Wine Talk

Wine recommendations for your May Bank Holiday


How are you spending your May Bank Holiday?

One of the UK’s favourite weekends can be made even better with wine.

Here are some recommendations to enjoy (even if you’re working the Bank Hol!).


I’m having a barbecue 🍖

Wines for barbecues

Without doubt, one of the greatest barbecue wines is the Braai Cabernet Sauvignon from Indaba Wines in South Africa.

It’s inexpensive – so good for big groups of friends – and has been designed with barbecues (or Braais as they are known in SA) in mind.

The delightful charring effect of cooking over coals adds just the right element of taste to match this rich earthy wine.

For fish grillers, the zestiness of Bladen Wines’ Riesling makes a great partner to trout or mackerel when the smokey flavours bring its bright fruit flavours to life.


I’m having a dinner party 🥘

Wines for dinner parties

Of course it depends what you’re cooking but lamb is great at this time of year, so why not try a Pinot Noir?

There are many styles and prices available but Astoria’s inexpensive ‘Caranto’ will work well with its light, fresh berry fruit.

For something rounder, South Africa’s Paul Cluver Pinot Noir is full of fruit, with a decent structure that makes for good drinking against lamb or any red meat.

But if the pocket allows, the best for me will always be from Burgundy.

Domaine Tollot Beaut’s delightful Cote de Beaune selections, from their Bourgogne Pinot Noir to the Grand Cru of Corton are all top class.

If you want a white instead (or as well!), Burgundy offers so much, with Puligny Montrachet a particular favourite for fans of whites from the region.

But why not try something a little off the beaten track?

Domaine Prunier Bonheur’s excellent Auxey Duresses is a beautiful golden wine, vivid but rounded and guaranteed to please.

Or for seafood, look no further than Bouchard Finlayson's Blanc de Mer, a blend of several grapes based on Riesling and a real joy to drink.


I’m working ⏰

How to avoid hangovers

Nobody wants to work over the Bank Holiday weekend but if you can only enjoy a glass or two, go for a low sulphur content – the main cause of a bad head.

Happily, any bottle from us will boast lower levels but for something especially short on sulphur dioxide, go for the Gavi from Tenuta la Marchesa.

This deliciously pure wine is unsulphured until bottling and uses a very low amount even then – it tastes as fresh as you’ll feel in the morning!


What else are you doing? 🍷

However you’re spending the Bank Hol, we’d love match a wine to your plans (with exceptions – operating heavy machinery, nuclear testing), get in touch!

Or if you’d prefer to pick something yourself to enjoy, take a look at our current 12.5% off all Spanish and New Zealand wines promotion.

Recipe: Patatas Riojanas (Spain)

This quick and delicious supper or lunch is easy to make and even easier on the wallet, which means you can enjoy it with a decent Rioja – it really is worth it. 

I first fell in love with it four years ago having enjoyed it at our hotel in Haro.

When I make it myself nowadays, I use an aromatic white Rioja like Señorío De Espiga for cooking and a well-rounded red like Sierra Cantabria Rioja Crianza for drinking.

TIP: If you don't have white Rioja for cooking, another white wine can be used as long as it's not an oaked variety.

Patatas Riojanas recipe

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 adults)

1kg potatoes

250g cooking chorizo

1 x large onion

2 x garlic cloves

4-5 x tablespoons of olive oil

500ml chicken stock

1 x quarter bottle of white Rioja

1 x tablespoon of paprika


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into one inch chunks.
  2. Chop chorizo into one inch pieces.
  3. Peel and chop onion and garlic.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy based frying pan and fry onion and chorizo until onion is translucent.
  5. Add garlic and fry for further minute.
  6. Remove from heat and add all other ingredients.
  7. Stir and return to heat, bringing to the boil.
  8. Cover and simmer on lower heat for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are cooked.

Enjoy with a glass or three of ruby red Sierra Cantabria Rioja Crianza.



Recipe: Coq au Riesling (France)

This delicious and simple-to-make dish is the Alsatian version of the French classic 'Coq au Vin' – no dogs involved, it's still chicken. Try it yourself!

