All it needed was our 'lecturer' to lob a stick of chalk at my head and I'd be right back at school. I ended up, as I did at The Misbourne, in the back row, this time stuck between old boy Brett and cheeky-quipping Douglas. Brett found a fascination with the bread... Douglas was, well, being Douglas. I tried desperately to not indulge in their mischief...
We were here for a Circle of Wine Writers Wine and Charcuterie Tasting hosted by Fiona (matchingfoodandwine.com) at the new Terroirs wine bar in William IV Street, London. The Charcuterie comprising a delicately flavoured Jamon de Teruel from Spain, a nicely textural Duck Rillette, Saucisson Sec from the Pyrenees and a garlic and spice Terrine Terroirs.
Rather than the 'usual suspects' to accompany charcuterie (simple rustic French wines) Fiona picked a more eclectic list of bottles to sample, each calling on the intrinsic flavours of the food (smoky, spicy, garlic). The only thing not offered was a sparkling...
Wine Tasting Note: Maitres Vignerons de Saint-Tropez Rosé Carte Noire, 2008, France.
A nice opening shot - and as expected a fine match for the array of foods. Nice berry fruits and a decently long, dry, finish. A 'standard' rosé wine for such fare and I thought a superb foil to the Terrine, although others disagreed.
Wine Tasting Note: Assyrtiko Hatzidakis, 2007, Santorini, Greece.
Stockist: Caves de Pyrene Waitrose
Not a wine I would ever have considered, interesting but didn't really work for me lacking a bit of zip and zing. Seafood and shellfish apparently work better. The pepper edge in the saucisson was really emphasised by the wine.
Wine Tasting Note: Weingut Christmann Riesling IDIG Grosses Gewaechs, 2007, Pfalz, Germany.
Stockist: Charles Taylor Price: £35
Not being a lover of Riesling - heresy I realise - I did enjoy this wine. Very young still but the way I like it; a touch of weighty sweetness, superb fruit but sadly not a wine that worked well with any of the food. Too delicate in flavour I think; but then what do the Germans eat with all their charcuterie?
Wine Tasting Note: Chapel Hill Verdelho, 2007, Australia.
in independents including Planet of the Grapes, Ongar Wines Ltd, Australian Wines Online, Rehills of Jemond, Badmington Wines
A zesty citrus and nettle wine; far too forceful with the charcuterie though.
Wine Tasting Note: Lambrusco Reggiano Concerto, 2007, Emilia Romagna, Italy.
, Harrods, Booths Price: £8-£10
In terms of matching with the food this was the star. A combination of bubbles, a bitter twist to the wine and perfect acidity was great with the rillettes and the (positive) fat of the jamon.
Wine Tasting Note: Jean-Luc Matha Cuvee Lairis Marcillac, 2006, Marcillac, France
Stockist: Caves de Pyrène Price: £9.99
Not convinced this rustic country wine (from the South West of France) really worked as well as others seemed to think. Remained rustic and overly tannic for me.
Wine Tasting Note: Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon, 2007, Beaujolais, France
Price: around £16
a bottle from Caves de Pyrene, slurp.co.uk
I believe there were a couple of markedly different bottles of this being poured; I managed to get some of the 'good' bottle. The lack of tannins and the soft fruit brought out the wonderful sweetness in the jamon particularly. For someone who never drinks Beaujolais this was a revelation; my second choice for the top match.
Wine Tasting Note: Isabel Estate Pinot Noir, 2005, New Zealand
Berry Brothers & Rudd
A lovely fruit-forward Pinot that worked with the charcuterie much better than expected. Lovely spicy, sprightly palate that seemed particularly good with the duck rillette (duck plus pinot is always a good choice) and managed the garlic infused Terrine too.
Wine Tasting Note: Manzanilla La Gitana Sherry, NV, Spain.
at Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury, Majestic, Somerfield, Wine Rack, plus independents.
Not a fan of Riesling nor Sherry; more howls of derision from my neighbours. Despite being a tapas favourite this wine just trampled over all the food. Far too forceful and strong. The salty component matched the salt in the jamon OK but the delicate flavour was lost. Unsurprisingly this was many peoples preferred choice.
Wine Tasting Note: El Grifo Canari, 1997, Lanzarote, Spain.
A cream sherry (or rather sherry-style wine) from Lanzarote. Far too sweet for the charcuterie but a marvellous opportunity to try such a delicious wine. There you go - sherry and delicious in the same sentence!
A learning experience; just much more enjoyable than my (detested) school days. I did miss the juvenile giggling at the cookery teachers hairy legs encased in green tights mind...
Fiona has posted her own take on the session on Matching Food and Wine.