Wine. It's a perfect elixir that can make any ordinary, humdrum Wednesday into an unforgettable adventure. Sommeliers, wine folk and your parents have been harping on for years about wine's natural symbiosis with food — but what about situational drinking? What wine goes best with outdoor boxing in the park? (Yep.) Or should you bring white or red to the open air cinema?
Don't worry, we've got your back. Using the same fundamental principles applied to pairing wine with food — take one element in the dish and pair it to one element in the wine — we've combed through the Vinomofo cellars to find you the best drinking drops no matter the occasion, time of day or experience you might find yourself in. And what's more, if you find yourself with some extra American Express reward points kicking around after all those winter purchases, you can use those babies to purchase some vino and start stocking up your home cellar. Here are the drops you should be looking to first.
CHABLIS AND A TRIP TO THE FISH MARKETS
Ah, Chablis: one of the purest expressions of Chardonnay there is. From its delicate acidity to the oyster shell, saline minerality that weaves its way through the palate, plus the wine's invigorating lemon sherbet finish, it's easy to see why the French drink it by the magnum. The most natural pairing in the world would be chilled oysters with fresh lemon squeezed over them (or if you want to be really French, a drizzle of the Chablis you're drinking) or a trip to the local fish markets to pick up some fresh scallops to sear at home. Add a little bit of 2014 Le Domaine d'Henri Les Allées du Domaine Chablis in the pan with some butter, garlic, fresh thyme and the scallops, and, more importantly, a little bit poured in your mouth while you're at it. Dinner, sorted.
ROSE AND AN OPEN AIR CINEMA
Springtime is well and truly on our doorstep. The daytime's losing that touch of chill in the air, the evenings are starting to feel balmy, and when you inhale, a sweet floral fragrance tickles your senses thanks to new spring blooms. This warmer, sweeter weather means the return of many great outdoor activities, including the spring/summer fave: outdoor cinemas. So, while sitting on the grass at your local open air cinema watching a classic like Top Gun or Ferris Buller's Day Off, you'll need a wine that encapsulates all those springtime flavours feels, something refreshing but also all about fun. Enter rosé. Dubbed 'spring in a glass' with its jasmine floral notes, hints of wild strawberries and just a touch of sage lingering on the finish to add dimension, the 2016 Chateau Sainte-Croix Charmeur Rosé is the perfect accompaniment to your homemade cheese and charcuterie plate as the sun goes down and the movie flickers on.
PINOT NOIR AND FRIDAY NIGHT POKER WITH THE CREW
It's Friday, the end of the working week, and this can be cause for celebration — or a chance to sit pants-less on the couch watching TV and relax. And for some, Friday calls for the overwhelming need to rob your friends blind of their hard-earned cash with a game of poker, all while inhaling slices of pizza. But what to pair with your large margherita pizza and the tears of your friends? If you really want to bring your A-game to pizza and poker night, bring a bottle 2014 Oakridge 864 'Lusatia Park Block B' Pinot Noir. At the higher end of the price bracket, this vino is worth every poker chip. It's a rare little gem from the Yarra Valley, with its cranberry notes and plum flavours that match harmoniously with the sweet tomato sauce of the pizza and high acidity that cuts through the greasiness of the cheese and dough.
SPARKLING WINE AND AN OUTDOOR FITNESS CLASS
We've all got that one friend, who, as soon as the weather starts to warm, wants to shake off the shackles of winter by throwing themselves into an outdoor fitness class or boot camp. And perhaps you are that friend. Well, do yourself a favour and put down that disappointing protein shake (with those lumps of banana that never quite seem to get pulverised in the blender) and pick up a bottle of bubbles, because nothing pairs better with sweat and sunshine like sparkling wine. Think about it; you're lying on the grass, exhausted, you've doused yourself in what feels like ten litres of water and you're still not refreshed. Then, a glass of NV Bisou Bisou Blanc de Blancs is handed to you, and from the first sip of its lemon zest and granny smith apple notes, you feel instantly revived. Now, aren't you glad you did those extra ten burpees?
PRIMITIVO AND THE 'CASUAL' MEET-THE-PARENTS BARBECUE
There is one experience we can all agree is universally terrifying: meeting your significant other's parents for the first time. When the day arrives, you start to break into a cold sweat with a thousand questions running through your mind. What do I wear? Do I have time for a haircut between now and then? What happens if they don't like my jokes? But one question inevitably rises above all others: what should I bring? This epitomises what wine was made for; it will be your friend and ally calming your nerves, your buffer between awkward pauses and the catalyst for a great first impression. So what's the ideal drop to get the conversation started? The 2015 Bollina 'Tavros' Primitivo di Manduria. And what's Primitivo you ask? It's the grape variety that has a long, proud lineage in Italy and is a very close relative (almost genetically identical) to the Zinfandel grape variety widely planted in California. The most appealing part of this style of wine is that it's a killer accompaniment to barbecued meats, as its flavour profile is similar to a Barossa Shiraz (another conversation starter) with firm tannins, dark and opulent fruits and just the right amount of vanilla oak that screams for protein to break it down.
Treat yourself this spring. More and more places welcome American Express — like Vinomofo — and you can even use your reward points to pay off your purchases, so you'll feel like you're winning at life as you use all those points you've collected over winter