I must admit that I am one of those people who enjoys a glass of wine but is hopeless at knowing what is good and what isn’t. I am baffled by those people on the tv who tell me that they are getting a hint of berries with an undertone of wood and an after taste of socks – ok, maybe not socks, but you get what I’m saying? So I was intrigued when I was asked if I’d like to try some Chablis and try pairing it with some food. Luckily, they sent me a guide to wine tasting along with the Chablis…
I received a bottle of Chablis Premier Cru, Les Vaillons, Billaud-Simon, which is £13.15 and is available from Bancroft Wines and a bottle of Les Domaines Brocard Organic Chablis, 2007, which is available from Marks and Spencer priced £14.99. The guide gave me a three step guide to tasting wine:
- Step One – Appearance. Study the colour (white wine gets darker as it ages), swirl the glass and watch the droplets (or legs) – the higher the number of legs, the higher the alcohol content and if the quicker they fall down the glass, the sweeter the wine.
- Step Two – Nose. Swirl the wine again and sniff the wine (some common aromas are fruit, flowers, spice or vegetable)
- Step Three: Palate. Take an initial sip and then another, drawing in air through your mouth (as if you are sucking spaghetti!) to try and link with your sense of smell. See how long you can taste the wine for – the longer the taste lasts, the more expensive the wine.
Simples! I gave it a good go – I think I need more practice!
I was interested to hear about the history of Chablis – I’m a bit of a history nerd. The existing Chablis vineyard (between Paris and Beaune and neighbouring Champagne) was developed by Cistercian monks. Today there are over 300 vineyards, which produce over 10000 bottles of wine.
I really enjoyed the wine and whilst I may need a little more practice at ‘proper’ wine tasting, I know what I like. The wine reminded me of holidays and afternoons sat relaxing in the sunshine. So with this in mind, I decided to pair my Chablis with a Tapas for Two menu, because that also reminds me of holidays. I made baked camembert with baked French bread, salmon and vegetable skewers, crab cakes with tomato salsa, olives and anchovies on sticks and baked tortilla. The wine and food went together really well and we had the bonus of sitting out in the sunshine – just like being on holiday!
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
75ml creme fraiche
1 tbsp chopped chives
50g cheddar, grated
1. Grease a 20cm round baking tin and preheat the oven to 170°C.
2. Peel and dice the potatoes then boil until they are just cooked.
3. Chop the onion and fry it gently over a low heat until it is softened but not coloured, then add the garlic and red pepper. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for 1 more minute.
4. Whisk together the eggs and cheese, then stir in the chives.
5. Put the cooked vegetables into the prepared tin then cover with the egg mixture. Mix together with a fork
6. Cook in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until the tortilla is cooked through and golden brown.
Allow to cool slightly then cut into wedges to serve. It’s also delicious cold the next day.
Salmon and Vegetable Skewers
240g salmon fillets
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 inch piece of fresh root ginger, finely grated
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper
1/2 courgette, cut into circles
6 cherry tomatoes
1. If you are using wooden skewers, you may want to soak them in water for half an hour.
2. Preheat the grill.
3. Cut the salmon into fairly large chunks and put them into a shallow bowl.
4. Mix together the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey and seasoning then pour over the salmon. Mix it around to make sure the salmon is coated then leave to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
5. Thread the salmon onto skewers, alternating with the courgette and tomatoes. You should be able to make about 4 skewers.
6. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
I sliced the camembert in half, spread with tomato chutney, put it back into the box and baked for 15-20 minutes. The French bread was sliced fairly thinly, sprayed with oil and baked alongside the camembert.
The crab cakes were made from mashed potatoes, canned crab meat, chopped spring onion and chilli, creme fraiche and seasoning. I shaped them and fried for a couple of minutes each side.
I wrapped the olives in thinly sliced anchovies, secured with a cocktail stick.
A perfect Tapas for Two to go with our glass of cool Chablis on a warm, sunny afternoon!
Disclosure: I was sent two bottles of Chablis to try.