I often make suggestions on this site about what food to eat with the wine I am reviewing. These are sometimes based on what I’ve tried to pair with the food; at other times they are based on generally received wisdom. I say ‘generally received’ because there are some folks who think wine and food matching is pretentious rubbish and if you want to drink robust Argentinian Malbec with delicate Dover sole you should go ahead. If you like the wine and the food; you’ll still enjoy both together.
The reason I’m mentioning this here, is that with Piccini Orange Label Chianti 2011, I had what was one of my ‘best’ food matches ever. We tried this wine alongside lamb fillet with a mint and balsamic vinegar crust. (I confess I didn’t cook this…all the hard work – apart from opening the oven door – was done by “Mr. Waitrose”) What was a pleasant but unremarkable wine, was really enhanced by the lamb and vice versa. The acidity and fruity herbyness of wine complimented and cut through the fatty lamb – lifting both to new levels.
I’m not generally a Chianti admirer. I just don’t seem to get on with the dry, dusty, acidity of Sangiovese unless it’s got a slug of some other variety in with it. This wine has a little Ciliegiolo in it too but I’m not sure that’s enough to make a real difference.
We poured the wine into a jug and left it for about forty-five minutes but it didn’t really open up that much. It smelled vaguely of red fruit and tasted of dark cherries. Gentle tannins made it easy to drink. So far, so OK…until we tried it with the food. ”That was unexpected,” said The Analyst. “In a good way.”
You won’t miss this bottle on the supermarket shelves. It has an unmistakeable label: one for Wolverhampton Wanderers or Dundee United fans. I wonder how it sells in Holland?
Piccini Orange Label Chianti 2011 is available from Morrisons and Sainsbury’s. It’s usual price is £7.99 but it’s on offer at Sainsbury’s for a third off until March 5.
W.O.W. Factor 6 (before food)
P.S. For four basic rules on wine and food pairing see What Food What Wine. For a more in depth explanation try ThirtyFifty. To find suggestions for a pairing for something you plan to cook/eat check out Matching food and wine from The Winematcher (a.k.a Fiona Beckett)