What are the quintessential dishes that define Australia? And more importantly, how do you pair them with wine? With more Australians reaching for a glass of wine over beer – the question is becoming all the more significant.
Here is our round up of the top 10 Australian classic meals and what you should drink with them. And no, goon is not on the list.
- Meat Pie | Shiraz
Ah, the humble meat pie. We’d like to think that the competitive nature of today’s culinary landscape means that there are alternatives to your Four’n Twenty footie pie. Perhaps a slow roasted lamb pie from your local gastro pub? A classic pie pairing is definitely Shiraz. The pepper and spicy notes will easily stand up to the richness of any good pie.
Wine Recommendation | 2013 Selections Barossa Valley Shiraz
- Shellfish & Oysters – Prosecco
Australia is home to some of the highest quality seafood in the world. So throw that shrimp, scampi or perhaps a moreton bay bug on the barbie and crack open a crisp glass of bubbles. And by bubbles, we are talking about Prosecco – not Champagne. The number of Prosecco drinkers in Australia is on the rise and for good reason – it’s delicious and inexpensive. Keep things fresh with a bucket of fresh king prawns and some Sydney rock oysters with a squeeze of lime.
Wine Recommendation | NV Selections Italian Prosecco
- Salmon – Rosé
Smoked, cured, BBQ-ed or grilled. Whichever way you like it – salmon is delicious and good for you. The creamy texture of the salmon will pair well with a Rose or a even a lighter red such as Pinot Noir. If you are looking for sustainable fish – check out this app. (App: Sustainable Seafood Guide).
Wine Recommendation | 2015 Selections Yarra Valley Rosé
- Sausage Sizzle – Merlot
Although Australia’s culinary reputation is increasingly positive, there are some comfort foods we cannot escape. There’s no easier way to feed a hoard of people outside than with a sausage sizzle. Why else do we begrudgingly follow our partners to Bunnings on the weekend? It’s not to look at the power tools. Squishy white bread, a slightly burnt sausage with sautéed onions and a squirt of ketchup or bbq sauce. Nothing about this is particularly sophisticated but it sure is tasty. Pair your sausage sandwich with a glass of Merlot. The smoky chargrilled sausages will blend well with a mellow Merlot.
Wine Recommendation | 2014 Selections Yarra Valley Merlot
- BBQ Lamb – Cabernet Sauvignon
Who could forget lamb? Lamb does have a pretty strong flavour so when it comes to pairing with wine, it is best to go with a well-structured wine with a balance in tannin and acid – such as Cabernet Sauvignon. If the temperature is rising beyond shorts weather and into ‘ice in fan weather’, consider switching that bold red for a Yarra Valley Pinot Noir – and don’t be afraid to chill it slightly to bring it down below room temperature.
Wine Recommendation | 2013 Selections Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon
- Salt and Pepper Squid – Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Former Masterchef winner Adam Liaw has crowned Salt and Pepper Squid as the national dish of Australia. “Almost every pub, Chinese restaurant, Thai takeaway or Italian café in Australia will have some variation of it on the menu,” he says. “And you don’t really find it too often outside Australia. If that’s not Australian cuisine, I don’t know what is.” Combat the salt, pepper and deep fried goodness with a crisp, fruity wine which will refresh your palate with every bite. Our recommendation is always the Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon but if you must, A Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc will go down a treat too – although not technically a wine from Australia…shhh
Wine Recommendation | 2012 Selections Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
- Chicken Parmigiana – Chardonnay
Crumbed fried chicken, cheese, tomato sauce… this is the only thing that will get us to Pub Trivia Night. The toasted bread crumbs and deep, savoury flavours of tomato paste will marry well with a buttery full-boded white such as Chardonnay. If you are looking for something to cut through the fat and saltiness of cheese and fried chicken, a zesty white or even a Rosé will be quite refreshing and balance out the smoky flavours and oil.
Wine Recommendation | 2011 Selections Margaret River Chardonnay
- Pad Thai – Riesling
We are a multicultural country and Pad Thai is probably one of Australia’s favourite takeaway meals and an all-time favourite comfort food. When it comes to spicy cuisines, an Australian Riesling is the answer. The fresh apple flavours and floral bouquet help to balance out the spice. A more fruit forward wine such as Pinot Grigio or a light Pinot Noir will also balance the sweet and tangy flavours of a Pad Thai.
Wine Recommendation | 2013 Selections Clare Valley Riesling
- Vegemite Toast – Cabernet Merlot
Not much in this world goes together quite like vegemite and butter on toast. This go-to spread may be brimming with copious amounts of Vitamin B, but when it comes to pairing with wine – things can get quite tricky!
Vegemite has a salty, almost umami like flavour. Give it a try with a tannic red such as Cabernet Merlot or a buttery Chardonnay and let us know what you think. If you are feeling adventurous – try your vegemite toast with a sweet wine… sweet and salty, like salted caramel! (sort of..)
Wine Recommendation | 2012 Selections Margaret River Cabernet Merlot
- Pavlova – Moscato
A delicate fruit pavlova calls for a floral scented, fruity sweet wine such as Moscato d’Asti. The vivid flavours of peach, apricot and grape in the wine will fuse well with the pavlova to create a more layered and complex experience on your palate. The wine isn’t so sweet that it will overwhelm your palate. Best of all, it’s low in alcohol (around 5%) – a good choice for a weekend brunch.
Wine Recommendation | NV Selections Italian Moscato
Have we missed any dishes you deem to be quintessentially Australian? Let us know what your favourite Australian classic dishes are and we can help you to pair it!
Photo credit: The Food Pornographer