Wines for Sun­day lunch

What’s best with roast beef, what chimes with chicken

The Irish Times Magazine - - DRINK - JOHN WIL­SON

Grow­ing up, I al­ways loved a fam­ily Sun­day lunch. It didn’t re­ally mat­ter that we spent much of the time ar­gu­ing with each other; I liked the sense of oc­ca­sion. My tasks al­ways in­cluded tak­ing out the “good” table­cloth and crock­ery, and for es­pe­cially aus­pi­cious lunches, cre­at­ing curls of real but­ter.

My dad, a French teacher, was un­usual at the time, in that he en­joyed wine. On a teacher’s salary, he couldn’t af­ford it very of­ten but once a month, he would go to the lo­cal off- li­cence and buy ei­ther a bot­tle of beer, or more of­ten, a bot­tle of Nico­las Vieux Ceps, which came with a handy plas­tic cap, or some­times a bot­tle of Lu­tomer Ries­ling from what was then Yu­goslavia and is now Slove­nia.

These days, drink­ing wine in the mid­dle of the day makes me drowsy and un­able to drive, How­ever, ev­ery now and again, the fam­ily unites for a cel­e­bra­tory tra­di­tional Sun­day lunch, a roast with all the trim­mings, and more of­ten than not, we will en­joy some wine. A spe­cial oc­ca­sion de­serves good wine; un­less you have a very large fam­ily, this is the time to spend a few eu­ros more on your wine. They are your own flesh and blood af­ter all.

Roast beef or lamb are among the most wine- friendly foods of all. The tra­di­tional ac­com­pa­ni­ment would be a Bordeaux, prefer­ably from the Mé­doc, but a Caber­net Sauvi­gnon from Aus­tralia, the US or Chile should also have the tan­nic bite that works so well with red meat. Rioja Reserva is a clas­sic match for lamb and I would rec­om­mend pay­ing ¤ 15 or more, as some of the cheap Rioja Reser­vas are not great – far bet­ter to go for a Rioja Cri­anza in­stead. Al­ter­na­tively, you could go Ital­ian and serve a Chi­anti Clas­sico or a Barolo.

You can serve ei­ther red or white wine with roast chicken or pork. In fact, a good roast chicken will pro­vide the per­fect back­drop for your finest wine, red or white. I gen­er­ally go for a red wine, these days fre­quently a Pinot Noir, a Mencía from Gali­cia, or a warm­ing Côtes du Rhône, the lat­ter a good match for most Sun­day roasts.

You can drink Pinot Noir with salmon, but I pre­fer a white wine and a rich Chardon­nay from Bur­gundy or else­where is prob­a­bly best, but you could ex­per­i­ment with Grüner Velt­liner or Viog­nier.

If there are veg­e­tar­i­ans at the ta­ble, try to cook some­thing that will match the wine you are serv­ing – roast mush­rooms, stuffed aubergines, red peppers and pasta bakes all go well with the above men­tioned Bordeaux, Caber­net Sauvi­gnon, Rioja Reserva or Chi­anti. Roast root veg­eta­bles and cau­li­flower cheese are of­ten bet­ter with white wines, or why not try a rosé?

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