Barolo - Zinfandel
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CHEF'S CORNER/Wine

BASIC WINE CRIB
A brief guide to some of the the wines likely to be offered or requested in restaurants

Wine

Description

Taste & Smell

Food Matches

Barolo

Red

Italian wine, one of many to claim the title "Wine of kings, and king of wines". It is produced in Cuneo's province, south-west of Alba, within the region of Piemonte. The wine is produced from the Nebbiolo grape variety.

Rich, robust and very long-lived

Typically smells of tar and roses. The intense nose is redolent of faded roses and violets with a touch of cinnamon and aromatic hay. The palate is full and generous with a firm layer of blackcurrant and resin that finishes dry and chic.

Ideal with red meats and pasta. Barolo should be drunk at 60F

Bordeaux

Red but whites also produced

Any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France Most Bordeaux wine is red, but sweet white wines have also contributed to the region's reputation, and dry white, rosé and sparkling wines (Crémant de Bordeaux) are also produced. Red Bordeaux, which is traditionally known as claret in the United Kingdom, is generally made from a blend of grapes. Permitted grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere

Bordeaux wines range from lush tasting Margaux to sweeter white Sauterne with almost every taste in between.

There is a Bordeaux varietal to accompany almost any dish.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Red

Arguably the most noble of all black grape varieties and the most widely cultivated. It first established its reputation in the Médoc where for well over a century and a half it has been the major contributor to such great first growth clarets as Château Latour, Château Margaux and Châteaux Mouton and Lafite Rothschild. Cabernet Sauvignon is a direct descendant of an obscure Greek wine grape known as Volitsa it is suggested.

Australian Cabernet Sauvignons with intense fruit flavors and subtle minty notes. Wolf Blass Gold Label particularly good - blackberries, spices and liquorice aromas are complemented by fine, silky tannins and a rich, velvety texture.

Chile - Deep, dark and overflowing with rich cassis flavours

Ideal with red meats and cheese platters.

Cabernet goes well with beef, lamb and goose, especially when cooked with herbs. It also is a great match for brie, cheddar cheese and chocolate

Chablis

White

The Chablis region is the northernmost wine district of Burgundy, France. The grapevines around the town of Chablis are almost all Chardonnay, making a dry white wine renowned for the purity of its aroma and taste. Ranges from Petit Chablis then Chablis, Premier Cru and Grand Cru

More acidity and less fruit flavours than other Chardonnays, but a pure, minerally style with great elegance. flavours of green apple and lemon. In the mouth Chablis delivers aromas of vanilla, lemon and linden.

Chablis is highly recommended with grilled fish but is also a good companion with white meat and even curry or tandoori. Serve chilled so that glass frosts. Serve around 48F

Chardonnay

White

In France, Chardonnay is the second most widely planted white grape variety just behind Ugni blanc and ahead of Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc. The grape first rose to prominence in the Chablis and Burgundy regions. In Champagne, it is most often blended with Pinot noir and Pinot meunier but is also used to produces single varietal blanc de blancs styles of sparkling wine. important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is now the most widely planted grape in New Zealand. Also in Argentina

Buttercup in colour, rich in alcohol and saturated with the taste of new oak and tropical fruit.
Australia - Penfolds - Hunter Valley. A soft buttery Chardonnay, with a smooth mouthfeel and a rich fruity finish

Excellent companion to most types of food it is mellow enough to also be enjoyed on its own.

One of the most popular and reliable white wines but given an undeserved bad rep in Bridget Jones Diary.

Chardonnay should be served at 48F.

Chenin blanc

White

A variety of white wine grape from the Loire valley of France but also particularly good from South Africa. Its high acidity means it can be used to make everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines. The grape is known as Pinot Blanco in Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Argentina. Also produced in California and as Vouvray in France.

South African labels such as Bellingham 'The Maverick' often are intense wines gorgeously balanced between buttery and oaky flavours and zesty, lemony fruit notes. Very different from both the drier style of the Loire Chenin Blanc and the exotic styles of the Cape. Anjou Chenin Blanc has an aromatic nose of acacia and honey, complemented by a rich palate of apricot and hints of dried fruits.

Crisp, dry and fruity and good with most spicy dishes.

Accompanies Thai and Chinese cuisine perfectly. Serve chilled.

Chianti

Red

Italy's most famous red wine, which takes its name from a traditional region of Tuscany where it is produced.[ must be produced with at least 80% sangiovese grapes. Chianti Classico is a wine produced in one of Chianti's sub-areas. There are actually 8 sub-areas in Chianti: Classico, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane, Montalbano, Montespertoli and Rùfina. You may recognize these wines very easily by the black rooster logo on the neck of the bottles.

