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The new not going out – fizz and chips it is!

Sequels tend to be a disappointment, however #Lockdown2 does have some benefits over the first version in that great local restaurants are offering some of their most popular dishes for us to click and collect or have delivered to our doors.

This has made ‘not going out’ a bit more bearable for some – even more so with wine shops being on the list of essential retailers (I’m not going to argue with that!)

Lockdown or no, a takeaway is still considered a treat – maybe something to look forward to at the end of a busy week and a meal you can justifiably eat whilst wearing your PJs or, as they have become known in 2020, ‘loungewear’.

I don’t want to bother you with rules just as you are salivating at the thought of a saag aloo, but here are some handy tips for matching wine with takeaway foods, before automatically reaching for a can of beer.

Asian-inspired food, with complex flavours and chilli heat, tends to pair well with fruity or even sweeter wines. I’m not talking dessert wines here – most whites described as ‘aromatic’ would be a good match (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer), as would most rosés. For reds, something lighter and fruit-driven would be a good choice – maybe a Merlot or Beaujolais. The reason? Higher alcohol and tannic wines tend to accentuate the chilli heat in food and reduce the fruitiness of it, so you need to compensate for that. Also, many of these dishes have an element of sweetness and this can kill the fruit in any wine (try eating a dessert with a glass of red and you will understand what I mean).

‘Finally, the best match of all time, Champagne with fish and chips! Or if you are on a budget, then maybe a cava or crémant instead’

For pizza and pasta dishes, the choice is wider, but wines with more acidity would be a better match to stand up to the high acidity in the tomato-based sauces (Italian food and Italian wine is a winning combination for very good reasons). Barbera grapes from Northern Italy make great food friendly wines, as do Sangiovese (look out for Chianti) and Valpolicella.

Finally, the best match of all time, Champagne with fish and chips! Or if you are on a budget, then maybe a cava or crémant instead. The acidity of the wine cuts through the fattiness of the food and the bubbles have a bonus ‘made in heaven’ match with the crunchy batter… I’m drooling!

Here are three suggestions you might like to try for yourself – just order the food, crack open a bottle and choose a box set or film– I’d maybe advise against Contagion!

Aldi Grüner Veltliner – currently reduced to £6.49 until 1st December:

A great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, a good all-rounder for anything spicy/fishy and particularly brilliant with Japanese dishes (sashimi and sushi would be winners).

Vinchio Vaglio I Tre Vescovi Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2018 Price £14.00, available from Husky Wines, with a lockdown special 15% off when spending over £34.50 and free delivery too.

The wine is from a great quality cooperative winery in Piedmont (Northern Italy). Will be perfect with most pizzas or tomato-based pasta dishes.

Co-op Les Pionniers Champagne £19.00

For your posh ‘chippy tea’ – a great Champagne made exclusively for the Co-op by a major Champagne house and winner of the People’s Choice Wine Awards, Best Champagne 2020. A fantastic price for a great fizz.

Janet Harrison
Janet Harrison runs Cracking Wine, providing fun and informal wine tasting events in the North of England. She is also founder of the People's Choice Wine Awards.

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