So your friends are going to be more than pleased to be invited to celebrate it with you.
What Britain’s top wine merchants think you should drink
Yesterday was the Bunch tasting, one of the highlights of the UK press tasting circuit. The Bunch is a group of six well-known wine merchants: Adnams, Berry Bros & Rudd, Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman, Tanners and Yapp Brothers. I’ve been seeing the same faces there for well over a decade. (None of them looks a day older, of course. Nor do I . . . ;-)
How to create a dish to match a wine
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.)
Matching wine with Chinese food - time for a rethink?
A recent trip to Beijing and Shanghai opened my eyes anew to the possibilities involved in drinking wine with Chinese food. Many of the conclusions we have painstakingly arrived at in the west turn out to be less obvious when tried out in situ.
Château Pontet-Canet at Alain Ducasse: Lucy Bridgers lives the high life
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.
An overview of the 2010 Penfolds releases and 2008 Grange
Regular contributor and former sommelier Donald Edwards tastes his way through the latest Penfolds' releases and is blown away by a cabernet.
Matching wine and tapas
Lucy Bridgers selflessly devotes herself to finding the perfect pairing for tapas on a tapas crawl through some of London's leading tapas bars
Beer vs wine: experiments with cheddar
The other evening I had an interesting session with a few food bloggers matching Davidstow cheddar for which I’d been asked to come up with some drink pairings*. My task was to talk about the wine. The company’s Head Grader Mark Pitts-Tucker brought along a couple of Cornish ales - Sharp’s Doombar and St Austell Tribute.
Win a case of top quality rioja
Sponsored feature We have an absolutely fabulous prize for you this month - a case of some of the best and most highly rated wines from the Rioja region worth over £400.
Which wines and beers match best with Chinese food
With Chinese new year coming up this weekend you may be planning a trip to a Chinese restaurant or planning a Chinese meal at home. But which wine to serve?
A Greek-inspired summer supper
With this unseasonably hot weather why not look to Greece for inspiration when you're entertaining. Here's a simple meal for 4 that was inspired by a trip to Greece a few years ago.
Eureka! A red wine match for artichokes
Everyone knows that artichokes are one of the most difficult ingredients to match with wine - especially with red wine. Only last weekend we struggled to find a pairing at the food matching forum I was taking part in.
What's the best match for a barbecue?
Should it be wine or beer - or even a cocktail? Last year I asked the Twitter community what their favourite barbecue bevvy was and this is what they came up with . . .
Should you use fine wine in cocktails?
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.
Pairing wine and artichokes
Artichokes have the reputation of being a wine-killer but as with most of these diktats the problem is over-played. True, artichokes can make even dry whites taste oddly sweet but that doesn’t account for the different ways in which they are cooked and how they are served.
When food and wine matching doesn't matter
Although I make my living writing about how food can enhance wine - and vice versa - I would never want to be dogmatic about it and freely admit that there are occasions when it matters less than others.
Pairing well matured cheese with great Pinot Noir
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.
Wine of the Week: Rothley Wine Warhorse Red
Leicestershire isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think about English wine but I’ve been very struck by two wines I’ve tasted from Rothley Wine.
How to eat like the Veronese
As you walk through the door of Al Pompiere in Verona you could easily be back in the '70s. A timbered ceiling, checked table cloths, walls lined with pictures of guests through the ages, it’s every inch the traditional trat. In one corner where hams line the shelves and hang from the ceiling an elderly chef in a toque is slicing ham and other salumi to order with a large, impressively flashy machine. If you think it’s old-fashioned though take a look at their website - the retro feel is deliberate but they’re linked to all the social media.
The best wine matches for Comté
After a recent visit to the Jura I've rethought my ideas about which wines make the best wine pairings for Comté cheese.
Thanksgiving turkey with a special Italian stuffing
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.
What to match with the world's best Bordeaux-style reds
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.
Wine and game matching revisited
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.
Red wine spaghetti with olives and anchovies
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.
Beef fillet in red wine and soya sauce
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.
Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red
I agonised over whether this should be the standout pairing from this marvellous Lebanese meal at Arabica last week but it won by just a whisker.
Richard Turner's beef rendang
If you like a bit of a project make Richard Turner's beef rendang this weekend - one of his favourite recipes, he tells me, from his brilliant new book PRIME.
Navarin of lamb
I made this simple, classic French one-pot meal down in the Languedoc in April last year - proof that a stew hits the spot at what can still be a chilly time of year.
Seared cod with red wine sauce and Premier Cru Santenay
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.
Win an aged Spanish beef meat box, a bottle of Rioja gran reserva and a copy of Prime
For this month’s comp we’ve teamed up with our good friends Islington-based butchers Turner & George* again to offer you a type of beef that’s become a real hit on the London restaurant scene. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
Manor House Fairtrade Shiraz Mourvedre 2011
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.
Pairing wine and cheese with Max McCalman
An archive post from a fascinating tasting with maître fromager, educator and author Max McCalman, one of the US's foremost cheese experts, back in 2009.
Win a case of award-winning South African wines
I was in South Africa back in February - a country that produces more remarkable wines every time I go there - so was really thrilled when Wines of South Africa offered a case of the country’s best red wines as this month's prize. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
‘Meli Melo’ 2013 and 3 other good wine finds from Yapp
One of the problems of recommending a wine that most people can only buy online is that they generally have to buy a case - either of that wine or others they haven't a clue whether they’ll like or not.
London Cru SW6, Red Wine 1
The idea of making wine in London from grapes grown in France and Italy sounds a bit of a crazy one but London Cru’s first vintage is an impressive debut.
Rare seared sirloin steak slivers with feta, charred lettuce and charred cucumber
If you're thinking of going in for our Le Creuset competition this month you may have been tempted by the rather gorgeous-looking cast iron square grill.
Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine
We all know that roast lamb is a great pairing with red wines but the assumption is often that it’s prepared in a classic French way so it was interesting to note over the weekend that if you give it a middle-eastern spin exactly the same applies
Braised short ribs in red wine with Les Clos Perdus Corbières
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).
What are the best wine glasses to buy?
Much play has been made over the last few years of having different shaped glasses for different wines but for those of us with limited storage space (and a limited budget) that’s simply not practical. So what are the best type of glasses to buy and what should you expect to pay for them?
A perfect wine for cheese. A perfect cheese for wine
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.
Wines to match three very nice simple recipes from cookery writer Ken Hom
I was interested to read in the Telegraph this weekend that Ken Hom is planning to move from his French base in Cahors to spend more time in Italy and Thailand.
What to eat with Cloudy Bay
For most people the New Zealand winery Cloudy Bay is synonymous with sauvignon blanc but their range now extends to sparkling, sweet and red wines, a message underlined by a dinner at Hix Mayfair (in Brown’s Hotel) the other day.
What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes
If you’re used to choosing wine - or other drinks - to match with meat or fish you may be flummoxed when it comes to chosing one for vegetarian friends. But as I explain in my Guardian column today it’s a question of finding out how the wine is made - and in particular whether any animal-based products have been used in the fining process.
What to eat with old Côte Rôtie
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.
Top wines to drink with turkey
You may already have your own favourite wine pairing for turkey but if you're looking for inspiration here are some of my favourite matches.
Spanish wine matches for Moro recipes
For the last couple of weeks The Telegraph has been running recipes from two of my favourite chefs, Sam and Sam Clark of Moro, the iconic Moorish recipe in Exmouth Market in London that I discover, to my amazement, is now 11 years old. Sam (the husband) is very into his wines, particularly sherry, so I'm suggesting Spanish wines for the pairings.
Wines - and other drinks - to match Trina Hahnemann's Scandinavian menu
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.
Possibly the best truffle dinner ever
Did I want to go on a truffle trip to Spain at the end of January? Balmy Barbados seemed like a better option but since that wasn’t on the cards and the enquiry came from an old friend I said yes. The 2 day visit - the annual Viñas del Vero ‘Days of Wine and Truffles’ in Somontano would include an outdoor picnic in the foothills of the Pyrenees (eek), a truffle hunt and - the clincher - a multi-course truffle menu by one of the region’s most talented chefs followed by a gastronomic brunch. “Bring the Gaviscon”. my friend sagely advised.
The lemon dilemma
I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about ingredients that cause problems for wine and have come to the conclusion that lemon is one of the major culprits. Of course we add lemon to many things for a subtle lift - I’m talking about recipes where lemoniness (if there is such a word) is the essence of the dish.
Balthazar's Coq au Vin
It might seem bizarre turning to an American cookbook for a classic French recipe but this version from the Balthazar Cookbook is hard to beat.
Roast lamb with wild garlic risotto, asparagus and feta with a chilled Languedoc red
This match, which I enjoyed at Plateau wine bar in Brighton last week, breaks a couple of wine pairing conventions. Firstly that you match red meat with a full bodied red. And secondly that you don’t drink red wine with asparagus.
Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber
A simple but spectacular Japanese-style dish from Diana Henry's marvellous new book A Change of Appetite which I've also reviewed on the site here.
Six of the best wines with a nut roast
You might be surprised that a nut roast isn’t that different from a conventional roast when it comes to finding a wine pairing. The savoury flavours are designed to act as a satisfying substitute for meat and so work best with similarly full-bodied red wines.
Thomasina Miers' Mole Amarillo
To celebrate Day of the Dead - or maybe even Bonfire Night - here's a fabulous warming spicy Mexican stew for 10 from Thomasina Miers' Wahaca: Mexican food at Home.
Supreme of guinea fowl with broad beans, fresh morels and herb gnocchi
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.
Matching food and Priorat
I was reminded about my trip to Priorat almost exactly two years ago by my recent visit to the Roussillon which has a similar terroir. And I think the wines would go with similar kinds of food. These were my suggested pairings at the time . . .
Matching wine and single origin chocolate
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.
Wine of the week: Planeta Mamertino 2015
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.
Rigatoni with aubergine (eggplant), sausage and Zinfandel sauce
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 best wine matches for tomatoes
Although not the problem they're generally made out to be tomatoes do have an influence on a wine pairing.
Which wine to choose for Thanksgiving
The first thing to bear in mind about Thanksgiving - and for that matter Christmas - is that it’s as much about mood as food. Who you’re inviting, what age they are and how big your party is are factors every bit as important as what you’re eating.
John Dory poached in red wine with Daniel Rion Nuits-St-Georges
It was hard to pick just one pairing from the stellar meal I had at Marcus Wareing in London last week but this combination of robustly cooked John Dory and 2005 Nuits-St-Georges from Domaine Daniel Rion was the most interesting, underlining that red wine can be just as good a partner for white fish as for meatier fish like tuna.
How to host a wine dinner
Ollie Couillaud’s inaugural wine dinner at The Lawn Bistro in Wimbledon, west London yesterday was a masterclass in how to get it right.
Spiced Venison with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce
An elegant main course recipe* from one of my favourite food writers Sue Lawrence's A Cook’s Tour of Scotland that would be a great option for a haggis-free Burns' Night supper.
Wine for turkey: the difference between a Thanksgiving turkey and a British Christmas turkey
Looking at the recipes online for Thanksgiving turkeys, stuffings and sides they’re very much sweeter (and more imaginative) than the typical UK Christmas turkey. They’re often brined, glazed or spiced (or all three), sometimes deep-fried and often accompanied by cornbread-based stuffings and sweet-tasting vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash.
