Food and wine focus of new Australia Day taste-off

The Great Aussie Taste-Off, a new initiative from Wine Australia for this year’s Australia Day tasting, will attempt to demonstrate the diversity of Australian wines by pitching Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers against each other in a series of wine matching duels.

Sessions will ask an MS and MW to pick the best matches for a series of dishes prepared by The Harrow at Little Bedwyn’s Roger Jones. The contenders will have to defend their choices to attempt to convince the audience that their match deserves to win.

Natasha Hughes MW will face Clement Robert MS on modern British food; pan-Asian will see Justin Knock MW take on Xavier Rousset MS; while Jo Ahearne MW and Isa Bal MS will select their top wines for classic dishes.

Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia’s head of market UK and Europe said: ‘The Great Aussie Taste-Off will prove how a myriad of Australian wines can be paired to a range of international cuisines by highlighting the adaptability of some of our premium offerings. I hope the calibre of competitors will ensure the on-trade in particular come and see which wines inspire some of the best in the business.’

Rousset said this would serve to highlight the evolution that Australian wines have undergone; they now have greater acidity and less extraction than they used to, making them an ideal match for food, he added.

The Great Aussie Taste-Off will take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on 26 January, at the Australia Day tasting.