What wine to drink with Sunday Lunch

Sunday lunch is a rite of passage for the English. It is a meal and an occasion that we can collectively claim to have nailed. A momentary window amid our busy week set aside for communal revelry in family, friendship and food. The restorative powers of such moments should be treasured and more pertinently fuelled by a decent bottle of wine.

First things first, there are number of factors to consider when looking for a wine match because every roast is different and each one tends to be married with a relative smorgasbord of different accompaniments that all have the capacity to impact on a wine’s flavour profile.

Roast Beef

Let’s start therefore with a succulent roast beef, a hearty, melt-in-your-mouth Yorkshire pudding and some devilishly crispy roast potatoes, all of course flooded in a warming river of wintery gravy. Yum!

The archetypal British Sunday lunch deserves something capable of matching the seriously rich flavours and the natural juices of the mouth-watering meat. While some believe you need to shell out on an expensive wine when pairing it with beef, this simply isn’t the case anymore given the vast amount of affordable yet brilliant alternatives available. It’s immediately worth noting that Horseradish can tend to be a bit of an obstacle where wine is concerned so tread carefully, but if can’t do without, we suggest you stump for an Aussie Shiraz. The peppery spice of a hot climate Shiraz is a happy match with Horseradish, while its strong enough to stand up to the rich roast beef. If you are abstaining from the aforementioned condiment then a big fulsome red from the New World, such as an Argentinean Malbec from Mendoza is heavenly.

Salentein Reserve Malbec Valle de Uco

Acclaimed by Decanter amongst others and therefore perhaps a little dearer than one would like, but this really is worth trying. A deep purple red wine that has spent a few months in a mixture of new and used French oak barrels, it is beautifully fragrant and will bring out the best in your roast beef.

JJ Hahn Reginald Shiraz, Barossa Valley

One of the best-loved wines on our list, this elegantly rich Aussie Shiraz from Australia's iconic Barossa Valley is spicy enough to contend with your dollops of Horseradish sauce. Don't just take our word for it, this is what Australia's leading wine critic James Halliday said about the Reginald Shiraz: “Richly robed and layered with a cascade of black fruits and a touch of cassis from the splash of Cabernet; cedar and mocha nuances are offset by gently savoury tannins.” 94/100 points.
Roast Lamb

The Brits are notoriously fond of lamb and due to its relatively moderate flavour intensity yet supple juiciness it is perfect with wine. That being said, our national tendency to drench our tender lamb in mint sauce, while delicious, can lead to a few problems when it comes to wine pairing. The vinegary acidity can have an adverse effect on red wines, particularly on the palate but don’t let that deter you. A classic roast leg of lamb bristling with rosemary and imbued with garlic pairs magically with a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon or arguably even better with a lovely Rioja. If your lamb is slightly sweeter and tenderer then why not go for a juicer red such as a Pinot Noir from Chile.

Don Jacobo Rioja Crianza Tinto

Hugely acclaimed Rioja from one of our favourite producers, the Don Jacobo Rioja Crianza Tinto is the perfect accompaniment to a juicy roast lamb. The complexity of the flavours and silky smooth palate are more than a match for the lamb’s natural juices. Delicious and superb value for money too.  

Rare Vineyards Carignan
Perhaps the most popular wine on our entire list and for good reason. This effortlessly drinkable red from the Languedoc-Roussillon is made with grapes from 40-year-old vines and this abundantly fruit wine is incredibly versatile with roast meats. Equally you sup this beauty before lunch its that good!
Pablo Old Vine Garnacha
The Independent said it best: “A name honouring Spain’s greatest artist and a cubist inspired label depicting 100-year-old garnacha vines, grown in high altitudes vineyards in Caltayud. And the Pablo delivers – deep, smoky, dark fruit flavours, a little spice, terrific intensity, a long finish. Drink with robust autumn casseroles.” 
Roast Chicken

The default option for many but also the ultimate Sunday lunch comfort food, roast chicken is also very malleable when applying it with wine. Obviously it depends on how you are going to cook the bird, but let’s keep things simple by suggesting a lot of garlic cloves, half a lemon and plenty of seasoning. In this instance a glass of creamy Chardonnay is absolutely on the money. Whether it’s a classical Burgundian Chardonnay or a slightly buttery version from the New World, both will bring out the tender succulence of the warm chicken meat. If you are feeling brave then a bone dry Riesling will have enough acidity to stand up to any marinade, while a fresh, zingy Sauvignon Blanc will also liven any poultry based meal.

While most people tend to drink white wine with chicken, a light red such as a Valpolicella will enhance the thyme flavours. If you are looking for a safer option a fruity Pinot Noir from New Zealand

Domaine Rodet Château de Mercey Chardonnay 

A slightly lighter style of Chardonnay from Château de Mercey, this wine is straw-gold in colour and boasts ripe, slightly honeyed fruit on the palate, but an elegance and complexity which is delicious when paired with a moist roast chicken.
Over the Shoulder Chardonnay, Yarra Valley
One of Australia’s most critically acclaimed wines from one of their most revered winemakers, Dave Bicknall. Grown in the Coldstream of the iconic Yarra Valley, the conditions are similar to those in Burgundy – an area famed for some of the world’s greatest Chardonnays – and this is a superb New World version. Serve this with Roast chicken and it will knock your socks off!
Château Lyonnat Lussac Saint-Emilion 

This lingeringly rich Bordeaux from one of the region's most respected producers is powerful yet deliciously smooth. This is would be lovely with Roast Chicken or equally a hearty stew or gamey meats would pair wonderfully well with this great value Sain Emillion. 

Image by TheCulinaryGeek 
Main image by Clemens v. Vogelsang 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 


BBQ Spatchcock Piri-Piri Chicken

Summer has come to a close and autumn is well and truly on its way. Blustering winds, cooler temperatures and swiftly shortening days mean it will soon be time to wrap up warm and to make the most of the wonderful autumn produce on offer. Time to say goodbye to those fresh, summer whites and replace them with the warmer, more robust reds frequently associated with colder temperatures.

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