A Barolo is Excellent with Pan-Fried T-Bone Steak

We bought a lovely T-Bone steak from our local butcher Bakers of Nailsea. We pan-fried the steak and served it with chips, Parmesan tomatoes and mushrooms, together with parsley butter and Dijon mustard.

 We enjoyed the steak with a bottle of Tesco‘s Finest Barolo 2007.

This powerful Italian red made from the Nebbiolo grape delivered sweet plums on the nose, flavours of sweet vanilla, followed by earthy savouriness, red fruits and subtle spiciness.  An excellent match with the steak.

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 Super Tuscan Red is Very Good with Beef Stroganoff

We have rarely been able to achieve a really good wine pairing with Beef Strogonoff.  See herehere and here for previous pairings.  Some have reported success with Super Tuscan reds, so we decided to try one with the perfect beef stroganoff recipe from the Drift Bar in London.  We found this on ShortList.com

We used strips of rump steak instead of fillet, coated them in paprika and cooked them in a sauce made from shallots, chestnut mushrooms, sour cream, double cream, Dijon mustard, gherkins, lemon juice, seasoning and a parsley garnish. We served with sautéed potatoes and a green salad. 2015-08-30 18.08.06

Our Super Tuscan was a bottle of Selvascura Strozzi Toscana, 2010 a full-bodied Italian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  The wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and a previous superb pairing with this wine can be found here.

We detected spicy black fruits on the nose.  There was an initial black cherry sweetness on the palate followed by blackberry, vanilla and chocolate.  The finish was smooth and slightly spicy.2015-08-30 18.12.04

The wine was a very good match with the Stroganoff and probably the best we have achieved so far.

An Italian Barbera is Very Good with Beef Lasagne

We were looking for a relatively simple beef lasagne recipe and found one on the All recipes website.

The meat sauce is made from onion, carrots, garlic, oregano, minced beef, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, red wine, tinned chopped tomatoes, milk, salt and pepper.  The cheese sauce is butter, flour, milk, nutmeg, grated Cheddar and Parmesan.2015-04-29 18.11.30

We served the lasagne with garlic bread.

We paired this Italian dish with an Italian wine, Barbera d’Asti Araldica 2011 from the Wine Society.

The wine was fruity and tart with flavours of cherries and plums.  It also had a savoury earthiness with a slightly tannic bite at the end.  A very good match with the meaty pasta.2015-04-29 18.14.12

An Italian Barbera is Very Good with a Slow Cooked Beef Stew

2015-03-27 18.51.00We cooked slow-cooked beef, a rich ragù-type dish from the Slow Cook Book.

Cubed stewing beef is cooked with onion, garlic, carrots, celery, red pepper, oregano, paprika, anchovies, orange zest and canned chopped tomatoes.  We served it with tagliatelle and Parmesan cheese sprinkled over.

We paired the stew with an Italian red, Asda‘s Extra Special Barbera d’Asti 2012.

We detected black fruit aromas and there was some acidity on the palate with flavours of cherries, blackberries and plums. There was a slight sweetness on the finish and some affinity with the orange zest in the stew.  A very good match with this beef stew.

An Italian Red Blend is Good with Spicy Mince Pasta Bake

2015-02-25 18.02.45We were looking for a recipe online for a midweek meal and found Spicy Mince Pasta Bake from RoosterandHen on the AllRecipes website.

We used Penne and this was baked in the oven with a mixture containing onions, garlic, smoked bacon, minced beef, red chilli, mixed herbs, Cayenne pepper, paprika, tomato purée, white wine, chopped canned tomatoes, mushrooms, Mozzarella, Parmesan and breadcrumbs.

We opened a bottle of Bricco Rosso Suagna Langhe Rosso 2008, a medium-bodied Italian red from the Wine Society.

The wine is a blend of Dolcetto and Nebbiolo and we tasted red fruits, especially cherries, vanilla notes with good tannins and acidity on the finish.  A good match.

A Super Tuscan Red is Great with Entrecôte au Poivre

One of our favourite steak recipes is Entrecôte au Poivre from Supercook.

Sirloin steak is coated in crushed black peppercorns and a brandy and cream sauce is poured over. We served the steaks with mushrooms and croquet potatoes. Superb.

We opened a bottle of Selvascura Principe Strozzi Toscana 2010, a full-bodied Italian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  This S2015-01-14 18.31.28uper Tuscan wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

We detected black fruit aromas on the nose followed by black fruits and cherry sweetness on the palate.  There was a spicy finish with good acidity.

A very enjoyable mouthful and great with the steak.

A Southern Italian Red is Very Good with a Ham and Mushroom Pizza

2014-08-20 18.55.40For a quick meal we ate a stone-baked Italian ham and mushroom pizza from Tesco.

The pizza has a Napoli-style base with Italian tomato sauce, topped with Italian ham and mushrooms.

We paired the pizza with a bottle of Brindisi Rosso Vigna Flaminio, Vallone 2010, an Italian red from the Wine Society.

This lightly-oaked, medium-bodied red is from the south of Italy and is made from the Negroamaro grape.

The wine had plenty of acidity to match the tomatoes, red fruits, smokiness and was spicy on the finish.  A very good match with the pizza.

A Californian Chardonnay Preferred to a Chianti with Creamy Pasta

We tried Tagliatelle Verde with Bacon and Tomatoes from Supercook.  However, we couldn’t find any green tagliatelle in our local shops, so used plain.  Never mind.

The sauce for the pasta contains bacon, onion, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, tarragon, oregano, béchamel sauce and double cream.  After combining with the pasta, the mixture is topped with parmesan and breadcrumbs and browned in the oven. This excellent pasta dish is served with crusty bread.

The creaminess in the sauce should have pointed us in the direction of something like a Chardonnay, but some of the flavours in the sauce suggested an Italian red might work and we opened a bottle of the Society’s Chianti Rufina 2011, an Italian red from the Wine Society.  This is a good wine, but not quite a good enough match with this particular meal.IMG_0428

We switched to a bottle of Cimarosa California Chardonnay 2012 from Lidl, thinking it should be able to cope with the creamy sauce and it did.

There was a bouquet of tropical fruit and these followed through in the flavours, which were accompanied by pineapple and a smooth, buttery creaminess from the oak.  A good match with this meal.IMG_0429

A Chianti Classico Riserva is Good with Pan-Fried Steaks in a Cream and Brandy Sauce

Welfordian Steaks are rump steaks pan-fried in a mushroom, cream and brandy sauce.  A very good recipe from Supercook.  We served the steaks with chips and asparagus.

This lovely meal deserved to be paired with a decent bottle of wine, so we opened a bottle of Canonica a Cerreto Chianti Classico Riserva 2008 from the Sunday Times Wine Club. They describe this oak-aged Sangiovese with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as a top of the range Super Tuscan.

We tasted smooth red fruits, especially cherries, with spiciness and a tinge of liquorice.  We thought the wine was a good match with the steak.IMG_0571