Scottish Field wine columnist Peter Ranscombe picks five luxurious wines for al fresco dining.
IT WAS really exciting to see al fresco dining returning as the theme for the food feature in the luxury issue of Scottish Field.
As we’ve explored before, outdoor dining requires wines with plenty of character and flavour.
And, with this being the annual luxury issue of the magazine, this time we can loosen the purse strings too…
Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs Reserve Privee
The Whisky Exchange
An elegant Champagne made using only Chardonnay grapes from the very best “Grand Cru” vineyards. Bruno Paillard’s sparling wines have a particular affinity when it comes to food; the Champagne house is an advocate of the “zero dosage” style, whereby no sugar is added to the bottle when the dead yeast is ejected and the cork is secured in place. That means the wines are drier and – for me – even more food-friendly. There are still plenty of red apple and savoury lemon rind flavours to balance the crisp acidity.
Yalumba The Tri-Centenary Barossa Grenache 2015
A picnic pie-friendly lighter Australian red that comes from a single vineyard with vines dating back to 1889. I raved about grenache from Australia’s McLaren Vale after last year’s visit, but this bottle hails from further inland, in the Barossa. There’s a delicious sage note in amongst the red cherry, raspberry and light woodsmoke aromas on the nose, with that savoury herbal influence coming more to the fore on the palate, wrapped in elegant cold tea and spun sugar flavours. It’s baby brother – the Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Bush Vine Grenache – is also worth a look and a bargain too.
Finca Bacara Time Waits For No One Black Skull 2017
All About Wine
This Spanish red’s inky darkness would make an ideal partner to a rich venison and pickled walnut stew. The Black Skull version of Time Waits for No One is one of many excellent wines from importer Hallgarten, which is supporting restaurants and bars this month by giving them 100,000 free glasses of wine, so they can run promotions to tempt back customers. It’s made at Jumilla in Spain’s Murcia region using monastrell, a grape that’s better known as “mouvedre” in the South of France or “mataro” in Australia. It needs a lot of sunshine to ripen and, when it does, it tends to produce full-bodied wines – ideal for a hearty venison stew.
Château Franc Baudron 2014
Cambridge Wine Merchants
All those delicious mushroom, garlic and black pepper flavours alongside the ox cheek point me in the direction of a bottle – or two – from Bordeaux. Château Franc Baudron is a great example of how a classic claret can be brought bang up to date by an organic producer in the Montagne satellite area outside the main Saint-Emilion village. It garnered praise on this year’s maiden “Bordeaux Hot 50” list and it’s easy to see why, with its intense black fruit and dark chocolate flavours, plus well-integrated tannins to slice through the beef. A tale of two clarets: superb value organic wine from near Saint-Emilion to accompany the wellington…
Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2012
Cadman Fine Wines
…and push-the-boat-out Bordeaux from the other side of the river to elevate its ox cheek onto the next level. Once owned by Leith wine merchant George Smith, the château is now at the forefront of making wines in an environmentally- responsible way, even down to capturing carbon dioxide emitted during fermentation and turning it into sodium bicarbonate. As you sit outside munching on ox cheek and enjoying the delightful red fruit flavours and chewy tannins in the wine, it’s good to know that the winemaker cares about the outdoors too.
Read more of the full versions of Peter Ranscombe’s Wine to Dine columns on The Grape & The Grain, his drinks blog on the Scottish Field website, at https://www.scottishfield.co.uk/category/grapegrain/