Herbal pungency, firmly tannic structure and a dry finish. Beautifully rose & raspberry scented perfume, while the palate is very fine & racy, with delicious summer red berry fruit & an immaculate tannic structure

Good with pasta and kidneys but not so good with spicy hot food.

Chianti should be served at 59F

Fiano

White

A wine that used to be subject to oxidisation but modern methods have made it a serious challenger to other similar wines. Fiano has been cultivated in southern Italy for over two thousand years and its best-known wine is Fiano Di Avellino, which is produced in the Campania region, from vines grown on the volcanic hillsides of Avellino, east of Naples.

The grape is low yielding and early ripening and produces crisp, well-balanced wines, often with hints of honey and nuts. Light, straw-yellow colour with appealing aromas and flavours of ripe pears, honey and toasted hazelnuts. Also being grown successfully in Sicily. Mandrarossa Fiano from Sicily is an award winner.

Fiano's racy acidity makes it perfect for foods with high fat content: triple creme cheeses, salami, sausages, etc. Can also be used to add acidity to a wine-friendly salad dressing

Gewurztraminer

White

Alsatian wine. Gewûrz means "spicy" in german. It is the main characteristic of the Gewurztraminer. Traminer means "coming from Tramin", a small city in south Tyrol of Austria where the grape is coming from.

Fruity and with strong aromas, a very perfumed and flowery bouquet. The aroma of Gewürztraminer is distinctive and can sometimed fight the food aroma. It is a mix of lychee nut, rose petals, peach, and spice with rich spice and fruit flavours of peach, apricot, and tropical fruit.

Thick and rich wine

A dry Gewürztraminer is a good match with spicy foods found in many ethnic dishes but it can depend on the label. Good with sauerkraut, sausages and the Alsatian cheese Munster, curry seasoned dishes, Chinese and Mexican cooking and other spiced dishes.
It should be served at around 50F

Grenache

Red

Probably the most widely planted variety of red wine grape in the world. Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape & Cote de Rhone where it is typically over 80% of the blend. In Australia it is typically blended in "GSM" blends with Syrah and Mourvèdre. Grown in Spain, France, Italy & Australia. Grenache is a key ingredient in Rioja, where blending with Tempranillo creates a robust, hearty red.

Round, warming and moreish. Intense red fruit aromas and surprisingly silky, rich, dark fruit. Long-lasting flavours, no harsh tannins. Aromas of ripe, black cherries and spicebox are followed on the palate with ripe red fruits such as raspberry and cherry - silky spicy red

Grenache pairs well with hearty meals - steak, burgers - and should be served at 64F

Malbec

Red

Variety of grape used in making red wine. Malbec has characteristics that fall somewhere between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The grapes tend to have an inky dark colour and robust tannins. Long known as one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine French plantations of Malbec are now found primarily in Cahors in the South West France region. It is increasingly celebrated as an Argentine varietal wine. It is also grown in Chile, Argentina, southern Bolivia, on Long Island, New York, and in the cooler regions of California. Malbec is named after the Hungarian peasant who first introduced it to France

Ripe blackberry and bramble aromas merge seamlessly with spicy oak and vanilla flavours. Full bodied, yet seriously smooth and warming

The Malbecs from Argentina are particularly good such as Argento from Mendoza and great with meats and heavier spicy dishes.

Malbec goes well with roast meats such as chicken or turkey. It should be served at 58F

Margaux

Red

The name of the wine appellation d'origine, Margaux AOC, that encompasses the village and the neighbouring villages of Arsac, Labarde, Soussans and Cantenac, and is the most southerly of Médoc's appellations. The commune makes almost entirely red wine. Chateau Margaux is very expensive and sumptuouse with cabernet sauvignon (80%) and merlot.

Margaux wines have a full-flavored bouquet and a magnificent elegance - some of the very finest in the world The soft, silky, ripe plum and cream palate has supple tannins and an attractive, lively red fruit finish - black currant, tobacco, roses & violets.

Fantastic wine - depending on chateau - although not cheap. Inconsistant in the past, a Chateaux Margaux can be something special and a match for most meats even with spice.

Merlot

Red

A red wine grape. Merlot is produced primarily in France (where it is the third most planted red grape), Italy (where it is the country's 5th most planted grape) and California, Romania and on a lesser scale in Australia, Argentina, Canada's Niagara Peninsula, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovenia, and other parts of the United States such as Washington and Long Island

It is lower in tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon its close cousin. Merlot is known for the flavors of plums, black cherry, violets, and orange

Perfect match for beef and other medium-heavy dishes. Try some with a rich, red pasta dish, or even a heavy chicken dish. Merlot is also an excellent compliment to chocolate. Merlot should be served at 64F.

