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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Chablis With Spicy Food?

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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.

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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.

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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.


How to taste wine.
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.

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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!

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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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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2013 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.


meigancam01 said...

I was thinking a lot regarding this topic, so thanks for bringing it up here. You certainly have a good writing style i like, so will be subscribing to your blog.

Jeane M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deeba PAB said...

Well said. It is quite interesting that you chose Indian food. We have quite an awakening here in India pairing wine with Indian food, and it makes for a great great experience.

afracooking said...

Fabulous post! Love the fact that you are not just sharing a recipe but taking it that one step further by adding the wine as an extra dimension!

Rachel Cotterill said...

I was invited to this challenge, and I've gone for Indian, too - in fact we just placed our order, and while we're waiting I thought I'd google for other participants ;) Nice to meet you!

grace said...

this makes me wish i knew more than a little bit about wine. :)

Amy said...

What a great challenge. Interesting pairing for the wine but sounds totally delicious and indulgence. :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Good for you for taking your food choice to the next level Nic. I am sure that the makers offer only guidelines and you are free to experiment with whatever suits your fancy. As an aside I am taking a master cooking class at a local Indian restaurant next Sunday.

Jacqueline @Howtobeagourmand said...

Ah Nic, you get all the difficult challenges...
I'd happily share a bottle of Chablis and takeaway with you. Works well with Thai spicy dishes too.
Please don't worry about not meeting up - hope you get a holiday soon :-)

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I'm willing to give it a go. Must remember next time I make curry.

Jeanne said...

There is so much hoo haa about food and wine matching (and for sure, some wines and some foods bring out the worst in each other) - but generally speaking, it's such a subjective thing that it always pays to bend the rules and try combinations that seem to be unusual. As you've illustrated, they may yield surprisingly delicious results!

Maggie said...

I'm not a wine drinker:( I have to pass all things wine related to others for help. I agree with Jeanne drink and food pairing is subjective - well I find this to be the case with fizz!