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Regular readers of my blog will know that I usually choose my wine first and then match it with food. However, when I chose Surani Costarossa Primitivo di Manduria 2015 it was to match a dish which my husband wanted to create. He was making Chef Tom Kerridge’s homemade doner kebabs. The ingredients were lamb mince and lamb breast meat (the recipe states lamb leg meat but my husband couldn’t source the leg meat), garlic, cumin, paprika, onion powder, dried oregano, chilli flakes, seasoning. The dressing was not Tom Kerridge’s but a kebab shop dressing found on line which had natural yoghurt, mayonnaise and garlic.

 I considered both white and red wine to match the food. Either, the driest Riesling ‘Trocken’ or a Zinfandel. Riesling is a good food wine which matches a lot of flavours easily because of its sweetness. I knew I wouldn’t need a lot of acidity in the wine because the kebabs were not greasy. For my palate, the Trocken would have had enough sweetness for the chilli sauce because I find Trocken sweet even though it is technically classed as dry. If you compare it to an Italian Fiano or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc it is sweet. However, the wintry weather was pulling me towards a soft, juicy Californian red wine with some sweetness and spice which would cope with the chilli sauce and the spices in the lamb. In addition, the sweetness would help the food pairing in general. We were having some salad and a garlic yoghurt and mayonnaise dressing with the kebabs which I was concerned about with red wine. If I chose red, I was going to choose one with 12-12.5% alcohol volume as I thought this would be better with spice than a higher alcohol wine.

I did choose a red but not a Californian Zinfandel. I went to my favourite wine country, Italy and chose an Italian grape virtually identical to the Californian Zinfandel grape. I chose Primitivo from Puglia in southern Italy, which had an alcohol volume of 14%. Much higher than I thought would match with the spice, but I had confidence in the wine because I love the Surani Fiano white wine from the same region.

The colour of the Primitivo in the glass was very dark ruby. Deep, intense and beautiful. The legs were prominent and descended slowly down the inside of the glass, thick and wide. Leather on the nose was a surprise as this wine was not very old. On the palate it was very soft and round, blackberry and spice with vanilla on the length. I needn’t have worried about the high alcohol content as it matched the kebabs and sauces well. The biggest surprise was the match with the garlic yoghurt and mayonnaise sauce. This brought out the vanilla in the wine further and when the chilli and yoghurt sauces were mixed the spice and vanilla flavours in the wine were both heightened. The salad was coated in meat and sauces within the kebab and therefore took on their flavours so the salad was not a problem with the wine. It was a brilliant match and one which had taken a lot of thought and deliberation.

I purchased this wine from Majestic Wine in Poole, Dorset and paid £11.99 for it. I could have taken advantage of the mix 6 price of £9.99 but I only purchased one bottle of wine that day. The first time I have ever been to Majestic Wine and purchased less that 6 bottles!

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Read my wine and food column in the Bournemouth Echo on the first Saturday of each month