by Sarah McCleery
I know that might sound a bit odd but I cook my lamb in white wine with anchovies, rosemary and garlic, so the partnership isn’t quite as peculiar as you may at first think.
Sticking to my mantra of striking a balance between the weight of the wine and that of the food on the plate, leads to the obvious conclusion that delicate whites are out. So too is anything sweet or overly floral.
What I want is something that has a bit of volume and texture; an ‘earthy’ white wine, if you will. [Wasn’t it Margaret Atwood who said that at the end of a spring day we should smell like dirt?].
My short list – now tried, tested and given the tasting thumbs up – is made up of three wines. The first is from Marks and Spencer and is the Cornet et Cie AOC Collioure Blanc 2010 (£11.99). It’s a French wine made from grapes planted on slopes that lead to Spain. It’s a blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Roussanne, Marsanne and Vermentino that have all been fermented in barrel, giving the wine the weight that we want. The flavours are orchard fruit led and there’s definitely more than a hint of herbs and stony minerality. A lovely wine and a good choice.
Next up is the Wine Society’s absolutely splendid Louro Godello 2010 from the Valdeorras in Spain (£13.50, The Wine Society). Godello is the grape and this single variety wine is aged in oak for one year. It has a more citrus-driven palate than the Collioure but it gives a warm, oily feel in the mouth and there’s an edginess that is a surprisingly good foil to the lamb.
The budget-busting Cometa 2008 (£25.00, Majestic Wines) is a Sicilian superstar. Made from the Fiano grape it fills the palate with rich flavours of roasted apricots and candied orange. It’s not short on herbal notes either and there’s an irresistible robustness to this sumptuous wine. It’s very different and certainly worth a try.
I know plenty of people that would scrunch their noses at the mere suggestion of white wine with red meat but as the saying goes, you don’t know until you’ve tried.