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Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache paired with Asain-Style pork belly

Feast with The First Families of Wine

As we know here at Selector, there is a wine for every occasion and when we asked the Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) to nominate their favourite wine and food match, we were given 12 very varied answers. Some families spoke of a long-held family recipe passed down through generations, while some have recently discovered their perfect wine and recipe at their favourite restaurant. 

Classic matches

As to be expected, some of the AFFW offered up classic matches such as the Taylors pairing their TWP Cabernet Sauvignon with lamb and rosemary.

“When my grandfather and his sons founded the winery, he was inspired by the great wines of Bordeaux,” tells Mitchell Taylor, Managing Director and third generation winemaker. “The classic pairing for Cabernet is a rich, flavoursome lamb, and for good reason! The texture of a lamb pairs beautifully with the complex tannins and fruit flavours of a Cabernet, it’s a pretty special pairing.”

It is a similar story with the McWilliam family matching their 660 Reserve Chardonnay with a roast chicken dish. “Chardonnay and chicken is a no brainer,” says Jeff McWilliam, CEO of McWilliam’s. “The recipe we do is a slight evolution from one made by Nanna McWilliam. It’s been a tasty trial and error to get the perfect dry rub and side sauces to complement the wine. Each sauce brings out a lovely aspect in both the chicken and the wine.”

Sauce is also key to the Campbell family’s favourite pairing of their Durif and eye fillet steak with Prue Campbell’s red wine and mushroom jus recipe.

“A splash of Durif added to the jus brings the two together in perfect harmony,” says Susie Campbell, fifth generation and Marketing Manager at Campbells Wines. “The Durif complements the earthy mushroom flavours and the depth of flavour in the jus.”
The Barry Family

Porterhouse with pickled mushroom and chimichurri from Brown Brothers

Something unexpected

Some of the AFFW also presented some unconventional food and wine pairings.

Jim Barry Wines Managing Director, Peter Barry loves pairing their Shiraz Cabernet with roast chicken and gravy.

“Roast chook has always been a family favourite,” says Peter, who follows a recipe perfected by his mum, Nancy. “The trick is brine the chook the day prior with the red wine. That’s why it matches so well with our modern interpretation of the great Australian blend.”

It’s porchetta and Shiraz at the Tyrrell household. Fifth generation winemaker, Chris Tyrrell reckons the fact their Hunter Valley Shiraz is medium in weight and has virtually no oak makes it a very food friendly wine. “It’s got everything you need in a red wine and works really well with my mum’s roast porchetta,” he says. “Some may think Pinot Noir works better but a Hunter Shiraz is the go. It’s a simple dish, but for some reason it never tastes as good when I try to make it at home.”

In the Barossa, the Hill-Smith Family from Yalumba love to celebrate one of the unsung gems of the region, Grenache.

“When we talk history of the Barossa, you cannot do it without doffing your hat to Grenache,” says fifth generation Yalumba custodian, Robert Hill-Smith,  who proposed pork belly with Asian-style salad paired with their Old Bush Vine Grenache. “The freshness of Asian flavours with rich, succulent pork belly, is balanced perfectly by the mouth-watering mid palate and gentle acidity of Grenache.”
The De Bortoli family eating a feast


Family favourites

For many of the families, the meals that resonated were family favourites, such as De Bortoli’s matriarch, Emeri and her chicken liver risotto paired with their Yarra Valley Pinot Noir.

“My mother came from Treviso, Northern Italy, where risotto is commonly eaten,” says Emeri. “It’s a simple dish but so popular. Often, it is all my grandchildren want to eat, and if they come back for seconds, who am I to argue?”

Katherine Brown, Brand Manager at Brown Brothers, also nominated a family recipe, this one by her grandmother Patricia – porterhouse steak with pickled mushrooms and chimichurri.

“Our Nanna compiled her favourite recipes from friends, family and magazines. We had these produced into a cookbook,” tells Katherine, who paired her nana’s dish with a Tempranillo and Graciano blend. “This wine was originally made in our experimental winery, the Kindergarten, after Dad fell in love with Rioja!”

Tahbilk’s Purbrick family have long championed the RhÔne varietal Marsanne, so it was no surprise that they paired it with a family favourite, Alister Purbrick’s prawn and asparagus risotto. 

“I love to drink Marsanne when it’s five to eight years old because it’s young enough to still have primary fruit flavours, but old enough to have developed some bottle aged characters,” says fifth generation, Hayley Purbrick. “Matching Marsanne with seafood is a no brainer and pairing the 2011 Marsanne with Dad’s risotto is a match made in heaven.”
McWillian's 660 Reserve Chardonnay with Nanna McWilliam's roast

The Henschke Family

Recent discoveries

Some favourite food and wine pairings have been recent discoveries, such as the one from the Burch family from Howard Park, who nominated their Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc with Malaysian roasted spiced chicken with peanut sauce.

“The recipe comes from our friends at Low Key Chow House in Leederville,” tells David Burch. “Given Mum’s from Singapore, we love a bit of Asian fusion. It works perfectly with our delicate and complex Sauvignon Blanc.”

Eden Valley’s Henschke family also nominated an Asian dish, sautéed pearl meat with their Peggy’s Hill Riesling.

“To celebrate 150 years of winemaking, we invited our favourite chefs across the country to pair a recipe with one of our wines,” explains Henschke PR & Marketing Manager, Justine Henschke.  “Our good friend Anthony Lui, Executive Chef at The Flower Drum, noted that the delicate texture of the pearl meat, the aromas of the spring onion and the sweetness of the asparagus was such an exciting match with the fragrant and succulent Peggy’s Hill Riesling.”

A restaurant dish was also the favourite for the Osborn family at d’Arenberg, who nominated braised duck leg and seared duck breast with sour peach and shallot steamed bun paired with their Derelict Vineyard Grenache from their iconic d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant.

“This dish is on the seasonal menu and it pairs beautifully with the fruit, spice and mild earthiness of Grenache,” says third generation winemaker, Chester Osborn.

Shared plates

While the AFFW delivered 12 diverse food and wine pairings, there was one common theme; food and wine is best shared with family and friends. Often there’s chaos and hearty debates, but always fun, noise and memorable moments, and of course, great food and wine.


AFFW Family Favourites Collection

Wine Selectors and Australia’s First Families of Wine have worked together to offer you an amazing Family Favourites Collection. Celebrate with Australia’s First Families of Wine as they share their favourite wines matched to their favourite meals, the ones that bring them together to create memorable family moments. The Family Favourites Collection comes with an informative 48-page booklet with 12 delicious recipes, one from each of the First Families and the details of the story behind each food and wine pairing, and is delivered in a bespoke custom case. This pack will sell out quickly, order now by visiting wineselectors.com.au/affw

AFFW Events

Join Australia’s First Families of Wine members at two special showcase dinners in Sydney on July 19 and Melbourne on July 26. Featuring wines from the Family Favourites Collection, paired perfectly with a 3 course menu, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. To book, go to wineselectors.com.au/events
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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