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Food

The Essential Tapas And Wine Pairing Guide

Morsels made for sharing to match your wine selection!

The array of dishes in a tapas spread means you have the perfect excuse to open a range of wines as the feast progresses. Lighter, more aromatic whites are ideal with fried morsels and oily fish, then enjoy a fuller white with a classic paella or grilled seafood.

In the reds, it’s easy to see why the Spanish variety Tempranillo reigns supreme, as its savoury and rustic charm and lovely acidity make it perfect across a range of ingredients and textures. Salud!

Tapas Wine Matching 101

Tapas Wine Matching Infographic Guide

Light and aromatic whites

Dave Mavor is a huge fan of Miguel Maestre, which is why his Calasparra rice-crusted sardines recipe is one of his tapas go-tos. And his favourite wine match? A light and aromatic white. As he explains, “Offset the salty flavours in this dish with a wine match of a light and aromatic white. Go for Sauvignon Blanc and blends, Riesling or Pinot G, or for an alternative taste, Vermentino is perfect.”

Medium weight and textural whites

Nicole Gow likes to keep her tapas spreads simple, yet full of flavour and Lyndey Milan’s stuffed figs wrapped in bastourma are a perfect choice. “Brimming with mouth-watering textures, this simple dish pairs well with medium weight and textural whites,” Nicole explains. “Try favourites like Chardonnay and Verdelho or for something different, Arneis or Fiano.” 

Light to medium weight and savoury reds

Trent Mannell is another Miguel Maestre fan and he finds his Manchego cheese sticks with tomato jam are always first to disappear when he’s entertaining friends. When it comes to choosing the perfect wine, he says, “Match the light, delicate flavours of this dish with light to medium weight and savoury reds such as Pinot Noir or Merlot, or for something different, Grenache and GSM blends or Nero d’Avola.”

Richer and fuller bodied reds

One of the heartier tapas choices that Adam Walls loves serving his mates is chorizo mushrooms, as they’re fans of big, bold reds. “Naturally, Tempranillo and Sangiovese are ideal matches for this dish, but you can try other rich and full-bodied reds such as Shiraz and blends and Cabernet and blends.”

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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
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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 .  
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.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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