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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
Festive food and wine matching made easy
Tis the season for fabulous festive food and wine matches. Whether you’re catching up with friends over a casual bite, indulging in a family Christmas feast, or celebrating New Year’s Eve with a selection of finger food, there are so many opportunities to discover a diverse range of delicious food and wine matches. If you like to stick to tradition on Christmas Day, pair a Sparkling Aussie red with a classic roast and clove-studded ham, or if you’re going for a lighter option of fresh seafood and salads, Semillon and Riesling are perfect. Whatever your festive food choices, there’s a wine to suit! Festive celebrations Light and aromatic whites When Nicole Gow is hosting a festive catch-up with friends, she likes to make sure the food is a celebration of fresh Australian produce and Sydney rock oysters with ginger and shallot dressing is one of her go-to choices. And for wine? “The subtle flavours in this classic summer entree need a celebratory Sparkling or a light and aromatic white wine match such as Sauvignon Blanc & blends , Riesling , Vermentino or Pinot G ,” she says. Medium weight and textural whites Adam Walls is a huge fan of summer seafood and while he loves simply serving it fresh with a dash of lemon, he also enjoys adding a few other delicious flavours like in the prosciutto wrapped prawns with a rocket aioli recipe. When choosing a matching wine, he says, “With the rich flavours of the prosciutto and aioli, go for a medium weight and textural white wine such as the traditional varieties of Verdelho and Chardonnay , or for something different, Arneis or Fiano .” Light to medium weight and savoury reds Dave Mavor is a Christmas traditionalist, so Pete Evans’ glazed Christmas ham is always on his menu. But that doesn’t mean you have to go heavy on the reds, he explains, “Just perfect for the Australian climate, light to medium weight and savoury reds like Pinot Noir , Merlot , Grenache & GSM blends and Nero d’Avola are a fantastic choice for this beautiful ham recipe.” Richer and fuller bodied reds Trent Mannell relishes a big, bold red wine, whatever the weather, but of course in Australia we’re lucky to have so many fantastic Sparkling reds to enjoy in summer. “Sparkling reds are a uniquely Australian festive tradition and are ideal with roasted turkey and smoked oyster stuffing ,” Trent say, “Or you can match other rich, full-bodied reds like Shiraz & blends , Cabernet & blends , Sangiovese or Tempranillo .”  
Wine
Pinot Gris vs Grigio: What’s the difference?
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape variety, so what's the difference? We talk to some passionate Pinot G winemakers to find out. While it's fast becoming one of Australia's most popular varieties,  PinotGris/Grigio  still presents a point of confusion for many wine-lovers. Made from one variety, a member of the Pinot Noir family, this grape has two different names thanks to the two countries in which it is most commonly grown: France and Italy. Gris is French for "grey" and in France it finds its home in the Alsace region. French Pinot Gris is generally known for being a rich, full-bodied white with a lovely silky texture. Grigio is the Italian for "grey" and in contrast to the French, Italian Grigio has made a name for being a light, crisp wine ideal for early drinking and is most famously known in the regions of Veneto and Friuli. Across the two styles, the common aroma and flavour descriptors include apple, pear, strawberry, honey, hay, brioche and bread. AUSSIE HOME
The variety was first introduced to the Hunter Valley with the James Busby collection of 1832, however it wasn't until the 1990s that the variety started to really emerge. This was thanks to a winemaking couple who made their home on Victoria's  Mornington Peninsula  in 1988: Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy. Having been introduced to Pinot Gris at college, Kathleen felt intuitively that they had come to the perfect region for producing the variety. They released their first commercial Pinot Gris in 1993, have had huge success since, and are now seen as setting the benchmark for Australian interpretations of the variety. Following in their footsteps is their son, Tom, a winemaker at Quealy wines who has inherited his parents' passion for Pinot G. What's more, he's been to the homes of both the Gris and Grigio styles. "I have worked vintages at Domain Paul Blanck in Alsace, where Pinot Gris is 1 of 4 premium varieties", he explains. "Their vineyards define the quality and the personality of each of their wines. They revel in the power and voluptuousness of these wines, from bone dry with the generous dollop of extract in the middle palate, to off dry with enough flavour and structure to make the wine balanced and suitable with a main course. They are able to make and market their even richer sweeter late harvest styles. The wines are beautiful to drink, slightly drying out with a few years bottle age, and suit their dishes of duck and pork. "I have also worked and spent time in Friuli. Their lighter soils and their food culture define their Pinot Grigio style: crunchy pear, dry and textured. The winemaking art of blending abounds. There are field blends and regional blends of many white varieties, with Pinot Grigio a central component." MORNINGTON MAGIC
