FEW food and drink combinations whet my appetite as much as steak and red wine. From a fruity Argentinian Malbec or Australian Shiraz all the way through to a chewy Rioja or warming Bordeaux, the choices when it comes to matching the two sometimes feel almost endless, especially when served with delicious Scotch beef.
Burgundy has always been high on my hit list too. The silky tannins and refreshing acidity packed into the Pinot Noir grapes are often one of my first choices when fillet steak is on the menu, with the light yet powerful wine making an excellent match for the tender meat.
But how about serving Burgundy with other cuts of steak? An invitation to join Louis Jadot – one of the biggest négociants or wine merchants in Burgundy – at Steak Restaurant in Edinburgh was enough to pique my interest.
The lunch opened not with steak but with a pulled Lothian rabbit and sage hummus, served with black pudding nuggets and sun-blushed tomatoes. Two whites – a 2014 Château des Jacques Clos de Loyse and a 2013 Puligny-Montrachet – and two reds – a 2010 Château des Jacques Moulin-a-Vent and a 2010 Savigny-lès-Beaune Premier Cru – were available as pairings.
I’d naturally reach for a red to go with rabbit, but the blending of the meat into a hummus drew me towards the Puligny-Montrachet. On the nose, there were the classic Burgundian vanilla and wood smoke aromas, which followed through onto the palate to combine with the peach, pear and green apple flavours and the refreshing acidity.
Onto the steak. A sirloin from Donald Russell, the supplier for Steak Restaurant, was served with a stunning combination of creamed peas, bacon and leeks, alongside a pot of French fries.
This is the point at which I’d normally be reaching for a Cotes du Rhone or a New World Shiraz, seeking to pair the texture of the steak with tannin, the drying substance in a red wine that makes you suck in your cheeks, just like with a cup of tea.
With the sirloin, the slightly higher tannins in a 2009 Nuits St George hit the spot, with its rounder and fuller raspberry, strawberry and red plum fruit flavours developing into aromas of damp earth and wood smoke.
A surprising hit came from a 2009 Chateau des Jacques Morgon – a wine from the Beaujolais region that uses Gamay instead of Pinot Noir and tends to be lighter in character than mainstream Burgundy. Here, the Morgon in question had more masculine tannins and struck an elegant balance between the ripe red fruit flavours and the spicy cinnamon and clove notes, which come from ageing in oak barrels.
A two-steak lunch is a rare – but welcome – treat. The Morgon worked really well with a rib-eye too, as did a 2010 Fixin, one of the most-northerly parts of the Côte de Nuits region. The higher tannins in both wines worked well with the rib-eye’s firmer texture, with the Fixin bringing concentrated red fruit flavours and a hint of liquorice on the finish.
Sticking with the French theme, the cheese came before the dessert. The Moulin-a-Vent’s refreshing acidity worked well with a Brie, while the Nuits St George provided a winning pairing with a slice of stunning Comte. A dark chocolate delice or mousse also worked well with the Moulin-a-Vent, showing once again that dry red wines can work wonders with a chocolate dessert, as we’ve seen in Wine to Dine, the wine column in the main Scottish Field magazine.
Steak Restaurant is planning a series of dinners in partnership with Louis Jadot so meat-lovers should keep an eye on its website at http://www.steakedinburgh.com/new/