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It's time to travel!

There are some decent Saperavi’s out there. I also had a really good Mtsvane at the weekend. It’s quite often blended with Rkatsiteli but works really well in the hands of the more renowned producers who are using traditional Qveri.
I would recommend wines from Iago Bitarishvili from the Kartli region or Pheasants Tears from Khaketi (where 77% of all grapes are grown.
(Disclaimer… I used to live in Baku, Azerbaijan, pretty much ALL the wine I consumed was Georgian.)


All measurements are approx as it’s not a recipe from anywhere.

A medium onion
a couple of carrots
two cloves of garlic
(any other aromatic veg you happen to have lying around)
~some~ smoked bacon/pork (in this cased cubed pancetta - 1 supermarket pack)
a tin/equivalent of white beans (here I used dried butter beans which I soaked and boiled as it’s what I had in, smaller white beans like cannellini work better though)
a bag of curly kale/cavallo nero
two people’s worth of sausages (in this case that’s two. I asked for six so have another couple of meals worth of sausages to go, which given how good they were, I am very excited about).
A glass of something dry and white (in this case the dregs of a bagnum of le grappin rose)
stock (I used one of those knorr pot things and topped the pan up with water to the right level)
herbs of choice (new garden has massive rosemary and thyme bushes and I pilfered a bay leaf from next door’s tree - normally I’d just use whatever dried herb mix I have in)

I fried off the sausages in my psuedo-non-le-creuset, took them out. I rendered some of the fat out of the bacon and then added the rest of aromatic stuff and softened/caramelised them. After that it’s a case of adding the wine, adding the beans and kale then the “stock” until it just covers everything, bring to a simmer, put the sausages on top and stick in the oven at 140ish (I forgot to preheat, but given the time scales that’s not too much of an issue) for at least a couple of hours with a lid on, but until you’re sort of ready to eat it, take the lid off for a while to give it a nice crust. If you leave it in for a really long time, top up with water at some point.


Any left over bean goop makes an excellent soup blitzed up and reheated it turns out.

We ticked off another country in our World Lockdown Tour with France being No. 8.

The food was cassoulet, maybe not the classic recipe although there are many versions described on the web, but it had the essentials of meat - in this case chicken- and beans which were mostly cannellini. And my secret ingredients of which Mrs M is unaware but finds their effect very pleasing. :slight_smile:


with it we had a super delicious southern French Syrah blend from Languedoc.

2016 Château Saint-Jean D’Aumières l’Alchimiste Black Edition (France, Terrasses du Larzac

where to for No 9?


Must resist… :speak_no_evil:




That wine is a beauty :~}

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Our Lockdown Tour of The World continues with Country 9 being India. It’s a huge country with many cuisines, but the dish I chose was curry and rice - in particular a mixed vegetable curry in a sauce combining Jalfrezi heat and the tomato richness of Rogan Josh.

The curry had a base of sautéed onions and spices, with cubed sweet potato and butternut providing the bulk, accompanied with quartered button mushrooms, halved baby sweetcorn, cauliflower florets, French beans and peas.

With it, we had an Indian wine

2018 Sula Vineyards Shiraz Dindori Reserve (India, Nashik)

Estate bottled, from grapes grown in the Dindori Vineyard in Nashik, Maharashtra State and aged in French and American oak barrels for more than a year.

The wine was excellent, with a deep colour, smooth taste, and soft tannins.

(later edit: The stick on seal boasting of 92 points from Wine Enthusiast was unlikely to be for this wine unless Wine Enthusiast has at time machine, as it dated December 2015 and this wine is the 2018 vintage)

Country 8 was France


In India LBW can stand for “large bottle of wine”.

We reached Country 10 on our Lockdown Tour of The World. Last night was the turn of Spain with Pollo al Ajillo (Garlic Chicken) a Diana Henry recipe* from the Telegraph’s Stella magazine.

This seemed right up our street as it involves the chicken being cooked in sherry and sherry vinegar. How much more Spanish could it be?


Sherry Vinegar (from Waitrose), Sherry (from TWS) Wine (from Gwin Llynis in Pwllheli)

and this was the dish, two whole chicken thighs, with skin on, served with sautéed potatoes, broccoli and cabbage

wine was

2015 Torres Catalunya Gran Sangre de Toro Reserva (Spain, Catalunya)

Delicious and subtle.

*Recipe is here. Note the photo doesn’t match instructions. Photo shows skin on, recipe says skin off, photo shows garlic cloves, recipe discards these at step 5


I have copied recipe and shall cook over the weekend! Thanks Peter.

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Country 11 on our Lockdown World Travel was Australia. I had some suggestions, but I couldn’t source Barramundi; Kangaroo fillets were possible but postage was mega expensive, and I refused to serve Vegemite on Toast as dinner, so I am indebted to @JayKay for suggesting Pie Floater and @winechief for suggesting exactly what it turned out that I had.

I did not encounter Pie Floaters in the brief times I was on Oz and recipes on the web didn’t agree, l but that a Pie Floater was a individual pie surrounded by green so it looks like it is floating.

Some turned the pie upside down, some crowned the pie with peas and/or gravy and/or barbecue sauce, and apart from having peas in common to supply the green colour, the ‘sea’ could be pea soup, ham and pea soup, crushed garden peas, mushy peas or a combination.

This is my Pie Floater

Steak and ale pie on a sea of mushy peas.

and to accompany it

2019 Grant Burge Shiraz Benchmark (Australia, South Australia)

I had this in stock, it came in a TWS ‘Mystery Case’. Pleasant quaffer.

An easy meal, just requiring warming up, pie was MOO from Pieminister and the mushy peas were from a tin. But I also served some new potatoes, steamed carrot batons and pointed cabbage.

Mrs M loved it. I thought it a bit stodgy with mushy peas. Baked beans on the other hand … but that wouldn’t be authentic…

Still looking for a Chinese wine…


Country 12 on our Lockdown World Travel was China. I had difficulty in sourcing a Chinese wine, even though China is now one the world’s major producers. I dismissed suggestions for rice-wine used in cooking. Al last I found a decent Cabernet Sauvignon listed by Ocado, and I fired up the wok for a stir-fry.

Chicken stir-fried with cashew nuts and red pepper and a black bean sauce, accompanied by boiled rice and stir-fried pak choi in oyster sauce

I can’t remember if I had this exact dish in Hong Kong or while on business in Beijing, or was it in Chinese restaurants elsewhere? I know I’ve had stir-fry chicken with cashew nuts, and this my version. Raw cashew nuts are dry roasted until they turn colour, then added to stir-fried chicken and red pepper strips, and all coated in black bean sauce.

Pak choi is simply stir-fried until it wilts and starts to colour then oyster sauce is added to the wok and heated with the greens.
The wine was

2017 Château Changyu Moser XV Cabernet Sauvignon Helan Mountain (China, Ningxia)

This was a classy, assured and delicious Cab, costing £13.59 from Ocado

Country 11 was Australia


Looks delicious Peter, you’re getting all over the place!

Thanks, James

What started by a whim by Mrs M has turned into a real adventure. But finding both
a dish representative of a country and a wine grown/made in that country is now as struggle. I’d also prefer the country to be one I have visited.

I’ve been to Singapore many times but they don’t make wine, likewise Malaysia. Thailand does make wine but my one remaining bottle is, I’m sure, past it (if it ever was at it). Saudi Arabia is obviously a no no, as is Scotland.

I’m hoping to get a bottle of Welsh wine, but t=by then we should be out of lockdown.


Is there a specific Welsh winery you’re intending to get a bottle from?

No. Whatever I can get.

I last visited a new vineyard near on the road between Portmadog (where my son lives) and Caernarfon called Pant Du but they had sold out when I visited in 2912. Their vines were very young and they hadn’t produced much.

There was some Welsh wine on sale at Gwin Llyn in Pwllhelhi last year but they were expensive and made from varieties I didn’t want to drink.

So I’ll welcome recommendations.

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The Harrow in Little Bedwyn, owned by Roger Jones but now closed as a restaurant, used to sell and recommend Ancre Hill sparkling wine.

The food and wine always looks great, Peter, but I’m also very admiring of the flag that always makes an appearance! Are you acquiring them as you go along, making them, or do you just have a large collection of small flags?


I’m a bit late getting up-to-date with this topic, but yes khachapuri is iconic when it comes to Georgian food. That’s bread with soft cheese baked inside. Outside Georgia, a mixes of grated hard cheese, mozzarella and cottage cheese is usually suggested.There are also variants with meat or beans rather than cheese, but they are not called khachapuri.

Also commonly served is lobio, a bean stew - in fact lobio just means beans, but it is also the name of the dish. And slices of aubergine wrapped around a walnut paste are often seen. All this does not sound auspicious, but the key is in the distinctive combinations of Georgian spices. My mouth is literally watering as I write this. Plenty of other dishes too.

Khinkali - meat stuffed dumplings - is as iconic as khachapuri, but they are quite tricky to make. Veggie variants of those exist too.

And a bit of salad. Tomato and cucumber is not unusual, but sprigs of herbs are often incorporated to nibble on.

All served meze-style, so impossible to obsess about wine matching. Just open a couple of Georgian bottles.

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