Côté Mas Vermentino 2015

Côté Mas Vermentino 2015, France

(£8.49, Waitrose or via Wine Searcher

I’ll admit it. When I first saw the recipe that Atul Kochhar was cooking on Saturday Kitchen – sumptuous spiced roast chicken with bread sauce, brioche-filled stuffing and gravy, all with an aromatic Indian twist – I immediately thought it would be rich white wine territory.

But my assumptions were wrong. This is a classic example of where a wine needs to underplay things. Cleansing the palate between what are some pretty indulgent mouthfuls. (It reminds me of the time we did a pie-and-wine tasting. Gorgeously rich, savoury pies – but the equally rich wines were just awful because what you wanted was refreshment, not flavour overkill. It was the lighter reds that stole the show.)

And so it is here. This Côté Mas Vermentino is a great value all-rounder. I wouldn’t have picked it as the best match but it certainly was when we lined up a fair few bottles to try alongside the dish. (Neither, mind you, would I have picked the Mas de Mas Pinot Blanc 2011 which we dug out of our cellar – but that proved a hit too.) Subtly refreshing whites with a bit of texture is very much the order of the day with Atul’s amazing chicken.

It went down well in studio, Atul noting how it ‘really complements’ the ‘juicy, spicy’ style of the chicken. Fellow chef Emma Bengtsson pointed out how good the combination was, especially with the carrots. Show host Michel Roux Jr added that he would normally go for a lighter red like Gamay or Pinot Noir with chicken but that this wine was ‘great – really fab: bang on, well done Peter!’ A hearty cheers to that. (6.5/10, Peter, Jan 2017)