In the USA, Surf ‘n Turf is a classic dish: usually a char-grilled steak, with a side of the juicy meat from a lobster tail or a fillet of juicy salmon. This is a combo that translates very nicely to the UK and utilises two examples of prime Scottish produce, wild Scottish salmon and Aberdeen Angus beef. Salmon, especially if smoked, needs a wine with a little weight and plenty of fruit to match it’s texture and flavour. Good beef, on the other hand, finds many natural partners amongst the world’s great red wines, from classic, cedary Claret to fruit-driven Australian Shiraz. A couple of more unusual options are recommended this month.
This non-vintage wine comes from Puglia in the ‘heel’ of southern Italy. This baking-hot area struggled in the past to produce white wines of any repute, but modern technology has worked its magic to produce this very lemony and fresh Chardonnay with hints of buttery richness. The palate is juicy with citrus acidity and there is reasonable length. Very good at the price and with enough weight to match with this smoked salmon starters.
Domaine Lafage Muscat Sec
Muscat is often made in a sweet style, but here in the south of France its grapy aromatics and fruity flavours have been vinified dry. There are orchard fruits on the nose as well as a boiled sweets and a tiny sherbetty tang. The palate has peachy fruit with a tart gooseberry edge and good acidity. A garden sipper.
Here’s one that will fool your dinner guests into thinking you’ve really pushed the boat out: the tall, slender bottle and elegant label smack of sophistication. The reality of this three quid wine is not bad either, with sweet, ripe black cherry fruit and a juicy palate boasting plenty of depth and savoury acidity.
Trulli Primitivo Salento
Another wine from the heel of Italy, this is made from the Primitivo grape, now proved to be a close relative of California’s Zinfandel. There is syrupy, dense, jammy fruit character on the nose and the palate has plenty of sweet and sour cherry fruit with nuances of leather and game. Nice lemony acidity lifts the finish.
Fabre Montmayou Malbec
The Malbec grape is quite common in the south of France, but perhaps produces its best wines in Argentina, such as this example. The nose is extremely concentrated with brooding aromas of earth, spice and dense black fruit. The palate is chewy and has quite a tannic bite, with a dusty edge to the fruit. Plenty of blackcurrant, plum and hints of dark chocolate. A cracking wine and ideal with a well-matured fillet steak.
Brown Brothers Barbera
A Piedmontese grape grown in south Australia to nice effect. This has a sweetly aromatic nose of blue/black fruits with a minty ripeness and lovely support from vanilla fudge-like oak. The palate is chocolaty and dense with plenty of oomph and a very attractive profile of creamy oak merged with sour plum fruit and firm cherry-skin acidity. Quite long, very pure and would also be delicious with steak.