A fine Barbera for grouse

Taste the Difference Barbera d’Asti 2014, Italy, 13.5%

(£7, Sainsbury’s)

This own-label Barbera from Sainsbury’s is really good value – and very autumnal in feel, with a heart-warming touch of spice to an otherwise silky dark-fruited style.

It made a fantastic Saturday Kitchen match for a very autumnal dish by Amandine Chaignot: roasted grouse with turnips, girolles and blackcurrants.

It’s always a risk recommending an Italian wine for a proud French chef, but Amandine charitably motioned that I was ‘forgiven’ because the wine was ‘very good’! Show host Donal Skehan noted how it ‘brought it all together really well.’

The reason I went Italian – rather than, for example, an elegant Pinot – was the presence of two key ingredients in the recipe: walnuts and blackcurrants. Particularly that tangy fresh fruit came through quite powerfully, and tied in beautifully with a slightly more robust Italian style with bittersweet cherry character. With game, it’s so often the other ingredients on the plate that make a big difference – and this one was no exception. (7/10, Susie, Oct 2016)