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Springtime food matches

Helen Coburn discovers some heavenly food and wine combinations at two recent tastings in Dublin; perfect for lighter springtime lunches and suppers

Mar 14 2012

Rioja vineyard - the wines from this region are versatile food matches

Rioja vineyard - the wines from this region are versatile food matches

Two recent tastings in Dublin highlighted the food matching angle and were nicely timed for the St Patrick’s Day and Easter period when drinkers are looking for some pairings for special occasions.
First was a run of Marques de Caceres from the Rioja district of Spain and the first wine offered was Satinella (Cassidy Wines €10 retail). With no less than 33gms per litre of residual sugar, this is a wine which you might assign firmly to the California Blush followers but you could be wrong. I tried it with seared scallops and, again, with some rich terrine; both dishes had an edge of sweetness to them, and the wine worked perfectly. Also shown was Marques de Caceres Rioja Blanca; made from 100% Viura, this went well with white fish and a chicken dish and is very good value at €10 retail. It went without saying that the Reserva Red (around €17) was perfect with steak but it was also a hit with the terrine. Gran Reserva Red was offered with cheese and it was fine but, as almost always, the most perfect cheese match was an oaked white, Antea, again produced from 100% viura, and costing around €13.50.
Christine Forner, proprietor of Marques de Caceres

Christine Forner, proprietor of Marques de Caceres

A Discover the Origin event brought together the wines of Burgundy and the Douro with premium Italian producers of Parma ham and Parmesan cheese. Needless to say, this resulted in some interesting food combinations. One thing learned was not to team a light style of pinot noir with top quality Parma ham - the result was a sort of mutual assassination. All the chardonnays, however, worked very well with the ham and cheese, even the unoaked ones. The latter were also perfect with a dish which featured eggs, notoriously tricky to match. The best reds with the Parma ham were the Portuguese Douros; there was a sweetness to the berry fruits which nicely complemented the richness of the ham. 
A more serious Burgundy pinot was offered with veal and it was a match made in heaven; it would have worked also with pork or lamb. A creamy dessert was paired with a 20 year old tawny port but this combination was a bit so-so; not bad but no sparks happening. However, as every port lover knows, there is nothing nicer with the ruby version than a nice chunk of Parmesan cheese. With some top quality Parmesan to hand we lost no time in seeing if a match with our tawny would be just as successful. It was indeed, bringing out the flavours of both with perfect balance. 
For more information on the Origin campaign, including recipes, log on to www.discovertheorigin.co.uk

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