Game pie, paté, and salad with scattered Parmesan shavings… if this describes a summer lunch outdoors for you, then you’ve discovered the perfect wine to match it. A small-production Amontillado with hazelnuts, a saline crispness and dry, complex fruit. Perfect poise and balance.
Imagine the liquid heart of the sweetest, most unctuous part of a plump raisin, concentrated into a silky nectar. This has the colour and elegance of antique mahogany furniture. Seductive, sweet wine that replaces a pudding, but for the ultimate indulgence pour over vanilla ice cream.
Where to begin? The ancient solera means there are traces of wine in here from 1792, adding nutty, fig and cake richness to its vivid complexity. Its heart, though, is a savoury, woody character like an ancient Scotch. Match with the umami flavours of Japanese beef dishes or Stilton.
Have this with Fish and chips. Seriously. This is among the greatest food-and-wine combinations ever. It’s the saline tang and precise, citrus heart of the wine that makes it so good. Failing that, salted almonds and this exquisite Manzanilla eases your palate into any meal.
Another wine-trade secret, Loire reds are one of the upsides of warmer European summers. They mix raspberry and bright-currant scents with violet perfume and a fresh, light mouthfeel. That means you can serve them chilled with everything from salmon to lamb. Perfect summer drinking.
Life is better with bubbles. And bubbles like this are a bargain. Saumur has always been one of those wine trade secrets. With ripe apple and pear fruit, it’s juicy and fun rather than precise and serious. Mid-week celebrations, weekend drinks or even just something fun to go with a curry.
Champigny gets its name from the Latin ‘Campus Igni’ – a ‘field of fire’. The Romans recognized that this warm pocket of Northern France was perfect for ripe curranty reds with crunchy fruit and soft tannins. A light red like this loves a salad, roast chicken or fragrant lamb dishes. Look for the cool-climate hint of violets in the aroma.
Do you ever wonder what Sommeliers drink? It’s this. Intense aromas of apple, honey and flowers with a concentrated, fleshy palate. It’s a wine that makes you stop and think. Here you need a foil rather than a match, like cold roast pork or fish in a creamy sauce. Give this wine time to reveal itself.
If you imagine a sparkling pink Beaujolais you’d not be far wrong with this wine’s mix of apple freshness and sweet scents of cherry. Like lots of pink fizz, it’s great with pink foods like prawns or salmon, even through to the strawberries for pud. But I love this with pan-seared tuna.
It’s possibly the unbridled fruitiness of lovely Saumur that makes this such a welcoming sparkler, with heritage apple crunchiness matched by the softer, rounded notes of pear. Don’t save this for a special occasion, it’s a great-value wine with salads, crab or even lighter pork dishes.
I’ve been in love with this estate ever since I dropped in for impromptu lunch 10 years ago. This Pinot Noir heaves with lush red fruit and a walk-in-the-woods earthiness. Grouse pie, roasted quail, rabbit stew – this is the wine to make these dishes sing. One of my favourite wines of the show.
Wine lovers should all try Barolo Chinato at least once, Barolo’s answer to Fernet Branca with a spiced, medicinal note. It’s believed to have almost miraculous restorative properties. It certainly puts hairs on your chest. Less a wine to match with food, than help it settle after too much!
This sherry is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, enclosed in an enigma. Part tangy, fresh Fino, part rich and nutty Oloroso. 20 years of gradual ageing make this the most complex wine from Williams & Humbert. The perfect way into dinner with almonds, great tapas and intelligent conversation.
Great bubbles don’t come better value than this. But also with a soft pear fruit and frothy fizz, many people actually prefer this to more expensive sparkling wine. Match it with salads and a touch of spice for a magical mix. Think more robust fish dishes and spiced chicken.