Wine with Caroline Byrne 2013 (from The Irish Garden magazine)

Tim Adams Pinot Gris

Carrot and parsnip soup is actually rather easy to pair with wine. The vegetables have a characteristic earthy sweetness and their flavour partners beautifully with honey and butter. So to find a good wine match we just look for the same complimentary flavours in the wine as we’d use in cooking or serving the sweet root veg. For once, neither acidity nor weight are big considerations – you could choose any style you want as long as it contains no flavours that clash, such as big heavy tannins. For a white option you could try Zenato Lugana (€14.99, which is made from the trebbiano grape and rests on the lees for six months post fermentation, giving round dairy flavours over the wine’s citrus and honeyed melon fruit. Another option known for honey and butter characters is chardonnay, specifically one from a warm climate that’s seen some oak. Glen Carlou Chardonnay (€16.49, O’Brien’s) is a very fine South African example of this style, with ripe honeyed melon, pear and citrus fruit character, enhanced by 10 months’ lees-aging and 30% new French oak. A cheaper alternative is Carmen Reserve Chardonnay 2005 (€12.99, O’Brien’s), not to be snubbed although from a very commercial operator. Finally, you could try a pinot gris. It’s the same grape as pinot grigio only when you see this name on the label you’ll know it’s a much fatter, ‘oilier’ style, usually with richer fruit and lower acidity. One of the best-selling examples in Ireland is my featured white, the very lovely Tim Adams Pinot Gris from the Clare Valley, with rich sweet fruit – apples and pears and yellow tropical fruits – balanced by just enough acidity to keep the wine dry without detracting from its smooth texture.

 Loredona Monterey Pinot Noir

Mitchell & Son, Fallon & Byrne

Our soup could also go well with a red wine, as there are many with the sweetness and richness we want to make its flavours sing. An interesting and little known option, if you can get it, is Miro Modra Frankin (€18.99, Cabot & Co), a delicious blueberry-ish confection from Slovenia made from the grape blaufränkisch. It has layers of dark sour cherry, silky fine tannins, sweet herbs, spice and violets – a wine that will work well with chocolate too. Another sweet smooth wonder that you’ll find more easily is Loredona Pinot Noir, with its ripe Californian notes of bright raspberry, black cherry, cake spice and fine tannins, backed up with enough acidity to keep the wine from becoming cloying – an easy-drinking treat. A less expensive and amazing value for money alternative is Bergerie De La Bastide Rouge 2011 (€8.95, Le Caveau), a blend of grenache noir, merlot and cabernet sauvignon which ripples with red fruits like cranberry and red current and cherry, fresh acidity and creamy supporting oak. Not only would these options partner nicely with the sweet soup, they’d go well through dessert and cheese course too.

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