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Food

6 Wines to bring luck and prosperity in the Year of the Rooster

The Lunar New Year is the most significant event on the Asian calendar. While it’s most famously celebrated in China, festivities also take place across East and South East Asians countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. With so many different Asian communities at home here in Australia, Lunar New Year celebrations are getting bigger every year. While each community has its own unique take on the event, common to all is the gathering of friends and family for a traditional feast. At Wine Selectors, we are constantly searching for the perfect union and harmony between wine and food dishes. We’ve selected 6 wines that are the perfect match to Lunar New Year celebrations this year that celebrate the fusion of food, wine, and culture.

 

LISA MCGUIGAN PINOT GRIS 2015

In China, traditional reunion dinners or ‘Nian Ye Fan’ are celebrated by families on New Year's Eve. They focus around ‘dishes with a meaning’, symbolic usherings for the year ahead, such as luck, prosperity, and good health. In Mandarin, the word for Fish 鱼 (Yú /yoo), sounds like ‘surplus’ and so fish has become synonymous with prosperity and should be intentionally left unfinished during the reunion dinner to enhance this sense of excess and abundance. The Lisa McGuigan Pinot Gris 2015 is the perfect accompaniment to fish dishes due to the tropical fruit flavours and bright acidity, which perfectly complement fresh fish.

Matched Recipe: Sauteed Fish with Celery.

 

JACKSON’S HILL YARRA VALLEY CHARDONNAY 2016

In the Year of the Rooster, gold and yellow are thought to be lucky colours and also they tie in perfectly with a fine Hunter Valley Chardonnay. The creamy mouthfeel and mid-weight concentration of this wine are a great match for spicy dishes. The savoury, nutty stonefruit flavours in this wine offer fantastic support to dishes with the characteristic sweetness of palm sugar.

Matched Recipe: Stir-fried Chicken with Beans

 

WILLOW BRIDGE ESTATE DRAGONFLY CHENIN BLANC 2015

In Chinese culture, the dragonfly is associated with prosperity and peace and it’s used as a good luck charm. While we can’t promise you that enjoying the Dragonfly Chenin Blanc from Willow Bridge Estate will bring you good luck, we can promise it’s a delicious match with tofu stir-fry. Its bright and zesty citrus elements complement the understated, creamy flavours in the tofu, while the wheat notes form the udon and the light heat from the chilli are subtly balanced the wine’s weight and texture.

Matched Recipe: Tofu, chilli & Udon noodle stir-fry

 

RED WINES FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR

It’s not just white wines that make great partners to traditional Asian flavours. At Wine Selectors, we’ve found that the light bodied, dark cherry fruits of Pinot Noir work perfectly with delicate dumpling or noodle dishes. The soft velvety plum flavours of a fine Hunter Valley Shiraz match with the sweetness and warmth of many traditional Chinese dishes. While the ripe, soft fruit and tannins of a fine Grenache match perfectly with the refined spice of an East Asian Curry.

 

NINTH ISLAND PINOT NOIR 2015

This classic Pinot Noir from the north of Tasmania with its soft savoury flavours and a low tannin profile is the perfect accompaniment to traditional Luna New Year ‘lucky dumplings’( 饺子 Jiǎozi) or a sweet pork belly dish. This 2015 vintage is a particularly good choice as the number 5 is a lucky number in the year of the Rooster.

Matched Recipe: Caramelised Pork Belly Salad

 

 

YALUMBA OLD BUSH VINE GRENACHE 2014

The complex mix of flavours, texture, and spice in an East Asian curry require a wine that matches its flavour weight, but has a soft mouthfeel and subtle texture. This Old World style Grenache is the perfect fit; it has a soft red cherry intensity delivered with a silky, soft and elegant mouthfeel. Delicious!

Matched Recipe: Malaysian White Curry Chicken

 

 

ANDREW THOMAS SYNERGY SHIRAZ 2014

Synergy and harmony are vital during New Year Celebrations, perfectly embodied in this spectacular Shiraz combining select barrels from old vine vineyards. Earthy and rich, yet soft and savoury characters make this Hunter Valley classic from one of the best Hunter vintages in living memory a great match for the weight and depth of flavours in a refined curry dish. The nutty, complex mix of spice and coconut milk in a curry are lifted beautifully by the medium weight dark berry fruit, allspice and cedary elements of this wine.

Matched Recipe: Massaman Curry with Beef

 

DISCOVER A DELICIOUS FUSION OF FOOD, WINE AND CULTURE THIS LUNAR NEW YEAR

To celebrate the Year of the Rooster, Wine Selectors has partnered with Asian Inspirations to hand select six Australian wines that perfectly enhance the authentic Asian flavours of the spectacular recipes in the included recipe booklet. From chicken to pork, fish and beef, and noodles to chilli, curry and soy, the rich flavours of Asian cuisine are on show, providing a plethora of delicious dishes to enjoy.

