Perfect Wines for Spring and Matching them with Food

Picnic Spring Wine and Food

As the days start to lengthen, and signs of new life are all around us, our taste-buds start to gravitate towards fresher, crispier flavours and aromas. If you crave Spring-veg based dishes and generally lighter cuisine, preferably eaten al fresco, you will definitely need a proper wine companion.

Matching food with wine can really make a difference to your overall taste experience. And with our help you don’t need to spend a fortune on perfectly satisfying seasonal wines. We’ve put together some suggestions to help you find the nicest and most versatile wines available this Spring at your favourite retailers.

Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde

– Waitrose Cellar, £5.97 (with voucher)

Known for its effervescence, as it continues the fermentation process in the bottle, Portugese Vinho Verde serves as a perfect aperitif. Quinta de Azevedo is very light, drinkable and vibrant on the palate. You will love its greenish colour in the glass. We heard it through the grapevine that it tastes fantastic with grilled sardines.

Esprit de Buganay Provence Rose Esprit de Buganay Provence Rose

– Waitrose Cellar, £9.89 (with voucher)

Provencal Rose at its purest, light pink, with distinct aromas of wild strawberries and raspberries. Incredibly refreshing and fine, it never fails to impress. Try it with melon and prosciutto, toasted sourdough with herb butter or traditional Greek starters.

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc

– Tesco Wine by the Case, £5.25

This extremely popular Marlborough Sauvignon with a grassy smell and citrusy, well-balanced taste will definitely sharpen your appetite. Subtle acidity and hints of herbs in this wine match perfectly with chicken, fish and seafood, especially oysters. If you are vegetarian, try it with a rocket, beetroot and goat cheese salad.

La Veduta Pinot Grigio DOC La Veduta Pinot Grigio DOC

– Waitrose Cellar, £5.99

Subtle minerality, hints of apple and pear and pleasant rounded finish of this wine will delight you. Fragrant and elegant, just as Pinot Grigio should be, it's a favourite of many. Try it alongside green salads and creamy pastas, add it to Spring risotto with peas and courgettes or sip on its own.

Piccini Extra Dry Prosecco DOC Plaza Centro Prosecco NV

– Tesco Wine by the Case, £7.50

Another fantastic aperitivo, bubbly, frothy and top quality – worth serving at a barbecue party outside. Really versatile and unassuming: it goes well with nibbles, starters, risotto – you name it. Perfect with desserts, such as panettone, macarons, mousses and parfaits.

Baron de Hoen Vin D'Alsace Gewurztraminer Baron de Hoen Vin D'Alsace Gewurztraminer

– Marks & Spencer £7.50

If you love Gewurztraminer, give this Alsatian beauty a chance to amaze you. Fragrant with rose, ginger and lychee aromas, it begs to be combined with spicy, sweet and sour food of Thai and Indian origin. If you’ve never tried it – you should.

Jacktone Ranch Chardonnay Jacktone Ranch Chardonnay

– Tesco Wine by the Case, £5.50

Typically for a Chardonnay, Jacktone Ranch brings to mind a laid-back and friendly atmosphere of Californian lifestyle. It’s peachy, slightly oaky and easy to drink – a perfect accompaniment to roasted herby chicken, hearty carbonara or peach melba.

ASDA Extra Special Chilean Pinot Noir ASDA Extra Special Chilean Pinot Noir

– Asda Wine Shop, £5.28

This Pinot Noir, grown in the cool climate of Aconcagua Valley, will delight you with dark, vibrant forest fruit on the nose and oaky creaminess on the tongue. You can serve it with grilled fish, roasted meats and rich casseroles - it should compliment those dishes perfectly.

