What Food What Wine

It’s been great to see Food & Drink, the popular BBC2 brand, back on TV.

Putting good drink with appropriately matched food is one of life’s great pleasures. It’s what we are privileged to do in our regular slots on the flagship BBC1 show Saturday Kitchen – and what millions of people around the country like to do on a regular basis (especially at the weekends!)

Finding the right wine for our favourite dishes isn’t always easy or obvious, though. That’s the reason we launched What Food, What Wine?

At its most basic, it’s about giving wine lovers options when it comes to choosing wines for classic British dishes. Fancy fish and chips, bangers and mash, chicken tikka massala or apple pie? Then we have some delicious suggestions for you, to make the meal all the more special.

You can also have confidence that these wines have been selected using the most rigorous procedures.

The judges at What Food What Wine are all renowned experts, some of the leading lights in the fields of food and wine. This crack team tastes the wines alongside the dishes and the only thing they evaluate is how well that wine goes with the food in question. They don’t know what the wine is, where it comes from or who made it. They’re just interested in the flavour combination.

This judging process is unique. Very few wine competitions judge wine alongside food, where it belongs. And in even fewer do the judges only know one thing and one thing only about each wine: whether it sells (in shops) for over or under £10. (This to reflect whether it’s an ‘everyday’ or ‘special’ purchase – otherwise it might be unfair on the cheaper wines, and we want to reward great value.)

It’s a completely level playing field that gives some fantastic results.

We’ve had a £3.99 Aldi rosé beating all competition to win a trophy for best match with chicken tikkamassala. Both fino sherry and fizz triumphing with fish and chips.An Australian ‘tawny’ taking the top gong for its sublime match with stilton. In short, some great stories, and brilliant surprises – but always excellent flavour combinations.

We’re more excited than ever about this year’s What Food What Wine.

It will be the third year of judging and the competition has gone from strength to strength. Our judging line-up is formidable and this year newcomers include the likes of Helen McGinn of the Knackered Mothers’ Wine Club, and Justin Howard-Sneyd MW

And the dishes – thanks to our inspired food guru Jo Pratt – are both delicious and classic, from shepherd’s pie to roast beef and chocolate roulade, also incorporating Indian and Christmas staples.

So if you’re partial to some good food and drink – stay tuned. In addition to the competition there’s also this revamped blog, packed with food and wine tips, some top notch recipes, news, views, photos, videos and lots more fun.

Cheers to that!


Peter Richards MW (Chair judge):

Peter Richards is a Master of Wine and one of the UK's youngest (and tallest) award-winning wine writers and broadcasters.