Discover the delicious fusion of food, wine and culture - order now!

 

 

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Food
What grows together, goes together – Blackmore Wagyu and Heathcote Estate
Words by Mark Hughes on 20 Oct 2017
We continue our ‘Grows together, goes together’ series with a glorious pairing in the rolling green hills around heathcote, Victoria – the world renowned Blackmore Wagyu and the equally impressive Heathcote Estate. In the world of beef, Wagyu is quite rightly held in high esteem, its high grading and phenomenal marbling commanding prices of up to $200 per steak in restaurants. The marbling is due to unparalleled levels of monounsaturated fat – a good fat that can assist in reducing cholesterol levels in the body and which has a low melting point. Consequently, Wagyu scores highly on both health and flavour, delivering juicy, delicate characters with a deliciously soft texture. Wagyu literally means ‘Japanese beef’ (Wa=Japanese, gyu=beef), and in Japan Wagyu has long been revered for its use as a working animal, its sheer size and muscle structure making it perfect for agricultural pursuits. It is theorised that centuries of labour helped develop the rich fat content in the muscle of the Wagyu, as it can be used as an instant energy source. As a beef product, incredibly fastidious monitoring of bloodlines has allowed over a century and a half of absolute 100% pure breeding – each and every Wagyu can be traced to its genetic source. In the Australian beef industry, one name is practically synonymous with Wagyu, Blackmore . Fifth generation farmer David Blackmore has been a trailblazer in our Wagyu industry, pioneering the production of 100% full-blood Wagyu beef in Australia since 1992. While adhering to the same exacting genetic regimes observed in Japan, he’s developed innovative production techniques for Australian conditions. This has resulted in quite a revolution. Prior to Wagyu entering the Australian market, the Australian meat grading system was 0 to 6. Since the introduction of Wagyu, the grading system has been increased to 9, with Blackmore Wagyu consistently scoring 9+. The Blackmore Wagyu farm is situated in the beautiful Victorian high country, at Alexandra, while the breeding cows and their calves are raised on a lush 3,500-acre property just out of Heathcote, a little over an hour’s drive north of Melbourne. “Our property has beautiful rolling hills with lots of shelter belts for the cattle, which is really important for grazing on the open pastures, but also for getting out of the weather,” explains Blackmore CEO and sixth generation farmer, Ben Blackmore, when we tour their Fairfield property just outside Heathcote. Agricultural neighbours
Just a short drive away from the Blackmore farm on the other side of Heathcote is the revered Heathcote Estate. As a wine region, the story of Heathcote echoes many of those around Australia. Settlers in the mid 1850s were attracted to the region by gold and agriculture, with some planting vines and establishing wineries that gradually fell by the wayside. A few decades ago, the vinous potential of the region was again recognised and viticulturists established a wine region that now boasts over 40 wineries. Heathcote Estate was planted in 1999 by the Kirby family, with the sole objective of making a premium single vineyard Shiraz . Award-winning winemaker Tom Carson, who also looks after the Kirby’s Yabby Lake Winery on the Mornington Peninsula , feels that he has achieved that, giving most of the credit to great sites and the distinct characteristics of the region. “Heathcote is an amazing region for Shiraz,” says Tom. “The major factors are the ancient Cambrian soils – at least 500 million years old – very deep, rich, red and full of quartz and gemstones, coupled with the really mild climate of warm days, cool nights. It is perfect for Shiraz. “The resulting Shiraz are quite bold but fine, with beautiful perfumes, a lovely intensity of berry fruits and savoury tannins – just beautiful food wines.” A meal for a discerning crew
At the invitation of the Kirbys to use the Heathcote Estate Homestead, Selector organised for a special lunch with Ben, Tom and Heathcote Estate’s marketing manager Tiffyn Parsons, prepared by renowned Melbourne chef Neale White. Growing up in Sydney, Neale started his career in London, honing his skills in the kitchens of culinary luminaries such as Gordon Ramsey and Marcus Wareing, before returning to Australia to operate and consult for restaurants in Byron Bay, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne,  including the iconic Southbank restaurant, Pure South . In 2013, Neale opened Papa Goose in Melbourne’s CBD and, more recently, added My Son Joy café in South Melbourne, which allows him to express his ‘low carb, high fat’ mantra with a nutrition-based, wholefood menu. The perfect wine & beef pairing
For this special lunch, we gave Neale the challenge of working with a lesser used rump cap as well as a secondary cut, skirt. This fact prompted Ben to reveal another unique quality of Wagyu. “Because we are growing these animals to four years of age, they are much bigger than the traditional beef animal in Australia, so they have much better muscle development. This enables us to get up to 40 different sections from an animal, whereas you only get about 16 traditionally,” Ben says. “So this allows chefs to be much more creative with these extra cuts with different textures and utilising different cooking techniques.” For the skirt, Neale seasoned the Wagyu steak then simply pan-roasted for three minutes each side, and rested for 10 minutes, before slicing thinly and placing over the pomegranate, macadamia and herb slaw salad. It was matched with the spicy fruit characters of the 2014 Heathcote Estates Grenache Noir, which highlighted the delicate flavour of the Wagyu. The rump cap was brined overnight in 5% salt and herb solution before being slow-cooked in an oven, then rested, sliced and served with a roasted carrot puree and green bean salad. It was paired perfectly with the 2012 Museum Release Heathcote Estate Single Vineyard Shiraz – its plush palate and ripe tannins accentuating the wonderfully soft ‘melt in the mouth’ texture of the Wagyu rump cap.

