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.

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 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

Two Italian Reds Ideal for a Tuscan Beef Stew

We had friends to stay for the weekend and cooked one of our favourite recipes from the Slow Cook Book – Tuscan Beef Stew.  We served this lovely peppery stew with mashed potatoes and green beans.  See here for a full description of the stew and a Tuscan red that was a perfect pairing with it.

This time we tried an Italian red blend brought by our guests – Oronzo Uno Rosso Puglia 2009, from Virgin Wines.  This was smooth with plums, red cherry fruits and vanilla.  One of our guests detected damsons.  The wine was a good match with the meal.

We also opened a bottle of Saracosa Rosso di Toscana 2009, a Tuscan Sangiovese from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  As before, we enjoyed its smooth black fruits and spiciness and also detected chocolate.  IMG_0546A lovely match.

Tuscan Reds Surprisingly Mediocre Pairings with Jamie’s Peposo

IMG_0207.JPG (2)IMG_0208.JPG (2)We have previously tried a peppery Tuscan Beef Stew from the Slow Cook Book and thoroughly enjoyed it with a Super Tuscan red (see 2 Nov 2012).  We had, therefore, been looking forward to trying Jamie Oliver’s Peposo – the famous hunter’s peppery beef stew, from Jamie’s Italian.  His recipe includes lots of garlic cloves, black pepper, rosemary, red wine and bay leaves. We liked the recipe, but not quite as much as the previous one.

We thought a local red would again be the answer and opened a bottle of Collezione di Paolo Chianti Riserva 2008, a medium-bodied Italian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  Nothing wrong with the wine, but it wasn’t a good enough match with the food, so we set it aside for drinking another time.

Undeterred, we went for another Chianti and opened a bottle of Canonica a Cerreto, Chianti Classico Riserva, 2008, also from the Sunday Times Wine Club. This medium-bodied Italian red is made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.  We found it spicy, with cherry and red berry flavours and a reasonable match with the meal.

Overall though, we were surprisingly underwhelmed with these pairings.

A Spanish Red Surprisingly Better Than a Tuscan with Jamie’s Pollo alla Cacciatora

We cooked a recipe we have done a few times before – Pollo alla Cacciatore (Hunter’s Chicken), but this time we tried the recipe from Jamie’s Italian.  Jamie’s version is full of bold flavours. The chicken is marinated in red wine with bay leaves, rosemary and garlic and cooked with more fried garlic, anchovies, olives, tomatoes and the reserved marinade.  Lovely.

We thought a bottle of the excellent Saracosa 2009, a full bodied Italian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club, would go well, because it had paired so beautifully with a Peppery Tuscan Stew (see 2 Nov 2012). We tasted berries, black cherries, vanilla oak and a pepperiness at the finish and we considered this Sangiovese an adequate match.

Next evening we had more of the stew and it was even more intensely flavoured. We thought we could improve on the wine pairing and opened a bottle of Villa Anita Old Vines Tempranillo Monastrell 2010.  This is a powerful Spanish red also from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  I have read mixed reviews on it, but we found it rich and smooth and loved its red fruits and vanilla.  An excellent match.IMG_0173.JPG (2)

A Superb Tuscan Red Brilliant with a Peppery Tuscan Beef Stew

We tried Peppery Tuscan Beef from the Slow Cookbook.  The braising steak is cooked in beef stock, red wine, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, pancetta, onion, garlic, sage, bay leaves and lots of black pepper.  Probably one of the best recipes in the book.

Appropriately in our view, we paired this superb dish with a Tuscan red – a bottle of Saracosa Rosso di Toscana 2009, a full and rich Italian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  This Sangiovese was a deep intense red and we tasted cherries, blackberries, with a spicy, smooth, long finish.  The food and wine experience was excellent all round and we believed the pairing could not be bettered.  A perfect match.IMG_0170.JPG (2)

A Spanish Red is Much Better Than an Italian One with Lorraine’s Prawn Linguine

We have been watching Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh And Easy Food and fancied trying Prawn Linguine with Chorizo & Cabernet Tomato Sauce.  Lorraine describes herself as a chorizo lover and we are too.  As well as chorizo, wine and tomatoes, this highly-flavoured and delicious recipe contains fennel, rosemary, oregano, garlic, chilli and harissa paste. For some reason we cannot find the recipe on the BBC website, but found it hereIMG_0157.JPG (2)

We thought an Italian red would pair well and opened a bottle of Collezione de Paolo Poggerissi 2010, Rosso di Toscana, a medium-bodied Sangiovese red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  It had cherry fruitiness and a slight sweetness and whilst the wine tasted acceptable, we thought we could achieve a better match with the food.

We decided to try a bottle of Marques de Carano Gran Seleccion 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red from Tesco. (See 29 October 2011 for thoughts on the 2007 vintage). It tasted of plums, cherries, with a slight spiciness, some vanilla sweetness and a smooth chocolatey finish.  A much better pairing.

A Spanish Red Edges an Italian One with Lamb and Beef Meatballs

We cooked an interesting Supercook dish called Zorba’s Meatballs.  These are a subtle blend of lamb, beef, garlic and spices with a creamy Mozzarella cheese filling served with a tomato and mint sauce.

We served the meatballs with pasta and thought an Italian red would be the answer.  We opened a bottle of Collezione di Paolo Chianti 2010 a medium-bodied red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  This Sangiovese had smooth plum flavours, with no sharp edges, but with restrained acidity and an underlying savouriness.  We thought it was a good, but not a perfect match.

We tried a bottle of Copa Real 2009 with the leftovers the following day.  This medium-bodied Spanish Tempranillo/Garnacha blend also from the Sunday Times Wine Club had red fruit Rioja characteristics and was a better match.