Pairing wine with Chinese cuisine
I’ve written before about pairing wine with Chinese food - and so have some of my contributors but here’s a slightly different way of going about it that may help you decide which bottle to choose and make your pairings more successful. It involves deciding which flavours are predominant in a dish or selection of dishes.
Oxtail cooked in Priorat with prunes matched with 2004 Vall Llach Priorat
The highlight of last week was my trip to Priorat so this week’s pairing has to be one of the wines I tasted. Oddly it wasn’t one of the wines I enjoyed most although it was in the upper echelons of what the region has to offer : a Vall Llach 2004, a blend of 65% Cariñena (old vine Carignan), 20% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Braised rabbit and Château Fond Cyprès Syrah de la Pinède
Most of this past week has been spent in Paris where almost every wine match is a good one. There’s been a lot of Beaujolais - and other Gamay - drinking and a fair amount of crisp dry whites such as Aligoté - but the pairing I’m going to pick is a Syrah I didn’t know with a stonking great plateful of braised rabbit at the legendary Baratin.
Wine of the week: Virgile Joly Bourret Pays d’Oc 2014
Those of you who have followed me for a while will know I’m not a great fan of Naked Wines but occasionally they come up with a corker that almost tempts me to sign up as an ‘Angel'.
Two really good wines to buy from Help 4 Hospitality
As I'm sure you know the hospitality industry - i.e. restaurants, pubs and hotels - is in dire straits with no clear idea when businesses can reopen or even if they’ll be viable if they do.
Segredo do Lisboa Castelao-Syrah, Lisboa 2011
For obvious reasons* I was all set to recommend a handsomely bottled Irish whiskey I’d discovered this weekend but then I tasted it and actually didn’t rate it so here’s a fantastically good value wine deal I found in my local Co-op instead.
Warm lamb salad with a pea, mint & feta cheese dressing
A fabulously summery recipe from the very appealing Great British Farmhouse Cookbook - perfect for this time of year.
40 day aged fillet of Black Angus beef with Henschke’s 2010 Mount Edelstone Shiraz
This has been one of the most difficult weeks ever to pick my match of the week but this, by a whisker, was it.
The best of the new Blind Spot wines from The Wine Society
The Wine Society has had a range of exclusive Australian wines called Blind Spot which are made for them by winemaker Mac Forbes for a while.
Red wine and peaches
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.
Italian cheese and a Provence red from Microcosmos
I don’t often pair red wine with cheese, let alone make it my match of the week but the Italian cheeseboard I had the other day at Bocca di Lupo in Soho proved a great pairing for a highly unusual Provencal red
Wine and pepper
Like salt, pepper has a pronounced effect on wine, often making reds taste softer and lusher than they otherwise would. Unlike salt though, you also find peppery flavours in wines such as Northern Rhône Syrah and Austrian Grüner Veltliner.
Wilhelm Coetzee's Butterflied Leg of Lamb
I first met winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee back in 2006 when he was working for Flagstone. He's now working at Durbanville Hills and this is his favourite 'braii' recipe.
A quick guide to wine serving temperatures
The mistake most people make when they’re serving wine is to serve whites too cold and reds too warm. Assuming you haven’t got a handy wine thermometer here’s a quick guide to the ideal temperature for different styles of wine:
8 great wine matches for brussels sprouts
The idea of doing a post on wine matches with brussels sprouts might strike you as a tad over the top - after all who eats sprouts on their own? (Answer: me. Whenever I get the chance.)
Wine of the week: Domaine d’Escausses, cuvée des Drilles
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.
Wine of the week: Ventisquero Root: 1 Carmenere
Recommending a specific wine is a bit of a lottery at the moment. I had planned to tell you about this seductively velvety Chilean red a few days ago but couldn’t get get into the Morrisons site. But I’m hoping you can find the odd bottle in store although its current sharp promotional price of £6 (until April 4th) may make that a long shot.
Wine of the week: El Bombero Gran Reserva 2009 Carinena
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
So what IS a food-friendly wine?
People in the wine trade often talk about ‘food friendly wines’, a term so vague you might wonder what on earth it means. Surely all wines are designed to go with food? Is it supposed to be a criticism or a compliment?
Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead
I’ve just had a sneak preview of a very lush new B & B Langford Fivehead which opens next week (March 1st) in the Somerset Levels just outside Taunton. The building dates back to 1453 and is owned and run by former BBC Good Food editor Orlando Murrin and his partner Peter Steggall
Alcyone Tannat Dessert Wine
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.
Steak that doesn't need a red
Some unusual steak recipes from Jason Atherton (then of Maze, now of Pollen Street Social) that prove you don't always need to drink red with beef.
Pizza and chilled red wine
We’re in Arles this week for our annual visit to the Rencontres Arles, the fabulous photography festival that takes over the entire town. Since we’re with our youngest son, culinary exploration has to alternate with visits to his favourite pizza and sandwich joints which is how we ended up last night at a basic but brilliant pizzeria in the Trinquetaille on the other side of the Rhône.
I first had this wonderful vegetable stew - a northern Spanish equivalent of a spring vegetable minestrone - in a restaurant in Pamplona and dreamed about it for several years before managing to recreate it.
What to drink with asparagus part I
Last night I had dinner at the Dorchester Grill Room, one of London’s grander hotel restaurants which has been given an absurdly baroque makeover reminiscent of what Balmoral must have looked like in Victorian times. The team in the restaurant though are bang up to date with one of the smartest sommeliers in town, Jason McAuliffe doing an impressive double act with the talented young chef Aiden Byrne.