People think when eating beef they need a really powerful red wine, but for me, the flavour of Wagyu is so delicate, the lighter, savoury style of Heathcote Shiraz is perfect.

- Ben Blackmore, Blackmore Wagyu
“I think the savouriness of our Heathcote Shiraz and that lovely cut you get across the palate works beautifully with this rich meat,” agrees Tom. “That is the wonderful thing about this region. There are some wonderful food producers alongside great wine producers. These things just go hand in hand.” Get Neil White's pan-roasted Blackmore's wagyu beef skirt salad with pomegranate, macadamia and herb red slaw recipe
Life
Cellar Doors Italian style
Words by Alessandro Ragazzo on 20 Aug 2015
Like most producers in the world, Italian wineries are constantly looking at making better quality wine. In Italy in recent times, this search has become a study of the ‘fashion of form’ – uncovering the intricate concept of structure of wine to help conceive that perfect drop. This thinking has also extended to ‘Turismo Enogastronomico’ (food and wine tourism) with spectacular results. Old estates have been transformed by a collection of famous Italian architects, so that the cellar door and winery has become as much the centre of attraction as the wine. It is a union between tradition and modernity, a road map that directs guests and the curious to an unexpected and beguiling journey. These new concept wineries have been designed by architects and engineers in conjunction with Italy’s most famous contemporary sculptors, and using biodynamic principles so their designs are at one with their environment. Gone are the boring rusty tinned walls of decaying estates, ushering in is a new era of engineering that utilises the natural shape of the landscape as the centre of attraction. Buildings don’t just go up, they also flow out, around and even down inside the earth. Natural inspirations The choice of materials, most of the made from recycled or sustainable products, and the sensitivity for the surroundings have been critical elements in this architectural revolution. The most precious inspiration for Arnaldo Pomodoro, one of Italy’s greatest contemporary sculptors and designers, was a turtle, a symbol of longevity and stability. In this case, the shell of the turtle became the domed copper roof of the Tenuta Coltibuono di Bevagna , a winery in Umbria. Pomodoro had produced many sculptures in his time, but this was the first for the wine industry and the success of the project reverberated on an international scale and set the tone for the design wave to come in the Italian wine industry. Other wineries followed suit, embracing the art of the concept and seeing it as a way to reinvigorate tourism to the wine regions. Designers and architects Paolo Dellapiana and Francesco Bermond des Ambrois collaborated to conceptualise the Cascina Adelaide di Barolo in Cuneo, Piemonte. This amazing structure has been built into the hills, and from a distance it almost disappears into the countryside, perfectly camouflaged with the rest of the habitat – almost like a Hobbit house full of wine, if you will. Structure and form While many of the structures are dazzling from the outside, just as much thought and design has been applied to the internal workings. Everything from barrel halls to crushing rooms have transformed wineries’ inner workings into virtual exhibition halls. The new Antinori Cellar Door in the Chianti Classico area near Florence is a perfect example. Designed by Mario Casamonti it is a truly unique structure. With a surface area of 24,000m2, it took eight years to construct, with an investment of 40 million Euro. The structure is developed horizontally rather than vertically, with the winery hidden in the earth. The production facilities and storage are spread across three stunning levels. And the interior design is simply breathtaking with terracotta vaults to ensure perfect temperature and humidity levels.   The new world order Where Italy once had wineries they now have monuments. And while there are still plenty of the old style ‘casale’ with moulded walls and giant dirty barrels, the way forward is for large, clean, bright and spacious structures with areas dedicated to each individual phase of wine production.   This concept of wine and design seems to be resonating around the globe with architects working on amazing structures   from California to Chile, from Spain to France, from Alto Adige to Sicily, and even right here in Australia – think Chester Osborn’s big Rubik’s Cube plans for d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale. The future is now and it is an exciting time for those who appreciate design in architecture and in their wine glass.
Food
What grows together, goes together Wunderbar lamb and Mitchell Family wines.
Words by Paul Diamond on 7 Jan 2018
The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s most underrated wine regions, which is hard to fathom given it produces some of the finest Rieslings and intensely concentrated red wines in the country. No doubt, the pull of the Barossa has a lot to do with the underestimation of the Clare, but, if you can resist the urge to turn right at Gawler and stay on the A32, you’re in for a treat.  In addition to its wine cred, Clare is uniquely beautiful. The open landscape is a sea of wheat fields sprinkled with eucalypts and stone cottages beneath powder blue skies. 
