International Wine and Food Pairing Blogger Roundup
Published by Roberson Wine on 21/05/2014
At the end of last year, we asked a group of wine bloggers to select their favourite wines of the year, Roberson or not. Given that post’s popularity, we thought it was about time to do it again. This time we asked bloggers from around the world to tell us about their favourite wine and food match. The results make for some interesting reading, and include a few unexpected wildcards. Read on to see what they chose…
Assyrtiko vines are grown in the volcanic soils of the Greek Island Santorini, one of the hottest growing regions on earth. The resulting wines are salty, mineral, with a very high acidity. They manage to cut through the umami character of sushi and enhance the natural flavors of the fresh and raw ingredients.
I normally just want to enjoy the meal rather than obsess over the perfect food and wine match. Sometimes, however, things just accidentally come together. Last year I brought a bottle of Domaine des Schistes Rancio Sec back from the South of France. This is a solera fortified wine made mainly from Grenache Gris and Blanc. Initially it seemed piercingly dry but a salty piece of Gruyere brought out a sweetness and fruitiness to it. Each made the other more complex. The wine isn’t available in England but I think a dry madeira would work eg. Barbeito Verdelho 10 year old.
I am a big fan of Picpoul de Pinet, particularly with oysters. Picpoul is a pretty humble grape but does a great job with shellfish. The best place to try the combo is the fisherman’s outlet in the harbour at Port Vendres in Languedoc Rousillon but the grape also works with native oysters on the Kent Coast.
Pinot noir is a light-to-medium bodied red wine with hints of fruit, mushroom, earth and leather. The lovely acids, silky tannins and lingering finish of pinot noir pair well with salmon, fowl, or game, and rich stews such as Boeuf Bourgogne.
Riesling must be one of the most versatile and exciting white wines – still or sparkling, bone dry or sweet, young or decades old. It is an exciting, aromatic wine that features fresh acidity, crunchy minerality and great aromas and flavours such as herbs and peach. Riesling is generally food friendly but as it is now asparagus season you should pair it with fish, grilled asparagus and perhaps a light sauce.
Oysters are a classic pairing for Champagne, and while this is a great match, oysters are often an acquired taste. An equally impressive partner for this inimitable bubbly is a basket of French fries. The bright purity of the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is the perfect foil for the decadent salty, deep-fried potato batons, be they shoestring or wedges. The ideal informal indulgence.
I am not a matchy-matchy kind of a guy, pairing dessert wines with desserts – it is just too much sweetness and I don’t want to bring an insulin injector to the dinner table. That said, the best food and wine pairing of the last year for me was the 2011 McFadden Late Harvest Riesling and the Butterscotch Budino, a dessert created by Chef Jesse Elhardt of Crush Restaurant in Ukiah, CA. Butterscotch Budino is a bowl with chocolate pudding on the bottom, then caramel pearls, then butterscotch pudding, topped with Chantilly cream and mint – you dig down to get all layers with each spoonful – and when paired with the Double Gold and Best of Class awarded 2011 McFadden Late Harvest Riesling. I expected delicious, but this pairing left delicious far behind; this was a perfect pairing. A spoon and a tiny sip, another spoon and another sip, until, too soon, it was gone.
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