WLGT Weekly Wine Tasting – a gorgeous red from Sicily perfectly paired with Lamb Ragu


Exclusive weekly Food and Wine pairing our great friend at White Fox Wines.

Here we are again, and its one of my favourite tasks of the whole week! Let’s face it – there’s not that much to make us smile right now, but pairing one of Bianca and Juliusz’ wines from White Fox Wines in Chester with a fabulous dish created by a superb local Chef, does exactly that.

Bianca and Juliusz have been running their family wine import, wholesale and retail business for many years. I met them a long time ago and I absolutely love the way they have stayed true to their passion by sourcing only the best wines – mainly from Spain and Italy. Their knowledge is second-to-none and the way they are able to encourage and educate about wine is unpretentious and entertaining. This is why they are one of my favourite Chester Food and Drink couples, and I am so pleased to be working with them today.

This week, they have chosen something very delicious and very good value for money.

Frappato is one of Sicily’s rare red wine varieties, and one that might actually be genetically related to Italy’s top red wine Sangiovese.

As a typical Sicilian variety, Frappato is perfectly at home growing on Mount Etna, a live volcano!  Then again, Tareni Frappato’s vineyards are located on the other side of the island, in the beautiful province of Trapani.  The vines are planted on clayey, gravelly soils at an altitude of 80 m above sea level.

This type of soil yield a fruit driven red perfect served cool, with scents of berries and violets.  It is a light-bodied red, good with white meat, fish, fish sauces and soups with tomatoes and fresh or semi-aged cheese.  With its fresh acidity, earthiness, and not-too-intense tannins it also pairs very well with a cheeseburger! A wine that’s effortlessly enjoyable and thirst-quenching, and very good value for money.

When I tasted this wine (which I absolutely loved), it really did seem to encompass all of the things I love about the Autumn, which is my favourite season after all. I love this transitional time with food especially – moving away from summery salads to more hearty dishes but still with a fresh feel, before we hit the slow cooked heavy casseroles and cassoulets in the winter months.

Lamb is most definitely my favourite meat whatever the weather, and when I spoke to my great Chef friend Carl Noller from The Yard Chester, he suggested his Lamb Ragu – slow braised with plenty of tomatoes, onion and garlic. The addition of a really fresh mint pesto definitely keeps this dish on the lighter side of winter, so now is the best time to enjoy it. Carl uses the best lamb from award-winning butcher David Joinson at Chester Market.

Another dish (from my own repertoire) which will go really well with this wine is my Chicken and chestnut mushroom bake (a bit like a coq au vin but instead of red wine you use chicken stock and cream). This is a really easy one-pot recipe (my favourite kind) and can use up so many Autumnal ingredients that you’ll have knocking around the kitchen. It’s a weekend favourite when is time to get cosy in front of the fire. Perfect!

Thank you Bianca and Juliusz, you have reminded me about one of my favourite Autumn recipes which is now on the menu this weekend.

Find out more about White Fox Wines here, and pop in to their lovely shop and wine warehouse on Sealand to ask their advice about pairing a great wine with your own favourite seasonal recipes.









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