What to drink for the France-Italy match
Do you love rugby but don’t know which wine to enjoy during the France matches? Don’t panic! With the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, Vintage has enlisted the help of some of the world’s leading experts to give you a few tips on “rugby pairings”.
With the last match of the first round over, you’re already looking forward to the quarter-finals, but the work isn’t over yet. The aim here is to secure the top spot in the group against a tough opponent: Italy. Having made great strides in recent years, the Italians will pull out all the stops. But let’s face it, the clash between Les Bleus and the Azzuri is much more than just another rugby match! It is above all an opportunity to celebrate the friendly rivalry between the world’s top two gastronomic countries. A sort of fraternal derby, where Bayonne ham takes on Parma ham, mortadella and pâté en croûte meet for an aperitif, and Chianti rivals the great Bordeaux wines. You’ve planned a top-quality aperitif for the occasion, counting on the expertise of Axel Heinz, the most Italian of all Bordeaux-based chefs! After spending eighteen years in Tuscany, the Franco-German oenologist returned to France this summer to manage Château Lascombes, a Margaux Second Growth.
To begin with, you enjoy an array of Italian cured meats. Finocchiona, a Tuscan speciality, goes down a treat with your guests, as does mortadella. To pair with these deli meats, you make a bold choice by uncorking a bottle of Lambrusco. Lively, tasty, fruity and fun, it is the perfect counterbalance to the slightly fatty texture of charcuterie. Vigneto Saetti’s Rosso Viola sparkles almost as brightly as the French team defend against their Italian opponents. In the kitchen, Italy may have taken over, but in the field, France is firmly in control. Damian Penaud scores a double. This is the perfect opportunity to open another bottle of sparkling wine to treat your guests: prosecco. On Axel Heinz’s suggestion, you opt for a little-known producer: Sorelle Bronca. A winning choice to go with a bit of Parma ham.
Back from the locker room and a change of atmosphere. Now it’s time to put Bordeaux in the spotlight, and Matthieu Jalibert decides to follow this advice to the letter. The UBB fly-half sends in a long drop-goal, which he catches himself before going on to score. To celebrate, you uncork a fine bottle of 2014 Château Lascombes, a classic year. This Margaux Great Growth reveals great freshness and tension. On the plate, you stay Italian by serving up lardo de colonnata on a slightly warm slice of toast. The salt-and-spice-cured bacon aged in special Carrara marble containers melts in your mouth. Then it’s time to bring out the parmigiano reggiano, a cheese that always pairs wonderfully with fine red wines. This parmesan has aged for 36 months and has a way of waking up another, younger representative of the town. Alessandro Fusco, Zebre Parma’s young scrum-half, makes his move and scores just before the final whistle. The result: on the field, France is the clear winner. On the table, it’s impossible to tell who scores highest between the two countries! See you at the quarter-finals!