Grilled octopus and Baga
Octopus seems an unlikely ingredient to be on trend but you’ll find it on a lot of restaurant menus at the moment. It’s far from an easy creature to cook (like squid it’s classified as a cephalopod rather than a fish) and it’s a measure of the kitchen’s skill as to whether it turns out tough or not.
Is red wine a good match for chocolate?
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.
Spicy tuna pasta and Tuscan red
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?
Game consommé with a Croatian red
Given that wine dinners are all about combining food and wine it’s not that often that the resulting pairings blow you away but I was hard pushed to pick just one out of the four brilliant matches at last week’s Autumn Delights dinner at Adelina Yard in Bristol.
Saperavi with slow cooked wagyu beef
Continuing the exotic vibe of last week’s pairing the standout combination this week was a Georgian Saperavi with Welsh Wagyu beef!
A robust, winey stew from Rebecca Seal's mouthwatering new book, The Islands of Greece which immediately makes you want to jump on a plane and fly off there. Top tip about cooking rabbit too.
Lamb and porcini kebabs with sage and parmesan
Maybe I've got a bit overexcited with all the sun this week but the barbecue season doesn't seem that far away so it was good to find Dan Vaux-Nobes' 101 BBQ and Grill recipes arriving through my letterbox.
Win a case of exceptional Mirto rioja from Ramon Bilbao
A couple of months ago I went to Moscow to speak at an event organised by the Rioja producer Rámon Bilbao and reported back on one of the most extraordinary pairings they came up with - a chocolate layer cake and a really, lush modern rioja called Mirto which is only made in the region’s best vintages.
HKK - where the drinks are as fab as the food
Maybe Chinese restaurants are like buses. You don’t get any new openings for a while then several come along at once. So after Bo London the other day, it’s HKK, the latest project from the Hakkasan group.
Tom Kerridge's sausage, tomato and butterbean stew
You might associate Tom Kerridge with fancy cooking but his time with footballer Marcus Rashford has found its way into his latest book Real Life Recipes which are, as the tiitle suggests, basic easy recipes to cook for the family. This hearty sausage dish is perfect for the chilly weather we're having now
Cune Gran Reserva Rioja Imperial 2005
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.
Slow-cooked ox cheek in spicy tomato sauce
A warming wintry recipe from José Pizarro's Catalonia - the perfect dish to cook as the nights draw in.
Can any wine survive a Vindaloo?
The widely held belief that wine doesn’t pair with curry has largely been dispelled with the new and more subtly spiced curries on the market. But what of really hot curries like a Vindaloo?
Can any wine stand up to Stinking Bishop?
We Brits don’t have a long tradition of washed-rind cheeses but we have a true champion in the aptly named Stinking Bishop, which shot to worldwide fame when it was featured in the Wallace & Gromit film. But can any wine (or other drink) stand up to it?
Alternative wine matches for lamb
The perfect match for lamb is red wine, right? Well, mostly but not always as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipes in the Guardian this weekend and my own recent experience have demonstrated
Asparagus and Rondo (English red)
A wine-loving friend and I weren’t sure what to order the other night at Native in Southwark. The menu was suitably springlike but having had a glass of white beforehand (at the excellent Bar Douro) we fancied a red
Macedonio Finca del Regajo Monastrell Joven 2012
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’.
Berry Bros & Rudd Reserve Red
Only a merchant with a pedigree like Berry Bros & Rudd could consider an £8.45 bottle a ‘house wine’ but if your usual fare is classed growth claret I guess it is.
A perfect vineyard lunch
As I mentioned in my last post our last lunch of the Oregon trip was at Cristom where sales director (no less!) John D'Anna cooked us a great meal. Here's how he did it and - where I have a link to them - the recipes he used. Try it!
G.D. Vajra Langhe Freisa Kyé 2010
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.
Dard & Ribo Crozes-Hermitage and Vinujancu Etna Bianco
I couldn’t make up which of these terrific wines to recommend from yesterday’s London Wine Sessions so I’m going for both.
Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook
The book I’ve been looking forward to most so far this year has just started being serialised in the Guardian today. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi who founded two exceptional London restaurants and is simply called Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. l love Ottolenghi's food - it’s so generous and big-flavoured, piled high on bright, colourful platters - you can't fail to be tempted by it. It also lends itself perfectly to entertaining for large numbers at home.
Steak tartare and Côteaux du Languedoc
You might be surprised to know that red wine isn’t the first pairing I think of with steak tartare, which for those of you who haven’t tried it is chopped raw beef flavoured with punchy seasonings such as capers, parsley and hot pepper sauce. I actually think it pairs really well with sparkling wine, especially Champagne but last week I was down in the Languedoc and that didn’t really seem appropriate.
Coffee and maple syrup-brined pork with Saint Joseph
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.
Pot Roast Pork with Fennel, Olives, Oranges & Oregano
If you're looking for a Sunday roast with a twist try this gorgeous Spanish-inspired pork recipe from Richard Turner's amazing new book, Hog*. Not least 'cos it mentions me in the intro ;-)
Food and Bordeaux: What they served at the gala dinner at Mouton Rothschild
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.
Chocolate and Fine Wine Matching
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.
What to eat with your favourite wines this Christmas
Although we wine writers like to think we might be able to encourage you to be more adventurous in your wine choices this Christmas the truth is you’re probably going to stick to the wines you're familiar with.
Roast venison with tapenade and a modern Spanish red
Frankly almost any full-bodied red will work with a roast meat like venison but I’m particularly excited about the new breed of modern Spanish reds that are appearing on the shelves.
Pasta with Stilton and onion sauce and a new wave Spanish red
When I’m not writing about food and wine matching I’m writing a book - and a blog - about budget eating called The Frugal Cook. So this week’s match is a chance discovery with a scratch supper I knocked up last night (for which you can find the recipe on the blog)
Roasted asparagus and Jersey royal salad with herb mayonnaise and a 2012 Saumur Champigny
Asparagus, it’s often said, is tough to match with wine, let alone a red, but this combination with a light, chilled Saumur Champigny at the re-opened Bell’s Diner in Bristol was a perfect pairing.
