Marriage made in heaven

 

If you asked me for the most memorable wine and food pairing I had at Northcote it would have to be a dish of grouse, liver parfait, damsons and potatoes.

 

 

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Photo by Adam Pawlowski MS

 

It is Northcote’s take on an old British classic and is usually available on the menu between August and September, when grouse is in season. Looking at the ingredients you’d think it would be very rich, but our chef prepares it in an elegant way. The flavours are still quite strong yet all in perfect balance, which makes the dish even more wine-friendly. I love the intense, gamey character you get from grouse and, when it comes to pairing it with wine, either a Syrah or a richer style of Pinot Noir from Burgundy should make the flavours sing together beautifully. But for this dish it has to be Syrah. We are looking for a wine with well-defined fruit, an earthy character, freshness and good grip and for this, I absolutely adore the spicy, peppery character of the northern Rhône. My choice would be Domaine François et Fils’ Côte-Rôtie 2011. It is a youngish Syrah with a dash of Viognier for aromatic lift and shows a lot of delicious black plum, blackberry and cherry aromas which complement the rich flavour of the grouse and liver and pick up on the sweetness of the prunes. The wine has the pepper and spice I want to mirror the gamey nature of the dish, while its grippy tannins stand up to the textures. Finally, the lifted acidity cuts through the rich meat while also refreshing the palate. Perfect!

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Photo by Adam Pawlowski MS

Adam Pawlowski MS

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