Drink me

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - THE CUT / FOOD - Hamish An­der­son

I love the game sea­son. It sig­nals the ar­rival of ro­bust, full-flavoured fare at the ta­ble. I start to open bot­tles that I wouldn’t have con­sid­ered dur­ing sum­mer. Game is a broad term, though – it can be light or dark, feath­ered or furred. Each an­i­mal can vary hugely depend­ing on its age, diet and how long it has been hung. White wine is still a pos­si­bil­ity with dishes like par­tridge, where the meat is more white than dark. You will want bot­tles of depth, tex­ture and weight, though: food whites rather than sip­ping-al-fresco ones. Game usu­ally means red but this, again, de­pends on the treat­ment of the meat. It can be roasted and served pink, re­sult­ing in re­strained flavours; or slow-cooked to bring in­ten­sity. The sub­tleties of pinot noir or mid-weight claret might work with the former, a meaty south­ern Rhône with the lat­ter.

There are no set rules when pair­ing wine with game. The best ap­proach, if you have suf­fi­cient drinkers, is a multi-bot­tle one with a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent styles open. And since you might be serv­ing them with a dish from one of the coun­try’s most quin­tes­sen­tial ho­tels, it is to the clas­sics of Europe that you should look.

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