Alheit Limited Release Red Blend 2018
'Dry red wine' doesn’t sound the most compelling description for a wine, especially one that costs £14.99, but when it comes from Chris and Suzaan Alheit, two of the most highly regarded winemakers in the Cape you sit up and take notice.
Beef shin pie and a Languedoc red
It’s amazing how many different styles of eating you can pack into a week, particularly when you’re travelling. At the moment I’m in sunny Chile stuffing myself with seafood and sauvignon blanc so I'm finding it hard to remember that just six days ago I was in rain-ravaged Britain craving pies and stews.
Milk fed lamb and aged Vega Sicilia
One of the questions I get asked most often is what to drink with a treasured bottle and this week’s match of the week provides the answer it it’s a red.
Wild boar with cherry sauce and Karam Corpus Christi
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)
Salt cod with ciambotta di peperoni and 2004 Argentiera, Bolgheri Superiore
Another interesting insight on pairing red wine and fish in Tuscany this week. We were served lightly salted cod with a rich tomato and pepper stew called ciambotta at Tenuta Argentiera which proved a perfect match for the mature 2004 vintage.
Top wine matches for Cornish Blue
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.
What to drink with foraged food?
Mark Hix, a great forager himself, concentrates on recipes you can make from the hedgerow this week in The Independent (now is a good time to go to his new restaurant, I suggest . . . ) so I’m thinking a little outside the box as to what to pair with them. Country wines, made with hedgerow fruits, seem the perfect answer. I don’t know why we don’t see more of them.
Tea-smoked duck with beetroot jelly and Bandol
We may have got rid of the old convention of white wine with fish and red wine with meat but you’d still expect to drink a light wine with a starter and a more robust wine with your main course, non? Well not when it’s tea-smoked duck as I discovered at a great meal at one of our local Bristol restaurants, Riverstation in Bristol last week.
Poached langoustines and Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc
Last week I caught up with Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte which I visited a couple of years ago when the winery was nominated Wine Tourism Champion by the Great Wine Capitals of the World (you can find my Decanter article on the experience here).
Lamb with coriander and the Garage Wine Company's Cabernet/Carignan
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.
Wine of the Week: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Faugères
I must admit I’ve always had a soft spot for Faugères which was one of the wine regions closes to our house in the Languedoc. The reds tendsto have a higher percentage of syrah compared to neighbouring appellations which makes the wines more elegant.
When should you drink Yquem?
Not a question I normally have to trouble my head about, I admit but which was prompted by an extraordinary wine dinner I went to last week at The Don in St Swithin's Lane.
Josceline Dimbleby's Crispy Pigeon Pie
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.
How to cook grouse
You might be daunted at the idea of cooking grouse but it's a great treat for a small dinner party.
Pairing cheese and claret
I’ve always had a bit of a problem finding cheese matches for red Bordeaux. Cheddar is often suggested but I find mature versions have too much ‘bite'. Stilton slays it and so do most washed rind cheeses, oozy Camemberts and Bries . . .
Is wine the best partner for pie?
We Brits don't need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
Rabbit stew and 2011 Henri et Gilles Buisson Saint Romain ‘Sous Roche’
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.
The best wine matches for Manchego, Berkswell and other hard sheep cheeses
Hard sheep cheeses are the winelover’s friend.
Dry wines with fresh fruit
One of the welcome reminders of this long hot summer (in the Languedoc at least) is just how well dry wines go with fresh fruit. I’ve been happily drinking whites, ross and even reds with fruit such as peaches, apricots, melons and figs. Sweet wines, of course, go well with all of these but sometimes sweet wines seem too intense, particularly if, like me, you don’t have a very sweet tooth.
10 top wine matches for Christmas starters
You may well know what you’re going to drink with the turkey by now but here are some ideas for what to match with your Christmas starters, paired with recipes from some of Britain’s favourite chefs and cookery writers.
Salt-aged Glenarm Shorthorn with a mature South African syrah blend
Showing off a mature bottle of red is usually a question of keeping it simple but it adds an extra dimension if you can serve the perfect cut.
Grilled lamb with mustard glaze and a 25 year old Xinomavro
I’m conscious I don’t post as many red wine pairings as I should partly because I tend to drink white wine more often, particularly at this time of year but this was a really spectacular match at a Visit Greece lunch at Above at Hide last week held to promote the Greek wine trails.
Goosnargh duck and elderberries with a Canary Islands red
Visiting two gastronomic restaurants that offered food and wine pairing in the Lake District last week (Forest Side and Hipping Hall) I’m struggling to pick out the stand-out match but I think it has to be the fabulous combination of the local Goosnargh duck with a wine I hadn’t tried before - the 2015 Tajinaste Valle de la Orotava from Tenerife that was served as part of the tasting menu at Hipping Hall.
From the cellar: Domaine d’Aupilhac Montpeyroux 1992, Coteaux du Languedoc
One of the pleasures of being at our house in the Languedoc is diving into the cellar and fishing out old, overlooked bottles.
Tandoori grouse and an Indian ‘SuperTuscan’
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.
The best food matches for Amarone
A recent lunch* and discussion hosted by Masi at Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner gave a revealing glimpse of what the best food pairings for amarone might be.
Beef bourguignon pie
Why has no-one had the genius idea of putting beef bourguignon into a pie before? Here's the recipe courtesy of the brilliant Ginger Pig Meat Book which I reviewed here.
What to match with Christmas ham
A fair bit gets written - including by yours truly - about pairing wine with turkey but what type of drinks go best with the Christmas ham?
