pancake day 5th March

Wine Pairing for all Your pancaking pleasures

As Pancake Day fast approaches, I wonder – are you going to buy a ready made pancake mix or have you started perusing the internet for recipes, outlining your strategy for the three course pancake extravaganza? Whichever fence you sit on, for anyone who is unaware: Pancakes = Love. It’s a proven scientific equation, well, it is in my household. So what’s better than pancakes? Wine and pancakes obviously. However with that said, pancakes and wine pairing are not so common, with this is mind I’ve done the hard work for you.

Taking the good old BBC website as inspiration for their top 10 pancake suggestions, I have given you a wine suggestion for all options, savoury or sweet. Here’s the link to get your fill of well, pancake fillings…

So lets get cracking

Pancake no 1: Chocolate, peanut butter & banana

This sweet rich combination needs something equally as sweet and something with enough acidity to cut through the stickiness of the peanut butter. Named after the Island in which is derives, Madeira is full of acidity making it great with food. There are different levels of sweetness within Madeira. Look our for the grape variety Malvasia for the sweetest. In the choice below Blandy’s is actually using Tinta Negra variety (beautifully versatile and can be any level of sweetness) – not always seen as equivalent quality to the old 4 ‘noble’ varieties (sercial, verdelho, bual, malvasia), but these days it’s up for argument.

Blandy’s Duke of Clarence Rich Madeira, Waitrose, £12.39 (75cl)

This Madiera is full of honey and raisons but still has a soft texture to not overtake the bananas and the fluffiness of the pancake. Serve it chilled to have extra freshness.verd

Pancake no 2: Squash, goat's cheese & rosemary

A perfect pairing in general for goats cheese is Sauvignon Blanc. Another benefit of Sauvignon Blanc is the herbaceous character it carries, pairing perfectly with herbs and green vegetables. With the Squash giving an extra nuttiness (and apparently some onion chutney to be served on the side) I am looking for a Sauvignon Blanc with slighty more richness – therefore a little bit of oak would bring this whole dish together. Just don’t go too crazy with the onion chutney which will add so much more sweetness that it could overwhelm the dish and we will need to look for another pairing.

Marisco Pride and Glory Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Marlborough, Majestic, £24.75 (75cl)

This Sauvignon Blanc is aged in French oat and then aged on Chardonnay lees (lees are the natural yeast from grapes that a winemaker can keep in contact with wine to add creaminess). Beautiful citrus and tropical notes with a lovely creamy mouthfeel. A 93 point wine from Robert Parker (apparently the highest points for a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc)

Pancake no 3: Arnold Bennett soufflé

Basically this is a posh pancake/omelette with haddock in a creamy sauce. Haddock is a soft white flaky fish so we need a white wine that is not too rich to overtake the fish. It is however in a creamy sauce and so therefore a little bit of body and weight is needed to match perfectly. You need a wine that is not too fruity but textural. A lightly oaked Chardonnay is perfect giving the wine a little extra weight but maintaining the more cool climate flavours of green fruits and citrus.

Two in the bush Chardonnay, Bird in Hand, Adelaide hills 2017, Tanners, £13.50 (75cl)

Crowned Australian Winery of the Year and Australian Winemaker of the Year in 2016. This Chardonnay ages in old French oak barrels, has flavours of zesty lemons and melon with a beautiful peach on the palate, and a  very crisp clean finish.

Pancake no 4: Crêpes Suzette

This recipe is using condrieu and orange juice to make a sweet rich sauce. So we need to find a sweet wine again. A young Sauternes (or Barsac – the region next door) are great options as they are dessert wines affected by noble rot (or officially Botrytis Cinerea). This is a good kind of fungus that although it sounds gross, offers us beautiful flavours of orange marmalade and honey.

Taste the Difference Sauternes 2011, Sainsbury’s, £12.99 (37.5cl)

This wine is produced by Château Guiraud (one of the best Sauternes producers) so this is a steal. Beautiful apricot marmalade notes completed with flavours of honey and vanilla. At 76g/l this is a sweet wine, but there are much sweeter. This has the acidity and balance to create a wonderfully indulgent but fresh wine to pair with your crepes.

Pancake no 5: Vegan tomato & mushroom pancake

With the umami flavours of mushroom we need a wine that has savoury earthy notes to it. A red wine that pairs well with mushrooms as well as tomatoes is Pinot Noir. I would stick with the Burgundy region in France to avoid anything too rich and fruity.

