Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Winter Food & Wine Match: Bangers And Mash.

We're on a bit of a winter warmers kick here at Vinspire HQ. Gone are the salads, light pastas and, rather unfortunately, the barbecues. But fear not, my beloved booze hounds, for when one door closes, another door opens.

Now is the time of dinners such as casserole, pies and one of my favourites: bangers and mash. Nothing beats a few thick, tasty sausages, fluffy mash and lashings of rich onion gravy. But for such a hearty meal, you need a nice hearty wine to stand up to it.

I'm always open to experimentation, but sometimes, you just need to go with what works. So for this, I'm getting rid of any white wine suggestions straight away. Feel free to correct me in the comments...

Usually when doing a food match, you concentrate on the most pronounced flavours to match your wines, which for this is obviously the sausage. Most of the time it'll be a cheeky pork number, maybe with a few herbs like sage thrown for a bit of a twist. Or if you're like me, you can use lamb sausages to make it that little bit more interesting.

For pork sausages, you'll want something with a little bit of spice, but with plenty of ripe fruit flavours to cope with the gutsy flavour of the sausage.

A nice Cotes du Rhone is a good bet. Like the Les Galets Cotes du Rhone 2011 from Majestic. Its packed full of ripe, raspberry and blackcurrant flavours and holds just enough spice to really help bring out any hints of sage that may be lingering inside that pig intestine. At £7.99 for one bottle or £6.49 a bottle when you buy 2, it's also a good budget buy.

If you're going a little bit special with your ingredients, then why not go a little bit special with the vino. The Wirra Wirra Church Block 2010 is a stunning blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot from the magical land of McLaren Vale in Australia. Its plump, black fruit flavours and velvety soft tannins will go perfectly with that homemade onion gravy. It's £10.95 a bottle from The Wine Society. Crikey! (sorry...)

Someone mentioned lamb sausages earlier! Wait...that was me. The natural choice for anything lamb is Rioja. And to be perfectly honest, this is no different! The C.V.N.E. Crianza 2010 is showing lively cherry and raspberry flavours with little hints of vanilla due to its year spent in oak - gorgeous with the meat, but warm enough for the gravy too. It's £6.99 a bottle from Majestic when you buy 2.

If your sausages are from the world's finest lambs that were hand-reared in the Garden of Eden (or something), then the wine has to be something a bit special. Try the Marques de Riscal Reserva 2008. It's a classic Rioja style with bold black fruit and vanilla, and subtle hints of toasted oak from its two years in barrels. It's £14.95 a bottle from Wine Direct, and well worth it. Plus it has that funky gold wire on the bottle which makes it look even more glam!

So get those sausages in the oven, the gravy in the pan and that potato masher at the ready. Winter's coming!

Delicious bangers and mash photo taken from gifrancis' photostream. We want to go 'round hers for tea...

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