Victoria Moore’s Ultimate Guide to Food and Wine Pairing
Cantine Rallo Isola della Fiamma Grillo 2020
Sicily (12.5%, The wine company, £ 6.50)
Grillo is a Sicilian grape, a natural cross of cataratto and zibbibo. This one is bright and viscous and tastes of yellow peach with a slight tropicality (like mango) and floral notes. I love it with Sardinian pasta con, the ubiquitous pasta dish in Sicily. Either way, it goes hand in hand with the wonderful Arab-European blend of scent and fruitiness of olive oil, pine nuts, raisins, sardines, and fennel leaves.
Grillo is also robust enough to work with salads that have a touch of honey or maple syrup in the dressing (Ottolenghi, I’m looking at you) that can trip up some crunchy whites. Think figs with arugula, baby pecorino and honey or grilled carrots with red onion pickles and cilantro yogurt. Spicy roast chicken or pork would also work.
Canadian Falls Riesling 2019
Canada (10.5%, Aldi, online only, £ 9.99)
Semi-dry Riesling went out of fashion around 1983, but it deserves a comeback because its style is perfect with much of the food we eat today. Riesling has a vibrant, lemony flavor that works well in Thai cuisine and when it’s also a little sweet, like this one, it can also meet the pungent heat of Southeast Asian cuisine: think chicken au Spicy Thai basil, spicy Thai noodles with peanut sauce, green mango salad with shrimp or chicken marinated in lemongrass, lime, Thai fish sauce, garlic and chili and eaten with lettuce and rice.
It is also a skilful pairing with savory dishes containing or accompanied by fruit. Some examples: roast pork with sweet apple puree; chicken and apricot tagine; mango and chicken chili noodles.
Château la Canorgue Blanc 2020
Côtes du Luberon, France (13.5%, Yapp, £ 16.75)
Made in the beautiful hills where Provence meets the Rhône, it is a bewitching, dry and generously fragrant white. Think white peaches, almond oil, dried thyme, and white flower. The grapes are Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Roussanne, which may leave you wondering what to eat with them. Well, the scent and crunchy taste goes very well with seafood or chicken with Mediterranean herbs and garlic.
For example, sizzling shrimp with garlic and sprinkled with a mixture of chopped flat-leaf parsley, basil and thyme or casserole chicken with tarragon, thyme and lots of garlic. It’s very good with turbot. And its scent brings out a more fragrant and summery side of mushroom dishes.
L’Atzar Cava Reserva SA
Spain (11.5%, Waitrose, £ 8.99 instead of £ 11.99 until September 21)
Cava bubbles go very well with salty things like crisps, olives and salted nuts. They are also good with garlic (eg Chinese garlic broccoli). And with fried things, offering a refreshing bite whether you munch croquetas, fried chicken cutlets, fried calamari, potato wedges, crispy soft shell crab or vegetable tempura.
Likewise, it can work with other salty and fatty foods like raw hams, fried chorizo, or hard salty cheeses like aged pecorino. Cava also goes well with asparagus risotto and Spanish rice with artichokes and tomatoes.
Of course, it is also a great wine to drink with tapas; there is an affinity with almost everything from pan y tomato to fried shrimp with garlic.
Quinta do Noval 10 years Tawny NV
Portugal (20%, Waitrose, £ 19.99 instead of £ 24.99 until September 21)
So many people ignore the harbor unless it’s Christmas; a mistake, in my opinion. Tawny Port is a great drink anytime of the year. Long aged in wood, until its color changes to a brilliant garnet and begins to taste like orange peel, caramel and toasted hazelnuts, tawny port is at its best served straight from the refrigerator, after dinner.
A chilled glass of tawny tastes great with hard cheeses like manchego; its sweet flavor is beautiful with milky and creamy desserts such as crème caramel, crème brûlée, rice pudding or pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts); and you can also serve it with a milk chocolate mousse, a pecan pie or a vanilla ice cream sprinkled with praline and nuts.