Category Archives: Eating/ Drinking In

Life really is too short to drink bad wine.

Life’s too short to drink bad wine.

Ever since the beginnings of Perfect Friday Wine, I’ve been harping on with the same message, that life’s too short to drink bad wine.

I have been right all along.

Drink up, drink well. Open that bottle you’ve been saving for an age. Treat those taste buds. Boycott the boring. Drink less but better. Choose quality not quantity.

Whatever you’ve been up to this week, it’s the weekend. Time to kick back and open a ‘proper’ bottle of wine.

 

Life's too short to drink bad wine

Here’s my perfect Friday wine on this crisp and cold November evening in front of the fire, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentinian wine producer, Tempus Alba. A bloody lovely wine and it’s not going to drink itself ūüôā

My wine drinking has been a bit Cabernet Sauvignon light over the last few years but this autumn, Argentina reminded me just how good Cabernet can be. Often too heavy and tannic (Australia, I’m talking to you) or poor¬†value (yes, you Bordeaux), alongside Malbec, Argentina is doing wonders with this international grape, making crisper, great value Cabernet Sauvignon¬†full of the classic and savoury blackberry, blackcurrant and spice.

So, embrace the present this weekend. Happy Friday. Chin Chin.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, South America

Wine in Little Marlow at Emmett’s Farm, Buckinghamshire

Wine at Emmett's FarmEmmett’s Farm, where’s that? It’s a common question I’m asked when I¬†mention my pop-up pitch outside a local Farm Shop. When I point out its location, between Marlow and Bourne End, not far from the A404, in rural Buckinghamshire’s Little Marlow, folk’s recognition is almost immediate.

But, there’s not just a Farm Shop, it’s a proper little destination. Many are familiar with¬†Home Barn, a haven for all things¬†vintage, reclaimed or antique. Then, better¬†known by the ‘shooting set’, is the very manly Emmett and Stone Country Sports Store, or ‘the gun shop’ as I know it, which sits over in the corner, attracting folk driving¬†the most eye catching cars from the filthiest Land Rover to the shiniest¬†sports cars.

Putting¬†Annie Sloan and tweed aside, we get to the foodie interest at Emmett’s Farm.¬†First up, there’s the aforementioned Farm Shop selling¬†local and seasonal vegetables grown right there on the farm. Think pumpkins, squashes and gourds in Autumn (great for cooking as well as Hallowe’en), sweetcorn in August, asparagus in May [calendar]. Then there’s all the other bits and bobs from small local producers; think baked goods, fresh bread and cakes,¬†local honey, preserves, biscuits,¬†cereals, ¬†meat, cheese and pies.

Then, right next door sits Marlow’s longstanding Phil Bowditch Butchers and Fish Mongers. These guys not only serve up amazing quality meat, fish and seafood with a smile, they have their own smoker out the back, so this is the place to go for the best¬†smoked salmon, bacon and sausages that I know of ’round these parts’.

Maidenhead Wine PopUp

All that seems to be missing, is wine! And that’s where I have been filling the gap now and again since May 2014, with the Perfect Friday Wine Pop-up Wine Stall and Wine Tasting.¬†Amazingly, it has actually been sunny and warm for my last few pop-ups, the latest on 16th July, when I introduced the new-in, organic, robust, Spanish red,¬†Quinta Milu Roble from Ribera del Duero. [Read more about Milu and Ribera del Duero].

Between Bowditch, the Farm Shop and I, we really do¬†have all you’d need for a sunny BBQ/ cosy winter weekend at home, not only serving¬†great quality provision with good old fashioned personal service, but leaving you with¬†that feel good factor of shopping local and supporting small businesses.¬†If you are remotely interested in good food and caring about where your food comes from, this really is a great place to find exceptional local and quality produce (an wine)¬†in one place.

