How To Pick The Best Wines For A Long Lunch

The perfect tipple matched to your main of choice.
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It’s the season for long, luxurious lunches, and there’s nothing better than a laden table paired with the perfect bottle of wine.

However, that’s where the questions start in. Is it a session kind of wine you’d happily drink all afternoon or is it the kind of tipple you’d rather drink on occasion? How are you going to make sure that the vino of choice matches with your chosen lunch mains?

It is this type of dedication to the art of the long lunch that we decided needed further investigation. So, we spoke with the Head Sommelier of cult hotel QT Sydney, Samantha Belt, to uncover her best wine picks if you’re enjoying an extended daytime feast.

There are a huge range of wines on offer, so these select few can be considered your guiding light. Belt has even broken them down by your source of lunch protein (lamb, beef, chicken, pork, seafood, vegetables or grazing plates) so that you can be sure the wine will complement the menu.

Of course, if you aren’t in the cooking mood, you could always head down to the Parlour restaurant at QT, where the perfect combination of food and wine is designed by their all-female sommelier team.

The Best Wines To Try For Your Long Lunch

With lamb

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Luscious lamb is best paired with tight, grippy Nebbiolo. You can never go wrong.

  • 2021 Fletcher ‘Minion’ Nebbiolo, Pyreness/Yarra Valley VIC $127
  • 2019 Vietti ‘Castiglione’ Barolo DOCG, Alba Italy $405

With beef

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I recommend a Syrah or a Shiraz for a classic pairing. Shake things up with a Syrah (cool climate Shiraz) for a fresher style wine to carry you the distance.

  • 2019  Eden Road ’Cullarin Block 71′ Syrah, Canberra District NSW   $105
  • 2022  Jasper Hill ‘Georgia’s Paddock’ Shiraz   Heathcote VIC  $290
  • 2020  Rusden ‘Black Guts’ Shiraz, Barossa Valley SA  $215

With chicken

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Chicken is best matched with fresh Chardonnays. Chardonnay has seen it all, from rich, buttery and full to lean nervy and tight. Now we have a wonderful array that sit in between the two offering the best of both worlds.

  • 2021  Lowe ‘White Gold’ Chardonnay, Mudgee NSW  $115
  • 2022  Vinden ‘Somerset Vineyard’ Chardonnay  Hunter Valley NSW  $154
  • 2017  Shaw & Smith ‘Lenswood’ Chardonnay  Adelaide Hills SA  $230

With pork

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Pork is perfect with a textural Rosé. Pork is such a delicate meat that it pairs so well with textural, extracted Rosés. Luckily Australia has plenty of them!

  • 2021  Mada Wines, Nebbiolo Rose Canberra District NSW  $80
  • 2022  Farr Rising ‘Saignee’ Pinot Noir  Geelong VIC  $105
  • 2022  Cobaw Ridge, Syrah Rose  Pyrenees VIC  $110

With seafood

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Seafood works beautifully with a Rosé or flexible, textural white wine, depending on if it is shellfish, fish or crustaceans.

  • 2020  Lo Stesso Fiano Heathcote VIC  $92
  • 2022  Grosset ‘Apiana’ Fiano   Clare Valley SA  $138
  • 2020  Domaine Belargus ‘Ronceray’ Chenin Blanc  Anjou AOC, France  $270
  • 2020  Las Vino ‘Albino PNO’, Pinot Noir Rose  Margaret River WA $138

With vegetables

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Spring vegetables meet their match with Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh and lean to compliment the sweet spring veggies.

  • 2022  Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc   Adelaide Hills SA  $85
  • 2022  Sorrenberg Sauvignon Blanc Semillon   Beechworth VIC  $135
  • 2019  Domaine Vacheron Sauvignon Blanc  Sancerre AOC  $155

With nibbles (cheeses and dips)

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I recommend a light, aromatic blend or Riesling. Champagne is usually queen here, but we love an aromatic, zippy dry wine to drag you in and tease your taste buds with the snacks.

  • 2022  Stargazer ‘Tupelo’ Pinot Gris Riesling Blend  Coal River Valley TAS  $95
  • 2018  Loosen Barry ‘Wolta Wolta’ Riesling, Clare Valley SA  $215
  • 2018  Von Winning ‘UNGEHEUER’ GG Riesling, Pfalz Germany   $222

With entrées (example Scampi Crudo)

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Entrées are perfectly paired with a flinty, textural Assyrtiko.

  • 2021 Kir–Yianni Assyrtiko Florina PDO $91
  • 2018 Vassaltis ‘Nassitis’ Assyrtiko Athiri Aidani, Cyclades PGI $111
  • 2018 Vassaltis ‘Santorini’ Assyrtiko Santorini PDO $140

With desserts (example: Tiramisu)

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With chocolate pairings you need something rich and round to compliment the chocolate notes.

  • 2016 Braida Brachetto d’Aqui DOCG $59
  • 2008 Isole e Olena Vin Santo Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC $165
  • NV Rallo ‘Vergine’ Soleras 20 anni Marsala DOC $200

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