Meet 25 winemakers who are shaping the burgeoning wine scene in Australia. After spending a lifetime make the best wine possible, here is what they would eat with it.
Beyond shiraz, the wine country down under is sparkling with new grape varietals, wineries, and winemakers who are pushing the boundaries of what can be fermented in Australia.
I had the chance to meet these Australian winemakers at the Wine Media Conference in October 2019 where they shared their favorite food and wine pairing combinations.
Wine Pairings with Seafood
#1 Mike Hayes, 2017 Australian Winemaker of the Year and winemaker at Sirromet Winery, says "Without a doubt, Fiano with grilled swordfish," seared with an orange marmalade relish that is sour rather than sweet.
#2 Similarly, Brad Hutchings, founder of Savina Lane Wines, likes his Fiano with seared scallops with a dab of butter and cracker pepper.
#3 Michael Bourke, founder of Jester Hill Wines, proclaims that fish and chips with Rousanne is amazing.
#4 Amber de Beaurepaire, 2nd generation proprietor of de Beaurepaire Wines, likes a Chablis style Chardonnay with barramundi and a touch of lemon. It's just really fresh and light for the summer.
#5 Jacob Stein, 2nd generation winemaker of Robert Stein Winery, pairs his signature dry Riesling with oysters and a touch of lemon.
#6 Meanwhile, John Reid, winemaker at Peterson House, sticks to the classic champagne with oysters.
#7 Will Gilbert, 6th generation winemaker for Gilbert Family Winery, likes a nice Sauvignon Blanc with freshly smoked salmon off the fire coals.
#8 Robert Fenwick, proprietor of Heritage Estate Wines, prefers barramundi or whiting with a dry pinot gris or marsanne.
#9 Lobster with a squeeze of lemon and Riesling per Phil Ryan, Chief Winemaker for Mount Pleasant Wines.
#10 White fleshed fish, such as whiting or snapper, with Hunter Valley Semillon is the favorite for Ian Scarborough, founder of Scarborough Wine Co.
#11 Ian Napier, founder of Wombat Crossing Vineyard, has two suggestions:
- Chardonnay with prawns and a side of papaya
- Sara Lee apple pie with ice cream paired and a botrytis Semillon
Wine Pairings with Meat
#12 Sasha Degan, 2nd generation proprietor of Degen Wines, recommends any type of Semillon with curry, Thai or Indian, fish, prawn or chicken.
#13 David Lowe, founder of Lowe Wines, absolutely recommends his signature Zinfandel with Mussaman curry.
#14 Duck and grenache for Tony Ingle, Chief Winemaker for Angove Family Winemakers.
#15 Pinot Noir with baked pork fillet for Nick Connaughton, Assistant Winemaker at Gundog Estate.
#16 Slow cooked lamb shank with Shiraz for Lewis Drayton, 2nd generation proprietor of Ivanhoe Wines.
#17 Rack of lamb with mint jelly and a full bodied Shiraz for Faye McGuigan, Founder of McGuigan Wines.
#18 Nick Flanagan, winemaker at Glandore Estate Wines, just wants to fry chorizo when he drinks Temperanillo or have a pork loin stuffed with apples.
#19 Suckling pig with Semillon for Mark Davidson, Chief Winemaker at Tamburlaine Organic Wines.
#20 Tony Hassall, founder of Just Red Wines, recommends his Shiraz Viognier blend with egg and bacon quiche.
Vegetarian Food Pairings
#21 Michelle Coelli, founder of Twisted Gum Wine, always pairs their organic Verdehlo/Semillon blend with goat feta cheese when they do events at the winery.
#22 Greg Silkman, Founder of First Creek Wines adores Porcini mushroom risotto, kissed with a touch of cream, paired with Chardonnay.
#23 Leanne Gangemi-Pugilisi, 4th generation proprietor of Ballandean Estates Wines, was mortified when a sommelier paired romano cheese with her muscat wine. She now loves the combination of salty cheese with sweet wines.
For some winemakers, a specific wine and food pairing was not needed.
#24 Peter Drayton, founder of Drayton Family Wines thinks that Australian Vermentino has more minerality, saltiness, and texture than the Italian version. He would pair with any Italian food, even red sauce.
#25 Robert Lusby, surgeon turned founder of Tintilla Estate, is not a big believer in white wine with fish and red wine with red meat. Therefore, his rule is red wine with just about anything.
Is that the doctor's order that we should be drinking more wine? I sincerely hope so. 🙂
A big thank you to all the winemakers, founders, and proprietors that participated in this survey. You have made the wineries down under truly worth visiting.
Read more about Australian Wine
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