Baron de la Vauxonne Beaujolais Villages Baron de la Vauxonne Beaujolais Villages

– Tesco Wine by the Case, £7.00

Traditional Baujolais-Villages wines, made exclusively of Gamay grapes, are well-known for their light, quaffable and yet very satisfying taste. This is a perfect Spring red wine, definitely on a delicate, fruity side. Try it with tapas, spaghetti Bolognese, spinach and ricotta ravioli or just sip it lazily on the green grass. Serve slightly chilled.

by Natalia Rapp, 9th May 2017

Food & Wine Matching

with Angela Mount

Food and wine matching red wine

One of the questions that I’ve been asked most over the years, about wine, is the age-old one – what wine to serve with various dishes. At wine events, at dinner parties, at the school gates, the question is always the same – even my mother emails me, describing the food she is cooking for friends, and asking me what wine she should be serving.

This made me ponder in more depth, how people buy wine, and what influences their buying decisions, other than price; and in many cases, it’s occasion that prompts the selection. Is it a wine for weekday suppers, Friday night chill out, or Saturday evenings with friends? Many wine drinkers simply buy their favourites, but there is a whole host of people out there, who want to know which wines go with what food – not in great detail, but just a few, simple guidelines.

From talking to hundreds of enthusiastic wine drinkers over the years, and as an ex-supermarket buyer, who catered for people who just enjoyed a glass of wine, not for the wine experts, I learnt that most wine drinkers were far more interested in the taste of the wine, the flavour, and what it went well with, than the fact that it was grown on limestone soil, in a tiny hamlet on the edge of woodlands, by a beret-wearing, opera-singing Frenchman.

Basic Food & Wine Matching Tips

Many people don’t care which wine they serve with food – they just buy their favourites; but just as many do want to know which styles of wine work, especially for special occasions, or if they are unsure. The majority of wine drinkers follow the simple, and long –established view that red wine goes with red meat and cheese, and white wine goes with fish, and white meat. But it’s not quite that simple…

My main message is that there are no set rules with food and wine matching; it’s entirely subjective and what may rock my boat, won’t rock yours. It’s all about balancing depth and intensity of flavours of the food and the wine; there are some classic combinations, and some totally left-field ones – matches that on paper shouldn’t work, but somehow do, in a glorious medley of perfectly fused flavours. So if anyone tells you that red wine doesn’t go with fish, ignore; true many of the big, burly, bold reds wouldn’t work, but there are some delicious, lower tannin, fruity reds that work well, especially with more meaty types of fish, like monkfish. Similarly , ignore the old-fashioned view that only red wine works with cheese – I can think of no worse combination that a glass of full-bodied red, with a slice of delicate goats cheese or young brie.

However, there are some simple guidelines, which will make the enjoyment of the food and the wine complete. How often have you tasted a wine, enjoyed it, then put it with food, and either hated the taste of the wine, or the food? It’s all about balance. If you put a light, delicate, crisp white, which is delicious on its own, with a red hot curry, it’s going to taste sour, acidic and thin, because the flavours of the curry totally overwhelm the delicacy of the wine; the same would go for a firm Bordeaux red, with ripe tannins – the intense curry would make the elegant Bordeaux taste very astringent. Similarly, pair a big , heavy red with a delicate tuna nicoise and everything will taste sour and tinny.

The secret is to match the intensity of the dish with the intensity of the wine, so that they balance out; for example, one of the very best matches for curry is a fruity New world Rose, because the rich, fruitiness and ripeness of the wine, and the low tannins, will cope really well with the intense, yet often, sweet spiciness of the curry. Not conventional , but it works. Think about the food you are cooking, or choosing – is it spicy, salty, smoky or sweet? How rich and intense is it? What are the predominant flavours?

There are also some definite foodstuffs that are almost anathema to wine – so powerful, that they can totally overpower a wine, but with a bit of careful research and trial and error, there is usually a wine match that works – difficult foods and foodstuffs to match, depending on how they are cooked, can include eggs, vinegar, wasabi, pickles, and red hot chillies.

Therefore, throw out the rule book, but stick to some basic key pointers; experiment… you can play safe or be bold and try a few more unusual combinations; some will work , others won’t, but it’s all a voyage of discovery, and you will have fun exploring this world. My simple guidelines on the following pages are not rules – they are general ideas of the styles of wine which work with different food types, and which partnerships work for me; so use this as a starting point and begin to experiment!