I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s always a trend in food and drink books, be that veganism, baking or books about gin. This winter’s big idea seems to be “flavour”, and it applies to both food and wine.
There are, for instance, two new books on wine pairing. If you’re an ambitious cook, or lucky enough to live with one, polish their culinary skills with the heavyweight Wine and Food: The Perfect Match (£40) from master sommelier Ronan Sayburn and chef Marcus Verberne of the posh members’ club 67 Pall Mall. Recipes that would suit a lockdown project range from piri piri tiger prawns, which Sayburn recommends serving with alvarinho, to braised short ribs with châteauneuf-du-pape.
Wines & Recipes by Raul Diaz (£30) is along similar lines, though Diaz is Chilean, so there’s a definite Latin American slant to his recipes and pairings, such as the suggestion of Chilean sauvignon blanc for ceviche with avocado and mango, cabernet sauvignon with pastel de choclo (corn pie) and sweet riesling with dulce de leche pancakes.
The new Noble Rot book Wine from Another Galaxy (£30) also touches on food, as you’d expect from authors who run restaurants. “When in doubt, open a grower champagne,” they declare. Which is fine by me, so long as someone else is paying. Again, there are recipes to feed “six jolly imbibers”, which is nice to find in a wine book. I definitely have my eye on Henry Harris’ onglet braised in pinot noir.