Category Archives: Food & Drink

Recipes for wine-based cocktails and other drinks, plus dishes that go particularly well with wine,


As the asparagus season begins and lasts for only 6 weeks (approximately 1st May to 20th June) the great debate of which wine to match with asparagus begins.

Do you go with the obvious New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (Kate Radburnd does a delicious zesty style) or are you more adventurous, venturing to, say, the Pinot Gris from Domain Road?
Middle ground could be a white Bordeaux? With the Semillon mellowing the Sauvignon Blanc but being full bodied enough to handle a rich hollandaise.

How about a red wine? Our Chinon Les Bernières Marcel Martin works well if you griddle the asparagus and serve with sautéed mushroom on toasted ciabatta.

My personal favourite is to oven roast the asparagus, serve with balsamic vinegar and lots of parmesan shavings. Match this with a glass of Gavi di Gavi Manfredi. Heaven.

The Secret to a good risotto – a glass of white wine.

Enrich any risotto recipe by adding a glass of white wine. Add the wine after you have fried your rice gently for a few minutes and before you add the stock. The finished result will give you a slightly acidic risotto with a rounder, deeper flavour.

When cooking with wine, the better the wine, the better the end results. We would also recommend using a more full bodied wine (try our Gavi ‘La Battistina’) which can stand up to food. Preferably the wine you would drink with the risotto – giving you the perfect excuse to open a bottle!


We love Angela Harnett’s Courgette Risotto recipe below:

Serves 4 as a starter

1 clove garlic

1 banana shallot or 1 small onion chopped finely

350g risotto rice

200ml white wine

1 litre hot vegetable stock

2 courgettes, grated

150g cold diced butter

100g parmesan cheese

Handful chopped flatleaf parsley

Handful chopped mint

50g pancetta

1 tbsp pine nuts

Salt and pepper

Add a touch of olive oil to a pan, over a medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic without any colour. Then add the rice and a knob of butter and cook for a further four minutes to toast the rice. Season with freshly milled salt and pepper

Deglaze with the white wine and then start to cook the risotto by gradually adding the hot stock, one ladle at a time, stirring continuously. Continue to cook for 15 minutes. A risotto from start to finish should take 18-20 minutes.

About five minutes from the end, add the grated courgette and mix well. Cook for a further minute, then remove from the heat and beat the diced butter into the risotto rice. Finish with the parmesan and herbs.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sauté the pancetta for a few minutes, then add the pine nuts to toast them.

Pour the risotto rice into a bowl, spoon over the toasted pine nuts and pancetta and serve immediately

Take one cow …

Syllabub – even the name is delicious – is a delectable mousse made by vigorously mixing wine with milk, traditionally straight from the cow, and it’s been popular for centuries.

If there’s no cow handy the milk can be whipped with birch twigs, aerated with a special bellows apparatus – or simply whisked with an electric blender. These days it’s usually made with plenty of cream and there are endless variations with brandy, cider, herbs etc.

Rather than give more detail and recipes I don’t think I can do better than point you to an excellent blog and website by Ivan Day, food historian, and a great recipe from Nigel Slater.

(And by the way, we reckon Late Harvest dessert wine as a great wine for this dish).

Mulled Wine

Every year, from about now, you’ll probably find you heart sinking as your host ladles out a turbid concoction referred to as “glue fine” or “van show”. It contrives to be cloyingly sweet, yet somehow bitter, mouth-puckeringly sour and much nastier than the sum of its ingredients. It will, at first, be scaldingly hot, searing you through its thin, plastic cup, quite possibly causing a painful spillage, then become quite suddenly uninvitingly tepid, and it will have bits in it. Don’t do this to people you like; here’s how to serve up a genuine treat.

Take 1 bottle of Manor Wines‘ (look, it is our blog) Vicuña Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. It’s the perfect wine for mulling, with plenty of big, fruity flavours. Whatever you do, don’t use wine you wouldn’t drink un-mulled.

6 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 stick of cinnamon (avoid ground spices if possible or the result will be cloudy: it should be a wonderful deep, clear, glossy red!)
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
Sugar to taste; less not more, this is meant to be for grown-ups

1 small glass of brandy (Spanish is good here, inexpensive with a great toffee flavour that works well). It’ll be delicious without, but this does give extra depth and pungency.

Put the wine, brandy and sugar in a covered pan (mix it in so it doesn’t catch on the bottom) with the cloves, bay leaf, cinnammon, lemon and orange. Heat and simmer gently for a minute then remove from the stove and allow to steep for half an hour or so (still with the lid on). Don’t let it sit much longer than this or you’ll get bitter flavours from the citrus fruits. If you are mulling the wine in advance, take the orange and lemon out and cover the pan.

Strain, adjust the sweetness and re-heat if necessary, just up to a simmer. There’s nothing to gain by boiling it and you’ll just drive off the alcohol and the more delicate flavours.

Serve it in something with a handle, preferably thick enough to keep the drink warm.