Horse Play

One For the Nay Sayers

A horse.

A horse.

When the ‘horse-meat’ scandal was hitting every news headline. I thought there could be a more interesting spin on things…

The vexing question of whether or not we should be eating horse has taken a somewhat dramatic turn in the past fortnight. This leaves the British public with a multitude of new questions which suddenly need answering.

Writing on the subject of horse meat for The Telegraph in 2007, Peter Allen stated “Paris chefs and butchers are reviving the meat’s fortunes by offering it as a trendy and healthy alternative to beef, pork and lamb”. He was writing at a time when horse was undergoing something of a renaissance as a curiosity for tourists in high-end French restaurants. Now, six years on, more of us have to face up to the prospect of horses for main courses – whether we like it not.

Whilst the traditional media focus on the important issues regarding ethics, health concerns and fraud, I’ve been giving some thought to the real underlying problem. What should we be drinking? Perhaps you have already lined a big, full-bodied Shiraz to drink with, what you thought, was a beef burger. Or maybe you had put aside that lovely, tannic, juicy Cab Sav to sip whilst enjoying your frozen lasagne. Instead we are now faced with a brand new challenge; which wines could possibly go well with horse?

As a muscular, low fat meat, we would recommend a Cote-Du-Rhone wine. Perhaps something with a spattering of spiced white pepper, Autumnal fruit flavours and a warming, full body. France, as the traditional home for horsemeat dishes, is sure to supply its most suitable match! And Rhone wines, as a traditional match for venison, could be a good shout.

The serious point to be made here is that as we place more demands on our food chain, with expanding populations and mass processing of food, the future make up of our food is far from certain. There may be many new challenges to vintners to match their produce to exciting, or disturbing, foods. Although I don’t realistically expect horsemeat to continue it’s unexpected resurgence furlong…