Rich, flavoursome dishes based on game are in season right now. When pairing wines with game, consider the intensity of flavour in the meat, this often depends on how long the game’s hung and matured. Full-bodied, savoury red wines and occasionally a characterful white wine fit the bill.
Any accompanying sauce, or gravy, even vegetables like red cabbage, can have a bearing on your choice of wine. Safe bets include – red Burgundy wines made from the Pinot Noir grape, red Rhône’s, Rioja Reserva and spicy, warming reds made from Primitivo/Zinfandel and Pinotage. With feathered game such as pheasant, cooked with apples and cream, try a Pinot Gris from Alsace, or New Zealand, or with wood pigeon – a Claret.
On the shelf
Mud House – Pinot Gris 2014 Nelson – New Zealand £10.49 Majestic: Rich, concentrated nose – apple, pear, almond. Full, with a generous flavour, a little spice under and good length.
The Exquisite Collection – Plan de Dieu 2013 Rhône - France £5.79 Aldi: Great value here. Grenache provides ripe strawberry-like fruit and a note of pepper, Syrah – some grip and blackberry flavour and Mourvedre – some herbal notes and earthy backbone.
Château Brassac 2012 Bordeaux Supérieur – France £9.99 Co-op: Bramble fruits and spice aromas. Very approachable, but with plenty of substance too. Dark plum, cherry, clearly defined fruit and food-friendly acidity.
Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2013 Lodi – California – USA £10 Sainsbury’s: Joel Peterson’s consistently brilliant Zinfandel (with Petite Sirah in the blend). Deep colour, blackberry, liquorice, subtle chocolate on the nose and palate. Velvety smooth, with tangy acidity and integrated oak.
E. Delaunay et Fils – Volnay 2007 Burgundy – France £15.99 from November 16 – Aldi: Mature, gamey, soft-cored Volnay, with ‘sweet’ dried-fruit characteristics, silky tannins and elegance. Drinking very well now.
Château Vieux Lartigue 2009 Saint-Emilion – Bordeaux – France £16.50 The Wine Society: Developing some savoury complexity, from a superb vintage. Ripe, smooth and seductive, plummy, with firmish tannins, cedar and excellent length.
-- Neil Courtier is a freelance wine educator and writer. He runs wine courses and tutored tastings for groups and individuals, in Bury and Cambridge. More details: 01359 firstname.lastname@example.org/grapesense.com