Pete Stewart recommends
AFOR FAR bridie is a thing of beauty and as such, deserves a really nice wine to complement its flavours. Ideally you’re looking for something with a bit of body (also known as oomph) and a peppery kick. This makes me think of a Syrah or Grenache-based blend from France or a very decent new world Shiraz. In the past, I have been guilty of suggesting that the Rhone Valley doesn’t produce good and exciting wines at affordable prices. I have now come to realise that this is clearly not the case, you just have to get out there and find them. Gigondas, Lirac and Vacqueyras in the southern Rhone are brilliant places to seek out wee gems, and you’ll also occasionally find a Cotes du Rhone-Villages that could change your life, without overly affecting your pocket.
The northern Rhone famously produces small quantities of very good wine, whereas in the south you get lots but generally of a lesser quality. This means that you need to have a wee bit of knowledge concerning the winemaker as you need to seek out the good guys and avoid the lazy producers making the one-dimensional, slightly sweeter styles.
If you focus on the “Villages” tag on the label, you are at least guaranteed that the wine will be from one of the 16 best subregions in the Rhone.
An interesting but leftfield suggestion this week is the Cotes du Rhone Villages Blanc Laudun Pierre-Henri Morel 2016 (Majestic Wine Warehouse, £9.99). Despite the fact that this is a white wine, it has enough character to stand up to dishes that are more usually associated with a red. Try this with Shirley’s bridies. A more classic match would be a bottle of the Lirac Les Closiers 2015 (M&S, £10.50). This blend of Grenache and Syrah is as traditional as they come, and it’s a very food-friendly wine that will match bridies, cassoulets, and just about any hearty dish that springs to mind. If you’re feeling a touch more Australian this weekend, grab a bottle of the Vinaceous Snake Charmer Shiraz 2014 (Inverarity One to One, £14.49). This McLaren Vale Shiraz is aged in a combination of French and American oak which adds depth and complexity to your glass. The wine has a lovely dark chocolate mocha note which makes it the perfect match with richer dishes, and (of course) Forfar bridies. Pete Stewart is Glasgow director of Inverarity 121, 185a Bath Street, Glasgow (0141 221 5121) www.inverarity121.com