Spring racing and parties go together like…well…food and wine!
Even if you’re not actually going to the races, chances are that you’ll be invited to a lunch or party, or might even be hosting one yourself. But the important question is…. which wines go with what?
Champagne is the obvious choice when it comes to spring racing. No other drink really says ‘celebration’ like champagne. These days there are some wonderful bottles of Champagne available that don’t break the budget.
Champagne and oysters are a great match and I’m sure many a party will be serving these on Cup Day. If you don’t like oysters, then any other seafood would still be a fantastic match. Prawns with a roasted garlic aioli, smoked salmon with horseradish cream and dill, or a simple tuna tartare are great options. As are pan-fried scallops with cauliflower puree. Little bites of deliciousness!
Australia makes some wonderful sparkling wines, so you don’t always need to look to Champagne for your celebrations. White, pink or red, Australian bubbly is perfect to toast a win.
A sparkling white made in the Methode Traditionelle, which has some yeasty characters, as well as nice clean acidity, would be lovely with classic racing fare like chicken sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches or crispy croquettes filled with cheese.
A beautiful blushing sparkling rosé is a great match with smoked salmon or trout, homemade terrine or some rock melon wrapped with prosciutto.
A sparkling red with a bit more body and complexity is perfect when chilled and served with a platter or charcuterie and cured meats. The red berry sweetness and the salty meats are a wonderful combination.
As the weather warms up, sometimes it’s nice to have a slightly sweeter and refreshing wine to help cope with the heat. Moscato is great for drinking at the races because it’s easy to sip with or without food and being lower in alcohol than other wines, it won’t go to your head so quickly.
Match a beautiful pale pink moscato with pate, mild cheeses and even desserts – strawberries and cream, mini cheesecakes or lemon tarts.
A crisp, dry Riesling is a perfect trackside tipple. Full of lovely citrus flavours and nice acidity, it’s ideal to enjoy with dainty canapés like goats cheese and thyme tartlets.
A chilled, lightly oaked chardonnay is arguably the ultimate food wine as it goes so well with such a large range of flavours and food styles.
Thick slices of fresh ham off the bone on baguette with a fruit chutney, individual pumpkin ravioli with a blue cheese sauce or roasted turkey slices with brie and cranberry all make perfect matches.
As with any party, make sure you have plenty of water and non-alcoholic drinks on hand to sip between your glasses of wine. Maybe even make up a jug full of a fruit juice and soda punch. You don’t want to miss all the action on the track. It is the reason for the day, after all!