Wine to Dine: November 2022 – Sarah Rankin

Wine columnist James Robertson picks five bottles to pair with Sarah Rankin’s dishes in the November issue of Scottish Field magazine.

Dopff Au Moulin Cremant d’Alsace NV (£13.95, The Wine Society)
There’s nothing low key about Sarah Rankin’s version of bubble and squeak – including the name rumbledethumps – and, with a poached egg to finish it off, the ideal option is a sparkling wine that cuts through the richness of the egg. Alsace produces some wonderful wines and this is no exception. The winery can trace its roots back to 1574, with vineyards in the foothills of the Vosges mountains. This delightful wine is made with 50% Auxerrois and 50% Pinot Blanc, which is aged in the bottle for 18 months after the secondary fermentation. It is dry with a lovely balance of green apples, floral notes, and a biscuity finish.

Veramonte Reserve Organic Chardonnay 2021 (£11.50, Ocado)
The perfect foil for the cod and or the croquettes with a lovely balance of fruit and a touch of oak. This white wine from the Casablanca Valley highlights why Chile not only produces top quality wines at all levels but consistently. The Casablanca Valley is due west of Santiago; the vineyards here are perfect for white wine production, with the grapes being getting the warmth from the sun and then cooled by the breeze off the Pacific Ocean. This wine has a little time in oak, which provides the textured backbone to the wine, which has a lovely tropical fruit note to it with balanced acidity.

Pizo Old Vines Cariñena 2020 (£11.99, Virgin Wines)
When I looked at Sarah’s recipe for pulled pork and polenta, I felt that a red from Spain was the place to go. I love Rioja but Spain has so much more to offer as well. This wine is 100% Cariñena, which is also known as Carignan in the south of France. The vineyard is just north of Madrid and to the west of Barcelona near Zaragoza. The old vines are found at an altitude of 700 metres above sea level, which provides a natural freshness to the wine but also added complexity. The wine is rounded with good strawberry and plum fruit notes that balance well with the richness of pulled pork.

Pattes Noires Merlot 2019 (£10.49, Laithwaites)
A lovely rustic red with juicy fruit and soft tannins from the Languedoc is ideal with Sarah’s classic game pie. I am also a glutton for a great story and this wine has a cracker. The black pawed vixen found in the region gives its name to the wine. The legend has it that the volcano of Ceressou was stoked by the breath of fairies until they were accused of plotting against the village. The fairies were taken prisoner by evil bees and then killed. But a fairy turned herself into a vixen escaping down the slopes of the volcano, thus staining her paws black with the ash; the vixen is now the symbol of the region.

Fonseca Terra Prima Reserve Organic Port (£18.40, Waitrose)
Some would say that the obvious choice for the chocolate ginger and honeycomb and also the pear tart would be a pudding wine. However, I love how port marries with chocolate and provides the perfect foil. Try this either at room temperature or even slightly chilled. This Fonseca Port is made from organically grown grapes from the vineyard at Quinta do Panascal. It has a wonderfully opulent bramble and plummy nose with dark cherry notes on the finish with balanced tannins and acidity.

Read more of James’ reviews on his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain.