THE SOCIETY’S EXHIBITION SAUTERNES 2012. (£9.95 for 37.5cl., The Wine Society).
I was recently asked to match wine with a plate brimming with fruit samosas made by the chefs at Tante Marie Culinary Academy. My regular readers will know that I don’t think that food and wine matching is the exact science that many profess but, that said, I decided to follow the rules, go sweet and traditional. You can’t get much more traditional than Bordeaux on France’s south west coast and Sauternes, its world famous sweet wine.
The Sauternes vineyards are about an hour’s drive south of Bordeaux city where the region’s white grapes, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, produce reputably the best sweetie in the world. Believe it or not, the key to the world’s great sweet wines is rotten grapes; to the uninitiated, they would go straight in the skip but to the winemaker they are liquid gold. Getting technical, the rot is caused by botrytis cinerea – that’s ‘noble rot’ to you and me – it attacks and shrivels the grapes and, in driving out the moisture produces heavy duty sweetness, heady concentrated flavours and attractive yeasty overtones.
The grapes are left on the vines into the autumn months when the mists envelope the vineyards, promoting ‘noble rot’. The thin skinned Semillon grapes, easily attacked by the rot, give a waxy lemon character to the wines whilst Sauvignon Blanc chips in with its citrus flavours and typical crisp acidity, (that’s the stuff that makes your mouth water), so important to balance the natural, high sugar levels. The result is a sweet, crisp not cloying, honeyed, yeasty lemon and apricot beauty that sends the fruit samosas soaring and will have you itching for another sip.
Since 2001 The Society’s Exhibition Sauternes has been organically produced at Château Cantegril in Barsac, the red clay-limestone vineyard region located adjacent to the better known Sauternes vineyards. Hold on, I can hear you say, if it’s from Barsac how come it’s called Sauternes? The answer is ‘very French’; the rules say Barsac can be called Sauternes but Barsac can only come from Barsac. Don’t ask. I told you that it was ‘very French’!
The Society’s Exhibition Sauternes 2012 is a blend of 65% Semillon, 34% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Muscadelle with a quarter of the wine having been aged in new oak barrels (225 litre barriques, about 300 bottles). I recommend that you crack open a bottle with the samosas but if you want to leave a couple of bottles in your cellar you can as this golden wine has the depth of flavour and balance (that’s the important balance of fruit, acidity and alcohol) to age beautifully for up to five years.
The roasted fruit samosas may not be organic but they go really well with the Sauternes. As you know, that’s samosas from Tante Marie and Sauternes from Barsac!
And, if you fancy, here’s the recipe ………
Roast fruit samosas with cardamom scented vanilla ice cream
For the samosas:
230g plain flour plus extra 80g
60ml rapeseed oil,
pinch of salt
For the filling:
2 mangos, peeled and cubed
3 peaches, peeled and cubed
3 kiwi fruit peeled and cubed
1 punnet of raspberries
3tbsp caster sugar
For the rosewater dip:
250ml crème fraîche
1tbsp vanilla sugar
Rosewater to taste
For the ice cream:
1 vanilla pod
3 cardamom pods
4 egg yolks
150ml double cream
- First make the ice cream: Heat the milk with the vanilla and cardamom pods. Set aside for approximately 30 minutes, or until the desired flavour is achieved.
- Place the egg yolks, sugar, in a bowl and mix well.
- Pour the infused milk onto the egg yolks stirring all the time. Return to the saucepan – which must be rinsed out – and stir over a low heat until the custard thickens without boiling.
- Strain into a large bowl and allow to cool.
- Whisk the cream lightly until beginning to thicken and fold into the cool custard.
- Freeze in an electric ice cream machine if possible or in your freezer but stirring every so often to soften the ice cream.
- For the samosas: Sieve together the 230g flour and salt in a bowl, add the oil and stir in enough water to make a smooth dough.
- Knead for 10 minutes, cover with a wet cloth until required.
- To make the filling: Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil, place the mango, peach and kiwi on the foil and sprinkle with the sugar.
- Roast in a hot oven, gas mark 6, 200ºC for 10-15 minutes.
- Leave to cool then stir in the raspberries.
- Combine all the ingredients for the dip and chill until required.
- Cut the samosa dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls.
- Dredge with flour and roll out into circles as thinly as possible. Cut the circles in half.
- Take the 80g of plain flour and mix in sufficient water to make a mixture that resembles sauce Béchamel. This will act as ‘glue’.
- a) Take one of the semi-circles of pastry and using a finger spread the ‘glue’ around the edges (see below)
- b) Carefully fold into a cone shape leaving the curved edge open. Hold the cone in your hand and two thirds fill with cold samosa filling.
- c) Seal the curved edge. Repeat with all the remaining mixture.
Cook in a deep fat fryer or in a frying pan containing 2 inches of hot oil until golden brown. Drain well, sprinkle with caster sugar and serve warm with the dip handed separately.