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Wine Talk

Recipe: Simple sea bass with fennel (France)

 

To celebrate Domaine de la Croix Cru Classé Irresistible Rosé, here's what we ate when we first fell in love with this bottle.

Being truthful, it was more like three bottles – but any number will go wonderfully well with this simple and satisfying fish dish.

It's almost as good as Monica's sea bream (don't tell her) and very easy to prepare, leaving you free to enjoy a glass as cool as an ocean breeze.

TIP: While we recommend using whole fish on the bone for superior flavour, you can use four small fillets or sea bass instead if you're squeamish.

 Sea bass with fennel recipe

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

2 x small whole sea bass (gutted and scaled – ask your fishmonger)

1 x lemon, sliced

1 x fennel bulb, sliced

1 x small handful of black olives, stoned

1 tbsp olive oil

1 x small handful basil

Salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200.
  2. Wash and dry fish, then season liberally and fill cavities with lemon and fennel slices, plus some basil.
  3. Spread the rest, plus olives in a roasting tin and lay fish on top.
  4. Drizzle with oil and bake for 30 minutes or until fish is just cooked through. 

While the fish is cooking, savour the amazing smell and get stuck into some Domaine De La Croix Cru Classé Irresistible Rosé.

Recipe: Parmesan bites (match with Spanish Cava)

 

Fizz and nibbles – bliss for a dinner party or day in the sun.

Recreate special holiday memories with these ludicrously easy cheesey bites and a popped bottle or two or refreshing cava.

We recommend this wonderful Paco Molina Brut, a perfect partner at under £10 a bottle! 

TIP: For flavour variation, replace cayenne pepper with smoked paprika, dried thyme or mild chilli powder.

 Parmesan biscuits recipe

INGREDIENTS (20-30 bites)

125g plain flour

125g cubed unsalted butter

25g freshly grated parmesan

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 x pinch cayenne pepper

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180.
  2. Rub butter into flour or use a food processor until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients.
  4. Form together into a ball, then knead on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until dough is smooth.
  5. Cut dough in half (to allow for rolled out surface area) then roll out first piece between two pieces of cling film to 0.5cm thickness.
  6. Remove top piece of cling film, cut out as many 5cm round biscuits as you can and place on a greased baking tray.
  7. Repeat with second piece of dough and any trimmings.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden, then cool on a wire rack. 

Serve alongside something sparkling like Paco Molina Cava Brut but make sure you've got plenty of both for everyone!

Recipe: Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan steak – Italy)

 

It's officially summer, even the weather agrees, so it's time for a holiday inspired recipe.

Think barbecue and big glasses of Chianti Classico, like San Giorgio a Lapi.

It has to be the Tuscan classic, 'Bistecca alla Fiorentina' – succulent, simple and superb paired with the region's most famous red. 

TIP: If you're not in the mood to fire up the barbie, a grill pre-heated and set to high will work.

 Bistecca alla Fiorentina recipe

INGREDIENTS (Serves 6)

1kg T-bone steaks

6 x lemon wedges

3 tbsp Italian olive oil

4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Chop rosemary and spread over both sides of steaks, pressing in before leaving for an hour to marinate at room temperature.
  2. Light barbecue and wait until coals are white.
  3. Brush oil onto steaks and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook over hottest part of barbecue for around five minutes on each side, then remove and leave to rest for ten minutes before adding a final sprinkle of salt and oil if required.

Serve with nothing more complex than a very simple salad and of course, Chianti Classico.

Wish you were there? Favourite holiday wines (Special offer)

 

Do you feel like a holiday yet?

When I started writing this, the rain in the garden was dampening my spirits a bit.

Of course, since posting, we've been in the middle of a heatwave – which if anything has made me think about getting away even sooner.

Many of my holiday memories are linked to delicious food matched with stunning wines – and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

So, to limber up your palate for your own summer getaway, or to bring back memories of special times you've enjoyed, here are a few 'holiday' wines we're discounting.

If you spot your dream destination or a fond memory, get in the mood with a bottle or two.

Holiday wine ideas

France

A few years ago on the way to stay with friends in Italy, we flew into Nice for a couple of nights on the French Riviera.

Our first lunch, sitting close to the sea in Villefranche sur Mer, started with a bottle of Provence rosé being ordered before we even saw the menu.

That first bottle didn't even touch the sides and number two was close on its heels.

By the time the third bottle arrived with a delicious baked sea bass with fennel and olives, the taste was cemented in my memory – so refreshing yet gastronomic too.

Irresistible Rose Domaine De La Croix

Try it yourself, irresistible rosé from Domaine de la Croix – a cru classe wine from close to St Tropez, beautifully pale pink with violet and salmon highlights.

Savour the intense aromas of peach, pear, mandarin and melon with floral notes of iris – buttery and silky on the palate, with citrus fruit, cherry and mango fruit flavours.

Tuscany

A favourite destination for us Brits, especially wine lovers, is 'Chiantishire' – the rolling hills between Florence and Siena better known as Tuscany.

Whether you prefer to soak up the culture in both cities or chill out by a pool at a stylish villa, you'll do well to avoid being offered Chianti to go with whichever dishes you enjoy.

A favourite of mine is the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina – a T-bone steak, usually cooked over a wood fire and fairly well salted, either before or after.

It's the perfect partner to Chianti and makes a great sharing plate too.

Chianti Classico San Giorgio a Lapi

Try our promoted Chianti Classico from San Giorgio a Lapi, which is bright ruby coloured with garnet reflections.

Expressive and intense on the nose, it has scents of black forest fruits and pleasant hints of freshly sawn cherrywood, leather, peppery spice, coffee and dry leaves.

It's crisp, well-structured, full-bodied and elegant on the palate, with a good balance of tannin, acidity, plus plump cherry and red fruit notes, with an excellent length to the finish.

Spain

Our final favourite holiday wine memory is tied to Spain but a little off the beaten track, a destination not as familiar as the Costa Blanca or Costa del Sol.

On the Costa Dorada, close to the attractive town of Sitges, there is a wide choice of excellent tapas bars and restaurants to try.

But for an interesting day out, just 30mins by car or less than an hour by bus, is Vilafranca del Penedes – otherwise known as the heart of Cava country.

Sampling local tapas dishes while savouring the wide selection of Cavas on offer is the stuff great holiday memories are made of (it even makes for a good breakfast drink too!).

Paco Molina Cava

On promotion at the moment is Paco Molina, our house Cava – I'm certain you’ll love the fresh, clean flavours of this excellent traditional sparkling wine.

Where next?

Those are just a few of our favourite holiday wine memories – but where are you off to?

From Napa Valley to New Zealand, there's a wine that will transport you back to your favourite fortnight as soon as it's opened.

Enjoy!