Food & Wine Matching

Kirkland Chateauneuf du Pape 2010

Kirkland c neuf d pape
Ah, the famous Chateauneuf du Pape, a name than invokes class, mastery, elegance and above all, good living.  So what the devil has Costco done sticking a Kirkland own brand label on it?  I had to pick up a bottle (less than $20) and give it a try.

Opened it last night, gave it some fresh air for about ten minutes and slurped straight in.  I was shocked, and in a good way.  Fresh flowers, raspberry bushes and cherry pie - and I'm not talking about eating my dinner outside either.  This chateauneuf du pape smelled good and tasted divine.  It went rather well with the spaghetti bolognaise and even the wife had half a glass, which is a sure sign of a decent wine!  I would be happy to serve this at a dinner party, having decanted it first.

The 2010 is a good vintage and was successful across Southern Rhone, where chateauneuf du pape heralds from.  This blend appears to be a classic mix of the Southern Rhone grape varietals, namely Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and possibly some Cinsault.

Robert Parker said of the 2010 vintage, "The 2010s will have significant aging potential, which is obvious in the level of tannins, but the tannins are sweet with exceptional elegance and finesse."

This Kirkland wine will definitely sit well in the cellar for a couple of years but I would advise drinking it now.  Costco buys wine that usually needs drinking up, so take advantage and buy half a case while the going is good.

You can read more about the Rhone region and Rhone vintages here.

Chinese Food & Wine Matching

We all love a wrap or three of crispy aromatic duck, or maybe fried beef with hoisin sauce, special fried rice and an extra dollop of MSG.  But what to wash it all down with?

I would recommend a light beer, but if you must drink wine with your Chinese takeaway then so be it.  You need something to cut through all that oily food so go for something a little acidic but light - a new world sauvignon blanc would do it or any one of a number of German wines from the Mosel region.  You can get away with medium whites so long as they are chilled down, so dig around at the back of your fridge or cellar for that bottle of Ozzie oaked chardonnay someone gave you last summer and crack it open.  Just make sure you finish it before the food, or else you might regret it.

Pre dinner drinking

There is nothing quite like that pre-dinner drink.  The anticipation of a belly filling supper, the happy go lucky chat amongst friends (or nervous small talk with strangers).  Champagne is a great dinner warmer upper or even get trendy and go for one of the English sparkling wines (Majestic stocks a couple), which will save you a few pennies and earn you respect in terms of drink air miles.  Stick with plain snacks and dips to accompany your sparkling wine. Its delicate flavour should not be ruined with extra spicey Jalapeno flavour crisps from Waitrose.

Suckling Pig Anyone?

Suckling Pig on London restaurant menus is commonplace nowadays and those brave London chefs have really mastered the art of serving up juicy succulent pork with a thick layer of crackling.

You need a chunky red wine to acccompany this feast and being a lover of Spanish wine, I cannot think of a more perfect match that a Crianza or Reserva from the Ribera Del Duero region.  They are not cheap but they are very very good.  Try a Protos or Pesquera if you really want to splash out.

Pocket Vintages booklet suggests that 1996 and 2001 were both excellent vintages.

Asparagus and wine

Yes it makes your pee smell, but despite this, asparagus deserves to be treated with respect.  There is nothing better than fresh asparagus spears steamed gently for a few minutes and served with a slab of butter and drizzled with lemon juice.

You need a wine that can complement the taste and the texture and I would recommend always going for a New World Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne.