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A fishy match

Warm summer's evenings have been at a bit of a premium so far this year, but on a balmy Friday night after a perfect sunny day, I felt the call of the charcoal grill when the time came for choosing what to eat. And one of the best options for a barbecue at this time of year is the inexpensive but flavour-packed rainbow trout. To start with, I thought we'd keep to fish, so while the charcoal was heating up we had some supermarket sushi. Time to try out some wine combinations.

Starter
Sushi. The soy sauce and ginger seasoning that's traditional with sushi makes it a tricky wine match. There aren't many wines that can avoid being completely overwhelmed by this combination.

Main course
Take a gutted, whole rainbow trout and liberally smother it in a marinade of crushed garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Then grill it over hot charcoal, so that the skin is charred, but the flesh is still quite tender and pink. The garlic and seasoning, in combination with the cooking-derived flavours are absolutely delicious. Served with mashed potato containing bacon and spring onions.

The wines
To go with the bold flavours I chose two full flavoured but unoaked new world whites:

Shaw and Smith Unoaked Chardonnay 1998, Adelaide Hills, Australia
I'm not normally a fan of the 'unwooded Chardonnay' style of wine, but this is a stunner. A light gold colour, it has a spicy, honey nose. On the palate it exhibits intense fruit flavours, with spicy and honeyed complexity coupled with a pronounced minerality. Excellent. (9.29, Tesco)

Tim Adams Riesling 1999, Clare Valley, Australia
This is establishing itself as one of Australia's top Rieslings. Huge floral nose with sweetness and a citrus edge. Soft, intense, expressive palate with prominent lime and apple fruit. Very good + (7.69, Tesco)

How they matched the food
To some extent the soy sauce and ginger of the sushi do overwhelm the wines, to the extent that it would be unfair to say there was any synergy going on. But the piercing flavours of the Riesling and the honeyed elegance of the Chardonnay both survive this flavour onslaught quite well, and it's still a pleasurable combination.

With the main course, it’s a different story. Both these wines make a super match, each in their own way. The honeyed richness of the Chardonnay balances well with the richer flavours of the fish, whereas the freshness of the Riesling cuts nicely across the slight oily texture of the rainbow trout. But if I had to choose, my vote would go with the Chardonnay, which is a stunning wine.