There’s nothing I like more than a menu that includes the words ‘Wine Flight.’ Settling down to dinner and knowing that my meal is going to be expertly paired with choice tipples fills me with glee. Despite quaffing liquid of the grape variety on a weekly basis, the idea of navigating a wine list is still a bit of guesswork, and it’s good to know that those in the know have matched up the drinks to the dining.
Still, when I have friends over for a meal, it’s always fun to try and make a good union between what I’m serving and the wine I’m offering. And yet, the whole ‘white with white meat, red with red’ has been proven to be outdated and doesn’t really fit with the current dining trends. I love to serve Asian food – Japanese and Korean being the flavour of the month – but there is most definitely a gap in the average Britons knowledge when it comes to up and coming ingredients and what wine to match.
This is where French wine body Pays d’Oc IGP come in. Working with ambassadors, French Michelin starred chef Eric Chavot and BBC Saturday Kitchen wine expert Jane Parkinson, they’ve come up with a selection of recipes showcasing modern dining trends and their ideal wine pairings.
So we’ve asked for three of their top pairings to give you an idea for what wine and food to combine next time you want something a little more unusual at your dinner party.
Blue Cheese and Beetroot Salad
Domaines Paul Mas – Elegant Frog – Viognier – White – 2014
With its ripe roasted lemon aroma and juicy peach flavours, it can stand up to the flavours in the dish – and keep your taste-buds primed for a little white pepper spice.
Louis Max – Pinot Noir – Climat Haute Vallée – Red – 2013
This red has a rich oaky nose and roasted beetroot (great match), with hints of spicy cumin and paprika. It’s dry and reasonably oaky with a black tea-flavoured finish.
Beef Tartare and Kale Salad
This traditional dish has been given a modern twist with the kale – still a popular green addition to plates everywhere. And although one would naturally veer towards red, Jane has also paired it with a delectable rose.
Calmel & Joseph – Villa Blanche – Grenache – Rosé – 2014
This rose has the fruitiness of strawberries with pepper spice. It’s matched to the dish with a punchy Pomegranate juiciness and crunch on the palate.
Domaine Sainte Marie des Crozes – Cabernet Franc – Red – 2014
A good easy-drinking style with generous red and black fruits and a hint of spice. Ideal to complement the flavours of the beef.
Sea bream sashimi, citrus, soya honey dressing
M. Chapoutier – Marius -Vermentino, Terret – White – 2014
Lively with zesty grapefruit, a white pepper spice and a tangy sour freshness giving it a zippy, clean vibe. Ideal to combat the saltiness of the soya dressing.
Pierrick Harang Wine – Cuvée Balthazar – Viognier – White – 2014
This white has richer peach and apricot aromas on the nose. It tastes juicy and fresh while remaining tense with acidity. There is a lingering apricot finish that is just superb with the citrus and honey notes.
So, for those interested in food and who want to expand their wine knowledge, Pays d’Oc IGP wines, Eric Chavot’s recipes and Jane Parkinson’s expert advice is a good place to start!