Clive is a wine writer and judge, a sommelier, and an honorary member of both Wine Communicators Australia (WCA) and the Australian Sommeliers Association. In 2017, he was named ‘legend of the vine’ by WCA. Clive has a regular column in Australia’s Winestate Magazine and is the author of the Australian Wine Guide.
All those things make Clive great, but what makes him relevant for this article is that he is also the head teacher at the TAFE NSW Sydney Wine Academy. Like all TAFE NSW teachers, Clive is an industry expert and he has been pivotal in the development of wine education. Here are eight things Clive thinks you need to know for the year ahead.
Not really, says Clive. Or certainly not exclusively.
“The biggest rule in food and wine matching is to consider the entire dish and not just look at the meat or fish involved in it,” says Clive. “An oily firm-textured fish of say salmon or tuna accompanied by a rich tomato inspired jus would definitely need a red wine such as a sangiovese.”
Simple: “Two beers. Not joking.”
Clive reckons it depends on the type of Thai food because the rules of matching all the elements of a dish come into play again. However …
“As a very general guide, you need a wine that has aromatics, some residual sugar to cut the spicy nature of the food, as well as a firmer texture/extract/weight. We normally recommend a gewurztraminer with some residual sugar or a riesling with again a touch of sweetness. A German riesling kabinett, spatlese or Auslese could would fit the bill.”
Next red to get trendy? Grenache.
"It is being made in a pinot noir style now: light but with new oak. It is exciting what South Australia is doing with this grape. It’s such a flexible grape. You can have seriously intense old-vine Grenache. And it is being blended with shiraz and mourvedre. You can also drink it in summer as a rosé,” says Clive.
Nothing much is new so this is a hard one, but Clive puts a punt on oak-matured sauvignon blanc which is becoming more commonplace in Australia.
Clive’s quick here. “Greece! Fantastic red and white indigenous varieties, and stunning dessert wines.”
An interesting dilemma, but not one you can’t solve: “If the restaurant is worth its salt then all of its wines should be reliable irrespective of price. In fact, if they have a house wine it should have been chosen for its quality at that price. However, the pricing regime of wine lists may be such that the middle-priced wines represent better value. Ask the sommelier.”
No. Sommeliers love wine and they love helping people choose wines.
“Never be intimidated by them. Say what your comfortable paying for a bottle and ask for recommendations in that price range. Hand over the responsibility to the expert and get on with enjoying the company of your friends and family. Wine is only a drink to boost the occasion!”
Taste the courses at TAFE NSW