Goat’s cheese salad I’ve tasted some Sicilian whites (look out for Cataratto, Grillo, Inzolia grapes – sometimes blended with Chardonnay, or with each other) that would do well here with the earthiness of the beetroot and the pronounced flavour of the cheese – something neutralish, with nutty aromas, good acidity and a little fullness in the mouth. A dry prosecco – very popular, and fun - might fit the bill, too, and is probably easier to find.
Roast chicken A Chardonnay with a little oak would do nicely, but the honey and parsnips make me think the aromatic qualities and rich body of a Viognier would really be a good match. A quick look around suggests that you’ll find interesting examples in Ireland from all around the world – not just the grape’s home in the Rhône Valley in France.
Red drinkers should try something that will complement, not overpower, the flavours of the food. I’m fond of the Beaujolais cru wines (all made from the Gamay grape) with roast chicken: Fleurie is the most well-known, but there are nine other villages to choose from. Look out for a Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, or Juliénas. If they’re a few years old, so much the better. Pinot Noirs from the New World: New Zealand or California, say, are a reliable, juicy choice too.
Banoffi pie If you’re still going, we have a brilliant, inexpensive Spanish dessert wine, made from the sherry grape Pedro Ximenez, to go with this: sweet enough to match the pie, but with a spine of acidity that gives it its own identity among all that sweetness. With all due respect to the mighty banoffi, I wouldn’t break the bank. A half bottle of any fully sweet white dessert wine would be worth investigating here. Might need a glass of water on the side, though.
I hope you all have fun on Saturday - I look forward to reading what happens.