Saturday Kitchen 26.5

(by peter)

This was quite simply one of my all-time favourite wine shoots.

I’ve ridden in tanks, scored penalties at the Riverside and climbed cathedral steeples for Saturday Kitchen – but this was something else.

I got to speed about St Katherine’s Docks standing proud on the bow of a rib helmed by the lovely Cap’n Tim, pretending to be James Bond with shades and a mysterious black case… An ‘international man of wine’, as James Martin quipped on the show.

And then I got to prance around the fabulous London International Wine Fair at Excel – a place packed with 20,000 open bottles of wines and spirits plus the great and the good of the UK and international wine trade – so pretty much my ideal hunting ground.

(On which note, it was great to have cameos at the fair by the likes of David Gleave MW, Adolfo Hurtado, Javier Hidalgo, Elisa Kwon, Kate Sweet and Roberto della Pietra – plus my fellow Saturday Kitchen wine presenters Tim Atkin MW and Susy Atkins.)

And let’s not forget the fine chefs and their magical dishes…

The fabulous José Pizarro was cooking deep-fried chicken wings al ajillo with braised peas and Serrano ham with eggs, while maestro Kenny Atkinson’s recipe was soused mackerel with carrots, fennel and orange and crispy smoked eel.

We cooked both dishes before the show and, in their individual ways, each was a delight. We cracked open nearly 30 bottles of wine just to make sure we made the right choice too…

For Kenny’s mackerel I mentioned the Wild Earth Riesling 2009 before opting for the Cono Sur Reserva Viognier 2009, Colchagua (from £8.35, widely available though primarily and

‘Absolutely fantastic match – really good choice,’ was Kenny’s comment. He later followed up on twitter by saying: ‘Stunning wine choice, well done, top notch choices, loved the cava too… ‘bob on’, as they say in Yorkshire.’

Jose described the match as, ‘Just beautiful, stunning.’

Although I know José’s a big fan of sherry (and beer on a warm day like it was for the show!), I went instead for a cheeky fizz, cava style: the amazing value Codorníu Selección Raventós Brut (from £7.49, widely available though principally Majestic, Wine Rack, Oddbins).

‘Delicious!’ enthused James, while José described it as: ‘lovely, lovely, lovely – goes so well, an amazing choice, thank you Peter!’

At which point studio guest Danny O’Dononghue (of BBC1’s The Voice) described himself as, ‘over the moon’ – always a good sign.

Danny’s food heaven was a char-grilled T-bone steak with tomato chilli chutney and grilled fig and shallot salad. For this I recommended the Ramos Reserva Alentejo 2011 (from £6.99, Majestic).

You can find all the recipes from the show, which also featured archive material from Rick Stein, Celebrity Masterchef and Keith Floyd, on the BBC Food site. You can view the wine bits from the show in the clips below, reproduced here by kind permission of BBC1/Cactus TV.

My sincere thanks to all who so generously helped us with the filming, including the fine people at Buckingham Schenk for the loan of their tall ship and tender – also to Tim and Sandra from the good ship Atlantis – plus show organisers Will and James at Brintex, Sally from Relish and Sarah & Saskia at Complete.