Wine Pairing 101 with Addy Lam

Skip to main content

Current wine trends to look out for...

Shiraz is a classic, but it has really picked up again. A lot of people are drinking more Barossa Shiraz in either what we call the traditional wave or the new-style wave. The latter is more concentrated, not overly oaky, well-balanced and has a red-fruit delicacy to it. An Australian Shiraz always comes back in style; you can't go wrong.

The wine most frequently underrated...

Anything from NSW. For me, promoting local wines from the state is important. You go to Melbourne or Adelaide and the wine list is full of wines from Mornington Peninsula or the Barossa Valley. A lot of New South Wales wines are looked over by Sydney restaurants. There is some beautiful Pinot Noir and Italian grape varietal coming up from the Mudgee and Orange area. And, of course, the Hunter Valley always has magnificent wines.

When creating the perfect wine list...

It shouldn't be just about taste; it should also be quality. You want the best from a region. If we're talking Shiraz from the Barossa then you want a traditional one; a cool climate and a savoury one. Price doesn't even come into the equation. It just has to be a good-quality wine to make it on my list.

A good wine collection includes...

Rare vintages, obscure wines and natural, organic and biodynamic wines. Include well-known international and domestic brands, as well as smaller labels. There's no hard and fast rule to a good wine collection. Just choose quality.

Reds you can't get enough of right now...

Most of the alternative Australian grape varieties like a Sangiovese or Barbera.

Meal best paired with red...

I'm a traditionalist. I always opt for a local red and good piece of steak, with the bone attached as it adds a more savoury element. So I'd pair a rib eye with an Italian Sangiovese. This blend always has a quite taste with a savoury element, red cherry flavours and good acidity, which is most important. Acidity can cut through the fat of the protein and allows the flavour to keep growing on the palate. 

The key to pairing steak with wine...

A crucial point is to ask yourself if the cut of meat is grain fed or grass fed. If you go grass-fed, look at the Cabernet grape varietal, which all have capsicum, pepper and berry flavours. For grain-fed steak, pair it with a wine from the Rhone Valley, France, like a Grenache.

Always start a meal with...

Champagne and seafood. Really fresh, delicate seafood goes beautifully with Champagne.

You can break the rules if...

You choose the right wine. You can play around with modern Australian cuisine and pairing. Have white wine with a steak if you want to, just make sure you have a wine that suits the steak.

BLACK BAR & GRILL

Chef Dany Karam conjures all his culinary skills with dishes including a lightly smoked and chargrilled Wagyu striploin. And along with the seafood and whole roast duck, there’s an encyclopaedic wine list with unique, old and rare bottles waiting to be discovered.