Maison de Tastelune, Savigny-Les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Peuillets, 2011, Marks & Spencers, £26.67 (Was £40), (75cl)

Apart from being on offer, Les Peuillets is considered one of the best premier cru parcels in the Beaune region. Lots of wild raspberry’s and slightly sour red cheers. Hints of crushed leaves. With 50% of the wine being aged in new oak for 12 months, the finish is savoury and spicy.

Pancake no 6: American blueberry

Your typical pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup. With fresh fruit and rich syrup I am going to bring a sparkling wine into the mix. They always have incredible acidity and this will cut through the syrup refreshing your palate with every bite. Plus the time aging on the lees – which creates the bready notes, will be good with these typically fluffy pancakes. Note: Sparkling wine comes in many sweetness levels so you could always try a demi-sec or doux with your desserts.

Harrow & Hope Blanc de Noirs 2013, Laithwaites, £38 (75cl)

An English sparkling wine made only from Pinot Noir (hence the Blanc de Noir – “White wine from Red grapes”). The absence of Chardonnay means the richness of fruit and berries come through slightly more, giving you that extra combination for the Blueberries. There is lots of toasted brioche on the palate to pair nicely with the fluffy pancakes.

Pancake no 7: Breakfast bacon & egg

Now there is nothing wrong with a glass of bucks fizz here. But I am after a wine that will go with the savoury fatty bacon but not overtake the soft eggs. So I want something with super high acidity and light citrus character. The grape variety Assyrtiko from Santorini comes to mind. With it’s crazy wind battered vines and close proximity to the sea the wines themselves are beautifully fresh, with racy acidity and a saline mineral note making them great to pair with food.

Gaia Wines Thalassitis Santorini Assyrtiko 2017, Corking Wines, £20.64 (75cl)

Loads of lemon zest and wonderful minerality. A full body with beautiful acidity. Gaia certainly knows how to make Assyrtiko and one to keep your eye open for.

Pancake no 8: Buttermilk pancakes

There are sticky bananas and brazil nuts with this recipe, therefore I am thinking Tawny port. Over the years, Tawny port is exposed to oxidation and evaporation. They get more concentrated nutty flavours, develop more elegance but their fruit concentration will lessen. A 20 year old tawny for me will have the best of both worlds to pair with these flavours.

Taylors 20 Year Old Tawny Port, 75cl with Gift Box, Costco, £34.99

Coming in a beautiful giftbox and cheaper than other retailers, this is an obvious choice. With flavours of figs, almonds and caramel, lovely rich fruit with a tickle of honey on the finish.

Pancake no 9: Spicy vegetable fajitas

A typical pairing for fajitas is a big juicy red: Zinfandel. But as there is no mention of meat I want to look at something that pairs better with the vegetables and all the herbs and spices in the recipe. A Gruner Veltliner, (the signature white variety of Austria) is a perfect choice. Known for it’s green fruit flavours and white pepper spice. It is a very refreshing wine with marked acidity. Perfect for dishes with a little spice. If you go crazy with your ‘picante’ then look to a wine with some sweetness to balance those flavours.

Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner Terrassen 2017,,  £13.95 (75cl)

A bio-dynamically made wine – All grapefruit, and green apples on the nose with the typical spiciness that comes from Gruner. Lovely acidity to refresh the palate with some green pepper notes and a flinty finish.

Pancake no 10: Rhubarb compote with vanilla crème fraîche & pancakes

Moscato d’Asti, if you have never had the joy of trying it, is a wine industry favourite. Soft bubbles, beautiful stone fruits and at just 5.5% alcohol you can just keep enjoying the medium sweet elixir. It’s perfect with any fresh fruit dish. With the rhubarb and the freshness of crème fraiche, you can not go wrong with the gorgeous delicious flavours of Moscato.

Fontanafredda, Moscato d’Asti ‘Moncucco’ DOCG,2017, Great Western Wine £11.25 (50cl)

Grappy, orange blossom and peach all jump around in your mouth with beautiful frothiness from the bubbles. Simply delicious. Fontanafredda are one of my favourite producers in Piedmonte.

So Happy Pancake Day! Enjoy your pancakes 🙂

“I don’t have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes.”
― Kathleen Flinn, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family

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