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Exploration Awaits At The Aussie Wine Month

May is here and that means it is time to welcome the fourth annual Aussie Wine Month, the country’s biggest celebration of Australian wines. Catching up over a grand, fashionable high tea is almost a ritual but with a whole month dedicated to wineries, tastings, festivals and pop-up cellar doors, now is the perfect time to plan the ultimate ladies day out.

Aussie Wine Month encourages wine aficionados to delve further into the diversity, quality and regions of local wines. Events are taking place in and around Australia’s wine regions so there is ample room for vast exploration and discovery.

Sommelier and Aussie Wine Month Ambassador, Samantha Payne, spoke to woman with drive on how to navigate your way through the great month ahead.

Tell us more about Australia’s wine regions and what they are known for?

“Look out for the fine, elegant Pinot Noirs from the Tamar Valley in Tasmania and the cool-climate, textural Chardonnays from the Yarra Valley in Victoria. No one in Australia makes better Grenache than the McLaren Vale in South Australia. And I’ve fallen in love with many mineral-driven Rieslings from Canberra. Also keep an eye out for the delicious alternative Italian varietals like Sagrantino, Vermentino or Nero d’Avola, that are being made in Heathcote, Victoria. It is an exciting time to be making wine in Australia right now as we are really hitting our stride in innovative winemaking techniques, varietals and vine age.”

What are the rules of wine pairing?

“When I pair a wine and a dish, I look for an element within either one that will bring cohesion to the culinary experience. I recently paired a spectacular 2010 Oakridge ‘864’ Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley with a simple tagliatelle pasta with poached salmon, capers and lemon zest. The Chardonnay had an incredible lemon sherbet acidity running through its creaminess, which I wanted to highlight. Another recent favourite match was at the Governors Table restaurant inside the Museum of Sydney where we paired the Olivers Taranga Sagrantino – a naturally smoky, bold and tannic wine – with barbecued lamb ribs, nectarine and smoked black pepper. The tannins in the wine cut through the richness of the lamb and the earthy black pepper highlighted the wine’s smokiness.”

In terms of exploration and discovery, how do we choose the perfect wines for our palette?

“Use the descriptions on the wine labels as a guide when looking for flavours that interest you. Otherwise make a note of the wines you enjoy when you are drinking them and you might start noticing a pattern. They might all be from the same region or of lighter styles or even of the same variety.”

What do you hope to discover this Aussie Wine Month? Tell us in the comments below!

A full list of Aussie Wine Month events can be found on

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