Spanish or Australian Red with Slow-Cooked Lamb Korma?

On a cold rainy January day there is nothing better than something cooked in our crockpot and Lamb Korma from the Slow Cook Book was ideal.

Cubed lamb is fried with onions, ginger, garlic and a spice mixture of dried red chillies, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, cumin, mace and paprika.  The lamb is then slow-cooked with yoghurt and a little salt.  Double cream is stirred through towards the end of cooking.  The korma is then garnished with coriander and served with pilau rice.  We mopped up the sauce with naan bread.  Delicious.

We opened a bottle of The Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  There was an initial sweetness, followed by intense blackcurrant fruits and a smooth, spicy finish. The wine was a good match with the korma, but we have enjoyed better pairings with this wine, such as this one.2016-01-01 17.31.00

However, we managed to improve on the pairing with the leftovers.  We opened a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red from Costco.  This wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo.

We loved its sweet, creamy smooth vanilla red fruits, with a lovely savouriness on the finish.  A very good match with the korma.

Aussie & French Reds Great with Beef Carbonnade

2015-12-18 19.02.38We tried Beef Carbonnade from the Slow Cook Book.  Cubed beef is slow-cooked in a mixture of shallots, seasoning, garlic, sugar, nutmeg, bouquet garni and beer.  We used a can of Hobgoblin.

Slices of French bread spread with Dijon mustard are added halfway through the cooking time. These soak into the pot and enhance the gravy.  Parsley is sprinkled over the top at the end and we served the carbonnade with a jacket potato.  A very enjoyable meal.

We opened a bottle of Prospector Shiraz 2013, a full-bodied Australian red from Naked Wines.  There were blackberry fruits on the nose and the palate delivered a creamy vanilla sweetness and rich, smooth black fruits.  The wine was a very good match with the meal.

We enjoyed the leftovers of this carbonnade with a bottle of Reserve de Pierre 2013, a medium-bodied Southern French red also from Naked Wines.  This blend of Grenache and Syrah displayed nice legs in the glass, a red berry creamy sweetness and a smooth finish with a hint of spice.  Another very good match.

Two Reds Not Enhanced by Autumn Game Casserole

We fancied trying Autumn game casserole from the Slow Cook Book.  Mixed game meat such as pheasant, venison and rabbit are slow cooked with onion, carrot, parsnip, fennel and mushrooms in cider and chicken stock.  We garnished with chopped parsley and served with mashed potato.

We weren’t sure what to expect and what would be a good wine pairing.  Whilst there were pleasant savoury and sweet flavours in the casserole, our next using game will involve a red wine sauce.

We sampled two reds with the dish.  The first was The Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011, a favourite of ours from the Sunday Times Wine Club.IMG_2187.JPG

This full bodied Australian red delivered a slight sweetness, black fruits and a smooth finish, but its flavours were not enhanced by the pairing. See here and here for some better pairings for this wine.

The next wine was a bottle of Castillo de Viñas Crianza, Rioja 2012, a medium-bodied Spanish red from the Wine Society made from 90% IMG_2188-0.jpgTempranillo and 10% Graciano.

We detected red fruits on the nose, with flavours of strawberries and a creamy vanilla finish.  A marginally better match, but not great.


An Australian Red Blend is Very Good with Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

We found an interesting recipe in the Slow Cook Book called Lamb Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce.

The meatballs are made from minced lamb, onions, chilli, garlic, chorizo, paprika and seasoning.  The sauce contains onion, garlic, red wine, tinned tomatoes, smoked paprika, Tabasco sauce and seasoning. We served with spaghetti and sprinkled over some Parmesan.

We paired this dish with a bottle of Dark Corner Durif Shiraz 2014, an Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club. 2015-10-16 18.47.09

We detected berry fruits on the nose with sweetness and black fruits on the palate.  There were vanilla and chocolate notes on the finish and we thought the wine was a very good match with the meal.

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.