I’ll be back at Emmett’s Farm with wine on Saturday 24th September (plus the run up to Christmas 2016, TBA), where I’m looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces and¬†getting to meet many more local wine drinkers. I always have wines open to taste, there’s no minimum order, I take credit/ debit cards and I’ll even carry your wine to your car boot. If I don’t have the right wine there on the stall, I’ll deliver it later in the week or let me know ahead of time and I’ll have your wine there ready and waiting. I have everything covered, except guarantee of the¬†weather!

So bring the dog, don those Dubarry’s and I’ll see you at Emmett’s on September 24th! If it helps, please do sign up to my newsletter and I’ll remind you nearer the time.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Home Counties, Local produce, Maidenhead, Wine and Food Pairing

Quinta Milu, does what it says on the box.

Quinta Milu RobleAs it says, literally on the box; “Fine, artisan, village wines. Traditional, Organic and Sustainable Viticulture”. ¬†I think this sums up¬†the wines of ¬†Ribera del Duero wine producer, Quinta Milu pretty well.¬†¬†Add ‘robust’, ‘tasty’ and ‘great value’ in there too, and you get the idea even more. Continue reading

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Spain

April 2016 Pop-Up Wine Stall Berkshire

If you’ve ever been to one of my pop-up wine stalls, you will be familiar with just how blue a person’s lips can turn. For some reason, the weather is generally against me and I stand bearing the freezing cold, gales (no snow so far) and rain, purely for the love of wine.

If you’ve never been to one of my pop-up wine stalls and you live local to Maidenhead, love wine or just fancy coming to poke fun at the nutter in the earmuffs selling wine outdoors, please do come and find me. The usual format is me talking a lot about wine, a boot load of wine boxes and several wines open to taste, all under the protective cover of my pop-up stall (or as one kindly customer sneered “Pop-up? It’s a tent!”).

My last outing was at¬†Fernygrove Farm in Hawthorn Hill, between Maidenhead and Bracknell back on a particularly freezing cold April Saturday (yes, Perfect Friday Wine can be drunk on a Saturday, or any day of the week). This was a new wine pop-up location for Perfect Friday Wine with a cafe, florist, farm shop and butcher to boot¬†and I saw many of my lovely, loyal customers up there as well as meeting new ones! ¬†I had a whole raft of wine open to taste and buy and had a great day – where there is other brilliant food, there is the desire for fabulous wine. Here’s a reminder of those on taste, all handpicked with springtime in mind.

Casa Silva Pinot NoirCasa Silva Pinot Noir Reserva
:¬†One of the best value Pinot Noirs I’ve come across, the Casa Silva Reserva from Chile is a delight of cherry fruits, delicious and a¬†lighter¬†for the spring. I hadn’t tasted this vintage (2014) ¬†since February¬†myself and I was reminded as to just how fantastic a Pinot this is. I enjoyed the leftovers very much once I’d warmed up on the following Tuesday, when it was still drinking superbly.

 

Villa Blanche Grenache

Villa Blanche Grenache Ros√®: Springtime sunshine marks¬†ros√® time! The delicate and delicious Villa Blanche Grenache is Languedoc in origin, Proven√ßal in style, dry, pretty, peachy and great value. From the genius of Calmel and Joseph, this is just as good as their Villa Blanche Picpoul de Pinet and Syrah and went down a storm (likely because it was kept so blimin’ chilled) – definitely the ¬†WINE OF THE DAY.

 

 

Bluebell Vineyard Blanc de Blancs

Bluebell Vineyard Estates Blanc de Blancs 2011: It’s Bluebell season, so this award winning Sussex fizz seemed fitting to open. Interestingly, this has been in the press twice since, firstly on Olly Smith’s recommendation on The Daily Mail Online and then ‘Food Matcher’ Fiona Beckett stating what¬†‘good value’ it is on theguardian.com. As I continue my championing of English Wine, it’s good to see it, the sparkling in particular, getting a louder ‘voice’. ¬†This is a class or 5 above the cheap Prosecco that’s enjoyed so heartily in the UK – it’s Champagne method, Champagne grapes and excitingly, from¬†our own fair shores – just don’t call it Champagne (Wine fact: did you know that Taittinger have bought land in Kent to begin planting vines? Even the French are on it).

