Teuchter wine columnist Peter Ranscombe selects five wines to pair with dishes by Ghillie Başan from his homeland…
EVERYONE enjoys a wee taste of home.
As a Highlander, it was great fun to pick five bottles to pair with Ghillie Başan’s recipes in the February issue of the printed and digital Scottish Field magazine.
All the classics are there – smoked salmon, black pudding, venison, and even juniper.
Those are among the flavours of home – and these wines will add an international twist to the Highland feast.
THE DOCTOR’S SAUVINGON BLANC
The 2021 vintage of John Forrest’s light, 9.5% sauvignon blanc has freshness to match smoked salmon and fruit to stand up to juniper. In my mind, I’d planned to pair the smoked salmon pasta with a picpoul or a riesling – my two go-to white wines for my own dish of a similar ilk. Yet the juniper berries threw a curve ball into the mix and so I decided to opt for the gooseberry fruitiness of New Zealand sauvignon blanc to stand up to the stronger flavour, while still displaying oodles of acidity to cut through the oily fish.
LES DAUPHINS COTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
Cotes du Rhone’s red blends have the right mix of fruit and spicy depth to match earthy black pudding and acidic tomato. Squeezing in under the £10 mark, I was impressed with the mix of red fruit, cedar, and liquorice on the nose, with layers of spicy cinnamon, rich red plum, and well-integrated vanilla on the palate too, alongside fresh acidity to cut through the black pudding on posh toast.
CHAMPAGNE BRIGITTE DELMOTTE
If you don’t serve the awesome Jarl with your halibut then this fizz has the crisp acidity to slice through the batter. This 100% pinot noir sparkler is a stalwart in online giant Laithwaites’ range and it’s easy to see why, with its concentrated red apple and brown sugar flavours to balance its freshness. It’s great-value too and would do an admirable job swimming alongside the smoked salmon as well, as it also has enough fruit to carry the juniper.
MCMANIS PETITE SIRAH 2019
Tread carefully – vindaloo’s heat will accentuate wine’s alcohol. This fruity 13.5% Californian petite sirah strikes the right balance. Petite sirah is a cross between syrah and peloursin, an obscure grape from the east of France. California is its stronghold, but it’s also popular in parts of Australia, where it’s known as durif. The lower tannins and moderate alcohol in this blueberry-laced red make it a good match for the pork vindaloo, while a fruity merlot or slightly beefier style of Beaujolais could also work well.
POWELL & SON RIVERSIDE GSM 2017
Raeburn Fine Wines
A blend of grenache, mataro, and shiraz from Australia’s Barossa valley provides the ideal balance of fruit and structure for venison. Father-and-son team Dave and Callum Powell have a characteristic freshness to their wines, and that’s reflected in the grenache-led Riverside blend, which has the red fruit flavours to match the cranberries in the venison pie. Their whites are pretty special too.
In case you missed it, here’s a throwback to last autumn’s street food recipes from Ailidh Forlan with accompanying avant-garde wines
Plus, read more of Peter’s wine, beer, and spirits reviews on his blog, The Grape & The Grain