A few suggestions to matching wines from our list to what is currently on our dinner menu at our restaurant in Crickhowell.
With plenty of spring produce coming into the kitchen and the first of the new season lamb coming in as well we have lots of great ingredients for head chef, Karl Cheetham to work with. I am always fiddling with the wine list but try to keep my list down to about 100 bins which include halves and sparkling wines and Champagnes. It is all too easy to get carried away and buy delicious wines wherever I taste them. Hopefully this short piece might inspire you to try a wine or grape variety that you have not had before.
Most people choose their wine to accompany their main course so I will suggest something that you can buy by the glass to go with your starters.
A glass of Fino (dry sherry) works very well with salami. Prefer a red? have a glass of fresh, light South African Pinot Noir from Sutherland.
Good white Burgundy or a fine glass of Claret will be perfect, just depends on your preference. So, we have a crisp but fruit driven St Veran by the glass that covers the Burgundy and for the red a glass of Chateau Montaiguillon Montagne St Emillion which shows plummy red fruit, firm structure and ripe tannins.
§ Pressing of Duck Foie Gras, brioche, apple and onion.
If you don’t fancy the traditional accompaniment of a glass of Sauternes (2009 Chateau Loupiac-Gaudiet) then a glass of the Sicilian Moscato di Noto, a touch of sweetness and beautifully perfumed with a scent of jasmine.
Now we can dip into the full list and choose a whole bottle of wine to accompany your main course and perhaps take through to pudding or cheese.
§ Best End of New Season Lamb with Rosemary & Lemon Polenta, Pickled Mushrooms, Pea & Beetroot
Lamb is the excuse you need for a good Bordeaux and out of our selection I would choose the 2012 De Grand-Puy Ducasse from Pauillac, nice flavours of cassis and cedar, I tried it last night, delicious. If you fancy something from the New World then go for a Bordeaux blend from Stellenbosch in South Africa, the Rustenberg John X Meriman, perfect with all red meats.
§ Fillet of Sewin with Wye Valley Asparagus, Poached Egg, Fennel Confit, Jersey Royals, Chive Butter Sauce
Try something different and go for an often overlooked white from St Joseph on the Rhone, Vania St Joseph Blanc – Guy Farage, this is the well known Rhone blend of Marsanne and Roussane has a spicy nose, hints of cardamom and then follows up with tastes of figs, honey and vanilla. Another fine pairing would be the Vermentino by Mora & Memo from Sardinia this great wine has an almost salty tang and goes well with most fish dishes.
§ Trio of Guinea Fowl, (Confit, Supreme, Pancake) Gorgonzola Cheese, Aubergine, Seaweed, Pesto Velouté.
I think you could have a white or red with this dish quite happily. To work with the subtle flavours of the guinea fowl and to cut through the stronger taste of the gorgonzola I think a World Chardonnay, rich and buttery would be great. So, either the Lucky Lizard Chardonnay from D’Arenberg from Oz of the Cannon Ball Chardonnay from Sonoma in California, either would do the trick. Lovely unctuous mouthfuls of wine. If it was red you fancied then look no further than the Valpolicella from Bertani. These guys really know their stuff and this light in style blend with plummy, raspberry tastes would not overtake the guinea fowl.
Just a few thoughts, we have plenty of wines on the list and I am always happy to help diners choose a suitable wine and hopefully coax you out of your comfort zones of Chilean Merlot and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.