 

calmeljosephlaruffe

Calmel and Joseph ‘Les Cuv√®es Rare’ La Ruffe 2013: New to PFW this spring and lush, this saw its first outing back in March where I chilled myself ¬†(and the wine) to the bone at my Emmett’s Farm Pop-Up in Little Marlow. ¬†I must find a way to keep my reds warm enough so that by 2pm they’re not fridge cold. In the words of wine critic Tamlyn Currin, who rated La Ruffe a very high 17+ out of 20:¬†“50% Carignan, 40% Syrah, 10% Cinsault. They didn’t want to pump the wine, so they had to carry it down with a pick-up truck. No filtration.¬†Dark chocolate, peppermint, green herbs. Lots of black chocolate, lots of power, massive structure. Thick velvet-and-portcullis tannins with opulent fruit firmly behind bars at the moment, but it’s definitely there. Tightly bound. Very imposing. A sleeping dragon. Needs five to 10 years.¬†Drink 2019-2026”¬†Although I think it’s rather nice right now (agreed that it will¬†only get better)! Full article on jancisrobinson.com.

So, there we have it. ¬†April’s Wine Pop-Up summarised. Where can you find me next? After a while away, I’ll be bringing wine back to¬†Maidenhead High Street on Sunday 8th May, joining the new street food market Eat on the High Street alongside a whole gang of other local food producers. Keep posted on my events page or better still, sign up¬†sign up to the Perfect Friday Wine Newsletter to keep up to date with¬†my whereabouts over summer 2016 and beyond.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, English Wine, France, Home Counties, Languedoc-Roussillon, Maidenhead, South America, Uncategorized

You win some you lose some: Part 3 (1996 Chateau de Beaucastel wine tasting)

Part 1 and part 2 of this blog were written back in 2013 and its not until now, with anticipation much like the wait for Star Wars VII, that I write part 3.

1996 Chateau de Beaucastel won at auction

1996 Chateau de Beaucastel won at auction

So, to bring you up to speed, a few years ago I bought some wine in an auction. Not like a proper wine auction, just the local auction in Bourne End. Had I read to the bottom of the listings, I might have seen the lot for the Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau de Beaucastel and Bordeaux’s left bank Chateau Lagrange, but I got stuck higher up with Rioja from my birth year. Not so good, as you can read here, but it’s true, as I can confirm on this Easter Sunday, that you do indeed win some.

The last lot (that I won) sucked. As it happens, my husband was a little less hasty and read to the end of the lots and we have now have 2 bottles of 2001 Lagrange tucked away, plus this 1996 Chateau de Beaucastel, and all for the bargain price of about £30. 

Since it’s Easter Sunday, the shoulder of lamb has been slow roasting since 11am and I‚Äôve been given the green light to open something from the wine fridge, so here it is, open and drinking well.¬†

What’s it like? It’s blackcurranty with an amazing acidity still, tannins are soft and there’s still body, although the fruit is light. Delicious and well balanced, definitely one to drink now and enjoy. Lucky me! Oh, and it’s fabulous with the lamb.

Happy Easter!

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Introducing Austrian Holzer Wagram Gr√ľner Veltliner

On more than one occasion, when introducing a Gr√ľner Veltliner,¬†I have been met with the response ‘come again’ or ‘Gr√ľner what?’. I’m yet to have heard¬†‘gesundheit’, but I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time, and although¬†consistently complicated for folk to get their ears round, Gr√ľner Veltliner is not a grape that has the same effect on their taste buds.

The Eschenhof Holzer Wagram Gr√ľner Veltliner is one of those wines that makes¬†an instant impression and got the¬†‘OMG’ reaction from me at first taste i.e. I taste¬†a wine and find it significantly more exciting than I am anticipating it to be, causing me to spit (ever the professional) and exclaim exactly that, ‘OMG’. Each time¬†I’ve popped it in to a tasting, it’s flown¬†out the warehouse in subsequent customer orders and it’s a no brainer as to why. This is one fabulous wine. Not only does it look great, miles away from the boringly traditional Germanic/ Alpine labels¬†often synonymous with wines from this part of the world, most importantly, it tastes delicious. It’s white, just to clarify, has a notable body to it but a really spritely acidity and bags of flavour, bringing the taste buds alive. There’s a level of florality to it, with lots of apple and a dash of typically-GV white pepper too.

