Some grape varieties are quite clearly designed by mother nature to be consumed as part of a carnivorous diet. Take sangiovese: the renowned Tuscan red grape, responsible for (among other famous wines) Chianti. It can be perfectly pleasant when taken on its own - especially if it's from an Australian vineyard, where ample sunshine imbues it with ripe fruit flavours, or if it's been made in a soft New World style by an Italian producer. But there's a savouriness, a tannic grip to the grape - a dryness - that can taste a bit, well, dry and mean if drunk on its own, but that fills out, mellows and caresses the tongue if partnered with meat. Oxtail, with all its sticky richness, is a wonderful accompaniment to sangiovese. Add the salty sweetness of parmesan and the nutty, earthiness of rice and you have a match that is perfect for the cooler, (hopefully) damper weather. MAX ALLEN
The deep, meaty flavour of oxtail mellows the dryness of sangiovese, allowing the grape to caress the tongue.