Back home, Tom explains the  Mornington Peninsula 's superior suitability for Pinot G down to a combination of regional factors. "It's the climate - cool, maritime, Indian summers. It's the cloud cover and sea breezes. The Red Hill and Main Ridge flank creates intimate valleys of rich volcanic soils that hold onto the rainfall. The dryland farming keeps each berry and bunch tiny and concentrated. Then there's a winemaking fraternity reared on  Pinot Noir  and now applying these skills to their love child Pinot Gris."   ADELAIDE HILLS EXCELLENCE
Another standout Aussie Pinot G producer is  Wicks Estate  in the  Adelaide Hills , where, Tim Wicks, explains, "The cool evenings promote great acid retention in the fruit, along with a gradual flavour ripeness without excess phenolic development. This allows the variety to retain a charming aromatic lift which combines beautifully with the subtle textural elements." At Wicks Estate, they make a Gris rather than a Grigio, but as Tim describes, it may be akin to the Gris style, but it maintains a hint of the Grigio aromatics and racier acid lines. This is reflective of the Gris-Grigio overlap that Tim sees as common in Australia. "We have countless fantastic wines that tend towards either the richer Gris characters or lighter aromatic Grigio characteristics. There are also wines that exhibit traits of both, take our  Wicks Estate Pinot Gris , for example. We like the sharpened focus and aromatic style of the Grigio, but tend to lean towards the textural qualities of Gris on the palate. The styles have their own identity, however, we have diverse terroir and climate in Australia that can lend itself to a hybrid style."   THE PROOF IS IN THE TASTING At the end of the day, whether you go for a  richer Gris or a zestier Grigio , or a mix of both, only your palate can decide. To help you choose, we've got an extensive range from the Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills and beyond to  explore  .
Wine
Pursuit of Perfection - Australian Pinot Noir
Words by Dave Mavor on 2 May 2017
Australia's established Pinot Noir regions are continuing to develop and evolve remarkable examples of this varietal. But for the big future of Aussie Pinot, we may need to look west. I'll admit it - not everyone is a fan of  Pinot Noir . But that fact, in itself, is what makes Pinot so enigmatic - aficionados swoon, swillers scoff. And this suits Pinot (and its lovers) just fine because in this land of the tall poppy, it is not always favourable to be too popular. That said, Pinot is one of the most revered and collected wine styles in the world, with the top examples from its homeland in Burgundy selling for outrageous sums of money. It is generally quite delicate (some say light-bodied), and it takes a certain development of one's palate to truly appreciate its delightful nuances, perfumed aromas, textural elements and supple tannin profile. It appears that if you enjoy wine for long enough, eventually your palate will look for and appreciate the more subtle and complex style that quality Pinot can provide. A good point that illustrates this comes from winemaker Stephen George, who developed the revered Ashton Hills brand. "A lot of older gentlemen come into the cellar door and say they love Shiraz, but it doesn't love them anymore," he says. "So we are getting some of my generation moving over to Pinot Noir, and the young kids of today are also really embracing it." THE ALLURE OF PINOT (FOR THE WINEMAKER) Winemakers love a challenge, and there is no doubt that Pinot is a challenging grape to grow, and even more challenging to make. The Burgundians have certainly nailed it, but they have been practicing for thousands of years, and this is part of the key. The cool climate of Burgundy has proven to be a major factor, as is the geology of the soils there, but they have also shown the variety to be very site-specific - vines grown in adjacent vineyards, and even within vineyards, can produce very different results. Vine age too, is critical. True of most varieties, but especially Pinot Noir, the best fruit tends to come from mature vineyards, considered to be around 15 years old or more. Yields too, need to be kept low to get the best out of this grape, as it needs all the flavour concentration it can get to show its best. Australian winemakers have taken these lessons to heart - gradually developing ever cooler areas to grow Pinot, working out the best soil types, and carefully exploring the ideal sites within each vineyard to grow this fickle variety. They're also working out the best clones and the most appropriate