I do love a challenge, especially when it involves wine (or chocolate!)
Happy days are when you get sent two bottles of beautiful Chablis to match with your favourite takeaway food, in order to demonstrate how the wine can pair with different foods from around the world.
For me the choice of food was easy, it would have to be an Indian takeaway as
a) we live in out in the sticks and there's very little 'takeaway' choice,
b) if I am going to get takeaway food, it has to be something I don't/can't make as well at home.
My husband was like "Really? Chablis with Indian food? How's that going to work then?" I think he had been having a little look through the comprehensive tasting notes that has been supplied with the Chablis and had noted that one of the four rules of food and wine matching was that 'strong food should be matched with strong wine'. The label on the bottle read that it was perfect with 'fish and light dishes'!
Chablis is produced in the northern part of Burgundy, France, along the Serein valley, where there is a specific climate and soil. Divided among 20 villages and hamlets, it is an area I would love to explore, with all those fabulous vineyards and excellent local food.
Exclusively made with the Chardonnay grape, Chablis covers four appellations: Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru. The appellations are differentiated by very precisely-defined production areas and specific production conditions. The authorised yield varies from appellation to appellation, and the minimum sugar required in order to harvest the grapes depends upon the type of cru.
Well, I can tell you that both wines went pretty perfectly with our Indian dishes! Of the two bottles I was sent, the Petit Chablis J. Moreau & Fils 2011 (Marks & Spencer, £11.99) was my favourite. It was a little lighter and sharper in taste. There was an incredible vibrant smell when the wine was opened, and it seemed quite lively on the taste buds.
The other bottle was a Chablis, Les Grand Terroirs, Samuel Billaud 2011 (The Wine Society, £10.99) and this was a bit more earthy, more sophisticated, and had a certain deepness to it. This Chablis would be just as lovely on its own, served well chilled.
Surprisingly, the Petit Chablis was not overpowered by the strong spices of the poppadoms, I thought it complimented them rather well.
Less spicy, but equally good with the wines, onion bhajees.
If, like me, you know nothing about wine but want to know how to taste it properly, there are three easy steps to follow.
It's all about the colour- hold the wine glass by the stem and look at the intensity of the wine. The colour depends on the age of the wine and how it was made.
Have a good sniff and then swirl the wine around in the glass, sniffing again to smell the aroma molecules which have been released.
Have a little sip of the wine and try to detect the flavours that you picked up when you were sniffing the wine. Your tongue and mouth have sensitive areas, so swirl the wine right around your mouth.
Swirling the wine, before sniffing
I usually opt for a cider when having Indian food, or a beer, and I can honestly say I really enjoyed the change. I hope the wine producers don't hate me for my choice of spicy dishes, and that they try their wines with a little bit of accompanying heat themselves!
Disclosure: I was sent two bottles of chablis by the Bureau Interprofessionel de Vins de Bourgogne so that I could take part in this challenge - Merci!
The winner of the challenge will win a prize of a trip to Chablis, to the annual tasting event.
All views are my own.
Please drink responsibly, visit Drinkaware for more information.
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