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Celebrate seasonal vegetables

There is an abundance of seasonal produce in August, and today we look at the local vegetables, and how they may influence your wine choice. With the old meat-and-two-veg of yesteryear, post-war times, you would likely pair a cup of tea, or a beer. Wine was for posh folk. Later we had the big brands of the 70`s, 80`s and 90`s, such as Paul Masson, Blue Nunn, Mateus Rose, Le Piat D`Or, amongst others. And some of you will remember those overly vanilla-flavoured Chardonnays from Australia. How we loved them, back then. But none of these were much suited to food, and certainly not for fine dining. There were others, of course, which were, and these were increasing steadily in number and quality, beginning to catch on here in UK, appearing in our restaurants and wine shops. Even the pub chains and supermarkets caught on, eventually. But it took decades to spread to any meaningful volumes, and the “with food” concept remained pretty much binary and crude to all except the best restaurants. It was generally understood that red wine went with red meat, while white wine was more suited to white meat, and fish, a rule of thumb which still stands today; except, of course, it wasn’t the extent of it, by half. Nowadays our tastes have expanded, and there is more general recognition of other considerations. For example, what else is on the plate? Is there a sauce? Is it tomato-based, or creamy? Is it a white fish, or an oily fish? What type of meat? And yes, is there a leading in-season vegetable? And why not? The very best example of this is our early summer asparagus which goes so well with Sauvignon Blanc, but in August we have aubergines, peppers, beetroots, broad beans, and peas. These offer great opportunities for interesting wine pairings. Try these: baked aubergine parmigiana, with Cotes du Rhone red, mince-beef stuffed roasted peppers with aged Australian Semillon, beetroot and feta cheese with Sauvignon Blanc, fresh broad bean salad with Vermentino, and pea risotto with Picpoul de Pinet.


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