Eschenhof Holzer is the wine maker, and at just 28 years old and five vintages in, when I consider what I was up to when I was 23, I am a little in awe of him, although he does have the benefit of having the¬†bloodline of 3 generations of wine makers before him. Holzer¬†tends to his 13 hectares of vines in the region of Wagram, alongside¬†the River Danube between Vienna and the very steep, terraced and prestigious wine region of Wachau, where the finest Austrian wines hail from and Riesling reigns. Holzer’s wines are the perfect excellent example of how Wagram and the neighbouring areas of Kamptal, Traisental and Kremstal (Wachau’s no. 2) can produce¬†some excellent quality and great value wines.

So if you’ve ever pooh-poohed the wines of Austria (and it doesn’t just stop at the Gr√ľner, there are plenty of brilliant Rieslings as well as red wines) or fancy tasting something a little different to the usual Sauvignon Blanc, it’s time to change that perception and taste what you’ve been missing.

Holzer Wagram Gruner Veltliner

Holzer Wagram Gruner Veltliner

If you‚Äôre¬†local to Marlow and Maidenhead and would like to taste¬†what all the Gr√ľner Veltliner fuss is about, come and see me on the 19th March outside Emmett‚Äôs Farm Shop for a taste of the Eschenhof Holzer Wagram Gr√ľner,¬†as featured in my Spring Wine Case, or drop me an order for local wine delivery!

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Filed under Austria, Eating/ Drinking In, Grape Varieties, Maidenhead, Uncategorized

I Love Picpoul de Pinet

Villa Blanche Picpoul de Pinet

Villa Blanche Picpoul de Pinet.

It’s happening. It’s taken a while, but more and more wine lovers are beginning to have heard of Languedoc-Roussillon’s Picpoul de Pinet.¬†For every Pinot Grigio lover out there that I have introduced to Picpoul de Pinet, I cheer. I have reached my goal. One more wine drinker trying and loving something new. Each time someone says to me, ooh, I love Picpoul de Pinet, I am delighted that they have more than Prosecco or Marlborough Sauvignon in their wine repertoire. Fist pumps and High Fives all round.

Picpoul de Pinet is a curious name for a wine, non? It’s easy really – Picpoul’s the grape, Pinet is one of the Herault towns by which the vines grow. Flanked by the A9 main road between Montpellier and Beziers, and the Etang du Thau lagoon, the vineyards are situated on the flat, salty plains in close proximity to the French Mediterranean coast.

Picpoul in all its gloriousness, is a wine of simplicity. As often is the case, the wine was made to drink with the local food. Unsurprisingly, there is no lack of seafood and shellfish fresh from the local shores and lagoon itself in this part of the world Рvisitors to the region might be familiar with the picturesque port of Sete. Oysters and mussels this fresh need little preparation and anything more than a fresh, clean and simple white wine, such as the Picpoul de Pinet drunk alongside, would easily trample all over such delicate, natural and delicious flavours.

As I glance out of the window , I’m greeted by a damp and grey Spring afternoon in suburban Berkshire, a far cry from when I first tasted Picpoul de Pinet, sitting on the Grau de Roi quayside, basking in the evening sunlight with a chilled¬†glass and a fresh-out-the-sea platter, although I don’t have a photo to insert <here>,¬†I’ll keep that memory¬†close in my thoughts until I can relive that moment even better, when I open that bottle of Picpoul de Pinet waiting for me in the fridge.

If you’re yet to taste the delights of Picpoul de Pinet and are local to Marlow and Maidenhead, come and see me on the 19th March outside Emmett’s Farm Shop for a taste of the Villa Blanche Picpoul as featured in my Spring Wine Case, or drop me an order for local wine delivery! If you love it already, I’d love to hear where you first tasted it!

