It's traditional at this time of year to look back at what has gone before and reflect, so I thought I would highlight some of the miles we have travelled in the world of wine and food over 2011.
I hate to say it but chocolate comes out on top! Chocolate Wine that is. Apart from the wines I mentioned you came up with some other intriguing suggestions: Chocovine, Vino de Mocca from Kirigin Cellars, Deco Chocolate Port and Pindar's Cabernet Port. Recipe ideas were chocolate sauce made with port and drizzling chocolate wine over desserts such as ice creams.
Crème de Menthe! I recommended using it in a cocktail, although I do prefer mine chilled and on the rocks, however this is another drink that can be poured over desserts or used as a glaze for chocolate brownies.
Asparagus and wine have been labelled as uncomfortable bedfellows when it comes to food and wine pairing and my blog on the ideal partner for asparagus – the sparkling wine Comte de Laube - proved to be very popular.
It was good to see the little appellation of Saint Mont in south west France attracting some attention. This is a very, very old vineyard which is being revitalised by a dynamic – and determined - set of wine makers. The forward thinking co-operative Producteurs Plaimont was founded in 1979 by André Dubosc, who set up the Conservatory of Saint Mont wines and saved many grapes from extinction.
Saint Mont now holds a unique collection in France (around 116 different grape varieties) and this botanical heritage is now attracting attention from researchers, scientists and vintners alike. Much of Dubosc's work has focused on the vineyard of René Pédebernade, which, according to the French wine critic Michel Bettane, contains the oldest vines in France. Some of the vines are believed to be 300 years old, giving new meaning to the term Vieilles Vignes (old vines).
The most popular food and wine pairing recipes were:
Laverbread – the Welshman's Caviar, paired with Champagne or Sparkling Wine, a Bordeaux Clairet or Rosé and a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend from the Entre Deux Mers.
Marjoram, the Herb of Grace – Recipes for Barbeques and Good Wine, paired with the white wine Sancet from the Côtes de Gascogne appellation.
The Changing of the Seasons, Jasmine, Beef Stew and Chateau Peynaud. Peynaud is a cracking Bordeaux Superieur that has proved so popular that Nick has sold out! If you are looking for a wine to pair with this recipe Nick recommends that you try Chateau Roc de Levraut which is another little gem.
I hope you have enjoyed Ladies With Bottle throughout 2011 as much I have enjoyed writing it. Thank you for all your support!
Nick and I wish you all a very Happy Christmas!