OLLY SMITH: Wines to make your bonfire sausages go with a bang
It’s conceivable that while you blow things up next weekend on bonfire night that there may also be a banger in your bun. Where sausages are concerned a good beer is hard to beat – just try Bratwurst while sipping Weizenbock. But wine too can make sausages go with a bang – as long as you pop the right one.
If you’re sizzling a pork sausage that’s laced with apples, leeks or honey, try a rich white such as South African Chenin Blanc or the fragrant Grenache Blanc-Viognier blend I’ve found this week from Lea & Sandeman. These bolder whites – especially when they’ve been fleshed out by a soak in some oak – balance with the texture of the sausage whereas reds risk rampaging and dominating its succulence.
And if you’re lashing on the mustard and pickles, Riesling from Australia has the right intensity to prevail, or try the beautiful Hungarian white I’m recommending from the Wine Society from the Kéknyelü grape, a new one on me and a real find.
If it’s an all-round red you’re after, top notch Beaujolais is hard to beat thanks to its deft lightness or look for Piquepoul Noir for something good value from off the beaten track. But when your banger is packed with fiery spice that’s primed for a detonation, a big red with bulging deep fruit cushions the blast perfectly, and my go to bottles are reds from sunny Portugal.
But if you’re serving the old classic bangers and mash, southern French reds with more subtle spicing are grand. My neighbor Bob, for instance, loves red wines from Fitou, an appellation producing hearty red blends that are perfect to give your bangers a more gentle blast. But when it comes to beef sausages, while deep sleek Malbec is perfect to pair with steaks, the texture of sausage is more mellow so stay with lighter reds such as Pinot Noir and hit the bullseye.
As for game sausages, rich earthy Riojas rule, especially filthy old Gran Reservas that reek like a cigar box that’s been stuffed with mushrooms and squeezed in a leather belt. Or just grab a local beer and quench that banger.