My early wine education came working in the UK trade, attending serious tastings in wood-panelled halls with pin-striped Masters of Wine pontificating about European classics. And no wine was considered more classic than the claret of Bordeaux.
I learned about the great communes of Margaux, Pauillac, St-Estèphe, St-Julien and Graves, about the premiers crus châteaux and the 1855 classification, about the great vintages and the noble traditions. Most importantly, I learned that a good claret - usually a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc with perhaps a smidge of malbec and petit verdot thrown in for good measure - was the very best accompaniment to a classic Sunday roast with all the trimmings. The tannin of cabernet is softened by the succulent pink beef; the soft pillowy sweetness of the Yorkshire pud marries the roundness of the merlot; the herbs on the potatoes and peas chime with the other grapes in the blend. And when I moved to Australia, I learned that regions such as Margaret River, Coonawarra, the Clare Valley and the Yarra Valley produce blends of the cabernets and merlot (with perhaps a smidge of malbec and petit verdot thrown in for good measure) that are just as fabulous a match with a full-monty roast. Hurrah for Australian claret!
- 1.5 kg roasting potatoes (8-10), such as Dutch cream, coarsely chopped
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 1 tbsp rosemary, coarsely chopped, plus two extra sprigs
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 beef rib roast (about 3kg), at room temperature
- 3 bunches baby carrots, scrubbed
- 70 gm lard or dripping
Yorkshire pudding batter
- 80 gm plain flour, sieved
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 190 ml milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender (12-15 minutes). Drain well and cool.
- 2For Yorkshire pudding batter, combine flour, thyme and 1 tsp fine sea salt flakes in a bowl. Whisk milk and eggs in a separate bowl, add to flour mixture, whisk until smooth and set aside to rest (1½-2 hours).
- 3Preheat oven to 220C. Combine rosemary, garlic and half the olive oil in a small bowl, rub over beef and season to taste. Scatter a few of the potatoes and carrots in a roasting pan. Place beef on vegetables and roast for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 180C and roast for another 30 minutes. Add remaining carrots, drizzle with remaining olive oil, season to taste and roast until carrots are tender and beef is cooked to your liking (30-45 minutes for medium-rare). Set aside to rest (25 minutes).
- 4Meanwhile, heat 30gm lard or dripping in a large separate roasting pan in oven until smoking. Add remaining potatoes and roast, turning occasionally, until golden (45-55 minutes).
- 5Increase oven to 220C. Divide remaining lard or dripping between holes of muffin tray and heat in oven until smoking (3-4 minutes). Divide Yorkshire pudding batter among holes and bake until golden and puffed (15 minutes). Serve with roast beef, roast potatoes and roast carrots.
Note These Yorkshire puddings are inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe - you'll need a muffin tray with 12 holes of 75ml each. Drink suggestion by Max Allen