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Food

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, VerdelhoFiano 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 ShirazCabernet 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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Food
The Essential Chocolate and Wine Pairing Guide
When you want a go-to guide for wine and chocolate pairing, here’s what you really need to know – simply put, chocolate is delicious; wine is delicious; eating chocolate while drinking wine is doubly delicious. Matching wine with chocolate is all about balance. While there are several factors to consider, finding the right balance needn’t be complicated; simply look at the most obvious characters of both the wine and the chocolate – are they rich, light, full-flavoured, bitter, dry or sweet? Here’s a brief overview to help you find your new favourite matches. Wine and Chocolate Pairing – an Infographic Guide Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate Dark chocolates with 70% to 100% cacao are the most intense. They are richly flavoured and feature a combination of roasted, fruity, earthy, woody, ashy or nutty notes. Wines that are good matches to bittersweet styles will also match with semisweet chocolate. With intense flavours, dark and bittersweet chocolates usually call for bolder, denser and fuller-bodied red wines that have more concentrated fruit notes. They’re also delicious served with a vintage Tawny Port. Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate usually work well together, and if there was 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. 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. Grenache matches well with heavier chocolates as it has good sweet fruit weight and is low in tannins which can balance out the bitterness of dark chocolate. Suggested varietal matches: Cabernet Sauvignon , Grenache , Malbec , Merlot , Tawny Port , Shiraz , and Zinfandel Milk Chocolate Milk chocolate has a smaller percentage of cacao and a higher percentage of sugar. This factor, plus the milk content means it’s milder, and sweeter with flavours including brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, honey, caramel, milk, cream, nutty and/or malt. Milk chocolate pairs nicely with lighter, fruiter and lower alcohol reds or try a fortified wine such as Muscat or Tokay – its butterscotch, toffee and nutty nuances highlight milk chocolate’s nutty and caramel notes and enhance the overall flavour. If you’re partial to aged Sparkling reds, their complex savoury characters make them perfect for desserts and flavoured chocolates. Suggested varietal matches: Muscat, Tokay , and aged Sparkling reds . White Chocolate Even though it is referred to as white chocolate, this style technically isn’t a true chocolate as it doesn’t include cocoa, but cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids. Its sweet flavours of cream, milk, honey, vanilla, caramel or fruit makes it quite a versatile pair with wine. A delicious match is Australian Moscato which tend to be light aromatic and fruity and often have a slight spritz that lifts and refreshes the palate. The apricot, stonefruit and lychee flavours lend them to finer lighter chocolate, white chocolate and mousses. Late-harvest Riesling has an exotic sweetness that complements the vanilla, caramel and honey flavours of white chocolate, while Gewürztraminer has a slight sweetness plus typical lychee fruit that also makes it a favourite. Suggested varietal matches: Semi-dry Sparkling whites , Gewurtztraminer , Moscato , and Late-harvest Riesling . Discover Your Favourites As each and every one of us has a unique palate, likes and dislikes, the only proven way to find your favourite chocolate and wine match is to experiment and we all know what a tough job that will be. How about sea salt caramel with Prosecco , dark raspberry with a Cabernet , dark orange with a Botrytis Semillon, or dark chilli with a Cabernet Merlot? Chocolate Indulgence
If you’re looking to indulge someone special, score some brownie points (par the pun) or just want to treat yourself to some homemade chocolatey goodness, here are some guaranteed winning Selector recipes you’ll absolutely adore. Lyndey Milan's chocolate and raspberry brownies Chocolate Parfait Recipe Simple chocolate sour cream cake with coffee and spiced dates recipe Chocolate fondant with mandarin and Ice-cream recipe
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.
Food
Curry recipes and wine matching ideas
Find the perfect curry dish for your wine with this easy to follow wine pairing guide. Full of deep, satisfying flavour, comforting curries are world-wide favourites. The amazing array of curry choices from Thai and Malay, to Indian and Sri Lankan and more, offer a huge range of heat and texture variations, as well as delicate, warm and fiery spices. While it’s easier to match wine with the milder, aromatic curries, if you’re going hot, stick with light and aromatic whites or light to medium weight and savoury reds and don’t forget the classic match of off-dry Riesling which is the perfect way to enjoy a fiery feast. Check out the guide below for more curry and wine matching ideas from the Wine Selectors Tasting Panel . Curry Wine Matching 101 Light and aromatic white wines
“Living near the ocean, I’m lucky to have access to a local seafood co-op that always has fantastic fresh fish for my favourite curry,” explains Nicole Gow. “Fish curry, steamed rice and banana salsa is so easy to make and so delicious served with a glass of a Riesling .” Other light weight and aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc and blends , Gewürtztraminer and Pinot G are also perfect choices. Recomended recipe:  Fish curry, steamed rice and banana salsa Medium Weight & Textural White Wines
“My family are mad for chicken coconut curry, and it’s a regular request at our place,” says Tasting Panellist, Trent Mannell. “While the kids are still a little too young for wine, I love to serve it with a tropical, fruit-driven Verdelho or a fresh, modern Australian Chardonnay.” Similar weight to unoaked Chardonnay, and with good acidity, the alternative varieties of Arneis and Fiano are also great matches. Recommended Recipe:   Lyndey Milan's chicken coconut curry Light to Medium Weight & Savoury Red Wines
Most people don’t think to pair seafood and pineapple with red wines, but Tasting Panellist Adam Walls says when combined with curry it’s a perfect match. “A spicy dish like Poh’s prawn and pineapple curry is a winner paired with light to light to medium weight reds with softer tannins and fruit sweetness offsetting the heat in the dish,” he explains. Try it with Pinot Noir , Merlot, Grenache, GSM blends or Nero d’Avola. Recommended recipe : Poh’s prawn and pineapple curry Richer and Fuller Bodied Reds
Tasting Panellist, Dave Mavor loves spending his holidays travelling throughout Asia. “I’ve had some of the best massaman curry experiences in Thailand and Malaysia, but unfortunately the restaurants only served beer,” he explains. “The rich, full-bodied flavours of curries like massaman beef cheek curry with pearl cous cous need a wine that can match its generosity.” Classic red choices include Shiraz blends and Cabernet blends, or go for a Tempranillo or Sangiovese . Recommended recipe:    Massaman beef cheek curry with pearl cous cous Stick the Tasting Panel’s suggestions and you can’t go wrong. Add a touch of spice and curry goodness to your weekly dinner repertoire with more delicious recipes .
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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