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March 28, 2024updated 12 Jun 2024 10:30am

Wine pairings with chicken bhuna 

By The World of Fine Wine Team

The World of Fine Wine has teamed up with Great British Chefs to find the best wine matches for a range of classic dishes. In this instalment, leading food and wine writer and WFW columnist, Joanna Simon, selects wines from the WFW tastings archive to pair with a warming recipe from southern India—chicken bhuna.

After scrutinizing the Great British Chefs’ recipe, Joanna came up with two suggestions to accentuate the mellow, comforting flavors of the recipe, an Austrian Grüner Veltliner like Weingut Bernhard Ott Ried Feuersbrunner Spiegel 1 ÖTW Trocken Grüner Veltliner 2018 or a Chablis in a riper style like Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons VV 2018.

Below, you’ll find a brief introduction to the recipe by Great British Chefs, as well as comprehensive tasting notes and introductions to the featured tastings.

Chicken bhuna

Growing up in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India’s southernmost state, meant Peter Joseph was brought up on dishes such as idli, dosas and sambar, foods full of flavor and color. But it was the importance of food in the home and the passion he saw when his parents cooked that really inspired him. “I loved watching my mum put dishes together – the way she used lots of fun colorful ingredients and spices was always something that intrigued me,” he tells Great British Chefs. “She would always pack me off to school with a tiffin box full of delights such as parota (fried bread), appam (rice pancakes), sadam (flavored rice) and always a few sweet treats such as halwa too.”

Peter’s Peter Joseph’s stunning chicken bhuna recipe is incredibly simple to make. Bhunas are characterized by a thick, deliciously intense coating sauce with a well-spiced but moderate heat, perfect for warming the cockles on a chilly winter evening. Serve with fluffy basmati rice and some homemade roti.

Great British Chefs

For more information and the full recipe, visit Great British Chefs

Danube Grüner Veltliner and Riesling: Meandering through terroir

In WFW69, Stephan Reinhardt introduced an exciting tasting that he shared with Stephen Brook and Andrew Jefford of some of Austria’s greatest white wines, assessing the quality of an array of single-site Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings, most from the 2018 vintage, and exploring the differences in the many and varied terroirs that follow the Danube River from Vienna to Spitz.

This tasting is dedicated to the great white wines of the Danube, in so far as they originate from the federal states of Vienna and Lower Austria, respectively from the growing regions Vienna, Wagram, Kamptal, Traisental, Kremstal, and Wachau, which are connected from east to west. Thus, the Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners of the Danube region have established Austria’s reputation as the origin of world-class white wines, even if, in doing so, they have overshadowed the outstanding white wines also being produced in Burgenland and Styria, which deserve their own tasting one day.

But first, we wanted to take stock of those top wines from the Danube that had yet to be featured in an extensive tasting in WFW. The Danube valley, with its roughly 13,000ha (32,000 acres) of vines, is a homogenous cultural area. Between Vienna and Spitz in the western Wachau, essentially the same grape varieties are cultivated, and the (primeval) Danube has not only created the wine landscapes, it also influences the climate and the growth and ripening of the grapes

The wine chosen for this tasting was

Weingut Bernhard Ott Ried Feuersbrunner Spiegel 1 ÖTW Trocken Grüner Veltliner 2018

Stephen Brook | There’s admirable spice on the nose, as well as attractive lime and pear fruit. Juicy and succulent, this has an engaging generosity without being heavy. The acidity is modest but it doesn’t lack nuance or subtlety. Not a wine for long aging, but it’s less one-dimensional than many others. Fairly long, with a nutty finish. | 90 

Chablis vineyards. Photography by Shutterstock.

2018 Burgundy: The balance of a warm year

In the hottest growing season since 2003, the vast majority of Burgundy’s vignerons avoided excessive ripeness and jammy flavors, producing aromatic fleshy, reds and concentrated whites, both with a surprising balancing freshness, said Joanna Simon in WFW67, as she introduced a vintage about which there is “much to enthuse.” Additional notes from Neil Beckett, Stephen Brook, Michael Edwards, Margaret Rand, and Michael Schuster.

On the face of it, 2018 is an easy vintage to sum up and categorize. It was hot, dry, early, very ripe and, for a second merciful year, volumes were satisfactory: quite often on the generous side for reds and decidedly abundant for whites. 

As for quality, the fanfare began before pickers even set foot in the vineyards and there is certainly much to enthuse about. But that doesn’t mean the picture is uniform. There are some overripe, jammy, high-alcohol reds that have lost sight of both Pinot Noir and Burgundy. They are, though, a small minority. The very good to excellent reds include simple Bourgognes, village wines, and higher, cooler, appellations, notably the Hautes Côtes, as well as the grander names. The best are aromatic, intense, and fleshy, with rich but pure fruit, fine tannin structure, and, counterintuitively, marked freshness, which gives them that crucial attribute, balance, and makes them, according to Pascal Marchand of Marchant-Tawse, “more lively than 2003 or 2015.” Asking growers to play the likeness game produces, among others, 1947, 1990, and 2015 with a bit of 2017, but really it’s a year unlike any other. As for the whites, the best have vitality, concentration, and precise, elegant fruit—even Chablis, although some aficionados will surely lament the atypical richer, weightier, less steely style.

The wine chosen from this tasting was …

Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons VV 2018

Michael Edwards | A hot spot in more than one sense. Despite all the solar heat and attendant challenges, the age of the vines and some virtuoso winemaking delivers a silky, opulent wine that miraculously holds on to tension and thrust. The 100% oak of various ages is faultlessly wound into the wine. Seductive Welsh gold hue; poised, ripe, green Chablisien fruits, apple blossom, and pêche de vignes. Seductive, luxuriant mouthfeel, a gentle note of vanilla. Impressive length and verticality. A star of the whole tasting. | 96+

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