Grilled Chicken with Courgette Rösti and Another Chardonnay

The chicken legs are grilled simply, but properly – almost crisp on the outside, still pink and juicy within. They are presented on a bed of mixed leaves and accompanied by a courgette rösti which is made much like a traditional (potato) rösti, but made with the courgettes that are now embarrassingly plentiful in the garden. There is also a tomato-based salsa with just a dash of chilli to lift the otherwise mild tastes. This wants a wine that is fruity enough for the chilli, but with enough power for the chicken. I would always include Pinot Gris in my recommendations, and back in July we ate the same dish, without the rösti, accompanied very successfully by a rosé. But we are currently on a Chardonnay quest, so that is what we tried tonight.

Asda Extra Special Chardonnay Vin de Pays d’Oc 2010 costs £6.98, not rock bottom, but by no means expensive. It is 13.5% alcohol.

On the nose there was a clear hint of oak which, on first tasting was quite discreet, in a wine that was otherwise on the round and fruity side. However this is more restrained than many a Pays d’Oc attempt at Chardonnay; the Burgundian model might be St Veran. What this one lacks is the hint of gun flint that you get in the best Burgundies. There was enough concentration to stand up to the food, even the chilli in the salsa, though it was a bit broader in taste than we really like. I am perhaps being kinder to this than to yesterday’s White Burgundy; the lack of complexity gives it an easier ride.

Is it worth the money? The Macon Villages wines we tried just a few days ago were a little simpler and in one case, at £5, better value.

In terms of matching the food, this was a predictable success and, as I have said, there are other, equally good options in the shape of Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.

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