Matching wine & crisps
Food and wine matching is part science, part personal taste and part lucky dip. The old ideas of white wine with fish and red wine with meat have flown out of the window especially given the number and quality of wines available to us these days. I had fun a couple of months ago working out what to match with KFC – the donner kebab post is in its conception right now!
When we turned up for dinner and an overnight stay with our mates Nic and Rob the other week, the last thing I expected was a blind wine tasting. Rob is a self-confessed crisp geek and often has a smart response to the weekly Wine Geek newsletter. I’ve joked with him about writing a post for the blog but I didn’t expect each of the wines to be accompanied with a matching crisp, also served blind!
Nic had been on a shopping trip to M&S with a 4 year old hanging off the trolley, to pick up 6 wines and the same number of crisp packets… sounds like fun doesn’t it! All M&S wines have recommended food matches on the label so Nic went for the matches… But in crisp form… Absolute genius!
I need to learn to trust my first instinct a bit more when blind tasting – I had a 50% success rate here and talked myself out of 2 more correct answers. But that wasn’t the important outcome – this was great fun and I suggest you give it a go.
A massive thanks to Nic and Rob for such a fun evening’s entertainment! Below are the wines and crisps we tasted. The scores for the wines are my own, the scores and comments for the crisps are from the Crisp Geek; he uses a scoring system from 1 to 1 million!
Macon-Villages Uchizy 2012, Burgundy, Franc £10.99
Very little on the nose here and my first instinct on tasting here was juicy cool climate chardonnay with its citrus and melon fruit flavours, but there was a real lack of acidity, which edged me further south into the Rhone. The finish is simple and short and I plumped for a Marsanne/Rousanne blend. I was a bit disappointed when I discovered it was a Macon as I’m a big fan – but not of this one. 86 points
Pringles Roast Chicken
“Like the classic Pringle, not too much going on, they just do a job. Practical without being exciting”. We all struggled to guess the flavour! 724,117 points
Verdict – a decent match of a wine and crisp that were both decently average.
Hunter Valley Shiraz 2011, NSW, Australia £9.99
Huge ripe fruit, a hint of smokes and a touch of bacon fat meant this just had to be a new world Shiraz – the characteristics screamed Australia. A big wine with juicy ripe black, almost blue fruits and a delicious smoky flavor. Really enjoyed this one. 91 points
M&S Hand Cooked Smoky BBQ flavour crisps
“Nice flavor and excellent reproduction of a BBQ flavor. Lacks a bit of crunch, but I prefer a thicker, bolder crisp. Very good though.” 864,998 points
Verdict – match of the night. You can’t go wrong with Shiraz and a BBQ!
Burra Brook Sauvignon Blanc 2011, SE Australia £6.99
Over-ripe peach and hint of tropical fruit on the nose and a slightly awkward, maybe apricot flavor on the palate. This is a very awkward wine with edges all over the place, not one I enjoyed at all. I said Sauvignon to begin with but couldn’t detect the telltale sign of green pepper so opted for a South American Viognier. 82 points
M&S Great British Fish & Chip flavour crisps
“Earthy with a good crispness and a good reproduction of the flavor. The fishy flavour certainly comes though and I love the variety of size and shape of each crisp.’ 827,456 points
Verdict – I disliked both the wine and the crisps! The fish and chip crisps have almost put me off one of my favourite foods!!
Château de Montgueret Saumur Blanc 2011, Loire, France £8.99
After spending a week in the Loire earlier this month I was so way off with this one! Very crisp and fresh with nice citrus fruit and maybe just a touch of grapefruit. I thought maybe something Italian but couldn’t put my finger on it at all. When I discovered it was Chenin Blanc I struggled to find the tell tale honey note and the acidity wasn’t anywhere near that I’ve come to expect from the region. 86 points
M&S hand cooked vegetable crisps
“These have the look and taste appeal of pot-pourri and almost certainly taste the same. They have a dampness and flaccidity and fail on all of the crisp basics. A definite sense of disappointment and shouldn’t be allowed to be called a crisp.” 162 points (Nic picked these as one of the serving suggestins was to enjoy with a salad!)
Verdict – most certainly a combo enjoyed more by the girls than the boys!
Altos del Condor Pinot Noir 2011, Argentina £8.99
Light, fruity, cherries and red currants – it just has to be new world pinot noir. Not sure there’s enough depth or complexity to be from NZ so I went for Chile – not too far out! Really is a very nice, easy drinking bottle of Pinot Noir and the best value wine of the flight. 89 points
Monster Munch Roast Beef flavour
“Vintage Monster Munch, the king of crisps. You get the lot – flavour, shape, character and a hint of comedy. A thing of real beauty.” 951,346 points
Verdict – by themselves these are both great products, but the Monster Munch were just too strong a flavor for the elegant Pinot Noir.
Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio 2012, Fruili, Italy £8.99
Nice aromas and flavor of citrus and grapefruit, a bit bland to begin with my quite attractive as it opens out. Low acid but very fresh and very drinkable. It had all of the characteristics I expect of Italian Pinot Grigio so I got this one – and a good one too as I’m not general a fan. 88 points
M&S hand cooked Prawn Cocktail crisps
“Solid but unspectacular but a good prawn cocktail presentation. Good for a Wednesday but not quite right for a Saturday.” 805,800 points
Verdict – I think the Crisp Geek hit the nail on the head here – a very good mid-week combo!