Peter Ranscombe catches up with Glasgow wine merchant Séverine Sloboda for some recommendations to go with game.
SCOTLAND’S open seasons on game birds are in full swing, from ducks and geese through to grouse and partridge.
I caught up with Séverine Sloboda to find out which wines she’d serve with some popular game dishes.
I was really impressed her wines during a virtual tasting hosted by Scotsman wine columnist Rose Murray Brown back in June, so it was a treat to try some other examples from her range.
Each of her bottles has a brightness and freshness to it – the wines feel alive.
That’s down to the care with which her farmers and winemakers tend their vines and produce their wines.
Many are organic, with all practicing sustainable agriculture.
First up, Sloboda chose her 2018 Maison Crochet Parcelle 307 Chardonnay (£18.70).
It was bursting with really well-defined sharp granny smith green apples and sweeter royal gala red apples, with squeaky acidity and a lovely apple skin-like texture, with just the tiniest lick of butter.
The wine hails from Lorraine, between Alsace and Champagne, and sits somewhere close to Chablis in terms of style.
Sloboda thinks it would work well with “wild rabbit and leek terrine with piccalilli sauce, or partridge with black truffle and pistachio pâté”, and I’m inclined to agree.
Her rosé choice was the 2019 Clos de Cimes Petite Fugue (£16.20) made from syrah grapes harvested from 40-year-old vines in the Rhone valley.
Lots of strawberry and raspberry aromas lead into richer blackcurrant on the palate, with a kick of fresh acidity.
“Pigeon salad or grouse with beetroot and raspberry balsamic vinegar” were the order of the day for Sloboda with this rosé and I can see its freshness working well with either dish.
Personal connections count
Onto the reds, and an unusual grape – mondeuse – from an unusual location, Savoie, tucked away near the Swiss border.
The 2018 Domaine Claude Quenard & Fils Sansoufrir Rouge (£18.90) is a great example of a lighter style of red that doesn’t compromise on structure.
Mouth-watering acidity and well-integrated tannins are balanced by plenty of blackcurrant and blackberry flavours.
It’s a versatile wine, with Sloboda reeling off venison sausage, civet of hare or rabbit, or game pie as pairing options – I’d certainly vote for venison as an option, especially cuts of roe deer.
To finish, probably my favourite from the quarter of wines – the 2019 Sylvain Martinez Onis (£21.90) from the Loire Valley.
Again, it’s made with a less well-known grape for us in Scotland, pineau d’aunis, but this is a wine that will thrill fans of Beaujolais’ gamay or the Loire’s cabernet franc thanks to its fresh acidity.
“This grape variety means a lot to me,” explains Sloboda. “I grew up with my grandmother in the Côteaux du Loir, where pineau d’aunis is predominant.
“Distinctive aroma of pepper, bitters, sweet cherry… you could sometimes compare the notes of pineau d’aunis wine with a negroni.”
As for game, she’d serve it alongside “five-spice duck and turnips, pigeon, grouse…” – another versatile bottle.
Its aromas are closest to what’s becoming known as a “natural wine” in this selection, with notes of warm cat fur in amongst the red fruit on the nose.
Crunchy redcurrant and raspberry on the palate add to its game-matching potential – I’d take it all the way through to venison burgers or a softer fillet.
Sloboda is offering Scottish Field readers a 5% discount until 30 November – enter the code SCOTFIELD5 at the checkout on her website in order to use her generous offer.
For more of Peter Ranscombe’s wine reviews, check out his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain.