Planning a COSY NIGHT IN this weekend? This POLISHED WHITE WINE will dress up chicken, pork or fish. Try a taste of Iona Ten Barrel Chardonnay, Elgin 2015, writes MARY DOWEY
September slides into October – brrrr. The thought of all those zippy, fruity whites that slipped down nicely when served well cooled in the summer now sends shivers down the spine. We need to change our drinking habits with our wardrobes. In wine terms that means reaching for white wines with a bit more body and richness – and serving them at less bone-chilling temperatures, preferably with food.
This finely crafted South African is precisely the kind of bottle that will help to turn a weekend dinner at home into a special feast. It’s Chardonnay from the top end of the spectrum. The grapes were grown in the coolest vineyard in the Cape, ensuring the long, slow ripening period that is essential for elegant wines with an attractive vein of freshness. The juice was fermented in oak with wild yeasts, then matured in French oak barrels too – a proportion of them new. The result is as close to good Burgundy as a South African Chardonnay can be: citrusy, creamy, nutty and firm with tangy minerality peeping through beneath.
It’s worth remembering that Chardonnay would never have become a runaway success if it weren’t so brilliantly food-friendly. Fish, chicken, veal, pork, ham, cheese dishes, vegetable bakes… it brings out the best in them all, especially if there’s a touch of butter or cream and/or lemon involved in their preparation. Because of its body and depth, this impressive version is a main course white – definitely not an aperitif and probably a little too weighty for most appetisers. The simpler the food, the more brightly the wine will shine – which means you can settle for something like fish pie or roast chicken with herbs and lemon inside. Take the bottle from the fridge half an hour before dinner is ready – then pour, sip and smile.
From Marks & Spencer, €23.50
Mary Dowey @MaryDowey
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