Spicy beef and Barbera d'Asti
Barbera wouldn’t have been the wine I’d have generally turned to with a beef dish that came accompanied by a spicy Thai relish but it worked surprisingly well.
Palais Royal and Roquefort
We’ve been down in the Languedoc for the past week, revisiting some of the winemakers we haven’t seen for a while. They included Domaine de l’Arjolle, one of the first wineries we bought from when we bought a holiday home down here in the early 1990s.
Chocolate layer cake and single vineyard rioja
I’ve always been sceptical about the combination of red wine and chocolate but I came across one in Moscow last week that was simply sensational
Smoked haddock and apple salad with New Zealand Riesling
I was overwhelmed with good wine pairings last week but given that quite a few were similar to ones I’ve written about before I’m making this my star match.
Roast carrots with rocket pesto and a Catalan red
Choosing a wine to go with a number of widely differing dishes is always a challenge so I usually try to find a lightish wine that will rub along with both meat and vegetable dishes.
Wine of the Week: Punta de Vacas Malbec 2020
You may remember a while back I recommended a couple of wines from Berkmann Cellars who were selling wine to raise money for the hospitality industry. Well, they’re doing it again during the current lockdown and sent me a couple of wines from their range to try.
The charming eccentricity of Rye Bay Scallop Week
One of the more endearing aspects of the current British food scene is the number of festivals devoted to a single food. I’d heard of oyster festivals, crab festivals and cheese festivals but I’d never come across a scallop festival before.
White truffles and Boca
A full-bodied red mightn’t be the first wine you’d think of reaching for with white truffles but it works remarkably well as I discovered at a truffle dinner at Bocca di Lupo last week.
Tête de veau and Côtes du Jura rouge
Last week I was travelling back through France again and encountered a number of interesting matches but the one that worked best for me was in a modern bistro by the covered market in Besançon called La Table des Halles.
Roast duck and Bull's Blood
My match of the week this week was a toss-up between roast duck and Egri Bikavér (aka Bull's Blood) and Chateau Musar and game pie but I've plumped for the former, which I tasted at Soho's legendary Gay Hussar, as the more unusual pairing.
Milk-fed lamb with Bolgheri Coronato 2011
Last week was a bumper week for wine pairing but setting aside the matches with older vintages of Pazo Senorans albarino at El Celler de Can Roca which were so mind-blowing they deserve a longer post, this is the one that stood out.
What to drink at Hallowe'en
Of all the festivities round this time of year Hallowe’en, with its ghouls and pumpkins, is definitely the most kitsch so if you’re inviting a few friends round to celebrate it’s a fun to theme the drinks.
Veal chop with sage and Eben Sadie Sequillo Red
I had lunch for the first time for a while at Hix’s Oyster and Chop House in Farringdon last week where I ordered - appropriately enough - a chop. In this instance a veal chop with sage butter.
Rhubarb cheesecake and 2007 Peller Estates Cabernet Franc Ice Wine
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.
Wine of the week: The Society’s Exhibition Chianti Classico 2012
Sometimes when I go to a Wine Society tasting I find myself wondering why on earth anyone would buy their wine anywhere else.
Braised short ribs and Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre)
One of the tricky decisions to make when you’re serving a rich, winey stew is whether to go for a wine of equal weight or a lighter medium-bodied wine as a refreshing contrast.
Top food matches for Beaujolais (and other gamay)
Beaujolais - by which I mean red Beaujolais - is the most French of wines, the perfect wine pairing for a picnic or bistro meal.
Steak and Trousseau
'Hmmm, steak and red wine - nothing particularly original about that' you might be thinking but bear with, as they say.
Roast partridge and Pinot Noir
I’ve already suggested pinot noir as a good pairing for partridge so it was good to find the recommendation vindicated at lunch with Carolyn Martin of Creation Wines at 67 Pall Mall last week.
Roast beef and Bordeaux
OK, this is one of the most classic wine pairings in the world but none the worse for that.
Polenta with roasted courgettes, tomatoes and basil and Bardolino
After months of lockdown it’s been such a pleasure to return to favourite restaurants like Elliott and Tessa Lidstone’s Box-E and I couldn’t have had a more perfect day to enjoy it. The food too - especially this quintessentially summery dish of courgettes, tomatoes and basil with the lightest, fluffiest polenta - was just perfect for sitting outside on a hot day.
Cecina (cured beef) and Mencia
Last week I was in Galicia (for three days. Without my suitcase. Thankyou Easyjet) visiting the denominations of Valdeorras and Bierzo where the star red grape is Mencia. (For years I got them confused periodically thinking the grape was Bierzo and the region Mencia but I’ve finally got it straight.)
Ox cheek (again) and Jumilla
I know I talked about ox cheek a couple of weeks ago (with nero d’avola) but here it is again in an even better combination with Jumilla at a lunch hosted by wine importers Morgenrot at Bar 44 in Bristol.
The best wine matches with salt cod
Salt cod, a popular Good Friday dish in parts of the Mediterranean, is cooked many different ways which suggest different wine pairings.
Soft boiled eggs with anchoiade and radicchio and Bourgueil
Last week’s best pairing was at a fascinating meal I had at Les 110 de Taillevent in Paris which I’ll be writing up in more detail so here’s an off-the-wall match from last night’s feast at The Unfiltered Dog - a pop up restaurant at the Real Wine Fair run by the team from Terroirs.
Roast lamb with a Douro red
Yesterday we had the family round for lunch and served a 2002 Douro red from Portugal with the main course of spice-crusted roast lamb with garlic and rosemary, roast potatoes (my youngest son managed to put away 15 but remains, annoyingly, as skinny as a rake) and in-season purple sprouting broccoli.