Orvieto

White

An Italian wine region located in Umbria and Lazio, centered around the commune of Orvieto. It is primarily known for its white wines made from a blend of mostly Grechetto and Trebbiano. Today's white Orvieto is dry, but a semi-sweet style, known as Orvieto Abboccato, and dolce (sweet), are also produced in small quantities

Often mellow and sometimes also dry, fresh, slightly bitter, full, velvety.

The serving temperature is 45-50 F.

It goes well with: appetizers, soups, cheeses, white meats, fish and truffled dishes.

Pinot Grigio

White

Pinot Gris as it is known in Alsace, is closely related to Pinot Noir and its pinky-grey berries can look more like black grapes than white. In fact, it has enough colour to make some really savoury, sappy rosés in the north of Italy. , its spiritual home is northern Italy - especially the vineyards of Friuli-Venezia and the Alto Adige where its produces a light to medium bodied wine with subtle white fruit and spice characters. In Alsace, where it known as Tokay Pinot Gris (or Tokay d'Alsace). Italy - Best examples in the Veneto, Friuli and above all in Alto Adige in the foothills of the Alps.
New Zealand - not particularly cheap but they're a fascinating mixture of the lean, crisp Italian style with some of the roundness and richness of Alsace

Flavours can range from peach to grapefruit to melon

French pinot gris wines tend to come from the Alsace region. These are more fruity and flowery than their Italian counterparts, though they still have that mineral aroma.

Versatile with food. You can canter through several courses drinking the same wine, especially with pâté or foie gras to start, then all manner of fish, fowl or pork as a main, followed by a crumb or two of blue cheese. Argentina, is making some similar styles in the higher altitude vineyards of Mendoza

Pinot Grigio pairs well with light dishes that are still on the "thick" side, like chicken in a rich white sauce, and heavy spices. It should be served at 48F

Pinot Noir

Red

A red wine grape variety. Pinot noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. Pinot noir thrives in France's Burgundy region, particularly on the Côte-d'Or which has produced some of the world's most celebrated wines for centuries. It is also planted in Austria, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland

The wine tends to be of light to medium body with an aroma reminiscent of black cherry, raspberry or currant. A light, elegant red - Volnay. Present in most champagnes along with Chardonnay. Pronounced spiciness that suggests cinnamon, sassafras, or mint. Ripe tomato, mushroom, and even barnyard commented on. . Soft and velvety

Good with grilled salmon, plain roast beef, or any dish that features mushrooms as the main flavour element. Classic French cooking has creations based on Pinot Noir, such as Coq au Vin (chicken cooked in red wine) Boeuf Bourginon, and Cassoulet.

Riesling

White

A white grape variety which originates in the Rhine region of Germany. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. There are also significant plantings of Riesling in Austria, northern Italy, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, China and Ukraine.

Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. Riesling has a powerful and distinctive floral and apple-like aroma.

The light, delicately sweet flavor of simple pan-fried-in-butter trout is especially good with Riesling. On the other hand, grilled or sautéed sausage, with its range from savory to spicy, also works well with this varietal. Fresh and appetizing with almost any food, from salmon to chicken to cheese and fruit - even Indian and Thai curry. Rieslings should be served cool at 47F

Rioja

Red but can be white

From a region named after the Rio Oja in Spain, a tributary of the Ebro. Among the Tintos, the best-known and most widely-used variety is Tempranillo. Other grapes used include Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo. With Rioja Blanco, Viura is the prominent grape (also known as Macabeo) and is normally blended with some Malvasía and Garnacha Blanca(Grenache).

Younger styles are soft and fruity while aged Crianzas, Reservas and Gran Reservas have increasing levels of concentration, elegance and smooth oak influence. Vanilla and spice flavours
Rioja Reserva is a highly polished wine with notes of damson, violets, black olives and vanilla.

Goes extremely well with steak and other hearty meats. White is an exceptional food partner that marries well with seafood, tuna, raw fish and even various types of cheese.

Sancerre

White but can be red

Produced in the environs of Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley It is regarded as the spiritual home of Sauvignon Blanc. Sancerre is produced on 15 villages. The wines coming from Bué and Chavignol are the best.

Fruity and zesty with superb minerality and floral notes this wine has clean citrus flavours coupled with hints of lemongrass. Intense gooseberry and passionfruit flavours in best. Pinot Noir Rose has floral notes and subtle hints of red cherry, red currants and strawberries on the nose. Crisp and refreshing on the palate, with clean, mineral flavours,

Sancerre (white) goes well with most appetizers, as well as oysters and fish - Sauvignon blanc should be served at around 52F

Rose & red go with light dishes - chicken, pork. This should be served around 61F.