 

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Eating/ Drinking Out, France, Grape Varieties, Wine and Food Pairing, Wine Travel

Maidenhead Business Girls Christmas Tasters

DSC06469As a fellow Business Girl, if you’ve been wondering what my wines are like for a while and fancy¬†trying something new, why not take advantage of this special MBG offer this Christmas. I have chosen each and every one of the wines on the wine list, many from small producers or lesser known grape varieties or regions, and only the best tasting, best value make the final cut.

Order one of the following delicious¬†Business Girls Mini-Cases and you’ll be saving more than¬†5% off the bottle price. A fabulous way to sample some of my fabulous wines and reward yourself for a hard year of self-employment! If you fancy a look at my full Christmas offerings, see here.

Orders can be collected from my open morning at A4 Self Store on St Peters Road (SL6 7QU) by arrangement between 10 and noon on  Saturday 19th December or on one of my delivery rounds.

Starting Out: £25 (usually £27, over 7% saving)

Established: £30 (usually £32.50, over 7.5% saving)

  • Clip Loureiro Vinho Verde 2014, Minho, Portugal.¬†Light, minerally with refreshing spritziness (canapes and shellfish) WHITE
  • Bodegas Carchelo 2013, Jumilla, Spain. (40% Monastrell, 40% Tempranillo, 20% Cab Sauv) Cigars, smooth chocolate, juicy black cherries. (Beef short ribs, mac ‚Äėn‚Äô cheese) RED
  • Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Noirs Cava NV, Spain.¬†(Pinot Noir) Dry, smooth with delicious crisp red apple. Perfect party (Indian curry, hotdogs)¬†FIZZ

Gold: £35 (usually £38, a 7.9% saving)

  • Domaine Chauveau Pouilly Fum√© 2014,Loire Valley, France. (Sauvignon Blanc) Dry, crisp lemony acidity with a long mineral flint finish. Classic Pouilly Fum√©. (Pork)¬†WHITE
  • Calmel + Joseph ‚ÄėLes Crus‚Äô Terrasses du Larzac 2013, Languedoc, France. (Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah) Big, luxurious, velvety cherry, blackcurrant, mint & meaty tannin. (lamb shank)¬†RED
  • Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Noirs Cava NV, Spain.¬†(Pinot Noir) Dry, smooth with delicious crisp red apple. Perfect party (Indian curry, hotdogs)¬†FIZZ

MBG Taster offer available 1 per customer. No other discount applied. ¬†See other pre-selected mixed cases here and full wine list available here if you’d like to pick from the full list. Usual 5% case discount is on orders of 6 bottles or more for delivery within 7 miles of Maidenhead. Please see Ts and Cs for usual delivery area, costs and payment terms and conditions.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Home Counties, Maidenhead, Party Wine, Uncategorized

Food and Wine Pairing: Crumbed Pork and Catalonian Carignan

Crumbed Pork Medallions and Catalonian Cari√Īena¬†(Carignan from Montsant DO).

Of course,¬†food and wine matching isn’t the be all and end all of culinary enjoyment (a non-red wine drinking friend of mine takes her steak with Sauvignon Blanc, and why not!), ¬†I know how my readers like a good food and wine pairing, so,¬†rather than me suggest vague food to go with the Perfect Friday Wines, I thought I’d spin it around a bit and match my wines to go with some proper recipes.

