The Discerning Drinker

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 17, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Discerning Drinker


Byline: Andrew Neather

CHARLES Campion's seasonal choice of crayfish is an irresistible one. This is a delicate, subtly-flavoured shellfish that requires a light and elegant wine, perhaps with a very slight touch of sweetness -- depending a bit on the sauce you serve with it, if any. (A sauvignon, say, risks overwhelming it.) Champagne is a classic and worthy accompaniment, but there many whites that work well too.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV (Roberson, 348 Kensington High St, W14, [pounds sterling]28,95; Jeroboams, [pounds sterling]33.90; Selfridges, [pounds sterling]34.99; Berry Brothers, 3 St James St, SW1 or www.bbr.com, [pounds sterling]31.95)

Billecart-Salmon makes one of the most elegant non-vintage brut champagnes in the business: its freshness and purity balanced by subtle appley fruit and nutty notes that would complement crayfish well. Proof that you really can drink champagne throughout a meal?

M&S Bourgogne Chardonnay 2007 ([pounds sterling]8.99)

Lighter chardonnay is the other obvious match for crayfish. This white burgundy is a good deal better than its humble AOC Bourgogne designation might suggest: it's more interesting than some village-level Cote d'Or whites at nearer twice the price, from a producer based in Meursault (although the fruit is from further afield). Well balanced, with the chiselled crispness so characteristic of the 2007s, as well as a bit of flesh and depth.

Lone Range Heretaunga Chardonnay 2008, Hawkes Bay (M&S, [pounds sterling]9.99 reduced to [pounds sterling]5.99 until 27 Sept)

I've praised this classy New Zealand chardonnay recently; I mention it again because M&S have it on unbeatable offer for the next 10 days. …

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