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Recipe and wine

PUBLISHED: 11:27 19 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:12 20 February 2013

From one of Bordeaux’s best-ever vintages, this offers exceptional value. Showing seductive currant and berry flavours with mineral hints and fine tannins, this is drinking very well at the moment.

From one of Bordeaux’s best-ever vintages, this offers exceptional value. Showing seductive currant and berry flavours with mineral hints and fine tannins, this is drinking very well at the moment.

Nick Page, manager of Berry Bros. & Rudd's wine clearance shop in Basingstoke, looks at the cabernet sauvignon grape

Star of the wine world


Mention cabernet sauvignon and there is immediate recognition that this is a quality grape. Aged Bordeaux with venerable names selling for hundreds of pounds, Californian superstars, Super-Tuscans from Italy, cabernet is a star in the wine world.
Part of its success comes from the fact that it is fairly easy to grow and thrives in both cool and hot climates. Thick-skinned (which produces the tannin), it makes wine with a recognisable character, good structure and ageing potential, but it can be tough and austere.
The solution is to blend it with other grapes, like merlot, cabernet franc and shiraz, to soften it and add complexity.
Originally hailing from southwest France and, in particular, Bordeaux where it is typically blended with merlot and cabernet franc to produce world-famous clarets. These are generally long-lived wines that improve with age, often coming into their own after 10 years or more. Aged in French oak barrels to soften the tannins, claret is characterised by its deep colour and blackcurrants, cedar wood and sometimes green pepper characteristics. Its classic pairing is with roast lamb, which makes a sensational Sunday lunch combination.
In Italy, where the climate is warmer, it is often blended with sangiovese to make big fruit-led wines that go very well with grilled meats. In the New World, Australia blends it surprisingly successfully with shiraz to produce wines which taste of mint, eucalyptus and black cherry, these cry out for barbecues.
Chile, Argentina and California also get in on the act. California in particular has developed outstanding cabernet blends over the years; making big wines (often over 14% alcohol) meant to be drunk with food. In fact, this is a food grape par excellence, its wines working brilliantly with hearty red meats and rich full flavours regardless of where in the world its been made.


All about Nick
During a high-flying City career Nick caught the wine bug and left the world of finance to join the world of wine in 1995. For eight years he was a senior lecturer at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, educators to the wine trade. He has lived in Hampshire for 13 years and during this time has indulged his passion for good food. The excellence of Hampshires produce combined with Nicks expansive wine knowledge enables him to live the life of his dreams as a bon viveur!


All about Susie
Local food addict and freelance food writer Susie is a proud resident of Winchester and has been writing for Hampshire Life since 2006. She is also the Membership and Marketing Officer for Hampshire Fare, a Community Interest Company that supports small food producers and farmers in the county. In October 2008 Susie won ITVs Britains Best Dish with her Smoked Trout & Watercress Tart, made entirely from Hampshire ingredients.


Slow-roasted breast of lamb
with butter beans and salsa verde


Ingredients - Serves 4
Method
Preheat oven to 230C/GM8.
To make the salsa verde, chop the herbs, capers and anchovies together until very fine, then stir in the chopped garlic, lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Spread half the mixture over the inside of the lamb, then mix the other half with the rapeseed oil and set aside.
Roll the lamb up tightly, starting with the thin end, and tie with string. Slice the leeks and scatter over the bottom of a roasting tin or cast iron casserole dish. Pour over the wine and add enough water to almost cover the leeks. Sit the lamb on top, cover with foil or a lid and roast for 15 minutes.Turn the heat down to 120C/GM and slow-roast for 3 hours, turning the lamb occasionally.
Take the lamb out of the roasting dish and set aside. Turn the oven up to 170C/GM3. Stir the butter beans into the leek mixture, then sit the lamb on top. Return the dish, uncovered, to the oven for another 30 minutes so the beans can take on the flavour and the lamb can colour.
Remove the string from the lamb and cut into slices. Serve with the butter beans and a spoonful of the reserved salsa verde.


From your Hampshire producers


Beechcroft - lamb breast
Crabwood, Sarum Road, Winchester, SO22 5QS
01962 868214
A little piece of rural paradise only minutes away from the city centre, Beechcroft is one of Winchesters best kept secrets! Buy lamb, beef, pork and eggs direct from the farm on Friday afternoons and all day Saturday or find them at the farmers market in Winchester, Andover, Alton, Romsey and Chandlers Ford.


Pratts Food - cold-pressed rapeseed oil
Swefling, Grateley, nr Andover, SP11 8LH
07760 122815
Chris Pratt captures the beautiful colour of Hampshires summer rape fields in this delicious oil, pressed on the family farm. Its a fantastic local alternative to olive oil. Try it in humus or salad dressings, or just as it is with some crusty bread.

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