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Gary BatesWe like to think we’re your first port of call when you need to choose the perfect bottle for an occasion, from dinner party to celebration to gift idea. But why not come to Majestic for your everyday wines too? After all, as our In-store Communications Manager Gary Bates points out, a great home-cooked meal with your nearest and dearest is every bit as deserving of a well-matched wine.

In the last issue of Grape to Glass, we asked you to email us with your special food matching suggestions. Lots of you have been in touch and we’ve really enjoyed perusing your delicious menus, as well as discussing the perfect wines for your dinner parties and other special occasions.

The discussions reminded me of something a friend once said to me: “If I ever win the lottery, I’m going to give up cooking and eat out at a posh restaurant every night”. At the time, I agreed it was a brilliant idea and spent the next few hours daydreaming about the wonderful delicacies I’d dine on every night of the week (not to mention the endless list of rare and exciting wines I’d put together to go with my rich and exotic diet).

But the dream quickly lost its appeal. For one thing, I still haven’t won the lottery or otherwise become wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice. On top of that I enjoy cooking and wouldn’t want to give it up. And aside from the effects of all that rich cuisine on my waistline, I remembered that most of the time, I actually prefer simple home-cooked food.

There’s immense pleasure to be found in interesting, good-value wines and in matching them with your favourite wholesome, everyday dishes. That’s why any new addition to our range is greeted here in the office with intense debate over its perfect food match. This can throw up some fairly avant-garde suggestions, but happily, almost all of our wines are just as well paired with classic, delicious, no-nonsense cooking. Here are a few potential ‘house’ wines to serve with your own plat du jour.

Shepherd’s Pie

Domaine Les Yeuses ‘Cuvée le Sirius’ 2008, Vin de Pays d’Oc, FranceShepherd's PieDomaine Les Yeuses ‘Cuvée le Sirius’ 2008, Vin de Pays d’Oc, France New!
£6.99 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

A Carignan, Cabernet and Merlot blend from the Languedoc, this robust red has a touch of rustic charm. It fills the nose with aromas of French heathland herbs, perfectly complementing this traditionally herbaceous English dish.

De Martino ‘347 Vineyards’ 2008, Carmenère Reserva, ChileDe Martino ‘347 Vineyards’ 2008, Carmenère Reserva, Chile
£7.49 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

If you like your Shepherd’s Pie particularly meaty and well-seasoned, this fleshy Carmenère boldly steps up to the plate. Intense black fruit character with a savoury, gamey edge.

Vegetable Stir Fry

Sauvignon de Touraine 2008/09, Domaine du Pré Baron, FranceVegetable Stir FrySauvignon de Touraine 2008/09, Domaine du Pré Baron, France
£7.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

The verdant lime and gooseberry flavours will make this partner superbly with all manner of crisp vegetables, with the electrifying acidity slicing through the palate like a samurai sword.

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontés 2009, Cafayate, ArgentinaCrios de Susana Balbo Torrontés 2009, Cafayate, Argentina
£7.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Heady and perfumed, the floral fragrances of the Torrontés grape, coupled with its fresh pear and melon flavours on the palate, will lift the most extravagantly spiced stir-frys into a whole new dimension.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Chianti Loggia del Conte 2008/09, ItalySpaghetti BologneseChianti Loggia del Conte 2008/09, Italy
£6.99 or £5.59 when you buy 2 bottles*

The ripe, fresh tomato and herbs of a great Bolognese are such a natural and familiar pairing with the pretty red cherry character of Sangiovese, we just couldn’t help but suggest this classic Chianti.

Joffré Malbec 2008, Mendoza, ArgentinaJoffré Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina
£8.49 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

For something a little more intense and fullbodied, this Malbec’s vibrant raisiny fruit and supple yet muscular tannins will stand up to the richest, meatiest of Bolognese sauces.

Tuna Steak

Costero Pinot Noir 2009, Viña Leyda, ChileTuna SteakCostero Pinot Noir 2009, Viña Leyda, Chile

£8.99 £8.74 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

The snappy, juicy redcurrant fruit of this Chilean red makes it a surprisingly good match here, with the lightweight tannins providing just enough texture to scythe through the tuna’s meaty flesh.

Château Saint Roch-lès-Vignes 2008/09, Rosé de Provence, FranceChâteau Saint Roch-lès-Vignes 2008/09, Rosé de Provence, France
£6.99 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Dry and crisp, but with a lovely touch of warmth to the fruit, this friendly French rosé will add a refreshing twist to even the simplest tuna steak, especially with a salad at lunchtime.

Gary Bates Signature

*All prices valid until 30th August unless stated otherwise

2 thoughts on “Everyday Excellence: Why wait for a special occasion?

  1. Through trial and error, we find that we can get a good result matching Gascony and Gers punchy whites with almost any food that’s fresh, a bit spicy and hard to match. Grand Heron, for example, seems to work well with light Mexican dishes involving fresh homemade salsas and East Asian fish and veg dishes. When nothing else works, this wine will do the trick.

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