Oysters and La Amistad 2013 - a young fresh red from Alicante
It’s generally held that red wine doesn’t pair with oysters unless they’re served, as in Bordeaux, with little crepinettes (pork patties) or spicy sausages but I found a wine last week that suited them perfectly.
Grilled ox tongue with radishes and Mr Thirsty vin de soif
As soon as I heard Will Lander of The Quality Chop House and Portland had opened a new restaurant, Clipstone, I couldn’t wait to check it out - and I wasn’t disappointed.
Chargilled steak with Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon
Steak and red wine sounds too obvious a pairing to highlight but sometimes it hits the spot so perfectly it’s worth being reminded there’s nothing better you can eat with a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (unless you’re a vegetarian, obviously . . .)
Chicken musakhan and valpolicella ripasso
Not only did we celebrate the first of our Honey & Co Sunday wine clubs* yesterday but it also produced an outstanding match of the week: this savoury-sweet Palestinian chicken dish and a valpolicella ripasso.
Lethbridge Ménage a Noir Geelong Pinot Noir 2010
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
Chablis at Nobu
Sometimes you go to a wine dinner with some trepidation wondering if the wine will stand up to the food but I was pretty optimistic that Domaine Long-Depaquit’s Chablis would survive at Nobu (the original Metropolitan hotel restaurant in London, not LA, sadly!)
A robust Spanish fish stew from Stevie Parle's fabulous new Dock Kitchen Cookbook. Stevie is one of the best -travelled and most original chefs in London with a well-honed magpie tendency of picking up ingredients and techniques from every country he visits. He also writes a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph.
Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!
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.
Rabbit ballotine with Domaine Lucci Wildman Pinot Noir
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*.
Chicken liver crostini and Rosso di Montalcino
One of the most striking things about my trip to Tuscany last week was the reminder of how good young red wines are with Tuscan food - right the way through the meal, not just with the main course.
Challans Duck and Château le Puy
It’s easy to be so cocky about a wine pairing that you cease to leave your mind open to other possibilities. So duck has always led me to burgundy (or other pinot noir) rather than Bordeaux. But last week’s spectacular meal with Château Le Puy at Hélène Darroze at the Connaught convinced me that mature Bordeaux can be just as delicious an option.
Chacra '55' Patagonian Pinot Noir and mushroom risotto
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.
Bacon cheeseburger with Pinea 17 Ribera del Duero
I’m not normally someone who craves a ‘dirty burger’ but when I was sent a couple in a meat delivery from my mate Northern Irish butcher Pete Hannan I thought I’d go the full hog with it.
Barbecued Chicken with Yellow Mustard Sauce
If you fancy a proper US-style barbecue this weekend try this brilliantly easy recipe from chef Brad McDonald's book Deep South: New Southern Cooking
Must grouse wine matches be classic?
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.
Seared tuna with sesame and 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah
My final meal in New Zealand last week was also one of the most impressive of my recent trip: lunch at the award-winning Elephant Hill winery in Hawkes Bay.
Joue de boeuf and a rich Roussillon red
I've been in Paris for the last few days so this week's pairing had to be from here. There are so many possibilities but as I haven't written about a meat match for a while I'm going to pick the braised beef cheek and vegetables we had with a quirky wine called KM31 from the Roussillon.
Apple tart and orange wine
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.
Wine of the week: Weninger Horitschoner Blaufränkisch 2013
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.
Two Greek wines you really should try
There are so many interesting wines in Marks & Spencer’s new ‘Found’ range that it’s hard to single out the best, but as it’s Greek Easter this weekend I’m going for the two Greek ones.
Bosman Adama Fairtrade Red 2017
The South African wine industry has had a torrid 2020 so far with a ban on exports back in April and now a ban for the second time on domestic sales, citing the pressure that hospitals are under dealing with the high levels of alcohol abuse on top of the COVID crisis.
Lamb curry and Luigi Bosca De Sangre 2011
A cabernet would have been the last wine I would have thought of drinking with a curry but as happens from time to time you come across an unexpected wine match that really works.
Hake with pork dumplings and Côtes du Rhône
I suspect most of you know that you can drink red wine with fish these days but you may well stick to lighter reds like pinot noir. But this week’s match of the week proves you can drink a more full-bodied red if the food is robust enough.
Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis, Soho
If you want to understand what British cooking is about - not the magpie character of of modern British but the genteel English country house tradition - head for Soho where Jeremy Lee has taken up residence behind the stoves at Quo Vadis.
Tuscan-style sausages and beans with Montepulciano
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)
Mini Yorkshire puddings with rare fillet of beef and Central Otago Pinot Noir
A student gathering is not the first place you’d think of finding a good wine pairing or, indeed, a drinkable wine at all but the talk I gave last week at the University of Bristol Wine Circle produced some great combinations.
La Réserve de Léoville Barton with roast lamb and salsa verde
We had a celebration dinner with old friends the other night at my favourite local restaurant Culinaria so cracked open a bottle of La Réserve de Léoville Barton 2004*, a St Julien and the second wine of Léoville Barton. It really was quite lovely - rich, plummy, velvety - at its peak but with a few more years to go. It was everything you want from red Bordeaux (unless you have bottomless pockets)
Beef cheek arancini with a (very special) Spanish garnacha
In some cases it doesn’t matter what form an ingredient takes, if it’s present in a dish it dominates the match. So Claire Thomson of 5 o’clock apron’s innovative beef cheek and black rice arancini which she brought to a (very soggy) outdoor picnic last week hosted outside by wine importer Carte Blanche was just as good a pairing with a grenache as braised beef cheek would have been. In fact the dark nutty rice added an extra dimension which made it even more interesting.
