Own Selection food pairings for early autumn
Author: Issariya Morgan
The return of fresh mornings and ever-darker evenings heralds autumn’s approach. This transitional back-to-school season marks a shift in the dishes we crave: out with the barbecues and bright salads, in with chicken pie and salmon en croûte. Such fare, inevitably, calls for delicious wines to match – and our Own Selection range is perfect for the job. We asked three of our experts which wine they’ll be enjoying this month, and which dishes they’ll be savouring alongside.
Fresh, fruity Riesling
What to eat with it: soy and ginger salmon
Riesling is, unquestionably, the wine world’s worst kept secret. Fantastically versatile with food and endlessly adaptable in the winery, it is a caped and booted “super grape”.
Made for us by lauded Mosel producers, Selbach-Oster, our 2019 Own Selection Mosel Riesling is an exemplary choice for the gastronome. Perfect for mid-week dinners with friends, toasting a successful week of work or for more scholarly wine-pairing evenings, it will see you through many vinous occasions and will please all manner of palates. With its layers of fruit flavours, complexity and palate-cleansing quality, its rambunctious nature belies its seemingly timid 10% ABV.
I love this wine with soy and ginger salmon – it is an outstanding combination. The invigorating acidity (characteristic of the variety) penetrates the oil of the fish and the heated kick of the ginger while contributing its own flavours of tart green apple, lime zest and greengage. The subtlest hint of sweetness on the finish pairs so elegantly with the soy sauce, you’d think they were made for each other.
For maximum entertainment, serve to friends who don’t know or declare they don’t like Riesling – you’ll have a room full of new fans and converts in no time.
Alexandra Gray de Walden, Fine Wine Specialist
Spicy Côtes du Rhône
What to eat with it: roast lamb or chicken pie
Ever since I first became aware of wine, my idea from my parents of what a “nice bottle of red” should look like was, quite simply, a “Rhône wine”. Even now, after years in the wine industry introducing my parents to an amazing variety of wines from across the world, my biggest “ooh!” always comes from bringing a red from the Rhône Valley to the table.
The Own Selection Côtes du Rhône, to me, is the perfect blend not only of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache – of grape growing and oak maturation – but of class and comfort. A complex mix of red and dark fruits, beautifully spiced with a touch of sweet vanilla, the balance of fruit and body is always a crowd pleaser when it comes to a casual drink with friends but is also, most importantly, a perfect food wine.
Despite this being a French wine, I always associate its enjoyment with the most English of fare: a Sunday roast lamb with potatoes and redcurrant jelly, a comforting chicken pie chock-full of gravy, or some well-deserved bangers and mash after a long walk in the English countryside. The quintessential autumnal wine, this has the warming spice and rich fruits to curl up with when the nights get chillier, but still has that beautiful freshness to pair perfectly with lightly spiced meals and rich sauces.
Katie Merry, Buying Assistant
Bright, rich Champagne
What to eat with it: salmon en croûte or fish and chips
Champagne has long been the first choice to accompany any celebration, party, or milestone in life, and with good reason – there are few alternatives better suited to such occasions – but I want to know: why does the Champagne end with the canapés?
I’m an advocate of popping the cork with the feeblest of justifications, but gastronomy is surely where Champagne’s most underappreciated potential lies.
There is a wealth of riches to work with when it comes to food pairing: vibrant acidity; effervescent texture; saline minerality; the full spectrum of young, taut, dry styles to rich, sweet, complex and savoury. The trademark biscuity, toasty character goes with just about anything – what doesn’t work wrapped in puff pastry or on a tart base? – and mature examples develop stunning aromas of praline, honey, and occasionally truffle or mushroom.
One Champagne I have been diligently testing over the years is our Berry Bros. & Rudd Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs. A textbook Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay), it is bright, defined and mineral, with brisk acidity balanced by rich texture and concentration.
Salmon en croûte with buttered greens makes an excellent pairing, as does the modern classic of fish and chips. Courgette fritters with cashew cream or mixed charcuterie with hard cheeses are other favourites. Treat it as you would lightly oaked white Burgundy (including serving in a wine glass) and you’ll be very happy indeed.
Tom Leigh, Account Manager