DAWN Griffiths has a passion for pairing good wine with food and now writes a successful blog.

Each month she shares her thoughts with Taste...

After Christmas and New Year roasts, I always crave some heat and spice in my food and the first meal I choose is chilli con carne.

Chilli heat is difficult to match with wine because heat increases the perception of bitterness and acidity in wine, rendering it unpleasant.

The wine I selected to match was Incanta Pinot Noir 2016. In the glass it was bright with a purple hue and clear rim. The nose was sweet and fruity with a hint of fresh vanilla pod.

Freshly crushed raspberries and sour cherries made my mouth water in anticipation. The first taste was quite sweet, but then came a more intense red fruit, sour cherries, liquorice and vanilla, leading me to believe that this young wine has spent some time in oak.

The tannins were very soft and smooth on the palate, vibrant and refreshing and with an alcohol volume of 12.5% it is an alternative to some of the heavier wines you may have consumed during the festivities.

The low acidity and fruit sweetness was an excellent match with the heat of the chilli con carne. The ingredients in the food were minced beef, onions, garlic, good quality red wine, chicken stock, 2 tins of tomatoes, kidney beans, ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli powder to taste, served with boiled rice.

The wine stood up to the spice well with amazing red currant and cherry flavour taking centre stage.

The heat of the food was cooled by the wine with a burst of red fruit. The raspberry left temporarily but it did not lose its fruit driven character and if anything, the vanilla came through even stronger after the spice kick.

Pinot Noir can be served chilled and I can confirm that chilling for an hour does not reduce the flavours in this wine. This wine also matches Chinese pork roasted in 5 spice, red bean curd, soy sauce hoisin sauce and honey. Absolutely delicious.

I purchased Incanta 2016, Romanian red from Majestic, Poole. Present this article and you pay £6.49 instead of the mix-six price of £7.99.

Visit Dawn’s blog at wonderofwine.com