Food and wine matching

al cos     There is a lot of information about food and wine matching. It’s not something I’ve taken much interest in with meat – red and fish – white about my level. But last night we had some calf liver and I had a look for potential matches. Given that there is really only one recipe for calf liver (the only food where this applies?) I though there would be some consensus on the wine. Not so, with pretty much every red grape mentioned as suitable, even beaujolais. So I thought I’d go with a ‘big’ red, partly to match the liver and also as a foil for the other essential ingredients, namely bacon and sage. (We also had grain mustard mash, roasted shallots and an oloroso based gravy). Coincidentally I’d been sorting out a cupboard and discovered a few wines I’d forgotten about. One of these was a 2003 Alvolo Aglianico del Vulture, made by Alovini in the south of Italy (14%). This was a good match as it turned out – lots a plummy fruit, perfumed, aged in oak but the tannin not predominating. A wine with some personality to counter the robust food. From the Wine Society, about £14 which is excellent value. Out of stock, as is a similar 2008 by the same maker. We also tried another one from the cupboard – Azienda Agricola Cos Pithos 2008, made in Sicily (13%). This is a blend of two grapes I know little about, Nero d’Avola and Frappato. Also WS but no longer stocked. Apparently the wine is matured in amphorae and is low sulphur. It could be considered a ‘natural wine’, something I’ve never knowingly tasted before. Comes in a stumpy bottle. Another lovely wine, lighter and with more acidity, lots of fresh fruit flavours and a long finish. I’ve passed the remainder on to Geoff for a comment.

(Geoff – I appreciated this offering left outside my front door; used to be milk that was  left there but this is more exciting. A day on and the wine had developed a real farmyard palate. As the Frappato is not considered a ‘long-liver’ whilst the Nero d’Avola is, I guess the former grape had partly oxidised leaving a full-bodied wine with a very savoury tang. It was not unpleasant but certainly distinctive. An acquired taste, you might say, and one that would suit richly flavoured foods.

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