vine spacing, and then managing the vine canopy to allow just the right amount of dappled sunlight to reach the ripening bunches. Our vines are getting older, reaching that critical phase of maturity, and yields are managed carefully to coax the maximum from each berry. Once in the winery, the grapes need careful handling due to their thin skins and low phenolic content, so physical pump-overs are kept to a minimum. These days more and more winemakers are including a percentage of stems in the ferment to enhance the aromatic and textural qualities of the finished wine, and oak usage is more skilfully matched to the style being produced. THE STATE OF PLAY OF PINOT Australian viticulturists and winemakers are getting better at producing top quality Pinot with every passing year. And that quality is truly on show in our most recent State of Play tasting. It's been five years since we last had an in-depth look at Pinot Noir in this country. And what a change we've seen in that time! The overall quality of Australian Pinot is certainly on the rise. But what is perhaps the biggest development in the last five years has been the emergence of a potential Pinot giant  in the west . As you will see in our reviews across the following pages, the established Pinot producing regions such as the  Yarra Valley ,  Tasmania  and  Adelaide Hills  are still well represented in our Top 20, but they are joined by newcomers, the cool-climate  Tumbarumba  region of NSW, and an impressively strong showing from the  Great Southern  and  Pemberton  areas of Western Australia. In fact, five wines in the Top 20 are from WA - an amazing statistic given that there were none five years ago. THE EMERGING PINOT GIANT - WA We have seen a marked increase in the number and quality of Pinots coming from the West in recent years, particularly from the vast  Great Southern  area encompassing the five distinct sub-regions of Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongorup, as well as a secluded pocket of the South West around Pemberton and Manjimup. So what has led to the emergence of WA as a Pinot powerhouse? According to second generation winemaker Rob Wignall, whose father Bill pioneered Pinot production in Albany, there have been a number of small improvements that make up the overall picture. He believes that climate change has been a significant and positive factor, moving the region's climate into more of a semi-Mediterranean situation with mild summer days and a reduction in rainfall throughout the growing season, leading to improvements in disease control and better canopy management. In addition, Rob feels that better oak selection and winemaking practices such as 'cold soaking' of the must prior to fermentation have led to improvements in the finished product. He is also a strong advocate for screw caps, believing that the delicate fruit characters of Pinot really shine under this closure, and that they also enhance the age-ability of the wines. Luke Eckersley, from regional icon Plantagenet Wines in Mt Barker, points to the variations in micro-climates and soil types across the Great Southern region as a factor. "Pinot Noir styles are varied with complex savoury styles from Denmark; elegant perfumed styles from Porongurup; rich fruit driven styles from Mount Barker; big robust styles from Albany; lighter primary fruit styles from Frankland River," he says. Michael Ng, winemaker from Rockcliffe in Denmark, adds that the cool climate with coastal influences allows full flavour development in the fruit, while still allowing for wines of finesse and savoury complexity. And a bit further west, Coby Ladwig of Rosenthal Wines points to the steep hills and valleys of the Pemberton region creating many unique micro-climates that enable varied grape growing conditions, "allowing us to create extremely complex and elegantly styled wines from one region", he says. While neighbouring Manjimup, with an altitude of 300m and therefore the coolest region in Western Australia, has cold nights and warm days ideal for flavour enhancement. PERFECTING THE FUTURE In summary, Pinot Noir in Australia is in a healthy position, with the established regions in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia producing more consistent and ever improving results. Equally exciting are the emerging Pinot Noir regions such as those in WA, as well as Tumbarumba and Orange, that show that the future for Pinot in Australia is bright. So, if you find your Shiraz doesn't love you as much anymore, perhaps look to Pinot, and when doing so, glance west. THE WINE SELECTORS TASTING PANEL The wines in this State of Play were tasted over a dedicated period by the  Wine Selectors Tasting Panel , which is made up of perceptive personalities and palates of winemakers, international wine show judges and wine educators. With an amazing 140 years collective experience, they love wine and they know their stuff.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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