Bigibila’s guide to pairing red wines with dinner.
The Pyrenees in Victoria, Australia is famous for its full-bodied red wines. Featuring bold flavours, these can present a challenge when it comes to matching to food.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing, but we like to stick to two principles that guide our choices. The first is that things that grow together, go together. As we strive to create wines as distinctive as our beautiful corner of the country, we tend to focus on locally grown foods to match our wines. The second is that complex flavours ought to be paired with something simple. This lets one bring out the best of the other, without the effect being overpowering.
There’s no such thing as a perfect wine pairing, as tastes, moods and even the environment can influence how much you enjoy a combination. But we hope these give you some ideas about how to start.
Pair a Shiraz with barbequed kangaroo burgers and veggie skewers.
The Shiraz is as Australian as wines go. Its fresh flavours and spiced red and black berry notes make it perfect for drinking all year round. Dark crimson-purple in colour, our 2008 Shiraz is strong enough to stand up well to fiery outdoor cooking, but with enough fruit notes to not overpower it. In summer, we recommend pairing it with chargrilled kangaroo burgers, sourced from our local butcher.
Serve with home-grown vegetable skewers drizzled with chilli oil. Rich flavours from the same region tend to balance each other well, and there’s nothing more true blue than eating flame-grilled food outdoors. In winter, a Shiraz makes the perfect accompaniment for hearty dinners, like a classic Shepherd’s Pie. For a touch of decadence, add a splash of the wine into the mince mixture. This rounds out the richness well.
Pair a Cabernet Sauvignon with a porterhouse steak and greens or beetroot and grains salad.
Full-flavoured and smooth, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most recognisable red wines in the world. Rich in nature, but balanced well, we recommend keeping dishes simple to experience the intricacies of flavours. Our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is a refined red wine, with blackcurrant aromas, aged in oak. Dark in colour and medium-bodied, we pair it with a medium-rare steak.
The fine tannins allow the richness of the meat to shine, whilst fresh steamed greens on the side stop the flavours from becoming overpowering. For a meat-free option, a beetroot and ancient grains salad provides earthy and slightly sweet notes that stand up well to the wine, without being too heavy on the palate.
Pair Bordeaux with roasted lamb or baked soft cheese with rosemary
Blended wines can divide opinions, but we think they combine the best flavour profiles of each wine. Our 2008 Harmony red blend contains 30% each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with a 10% kick of Shiraz. This means it has intense fruity aromas, but remains an easy drinking wine come rain or sun. A red blend goes best with a roast, and with its Australian heritage we pair it with rosemary and garlic roasted lamb, with a light salad of new potatoes.
The richness of the lamb brings out the strong flavours of the wine, but the simple side dish puts the fruit notes centre-stage. The complex palate also pairs well with an oven-baked cheese, like a rosemary-studded Camembert. The contrast of simple and complicated flavours, plus the similarity of the thick wine and thick cheese, balances out to a dish that is perfect for comfort food or a dinner party starter.
This is the food we like to pair with our wines, but we’d love to hear the combinations you’ve tried that work (or don’t!)