Matching wine with seasonal root vegetables

21 October, 2015

Want to match wines to your favourite dishes? Take some advice from Jane Parkinson and Eric Chavot on why wines from Pays d’Oc IGP are a match made in heaven with pretty much everything.

The stats are in: 87% of Brits are clueless when deciding what wine to drink with more unusual dishes and ingredients.

But people are cooking more dishes from around the globe than ever before. 

Around 39% have cooked Korean, Middle Eastern, Spanish, Greek or North African food for friends in the past three months.

However, when it comes to matching wines with these styles of food, it seems that we are far from savvy. In fact, most regard their failsafe white as pinot grigio, and merlot as their pick for a red. But is playing it safe dulling your efforts in the kitchen?

Just because you are branching out with your ingredients, it doesn’t mean to have to go out of your comfort zone with your wine choices - you just need to know the flavour profiles you are looking to complement.

Wine writer Jane Parkinson and renowned Michelin-starred chef Eric Chavot have teamed up with Pays d’Oc IGP wines, from the south of France, to prove its offerings can easily be matched with a wide variety of modern dishes. The Pays d’Oc IGP winemakers label their wines with IGP which stands for Protected Geographical Indication, which guarantees quality, traceability and geographical origin. 


Pays d’Oc IGP wines come from an area that winds along the Mediterranean Sea, split into four different regions: Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Hérault and the Gard.

The area, based in Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France, boasts 200km of beaches and vast expanses of vineyards bathed by the sun. It is a rich and natural combination of steep slopes, hilly peaks, vineyards, scrubland vegetation and Mediterranean beaches. With a natural soil diversity, exceptional climate conditions and 56 authorised grape varietals to choose from, the winemakers can create a range of unique aromas. 

This region offers everything you’ll ever need; red, white or rosé, light or complex.

The ‘Pays d’Oc IGP effect’ is recognisable the moment the wine is tasted. Grape varieties express themselves differently depending on the climate, exposure, relief and soils. The mosaic of wine-producing areas that make up the Pays d’Oc territory explains the unique expression of its grape varieties.

So, what do you drink if you’re cooking seasonal root veg?

‘Pinot Noir is famously - and usefully - very versatile with food,’ Jane says. ‘From game and ratatouille, to Chinese ribs, you name it, Pinot Noir can handle it!’. As for the sweet flavour and stickyish texture of sweet potato, it’s perfect with voluptuous and plush white grapes like Viognier and Chardonnay, which will match like-for-like with its sweetness of ripe apricot fruit, even if the wine is dry.

Beetroot and blue cheese salad


Serves 4

450g cooked beetroot

80g shop-bought blue cheese dressing

80g Stilton or Gorgonzola, crumbled

40g lemon split dressing

1 tbsp snipped chives

2 tbsp finely sliced spring onions

A handful of baguette or potato focaccia croutons

Pinch of celery cress (if you can't find this use a pinch of normal cress with mustard)


For the beetroot
21.1kg beetroot

Fine sea salt to taste

45g balsamic vinegar

35g Cabernet Sauvignon red wine vinegar

55g sherry vinegar

75g olive oil

65g lemon split dressing

Ground black pepper to taste

For the lemon split dressing

125g olive oil

2 sprigs lemon thyme

6 small leaves fresh sage

Peel of 1 lemon

25g white wine vinegar

25g white balsamic vinegar

75g lemon oil

150g water

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 tsp caster sugar

A pinch of ground white pepper

First, you’ll need to make the lemon split dressing. Gently warm the olive oil then when warm, add the herbs and lemon peel. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid or clingfilm and leave to cool and infuse on your worktop. Next day, pass your oil through a fine sieve, add the lemon oil, vinegars, water and then season with salt, sugar and white pepper.

To prepare the beetroot, preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 6. Wrap the washed beetroot individually in tin foil with a pinch of sea salt and bake for 1 ½ -2 hours depending on the size. When cooked, using gloves, remove the foil and peel the beetroot while hot. Quarter into four to six or eight pieces depending on the size and dress whilst still hot with the vinegars, lemon dressing and seasoning. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to stand until the beetroot is tepid, then chill in the fridge when cold. Remove from the fridge at least 1 hour before serving.

To serve, plate in individual deep bowls, placing the beetroot first before spooning over some of the beetroot marinade mixture. Scatter over the blue cheese, then drizzle with some of the blue cheese dressing. Sprinkle the chives and spring onions on top with the croutons and celery cress.


