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Perfect Sunday Roast Wines

Dawn Davies tells us what grapes will enrich our Sunday pork belly, lamb, chicken and beef.

There is nothing better on a cold, rainy British winter’s day than a warming Sunday roast with its rich smell filling the Kitchen.  Sunday lunchtime drinking is equally nice; it makes you feel lazy and the weekend seems longer. A roast is actually quite a plain dish flavour-wise, as the hero is the piece of meat, so you can really play around with what wine you pair it with. 

When pairing wine and food it is important to look at two things, the protein and the sauce. You want to find a wine that has a similar body and weight to your protein. Something like a Shiraz - a big weighty wine - will match up perfecting with a rich, dense meat such as roast beef. The flavour and how strong the sauce is will also determine what wine will work with it - a thick red wine gravy will want a similarly rich wine. Don’t forget also that different herbs may work better with certain wines. Mix it up a bit with your wine choices, afterall a lazy Sunday is the perfect time to get your friends experimenting.  

Roast chicken or turkey stuffed with rosemary and garlic is a versatile dish for wine, both are not strong in flavour and the meat is fairly light in texture. A white or a light red wine is ideal, such as an oaked Chardonnay with its creamy, full bodied character. I love a rich buttery Meursault or an Aussie Margaret River Chardonnay. Pinot Noir works equally well, a Burgundy or juicy ripe cherry flavoured New Zealand Pinot is equally delicious. Try Robert Oatley Margaret River Chardonnay (Tesco £15) or Canterbury Pinot Noir Crater rim (Lea & Sandeman £12.95)


Slow roasted beef pairs beautifully with a New World Shiraz, as will a Châteauneuf-du-Pape - if you fancy something a bit more classic.  Really you want to be looking for something big and bold, the bigger the better! Ktima Alpha Axia Xinomavro Syrah from Greece is a fantastic bet if you want to try something different (Wineman £14.40) or Catena Malbec (Waitrose £12.99) for those wanting to be a bit tamer.

Honey roasted ham is a slightly tougher meat to pair wine with, especially if you have studied the meat with cloves which are pretty pungent. As the meat has a salty-sweet flavour, wine which is too dry can fight with the dish, making the wine feel astringent. I like something off-dry or fruity, but if in doubt you will never go wrong with an off-dry Riesling or a Chenin Blanc. Going down the red route will require a fruitier wine, something not too tannic. Casa Ibidina Nero d’Avola from Italy (Selfridges £12.99) is a juicy full-bodied red that cries out for food while Waitrose Cederberg Chenin Blanc (£8.99) has enough ripe fruit to work equally well. 

Roast goose or pork belly, which are both quite fatty and rich meats, need a wine with a decent acidity in order to cut through their richness. Again a Riesling will work, especially one with a bit of residual sugar (off-dry). Chardonnay from the Old World or a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc will have enough freshness. For a bit of fun try a blanc de noir Champagne, or turn to Italian reds, which will go perfectly thanks to the lovely vein of acidity running through them, amking them ideal food partners. Try Andrea Oberto’s Barolo (Lea & Sandeman £28.95) or Pegasus Bay Riesling (Waitrose £16.99).

Roast lamb or duck are also rich meats but are heavier in texture than goose or pork so need wines with a bigger kahunas. Full bodied fruity reds are perfect with both meats. A Spanish red such as a Priorat or Ribera del Duero are great with lamb and a chunky Amarone or Valpolicella with duck. Have a go at Camins del Priorat from Alvaro Palacios (Berry Brothers £17.95) or Drink Me from Dirk Niepoort ( £13.99).

Enjoy experimenting and happy Sunday!