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February Wines of the Month meet food

One of the most common questions with wine is 'What could I pair this with?' or 'I am having this for dinner, what shall I drink with it?'. First and foremost, the answer will always be, what you like! There is no point drinking something because it goes well with a certain food but you don't actually like it. However, it is true that some wines can be enhanced by certain foods and vice versa. The general rule is 'the richer the dish, the richer the wine' but of course there are always quirks and variations on this theme. To give you some ideas here are some suggestions for each of this month's wines...

Cosme Palacio Blanco Reserva

Made from predominantly Viura grapes grown in Rioja Alavesa, this lovely white has great intensity of fruit which marries beautifully with oak notes, giving it notes of citrus fruits, hazelnuts and pistachio, as well as some sweet spice. As this wine is on the more complex end of the scale in terms of white wines, it works well with bigger dishes that a lot of white wines wouldn't cope with. Hence, this creamy salmon pasta bake would make a lovely partner for this. The wine will work well with the stronger flavour of the Salmon and the creaminess of the sauce. Other options would be grilled poultry, smoked fish or tuna. Avoid anything too light as the wine will overpower the dish and you won't get too enjoy the food in the same way.

Running Duck Chenin Blanc Sauvignon Blanc

This South African blend of Chenin Blanc (80%) and Sauvignon Blanc (20%) makes this wine full, fresh and flavoursome. The Chenin Blanc provides a peachiness, whilst the Sauvignon cuts through with grassy notes. Goat's cheese goes very well with both of these grapes, making this Goat's cheese and caramelised onion frittata an excellent choice. The acidic and mineral qualities work wonders, cutting through and enhancing the tart, rich cheese. Other options include trout or salmon.

Rosé Célestia

Rosé is an excellent thirst quencher and beautiful served cold, hence why it is often a popular choice in the summer months. However, it doesn't have to be kept in the fridge till then. This particular bottle is a wonderful light, dry example which is characterised by a lively acidity. Therefore, it works really well with lighter dishes and also grilled meats. If you want to try something a little bit more off the wall than the usual fish and chicken pairings, why not make yourself some hot dogs. The acidic nature of the wine cuts through the fattiness and the saltiness is enhanced by the wine's minerality.

Bon Courage Inkara Pinot Noir

Due to maturing in oak barrels for 18-24 months, this Pinot Noir is fuller bodied than what you might classically think of when it comes to this grape variety. With an earthiness to the palate, this wine is particularly good with light meat dishes, but also many vegetarian meals. This very lovely Butternut Squash risotto is a great one to try or this mushroom, squash & caramelised garlic lasagne with crispy sage.

El Ilusionista Crianza

This Spanish Tempranillo is a deep ruby red. Aged for 14months in French and American oak barrels, it has a complex palate which is full of flavour. If we go back to our golden rule of the richer the dish, the richer the wine', this particular bottle is going to work well with some bigger, meatier dishes. One option would be this delicious Oxtail ragu. Because Tempranillo is a grade with a higher acidity level, this wine will cut well through the fat in this dish and also complement the tomato base of the sauce. Finally the tannins in the wine will benefit from the protein of the beef.

De Bortoli Deen VAT 184 Master Blend

This Australian red packs a punch. A blend of Shiraz, Durif and Cabernet Sauvignon means that this is a wine that can handle a rich meal. Of course this would work wonders with a Sunday roast, but what about Char Sui Pork? The tannins that come with a big, bold red like this work wonderfully with smoky caramelisation and the jammy fruit flavours compliment the saltiness of the soy sauce.

Pairing food with wine can seem very daunting but once you clear through a lot of the fluffy language it is much like adding an extra ingredient to a meal. Whether this blog post has inspired you to try a new combo or just mixed up your meal plan for the next week, hope you enjoy!

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