A Rueda from Spain is Very Good with Slow-Cooked Chicken in White Wine

We tried Chicken in White Wine from the Slow Cook Book. 2014-11-13 10.49.10

Chicken pieces are marinated in white wine, onions, celery, garlic and peppercorns.  The marinated chicken is then slow-cooked in its marinade with shallots, chicken stock and bouquet garni.  Mushrooms are added towards the end. We served the meal with mashed potato.

We paired this tasty and warming casserole with a bottle of Libra Rueda Verdejo 2013, a Spanish white wine from Waitrose.

The wine was slightly off-dry, fresh, zingy, with a touch of apple, but the predominant flavours were smooth slightly creamy pineapple and mangoes.  The finish was crisp.  We thought this enjoyable wine was a very good match with the slow-cooked chicken.2014-11-13 18.24.03

A South African Chenin Blanc is Very Good with Pork Normandy

We tried Pork Normandy from the Slow Cook Book. Lean pork is cubed and slow cooked with onions, Dijon mustard, garlic, celery, carrots, Rosemary, Bramley apples, dry cider, chicken stock, black peppercorns and double cream. We served this very tasty recipe with mashed potato.

To pair with the meal we opened a bottle of The Huguenot Chenin Blanc 2012, a 2014-06-08 20.32.42South African white from the Sunday Times Wine Club.

We tasted apples, creamy tropical fruits, a slight sweetness and a zesty finish.  We thought the wine was a very good match with the pork.

French Preferred to Spanish Red with a Navarin of Lamb

IMG_0608We had a family meal and cooked Navarin of Lamb from the Slow Cook Book.

This springtime stew contains cubed lamb, baby onions, tomato puree, ground cloves, bouquet garni, stock, small new potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, baby carrots, french beans and a parsley garnish.  To be honest we have tasted better Lamb Navarin recipes.  This one was a bit bland for us.

We paired two red wines with this dish.  First, The Society’s Corbières 2012, a full-bodied Southern French red blend of Carignan and Grenache from the Wine Society.  We tasted strawberry fruits and a sweetness that had an affinity with the turnips and carrots.  We found the finish smooth.  A good match.

Second up was a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2008, a medium-bodied Spanish red from Costco.  The wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo and the black fruits and chocolatey edge were also good with the stew.   However, we all thought the Corbières was the better match.

An Australian Chardonnay is Very Good with a Slow-Cooked Chicken and Beer Stew

We slow-cooked a Chicken and Beer Stew recipe from the Slow Cook Book.

The chicken pieces were cooked with onions, brandy, mushrooms, bouquet garni, crushed juniper berries, beer (a can of Hobgoblin in this case), chicken stock and double cream.

The meal was garnished with parsley and served with a jacket potato. Very enjoyable too.

We thought a not too oaked-Chardonnay would be good and opened a bottle of Tesco’s Finest Del Rios Victoria Chardonnay 2011.

This Australian white was lemony, with fresh tropical fruits and a smooth creamy finish that intensified IMG_0598as the meal progressed.  A very good match.

Finding a Decent Red Wine Pairing with a Slow-Cooked Beef and Barley Stew Proves Difficult

For a warming winter meal we tried Beef with Barley and Mushrooms from the Slow Cook Book.  This is braising steak slow cooked with bouquet garni, beef stock, carrots, celery, mushrooms and pearl barley. We served this with mashed potatoes and crusty bread.

Earthy flavours and we thought the earthiness of a Pinot Noir would fit the bill, so we tried a bottle of Brancott Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011, a medium-bodied New Zealand red from Costco. Nothing wrong with this wine, but it clashed horribly and was quickly set aside.

Next up was a bottle of Chateau Rouquette sur Mer, La Clape 2011, a medium-bodied Lanquedoc red blend IMG_0406IMG_0408from the Wine Society.

This was smooth, rich with red fruits and slightly peppery.  This was also a good wine but it proved no more than an adequate match with the meal.

All in all a disappointing food and wine pairing experience and frankly we found the flavours of the dish somewhat muted.  We will not be doing this one again.