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A wine pairing masterclass with Albert Blaize and Claire Strickett

by Genevieve Halbert

published on 2 October 2020

Claire Strickett and Albert Blaize are two enthusiastic young wine aficionados on a mission to demystify wine pairing. If you’re a food enthusiast who loves wine but often finds themselves at a loss when wandering down the wine aisle, Which Wine When is the accessible, no-nonsense guide you’ve been waiting for. This is a book designed for real life, packed with thoughtful pairing advice for the kinds of meals we actually eat on a day-to-day basis – from proper Sunday roasts to Friday night takeaways, and from indulgent desserts to bowls of microwave popcorn. Here at The Happy Foodie we’ve quickly become obsessed with Which Wine When, and were desperate to know how Bert and Claire would go about wine matching some of the most popular recipes on our site. They graciously obliged – keep scrolling to check out all the recipes they discussed, and head over to our Instagram feed to watch them chat through the various pairings.

From the book

Claire Strickett, Albert Blaize

One-Pot Kerala Prawn Curry from The Quick Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer

Claire and Bert chose Albariño, a dry white wine from Portugal and north west Spain, to go with Rukmini Iyer's Kerala Prawn Curry. Albariño has lots of fresh, ripe citrus flavours, perfect for balancing out this creamy, aromatic seafood dish.

Money Can't Buy You Happiness Brownies from Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain

Money may not buy you happiness, but, as Claire points out, it can buy you brownies and wine. Drinking dry red wine with sweet, chocolate desserts is a common wine pairing faux pas – it tends to make the wine taste bitter and the desserts taste claggy. Claire and Bert recommend drinking sweet, chilled port with these brownies for a totally luxurious treat. 

Beef Wellington from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook by Mary Berry

When pairing wine and beef, Bert emphasises that different cuts of beef will have different flavour profiles. Mary Berry uses a fillet steak in her Beef Wellington recipe, a leaner cut that could be overpowered by a big, bold wine – instead, go for a structured New World Pinot Noir.

Lamb Kleftiko from Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein

Greek wines are not as well known in the U.K. as their French, Italian and Spanish cousins, but Claire is a big fan. For this richly spiced, slow-cooked Greek lamb dish, Claire recommends a red wine called Xinomavro. This rich wine has a lot in common with Italian Nebbiolo – only it's much less expensive. 

Spicy Mushroom Lasagne from Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage

For this rich, creamy, and autumnal dish, our wine-pairing wizards suggest Syrah (AKA Shiraz), a comforting, rich red wine with a gentle hint of spice. 

West African Peanut Stew from Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats: Tasty plant-based recipes for every day by Rachel Ama

For a spicy, vibrant dish like this West African Peanut Stew, Bert and Claire recommend a Pet Nat – a bright, bubbly sparkling wine with red fruit profiles to complement the base of the curry and a nice amount af acidity to keep your palate refreshed. 

Cumberland Roast Chicken from Jamie Oliver: 7 Ways by Jamie Oliver

Claire and Bert reckon a Riesling would work wonderfully with this flavour-packed Cumberland Roast Chicken from Jamie Oliver. Riesling is a beautiful, aromatic grape that's punchy enough to cut through the rich, complex flavours of this dish.

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