Barbera Ragu (3 of 3)

Do you pick your food first and then your wine to match or the other way around? Or do you just drink whatever you have in the house at the time? We were recently sent a couple of bottles of wine by Wine Selectors to do some tastings and decided to try out some food pairing at the same time. The two wines they sent us were from their Chef Series: wines selected and blended by famous Australian chefs to pair with particular foods.

Chardonnay Pinot Noir Prawns (3 of 4)

Alastair McLeod Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV

This sparkling is a smooth wine that has an oily, buttery finish. It is quite a dry wine and is not too acidic or sweet. It is very light on bubbles (they do state it has a fine bead on the label), which makes it low on fizz but easy to drink. It is produced in the cool climate and mineral rich soils of Tasmania by the Josef Chromy Winery. Alastair McLeod, originally from Belfast, has worked in Michelin star restaurants all over Europe and is currently the executive chef for Bretts Wharf Restaurant in Brisbane.

Chardonnay Pinot Noir Prawns (1 of 4)

Champagne and sparkling wines typically go well with seafood, salty or creamy dishes but do not pair well with anything too acidic, like citrus or tomatoes. Wine Selectors recommend serving this wine with Rock Oysters with a saltwater vinaigrette and wakame. We made prawns served in a champagne butter sauce as an appetiser. We sweetened our garlic by sauteing gently in oil, added our prawns to quickly color before removing and then deglazed our pan with the Alastair McLeod Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, finishing the reduction sauce with butter and fresh herbs. These fat-winey-buttery-rich prawns were a great match with this wine, garnering oohh’s and aahh’s from the rest of our family who we were sharing a Mt Martha weekend away with. This sparkling has a great flavour, is well balanced and easy to drink although it does lack a few ‘bubbles’ for our palate. Price: $34.85. See the bottom of this page for the prawn recipe.

Chardonnay Pinot Noir Prawns (4 of 4)



Grossi, Barbera 2011

Guy Grossi is an Australian chef who owns restaurants in Australia and Bangkok and is well know for his restaurant Grossi Florentino in Melbourne, serving Italian based food. We really enjoy his casual Cellar Bar bistro next door to Grossi Florentino that serve simple and well priced breakfast, lunch and dinner specializing in handmade pasta dishes.

Barbera Ragu (2 of 3)


The Grossi Barbera from Wine Selectors is made from an Italian variety of grape known as Barbera. Little known in Australia until recently, the Barbera grape vine is the weed of the wine industry. It is a prolific grower that produces high yields across a range of climactic conditions. The wine that results is high in acid, low in tannin and mild on fruit. The label claims morello cherry and dried herbs, we tasted vague blackberry with a nose of dried straw. But as any good cook knows, a wine with high acid is a match made in heaven for pairing with tomatoes, rich meats, pasta and hard cheese. We decided to give it all four and created a rich cherry tomato based organic beef Ragu, stirred through thick ruffle edged pappardelle egg pasta and topped with shaved Parmigiana. Barbera might be light weight and tart without the heavy hitting flavour of Australian reds for it’s $29.75 price tag but it is versatile and adaptable and well suited to Italian food and palates.

Barbera Ragu (1 of 3)

Ragu Recipe
See The Culinary Library Ragu recipe that we used here.

Champagne Butter Prawns Recipe
10 large green prawns, shelled with tails intact
1 clove garlic
olive oil
3 tbsp salted butter
A large splash (about 150ml) Sparkling Chardonnay Pinor Noir
handful fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to serve

Heat up a large frying pan with olive oil to medium heat and saute your garlic and prawns. Once the prawns are cooked on one side (about 3 minutes) flip them over and stir to ensure the garlic does not burn. When the prawns are cooked through (about a further 1-2minutes). Remove them from the pan and place onto your serving dish. Deglaze your pan by adding the sparkling wine, then add the butter. Let it melt down and gently swish the pan. Add fresh parsley to the sauce and then pour over your prawns. Season with flaked salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with crusty bread, or simply on their own with a glass of Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

Serves 2 as an appetiser.

The wines for this review were provided by Wine Selectors.

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