A quick Google search for “wines to go with sausage and mash” proved very disappointing for me.
Most people seemed to suggest ale, which isn’t actually a wine, fact fans.
This idea that the things you eat ought to be accompanied by the things that the people from the places where they eat those things drink is all well and good.
But what happens if you’re in a wine mood, and all you have in the fridge is Cumberland sausages and pre-mashed potatoes? Or what happens if you like French food, but prefer to drink beer?
I don’t buy this prescribed nonsense about food-and-drink matching being a purely localised affair. You just need to get creative. Or, failing that – which is what I usually do – just take a semi-educated guess and see how it works out.
That’s what I did the other night and I was pretty pleased with the results. This Saint Emilion Bordeaux from Roc de Lussac was on offer (half price, no less) in my local Sainsbury’s and in the absence of any Malbec or anything Malbecesque (would Cab-Shiraz have been close?) I plumped for this.
The wine had a delicious black (and blue) fruit aroma: full of blackberries and blueberries and yes, I realise just how clumsy this sentence is already becoming. The colour of a bruise, too; but thankfully there was nothing painful in the taste, which was a drawn and supple experience laced with rich fruit, and followed on by rounded tannins and a delightfully spicy finish that went well with the peppery sausages.
If you ask me, any doubt about how to match your red wine with your food can usually be solved by pouring said wine onto the food. In this instance I had the good grace to incorporate some of the wine into the gravy, along with some Marmite, brown [AKA "HP"] sauce, OXO Original, sage, salt and pepper and hot water (obviously). Now, I know that probably sounds a bit gross, but this was a quick meal: none of your Michelin-star dining on a Wednesday night around ours. And it tasted absolutely smashing.
If I didn’t lose you at the Marmite and HP gravy, I’ll almost definitely do so when I tell you that for pudding we had a couple of McVitie’s HobNobs. And if I still haven’t lost you, how would you feel if I told you I dipped mine in my Roc de Lussac Saint Emilion 2010 Grand Vin de Bordeaux, and that it tasted lovely?
What I get up to in the comfort of my own home is my own business, I’m sure you’ll agree. And the same applies to you. Perhaps eyebrows would be raised if you whipped out a pack of biscuits in a restaurant and began dipping, but if you’re not too proud to try it, I urge you: give it a go.
Best meal I’ve had in ages, and I couldn’t imagine a better-suited wine for the event.
Lussac St Emilion is available from Sainsbury’s for £14.99, or half that if you’re lucky enough to catch them on a good day, as I did.