Take the guesswork out of serving the perfect romantic meal this year by following the choices of the UK’s leading wine experts.
Finding the perfect wine match this Valentine’s Day has never been easier thanks to What Food What Wine? the UK’s first wine and food pairing competition.
A panel of judges, including married Masters of Wine Susie Barrie and Peter Richards from BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, tasted wines from around the world to find the best matches for the UK’s favourite meals, including the ultimate Valentine’s Day dinner.
They discovered a £4.50 Sauvignon Blanc from supermarket Asda, that was a wow with smoked salmon; a Waitrose Shiraz dubbed ‘fantastic’ with steak and chips; as well as a popular budget Mosato called ‘heavenly’ with strawberries and cream.
A Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (Luis Felipe Edward Reserva, 2011, £4.50, Asda) beat competition from around the world to be crowned the ‘best match with smoked salmon’.
Judges praised the wine’s: “Fresh zippy flavour, with a tang of citrus, that dances with the rich oiliness of the salmon. The sweetness of the fish highlights deeper flavours in the wine, creating the perfect mouthful.”
When it came to the main meal of rump steak and fries a robust Australian Shiraz from Waitrose (Reserve Shiraz St Hallett, 2010, £9.99) came out on top.
Judge Ewan Lacey, from Channel 4’s Cookery School, said: “The black pepper and sweet black fruit, with a decent pull of alcohol, stood up to the steak. Huge flavours vied for attention with bursts of vanilla and sweet meat. This is a fantastic steak wine at a good price.”
And an American Moscato, from the popular vineyard Barefoot, scooped the crown as the ultimate match with strawberries and cream. Judges called the Barefoot Moscato NV, £4.99: “Heavenly! A really fruity, creamy match, the sweetness is delicate and enriching without cloying.”
The competition, launched last year, aims to find the best wine matches for the UK’s favourite dishes including fish and chips, chicken tikka masala, roast lamb, lasagne, mushroom risotto and apple crumble and custard.
Judges include the Guardian’s wine writer Fiona Beckett and BBC Good Food’s Sarah Jane Evans, MW, as well as delicious wine critic Susy Atkins.
The competition boasts a true ‘blind’ tasting, with judges only knowing if the wine costs more or less than £10. For the full results visit www.whatfoodwhatwine.com.