With the spate of cooking programs hitting our tele boxes and the incredible rise of innumerable celebrity chefs, I for one have become more adventurous in the kitchen. It’s not deciding what to cook that seems to have most of us troubled it’s deciding what wine to select to go with it. There’s only really one piece of advice that I can confidently give you but within that there are numerous things to consider. Safe advice is to, keep it simple. The wine is supposed to complement the food not decimate your culinary genius.
I’m an advocate, that’s an understatement I guess, of trying new wines but even I play it safe when pairing wine with food. I’m sure I’m not alone in that we only tend to give food and wine matching any real consideration when we have guests. And therefore it’s not the time for experimentation.
I thought the best way to share my thoughts would be to suggest some simple three course menus and then suggest a wine choice per course. I’m not going to give you the recipe as I might get done for plagiarism, but I’ll drop a few tips. You can use your normal resources to find one that fits the bill.
As an aside I really think it’s worth welcoming your guests with a glass of something and a bowl or two of nibbles. It helps get things started and gives you a chance to relax with a glass of something whilst you finish off in the kitchen. I’ll stick to one option per menu.
Aperitif – Pitted green olives and salted almonds
Wine Match – Fernando de Castilla Classic Amontillado NV
Starter – Pea and ham Soup (I would highly recommend you get a ham-hock from your butcher. It will add a real touch of class and flavour intensity to the dish.)
Wine Match – Seraph Reserve Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Main – Oven baked seabass with roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips (tip would be to use fennel with the seabass and a little honey with the veg)
Wine Match – La Reine de l’Arenite La Madone Fleurie 2010
Dessert – Lemon tart
Wine Match – Tabali Late Harvest Muscat 2010
Aperitif – Smoked salmon and crème fraiche blinis
Wine Match – Le Dolci Colline Prosecco NV (you can go frizzante or spumante, up to you)
Starter – Pan fried scallops, black pudding and pea puree
Wine Match – Chateau Sainte Radegonde Muscadet Sur Lie 2010
Main – Grilled lamb rosemary and garlic chops with roasted vegetable couscous (well worth getting the lamb chops marinating with the rosemary, garlic, a little olive oil and seasoning a couple of hours before, or if you are organised the day before!)
Wine Match – Don Diego Escolano Reserva 2007
Dessert – Stewed raspberries, blackcurrants and blackberries with vanilla ice cream
Wine Match – Chateau du Seuil Cerons 2010
Aperitif – Carrots, parsnips, sweet potato and beetroot vegetable crisps
Wine Match – Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rose 2009
Starter – Haloumi, black olive, lemon and chilli stuffed roasted red peppers
Wine Match – Madonina Gavi 2011
Main – Aubergine and courgette lasagne
Wine Match – Montagnana Chianti 2010
Dessert – Bakewell tart and custard
Wine Match – Cavallino Brachetto d’Acqui Il Cascinone 2011
I hope you find the above useful and I had to include a veggie option else our social media guru would probably give me untold grief! The wines are all veggie friendly too. I’ll share some more of these ideas over the coming months so keep an eye out for them.
Come and let me know what you think of my menu choices over on Twitter @DR_VirginWines