8 Great Spring Dishes & Wine Pairings from Luxury Family Hotels
Spring has sprung, and our hotels have launched their new season's menus. In celebration, we've asked our affable wine guy Stan Park to pair a new dish from each hotel with a fabulous wine. Read on for his recommendations, accompanied by an explanation as to why each works so well.
Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire
The dish: Roasted John Dory with English asparagus, Jersey Royals, morel mushrooms and wild garlic hollandaise sauce.
The wine: Hawk Crest by Stag’s Leap, Monterey, California
Why it works: This is a wonderful combination of flavours, with the delicacy of the fish and asparagus given depth and brooding character by the mushrooms and wild garlic. This Chardonnay has a perfect mid-Atlantic balance of ripe fruit and gracious elegance, reflecting the same characters in the food flavours. The bottle age means the wine has lost its initial fruity vigour and feels far more Burgundian for it.
Woolley Grange, Wiltshire
The dish: Local corn-fed chicken, spring vegetable broth, wild garlic crème fraîche
The wine: Pinot Blanc, Villa Wolf, Rheinpfalz
Why it works: Here the flavours are bright but are in a broth so are slightly softer, and the balance is provided by the bite given by the wild garlic crème fraîche. The wines of the German Pfalz are very underrated. This Pinot Blanc is made by the great Ernst Loosen and moves from a bright, mineral start through a waxy mouthfeel to a lingering, balanced finish. It will match both the softness and the brightness in the dish without overwhelming it.
New Park Manor Hotel, Hampshire
The dish: New-season spring lamb, fresh peas, broad beans and pearl onions, minted jus
The wine: Pinot Noir, Wingspan, The Woollaston Winery, Nelson
Why it works: Pinot Noir is a classic lamb accompaniment. More genteel than, say, Shiraz or Cabernet, it suits the gentler, sweeter flavours of the meat. This Pinot from one of NZ's leading organic makers has pure, bright stone fruit with a lingering finish that does not overwhelm. This is wine that leaves room for the food and does not compete with it for your attention.
Polurrian Bay Hotel, Cornwall
The dish: Pan-fried John Dory with gnocchi, samphire and cockle velouté
The wine: Picpoul de Pinet, Terres Rouges, Domaine Reine Juliette, Languedoc Roussillon
Why it works: The richness of the fish and softness of the gnocchi are given a saline burst of freshness by the samphire and cockles. This Picpoul has a lime-zest freshness at the front of the wine but good fruit and peach kernel character following. Its acidities are soaked up by the fish flesh and the soft gnocchi and it leaves the palate nice and clean.
Fowey Hall Hotel, Cornwall
The dish: Guinea fowl and wild mushroom terrine with pickled baby leeks and truffle brioche, watercress and truffle mayonnaise
The wine: Grüner Veltliner Kittmannsberg, Rudolf Rabl, Kamptal
Why it works: I'm going a little out on a limb here but this is such an accomplished Austrian wine that its deft integrity will assert itself with these food flavours. It's a wonderful balance of dignified minerality and a weight and richness that quietly opens up as you drink it. To begin with you'll think it's not of enough consequence to match the dish, but then it keeps developing its wonderful complexities.
Moonfleet Manor Hotel, Dorset
The dish: Herb-crusted fillet of sustainable North Sea cod, citrus and tomato crushed new potatoes, spring podded peas, braised baby leeks, brown shrimp, salsa verde.
The wine: Albarino, Esencia Divina, Galicia
Why it works: There are lots of flavours and textures going on here, and to match them a wonderful Spanish white wine. This Albarino has recently come first in the most important comparative tasting of Albarinos in Galicia. It has a notable saline beginning, reminiscent of all the Atlantic seafood that is landed on the Galician coast, but then develops its fruit in the mid palate and finishes with a surprising length and persistence.
The Ickworth Hotel, Suffolk
The dish: Roasted salt-marsh rump of lamb, sweetbread, pommes Anna, minted pea purée, wild mushroom, buttered spinach and rosemary jus.
The wine: Bin 99 Pinot Noir 2012 La Source
Why it works: The bright stone fruit of Pinot Noir is always a good match for lamb with its gentle red meat flavours compared to heartier beef, and this south-eastern Australian wine is no exception.