Burns night is around the corner on 25th January and this weekend we’ll be attending a magnificent Burns party at our good friends, wine lovers and blog readers Ave and Al’s place. What to drink is the obvious question. Whisky is the obvious answer. But here there is a problem. I don’t like Whisky. I’ve tried a dram from here, there and everywhere but just haven’t got a taste for it. I read Iain Banks’ brilliant book “Raw Spirit: the search for the perfect dram” and loved it and wanted to love the product too. But I don’t (which probably isn’t a bad thing as I can’t afford to burn a hole in my other pocket too!) So what should us non-Whisky lovers be putting to our lips instead?
Lets start with a few food and wine pairing basics straight from my WSET text book:
1. Match the flavour intensity of the food and the flavour intensity of the wine
2. Match sweet foods with sweet wines
3. Match acidic food with high-acid wines
4. Avoid combining very savoury foods with high tannin wine
5. Pair “chewy” meat with tannic wine
6. Pair salty foods with sweet wines
7. Pair fatty and oily foods with high-acid wines
8. Match the weight/richness of food and the body of the wine
Haggis is rich and spicy. Red wine will make you all happy as twice as many of you read the French Red Wine article compared to the one on French White! The spiciness takes me straight to the Rhone. The pepper and other spices just feels like a perfect match for Grenache. Not too tannic, lots of fruit and lots of spice. I could’ve gone to Priorat of course, but I’ve harped on enough about that wonderful region last year! Australia and California are also producing some great Grenache blends these days too, but I’ll stick with what I know.
After spending a week in the region last summer I just know its a great choice, I just need to decide which level to go in at. There’s some great Côte du Rhone on the market at very agreeable prices (20% off all Rhone wines at Majestic at the moment) or should I go to the top of the Rhone hierarchy and suggest a Chateauneuf-du-Pape? The problem I find here is that most supermarket C9DPs are too young – I’m not drinking anything after 2007 at the moment. Instead I’m going with Vaqueyras. We spent three days in the wonderful little village and as well as knowing I’ll get value for money it will also bring back some great memories.
Unfortunately I can only find one bottle accessible to the masses in Majestic, and one from my mate Jez, so there’s also some recommendations for Gigondas, the next village along.
La Bastide Saint Vincent Vaqueyras 2010 (Majestic £16.24, £12.99 in current deal)
Domaine La Garrigue Vaqueyras 2010 (Wine & the Vine £14.65)
Finest Gigondas 2010 (Tesco £13.49)
Taste the Difference Gigondas 2010 (Tesco £13.49)
But if you want the best then get online at www.winedirect.co.uk where you will find one of my very favourite wines, from an exceptional vintage, with a bit of bottle age:
Domaine Le Couroulu Cuvée Classique Vacqueyras 2007 (Wine Direct £15.75)
Brambles, spice and lavendar, blakberry nose – delicious nose. Massive fruit concentration, Full of Christmas spices, black, almost raisiny friut; you can really taste the heat – perfect for the Winter. Beautiful, silky tannins and great acidity and freshness. More please! Tasted great at 35 degrees, tastes better when it’s sub-zero. 92 points