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Wine: Champagne is the perfect accompaniment to a day at the races

The Race that Stops a Nation

There are plenty of days in the Australian calendar that are not only unique but enormous fun. My favourite is the Melbourne Cup. Appropriately handled, one can extract an entire afternoon of revelry out of it – even while at work. The next day is usually an unofficial recovery day, with huge numbers of the population “pulling a sickie”.

I am yet to meet a member of the fairer and far wiser sex who doesn’t like “frocking up” from time to time and Melbourne Cup provides a perfect excuse to indulge in this pursuit. The field is littered with gorgeous actress/waitress/models who are wannabe starlets for the day. They start the day looking crisp and red-carpet fabulous, only to be seen late in the afternoon barefooted with Manolo Blahnik knock-offs in one hand and a member of the local footie team in the other.

If you’re an Aussie, it’s generally considered un-Australian and pretentious to drink anything that isn’t from the mother country – though, on this particular day, the French are begrudgingly allowed representation in the form of champagne. Truckloads of it. Most of the major champagne brands have hospitality tents at the race. You’ll need several hospitality tent access passes dangling around your neck in order to get your face in the next day’s society pages.

Whatever way you celebrate the Melbourne Cup, be it in a five-star suite in Singapore or in your own backyard, this is a brilliant part of the Australian lifestyle. If you aren’t married to or sleeping with an Australian, I thoroughly recommend that you adopt one for the day and have a ball. Robert Rees

Robert Rees runs Sales and Marketing for www.wineexchangeasia.com.

Wine of the Month

Goode Pinot Gris

Tending more to savoury than to tropical aromas, the Goode Pinot Gris is a terrific accompaniment to food as it will complement rather than compete. Full on the palate with a viscosity that gives a soft roundness and weight, this South Australian wine lingers well with a fine balance of acidity providing freshness at the end. Goode Pinot Gris pairs well with shellfish, spicy food, poultry and pork. Drink now or cellar for two to three years.

Exclusively for Expat Living readers: Goode Pinot Gris, $24.10 per bottle on case buys.
Usual price: $37.45 per bottle.

How to order: Expat Living Wine Club