I rarely drink wine on its own. In my native (French) culture, apart perhaps from Champagne, wine always goes with food.
In my adopted culture (British) wine is not always matched with food. People will have a glass of heavy red in the bath or in front of TV.
Last weekend, a friend came to stay and brought two bottles. His favourite Rioja, which I already knew and a bottle of Primitivo (which my American readers know as Zinfandel) that I have been dying to open ever since. Primitivo (and this one is aged in American oak) is definitely a wine you should have with food. As a vegetarian, it’s not necessarily an easy match. Baked vegetables or aubergine (eggplant) dishes would be safe pairing options and, since I was having a night in, last night seemed like the ideal opportunity. Except that… yesterday my main plan was to watch a TV programme which in my opinion would not at all have gone with the Primitivo.
Let me explain. I think most people will accept that you can pair wine with music. I tweeted a link to an article on the matter not long ago. So, it might not be totally absurd to think of TV and wine pairings.
I do match my wine with food. I often plan my meals around the wine I have at home. But I am not a big drinker so, quite often, I still have wine left in my glass after I have finished my food and I will take it to whichever room I am spending the evening in. More often than not it’s at my desk. Occasionally though, I will watch TV.
Last night, the programme in question was “Let it Shine” on BBC1. It’s basically like a talent show to find the perfect boy band to star in a musical in The West End of London (the equivalent of Broadway in New York). It’s the brainchild of Gary Barlow from Take That.
I am going to be honest here: I have never been that much into Take That or any boy band for that matter (unless Blur is a boy band) but I did get dragged to a Take That Concert a few years ago, and I absolutely enjoyed it, they sure could put on a show!
Anyway, the reason I am watching this talent show is because my friend’s son (who also was my own son’s friend at primary school) is starring in it. I say “starring” because he really has made an impression. At just 16, he is the youngest of the contestants. I met him when he was 4. He was already very cute and I think he already would break into songs whenever he felt like it. He was already a performing star at school. I am incredibly impressed that he now can sing in front of a huge audience and live on prime TV. He has a great voice and he is very lovely and charming.
Back to the wine. I decided to go for a smooth, modern style fruity Rioja crianza. It had to be a young wine to go with a young band. But a smooth one because they already sound and look like professionals. Does it make sense? Blur used to sing about coffee and TV . I would like to discuss wine and TV.
The only other similar type of programme I have ever watched on a Saturday night is Strictly Come Dancing. It’s very glitzy. I pair it with a sparkling wine, a sparkling rosé to be precise.
What about my Primitivo then? Well, I think the perfect pairing would be with a few episodes of Luther…. Dark, powerful but with some very smooth vanilla notes too… Idris Elba can’t be matched with a Beaujolais!
Next week is the final of Let it Shine. I want to drink some Champagne. I want Nightfall to win and I want to celebrate. So I am asking for your help. Please vote for lovely Huw’s band. It is called Nightfall. They are the best anyway. You need to register here and you can vote online and you can also call the number they give you on the show at the end.
I am not sure whether you can vote from outside the UK. I will let you know how they get on.
The Champagne will be chilling as soon as Saturday morning. I am not going to finish with the famous Napoleon quote about Champagne because they are going to smash it!