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Which Wine When?

If when it comes to wine little afterthought is given as to whether it will go with your dinner, then it's time to think again! We caught up with Bert & Claire who are about to publish their book 'Which Wine When: What to drink with the food you love' to get their picks of easy wine matches for those Covid staples your dishing out...

The idea of the soon-to-be-launched book 'Which Wine When' is that you'll use it as a guide to navigate simple wine matching with meals you'll be cooking on a weekly basis. The book acts as a guide, where you can look up a dish or style of cooking and Bert and Claire have provided one ideal suggestion, three further suggestions, and then some useful tips so you can find the best possible match for your meal whatever selection or situation you're faced with.

Here are five wines to drink with five classic lockdown dishes - all of them are affordable and easy to find in a decent-sized supermarket, local wine shop, or even a corner shop...

Back of the fridge Risotto + Albariño
Risotto makes almost anything you forage from the depths of your cupboard, fridge or freezer feel like a proper, civilised meal. Albariño – a white wine from north-west Spain (and north-west Portugal, where it’s called Alvarinho) will go down a treat with almost any version of risotto you concoct. It’s is a fresh and zesty wine with lots of texture, making it an excellent counterpart to a satisfying carb-fest.... you’ll need a slug of the wine for cooking, then the rest is all yours to drink.

(Giant Wembley) Lasagne + Chianti
There’s a truth behind this viral soundbite: lasagne is exactly the sort of crowd-pleasing, batch-cooking comfort food we need right now. And that calls for an equally crowd-pleasing, comforting wine. Chianti is a Tuscan red that’s always a great shout when you want a big hug in a glass. It’s got plenty of acidity (like many Italian reds: this is what makes them such great companions to food) and lovely tart red cherry flavours, all of which helps it cut through and complement a rich lasagne. If you spot a reasonably priced bottle labelled Chianti Classico, rather than just Chianti, snap it up – it’s the mark of one of the region’s better wines.

Spice rack curry + Sparkling Rosé

Finally, a chance to get creative with all those unopened spices at the back of your cupboard. Curry of any kind isn’t the most obvious food to pair with wine because spices cancel out a lot of wine’s more interesting and complex flavours. But a sparkling rosé is perfect. The bubbles will keep your mouth refreshed and your spirits up: bubbles are always cheering. A lot of fizzy pink wines – especially the cheapo ones from the corner shop – are slightly sweet, and that’s actually a great thing here because a little sugar in wine balances out heat perfectly, leaving food and wine tasting at their best.

Microwave mug cake + Port
The desperate chocoholic’s fix comes into its own in these straightened times. Add a glass of wine and frankly your evening will be made. Non-sweet (dry) wines with sweet food aren’t the best idea, because the wine will taste bitter and thin against the sweetness of the food. Instead, you want a sweet wine. Dig out that bottle of Port you got for Christmas and get stuck in (Ruby or Tawny Port is best): the dark red fruit flavours go brilliantly with anything chocolaty. Chill the bottle for 30 mins if you can bear to wait, or stick an ice cube in your glass if you can’t – Port is far better for being below room temperature. 

Odds & Ends Stew + Aussie Shiraz
Now more than ever it’s important not to waste anything: from home-made stock to the remains of a roast, vegetables on their last legs or tins of unloved pulses, a warming stew is the simplest way to give them all a second lease of life.  Whatever you put into it, a hearty stew needs a wine with weight and spice. Call on some Australian sunshine in the form of a spicy, rich, full-boded Shiraz, which can take pretty much anything you throw at it. (If you can spare a glass, it could enhance the stew itself, too).

You can pre-order your copy of 'Which Wine When: What to drink with the food you love' for £9.99 HERE.