November Menu Sample
Secret Squisito Supper Club
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Alex's Wine recommendation; Sparkling takes the fur off your tongue and, so long a you dot have a very dry or acid sparkling, it cuts the fat and sweetness of good salami like Felino. We like Prosecco Martini Brut ASDA £6.00 on offer down from £10.75; Aldi Prosecco Valdobbiadene £6.99 quite dry and single grape judging by our last one; Tesco Finest Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene NV £9.99 nice and could possbly be said to be finest under £15.00 in a supermarket. If you are not a big drinker a light red like syrah or Valpolicella (see below) would be an option.
Alex's Wine recommendation; Conventional wine pairings for a single wine to match primi and secondi would probably split the difference and come out with rose which I think would be too sweet and not complement the sweet-savoury-umami of the chicken with olives an lemon ( a bit like pairing for sweet & sour pork). Italy has so many varieties of grape (usually IGT - Indicazione Geographic Tipica - which means less well known and thus better value here) that it easy to find something that will stand alone but complement. We tried a Pecorino Unico Tenuta Ulisse 2012 from Amps Wine Merchants in Oundle the other week which fits the bill perfectly - robust and fruity enough to stand up to spiced prawns and sweet enough to balance lemon, olives and savoury chicken. Pecorino has been 'discovered' by supermarket so there's a more generally available Terre di Chieti Pecorino 2012 at M&S for £9.99 whilst Majestic have a Tenuta Ulisse Terre di Chieti Falabella Bianco 2012 for £7.99 each for two. In the bargain basement is the excellent The Exquisite Collection Gavi 2013 from Mr Aldi at £5.29 as an alternative.
A light gulpable gamay, Vapolicella or Bardolino would work with the chicken. Both Tesco and Sainsbury's have reliable and good value valpolicella which is chracterised by sweet and sour cherry flavours of molinara and corvina grapes. Usually £5.99 but often on offer. Less likely to be on offer is 2011 Allegrini's Bardolino ‘Naiano’ from Majestic at £8.49 which is my benchmark. For slightly sweeter and more heavier you could go for a ripasso which mixes partially dried grapes to balance out less ripe grapes. The M&S Valpolicella Ripasso 2009 at £8.99 is a good example.
I see Waitrose have their Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso DOC on offer at £8.99. Although I have not tried it Recchia have a good name and this Valpolicella is made from grapes on the "grand cru" hillside of Jago above the village Negrar.
Cacciatore pronounced catch-ee-ah-tor-ray) means cooked 'hunter's style' on 'one pot over a fire' in our book - a not uncommon site in the hillsides of Umbria and Tuscany when the weather draws in and the game is fat and well fed. It's a formula that has been raped and pillaged by pubs in the '80s which should rely on a balance of gamey and bittersweet or 'umami' flavours. In other words it's great with those late tomatoes on the vine and maybe early olives and a smattering of caper berries.
Alex's Wine recommendations; sweet is the order of the day with cheese so Cantine de Vita Marsala Dolce with a nice orangey hit will go with chocolate and cheese £9.99 Waitrose, Martinez Marsala Riserva 2006 Marks and Spencer £6.49 - good at any time and leftovers make a nice tiramisu; Pellegrino Marsala Superiore Garibaldi Dolce, Sicily £6.99; Autentico Lambrusco Reggiano 2007 Marks and Spencer £7.49