"Ooh baby this is a fantastic vintage of Cask 23. Already we are talking; coffee, dark plums, cassis, dark chocolate and mocha. It opens up to give crystalised violets and a touch of cedar smoke. The palate holds together brilliantly with flavours of vanilla pod, clove and a touch of caramel and fresh brioche. Delicate and brilliant!"
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars are one of the most well-respected wineries in all of California and for good reason. In the famous 'Judgement of Paris' tastings in 1976 where top Californian Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignons were pitted against the top French counterparts, with a blind tasting led solely by French judges, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars' Cabernet Sauvignon came out on top.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most famous red grape and also is the most planted grape varietal in the world. It is behind the famous 'Claret' wines of Bordeaux in France where it is blended in with Merlot in the famous 'Bordeaux Blend'. In the new world, it tends to grow best in the hot climates of California, Chile, Australia and Argentina. You can expect beautiful black fruit flavours from a Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant wine.
The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.
We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.
Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines.
Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.
If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not lean with high acid. Rather choose wines with some sweetness, fruit or viscosity.
Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are fruity and do not have medium-high tannins.
Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not big tannins but have lots of fruity flavours.
Chilli heat is similar to umami-rich foods. They will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are fruity and/or have higher sweetness levels.
Wines that are off-dry like many Gewürztraminers or Rieslings could work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you could consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir.
Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help to cut down the perception of fattiness.
These suggestions (there are no rules that apply to everyone) will help you to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that works well by cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity in a Pinot Noir.
We don't stock a wine or spirit that we don't believe in. Our directors taste each and every product in order to ensure the best quality and value is delivered to you.
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Thelema Mountain Vineyards - 'Rabelais' Cabernet Sauvignon 2014/17
Ken Forrester - 'The Gypsy' Grenache/Shiraz 2010