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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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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.      
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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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