Recipe: Toasted goats cheese salad (France)

This simple starter is just the thing with a cool glass of Sancerre – it pairs particularly well with Domaine Hubert Brochard Sancerre, try it yourself!

Recipe: Monkfish with mushrooms in cream sauce (South Africa)

We last enjoyed this delicious fish dish in restaurant overlooking the ocean in beautiful Jacob's Bay in the Western Cape, with a bottle of Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer.

And with 12.5% off all South African wines, you should select a similarly fragrant fruity white to cut through the luxurious indulgence of this seafood feast.

South African monkfish with mushrooms in cream sauce


800g monkfish fillet

125ml dry white wine

250ml water

1 x bay leaf

Small handful of parsley

Half a small onion

6 x peppercorns

Half a teaspoon of salt

200g mushrooms (sliced)

25ml softened butter

25ml sherry

50ml double cream

1.5 x dessertspoon French mustard

2 x medium potatoes (mashed and creamed)

Grated parmesan or gruyere cheese


3 x level tablespoons of softened butter

60g flour

250ml warm milk

375ml fish stock

METHOD (serves 6)

1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C/320°F.

2. Put monkfish, wine, water, bay leaf, parsley, onion, peppercorns and salt in saucepan and poach until the fish is just just cooked through.

3. Remove and drain the fish, cube and set aside.

4. Fry mushrooms lightly in butter and drain on a paper towel.

5. Make the white sauce by heating the butter and flour together, stirring to make a 'roux'.

6. Whisk in the milk and stock to complete the sauce, taking care not to burn.

7. Season to taste, then add the fish, mushrooms, sherry, cream and mustard.

8. Spoon into individual dishes and surround the top with a border of creamed potato.

9. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Despite the number of strong flavours, the monkfish is tough enough to stand up for itself and really shines when complemented with a few glasses of Blanc de Mer.

Top tip: For added wow factor at the table, serve in individual scallop shells (available from most fishmongers) instead of dishes.

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Recipe: South African Bobotie

Pronounced 'ba-boor-tee', this protein-packed panful pairs well with robust reds like the Curator Red and is a national favourite in South Africa.

And with 12.5% off all South African wines, don't whip up this meaty treat without having a bottle or two to enjoy with it.

Bobotie from South Africa


1 x fairly thick slice of crusty bread (white or brown is fine)

375ml milk

25ml oil

10ml melted or softened butter

1 x clove of garlic (crushed)

2 x onions (sliced)

1.5 x tablespoons curry powder

Sea salt

25ml chutney

15ml smooth apricot jam

15ml Worcestershire sauce

1 x teaspoon turmeric

25ml brown vinegar

1kg raw beef mince

5 x tablespoons sultanas

3 x eggs

Bay leaves

METHOD (serves 8)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/356°F and set bread to one side, soaking in milk.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic until soft.
  3. Add curry powder, pinch of salt, chutney, jam, Worcestershire sauce, turmeric and vinegar and mix well.
  4. Drain and mash the bread, reserving the milk.
  5. Add bread to pan together with mince and sultanas. and stir over a low heat until meat loses its pinkness.
  6. Remove from stove, add one beaten egg, mix well and spoon into a greased baking dish (28 x 16cm), levelling the top.
  7. Beat remaining eggs with reserved milk (you should have around 300ml), a further pinch of salt and pinch of turmeric, then pour over the meat mixture.
  8. Add a few bay leaves on top and stand the dish in a larger pan of water (important to prevent drying out), then bake, uncovered for 1 hour, or until set.

It's traditionally enjoyed with rice but we'd recommend also accompanying with coconut, chutney, nuts, bananas and (of course) a few glasses of Curator red.

Top tip: Get ahead by making the meat sauce up to a day in advance and chilling it in the fridge until you are ready to finish the dish off.

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Monica's recipe is fresh, simple and delicious – and the perfect partner to fruity dry whites, like the stunning Fiano di Avellino 'Refiano' D.O.C.G 2015 by Tenuta Cavalier Pepe.

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