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Archive for March 2011

James Lowe events: Some notes on food & wine matching

Following on from our successful run of dinners with Ben Greeno we have just completed a trio of events with James Lowe, formerly head chef at St John Bread & Wine, Spitalfields. We got very positive feedback on the wines served and how they matched the food, and so thought it would be useful to communicate those pairings to the world at large.

Radishes, Trevise, Fennel & Anchovy
Champagne Gallimard Brut Réserve (£24.50)
Very primary bold, raw nibbles, and so we went for what is effectively our house bubbly. It’s 100% Pinot Noir but not labelled as a Blanc de Noirs, presumably as the style is much more restrained than that designation might imply. Still it has enough rounded fruit for these ingredients; a better bet than a zippy, minerally Chardonnay-based wine.

Razor Clam & Sorrel
Ribeiro 2009 Coto de Gomariz (£15.00)
This Galician wine is a brilliant seafood allrounder and gained several comments of “perfect match”. The sorrel element in this dish was served as a liquefied sauce, and added a strong green leafy element to the flavours. Accordingly I would not serve an Albarino because the emphasis there is on apricot; the Ribeiro being a blend of several grapes has a green element to it (I often use colours to describe aromas) and so pairs more successfully.

Raw Rib, Oyster & Chickweed
Maranges 1er Cru La Fussière 2007 Bruno Colin (£23.00)
James served this dish on all three menus as it got such a strongly positive reaction. The dish consists of shreds of raw beef served with greenleaves; with a wow factor added by an emulsion of oyster, piped onto the meat in small dots. I chose a tangy red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) partly to balance the white/red ratio in the meal. But the acidity and tangy cherry fruit contrasted very well with the fat in the beef, whilst not overpowering the subtle flavours.

Duck Egg, Alliums & Mustard
Türk Erlesenes vom Grünen Veltliner 2008 Niederösterreich (£19.00)
With the Marange being relatively light it meant we could go back to a white for the next course. Alliums are the family containing onions, leeks and garlic. Austria’s Grüner Veltliner is a great match for these; this example is a richer version which helped compliment the egg (low temperature egg yolk).

Old Spot Belly, Cauliflower & Broccoli
Ribera del Duero 2006 Dominio Romano (£29.50)
This Tempranillo is just a rung or two below full bodied with good acidity to cut through the fatty meat. You would not want a totally full bodied wine with this.

Cheesecake, Rhubarb & Ginger Crumb
Moscatel Emelín Dulce, Lustau (£11 half)
Many books suggest heavy with heavy, light with light when it comes to dessert wines. But often a contrast is better. Spanish Moscatel sherry will usually match any dessert that you could imagine pouring caramel sauce over – eg. a vanilla pudding, or fresh fruit. This worked very well, complementing the cheesecake and contrasting the rhubarb.

by Tom at Bottle Apostle

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