Aubergine parmigiana with Nero d’Avola
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
Lamb with Nebbiolo d’Alba
For some reason I always think of beef with nebbiolo and other wines like Bordeaux and rioja with lamb but this combination at one of Bristol’s best restaurants Bulrush the other night was stunning.
Wine of the week: Tesco finest McLaren Vale GSM 2015
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.
Wines for some tricky Chinese dishes
When I read Mark Hix recipes in The Independent today they were so challenging that I nearly gave up but as everyone else seems to be writing about asparagus today and I’ve done a lot on asparagus recently there was no other option . . .
Duck paté, rillettes and red Anjou
Last week we spent 24 hours in Cheltenham, mainly to eat at Le Champignon Sauvage about which I’ll be posting a review tomorrow. We also had lunch at a pub/bistro I’d heard good things about called the Royal Well Tavern which has this year been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and recently picked up a glowing review from the Observer’s restaurant critic, Jay Rayner
Cassoulet and red Bordeaux
One of the questions I regularly get asked is what to drink with a special bottle. The general expectation is that I’ll suggest a meal of Michelin-starred quality but as this match of the week shows a rustic dish will do very nicely.
Wine of the week: Morande One to One Pais
They say that the best wine is the bottle that’s empty at the end of the evening and so it proved with this light Chilean red which I shared with my neighbours the other night.
Porc à la moutarde
This typically Burgundian dish of pork with a wine, cream and mustard-based sauce is quick, easy and versatile. You could equally well use it for chicken.
Can Can chicken
Continuing with our series of South African Braai recipes to celebrate the World Cup, here’s winemaker Paul Cluver’s version of beer-can chicken made with apple juice rather than beer.
Venison cottage pie and a ‘lunchtime claret’
This week’s match is a blast from the past - a visit to the historic Rules restaurant in London’s Covent Garden where we tucked into the kind of food you’d have eaten 50 years ago - if not 100.
Roast suckling pig with Casa de Saima Bairrada Tinto
I recently went to a Portuguese food and wine evening in Bristol hosted by an enterprising wine merchant called Corks of Cotham. It featured the wines of a producer called Casa de Saima, the ports of Niepoort and an intriguing Barbeito Single Harvest Madeira which went exceptionally well with some classic Portuguese custard tarts.
Penne with gorgonzola and broccoli and malbec
Now here’s a wine pairing with pasta I didn’t wholly expect. The sauce - a gift from a neighbour - was a creamy gorgonzola one to which I added (just to make it fractionally more healthy ;-)) some steamed broccoli I had left in the fridge. (Well, it was raw but I steamed it!)
Navarin of lamb and 2002 Chateau des Estanilles Faugères
Last week we were down at our house in Languedoc mainly cooking from home* and raiding the cellar for wines we thought needed drinking up - at least that was our excuse!
Glazed bacon ribs and Meursault
What do you pair with a classic Irish dish of bacon and cabbage? Guinness might the traditional answer but when the bacon is celebrated northern Ireland butcher Peter Hannan’s amazing French trimmed dry cured bacon rack, glazed and cooked on the barbecue and served with an outrageously creamy parsley sauce then something a little more extravagant is called for.
Raan and Grover Chêne
I’ve been thinking a fair bit about red wine and Indian food lately - of which more in due course - but wanted to flag up one pairing from my trip to India last week which definitely worked.
A stylishly presented alternative cheese board
We tend to get stuck in a bit of a groove when it comes to serving cheese, picking five or six and serving them on a big cheeseboard but if you’re serious about trying to find a good wine match that isn’t the best strategy.
What wine to drink with cuttlefish
Cuttlefish is a pain to prepare as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall points out in the Guardian today but it is particularly delicious to eat. It’s often partnered with robust flavours so you need to think in terms of equally intense flavoured wines.
Mushroom 'caviar' and Californian sparkling wine
Every so often you come across a great little recipe than does wonders for almost any wine you pair with it. And so it is with mushroom ‘caviar’, a regular offering from the takeaway section of my favourite local restaurant Culinaria. Basically it’s a mushroom pâté but so reduced and wickedly intense it’s like pure essence of mushroom. Except for the perfect counterpoint - a tiny touch of tarragon.
Braised pheasant with chestnuts and Vacqueyras
Our final pre-Christmas meal at our favourite local restaurant Culinaria the other night was a real feast of winter flavours. Unusually every dish went well with the bottle we chose, a 2005 Vacquéyras Cuvée des Templiers from Le Clos des Cazaux, a wonderfully full-flavoured blend of Syrah and Grenache that was as good as many minor Châteauneuf-du-Pâpes I’ve tasted. A real treat.
Wine of the week: Maruxa Mencia 2019
I’ve got a bit of a thing about mencia at the moment so this bottle really hit the spot and for under £10 (on Majestic’s mix six deal) it’s great value
Wine of the week: Château Curton La Perrière Bordeaux 2015
I don’t know about you but I’m instinctively suspicious about emails about amazing wine deals even if I know and trust the merchant they’re coming from. So I probably wouldn’t have dropped by my local wine shop Davis Bell McCraith had I not needed to pop in for something else.
Two massively drinkable natural wines for under £10
I’ve long been a fan of natural wine but can’t argue with the fact that it’s expensive. For good reason - it’s often made on a very small scale by artisan producers but that generally takes it out of the realm of everyday drinking.
Six of the best reds to buy from Tesco
Tesco has 25% off six bottles of wine running through until December 1st 2020, a deal it would be worth taking advantage of if you’re stocking up for Christmas. (Note though that the offer does not apply to Tesco Express or branches in Scotland so check the exclusions - and the vintages. I'm only recommending ones I've recently tasted.)
Que boire avec hachis parmentier?
Or 'what wine should I drink with hachis parmentier?' - the French answer to shepherd's and cottage pie.