Who ate all those pies?

This week has seen a celebration of that very British institution, the humble pie.

Saturday, 12th March 2016, 6:00 am
Marques de Concha Syrah 2012
Marques de Concha Syrah 2012

Yes it’s National Pie Week and there is no doubt we love our pies in this country.

We spend about £1bn on them every year, of which £145m goes on pork pies alone.

There is even an annual British Pie Awards competition.

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Leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2013, Swartland

There is a trophy for the Supreme Champion Pie, won last year by the Great North Pie Co, as well as various individual categories.

So, apart from one of food’s greatest debates, ‘when is a pie not really a pie?’ the question is what to drink with your pie?

There is of course a lot to be said for classic British ale, but here are a few wine suggestions consider.

Chicken pies generally have creamy fillings so I would go for a chenin blanc or lightly-oaked chardonnay.

Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015

Bellingham ‘The Bernard Series ‘ Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015, Coastal Region (Majestic £12.99 or if part of a mixed six £11.69) is a great example of old vine South African chenin blanc.

It’s been matured in French oak and has a wonderful depth of flavour with notes of pear, peaches and cloves. This is followed by a creamy, textured palate with a little vanilla.

This would also work with a fish pie but a Chablis would probably be the classic partner. What about a white Rioja as something more unusual?

I love traditional white Rioja but appreciate it is not everyone’s glass of wine. However Cune Barrel Fermented Blanco 2014, Rioja (Waitrose £7.86 down from £10.49 until March 15) is a great introduction to this style – and at this offer price, what is there to lose?

Cune Barrel Fermented Blanco 2014, Rioja

There are citrus fruits and creamy oak. It’s another lovely textured wine and it wraps itself around a fish pie perfectly.

When it comes to steak pies, young Bordeaux can work well.

Chateau Pey La Tour 2013, Bordeaux (Waitrose £9.99) is excellent value for a very well thought-of property.

This is mainly merlot with a little cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. It’s got great drinkability with red fruits, soft tannins and a juicy fruit finish.

Chateau Pey La Tour 2013, Bordeaux

If it’s steak and kidney pie that needs a red with a little more power, Marques de Concha Syrah 2012, Buin (Tesco £12 down from £9 from March 22) would work really well.

There are black fruits, a touch of smoke, dried herbs and roasted coffee before a firm palate with fine tannins and a long, well-balanced finish. A really good example of what Chile is capable of with syrah.

Lastly the pork pie. There seems to be no end of debate about which wine to partner with this great British institution.

My favourite local pork pie producer is Jake’s Artisan Foods and with one of his delicious pies it’s got to be red for me.

Leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2013, Swartland (Hermitage Cellars £8.50) is possibly the best value red I’ve tasted this year so far, more old world than new.

There are bright dark fruits, white pepper and a real freshness about it.

Leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2013, Swartland

Delicious, rather like the pie.

Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015
Cune Barrel Fermented Blanco 2014, Rioja
Chateau Pey La Tour 2013, Bordeaux