The March issue

Our March issue is out now. Welcome autumn with blood plum galettes, make the most of apricot season and more.

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Australia's best rieslings

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Fig recipes

Figs. We can't get enough of them. Here are a few sweet and savoury ways to add them to your summer spread.

Top Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2017

A lot has changed since we first published our pick of the best chefs to follow on Instagram (way back in the dark ages of 2013). Here’s who we’re double-tapping on the photo-sharing app right now.

Sleep in a Grampians olive grove this autumn

Under Sky are popping up with a luxe camping hotel experience at Mount Zero Olives this April.

Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Christine Manfield recipes

As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

Pork recipes

Lunch or dinner, salads or skewers, pork proves itself as a cut above and a versatile go-to. From soy-glazed pork-and-pineapple skewers and spicy bourbon pork to hand-cut pork sausages and a pork scratchings sandwich with apple and cabbage slaw, these recipes will appeal to any pork enthusiast.

Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Christmas food and wine matching

Flexing from sweet to savoury, muscat works in a host of occasions. Max Allen does the festive matchmaking.

Muscat is one of the most versatile and food-friendly wine grapes in Australia, and it's worth getting to know the variety in its many guises as we head into the Christmas feasting season.

You're probably most familiar with muscat in the form of the famously luscious, deep-golden fortified wines from Rutherglen or, under its Italian pseudonym moscato, as a light, sherbety-sweet sparkling produced by wineries all over the country. Both styles are almost mandatory during Christmas. A growing number of Australian winemakers are also producing other expressions of the grape, from exquisitely perfumed but bone-dry whites to younger, lighter dessert wines.

The muscat family of grapes is very old, and had already spread across Europe by the time many Old World wine regions had been established. As a result, muscat has long been grown in European vineyards from southern Italy to Spain, where it's called moscatel.

While most Old World winemakers produce sweet wines from muscat, in some regions of France - Côtes de Gascogne in the south-west and Alsace in the north-east, for example - it's common to find dry white wines made from the grape, wines that smell enticingly sweet, but taste fresh and savoury on the tongue.

A couple of Australian winemakers have emulated this dry style over the years - notably St Leonards in Rutherglen - and a recent surge of interest has resulted in some lovely new local examples. From McLaren Vale, the Leask family's 2014 Hither & Yon Muscat Blanc ($20) is all floral aromatics that's clean and crisp in the mouth, while the 2013 Fleur ($19) from Rutherglen winery Scion is fuller-flavoured, more textural on the tongue, but finishes dry. Both would be delicious matched with a cold seafood salad on Christmas Day - Vietnamese-inspired prawns, perhaps.

South Australia's warm Riverland district grows much of this country's muscat crop and, while most of that fruit is destined for cheap 'n' cheerful sweet white, a handful of boutique makers in other regions are using it to produce drier, more characterful wines.

Langhorne Creek organic winery Temple Bruer has released small batches of stunning wild-fermented Riverland wines including a super-spicy and grapy 2014 #2 White Frontignac ($25); new, small Adelaide Hills-based label Unico Zelo has released a rich but dry 2014 Muscat d'Alessandria ($23) made from Riverland fruit; and winemaker Brad Hickey from Brash Higgins in McLaren Vale has pushed the stylistic boundaries with a dry, amphora-fermented, slightly cloudy Riverland muscat he calls 2013 ZBO ($37) - a complex wine I'd consider matching with classic roast pork or turkey with all the trimmings.

There's obviously something in the water in McLaren Vale, because the region is home to another winery pushing the boundaries with muscat. The 2014 Conte Estate "Il Bacio d'Oro" (kiss of gold) Moscato ($20) is the first example of this style I've come across that's been made without sulphur dioxide added as a preservative. The resulting sweet and fizzy wine appears a little rustic (it's slightly cloudy, unlike most moscatos), but what it lacks in conventional good looks it more than makes up for in flavour: unrestrained grapy muscat juiciness bursts all over your tongue. Drink it nice and cold as an anytime apéritif.

One of the most popular styles of muscat in southern France is called Beaumes de Venise, made by fortifying partially fermented grape juice with neutral spirit, then bottling the strong, sweet, golden wine while young and fresh. A few winemakers have tried producing this style here, notably Barossa winery Torbreck, whose 2013 "The Bothie" ($20) would make a fine partner for mince pies and a double espresso on Boxing Day.

Then there are this country's oldest and most profound fortified muscats, which are from Rutherglen. The best of these aren't cheap - Campbells' brilliant Merchant Prince Rare Muscat, for example, costs $110 for a half-bottle - but, among the finest and most memorable wines in the world, they're worth every cent: impossibly rich and complex, with a lingering warmth and taste of honeyed history that lasts for hours.

I can't think of a single wine lover who wouldn't be overjoyed to find a rare Rutherglen muscat in their stocking on Christmas morning.

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