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New Zealand Wine Pairing – Albarino with Salmon Terrine:
What do yo you associate with New Zealand wines? For most of us, it’s Sauvignon Blanc. I remember my first taste of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc – something which quickly changed my preconception of Southern Hemisphere wines. But, there’s much more going on in New Zealand, where eight key wine areas span a distance equivalent to from Bordeaux in France to southern Spain, with a range of microclimates and soil types. And, there’s a long history of winemaking too, with 2019 marking 200 years from the first recorded vine plantings in New Zealand. While the English Missionary, Samuel Marsden, who planted the first vines at the site he had chosen for a new Church Missionary Society (CMS) station at Kerikeri was disappointed when his unfenced vineyard was destroyed by goats, he nevertheless pointed out that ‘New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine’. The first recorded winemaker, James Busby, went on to plant vines in 1833 and produced a light white wine which he served to French explorer Dumont d’Urville at Waitangi in 1840. And, Mission Estate in Hawke’s Bay, founded in 1851 by monks from the Society of Mary, was founded in 1851 – the oldest surviving New Zealand winery.
With such a rich heritage and diverse geography, it’s perhaps not surprising that there is a wide range of excellent New Zealand wines beyond Sauvignon Blanc. I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to try a range of seven – and, doing my best to avoid total inebriation, I invited a small group of journalists, wine specialists and bloggers to come along with a dish of their choice for a ‘pot-luck’ food and wine pairing. Sending round the list of wines in advance meant that everyone could try making something that would pair with one or more of the wines on offer.
- Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Grigio 2018
- Villa Maria Private Bin Gewurztraminer 2018
- Left Field Albarino 2018
- Vidal Reserve Chardonnay 2017
- Esk Valley Merlot Cab Malbec 2016
- Jackson Estate Vintage Widow 2015 Pinot Noir Marlborough
- Jackson Estate Homestead 2017 Pinot Noir Marlborough
Luisa Vonglio-Welsh, one of the guests, who is a wine specialist, helped by suggesting a tasting order – and we all made our own notes as we went through the wines.
Next, we tried the Left Field Albarino, my personal favourite of the white wines. Citrus flowers, melon and peach notes, this was, as one of my guests commented
Very summery. Brings visions of eating outside at a summer picnic
I’d made a chicken and avocado salad with a lemon tahini dressing and most of us thought it was the perfect dish to pair with what was a delicious wine – the lemon dressing picked up lime and lemon notes in the wine. Once again, the salmon terrine worked well as a pairing too, with the citrussy Albarino complementing the creamy terrine.
Our third wine was the Vidal Reserve Chardonnay 2017, Hawkes Bay. With a dry almondy finish, complete floral and stone fruit notes, we found it worked better with food than when tasting. Almost everyone paired this with a brown rice salad laced with cashew nuts and some also enjoyed it with a dish of roasted Mediterranean vegetables seasoned with zata’ar.
The final white wine, a Gewurztraminer 2018 from Villa Maria Private Bin, was perhaps the most surprising mouthful. With stunning aromatic notes, lychee, and Thai basil this fragrant wine worked perfectly with a dish of Indian spiced chicken drumsticks brought by Manjiri and made to her own grandmother’s recipe from Mumbai. Luisa suggested that it would be worth trying the same wine with Thai food for an even more dramatic pairing.
We went on to try the Jackson Estate Vintage Widow 2015 Pinot Noir, a beautifully aged red wine. Complex layers of flavours in this mouthful and a glass of wine full of black forest fruit flavours, with notes of cedar and a long finish. We carried on drinking it with the meatloaf. I’m slightly annoyed with myself as I’d bought two bars of artisan chocolate to try pairing with the red wines but completely forgot to bring them out!
Instead, we moved on to the last wine of the evening, Esk Valley Merlot Cab Malbec 2016 which we paired with a variety of cheeses. I’m used to drinking Malbec with steak and did wonder if that might have been a better pairing. Full-bodied, with plums, dried herbs and a hint of oak, it did work well for me paired with the Shropshire blue from Paxton and Whitfield. As one of the guests pointed out, it was almost Christmassy – and would be a lighter alternative than Port to drink with a Stilton.
Our favourite pairings of the evening were the Gewurztraminer with Manjiri’s Indian Chicken Drumsticks and the Albarino with two dishes I’d happily classify as ‘picnic’ food – the salmon terrine and the roasted Mediterranean vegetables. I’m hoping to persuade Manjiri to share her chicken recipe, but in the meanwhile here’s how to make an easy salmon terrine. I prefer to use a mixture of cooked fresh salmon and smoked salmon for a milder taste and softer texture.
A summer special - simple salmon terrine with fresh and smoked salmon that takes just minutes to put together
- 1 medium Salmon Fillet
- 300 g Smoked Salmon pieces
- 1 tbsp Creme Fraiche
- 1 tbsp Cream Cheese
- 1 Lemon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Poach or steam the fresh salmon until cooked through (about 10 minutes) and allow to cool
Remove the skin and flake the fish
Add the smoked salmon, cream cheese, creme fraiche and black pepper and salt to taste
Blitz with a hand mixer until you have the consistency of your choice. I like a slightly chunky mixture
Check the seasoning and add the juice of half a lemon
Pile the mixture into small ramekin dishes, cover with foil or film and put in the fridge to set for an hour
Top each dish with a slice of lemon and serve
New Zealand Wine Suppliers.
- Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Grigio 2018 | RRP: £11 | Stockists: Waitrose, Nisa, ASDA, Ocado, www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk
- Villa Maria Private Bin Gewurztraminer 2018 | RRP: £ 12 | Stockists : https://www.matthewclark.co.uk/
- Left Field Albarino 2018 | £14.80 |Stockists: Cambridge Wine Merchant, www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk
- Vidal Reserve Chardonnay 2017 | £16.45 | Stockists; www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk
- Jackson Estate Vintage Widow 2015 Pinot Noir Marlborough |£18.99 | Ocado
- Jackson Estate Homestead 2017 Pinot Noir Marlborough | £13.99| Waitrose, exclusive
- Esk Valley Merlot Cab Malbec 2016 | £17.55 |Stockists: www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk
For more summer wine pairings do check out our feature on English wine and food pairings
Photo Credits for certain images to Heidi and Clive of Kitchen Talk and Travels