Although my Spaghetti Bolognese recipe obviously rocks the house, I thought you might like something a bit more exciting than that – plus, the next post, where I make the leftovers into a lasagne, might become a bit samey. Then, I felt a bit mainstream using one of my trusty Jamie Oliver recipes and a bit boring¬†sharing something that I’ve picked up on BBCGoodFood.com, so¬†I thought I’d ask someone who knows what they’re doing to help out.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve met and got to know many interesting local business folk around and about the Maidenhead area – who’d have thought we’d have so many of them! One of the most relevant to my line of work, being THE official food blogger¬†for the Maidenhead Advertiser, Cookham based, Lara Cory (a celebrity!!). Lara also writes her own blog at¬†Feeding Time Blog, and I thought we’d make the perfect pairing, Lara’s summed up both of our passion for eating, drinking and sharing, very well:

We love food and we love wine and we’re going to help you enjoy the best of both.”¬†

IMG_6659

Lara not only accepted my challenge for a seasonal produce recipe that I could perhaps tie in with English Wine Week, but much to my delight, I shortly got a call from Lara somewhere deep in the Berkshire countryside, sourcing some local free range pork from a nearby Farm Shop (Ferny Grove Farm, which I must visit myself!) Рthe girl means business!

The next thing I know, quicker than I can prepare a cheese board, Lara’s been in the kitchen and come up with this very delicious recipe for Sage Crumbed Pork Medallions.

Now, originally, I’d had that pork lined up for an English Bacchus, ¬†but the mere suggestion of sage, herbaciousness and ‘spring-like’, 11196221_435271559967974_5154378016674714301_nlead me to mentally open and pour myself a glass of the Cellar El Masroig Sola Fred Tinto,¬†in the time it takes me to unwrap a slab of Manchego.

So why the Sola Fred? Well, not only is it one of my favourite sub-¬£10 wines at the moment (I am LOVING Spanish wines at the mo), but it is savoury and fresh and fruity (think red cherries), with some bright¬†acidity – spot on with pork. Generally where Pork is concerned, I really like an appley, structured white (Pouilly Fume is my ultimate pork white) or a tasty red that’s not too heavy, so a Pinot Noir or a Carignan are perfect. It was the herbs though that lead me to the Sola Fred, pulling me towards¬†a red wine over white¬†and something more savoury than the Casa Silva Pinot Noir or the Calmel and Joseph Vieux Carignan. There’s also the fact that of course, the spaniards are pork mad, so this softly tannic Carignan (Cari√Īena or Mazuelo in Spanish) with a splash of juicy Garnacha from Catalonia’s Montsant is bang on. If you haven’t tried it yet and you’re a wine drinker looking for a good deal, I urge you to try¬†(or order as part of a pre-selected mixed case). Montsant is bang smack next to, infact it surrounds, Priorat, famous for producing some of¬†Spain’s best and most illustrious wines. Although the soil is a tad¬†different in Montsant (Priorat has this unique slatey¬†soil called Llicorella) and the climate is evers0-marginally cooler, the yields are still low and the quality of the wines, made from the same grape varieties, remains high, with the added¬†benefit of being a little easier to drink young.

We hope you have a slap up feast between these two! For more food and wine pairings from us Maidenhead duo, you can follow Lara on Twitter @feedingtimeblog¬†(and me, @perfectfriwine) or sign up to receive notifications of either blog. Are there any of your favourite recipes that you’d like wine¬†matched? Or perhaps Lara can recommend a recipe for one of your favourite wines? Just, let us know, we love a challenge!

 

 

 

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Grape Varieties, Seasonal, Spain, Wine and Food Pairing

Christmas Lunch Food and Wine Pairings

nat_lampThroughout the year, as the seasons change, I am always asked about which wines to drink with different food. As well as pairing the normal summer BBQ and that date-night steak, this year I’ve also been asked to match wine with Israeli food, Catalonian fare and even with a Sri Lankan feast Рmy tummy rumbles with just the thought.

Christmas time is of course no exception, and I know it’s only mid-November, but I‚Äôve been asked what would be a good bet to pair with a traditional Christmas Lunch since the beginning of October.

Here in the PFW household, we alternate who we impose on for Christmas Day each year across 3 sets of family, and although the wine drinking requirements differ at each home, the feast before us is always glorious and never just stops at the Turkey, as I hope is the same in most homes.

Because of this, it’s not just the turkey that you need to think of when pairing the Christmas lunch with wine. Think of the cranberry sauce, the pigs in blankets, herby stuffing, the sprouts (yuck) and array of roasted root vegetables.

