This year will mark the 100th Anniversary of the first ANZAC Day ceremonies, so it’s worth putting aside our Rugby discrepancies and raising a glass to our brothers and sisters across the Tasman. And what better way to do that than with a few well-considered wine pairings with Australia and New Zealand’s best food?
There is so much delicious, fresh produce available in both countries these days and ample ways to accessorise with excellent local wines, here are three ideas – for a meal, a cheese, and a dessert – to get the ball rolling.
An ANZAC Meal
Cooler weather calls for heartier meals, which in New Zealand, (home of the 10-to-1 sheep‐to-human ratio), translates as slow-cooked Lamb.
An ANZAC-inspired lunch or dinner could involve a traditional Maori Hangi-style lamb, which is leaf-wrapped and cooked underground on hot stones. The resulting meat is tender, juicy and full of delicious earthy, smoky flavours.
Match it with a fruit-forward McLaren Vale Grenache: the soft, full-bodied wine has a low acidity and when oak-aged, will have a smokiness that matches the natural earthy flavours of the Hangi.
Neither lamb nor cheese is traditional to New Zealand or Australia, but our produce is outstanding, so it’s worth including.
An ANZAC Cheese
Last year’s Best Cheese winner at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards was a Raclette from Heidi Farm in Northern Tasmania.
It’s a semi-hard cheese with nutty, milky flavours and is equally delicious whether you serve it hot or cold.
Along that line, pairing this Aussie cheese with a dry New Zealand Chenin Blanc will make for a perfect combination. The high acidity, and honey and pear notes are a great match for the Raclette.
Chenin Blanc is often overlooked in favour of the famous Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs that are coming out of areas like Hawks Bay, but it’s well-regarded by critics and usually pretty well‐priced.
Depending on your relationship with cheese, this is a perfect pairing for any time of the day or night.
An ANZAC Dessert
Last but not least, what would ANZAC Day be without the classic ANZAC biscuit?
While tradition calls for a cup of strong, milky tea, the coconutty, oaty, golden syrupy, buttery deliciousness of our nations’ biscuit begs for something slightly stronger.
A dessert wine is the obvious call here, but steer clear of anything heavily Botrytised because it tends to be very syrupy and sweet.
Rather, try a late harvest Semillon from the Hunter Valley, whose lime notes and buttery oak flavours will complement the coconut and caramel of the biscuit.
Alternatively, a late harvest Marlborough Riesling will have the right amount of acidity and zest to balance out the caramel.
These a just a few of a limitless number of perfect ANZAC pairings, so grab your friends from across the pond and get creative.
Happy ANZAC Day to all our diggers, past and present.
“Lest we forget”.
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