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Wine Talk

Recipe: Butternut squash and chicken soup (Spain)

 

A real central heater for the colder months – autumnal, earthy veg, succulent chicken and warming spice.

Great as a starter or hearty enough to make a meal on its own – enjoy with a glass or two of organic Parés Baltà Blanc De Pacs. 

Butternut squash and chicken soup

 

INGREDIENTS

1 x medium sized butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cubed)

4 x free-range chicken thighs

1 x small onion (finely chopped)

2 x tbsp olive oil

1 x litre of chicken or vegetable stock

1 x large pinch of ground cumin

1 x large pinch of ground coriander

1/4-1/2 tsp of chilli flakes (to taste)

1-2 x tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste

Salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. Pre- heat oven to 220°C and toss chicken thighs, squash, onion and oil together in a roasting dish to ensure an evenly coated layer.
  2. Put in oven for about 30 minutes or until chicken and squash are cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken and set aside to cool and add remaining roasted ingredients to a large pan with stock, cumin and coriander, then bring to a simmer.
  4. Using the back of a spoon break up veg to make a thick and chunky soup.
  5. Skin and de-bone chicken, chop and add to soup along with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

That's it – all you need to make it perfect is good quality crusty bread and a bottle or two oParés Baltà Blanc De Pacs. 

Vegan recipe: Spanish style garlic mushrooms (Spain)

 

This simple meat-free starter or supper showcases earthy autumnal mushrooms with a touch of Spanish heat.

Simple, tasty and a superb match with a beautiful bottle of vegan certified Parés Baltà Blanc De Pacs. 

Vegan garlic mushrooms

 

INGREDIENTS

10 x large Paris or white mushrooms (cleaned and cut into quarters)

5 x garlic cloves (crushed)

3 x tbsp olive oil

2 x tbsp dry sherry

1 x tbsp lemon juice

1 x tsp pimenton picante or hot paprika

1/4-1/2 tsp of chilli flakes (to taste)

Salt and pepper

1 x tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley (to garnish)

METHOD

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan over a moderate heat until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add mushrooms and stir for a few minutes to ensure the oil has coated them completely.
  3. Add all other ingredients except parsley, cook for five minutes and taste to check seasoning and spice – adjust accordingly as desired.
  4. Remove from heat, stir through parsley and serve.

Enjoy in the knowledge that your wine is as clean as your food, with a bottle oParés Baltà Blanc De Pacs. 

Five of the best – exclusive online discounts on selected bottles

 

End of Summer?

Start of the football season?

Back to school shopping?

We don't really need a reason to discount five of our favourite bottles for the next few days.

But here are some reasons why you should snap them up before the end of the week!

Domaine Du P'tit Paradis Chénas – was £12.95, NOW £9.75

Domaine Du P'tit Paradis Chénas

Most people believe Beaujolais is for young drinking but several of the Cru wines (in the hands of good growers) can age superbly.

In time, they drink like good Burgundy at a fraction of the cost – this is one such example.

On a recent tasting for some of our private consumers, this was without doubt the star of the show and by far the most ordered wine.

It has a nose that has developed and beyond the cherry fruit there is a complexity showing savoury nuances.

Full on the palate and lingering for an age in the finish – there would be nothing finer to accompany a wild duck or pheasant casserole.

 

Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie "Les Schistes" – was £10.25, NOW £7.95

Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie "Les Schistes"

We've sold this wine for donkey’s years – a great favourite among restaurants and private consumers alike.

Fresh as a daisy with good mineral backbone, it is just the ticket for seafood and shellfish.

Try it with some pan-fried scallops with a beurre blanc, it’s an eye opener!

 

Henye Tokaji Furmint – was £8.95, NOW £6.95

 Henye Tokaji Furmint

For years, Furmint Dry was used as the basis for making the lusciously sweet Aszu wines but has recently become available in its own right.

Rightly so in our opinion – this is a great aperitif or food wine at a very affordable price.

It works well with fish, poultry and even spicier foods, really making the palate come alive.

With pork being a great staple of the Hungarian diet, this is the perfect drink to pair with a Sunday roast.

 

Bodegas Osca Tinto Joven – was £8.25, NOW £6.50

Bodegas Osca Tinto Joven

While the barbecue season is still just about with us, this delicious red from Somontano in Spain makes for great glugging.

It’s light-ish with a core of red fruits, some darker notes behind and unobtrusive tannins.

And if you're lucky to open it on a fairly hot day, you can even try it slightly chilled as they do in Spain.

 

Chateau Trimoulet 2009 Grand Cru St Emilion – was £19.75, NOW £15.25

Chateau Trimoulet 2009 Grand Cru St Emilion

This was a lucky find for us – a private client asked us to source wine for a party and the price seemed so good we snapped some up ourselves.

And as soon as we'd tasted it, we were back for more.

Some Bordeaux wines can lack fruit and seem a bit austere but there's no danger of that here.

This one is ripe and bold with plenty of sweet fruit, hints of tobacco and pencil shavings, a lush palate and a long, vibrant finish.

It's ideal for drinking now but if you have space and patience, you'll be rewarded for keeping off the corkscrew for a couple more years.

Those are our five favourite discounts available until the end of the week – we hope you agree with our selections!

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!

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!

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

METHOD

  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.