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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

Festive Wine Matching Infographic Guide

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.”

 

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The Essential Beef and Wine Pairing Guide
Find the perfect beef dish for your wine with our easy to follow wing pairing guide. One of the most wonderful things about winter is savouring a range of slow cooked, hearty meals. Full flavoured and nourishing, beef is perfect for these types of dishes and when it comes to choosing the perfect wine, both reds and whites can be ideal. Key considerations are the cut of meat, how fatty it is, how it's prepared and any accompanying sauces. While red wine lovers can match almost any variety, white wine lovers should stick with fuller, more textural varieties.   BEEF WINE MATCHING 101 MEDIUM TO FULL & TEXTURAL WHITES
Adam Walls is a real white wine lover, even in winter, which is why  chargrilled beef and peanut green curry  is one his favourite meals at this time of year. What makes it such a delicious choice, is that there's a great range of white wines to match. As he explains, "Perfect with curries and spicy food, Verdelho ,  Fiano  ,  Pinot G  ,  Arneis  and  Chardonnay  have the fruit weight and acidity to perfectly offset the spices and aromas of this dish." For further inspiration, our friends at Asian Inspirations have a great guide to  matching some of our favourite wines with great east asian dishes here . Light to Medium Bodied Aromatic Reds
Dave Mavor loves nights in during footy season, especially with a meal of  spicy chipotle beef  , which is a great match with light to medium bodied aromatic reds. "You could pair most reds with this dish", Dave says, "However, its smooth texture and tomatoey richness pairs deliciously with vibrant, lighter-bodied varieties such as  Pinot Noir  or  Grenache  , or  Nero d'Avola  ." Medium Weight & Savoury Reds When he's got the family around for a Sunday feast, one of Phil Ryan's favourite meals is pot roasted beef in red wine with garlic, fennel and rosemary . For a wine match, Phil says, "Pot roasted, slow cooked and braised beef dishes with melt-in-the-mouth textures pair well with the richness and peppery spice of cool climate Shiraz , or try Mediterranean favourites,  Sangiovese  or  Tempranillo  ." Bold & fuller bodied reds
"We're so lucky in Australia to have so many delicious international influences and one of my favourite winter recipes is  Argentinean beef steak with chimichurri sauce ", says Trent Mannell. "Bolder, fuller bodied reds such as warmer climate Shiraz ,  Cabernet Sauvignon  and blends,  Durif  and  Malbec  are ideal partners for barbequed or roasted beef with their charry richness." If you're looking for more beef recipes, celebrity chef Curtis Stone is an enthusiast for all different cuts of meat. In fact, he has a butchery as part of his New York restaurant, Gwen. Read all about it in his  Selector  interview , then check out his recipe for 80-day dry aged ribeye with creamed corn and scallions. And, for more great beef recipes, make sure you visit  www.beefandlamb.com.au . Plus, there's more winter food and wine matching inspiration to be found in our Italian inspiration feature.      
Food
Matching wine with Haigh's chocolate
Words by Paul Diamond on 29 Nov 2017
Individually, wine and chocolate are highly desired treats, but when brought together in a complementary pairing, they can transport your tastebuds to new and exciting places. This Christmas, we have teamed up with Australia’s most respected chocolate producer to bring you some matches that will have you wishing it was Christmas every month of the year! And, we're happy to announce an exclusive offer for Wine Selectors members and Selector readers. When you spend $75 or more with Haigh's online and use the code SELECTOR17, you'll receive a free packet of Milk Chocolate Frogs! Find out more below . Match 1: Shiraz and Haigh’s Dark Chocolate (50%+)
The fruit intensity and medium to full bodied nature of Shiraz make for a rich and mouth-filling combination. The key is starting with a chocolate with over 50% cocoa content and matching the general fruit flavours of the wine to a complementary chocolate flavour. Our Pick : Primo Estate Shiraz 2016 and Haigh’s 100g Dark Cardamom Tablet Tasting note : This match is mind blowing! The dark chocolate and the fruit intensity of the McLaren Vale classic from Primo Estate are perfectly weighted together, but what makes this match is when the mocha, plum and pepper flavours of the wine meet the cardamom flavours in the chocolate.  Boom! Match 2: Cabernet Sauvignon and Haigh’s Dark Chocolate (60%+)
