Come dine with me and Uruguay

Raymond Gleug
Raymond Gleug

Uruguay 1 - France 0. That was the unanimous verdict at the dinner party I attended on Saturday night when we compared the two bottles of wine I had brought.

It was a fairly prestigious gathering of college professors, a prominent City banker, an eminent teacher, a leading health professional and my own good self. My kind of people.

I naturally asked them if they could elaborate on what made the Uruguayan wine so pleasing in the hope of having them write my column for me. Considering the wealth of intellectual might gathered round the table, it was quite dismaying that the best they could come up with was “really nice”, “great length” and “much better than your Roussillon”. I suppose their strengths lie in other areas.

Today’s WINE OF THE WEEK is the dark, decadent, fabulously fruity and subtly spiced 2015 Pisano Progreso Tannat (£7.95, Wine Society, visit www.thewinesociety.com or telephone 01438-741177). A heady blend of brambly fruits, especially blackberries, earthy spices and beguiling backnotes of dark, bitter chocolate. This superbly structured, full-bodied (did I mention that it comes from Uruguay?) red deserves to be teamed up with a prime cut of meat. Dr. K had taken care of that with the most sensational, slowly smoked, melt-in-your-mouth ribs that either I or my darling wife, the redoubtable Madame G., had ever tasted. And she knows her pork- she relishes every part of the pig from its impressive snout to its tiny little trotters- but this was, she declared, the best!

The Wine Society, like a very few other independent wine merchants and clubs, work with small growers to offer an extensive variety of intriguing, sophisticated wines from around the world at extremely competitive prices. The good stuff that you won’t find in your local supermarket or off-licence. Worth checking out. They also have their own online community where members can discuss all manner of wine-related topics. Discussions are open for anyone to see but only Wine Society members can contribute to the discussion- visit community.thewinesociety.com

As my Roussillon was given short shrift by the assorted dignitaries at the first leg of what is scheduled to be a three-legged Come Dine With Me style competition among friends (if that’s not an oxymoron), I’ll bypass it and my second recommendation shall instead be the youthful, zesty and gloriously refreshing 2016 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc (£7.50 from Sainsbury’s). This lively, mineral-rich Loire Valley white combines modern fruit-driven flavours with a flinty edge and delicious smoky undertones. Fresh and fragrant, it’s an ideal match to slowly smoked chicken such as the delightfully succulent fillets which Dr. K had also prepared for his guests. Wonderfully tasty but completely overshadowed by his ribs. This all came before his magnificent Pecan Pie. I thought I was going to explode!

In fact, I almost wish I had. It would excused me from hosting the return leg, a daunting prospect now that the bar has been set at such an intimidatingly high level.