We're celebrating English Wine Week, so what better excuse is there to pair Sunny & Luna Italian pasta with some of England's finest and most innovative wines?! Here are our 5 favourite wines and the summer recipes we paired with them...
Running from 17th - 25th June, English Wine Week is a celebration of the uniqueness and exceptional quality of the wonderful local wines that are produced all over the country.
At Sunny & Luna, we are committed to bringing together the Italian authenticity and heritage of fresh pasta with the emerging English focus on quality, health and wellbeing. To celebrate the cultures of these two nations coming together, we wanted to mark English Wine Week by bringing awareness about some incredible local wineries/vineyards and learning more about the art of pairing wine with food.
We collaborated with English wine producers to bring you 5 of the best summer pasta dishes to pair with some of the country's finest and most innovative wines. We're going to cover a variety of different types of wine, so no matter your preference, you'll be sure to find a dish and bottle that will make your tastebuds sing!
Keep an eye Sunny & Luna's Instagram for the recipes for each dish which will be featured in the coming weeks.
Gutter&Stars Bacchus 2021 x Creamy Asparagus Tagliatelle
Gutter&Stars is Cambridge's first winery. They source their grapes from nearby grape growers, an approach a lot of winemakers in Burgundy and Champagne take! Most of the grapes come from the East Anglia region, which is becoming the grape-growing bread basket of Britain, with the climatic conditions of Essex closely resembling those of Napa Valley.
This vegan-friendly Bacchus is a bright and refreshing white wine, perfect for the wonderful weather we've been having in the UK. You'll find some delectable fruity notes in this wine: grapefruit, gooseberry, and tart green apple. We absolutely adored this wine, finding it to be an ideal balance of fruity sweetness and acidity.
To pair, we chose to make a creamy asparagus dish with our Sunny & Luna Cauliflower & Legume Tagliatelle and Julienne Bruno's vegan Crematta. The hints of lemon and nutmeg in the sauce and the topping of parmesan shavings make this a delicious and light seasonal pasta. The Bacchus elevated the dish even more, with its bright acidity cutting through the creamy sauce and balancing the earthy sweetness from the asparagus and shallots. If we closed our eyes, we were transported to an Italian veranda, enjoying a slow summer afternoon in the dappled shade.
Hattingley Valley STILL Chardonnay 2020 x Fennel, Lemon & Caper Tagliatelle
Hattingley Valley began as a farm diversification project and in 15 years it has grown to become one of Britain's leading wineries! Their eco-friendly winery is based in rural Hampshire and they source their grapes from a variety of regions in England. The uniqueness of their wine-making process comes from the subtle use of aging in oak barrels. Hattingley Valley embraces the unconventional, to make some untraditional, but exceptional wines.
The STILL Chardonnay 2020 is a vibrant acidic white wine, light on the nose, with delightful citrusy, floral, and fruity notes. We picked up notes of grapefruit, strawberry and pear, as well as a honey sweetness. This Chardonnay is smooth, lightly oaky and fruity, perfect for enjoying al fresco on those warm summer evenings. It's also vegan-friendly, as are all our Sunny & Luna products!
For the perfect pasta pairing, we went with a Fennel & Caper Tagliatelle garnished with lemon and parmesan. Chardonnay pairs well with simple flavours that don't overwhelm the subtle nature of the wine. This is why fennel is the perfect vegetable for this dish. It has a very mild, slightly sweet flavour, and the caramelization plays well into the Chardonnay's own impression of sweetness. The nuttiness from the legume tagliatelle balanced perfectly against the bright acidity of the wine. Paired with the delicate anise and salty caper, and finished with a smooth fruity note from Citizens of Soil Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it really packed a punch on flavour.
Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve x Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi with Peas, Mint & Lemon
The second wine from Hattingley Valley is their Classic Reserve, which is an elegant bronze-gold sparkling wine. This is the ultimate wine for an aperitif or to mark a celebration. It's light aroma brings subtle hints of orange and citrus. On the palette, we found it light and slightly nutty, with the acidic brightness of green apple creating a complex depth of flavour. The finish was bright and fresh, making it a very drinkable summer wine!
