Over the past few weeks, I haven’t been drinking much wine, due to my recent discovery of beers that I like. I’ve been trying out different styles and flavours of lagers and ales, while neglecting the bottles of wine in my rack. I selected a Chilean Carmenere, a varietal I hadn’t tried before, and as I was feeling a bit peckish, cut up some chunks of cheddar to have with it.
The wine was a 2014 CM Carmenere (Marks and Spencer, £8.50) from the Elqui Valley, a small region in the north of Chile. The Carmenere grape was originally planted in Bordeaux, mainly for use in blends, before finding it’s modern home in Chile, where the majority of the world’s Carmenere wines are now produced.
Apart from when I’m out for a meal with friends, I rarely drink wine with food. This weekend has reminded me that a small snack can really enhance a glass of wine. The wine was medium bodied, with berry flavours, and a moderate amount of acidity and tannin noticeable. On its own, it was an enjoyable wine, but after eating some of the medium-strength cheddar before my next sip, it transformed it. The combination made the wine feel even more smooth and rounded, and emphasised the fruit flavours.
Port and Stilton is a popular pairing, and I have a bottle of Fino Sherry, which is commonly paired with Manchego cheese, salted almonds, or Iberico ham. Dark chocolate and red wine are often enjoyed together: Olly Smith made some chocolate and wine pairing videos with Lindt’s master chocolatier Stefan Bruderer, which I’ll have to try out (You can find the videos on YouTube). As long as the food isn’t so strong that it overpowers the wine, I’m sure that any snack can enhance your enjoyment of a wine. Have a raid through your cupboards and fridge and experiment.