Imagine Hardy without Laurel; Piglet without Pooh. Some things are just not as strong without a complementary pair. Wines are no different. Although most can be enjoyed on their own, some benefit enormously from pairing with the right food. A bold, young cabernet sauvignon, for example, can be harsh on the palate without the counterbalance of a hunk of meat. A noble riesling might bludgeon you with sweetness if it’s not chaperoned by a delicate dessert.
That’s all very well for red and dessert wines, but dry white wines… they’re always perfect for solo easy-drinking, right? Not always.
This Bolney Kew White, from Sussex in the south of England, is a good example. It exhibits most of the characteristics you’d associate with cooler-climate whites: sharpness, lightness, acidity, minerality… and it’s not dissimilar on the nose to a sauv blanc. But, unlike its sister — Bolney’s excellent bacchus — this one is rather tart, with elderflower, pear and cooking apple on the nose and a strong, sour hit of gooseberry on the palate.
Here, Bolney Estate has teamed up with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens to create a wine that (according to Bolney’s website) “evokes the fragrant sights and sounds of the Sussex countryside”. I won’t disagree with that, but I’d warn those who struggle with sour, tart, gooseberry flavours that this might come as a shock to your tongue. Unless… you pair it with the right food.
Bolney suggest serving it with hard, salty cheese or (as I did) a fragrant Thai curry. I’d like to add goat’s cheese and crackers to the mix. Any of these combinations would see the Kew White come into its own. At £16.99, it’s not cheap, but if there’s a cheese board on your menu you’ll be laughing.
So as pairings go, Bolney and Kew make a pretty good double act. But if the sound of tart gooseberry doesn’t serenade your tastebuds, I’d recommend the Bolney bacchus instead.
3.5 NINJA STARS
Bolney Estate Kew White, 2016: £16.99
For further information visit www.bolneywineestate.com
Read about my trip to Bolney here
And here’s my review of Bolney’s Dark Harvest Red