Yorkshire Puds, Crackling, Gravy & all the Trimmings – What wine should I drink with a British Sunday Roast?

Acabashi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a pandemic world full of uncertainty, there are few things more reassuring than a Sunday Lunch and nothing more fantastically British than a roast dinner. This article is here to help everyone who rushes to pick a last-minute bottle while the yorkies are in the oven or has struggled to pair a wine with any dish that contains brussels sprouts or horseradish sauce!

For readers who haven’t heard of a Sunday Roast, it’s a British classic and as the name suggests, is enjoyed on a Sunday afternoon. Originating in Great Britain, it is also enjoyed with local variations in Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, and many other regions in the English-speaking world. Traditionally, a roast dinner includes a roasted piece of meat served with gravy, potatoes (roasted or mashed); Yorkshire pudding (particularly with beef), and a selection of seasonal vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, peas, broccoli, and cauliflower.

It’s such an institution that it was voted second favourite of all things British, by the British themselves (and yes, Bacon Butty was first but that’s a wine pairing for another day!)

Roast Chicken

Not just a crowd pleaser, the humble roast chicken is also a wine pleaser! It can be paired with light reds from Beaujolais or the Rhone Valley, or whites like a classic Burgundy. As with any dish, choosing the right wine can elevate the meal from a family favourite to something really special.

If you’re stuffing your roast chicken with lemon and herbs like thyme and parsley, a full-bodied Chardonnay will nicely balance those beautiful flavours of herby-fatty goodness.

Good news! These will also work with a serving of bread sauce!

For those choosing to serve their roast chicken with a meaty gravy, opt for a red wine. Try a Cru Beaujolais or Côtes du Rhone – we love Vacqueras with ours.

Roast Beef

In addition to the potatoes and vegetables, roast beef gets special treatment and is served with Yorkshire pudding, which is a side dish of pillowy goodness, and the perfect receptacle for gravy. Wine lovers will be happy to learn that the presence or absence of Yorkshire pudding with your roast beef Sunday lunch should not impact the choice of wine.

Beef and Bordeaux: they sound good together, they look good together, and they pair wonderfully too! A beautifully structured, powerful left-bank Bordeaux wine will marry perfectly with the robust flavours of roast beef, especially if served with a traditional rich gravy (as opposed to a lighter jus). Nothing in the cellar? Take a look at these:

Roast Pork

Pairing roast pork with wine can be a little tricky because of the sheer amount of serving options! Even though pork is considered white meat, white wine is not always the natural choice here. In the UK, pork is often roasted using large, fatty cuts of meat and served with rich sauces and sides, so we’d tend to opt for a red pairing. This is the case for roasting loin of pork or pork belly – it’s the fat that makes all that delicious crackling possible! From the Côte de Nuits in Burgundy and Crozes-Hermitage in the northern Rhone, check out these bottles:

For a more Italian style roast pork stuffed with fennel and herbs, we recommend choosing an Italian wine. Remember, if they grow in the same place, they’re usually a good match. We love this 2017 Rosso di Montalcino from Il Poggione and Le Difese from Tenuta san Guido.

Another traditional way of serving roast pork is with warmed apple sauce. Perhaps the most iconic sweet and savoury pairing in British cuisine, definitely opt for a white wine with this dish: a Riesling from Alsace or Germany, or a Savennières (Chenin Blanc) from the Loire Valley.

If you can wait a couple of years, try this 2019 vintage from Willi Schaefer.

Roast Lamb

Nothing screams springtime Sunday lunch like roast lamb. Serving a rack of lamb with spring vegetables will go beautifully with a Cru from Beaujolais, but serve it with meaty gravy, tonnes of herbs and garlic, or with mint sauce and the pairings will vary considerably.

For a slow roasted lamb shoulder or leg of lamb that will be served with mashed potatoes and peas – and (crucially) slathered in delicious lamb gravy, pair with a young Bordeaux vintage:

If you’re in the mood for lamb with a sage and pine nut stuffing, served with mint sauce, root vegetables, and garlicky rosemary potatoes, then you’ll find a perfect pairing in many Rhone valley wines north and south.

If you’ve got both rosemary lamb and meaty gravy, head to Italy; you can’t go wrong with a Chianti Classico.

Nut Roast

Vegetarians, we’ve got you covered! A homemade nut roast is so delicious, warming and indulgent that it has won over many a meat-lover – extra points for a vegetarian gravy on the side! The good news is that as it is served with many of the same side dishes as the meat roasts mentioned in this article – seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings – you can happily drink the same wine as the meat-eaters at your table.

For those who are vegetarian for environmental reasons, make sure to filter on our site to see each of the following: Triple A wines, sustainable, natural, biodynamic, and organic wine. Remember, natural doesn’t always mean vegan so make sure to check the label if you are searching for vegan wine.

If you have a mushroom heavy dish like a mushroom wellington, you will need a wine that will match or balance those strong flavours. Why not try a vin jaune from the Jura for something different? If you are ready to raid your cellar, an aged bottle of Bordeaux could really compliment a rich mushroom duxelles.

Beef Wellington

Fine we admit it, we saved the best till last! This special dish needs a wine that is equally elegant yet indulgent. For those who are yet to taste Beef Wellington, it traditionally consists of a seared filet of beef wrapped in a duxelles of mushrooms and herbs then baked in pastry. An early 20th-century dish brought back into fashion by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, the meat in Beef Wellington should be juicy, tender, and served pink. The beef filet may even be coated in a pâté of foie gras or Parma ham for extra decadence! We recommend the following wine pairings:

Wondering why Turkey isn’t on this list? We have whole articles dedicated to wine pairings for Christmas, and also for Thanksgiving. Check them out for all of your wine and turkey questions!

 

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