Drinks writer Peter Ranscombe picks five wines to go with grouse.

TO MARK the start of the shooting season on 12 August, grouse is the star ingredient in the September 2018 issue of Scottish Field magazine.

Here are a brace-and-a-half of wines that will help grouse dishes take flight, with a combination of red and black fruit flavours to harmonise with different culinary accompaniments.

La Ferla Nero d’Avola, 2016
The Wine Society
Fresh black cherry and bramble flavours at a stonkingly-good price. So much entry-level Nero from Sicily falls into the trap of tasting confected, but the fruit here is fresh and lively, while still retaining a sweetness that will work well with grouse. Hats off to The Wine Society for seeking out this well-priced wine.

Legendary Malbec, 2016
A softer and lighter style of Malbec from Cahors in France, with plenty of fruitiness. I was really impressed with the launch of Spar’s entry-level wines last year and this next set of wines is showing equal promise. They’ve been selected under the watchful eye of Philippa Carr, a master of wine who is consulting with Spar. Southern French reds are great matches for gamey flavours like grouse.

Thistledown Wine Gorgeous Grenache, 2016
Marks & Spencer
Raspberries and red cherries galore from Edinburgh-based master of wine Giles Cooke. I love the grenache Cooke has created under his guise at the Thistledown Wine Company – including She’s Electric – and so it was a thrill to see this exclusive bottling for M&S. Look out for Cooke’s Our Fathers shiraz too, which would be an ideal pairing for richer and deeper grouse dishes.

Jean-Jacques Girard Savigny-Les-Beaune, 2015
Great value Burgundy, with redcurrant and sour cherry, plus earthier notes too. That combination of sweet, sour and earthy will work extremely well with Paul Kitching’s smoked fig and artichokes dish. I love the wine list at his 21212 restaurant-with-rooms – which I reviewed for BQ Scotland magazine – and the 2013 August Kesseler Pinot ‘N’ Spatburgunder Trocken (Justerini & Brooks, £17.59) would be another cracking match for this dish.

Domaine Marc Delienne Fleurie Abbaye Road, 2015
Raeburn Fine Wines
This top-end Beaujolais is a real treat and will celebrate grouse’s gamey notes. The spring Beaujolais tasting in London was packed full of fascinating wines from this classic region and it was a thrill to see Scottish retailer and wholesaler Raeburn bringing along this delicious example, which offered aromas of raspberry, blackcurrant and apple peel on the nose, before bringing in red plum notes to join the party on the palate. It was the mouthfeel than won me over though – rounded yet still fresh with a twist of acidity.