What to drink?

Sarl Domaines Paul Mas, Paul Mas Vinus Malbec, 2014, 13%, £7.99, Morrisons, or Louis Max, IGP Pays d'Oc Pinot Noir Climat Haute Vallee, Pinot Noir, 2013, 13.1%, £7.60,

What Jane says

This Malbec has generous ripe cherry ripe and black fruits with a little bit of creaminess; gentle tannins and the kirsch flavour make it easy-drinking. If you fancy trying a pinot noir, the rich oaky nose and roasted beetroot with a hint of cumin and paprika notes of Louis Max is perfect; Drying and reasonably oaky with a black tea-flavoured finish.

Grilled marinated poussin with sweet potatoes and basil mayonnaise

Food and wine

Serves 4

4 spatch-cocked poussin or 2 small chicken; ask your butcher to prepare the poussin for you
4 small sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ras el hanout

For the poussin marinade

1 large clove of garlic, chopped
6 lemon thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs

2/3 of a preserved lemon

3 green chillies, deseeded

2 tbsp lemon oil

4 tbsp olive oil

Zest of 2 lemons

Fine sea salt, to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

For the basil mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

150g vegetable oil

100g olive oil

40g dijon mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 bunch fresh basil

Fine sea salt to taste

Ground white pepper to taste

Blitz all the marinade ingredients together in a food processor, or with a pestle and mortar. Check the seasoning; you can make it extra tangy by adding some of the syrup from the lemon. Rub the marinade all over the poussin, place in a sandwich bag and refrigerate for minimum of 4 hours, mixing the poussin every so often in the bag.


Next, wash the sweet potatoes, then cut in thick wedges and toss in the oil and ras el hanout and roast in a 180C/350F/gas mark 4 oven for 30-40 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, remove the poussin from the fridge 30 minutes before grilling on the barbecue, over a direct medium heat or on a griddle pan or under a grill. Start skin-side down on medium heat for 5-8 minutes, and then turn over. Reducing the heat, cook gently for another 10-12 minutes, basting time to time with the marinade, until the meat is no longer pink. Remove from the heat and rest in a warm place, before serving.

To make the mayonnaise, gently whisk the yolks with the mustard, the seasoning and zest. Slowly add the oil while whisking, then Add the lemon juice and check the seasoning. For a small amount like this, use a small hand blender, and add the pre washed/chopped basil and blitz into the mayonnaise until smooth. Serve alongside a crunchy romaine salad, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and zest.


What to drink?

Vignobles Lorgeril, Marquis de Pennautier, Terroirs d'Altitude, Chardonnay, 2013, 13.5%, £10.99, Majestic, or Laudun Chusclan Vignerons, Oppidum Merlot, 2013, 14%, Portal, £6.10, Dingwall & Norris.

What Jane says

This Chardonnay has a malty and slightly nutty start but with a good citrus hit. It’s crisp and zesty, but with a richer undertone of honey and gentle beeswax and a creamy finish. If you want to go for a red, this Merlot is rich and meaty with arustic, nutty, savoury flavour and a good grip-to-your-gums tannin.


About Eric Chavot

“The best chef in London without a doubt” is how Marco Pierre-White described Eric, whilst A A Gill wrote “This is as good as you can eat in London....This was three-stars-and-bars cooking; a faultlessly assured, elegant, thoughtful, poignant, intelligent, top-of-the-range, exceedingly-rare handmade dinner”. Eric opened up “Brasserie Chavot” in Mayfair in March 2013, which finally put an end to the incessant queries about “when is Chavot back?” ! He returned to the UK in 2012, after two years of cooking for Selfridges’ owner, Galen Weston, in Florida, and is living his dream of having his own “Brasserie de luxe” style restaurant, where he continues to provide honest and uncomplicated food  - the “flavours of Chavot”-  with  his usual high Michelin standard execution.


About Jane Parkinson

Jane Parkinson is an award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster. Winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition Communicator of the Year award in 2014, she is a wine expert on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen Live, author of Wine & Food and contributor to the soon to be released 30-Second Wine. Jane is the wine columnist for several UK magazines as well as one of five members in The Wine Gang. She is a regular wine commentator on television, radio and in person when hosting events, plus she judges in international wine competitions. Jane is a previous recipient of the Chairman’s Award at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards for “rising rocket-like” through the world of wine writing.

Click here for more information about Pays d’Oc IGP wines

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