For some reason, Cabernet and dark chocolate always works, and if there was going to be one generic chocolate and wine suggestion, it would be this one. Because Cabernet Sauvignon is generally full-bodied, it needs to be matched with intense flavours, so turning up the cocoa content in the chocolate is key. Our Pick: Rosabrook Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 and Haigh’s 100g Costa Rica Single Origin Dark Chocolate Tasting note : This is a decadent, seductive match! This premium Cabernet from Margaret River has plenty of dark berry intensity that matches the chocolate perfectly, but there is an extra sweet raspberry lift to the wine that adds a lovely complement to the bitter flavours of the chocolate. Match 3: Pinot Noir and Haigh’s Dark Ginger
Pinot Noir is a soft varietal with delicate tannins , so matching it to chocolate can be challenging. But when you get it right, the results are amazing. Less about texture/weight matching, pairing chocolate to Pinot is all about complementary flavours. Our Pick : De Bortoli Villages Pinot Noir 2016 and Haigh’s Dark Ginger Tasting note: This is crazy delicious. We stumbled onto this match, as ginger was not on the radar when tasting chocolates for Pinot. The ginger is soft, creamy, sweet and a little spicy and it worked so perfectly with the soft, earthy red fruits in this Pinot. When you think about this match, it makes little sense, but when you taste both together, it makes for a heady, seductive and exotic match. Match 4: Pinot Gris and Haigh’s Dark Champagne Truffle
Softer and more textural than its crunchier, crispier Grigio cousin, Pinot Gris is a great varietal for chocolate matching with chocolate. Generally low in acid with soft pear, florals and citrus, Gris works well with milk driven and fruit confected chocolates. Our Pick : Lisa McGuigan Pinot Gris 2015 and Haigh’s Dark Champagne Truffle Tasting Note : Hard to stop at one! This Haigh’s Dark Champagne Truffle is incredible and will work with a range of white wines, but we found that the soft lemon, pear and granny smith apple fruits are the best combo for the creamy balance between the Champagne cream and the dark chocolate coating. The dusting also adds a nice sweetness to the whole picture. Dangerously delicious. Match 5: Chardonnay and Haigh’s Dark Orange Slices
Chardonnay , with its nutty, stone fruited complexity is another variety that is hard to be generic about as there are so many nuances to each individual example. Like Pinot Noir, matching becomes less about weight, texture and acidity and more about flavour matching. And, like Pinot Gris, it goes really well with fruit confected and flavoured chocolates.   Our Pick : Tyrrell's Dry White Chardonnay (1976) and Haighs Dark Orange slices Tasting Note : Surprisingly, amazingly delicious. This was another out-of-the-blue match that, on paper, shouldn’t work, but very much does. The rich and round white melon and citrus envelop the jaffa-like orange flavours that seem to be extended and lengthened by the wine. The chocolate is dark, but the acidity in the wine lightens it, making a hero of the orange. Lovely combination. Match 6. Sauv Blanc and Haigh’s White Lemon Truffle
As a zesty, fresh and aromatic variety, Sauvignon Blanc is a good white chocolate option. When it comes to thinking about the wine, however, try to steer away from examples that have loads of grassy characters in preference for examples with citrus dominant characters. Our Pick : Hungerford Hill Fumé Blanc 2016 and White Lemon Truffle Tasting Note : There’s no way you will want to share this combination and when we finished tasting, we were looking for more of these special little truffles. This Fumé style Sauv Blanc is citrus driven and textural with little grassy notes that make the natural citrus stand out and was a perfect partner for the lemon spiked cream at the centre of this white chocolate coated treat. This is a definite crowd pleaser. Special offer for Wine Selectors Members
Spend $75 and use the code SELECTOR17 when you shop with Haigh’s online and you’ll receive a free 140g packet of Milk Chocolate Frogs valued at $12.50! The most iconic of the Haigh’s collection, these frogs are made from premium milk chocolate, which they have been making since the 1930s. Shop at Haigh's online now See the terms and conditions below .  
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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