IF YOU’RE as hungry as a horse, British Pie Week (March 7 to 13) is a brilliant excuse to tuck into some warm and hearty comfort food, uncork a decent bottle of vino and say: “Cheers!”
For chicken and bacon pies, try a lightly oaked chardonnay like Taste the Difference Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2009 (£8.49, Sainsbury’s). This lively Australian spends nine months in oak and the fresh tropical fruit flavours are a perfect match with creamy sauces.
Smoked fish and cider pies need an elegant white with good acidity to balance the salty aspects of the dish. Try VC VDT 2009 OA (£9.49, www.laithwaites.co.uk). Along with its trendy, minimalist bottle label, this mighty viognier/chardonnay blend from the Ardeche in south-west France pulls all the right taste-strings. Quite heady with a honeyed nose, sumptuous apricot fruit and a fresh finish, it’s a sophisticated choice for the discerning drinker.
Cutting into a leaky sensation with puff pastry billowing from the fork, why not reach for a glass of fruit-driven Vidal Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (£9.99, Oddbins). This zippy New Zealand white contrasts well with herbs and spring greens, and the ripe, fleshy stone fruits with a limey finish make it a great food wine.
Crusty, meaty pies with rich gravy call for warming, full-bodied reds. Try Tesco Finest Vina Mara Rioja Reserva 2005 (£7.99 from £9.49 until April 5, Tesco). Rich and fruity, this 100% tempranillo has a good dollop of strawberry and raspberry fruit with spicy, vanilla oak on the finish.
An intense shiraz can stand up to the powerful flavours of beef steak, chorizo or spicy lamb pie. Try Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Shiraz 2008 (£8.16, Sainsbury’s) - the founding father of Californian wine never produces a duff bottle and this super shiraz is no exception. Juicy with blackberry aromas, cassis, herbs and good tannins on the velvety finish, you can’t go wrong with this scrummy crowd pleaser.
Or if you fancy a good claret, try Dourthe Montagne St Emilion 2009 (£9.99, Waitrose). Packed with brambly fruit, a terrific taste sensation develops as the flavours embrace the palette. Spicy with tobacco notes, it also pairs well with a cheeseboard (if you’re not too stuffed).
Pinotphiles will love this little gem from Chilean winery Errazuriz, which is becoming a household name thanks to its reasonably priced, quality wines.
A notch up the scale, try Errazuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir 2009 (£12.99, Majestic). Slightly more complex due to the use of wild yeasts (hence the name), it’s a delicate silky mouthful of morello cherries with a smoky top note and lingering finish.
Comforting and tasty, we should never underestimate the appeal of the great British pie.