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The aperitif

The `snack` and `aperitif` moment – when you get home from work or when the guests first arrive, provides for the best ever wine and food moment, in my mind. Slightly touched by fatigue, hunger and thirst, it can provide relief and thrill simultaneously – and a good match will be delicious and even celebratory.  Here are a few of my favourites:  `Snyder`s of Hanover` – served with the popular white burgundy Macon-Charnay “Clos-Saint-Pierre”. The salt and the crunch of the pretzel with the golden yellow liquid is intensely satisfying.   Another is the roasted and salted `Hider Jumbo Peanuts` , explosive on the palate with the white Rhone  “La Fleur Solitaire”, still a best seller here. And there again, there are the Tomato & Basil Mini Breadsticks, being our choice with Vintage Champagne when the occasion warrants it – the acidity of the Champagne offset neatly by the crisp breadstick. It`s just perfect. Of course, there are a thousand such snacks, but with no more effort you might reach for the fridge instead. Ours, in the shop, is full of goodies. Pinney`s of Orford smoked salmon with our Alsace Hugel Riesling, the smoked prawns with Billaud-Simon Chablis – true, they are a bit messy, but guests love getting stuck in, and provided you have a finger bowl…. The smoked fish paté works well served on our Peter`s Yard sourdough crispbreads with pear slices and watercress . With these dainties our Cuvee Jean Paul `house` wine is as good as any, pleasantly dry and crisp. Or a pale, dry Rosé instead, possibly – such as our Pasquiers.

Other occasions require a red at the start of the evening, when white or rosé just won`t cut it. Charcuterie works for me with a flavourful light red, such as our Vieux Quartier Bourgogne Rouge. Even better Pinney`s smoked duck with Allegrini`s Valpollicella. So many thrills .. why not pop into  the shop to taste a few for yourselves tomorrow between 11am and 1pm?

Anthony Borges

The Wine Centre, Great Horkesley

Opening hours 10am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday.

Telephone 01206 271 236 , email borges@thewinecentre.co.uk

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