Sauvignon blanc

White

A green-skinned grape variety which originates from the Bordeaux region of France. Sauvignon blanc is widely cultivated in France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California, and South America. Good from New Zealand (Marlborough).
Blended with Semillon to produce sweet Sauternes. Same grape produces Sancerre and Pouilly Fume which are drier and racier. Also successful in Chile .

Crisp, dry, zingy, ripe gooseberry flavours. Pronounced flavours of a herbal variety, with grassy and apple flavours, plus olive and a soft, smoky flavour.

Sauvignon blanc, when slightly chilled, pairs well with fish or cheese can pair well with sushi.
Sauvignon blancs tend to be crisp and acidic, helping the wine cut through heavy food flavours. It pairs well with thick sauces and stews. Should be served at around 52F

Shiraz

Red

It is called Syrah in its country of origin, France, as well as in the rest of Europe, Argentina, Chile, and most of the United States. The name Shiraz became popular for this grape variety in Australia The name Shiraz for this grape variety is also commonly used in South Africa, Canada, and New Zealand. Often blended with Grenache.

Ripe fruit, a fleshy mid palate, soft tannins and a kick of American oak Rich ruby colour, wonderful bouquet of dark berries with a peppery edge. Seriously big but rounded and infused with subtle oak from a degree of barrel ageing.

Shiraz goes very well with beef and other hearty foods. It also goes well with Indian, Mexican, and other spicy foods. This wine is rich and full, and should be served from a large glass at 64F.

Verdicchio

White

Verdicchio wine gets the name from the vine that has been cultivated in the Italian region of Marches on the central east of Italy. This vine is probably native in Marches since the 1300s. The grapes used to make this wine are yellow-green. The Verdicchio wine is with no doubt the best of the white wines from this region of Italy. In the market you can find to DOC version of the Verdicchio: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica. Both types usually are composed of Verdicchio and a small part of Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes.

Good acidic balance offering subtle, crisp, clean white fruit flavours and aromas offset by nuances of citrus, almonds and tree blossoms, finishing on a slight bitter note.

Should be served at a temperature of 7-9 °C and is perfect with fish and "risotto with fish". Also it can be partnered with white meat.

Viognier

White

Virtually unknown until the Rhône wines' rise to fame in the early 1990s, Viognier became very popular as winemakers tried to emulate the qualities of the northern Rhône's superb Condrieu. Plantings have now spread to southern France and to small pockets in the New World. Yalumba Viognier (Australia) is popular and Cooper Creek from New Zealand or Tamaya from Chile or Domain Lalande from the Languedoc

At its best when very ripe, its grapes tend to produce wine high in alcohol with a dazzling scent of apricot, peach and blossom. Dazzlingly intense, this super-fresh, golden wine has plenty of rich apricot and peach flavours

Really delicious with stir-fried prawns or creamy mild chicken curries. As to food matches, Viognier works well with dishes that might normally call for Gewürztraminer. Spicy dishes, such as spicy oriental stir-frys and most curries, especially Thai-style which is made with coconut milk. Viognier should be served at around 52F but try it chilled

Vouvray

White

From the French commune of Vouvray to the east of Tours are made in a wide range of styles from the Chenin Blanc grape . There is not only one Vouvray but several different Vouvrays. The wine can be sweet, flavored or full-body and dry. The sweet wine has a golden color, is vigorous, fruity and fresh. The dry and semi dry are rich and intense.

Fresh and fruity, this has a deliciously fragrant nose and a palate of citrus fruit, ripe pears and a hint of honey and marmalade, balanced by crisp acidity.

Great with shellfish such as crab, lobster or crayfish. It should be drunk at around 47F (fridge temperature)

Zinfandel

Red

A variety of red grape planted in over 10 percent of California wine vineyards. It is typically made into a robust red wine, but in the USA a semi-sweet rosé (blush-style) wine called White Zinfandel has six times the sales of the red wine. Similar grape to Primitivo grown in Italy.

Best red is rich black cherry-scented wine with a lovely spicy finish. Blush is a fresh, off-dry and spritzy wine At its best, Zinfandel (red) has a very fruity, raspberry-like aroma and flavour and a "jammy" quality

When paired with outdoor-grilled steaks or chops or meat that has been stewed with or stuffed with fruit, Zinfandel in US has become a prime motivation for people to become wine-lovers. Red zinfandel should be served at around 65 degrees

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