14 Days of Wine & Food

Now I’m not saying that wine will cure you from this wretched coronavirus, wouldn’t it be great though?! Studies have shown however  that wine, drunk in moderation, can have some other health benefits, mind you, I wouldn’t count on it curing any virus though, but who knows. (mums apparently, they’ve been telling us to clean our hands thoroughly and cover our mouths when we cough for decades)
This is not me trying to convince you that wine, of any sort, will make you feel better, whatever problems you may have, physical or personal, speaking to someone over a glass of wine might help though. At least for the fourteen days recommended isolation, and even if you are not self-isolating, why not take the time to try some new wines with your favourite dishes? I’ve come up with fourteen wines and matched them to some popular everyday dishes, try them out.
Oh, and don’t worry if you can’t make it to The Wine Shop, you can order     here and I’ll be more than happy to deliver, at no extra charge!

1. Fish & Chips
For this first very British dish I’ve a chosen a nice crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc from Stellenbosch in South Africa Koelenhof Cellar £10.50 Whether you add a squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar to your dish this wine will go down a treat, aromas of pears, apples and kiwi fruit, dry but not over acidic great to have with scampi too.

2. Chilli con Carne or Veggie Chilli
With this dish it’s really a question of heat, do you like your chilli mild or really spicy?? I’ve gone for a wine that fits right in the middle. From Uruguay and with a blend of Tannat and Merlot grapes Castel Pujol Altos £12.75 This blend works really well as Tannat can be harsh and tannic, but the addition of Merlot has just smoothed the wine completely. You still get good structure and lovely dark berry notes, and the tannins have become a little juicier and softer.

3. Shepherd’s Pie
Another traditional British dish, now I know some people add some brown sauce to the plate or Worcester sauce when cooking, you know who you are LOL. Shepherd’s pie is comfort food, so make it however you like. I recommend Gerard Bertrand’s Kosmos £18.85 from the South of France. A blend of 7 grapes varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec & Marselan) Lovely and full bodied with forest fruit jam and cooked cherry pie notes, and a very smooth finish.


4. Lentejas
If Shepard’s pie is British comfort food, Lentejas is the Spanish equivalent. Whether you add the chorizo and morcilla or not, Lentejas stew packs a lot of flavour, well at least when my wife makes it. 😊 I’d go for a Spanish wine here, Elias Mora Crianza £19.50 from the Toro wine region. A full-bodied wine, lush in mouth with dark fruit, cedar wood, licorice and a hint of vanilla notes both on the nose and palate.

5. Fish Stew
I know there’s various ways of making a fish stew but I’m going with my mum’s recipe where she adds, among other ingredients, a touch of saffron to make pescado en amarillo. I like a white with a bit more flavour for this dish, so I’ve gone for an American Viognier from Washington State Airfield Estates £17.50 Lovely delicate nose of peaches, apricots and white flowers but in mouth in seems to enhance these notes. Add a dry, buttery palate and this is the perfect wine for this sort of dish.

6. Torta de Acelga
Easter is just around the corner and Torta de Acelga, Spinach pie, is a popular side dish in Gibraltar. I’ve always been told Manzanilla is the best match, so why break with tradition. Try Los Caireles Manzanilla £10.50 from Sanlucar de Barrameda, Jerez. Bone dry with floral and almond notes but it’s the light hint of saltiness that pairs well with the spinach.

7. Steak
Sirloin or Tomahawk, meat has very different textures and flavour depending which cut you choose, then add your preferred grilling methods and your choice of wine can be endless. So, which to choose? It’s been in fashion now for a couple of years, although I prefer a good Barolo, you really can’t go wrong with a Malbec, note I haven’t put Argentinean Malbec, because I know a few of you have your preferences in this matter. I’m going for the delicious Chento Malbec £21.00 from Mendoza Argentina. Full, flavoursome, well structured, good length and silky smooth.

8. Sunday Roast
This is another dish that can vary the preferred main ingredient, I’m going for my favourite which is roast beef. I don’t know about you but Sunday roast seemed like the special meal of the week, so to make it a little bit more special I’m going for a Bordeaux wine Chateau Meyney Gran Vin £66.20 from Saint-Estephe France. An absolute pleasure of a wine, robust but at the same time elegant with smoky notes, soft tannins and great finish to continue drinking after you’ve finished your plate.

9. Rosto
Another comfort dish, one with many childhood memories. An Italian origin dish but I’m going with a Spanish wine Montebaco Caranorte £18.50 from Ribera del Duero, nice and full in mouth with soft oak wood, spice and blackberry notes finishing warm and smooth, a great wine for reminiscing.

10. Pizza
Well you have to have a pizza night. Hundreds of different toppings so getting the right wine is difficult. I tend to order a spicy pepperoni. An easy-going Italian wine like a Valpolicella is great, try Valpantena Ritocco £8.95 so smooth you’ll most probably finish the wine before the pizza.

11. Spaghetti Bolognaise
What could be easier than a good old spag-bol? The trick is to add a little of the wine you’re going to drink to the pot. My comfort wine for this dish is a Chianti, Brolio Chianti Classico £16.50 is an easy going medium bodied wine with low acidity and a lovely dark fruit finish, elegant alone and mellow with food.

12. Gammon
Roast gammon with a honey glaze is an “oh we haven’t had that in a while” dish, so when you do get to have some you want a good wine to go with it. I suggest a Pinot Noir, but don’t go for a light one, the gammon will over power the taste of the wine. Instead go for a more earthy, lush Pinot Noir, try Viña Chocolan Pinot Noir £19.50, from Chile. A bit more spice and dark fruit notes than your typical Bourgoin, but still lush enough to deal with the salt and sweet food flavours.

13. Curry
Everyone loves a curry but again it ranges from mild to spicy, dry to creamy. A safe bet here is to go with a white wine, but one than can cope with the cream and spice. My favourite for this dish is a South African Chenin Blanc, Bela Bela Chenin Blanc £9.00 Dry with light floral and white fruit notes, nice acidity to it to balance with the creamy curry and light enough to soften the spicy ones.

14. Paella
My choice is the paella de marisco, I can never get enough of it, so many different ingredients that you’ll need a wine that can equal all those flavours. Albariño is the perfect wine, Siete Pulgadas £9.00 One of the few white wines that will actually enhance the flavours of the dish. Light and clean, with floral and white fruit notes and an almost almond finish.



Well there you go; all you need to do now is wipe the drool from your mouth, wash your hands and start cooking the dishes. Pop round for my recommendation on any other dishes you may be cooking.
No need to remind you to drink responsibly but just in case, please do.
Tony Hernandez

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