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Combinations 6: Wine for Roast Partridge with Grapes and Walnuts.  Add/Read Comments

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The food and wine matching exercise reaches round 6. To recap the recipes featured on Combinations have been:
  1. An Austrian Dessert
  2. Baked Mackerel with Rhubarb Sauce
  3. Flatbreads with Spiced Chicken, Pistachios and Green Peppers hosted by Eating Leeds
  4. Fresh Herbs hosted by Beau of Basic Juice
  5. Southern Style Lamb Chicken hosted by Benito

For this round, as we slip into Autumn, something seasonal: Roast Partridge with Grapes and Walnuts. This is From Sophie Grigson’s Country Kitchen. I am hoping that some form of game bird are available locally where you live, any could be substituted if partridge cannot be found, and at a pinch I guess chicken could be used although the intensity of flavour will not match that of a ‘proper’ game bird.

Matching Game with Wine

Serving feathered game (partridge, quail, pigeon, grouse, guinea fowl, pheasant) is a great excuse for opening the best possible wines. Older vintages from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Rioja are superb accompaniments while the richer, fruitier wines from the New World should appeal to fans of the styles too. Depending on how strong you make the sauce you could also consider something spicy from the Rhône or, by taking the grapes and the walnuts as the starting point, a good white wine might be an option – a top Italian white to bring out the nut flavours perhaps or an Alsace Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc with enough weight, (maybe even a touch of sweetness to match the grapes), to balance the richness of the meat. As the advert says – the possibilities are endless. .

The recipe:

Roast Partridge with Grapes and Walnuts
From Sophie Grigson’s Country Kitchen

Serves 4
4 partridges
250g/9oz sweet grapes halved and deseeded
45g/1½oz butter
4-6 rashers streaky bacon
150ml/5 fl oz Madeira or a medium-sweet wine
100ml/3½ fl oz game or chicken stock
85g/3oz walnut halves
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 220C/425F/G4. Season the partridge with salt and pepper. Push 2 grapes and a small knob of butter inside each bird. Cut bacon in half and cover the breasts of each one. Place in roasting tin. Pour Madeira over followed by the stock. Roast for 25 minutes until cooked through. Baste Frequently.

Remove the bacon, baste, return to oven for 5-10 minutes to colour.

Add grapes and walnuts and return to the oven for another few minutes to brown the birds.

Taste pan juices. Boil if necessary to concentrate. Add the butter to thicken slightly and then spoon over the birds.

Serve with mashed potato.

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This entry Combinations 6: Wine for Roast Partridge with Grapes and Walnuts. is under Combinations


Andrew - cooked this on the weekend (write up to come) - absolutely delicious! And very easy too!

Thank you for choosing such a lovely and properly enjoyable dish!

Sounds delicious. I'll get my wife to make it on the weekend(she's a chef) and try it with a few different pinot's, both Australian and New Zealand wines.

We did this meal last night. Quite delicious though we substited pine nuts for the wallnuts.

We tried it with 3 different pinots.
a 2001 Martinborough Vineyards Pinot Noir from New Zealand. This wine is concentrated, complex and has subtle earthy undertones. Quality juice which went well with the gamey nature of the dish.
The 2nd pinot was a 2004 Stefano Lubiana Pinot Noir from Tasmania. A complex and floral wine, it was a close second to the Martinborough as a match. It worked perfectly well with the dish but the Kiwi wine just pipped it in quality.
The 3rd wine was the 2005 Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley, Australia. Again the wine went well with the food, the sweet and savoury flavours of the wine combining in an effortless manner with the food. Still a great match but outclassed by the two above wines (though they are more expensive and harder to find)but not by much.

The verdict, quite a classy and easy to make recipe and goes well with a variety of New World pinot.
New Zealand, in this case Martinborough, Tasmania and the Yarra Valley all produce different styles of pinot noir, and The Martinborough had the advantage of bottle age.

Either way all the wines were a good match, pinot's earthy gamey flavours, backed by sweetness and fine acidity are perfect for this type of dish.


Paul Taper

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