Judges at What Food What Wine were so impressed by the pairing of Gallo’s Family Vineyards Summer Red with apple crumble and custard, they presented the reasonably-priced red with a special award for a ‘surprising match’.
The £6.99 wine beat top dessert wines from around the world in the competition which included Gérard Basset MS, MW, OBE, as a judge who was voted ‘World’s Best Sommelier’ in 2010.
Competition host Susie Barrie MW, from BBC2’s Saturday Kitchen, said: “It was a surprising and exceptional match, which none of us were expecting. The wine is an unusual combination that matches the cheery aspect of the sweet apple with enough acidity to stop the combination becoming overly rich, but with a pleasant sweetness running through that picks out the match in the food. The custard wraps the two together with a nice touch of warming cinnamon.”
The award was one of a series of remarkable results in the competition which is aimed at encouraging the UK’s 28 million wine drinkers to match wine and food with confidence.
Own-label wines fared particularly well with Aldi’s £4.99 Bordeaux Superieur 2009 scooping the best match (‘under £10’) for mature cheese, and Morrisons’ Best Australian Chardonnay, 2007, (£7.99) coming out as the top match with smoked salmon (‘under £10’).
Aldi’s Toro Loco Spanish Rose, 2010, (£3.49) was voted best match for chicken tikka masala (‘under £10’) and Waitrose’s Blanc de Blancs Brut NV Champagne (£23.99) scooped a special ‘fizz and chips’ award for tasting good with fish and chips.
A white wine – Louis Jadot Chassagne Montrachet 2008, (£28.49) scooped best match with mature cheddar (‘over £10’).
Judges at the blind tasting only knew if the wines cost more or less than £10.
The dishes, created by leading food writer, stylist and broadcaster Jo Pratt, included roast lamb, lasagne, mushroom risotto and chocolate mousse. For all the winners go to www.whatfoodwhatwine.com.
The competition was welcomed by industry experts. Paul Medder, senior project manager at Wine Intelligence, said: “In recent years only two factors have appeared to influence wine consumers: price and promotion, neither of which lends itself to consumer engagement.
“What Food What Wine encourages consumers to stop and think about wine, rather than reach out for a three for £12 offer – which is a great thing for the wine trade. The wine industry needs a spark and this might just be it. Food matching can seem daunting, this is going to democratise it in a positive way.”
Competition host Peter Richards, MW, said: “We were thrilled with the results – there’s something for everyone. What was most exciting was to see wines from right across the spectrum winning top awards. It’s great that inexpensive supermarket own-label wines are sitting alongside some of the more celebrated names in the wine world. It just goes to show that all kinds of wines can and do partner food brilliantly well – so there are lots of options for wine drinkers out there whatever the taste or budget. “
E. & J. Gallo Winery
Tel: 01895 813444