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Book review: Wines & Recipes, by Raul Diaz

29 October 2020 by
Book review: Wines & Recipes, by Raul Diaz

Sommelier Raul Diaz has worked in the wine trade for 15 years. He teaches Wine & Spirit Education Trust courses at the Corinthia London through his Wine Training School, and is the UK ambassador for VDP German wines.

Wines & Recipes is not an all-encompassing textbook on wine, but as Diaz himself describes it, "a jumping-off point", with information presented in a light and straightforward manner. There are no strict guidelines, but you will find 50 pairing suggestions, coupling both familiar favourites and lesser-known grapes with simple recipes.

Sommeliers and those with a good understanding of wine may not benefit much from the book, but it could provide a solid starting point for a small operation without a dedicated sommelier, or an operator looking to gain a basic understanding of wine pairings, storage, glassware, decanting and tasting.

The grape or wine profiles include information on geographies, such as origins, main regions and appellations, as well as tasting notes and details on tannins, price, alcohol content and recommended glassware and temperature. There is also a glossary of wine terms at the back.

The book is separated into wine styles, with Prosecco paired with bruschetta in the sparkling section; Chardonnay suggested for grilled sardines; garlic prawns a good match for rosé; and Malbec with a steak sandwich.

Recipes are uncomplicated, varying from snacks (Padrón peppers paired with Verdejo) to midweek meals (Cariñena with chicken quesadillas). Wines & Recipes has a refreshingly accessible approach, with even scrambled eggs getting a look in (matched with Merlot, apparently, although maybe not for breakfast).

There are chapters on sweet wines (featuring Sauternes with stuffed apricots) and fortified wine, with the richness of port paired with chocolate brownies. I was particularly intrigued to try the Greek Assyrtiko with the salad of the same nationality, and the Grüner Veltliner with vegetable couscous.

Wines & Recipes by Raul Diaz (£30, Merken)

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