A wine insider’s guide to pairing Oregon wine with food
Last month’s London Restaurant Festival was a return of a hotly anticipated programme of events to celebrate the best of London’s restaurant scene. For food and wine experts, industry leaders and hospitality teams, it meant coming together with local & international suppliers to create some adventurous menus and experiences.
This year, the Oregon Wine Board hosted a dinner in partnership with The Princess of Shoreditch’s Head Chef, Ruth Hansom. With an exciting Oregon Wine selection at her disposal, the Great British Menu finalist chose five bottles to marry with seasonally-inspired dishes in her ‘Top 50 Gastro Pub’ dining room.
The host for the evening was James Stoddard, who works at one of the country's leading wine distributors, Bibendum in trade sales. With 15 years under his belt, and “a fair few stories in tow”, the industry insider guided guests through the wine list throughout the evening.
The menu consisted of five courses: gurnard ceviche, lamb belly, veal sweetbreads, venison Wellington and a dark chocolate dessert.
So, what did he think about the pairings? “It’s often tricky to know what’s going to pair well when you only have a menu to follow but Margaret did a stellar job and I was happy to host and talk through.”
Stoddard is a fan of new-world wines, citing their ‘experimental’ production processes: “Whole bunch, destemming, partial destemming, concrete, amphora, carbonic techniques, the playbook is vast and when the soil is look after and the fruits in good hands, something magic can happen.”
If you ever wanted to get inside the mind of a wine expert when it comes to pairing with food, you’re in for a treat.
Here are some of Stoddard’s notes from the evening:
Gurnard ceviche, melon, citrus, soy paired with Cristom Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2019
The Chardonnay was a delightful start. Really classy blend of 4 vineyards from Cristom. Concentrated, textured and multi layered. It had a beautiful lemon, camomile, pineapple taste that worked so well with the Ceviche.
Lamb belly, red pepper tapenade, olive crumb, basil paired with Sokol Blosser – Evolution Big Red NV
The Sokol Blosser wine took a lot of people by surprise! [A] really fun juicy red that was outside of the norm’ for the evening. I swear part of it was made under carbonic maceration, but the ‘recipe’ (plus final blend) is a real mystery. The lamb belly was full of flavour and earthy character, it just needed a fruit forward number to carry it down the path.