An Absolute State of Australia
Australians are known for their relaxed nature, hospitality, and love of hearty food and bold wines. Australia produces some of the world's most delectable lamb, which pairs perfectly with Shiraz. Here is a menu idea for an Australian-inspired wine dinner.
- Greet your guests with grilled prawns (or shrimp) and a Western Australia Sauvignon Blanc perfectly chilled at 48 to 52 degrees.
- Follow with pan-seared foie gras accented with a grilled stonefruit chutney served with a Margaret River unoaked Chardonnay at 46 to 50 degrees.
- For the main course, consider a roasted rack of lamb paired with a Margaret River Shiraz at 57 to 61 degrees.
- Finish your Australian feast with milk chocolate and an Australian Port at 55 to 60 degrees.
Uncork Some California Chill
From its humble start with the Franciscan monks who planted their first vineyards over 200 years ago, Californian wine has flourished in its quality, complexity, and scale. The state’s varied geography and spirit of innovation provide a perfect locale for the production of a wide variety of wines, making California the world’s 4th largest wine producer. California wines combined with fresh produce and artisanal cheeses can make for a dynamic meal.
- Start your wine dinner with a Champagne-style California Brut chilled on ice to pair with California's sunny outlook. Serve with seasonal fruits, charcuterie like jambon de Bayonne or saucisson sec, and tangy, fresh chèvre cheese.
- For the second course, sautéed foie gras with apple julienne is a superb match with a Monterey Chardonnay served at 50 to 54 degrees.
- For the entrée, wow your guests with pomegranate-mint marinated quail with figs, arugula, and crispy potato croutons paired with a Paso Robles Zinfandel at 57 to 61 degrees.
- Wind down your wine dinner with medium-dark chocolate and a spicy North Coast Zinfandel at 57 to 61 degrees for the perfect end to an excellent meal.
Enjoy Fabulous French Flavors
France’s world reputation for rich, elegant food provides the ideal backdrop for its masterfully produced wines, known for their warm subtlety and tradition. Great food and wine are as integral to French identity as the land in which it is cultivated. The French are experts in seasonal eating and drinking—something to keep in mind when planning your French wine dinner.
- Start your wine dinner with an amuse-bouche of French caviar on duck fat potato chips and a flute of Champagne served at 45-54 degrees.
- Refresh the palate with a Côtes de Rhône at 59 to 61 degrees served alongside an arugula salad with shaved Parmesan Reggiano and slivers of duck prosciutto tossed in a lemony vinaigrette.
- The pièce de résistance is sautéed or grilled squab served on green lentils and foie gras balanced with a traditional Burgundy Pinot Noir chilled to around 61 to 63 degrees.
- A rich, dark, French chocolate paired with Banyuls served at 48 to 57 degrees will have your guests saying “ooh la la!”
A Final Note
Chocolate provides the perfect finish to any wine dinner. In general medium-dark chocolate (60% cacao) goes best with Côtes de Rhônes, Shiraz/Syrahs, and Zinfandels, while milk chocolate (40% cacao) is well-suited to Pinot Noirs, Ports, and ice wines.
Wherever you and your guests land for dinner, remember to take your time and enjoy the wine