Aussie Red Better Pairing than Rioja with Turkish Lamb Stew

We enjoyed Rick Stein’s “From Venice to Istanbul” tv programme last year and we tried his Lamb Kleftiko. A couple of very good pairings with that dish can be found here.

This time we cooked his rich Turkish lamb stew with aubergine purée (Hunkar begendi).

Boned lamb shoulder is cooked with red pepper paste, tomato paste, onion, garlic, green chilli, green pepper, tomatoes, oregano and seasoning. The lamb stew is served on a bed of aubergine purée made from mashed aubergine, milk, flour, Parmesan, lemon juice and seasoning. We served with flatbread.

We opened a bottle of Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva from the Co-op.  A previous bottle of this medium-bodied Spanish red was very good with lamb chops.

There were black fruits on the nose, a vanilla sweetness with mocha and sweet black fruits on the palate. A good match with the meal, but we thought the flavours in the aubergine purée may have detracted a little from the pairing.2016-01-15 18.01.11

We finished off the leftovers with a bottle of Dark Corner Durif Shiraz 2014, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club. We chose this wine because it had previously made a very good match with lamb meatballs in tomato sauce.

There were brambly fruits on the nose, vanilla sweetness on the palate, with blackberry fruit and a milk chocolate and coffee mocha finish. The Shiraz was a better match than the Rioja with this particular combination of Turkish lamb stew and aubergine purée.

A Puglian Red is Good with Pasta alla Norma

We tried Pasta alla Norma from Jamie Oliver.  This famous Sicilian recipe includes a pasta sauce made from aubergines, olive oil, oregano, red chilli, garlic, frsh basil, white wine vinegar, chopped canned tomatoes and seasoning.  Ricotta is used in the authentic recipe, but we used Parmesan.  We served with spaghetti.  A very tasty meal.

Research online suggests the Sicilian grape variety Nero d’Avola is a good wine pairing.  We didn’t have a bottle but we did have Cosiero Nero, Nero di Troia 2013, an Italian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  This full-bodied wine is from Puglia and we found black fruits on the nose with a palate of black fruits, vanilla sweetness and a smooth, spicy finish.  A good match with the pasta.2015-10-27 17.41.21

A New Zealand Sauvignon is Good with Aubergine Curry

2015-08-28 18.10.57We were looking for a recipe for some aubergines we had been given and decided on Rick Stein’s Aubergine Curry with Tomatoes, Ginger and Fennel Seeds. This dish is from Bangladesh and the aubergines are cooked in a curry made from ginger, garlic, green chillies, cumin, fennel seeds, coriander, turmeric, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  The dish is garnished with fresh coriander and mint. We served this very tasty curry with pulao rice.

We paired the curry with a bottle of Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011, a New Zealand white from Tesco.

We thought the flavours were somewhat muted for a New Zealand Sauvignon, but we thought the pairing with the curry was good.  It brought the wine’s grapefruit and tropical fruit flavours to the fore.