JWL Issue #042: Food pairing myths & sparkling rosé

February 26, 2019

I’ve had a busy weekend. On Saturday we had a vegetarian dinner party and opened a 1985 Chateau Gloria St Julien Henri Martin. This was another bottle from a gifted selection of old assorted Bordeaux I received for my 30th last year. I’ve going to pen together a write up one day of the experience, but look out for my Instagram for tasting notes soon.

Sunday led to a rather disappointing Sunday roast in Coal Drop’s Yard where the echos of Marina O'Louglin rang loudly. The wine, however, was all excellent and this week’s Taste is a review of that. Elsewhere in King’s Cross, the new Chapel Down bar and restaurant has some brilliant seating by the river that isn’t quite as busy other neighbouring bars. Perfect to while away a sunny afternoon before spring.

Taste

Domaine le Roc’s Roc'Ambulle is really good introduction to pet nat for the unaware. This sparkling rosé (£15.95 from Buon Vino) is fresh, with aromas of sour cherry, and strawberry. I’m beginning to prefer the light fizz of pet nats to a lot of more aggressive sparklers at the moment. And for me the texture of this wine as you got some of the sediment made it really quite impactful.

Terras Gauda (£11.64 from Gourmet Hunters) is a white that I wish I could have had alongside some of the other whites I like. This had the rounded buttery texture and oaky vanilla that I love in white wines, but with greener fruits than I’m used to for those particular character.

Reverte’s Garnacha 2016 (£12 from Harvey Nics) was the perfect red to round off a meal. Spicy and dark with a meatiness you can chew into, this still had a soft and silkiness to it that didn’t come off as unbalanced. A very well priced, hearty Spanish red.

Learn

Myth: Red with meat, white with fish

Ignore this myth. The theory comes from the fact that meat protein can help soften tannins when eating, but evidence suggests that salt is the more important factor here. Many great red wines go with lots of fish dishes.

The only hard and fast ‘avoid’ rule I’d suggest, is oily fish & red wine. Together these produce a horrible metallic taste in your mouth that can ruin both the food & the wine. So next time you’re diving into a kedgeree, grab a white and not the red.

Umami is the other flavour to consider. This makes tannins more astringent, so red wines clash quite badly with it. This isn’t limited to fish, however, and is true across meats, vegetables and sauces too.

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