Shrove Tuesday deserves good wine

 With Shrove Tuesday just around the corner you may be thinking about flipping a few pancakes to celebrate, especially as it is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent during which people traditionally give something up.

If you're planning to abstain in some way during Lent, Shrove Tuesday could offer you the last chance to enjoy, say, chocolate for 40 days, if that's the so-called vice you decide to forgo.

There's something deliciously simple about a pancake smothered in chocolate sauce and it makes a perfect dessert. If you're going to take this route you'll probably want to keep the accompanying wine sweet though, especially as it’s usually milk chocolate that's used over pancakes, which tends to be even sweeter than the dark variety.

As it's still winter and the weather's pretty dismal you may want to try pairing your sweet pancakes with that Christmas favourite, Port.

The International Wine and Spirit Competition's Trophy for Port 2012 went to Sogrape Vinhos SA for its Sandeman 20 year old Tawny Port.

According to the judge's tasting notes, this award-winning wine has a "mature nose [which] shows sweet tobacco [and] smoke spices".  It is described as being "sweet, balanced with fresh citrus acidity".

Port is an acquired taste, so if you want to stick to a sweet wine, but remain unconvinced about the merits of fortified varietals, then why not try the a glass of Sauternes.

If you choose to serve your pancakes simply with just sugar as an accompaniment you could indulge yourself and invest in some Champagne. Remember though that those who add lemon should stay away from overly dry wines. Asti Spumante is undeservedly unpopular and would work well here. Anyone who remains prejudiced against this wine could try a bottle of Prosecco instead. 

Those who prefer their pancakes savoury will probably want to try making a classic cheese and ham version. You need to cut through the fattiness of this dish, so a dry white wine would work well. A Pinot Blanc or a Soave would probably be an ideal match. This would also work if you decide to stuff your pancake with spinach.

Whichever wine and pancake combination you choose, just remember the French do it best. Think crepe-thin rather than heavy, stodgy pancakes which will overtake even the most robust of wines. 

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