Wine columnist Peter Ranscombe tries not to swear as he pairs five wines with Gordon Ramsay’s recipes…
THERE’S a distinctive Scottish flavour to Gordon Ramsay’s dishes in March’s food feature in the printed and digital versions of Scottish Field magazine.
From beef and mushrooms to salmon and scallops, these recipes are full of ingredients that celebrate Ramsay’s heritage.
Yet the chef’s fame has spread far and wide beyond his homeland, fuelled by television appearances on Masterchef Australia and his American roadtrip.
That international influence has guided my wine choices this month, with bottles from Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as closer to home, with Bulgaria and Spain.
PYRAMID VALLEY NORTH CANTERBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC+ 2019
A classy New Zealand sauvignon blanc with enough attitude to stand up to the strength of the truffle. And, nope, the plus symbol in the heading isn’t a typo – there’s a splash of riesling added to the sauvignon to add to its zingy characteristics. All the tropical guava and passionfruit aromas and flavours are present and correct, alongside bright acidity, but it was the more elegant jasmine note with which I was most impressed. It’s both organic and biodynamic to boot, which makes this great value squeezing in below the £20-mark.
VIDINSKA GAMZA WINERY GAMZA SPECIAL SELECTION 2015
Gamza, a little-known Bulgaria black grape, is an excellent match for dishes like beef short rib. I was really impressed with Vida’s range of wines from Central and Eastern Europe during a recent tasting over lunch at Sarap, a Filipino bistro just off London’s Regent Street. Sarap served aged rump cap alongside the gamza, and it’s going to work equally as well with short ribs thanks to its well-balanced tannins and mixture of black cherry and red apple on the nose and redder cherries on the palate, which brought to mind the wines of Barbera d’Alba in Northern Italy.
FAIRTRADE CHENIN BLANC RESERVE
A great value South African chenin blanc with the freshness to swim alongside salmon and the depth of fruit to match garlic mushrooms. Hailing from the Breedekloof region, this is part of Spar’s own label range, which is now entirely vegan. It’s classic chenin blanc through and through, with enough peach and green apple flavours to balance its fresh acidity, making it an ideal foil for oily fish like salmon, or enjoyable as an aperitif in its own right.
TORRES PURGATORI 2017
Earthy butter bean, leek, and spinach call for a red that walks the line between body and brightness – and this Spanish blend is an ideal choice. The Costers del Segre area of Penedès is known for its arid climate, which must have made it feel like purgatory for the monks from Montserrat abbey who travelled there during the 18th century to carry out their penance. The Torres family planted cariñena, garnacha, and syrah – three of the components of Cotes du Rhone reds – in Costers del Segre to produce this fruity yet structured blend. It’s the red fruit flavours from the cariñena and garnacha that come to the fore on the nose, with syrah’s darker fruits shining on the palate. It wears its 18 months in French oak – including 40% new barrels – really lightly, with good integration of the vanilla and mocha flavours.
UNDURRAGA CAUQUENES ESTATE VIOGNIER ROUSSANNE MARSANNE 2020
The Wine Society
A superb price for this scallop-friendly white. A Chilean take on this Rhone valley trio. Even with the vagaries of foreign currency exchange rates, the value offered by this blend of viognier, roussanne, and marsanne still messes with my mind. As in their native Rhone valley in the south of France, viognier brings floral aromas and peachy flavours to the mix, while roussanne and marsanne provide structure and a more savoury lemon rind note. As well as pairing with seafood, this would be a good contender for Ramsay’s chicken dish too.
In case you missed it, catch-up on last month’s wines to match with Ghillie Başan’s Highland recipes
Plus, read more of Peter’s wine, beer, and spirits reviews on his blog, The Grape & The Grain