Today, the twelfth of August, marks the first day of British grouse season. The glorious Twelfth.
Such a rich and gamey bird demands the attention of only the finest wine. Here I have selected three fitting tipples and three ways with grouse; from the traditional to the modern.
A classic game roast demands a classic wine and Burgundy is a definitive match for grouse. It is renowned for having gamey notes which develop even further with age and of course perfectly compliment this game bird. Its crunchy, red fruit and moreish acidity add a zip of freshness to balance the richness of the dish. WIth such an indulgent dish, only a magnum would suffice and the perfect addition to a classic roast grouse is Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne Romanée 1er Cru. Roast the bird and serve with red cabbage and celeriac mash for a hearty and traditional dish.
For those who are more into haute cuisine, small plates with foams and jus to boot, here is the answer. How about thinly sliced smoked grouse with roasted golden beetroot and artichoke purée? Only made better by a glass or two of the Trois Cépages by Domaine du Pélican, this dish is a game season delight. The name trois Cépages comes from the blend of three varieties in this wine Pinot Noir, Trousseau and Poulsard which come together to make an all-round savoury, earthy wine with beautiful freshness and energy, much like this modern take on a grouse recipe.
With all this talk of earthy flavours, I could hardly leave out wild mushrooms from the equation. Enter the beautiful Italian dish of wild mushroom risotto to serve with our grouse. Thinks ceps, chanterelles and girolles for the ultimate earthy, savoury flavours. The only wine to handle such a dish is this one from the iconic Giacosa stable. Owing to the vintage, the 2008 has developed quicker than others meaning an acceleration of those gamey, rich and complex notes and the only way to partner a creamy wild mushroom risotto with partridge topped off with a shaving of truffle.