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Wine And Food Matching – Do We Even Care In Australia?

By Alex Russell on November 27, 2015 in Food

Photo: Char Donnay

Photo: Char Donnay

Wine is made to go with food. I’ve had plenty of European wines that are not that exciting by themselves, but pair them with the right food and something magical happens.

In Australia, I’ve found that most consumers don’t really care about this. Part of the problem is that it takes a long time to learn about wine, and most of us just don’t care. So I’ve put together a very basic guide for readers of The Beast…

Seafood – Go for whites, and mostly unoaked styles. So things like a nice Hunter Semillon, most Australian Rieslings or a Pinot Grigio will go well. If you’ve got some smoked seafood happening, perhaps a Chardy might go well. If you’re a red fan, go for something like a Beaujolais or a Pinot, and consider chilling it down just a touch.

Chicken – Whenever I cook roast chicken, I have it with a good Chardonnay. There’s something about it that just works. Consider spending over $20 for the Chardy here for a good one.

Duck – Pinot Noir. Trust me. Nothing else comes close.

Pork – If you’re roasting it with apple sauce, try a Pinot Gris or even a Viognier. Did you use garlic? Try a refreshing drop – a – young Hunter Semillon will works. For pork ribs or belly, I’d go for a Pinot Noir, thank you very much, but you can also push things here and go try a Shiraz or Grenache, – especially a juicy, fruit-driven one. Or even have a cider! There’s also some great cider around at the moment that’ll work a treat, including and some winemakers are getting in on the act here too. Talk to the staff at your local for some recommendations. Nothing too sweet here, though; – those sugar waters disguised as ciders may not go so well.

Red meats – Lamb and Shiraz is a no-brainer. Both have this lovely spicy element that makes the match. Cooler climate Shiraz (e.g. from the Grampians) is a friend here too.
For steaks, this is when I get into those massive Barossa Shirazes. Dry tannic Cabernets can start to sing with the right food too.

Vegetarians and vegans – Rosé with a tomato salad works well, or light dry whites for most other salads – pretty much the same as for seafoods above. Having a hearty stew? Go a big red.

Dessert – Seriously, when was the last time you had a dessert wine? We hardly ever have them here in Australia. Grab yourself a half bottle and save the rest for tomorrow’s dessert.

The basic rule here with wine matching is that you don’t want the wine to overpower the food, or the food to overpower the wine. You’ve paid for both, so you want to be able to taste both. Choose wines that complement the strength of the flavour of the food, t. Then, if you can, work out which flavours go well together.

This is just a guide. Try other matches and let me know if you find a winner. And if you want to drink a massive Shiraz with your grilled fish, go nuts! It’s your food and wine; enjoy it however you like.