Matching wine and food is never an exact science. Now I know you’re meant to drink red with meat and white with fish. But things are never that simple, are they? Especially when you are challenged to do exactly that by the folks at Sopexa who provided me with a red Bordeaux.
So I need to match a dish, any dish, with a rather lovely bottle of Le Grand Chai Chateau La Brande 2010, medium bodied, dry and pretty strong at 14.5%.
The wine has an edge of dry, old-books when you take a sniff, it’s something I’ve only ever found with Bordeaux and marks it as a goodun. That underlays the dominant cherry, plum and soft, dark fruity notes that rise up as you swirl the glass.
The first taste is redolent of dark soft fruits with a dry, spicy edge that stops the wine from becoming too rich. There’s the merest hint of coriander seed and star anise, along with those old books. It’s a belter of a wine.
If it was winter, this would be a no brainier for me. I love stews and casseroles, all long slow tenderly cooked meat that would go very well. But that didn’t feel particularly seasonal, and in this heat would be a bit too much.
But just because I’m not going to do a casserole, doesn’t mean I have to give up on the slow cooking. I’ve discounted BBQ lamb, or some other summer charcoal grill. They’re more suited to a fruitier new world Shiraz or Southern French mix.
But when I found some wild Sussex rabbit in the butcher, my mind turned to cool jellied stock, pickles and alfresco lunch. It was terrine time.
Cooking the meat in a red-wine stock made it less attractive, but the flavour is far more suited to a Bordeaux. And the long slow summer ensures that the rabbit is not at all dry, despite the relative lack of fat. I added the star anise to help bring out the spicier edge to the wine.
The gamey wild rabbit, meaty and lean makes for a great accompaniment to a dry red, and the deep sweetly meaty stock gives it a cool, delightfully slippery and moist texture. Not too dry and cooling for a hot and humid summer day.
The Le Grand Chai Chateau La Brande 2010 is £12.99 from Laithwaites was provided free of charge by Sopexa
Rabbit and red wine terrine.
1 wild rabbit
1 pigs trotter
250ml (a large glass) of fruity red wine (a young bordeaux)
2 large onions
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb ginger
Half a star anise
Sprig of rosemary
Sprig of thyme
Put the rabbit, trotter, carrot, onions, ginger, garlic, herbs, star anise in a large saucepan. Pour over the wine, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to low and simmer gently for three hours.
Drain off the liquid into a jug, lay the meat it to cool and reserve the onions and herbs. Once the meat is cool enough to handle, pull the flesh off with your fingers. Add to a bowl with a little finely chopped red onion, the reserved herbs and onions and season well with salt and pepper.
Put into a terrine mould (or loaf tin, Perspex bowl etc). Reduce the liquid by about a third and then pour over. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours.