Classic wines for a classic roast

Matthew Vann of Arundel Butchers
Matthew Vann of Arundel Butchers

It’s British Roast Dinner Week! What? You mean you didn’t know?

Not surprising, perhaps, as it seems that every day there is a new reason invented to celebrate some food or drink.

Great for the marketing guys, but also a good excuse to find a theme for a dinner or lunch party, rediscover a dish or try out a new wine paired with the celebrated dish in question. Although, I think National Baked Beans on Toast Day may be pushing the limits.

A great roast dinner demands two things. A good bottle of wine to accompany the meal, each complementing the others’ flavours and enhancing enjoyment of the whole. And, above all, top quality cuts of meat, poultry, game or indeed fish to roast.

The supermarkets do, of course, provide all of these things, but if you are like me and a bit of a ‘flavour hound’, then make regular visits to your local butcher, where top quality rules the day.

The residents of Arundel and the surrounding area are lucky to have one of the best butchers in the region. Situated in the heart of the town at the bottom of the High Street, Arundel Butchers has been supplying high quality meat for well over two centuries. The shop was built in the Georgian era and is roughly the same age as HMS Victory, with ship’s timbers and wattle and daub in the construction of the building, testifying to its long history.

A family-run business, Arundel Butchers has been owned and managed by Matthew Vann since 2001, ably assisted by his brother and his son, with the occasional appearance of his father.

“My prime objective is to supply the best quality produce that I can source, so that my customers can notice a significant difference from what they find in the supermarkets,” said Matthew.

As a regular customer, I believe he achieves his goal.

Beef is sourced from Scotland, being a cross of Charolais and Aberdeen Angus, pork is free-range from Wiltshire and lamb is the local South Downs variety. All bred for both tenderness and flavour. Quality cuts of meat from a classic family butcher thus need to be paired with the appropriate wines and recourse to the classic regions of France seems to be the order of the day. Since we seem to have rapidly gone from summer to autumn, with Jack Frost nipping at our heels, it’s surely time for a drop of claret or burgundy.

Chateau Pey La Tour 2014 is a very reasonably priced claret (Waitrose on offer at £7.49) from a multi-award-winning estate, that punches way above its simple ‘Bordeaux’ appellation. The top Bordeaux company of Dourthe has remodelled the vineyard and use exemplary vinification methods to produce an outstanding wine for the price. Pair with Matthew’s rib of beef or roast Scottish topside. Sussex roast lamb deserves a classic red burgundy, pinot noir pairing beautifully with this meat. A perfect match is the Bourgogne Couvent des Jacobins 2015 from Louis Jadot, who have been making Burgundy since 1859. From a classic vintage and aged in oak for six months, there is plenty of depth and complexity, with a delicious, soft, fruit finish and balancing acidity. Very affordable at around £15 per bottle from Wholefoods, Guildford Wine Co and others.

Richard Esling BSc DipWSET is an experienced wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. An erstwhile wine importer, he runs a wine agency and consultancy company called WineWyse, is founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy, chairman of Arundel Wine Society and is an International Wine Judge. Twitter @richardwje. Visit www.winewyse.com.

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