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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
What grows together, goes together – Blackmore Wagyu and Heathcote Estate
Words by Mark Hughes on 20 Oct 2017
We continue our ‘Grows together, goes together’ series with a glorious pairing in the rolling green hills around heathcote, Victoria – the world renowned Blackmore Wagyu and the equally impressive Heathcote Estate. In the world of beef, Wagyu is quite rightly held in high esteem, its high grading and phenomenal marbling commanding prices of up to $200 per steak in restaurants. The marbling is due to unparalleled levels of monounsaturated fat – a good fat that can assist in reducing cholesterol levels in the body and which has a low melting point. Consequently, Wagyu scores highly on both health and flavour, delivering juicy, delicate characters with a deliciously soft texture. Wagyu literally means ‘Japanese beef’ (Wa=Japanese, gyu=beef), and in Japan Wagyu has long been revered for its use as a working animal, its sheer size and muscle structure making it perfect for agricultural pursuits. It is theorised that centuries of labour helped develop the rich fat content in the muscle of the Wagyu, as it can be used as an instant energy source. As a beef product, incredibly fastidious monitoring of bloodlines has allowed over a century and a half of absolute 100% pure breeding – each and every Wagyu can be traced to its genetic source. In the Australian beef industry, one name is practically synonymous with Wagyu, Blackmore . Fifth generation farmer David Blackmore has been a trailblazer in our Wagyu industry, pioneering the production of 100% full-blood Wagyu beef in Australia since 1992. While adhering to the same exacting genetic regimes observed in Japan, he’s developed innovative production techniques for Australian conditions. This has resulted in quite a revolution. Prior to Wagyu entering the Australian market, the Australian meat grading system was 0 to 6. Since the introduction of Wagyu, the grading system has been increased to 9, with Blackmore Wagyu consistently scoring 9+. The Blackmore Wagyu farm is situated in the beautiful Victorian high country, at Alexandra, while the breeding cows and their calves are raised on a lush 3,500-acre property just out of Heathcote, a little over an hour’s drive north of Melbourne. “Our property has beautiful rolling hills with lots of shelter belts for the cattle, which is really important for grazing on the open pastures, but also for getting out of the weather,” explains Blackmore CEO and sixth generation farmer, Ben Blackmore, when we tour their Fairfield property just outside Heathcote. Agricultural neighbours
Just a short drive away from the Blackmore farm on the other side of Heathcote is the revered Heathcote Estate. As a wine region, the story of Heathcote echoes many of those around Australia. Settlers in the mid 1850s were attracted to the region by gold and agriculture, with some planting vines and establishing wineries that gradually fell by the wayside. A few decades ago, the vinous potential of the region was again recognised and viticulturists established a wine region that now boasts over 40 wineries. Heathcote Estate was planted in 1999 by the Kirby family, with the sole objective of making a premium single vineyard Shiraz . Award-winning winemaker Tom Carson, who also looks after the Kirby’s Yabby Lake Winery on the Mornington Peninsula , feels that he has achieved that, giving most of the credit to great sites and the distinct characteristics of the region. “Heathcote is an amazing region for Shiraz,” says Tom. “The major factors are the ancient Cambrian soils – at least 500 million years old – very deep, rich, red and full of quartz and gemstones, coupled with the really mild climate of warm days, cool nights. It is perfect for Shiraz. “The resulting Shiraz are quite bold but fine, with beautiful perfumes, a lovely intensity of berry fruits and savoury tannins – just beautiful food wines.” A meal for a discerning crew
At the invitation of the Kirbys to use the Heathcote Estate Homestead, Selector organised for a special lunch with Ben, Tom and Heathcote Estate’s marketing manager Tiffyn Parsons, prepared by renowned Melbourne chef Neale White. Growing up in Sydney, Neale started his career in London, honing his skills in the kitchens of culinary luminaries such as Gordon Ramsey and Marcus Wareing, before returning to Australia to operate and consult for restaurants in Byron Bay, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne,  including the iconic Southbank restaurant, Pure South . In 2013, Neale opened Papa Goose in Melbourne’s CBD and, more recently, added My Son Joy café in South Melbourne, which allows him to express his ‘low carb, high fat’ mantra with a nutrition-based, wholefood menu. The perfect wine & beef pairing
For this special lunch, we gave Neale the challenge of working with a lesser used rump cap as well as a secondary cut, skirt. This fact prompted Ben to reveal another unique quality of Wagyu. “Because we are growing these animals to four years of age, they are much bigger than the traditional beef animal in Australia, so they have much better muscle development. This enables us to get up to 40 different sections from an animal, whereas you only get about 16 traditionally,” Ben says. “So this allows chefs to be much more creative with these extra cuts with different textures and utilising different cooking techniques.” For the skirt, Neale seasoned the Wagyu steak then simply pan-roasted for three minutes each side, and rested for 10 minutes, before slicing thinly and placing over the pomegranate, macadamia and herb slaw salad. It was matched with the spicy fruit characters of the 2014 Heathcote Estates Grenache Noir, which highlighted the delicate flavour of the Wagyu. The rump cap was brined overnight in 5% salt and herb solution before being slow-cooked in an oven, then rested, sliced and served with a roasted carrot puree and green bean salad. It was paired perfectly with the 2012 Museum Release Heathcote Estate Single Vineyard Shiraz – its plush palate and ripe tannins accentuating the wonderfully soft ‘melt in the mouth’ texture of the Wagyu rump cap.

People think when eating beef they need a really powerful red wine, but for me, the flavour of Wagyu is so delicate, the lighter, savoury style of Heathcote Shiraz is perfect.

- Ben Blackmore, Blackmore Wagyu
“I think the savouriness of our Heathcote Shiraz and that lovely cut you get across the palate works beautifully with this rich meat,” agrees Tom. “That is the wonderful thing about this region. There are some wonderful food producers alongside great wine producers. These things just go hand in hand.” Get Neil White's pan-roasted Blackmore's wagyu beef skirt salad with pomegranate, macadamia and herb red slaw recipe
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 .  
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
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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