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Food Matching

'The Foodie Experience' 

We all know that wine, although delicious by itself, becomes an even greater experience with great company and good food.  There are 40 odd varieties, 700 different wineries, and 4000+ individual wines available to you as ‘Made in NZ’. Trying to find and knowing about your prefect food match with these numbers is mind boggling to the average palate. We haven’t even begun to talk about the vinous immigrants. Unfortunately (sad to say) not all of us can sit down and taste each of these products to find the perfect Pinot, or mouthwatering Sauvy to suit the occasion.

The rules of food matching are not defined – a palate is like a fingerprint, everybody has their own. But if you just want a place to start, then we’ve knocked up a few little tricks to make the decision just a bit easier. Under each of our wine products, you will find a food pairing button to help you along. Just think of it as your personal sommelier angel, ready to astonish your guests on your excellent choice….and when they asked how you found the perfect wine match. Just tell them, you tasted every wine in NZ to come to this choice!




For the herbivores amongst us, a lot of your matches come down to the sauce that accompanies your dish. A Chardonnay will rock with a creamy sauce pasta. If it’s a baked eggplant or a fresh salad from your vege patch keep the wine light and cheerful possible like a Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc or Riesling. Don’t forget about the light reds and Rose’s with low tannins like a Pinot Noir or a Merlot to accompany those richer flavoured veges.




The classic Italian dish of course will be enhanced with most Italian varieties local to that pizza style. But unravelling the Italian wine scene might be a little too daunting. So go with these simple tips. If you like your pizzas with a tomato base and rich in toppings like Meat lovers, Romana, or Venese grab a savoury red wine. If you like the simple tomato based classics like Margherita, or Marinara experience it with a medium red like a Pinot or Merlot. If your pizza has a cream sauce, or full of chicken go with medium bodied white wines of the Pinot Gris, or Chardonnay variety.


Spicy cuisine

Do you like your food with a bit of kick, look for a wine that can refresh your palate. A light white won’t stand a chance, so look for something with a bit of grunt but refreshing at the same time. Try an Aromatic like a good weighted Riesling, a full bodied Gewurztraminer, or the versatile Pinot Gris.  If you are into the fire breathing chilli cuisine forget the wine, stick to the beer.


Asian cuisine

Asian dishes are very fragrant and full of sauces to give life to the rice or noodles. To match the exotic nature of this cuisine, make your wine selection exotic. Just like the spice lovers, the Aromatics will party hard in your mouth when mixed with Eastern cuisine. A crisp dry white of a Sauvignon Blanc can also refresh starch in rice and noodles. Or if you are into a bit of colour in your glass a complex Pinot Noir can partner up well.



The favourite summer pass time whether you trying to woo your partner, or giving the kids some fresh air, picnic and wine have been together since the first picnic basket got filled. In general, picnic wine matches the mood of summer, light and cheerful. Take consideration to what’s in your hamper when choosing your wine experience and whether the wine needs to be chilled. A celebratory Rose sparkling will always go down well, likewise its non-carbonated cousin. If you fancy a white match try a light crisp Sauvignon or cheerful Pinot Gris, or if your basket is a little more upmarket with Salami and Pate go with a Pinot experience.



If you just can’t go past the crustacean menu then you will be reaching into the fridge for your chilled whites. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc will accompany those mussels in the appetiser menu. The versatile Chardonnay flies out the door in scallop season, and is mouthwatering with a crayfish mornay or prawn salad . If it is aphrodisiacs your after, Champagne and Oysters naturally.

Fish pairing


If fish is the dish, it’s all about the target species. Equal the flavours of the wine to the type of fish. If your catch of the day is white fleshed with delicate flakes, like snapper, cod or tarakihi, keep the wine light to match the flesh. An Unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Gris or Viognier will do the trick. If you just got back from a gamefishing charter with an esky full of tuna or marlin steaks, up the anti in the wine flavours with a full bodied Chardy, or go red with a Pinot or light Merlot. Cut through the oils of  salmon and trout with a delicious Central Otago Pinot (you choose the colour).



The cheese world is almost as extensive as the wine world with their own appellations and vintages.  As they grew up together, over the centuries, wine and cheese pairings have become legendary. Pairing, when it comes down to it is all about personal taste, but if you want to go with traditional matches these are your basics. Strongly flavoured and soft cheeses go well with whites, whereas red wines will match best with hard cheeses. If your cheese has some serious odour issues, go with some big tannins of a gutsy red, or if it’s a more fruity cheese look for the aromatics of a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. If you are into the fungus experience, go for a Port or Dessert Wine.



If your dish once went Baaaaa then it’s time to pull out the Clarets - Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon blend is the way to go. Don’t be too disappointed though, if all you’ve got left in the cellar is savoury Pinot or elegant Syrah. These varieties are well suited to lamb flavours. Offer the Pinot with a light sauce and the Syrah with a rich sauce and these bottles will empty in two flicks of a lambs tail.



Out for a barbie and been told 'we supply the meat if you supply the wine'? Don’t panic, trick your mates into telling you what's on the grill and then rock up with a good old kiwi Sauvignon Blanc for those cracking shellfish entrees. The classic versatility of a Chardonnay goes well for those prawn appetisers, pork medallions, or chicken tenderloins. Bring along a Pinot Noir if sausages are on the menu or a mates getting adventurous with a piece of venison. However it’s to the steak you want to bring power and oomph, Cab Sauv for those beef fillets or a gripping Shiraz for a slab of steak. If your mate wouldn’t tell you, cover all bases with a Pinot Gris and a Merlot.



Beef is big on flavour, so it needs a big flavoursome wine to be up to the task. Fortunately we are not short of red wines with a bit of unctuous tannin.  A classic Cabernet Sauvignon blend from the Hawke’s Bay or a Waiheke Syrah will cut the mustard. But don’t forget to explore the internationals, perhaps an Aussie Shiraz, a Spanish Rioja, or even an Italian Barolo to complete the experience.



Big game meats are savoury and tender (if you have a masterchef in the kitchen). This cuisine works best with Burgundian styled Pinot Noir full of characteristics like forest floor, mushrooms, chocolate, savoury, and mealy. If you are after a bit more power, or your chef has gone a bit fancy and added some rich sauce to your dish, look for a Syrah/Shiraz or an adventurous Malbec.



Unlike Kermit, if you feel Miss Piggy is better on the plate, rather than whacking you across the head with her signature move, your choices of matching wine are numerous. Pork has a medium set of flavours capable of complimenting a range of wines in your glass. A Chardonnay for white fans or a Merlot for red drinkers will do the trick, and for those sitting on the fence a Pinot (Noir or Gris). For the more adventurous amongst us, if it's pork chops. go Italian with a Valpolicella or a Chianti. In a casserole or with apple sauce, an unoaked chardy is on the money, or if it's sweet and sour rock out the Rose – trust me it will work!


The most consumed meat in the world –funny it has some of the most recommended wine pairings. With the endless amounts of dishes chicken can be used in, and it being such a flexible little stomach filler it’s probably best to just run with what’s been cooked with the chicken. The standard choice is your good old Chardonnay but the glass can be filled with pretty much anything, from a Sauvignon Blanc (chicken with herbs) to a Pinot Gris (Chicken Salad) to a Pinot Noir (Roast) to a Syrah (Coq au Vin). If in doubt, drink the burgundies – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

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