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Begun as a little exercise between myself and Beau at Basic Juice, Combinations, was designed to generate interesting content for our respective blogs. Not that Beau has joined in yet as he has been too busy slumming it around Austria (looking for fancy shirts no doubt). But it is great that a couple of other bloggers have joined in with the wine and food matching challenge – especially given the reluctance of most food bloggers to venture into the world of wine and food pairings.

This month Eating Leeds has selected a very American recipe that includes za’atar, sumac and Aleppo pepper – none of which I could find locally! Improvisation required. A hasty attempt at blending a thyme heavy za’atar (sesame seeds, thyme, oregano) mashed with salt and olive oil before mixing with the chicken and other ingredients. Eating Leeds suggested the addition of chili powder in place of the cayenne for a little spiciness to an otherwise under-flavoured mix. The mix is slathered on a tortilla before baking and sampling with the wine…

Flatbreads with Spiced Chicken, Pistachios and Roasted Peppers.

In preparing the dish I opted for wrapping the chicken-spice mixture in tortillas, lying strips of pepper on top (sprinkling inside the wraps with the pistachios) during baking and adding needed moisture via the yogurt drizzled over the top. Surprising how subtle (did someone say bland?) the flavour of this dish turned out to be. Interestingly so, as the list of ingredients suggests something spicy, complex and forceful of flavour. It wasn’t – tasty but under flavoured. Two wines – a lightly chilled red with a hideous label and a ‘so new to the shelf’ white that it lacked a pricing slip. Both from Oddbins. It is not a ‘refined’ dish, slumped with a couple of mates in front of a DVD. Chicken indicates a white but I wanted to see if a lightly chilled red would work. But neither selection worked that well.

Domaine Comte de Margon Sarabande

Wine Tasting Note: Domaine Comte de Margon Sarabande Cabernet-Merlot, 2005, Vin de Pays Des Côtes de Thongue, France.
Oddbins £4.99.
Young and fruity, nice served chilled. Plenty of cherry and plum flavours with soft tannins and a lick of pepper on the finish. But the match with the food is the important thing… The food is under-spiced and thus, this red, swamped the flavours. Not a clashing match but not complimentary. Neither the food or the wine benefited; I actually preferred sipping at the wine long after the food had been eaten. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon 50% Merlot. Alcohol 13%. Servir Frais/Serve Chilled.
Scribblings Rating – 86/100

Jardins de Mailis Jurançon Sec

Wine Tasting Note: Jardins de Mailis Jurançon Sec, 2004, Jurançon, France.
Oddbins £5.99
Fresh and lightly herby with more weight on the palate than the red. Tropical fruit flavours – mango, lime, grapefruit and orange. Crisp acidity keeping it all fresh and summery. The minerally palate is dry with a herby touch on the finish that I hoped would match the flavours in the food… but no. The wines acidity dominated the palate; I found it harsh and aggressive. The plan to emphasise the herby element in the food didn’t work either the wine becoming a forceful palate cleanser rather than complimentary to the dish. Jurançon down near the Pyrenees makes wines made from the Petit Manseng grape. Alcohol 13.%%.
Scribblings Rating – 82/100

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