A recent ‘food and wine’ moment

I was recently at a large family gathering when I stumbled across a stunning food and wine match.

A golden wedding anniversary was the event in question, family flying in from all over the world, lots of jollity and a smattering of imbibing. My mother was catering for 27 people and had to put together a menu that would be manageable in an ordinary home kitchen (I say ordinary, but it does contain an Aga - although not used for this meal) and I must say she did us proud.

Whenever I show my face at these affairs I do like to take a couple of choice, interesting bottles of wine with me (one of the perks of working for this company). This time I took a Vino Nobile Riserva 2001 from Cantine Innocenti, a deeply concentrated little number crafted using mostly the Sangiovese grape. I crib from Doug now - “This is a wine with plenty of stuffing – perfect with steak, preferably bistecca alla fiorentina, grilled with olive oil and salt” - A slab of filet was my meal and I must say a lovely pair they made.


But the match of the day was one that crept out of nowhere and caught me napping, much to my delight. A thick, very gently spiced Pumpkin Soup with a gentle shake of grated cheddar on top (thanks mum) with a glass of 2006 Sancerre Blanc ‘Akmenine’ from Domaine Sebastien Riffault - This is one of the most natural wines I have ever tasted and if put it in front of you blind you may not even guess the grape variety - once more I find myself cribbing (this time from our list) -

“Interventions in the winery are equally minimal. Pressure is pneumatic, no sulphur is used at fermentation and the must settles naturally in 8-10 year old Burgundy barrels. No artificial yeasts are used either in the fermentation but a pied de cuve acts as an inoculation. Alcoholic fermentation lasts 3-4 months followed by natural malo with the wine remaining on its gross lees. Finally, after nine to twelve months, the wine is bottled au naturel: no fining, no filtration and the merest tiny dose of sulphur. What’s it like? What isn’t it like might be the easier question. If you fancy a trot around a green paddock then this is probably not your garden centre bag of grass-cuttings Sauvignon; if you prefer a thunderous gallop through wild forests and murky thickets, then this turbid yeasty wine will lead you to all manner of unexpected places.


WOW!! - I defy any mortal with a taste bud in their head not to agree with me on this - I promptly ran round the table thrusting the Sancerre in to the hands of all who were willing and I am glad to report it was a case of unanimous rapture. The acidity and soft fruit notes of the wine perfectly balanced the gentle flavours and touch of spice of the soup.
Once more - Thanks Mum - Oh and of course Les Caves for finding this little gem of Sauvignon Blanc.

Posted by Paul on 11-Apr-2008. Permalink
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