Let‚Äôs start with the white. You need something with a bit of cojones or the wine will be lost against all those rich flavours. Look for a wine with a bit of body, a zing of acidity that isn‚Äôt overly fruity or herbaceous. A Pinot Grigio is going to fall flat here and the boldness of ‚Äėthat‚Äô grass in a NZ Sauvignon will clash.

Viogner_ReservaMaking a comeback, I‚Äôd recommend finding something with a little oak and here at PFW, I’ve done the work for you. No, no, I‚Äôm not suggesting an over-oaked Aussie Chardonnay, don‚Äôt worry, we‚Äôll leave that back in the nineties, but a wine that‚Äôs developed some lovely buttery and creamy roundness yet still has that lifted finish that will cut through the heaviness of the meal:

Casa Silva Viognier Reserva 2013 (Colchagua Valley, Chile) 10% of this wine has sat in an oak barrel for 3 months giving an ever-so-subtle smokiness and lively roundness to the palate. Dry with nectarine, honeysuckle and a perky acidity that you’ll welcome against the gungiest of bread sauce. Fabulous value.

ravieresDomaine Sallet Macon-Villages Uchizy ‚ÄėClos des Ravieres‚Äô 2011¬†(Macon, Burgundy, France). Elegant and luxurious with subtle vanilla and citrus, this is bright and creamy, as you‚Äôd expect from a lightly oaked white Burgundy. Such a treat, but if I still can‚Äôt convince you of the benefits of oak, the unoaked Chateau Vitallis Macon-Villages Fuisse ¬†(from declassified Pouilly Fuisse grapes) makes a fabulous alternative – think Chablis with a shade more body.

And on to the reds. What we’re looking for here is something not too tannic or overly woody, with a medium body and acidity. Anything too heavy is going to overpower, anything too light will be blown away, so I’d suggest a juicy and glorious Grenache.

Grenache‚Äôs most famous home is undoubtedly the Southern Rhone Valley, where there are various tiers of wine quality, from your cheap and cheerful ‚ÄėCotes du Rhone‚Äô, all the way up to the ‚ÄėCru Villages‚Äô, Chateauneuf-du-Pape being perhaps the most reknowned. Despite there being allowed 13 different grape varieties in Chateauneuf, the most classic Southern Rhone blend is predominantly Grenache, with Syrah and Mourvedre. Look a little way to the West, and we see a throng of Grenache vines also in Languedoc-Roussillon, producing some stonking wines blended mainly with Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvedre.

pradasAgain, I’ve already sought out the perfect match – make sure you avoid anything too Mourvedre heavy, so in this instance try my trusty¬†Calmel and Joseph St Chinian 2011¬†with its subtle smokiness and red berries, it’s perfectly balanced for Christmas Lunch, just 30% Grenache, the harmonious blend with Carignan and Syrah provides the right structure, flavour and body to work with the plethora of flavours and textures on that overloaded plate.

stchinian-360x1335Domaine Pradas Gigondas 2011. If I got you excited at the mere mention of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, look no further than one of its fellow and lesser known Cru Villages for wines that are just as exceptional, but with a kinder price tag. Around 12km to the north east of its famous cousin, Gigondas sits in a more elevated position is becoming better known this side of the channel, along with Vacqueyras, Rasteau to name just 3 of the 18 Crus villages. A classic Grenache (appellation rules state a minimum of 50%), Syrah, Mourvedre blend, this wine has juicy blackberry and grippy tannins to match the richness and complexity of the Christmas feast in hand and although drinking well now, will age further for a couple more years yet.

Wines are available to taste every Saturday between now and Christmas at the pop-up wine stall. Order your Christmas wines now for local delivery or collection from Emmett’s Farm on Saturday 13th or 20th December.¬†Keep an eye on Facebook for festive offers and giveaways and see my CHRISTMAS page for suggested mixed cases and gifts.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Maidenhead, Uncategorized, Wine and Food Pairing, Wine Tasting