Our pairing for this excellent vegan sparkling wine was a dish of Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Gnocchi topped with Peas, Mint, and Lemon Zest. Sunny & Luna founder, Giulia, used her own Cacio e Pepe recipe, grinding the pepper more sparingly than is tradition in order to let the Classic Reserve do most of the talking. The light Cauliflower Gnocchi was the perfect base for this dish, the nutty parmesan balanced by the bright green apple notes in the wine. The addition of lemon zest compliments the Reserve's citrus notes delicately. This pairing is perfect for a romantic date night or a long-awaited catch-up between old friends. (You can enhance your pairing experience by popping the bottle straight onto the plate of gnocchi, as we managed to!)
Flint Vineyard Pinot Noir Précoce x Blue Cheese, Walnut & Spinach Tagliatelle
Flint Vineyard is located in Norfolk, one of the driest and sunniest regions in the UK. The vineyard boasts over 26,000 vines and the state-of-the-art winery is the perfect environment for producing some of England's best premium still wines. Their aim is to be super innovative and unexpected with their wines, embracing the intuitive and creative side of winemaking.
The Pinot Noir Précoce 2022 is a red wine that offers a lot of depth with its aromas of spice and black forest gateau. The colour was a delicate light ruby-pink, and we tasted notes of cherry and blackcurrant. 2022 was a fantastic year for English reds and that was clear when we tasted this wine. Even the ambivalent red wine drinkers in the room truly enjoyed this wine and were convinced enough to buy another bottle!
A Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Spinach Tagliatelle was the dish of choice to pair with this lovely wine. The earthy notes of the Pinot Noir Précoce complimented the walnuts and the light use of blue cheese added a sharp but welcome contrast to the berry notes in the wine. Creamy cheeses can overwhelm our tastebuds, which mutes the flavours of a dish after you've taken a couple of bites, but the fresh acidity of this wine makes sure that each forkful tastes like the first.
You can see the golden EVOO shining on the plate from Citizens of Soil, which had peppery notes that added a gentle spice that lingered on the palette, enhancing the delicate spice from the Précoce.
Black Chalk Dancer in Pink 2022 x Gnocchi with Charred Courgette, Artichoke & 'Burrella'
Black Chalk lies in the heart of Hampshire's beautiful Test Valley. Their Winery and Tasting Room are surrounded by 30 acres of stunning estate vineyards. They create a number of small-batch sparkling and still wines with one clear focus in mind: expressing and highlighting the purity of the fruit used.
The Dancer in Pink 2022 is a gorgeously fruity and smooth rosé. It's very dry and super fresh, making it a perfect drink for the summer, especially with the fruity notes of ripe strawberries and floral cherry blossoms. We tasted lots of red fruit notes in this rosé, as well as hints of elderflower and blackcurrant. The finish was smooth and sweet and we agreed it was a perfect wine for whiling away a summer evening.
We paired the wine with our Cauliflower Gnocchi, some chargrilled courgette, artichoke, and Julienne Bruno's vegan Burrella. We loved the smoothness of the rosé coupled with the smooth Burrella, and the gentle nuttiness of the Cauliflower Gnocchi made for a light, summery dish. The simplicity of the chargrilled vegetables really allowed the red fruits to shine through, and the wine was punchy enough to handle the gentle heat of a few chilli flakes. Citizens of Soil's EVOO added a creamy, peppery finish.
Our Pairing Partner: Citizens of Soil Extra Peloponnese Single Estate Virgin Olive Oil
You'd be forgiven for thinking this was our 6th bottle of wine, with it's signature classy wine bottle aesthetic, but it's actually an exceptional Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Citizens of Soil. This small batch Peloponnese is sourced from a single estate in Greece. This Peloponnese EVOO is a great all-rounder and perfect as your everyday tipple. It's got some elegant, herby notes and a slight pepperiness, so it works beautifully on pasta.
We were so lucky to be able to use this flavourful oil for our English Wine Week pairings. With its fruity, herby notes and gentle pepper finish, it was the perfect pairing partner, elevating each dish with that glistening gold shimmering on the plate and transporting us to the Mediterranean from our London studio.