Who says wine doesn’t go with eggs?

The Guardian - Feast - - News - Fiona Beck­ett

Look up al­most any guide to food and wine pair­ing, and it will tell you that eggs don’t go with wine. I’ve never re­ally got that my­self, and nor did El­iz­a­beth David, who even wrote a book ded­i­cated to the com­bi­na­tion. And the prob­lem is pre­cisely what?

Well, it turns out that it isn’t so much the taste as the con­sis­tency: it’s held that the run­ni­ness of an egg yolk can make a wine, par­tic­u­larly a clas­sic red such as bordeaux, taste metal­lic. So if you’re plan­ning a brunch this week­end, what should you drink and what should you steer clear of?

A pretty fail­safe bet is bub­bly of some kind. For me, pros­ecco is too sweet. Chardon­nay-based blanc de blancs (mean­ing white wines that come from white grapes, most com­monly chardon­nay) or a cré­mant, the generic name for French sparkling wines that don’t come from the Cham­pagne re­gion, tend to work best, al­though I like the LaCheteau Cré­mant de Loire made from caber­net franc that Aldi has added to its range.

“Eggs are bind­ing, and on that ac­count, sharp, young wines are the most suit­able to serve with eggs,” pro­nounced An­dré Si­mon in The Art of Good Liv­ing. At the risk of dis­agree­ing with such an au­gust author­ity, I’m not sure I’m with him there, with the ex­cep­tion of, maybe, chablis. Not mus­cadet or picpoul, any­way, which go much bet­ter with oys­ters and other shell­fish. It’s much more ap­pro­pri­ate to go for a smooth, dry, un­oaked or sub­tly oaked white such as a chardon­nay, soave or an Al­sace pinot blanc, a style that works par­tic­u­larly well with dishes that are eggy, creamy or cheesy, such as a quiche. You can even up the oak in­flu­ence with a rich, egg-based sauce along the lines of a béar­naise or hol­landaise.

Once eggs are com­bined with some­thing meaty – for ex­am­ple ba­con or sausages; es­pe­cially spicy sausages such as chorizo – there’s no rea­son not to drink a red. A fry-up is sur­pris­ingly good with a ba­sic “house” bordeaux, while toma­to­based sauces of the kind you find in shak­shuka also in­cline me to­wards a hearty red.

Over­all, the most use­ful steer is to think of the fruit flavours in the wine you’re con­sid­er­ing drink­ing with your eggs. If the idea of rasp­ber­ries with eggs doesn’t ap­peal to you (me nei­ther), then don’t pick a young, fruity pinot noir. Goose­ber­ries and pas­sion­fruit aren’t ideal bed­fel­lows, ei­ther, so steer clear of New Zealand sau­vi­gnon blanc. Dry or sparkling is the way to go.

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