Heinrich’s Wunderbar  You’ll also notice a few sheep along the way, as Clare, like much of Australia, was Merino country. But around 1959 when wool exports declined, families left in droves. One of the few that stuck with it were the Heinrichs of Black Springs and fifth generation Ben, along with his wife, Kerry and five children, continues to farm sheep on the family’s original 810ha property just east of Clare.  But while the sheds, tractors, machinery and utes all make this look like a stock standard farm, one look at the sheep and you realise Ben does things a bit differently to his ancestors.  Practically bald and with long tails, Ben’s sheep are a breed that sheds its wool, chosen as part of his humane, minimal intervention philosophy. This is underpinned by his adherence to the Humane Choice farming principles of which he is the only certified producer in Australia. “With no wool, we can give our sheep a better life, as there’s no mulesing, tail docking, crutching or shearing,” Ben explains. “My sheep are truly free range, paddock raised, no feed lots and we try to minimise human interaction with them as much as possible.” When it comes to conventional industries, sheep farming is close to the top. The practices are well entrenched over generations and traditions are not easy to break, especially when there are mouths to feed.  So why undertake such a radical change? For Ben, it was the knowledge that the ways of the past were not going to work. “Dad was running a self-replacing Merino flock and it wasn’t going so well,” Ben recalls. “Personally, I wasn’t cut out for it, I couldn’t see myself shearing, and Dad saw the writing on the wall. It was either going to be sheep with no wool, or no sheep at all!” So Ben, backed by his dad, started Wunderbar. They’ve since gone from strength to strength, now selling directly to butchers and chefs around the district and into Adelaide. Fans of their meat remark on how tender, flavoursome and lean it is, while chefs love to cook with it. High praise indeed.  A Delicious Seed Word of Ben’s lamb is spreading and one chef that sings Wundebar’s praises is Guy Parkinson, owner of Seed Winehouse +Kitchen in Clare. Guy and his partner, Candice, have run Seed since 2014 after travelling through Clare and deciding it was the place to set up shop. Seed is now a food and wine destination, drawing people from all over to sample Guy’s creative, trattoria-inspired cooking paired with Candice’s take on the Clare wine scene. The couple had been Hunter-based, where they had a significant following of loyal winemaking food lovers, and this pattern has repeated in the Clare. 
The Mitchells Part of the Seed appreciation society are the Mitchells, who run the acclaimed Mitchell Wines. Led by second generation Andrew and Jane, they work with their children, Hilary, Angus and Edwina, to produce beautiful expressions of Watervale Riesling, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache under the Mitchell and McNicol labels.  The Mitchells have been in Clare since 1949 when Andrew’s father purchased land featuring an orchard, a dairy and a small vineyard. Andrew was born and bred on the property and after school, returned to the family business.  “I came back home and thought that making wine was better than working for a living,” he says with a cheeky smile. Most of the wines the Mitchells produce are released with some age, a decision that can be a financial burden. However, as Andrew explains, “The significant thing about the Clare Valley is that it is a region that produces wines with incredible intensity of flavour, but with elegance. We sell some of our wines at 10 years old and the dividend is that people get to see our wines at their best.” The Lunch As a celebration of Wunderbar lamb, Guy devised a menu with an entrée of lamb backstrap poached in extra virgin olive oil, grilled cucumber, mint and whipped yogurt, and a main of roasted rack served on baby carrots cooked in whey and honey, pearl barley and pomegranate.  Andrew and Angus brought along a range of wines to evaluate and see which suited Guy’s food best.  For the entree, Candice chose the 2009 NcNicol Watervale Riesling. It had the age to be a perfect textural match for the silky backstrap, but also fresh acidity to cut through the whipped yoghurt. For the rack, Candice’s call was Andrew’s 2001 Peppertree Vineyard Shiraz. The wine was still dense, but time had softened the mouthfeel, allowing the secondary fruit to sit beautifully with the flesh and the sauce to suit the wonderful, natural intensity of the wine.  As the afternoon progressed, conversation became more relaxed as stories were shared and reflections were made on their beautiful home. Guy Parkinson’s back strap of lamb poached in extra virgin olive oil, grilled baby cucumber, whipped sheep yogurt
Recipe:  Get  Guy Parkinson’s back strap of lamb poached in extra virgin olive oil, grilled baby cucumber, whipped sheep yogurt Wine:  Explore  Mitchell Family Wines Clare Valley:  Discover the fun of cycling the   Clare Valley Riesling Trail
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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