Gaps in your wine pairing knowledge? Pays d’Oc IGP can help…

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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 And yet, the whole ‘white with white meat, red with red’ has been proven to be outdated and doesn’t really fit with the current dining trends.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

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 14.51.21Rich, salty blue cheese and earthy beetroot – what’s best to quaff with this pretty starter? Well, you can choose depending on whether you’d like a red or a white. The suggestions are:

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

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 14.57.24This 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

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 15.03.49Asian flavours and wines – always guaranteed to have me scratching my head a little. Luckily Jane has paired this delicious looking sashimi dish with two splendid whites.

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!

BOE Magazine

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Antidote Wine Bar, Newburgh Street

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Rebecca Anne Milford tracks down the best places to eat in London, and is guided in the art of wine and food pairing by the experts at Antidote.

In three words: Intimate, Imaginative, Assured,

The Lowdown:

Wandering past the cluster of buildings on Newburgh Street, you could be forgiven for assuming Antidote was another attractive artisan-coffee shop-meets-wine-bar; it has the typical sense of cosmopolitan style, due to the al-fresco tables and a sleek blonde wood interior. It seems like a bright, breezy place to grab a cup of Joe or a glass of something chilled. But who could guess upstairs is a compact and chic restaurant serving up seriously good Modern European cuisine?

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But it’s true – ascend the steps, take a seat at one of the contemporary-elegant tables, and prepare to be excited by the menu from Head Chef, Michael Hazelwood, who is running the kitchen under the guidance of Mikael Jonsson (Chef Patron of Michelin starred restaurant Hedone, don’t you know).

And let’s not forget the equally important issue – the wine. Antidote has a huge selection and aims to match the perfect glass with your food, as well as provide and educate diners on little known tipples that are organic and biodynamic. Inventive food and exciting wines? This makes for the prospect of a very enjoyable afternoon.

Location: Just near Carnaby Street, off a narrow little walkway that escapes the ludicrous hustle and bustle of the city.

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The Occasion: Antidote struck me as the perfect place to surprise a date – there’s a sense of winking, in-the-know secrecy that makes you feel like a special guest at a supper club. Any wine fans will adore it here – the menu is eye-poppingly varied. It also ticks boxes for those that love seasonal dishes presented in gorgeous fashion – get ready to hashtag #FoodPorn.

Decor: Downstairs is light, bright and airy. Upstairs is a little more elegant, although still lovely and relaxed. Black, white and pale stone grey walls give a modern but crisp atmosphere, accentuated by the odd piece of bright modern art, and the wooden floorboards give it a touch of the rustic French bistro. Being on a higher floor has advantages – the bobbing heads of flowers in their window boxes add a splash of gorgeous red.

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Atmosphere: Chilled out dining combined with convivial charm. When we arrived on Tuesday lunchtime many of the tables were full, and there was the burble and chatter of happy diners in the air. The staff is a mix of professional and cordial, and we imagine that, when the room is bustling on a busy evening, there is a really festive atmosphere.

 Menu Concept: Freshness is the name of the game here –the menu is altered daily, and changes according to what the chef decides should be the star ingredients. And of course each dish can be paired with a rather delicious wine.

What We Ate and Drank:

While it’s usually best to skip past the breadbasket, here it deserves a mention to itself. Antidote also make their own butter – and it’s absolutely sensational. Sunshine yellow, as if freshly churned, it sinks into the thick slices of warm brown bread that has its own addictive chewy texture.

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Lunchtimes have a very reasonable set menu (£23 for three courses), with a trio of options for each. For my starter I chose the Monkfish Liver, Roasted Cauliflower, & Seaweed Broth – I’d never had fish liver to my knowledge. The dish itself looked beautiful – dusky pink slices of liver, slightly toasted cauliflower and a splash of green seaweed, all floating in a clear shimmering broth. One sip was a revelation – although thin, it was an incredibly powerful distilled flavour of umami taste that knocked me away. This transpired to work perfectly with the melt-on-the-tongue texture of the monkfish liver and the smokiness of roasted vegetable.

So what grape was paired with this powerhouse of flavours? Well, I needed something dry, fresh and clean, and so our wine guru Guillaume recommended the 2014 Domaine Giachino, “Monfarina” Savoie. He knows his stuff, as it was ideal, cutting through the richness of the broth and adding a lovely zing to the smoothness of the liver.

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Next up I had Line Caught Haddock – a snowy white slab of fish resting on cabbage amongst a silky, seaweed butter sauce. It could have been a little too savory and salty for my tastes had it not been for the genius introduction of little gems of pickled radish that lifted the whole dish with their sharp sweetness – I could have eaten a whole bowl of them! The wine with this was 2011 Domaine Ledogar, “Le Blanc”, Corbières – subtle, vaguely sweet and with layers of aromatic herbs. Very, very tasty.

My dining partner went for the Braised Hereford Beef with Chard, Leeks and Celery – another impressive dish, with a real autumnal richness. It was complete comfort food, but the sensible lunchtime portion didn’t leave him too stuffed. And the 2011 Leon Barral, “Jadis”, Faugères wine was another success (well, the glass was emptied fairly quickly, anyway).

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For dessert the best thing was the Salted Chocolate, Burnt Honey, Blackcurrants and Yoghurt Meringue. Anyone not a fan of fussy deconstructed puddings will enjoy this – basically a bowl of gooey, sumptuous richness topped with flakes of light meringue. Beads of tart blackcurrant mingled sexily with the chocolate to add a slightly sharper edge to the decadence, and as a fan of port I was delighted to be introduced to NV Vial Magnères, Banyuls Gaby Vial – aged 8 years in oak but with a slightly fresher finish. Consider me a convert.

Overall:

I adore wine, and love food, so Antidote sounded like my dream dining experience – and it really did live up to expectations. The dishes are assured and confident, with great little touches (those radishes; the blackcurrant), and the wine pairings are spot on. What’s more, it treads the line perfectly between casual cool, and special occasion. As my dining partner put it, ‘almost like fine-dining in your front room.’ You feel immediately comfortable, welcome, and ready to give your stomach over to the expertise of the team. Been suffering from a spell of lackluster meals and poor wine pairings recently? Then this place really is the Antidote.

Antidote Wine Bar

@AntidoteWineBar

BOE Magazine

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