The theme of February’s Wine Club evening was the pairing of food and wine from the same country, with the added challenge of the foods being a little out-of-the-ordinary as far as wine pairing goes. First on the menu was a very tasty Peri-Peri chicken dish. This spicy dish from Portugal was matched with a very drinkable vihno verde, Casal de Ventozela (Majestic Wines, £7.99 as part of a “mix six” discount). There was general agreement in the crowd that the match worked well and was a good one to remember for the summer BBQ season. Then we hopped half way around the globe in one bound and landed in Thailand! Here we were met with Thai butternut squash soup, which although absolutely delicious proved to be a real challenge on the wine-pairing front! There had been valiant attempts to get hold of a Thai wine, but the gods were against it and so after much head-scratching the dish was paired with a 2017 Dr Loosen Riesling (£15.99 @ Waitrose) from the southern end of the Mosel valley in Germany, where the Riesling wines are more fruity and sweeter than their more northerly counterparts. Despite not being Thai, everyone agreed it was a great pairing and one to remember for the next visit to your favourite Thai restaurant.
Next we brought it back home to Blighty where we were served traditional fish ‘n’ chips, and to cut through the cholesterol, what better than the fine acidity of an English sparking wine: in this case it was Ridgeview Bloomsbury (£25.99 @ Waitrose). The fizz worked very well with the richness of the food and the citrus notes chimed well with the fish.
Of course, no globetrotting wine tour would be complete without a visit to France and here we were treated to a delicious pâté. The wine pairing here worked brilliantly and was a pinot noir from Burgundy (‘Les Pierres Rouges’ 2015 Louis Jadot @ Majestic Wine – £14.99 as part of a “mix six” discount). The richness of the food was balanced well by the lighter and slightly tannic wine.
Travelling back to the Iberian peninsula, Spain was our next port of call. Here we tasted sautéd chorizo and sweet peppers which were set off superbly by the higher alcohol and tannins of a rich Rioja (Hacienda Don Hernan Rioja 2016 @ Naked Wines, £11.99). Again one to remember for those looming summer months.
Next we jumped over The Pond and landed in South America: Argentina to be precise. Here we were treated to Morcilla (black pudding to me and you), which again proved to pose something of a challenge on the wine pairing front. However, after a little thought and a lot of help from the nice man at Majestic Wines, we found a very succulent Argentinian “Bordeaux” blend (Arraigo Benegas Single Vinyard Blend 2011 – £11.99 as part of a “mix six” discount) which did a better than average job of matching up to the food.
Heading north from there we entered the land of the burger (USofA) where that king of foods was paired with a wine which is one of my personal favourites – Zinfandel (F. Stephen Millier Black Label Old Vine @ Naked Wines – £10.99). A match made in heaven!
And finally, back to Spain to match one of the most delicious meringues that I and most others there had tasted, with a great example of a Floralis Moscatel dessert wine (Floralis Moscatel Oro Catalunya @ Waitrose – £8.25 per half bottle). A perfect end to a great evening!
NB: Special thanks to Maddy Langley for her to-die-for meringues. I swear there were scuffles for the last few!