This month, in his opening contribution, Award-winning Sommelier Matteo Montone goes off the beaten track in search of successful wine and food matches
The joys of Spain:
Two weeks ago I was in Sant Sadurní D’Anoia (capital of Cava) and had the good fortune to visit the cellars of Gramona, a family run winery, and taste their outstanding Cava.
During the lunch they served their Font Jui Xarel-lo 2016.
This wine is made in an oxidative style, showing aromas of quince, bruised apple and mushrooms. On the palate the wine has good texture with a smokey mineral finish. It was served with a creamy mushroom soup, which proved a great wine matching: the aroma profile complemented the mushroom flavours while the bright mineral acidity of the wine cut through the richness of the soup, cleansing the palate and highlighting the earthy character of the mushrooms.
I would recommend to serve the wine well chilled at a temperature of 6-8 degrees, served in a Riesling glass.
I have no hesitation to recommend this wine, especially with food, as it would be very versatile with many dishes. While it may be difficult to source in the UK it is priced under 10 euros at the winery.
The challenge of a BBQ pork chop and barbecue sauce:
How to find a wine to take on the fat of pork and the sensory overload of barbecue sauce? Southern Europe offers really interesting possibilities for matching strong flavours – in this case Greece:
Alpha Estate’s Red wine blend of Syrah, Xinomavro and Merlot, from vintage 2013. The blend combines really well the spicy character of Syrah, the tannic structure of Xinomavro and the generosity of Merlot.
The nose is showing charming aromas of sour red cherry, candied plums and smoked wood. On the palate the wine is rich and juicy with firm ripe tannins and spicy finish. The smoky and spicy character of the wine are a match for the barbecue sauce flavours, while the firm tannins counterbalance the fat of the meat and cleanse the palate.
The wine is aging welI and very drinkable, but I recommend to decant 30 minutes before serving, at a temperature of 18 degrees, possibly in a Burgundy glass. The wine is available in the UK and retails around £20.