As winter sets in and our nights become longer, my sport turns from fresh air and cycling to blankets and the sofa. Animated evenings in beer gardens have morphed into leisurely afternoons spent munching mammoth meals and sipping on warming red wines.
If you ask me there’s no dish that says winter more than a roast dinner and although I can only aspire to cook one as good as my Mums it’s a labour of love every time. My favourite roast is a close call between beef and lamb. Lamb because I have an unhealthy appetite for mint sauce and beef because it offers one of the only opportunities to get out the Horseradish. Mr Bouquet finds the traditional roast dinner too bland for his taste and I guess he’s not alone, but when paired with some carefully considered sauce – on your plate and in your glass – it can make all the difference.
A full and flavoursome white wine is what’s needed to stand a chance of surviving after a mouthful of gravy and roast potatoes and an oaked chardonnay is the perfect pick. Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2006 is a bold Californian white with rich vanilla and buttery flavours that will stand up to the meat and the mustard. On shelves at Waitrose, £14.99.
For a versatile red which is elegant enough to go with poultry roasts and complex enough to pair with red meats try Domaine Marie Faugères 2009, £7.59 also from Waitrose. A classic blend of grapes from southern France; Grenache, Syrah and Carignan combine to produce a wine adorned with black berry fruit-salad aromas and hints of Christmas cake. The palate is medium bodied and layered with liquorice, spiced cherries and boysenberries. Buy a case of this one for your wine rack, it will keep you cosy through ‘til Spring.
Miss Bouquet’s Top Tip
Why not use your long evenings wisely this winter by signing up to one of the wine courses run by Jimmy Smith at the West London Wine School www.westlondonwineschool.com where you can choose from one off master classes or join one of their longer in depth wine courses.
This article has been published in the November 2010 issue of The Notebook, Kensington & Chelsea