WINE TO DINE – SEPTEMBER 2020 – SALADS

Scottish Field wine columnist Peter Ranscombe selects salad saviours for social distancing delivery.

CONTRARY to popular belief – and despite fellow wine writer Mike Turner casting aspersions on social media – I am partial to the odd salad.

True, those salads do perhaps tend to include an addition or two, such as cold meat or cheese or tomato.

But I was really excited when I found out that salad had been picked as the star ingredient in the September issue of Scottish Field magazine because it opened up a whole range of wine matching possibilities.

And you don’t have to limit yourself to whites with salad – I’ve thrown a rosĂ© and even a red into the mix for this month’s Wine to Dine column too.

All these options are stocked by retailers that are still delivering during the lockdown…

Santa Alba Reserve Pinot Noir 2019
Great Grog
ÂŁ8.19
I’d go quackers if I could have this great-value Chilean pinot noir with a duck salad. I find a lot of Chilean pinots can be green and vegetal, but there are none of those worries with this example from the Maule valley, which is deliciously ripe. There are plenty of smoky barbecue notes and a savoury roast meat element that slips into tomato sauce on the finish. Yet it doesn’t skimp on the fruitier flavours either, with sweeter cherry drop and tarter redcurrant. This pinot was one of the stars during Diana Thompson’s Wine Events Scotland organic wines from the Americas online tasting.

Chateau Billot Bergerac
Wine Line Scotland
ÂŁ9.25
Alexander Wines’ new home delivery service comes up trumps with a lively French classic. Made from a blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon, this is a great candidate to pair with both the chicken and asparagus salad and the goats’ cheese in Paul Hart’s soy-glazed squash concoction. It’s packed full of the classic sauvignon elderflower and green pepper aromas and flavours, along with crisp acidity to slice apart the asparagus and cut through the goats’ cheese. The Chateau Billot blanc formed part of the Easter box from Wine Line Scotland, Alexander Wines’ home delivery service. For other asparagus-friendly options, check out last June’s Wine to Dine column when the odd-shaped vegetable was the star ingredient and the special sauvignon-alternatives offshoot.

Terra de Asorei Albarino 2018
De Burgh Wines
ÂŁ10.49
If there’s fish swimming into your salad then Spain’s albarino is a sure-fire hit. Made in the Rias Baixas region in Galicia – the bit that sticks out above Portugal – it’s one of those magic white wines. Its crisp acidity makes it really, really versatile, allowing it to pair with seafood or white meats alike. Yet it doesn’t compromise on its concentrated flavours either, as this classic example from Tarquin de Burgh shows. I loved the pronounced lemon and apricot aromas on the nose, which enticed me towards the juicier, mouth-watering lemon and lemon rind flavours on the palate, like a siren luring a sailor towards her rocks. Master of wine Rose Murray Brown teamed up with De Burgh Wines to use this bottle at one of her online tastings earlier in the year.

Ginesia Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo 2019
Bellissimo Vino
ÂŁ12.95
Don’t be fooled by its lurid candy floss pink hue – this is elegant rosé destined to match soy sauce. I was really impressed with the Italian wines stocked by Bellissimo Vino in Edinburgh, which starred in one of Diana Thompson’s tastings. There are notes of cherry drops and ripe raspberry jam on the nose, but they remain attractive and not confected, thanks to the organic grapes used to make the wine. Lots of crisp acidity keeps the ensemble fresh, with more of those clearly-defined red cherry and ripe raspberry flavours marching onto the palate.

Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica 2018
Berkmann
ÂŁ14.25
A razor-sharp Italian white to slice through chicken and asparagus in a sauvignon blanc-like fashion. Berkmann was one of the first wholesalers that switched to supplying wines directly to consumers following the closure of the entire on-trade. What makes its offering different is that it’s donating 12.5% of its sales to the hospitality industry’s relief fund. As I observed when I reviewed six of Berkmann’s wines, this verdicchio would be an excellent match for fish, but it would also match that asparagus in a similar way to sauvignon blanc, thanks to its crisp acidity and concentrated lemon flavours.

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/

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