Raise your seasonal dinner party game with a few effortless wine pairings brought to you buy our in-house wine expert and buyer Lucy Lettice.
It can be tempting to stick to your regulars, but then it’s also easy to find yourself in a bit of a wine rut come summer. Before you end up screaming for some more variety in bottles you can trust when the sun does eventually come out, here are my top tipples to cosy up to right now. Not only do they lend themselves to February’s bounty, but I hope some will also become new firm favourites for your wine rack (and dinner table).
Jerusalem artichokes need a wine that’s bone dry and hasn’t seen any oak as their flavour is so delicate – this crisp refreshing Austrian wine is perfect. Be careful with wine pairings when it comes to globe artichokes too though, they can make wines taste metallic so avoid sipping with an expensive bottle.
Pair with: Grüner Veltliner by Meinklang, produced in Austria, £11.95.
The saltiness of feta and sweetness of the honey need to be matched with red to hold up against these robust flavours as opposed to a classic white. A lighter red such as a Pinot Noir or this Beaujolais pairs perfectly with cheeses such as feta or halloumi, especially if slightly chilled.
Pair with: Beaujolais-Villages by Domaine de la Plaigne, produced in Beaujolais, £10.95.
Oily fish are best paired with fresh and relatively uncomplicated whites. Inexpensive Bordeaux whites, or this fantastic value Pinot Grigio from Italy is a great choice to cut through the oily flesh.
Pair with: Pinto Grigio by La Jara, produced in Veneto, £9.95.
The earthy but delicate flavour of beetroot calls for a wine with a light to medium body and some minerality. A white Spanish Verdejo or Albariño would pair well, but this French Pinot Noir has a delicious earthy structure which will balance the residual sweetness of beetroot.
Pair with: Pinot Noir by Moulin de Gassac, produced in Languedoc, £9.95.
You can’t go wrong with pairing chicken and Chardonnay. The clean white meat is a blank canvas and the amazing versatility of Chardonnay means that as far as wine pairings go, it’s hard for the two not to compliment each other. This Chardonnay is has a slightly fuller body to hold up to the five spices of cinnamon, star anise, fennel, pepper and ginger.
Pair with: Chardonnay by Domaine de la Verpaille, produced in Burgundy, £14.50.
Cauliflower Steaks with Gavi
Honestly, you could pair cauliflower with pretty much any white wine; it’s such a wine-friendly creature. I’ve picked this Gavi as I feel we don’t hear about this style of wine enough. 100% Cortese, it is rich, scrumptious and the time on its lees – where yeast is left in the bottle as part of the wine’s fermentation – gives it great body to go with any chilli you throw at it!
Pair with: Gavi DOCG by Cascina del Melo, £12.45.
The residual sweetness of this wine is great to compliment the tart profile of the rhubarb. The wine is crisp enough to cut through the sweet frangipane and has seen no oak, so is clean and light with delicate red fruit flavours.
Pair with: Rosé by Le Pas du Moine, produced in Provence, £13.45.
Pickled or poached pears go well with light to medium bodied reds, especially Italian Sangiovese based wines. A classic DOCG Chianti would be great, but personally I love this Ciu’ Ciu’ Sangiovese and Montepulciano blend as it’s full of character and also fantastic value.
Pair with: Sangiovese/Montepulciano by Ciu Ciu, produced in Marche, £9.95.