Richard Hemming MW’s #AskBordeauxUK Festive Food & Wine Pairing Twitter Q&A
Q: What”s the best Bordeaux match for a roast pork belly?A: Merlot-based red would be great – try St-Émilion. Or a full, oaky white made from Semillon/Sauvignon such as Chateau de la Grave “Grains Fins”
Q: Can you suggest a Bordeaux dry white that would pair well with our Christmas day turkey? A: I really like Clos Floridène in the Graves appellation: it has a waxy fullness and ripe fruit that will be perfect with turkey.
Q: For those not into sparkling wines is there a good Bordeaux white which could be a treat on Christmas morning? A: Bordeaux makes great Sauvignon Blanc – guaranteed to please. Anything from Entre-Deux-Mers will do the trick, and they can often be found under £10.
Q: What would you pair with a traditional holiday dessert like a Christmas pudding?A: It has to be Sauternes, the ultimate dessert wine! Sauternes has the ideal level of rich fruit, sweetness and crisp acidity to match Christmas pudding.
Q: What”s the best Bordeaux wine match for brandy butter & mince pies? I can”t get enough!A: Tough one! Brandy is a strong flavour, and the pies are sweet. Sauternes would work – but I”d also try a Crémant de Bordeaux, the sparkling speciality of the region. It has a little sweetness with fresh acidity to cleanse the palate.
Q: Where do I find good Bordeaux under £15 for drinking now? What do I look for? Producer, AOC?A: Majestic Wine often have a good selection. Or try Château Barreyes at £12 from Sainsbury’s. Otherwise, look for AOCs eg Haut-Médoc or simply Bordeaux. Also look for Cru Bourgeois on the label; a group of quality-minded producers.
Q: Can you recommend a general crowd pleaser to take to a dinner party?A: Either any Crémant de Bordeaux – sparkling wine always wins at parties – or try Château Bauduc, one of the most reliable reds, year in year out.
Q: For a fatty food, like duck, which Bordeaux wine would be the best match?A: You need high acid to match the duck – it”d have to be Cabernet Sauvignon-based, for me. I recently enjoyed Château de Carolle (£15.99 Laithwaites) – it is very savoury and gastronomic.
Q: What”s a more original pairing I could try this Xmas, to try besides more classic, structured red wine? A: Médoc reds are the most firmly structured – and the younger the vintage, the stronger the tannin. These styles are fantastic with roast beef. Splash out on something special from Pauillac or St-Éstèphe for top quality examples.
Q: What style wines you would you recommend for a festive dinner?A: Bordeaux produces a great range of styles – so it depends on your tastes. E.g. soft, fruity red try St-Émilion or AC Bordeaux; fuller body and darker fruit, look for Médoc; plus Sauvignon Blanc-based whites can be a good match for white meats. Why not try getting a few different bottles to try?
Q: What about something to pair with a vegan mushroom Wellington? #nicheA: Good question! Some wine uses animal products in production, so not all wine is vegan! But Château Lariol is a lovely fruity Côtes de Francs that would go well with mushrooms – and it”s vegan. £11.99 at Majestic Wine
Q: I”m relatively new to wine, where is the best place to start? A: Best way is to buy two bottles and taste them simultaneously. Hint: red Bordeaux often comes in half bottles, so try finding a half bottle of St–Émilion and a Médoc to compare. Enjoy!
Q: If I”m having Christmas in the southern hemisphere and having a BBQ, what”s the best Bordeaux for barbecued meat?A: Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines are safest bet for BBQ meat, I reckon – you need something hearty and full bodied. Anything from the Médoc region should do the trick!
Q: I have a few xmas parties coming up – any Bordeaux #wine at £8-12?A: Sure: try Château Pey La Tour or Château Fonréaud La Légende – both £10 Waitrose
Q: I love roast game, what’s the best red blend for a roast duck or pheasant?A: For game, you need both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to get ripeness of fruit plus good acid and tannin structure. Château Bellevue Favereau does the job – 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc.
Q: Please could you suggest a lighter red wine that could work as an aperitif, one that isn”t too heavy and doesn”t need food?A: Absolutely – anything labelled AC Bordeaux will be Merlot-based and fairly light. Look for a good recent vintage (eg 2014)
Q: Can you pick a favourite: 2005, 2009 or 2010 & why? (Or other?)A: Probably 2010 overall, for its classic combination of fruit clarity and freshness – I often find 2009 too big. 2005 also great, but not cheap!
Q: Are Bordeaux wines distributed in South Africa? If so, through whom?A: Bordeaux is certainly available in South Africa – try Reciprocal Wines, Great Domaines and Carolines Wine
Q: Do you have a wine pairing suggestion for a Christmas ham?A: Christmas ham is often quite spicy, so an oaky red Bordeaux would work – try Château Moncets from Lalande-de-Pomerol (£14.99 Majestic Wine)
Q: Best Bordeaux wines paired with seafood and game fish?A: Has to be Sauvignon Blanc, surely! One of my favourites is Château Bauduc, which is £10 from their website.
Q: What qualities make the ideal Breakfast Claret?A: Modest alcohol, I reckon!
Q: Top picks for drinks party canapés??A: Go for fizz – Crémant de Bordeaux is seriously underrated.
Q: What white wine is best for a risotto ?A: I”d consider any white with plenty of Sémillon, which gives a creamy texture similar to risotto. Delicious!
Q: What”s a good pairing for a seafood platter please?A: Sauvignon Blanc is the safest seafood match. Château de France (80% Sauvignon Blanc) from Pessac-Léognan is one of my faves.
Q: Best meal ever in Bordeaux? Hope it doesn”t involve eating pot pourri…!!A: Had dinner at Cos d”Estournel once with a bunch of MW students. The food was better than the company 😉
Q: If you were a Bordeaux appellation what would you be?A: I’d be Pauillac: muscular, swarthy and expensive
Q: Please could you suggest a biodynamic and/ or organic option to go with free-range/organic meats? Thanks! A: Château Pontet-Canet is one of the v best biodynamic estates in Bordeaux – not cheap, but totally worth it as a Christmas treat!
Q: Father Christmas might fancy a change from Port this year, what Bordeaux wine style would you recommend? A: Well, sometimes Pomerol is compared to port for it”s fruit richness and heavy body – but if you want something sweet, it”s got to be Sauternes.
Q: I need help impressing my winemaker girlfriend with a good bottle of red. Suggestions?A: Yes: Château Reynon. Made by one of the world”s best winemakers, Denis Dubourdieu, who passed away earlier this year. Buy one and toast his memory this Christmas.
Q: Thanks. Is there a specific wine you could recommend? Looking in a price range up to £50 – thank youA: Clarté de Haut-Brion is 61% Sémillon at costs just over £50. Or Les Trois Hectares by Chateau Bauduc is 100% Semillon, and a bargain at only £11!
Q: What about best music pairing and Bordeaux?A: Smooth Operator by Sade would set the right mood!