Picking wines that complement all of the tangy, salty, and sweet flavours of our favourite grilled foods can be a challenge. So many different types of palates to please! But before you throw in the towel and settle for a case of Bud Light and a few bottles of pinot grigio, we’re here to eliminate all of that intimidation. Seriously, you’ll be pairing burgers with Beaujolais like a sommelier just in time for the Fourth.
To get the scoop on the best way to bring your barbecue fare to life with wine, we consulted the experts at Vivino, the world’s largest online wine marketplace. Their vino pros helped us round up these recommendations for the top varietals for every type of grill fare. Whether you’re cooking pulled pork or tofu, we have something here that’ll sizzle harmoniously.
Hamburgers + Beaujolais
Burgers are summer grilling staples, so it’s only fitting that they pair with the number one summer barbecue wine: Beaujolais. Light, fresh, and fun, Beaujolais is extremely food-friendly. Expect peppy red cherry and strawberry flavors with a touch of earthy undertones.
Hot Dogs + Rosé
The toppings make the hot dog, so the key is to find a wine versatile enough to pair with anything you can eat on a dog. It’s hard to go wrong with a dry rosé, but look for one with some character to it: minerality, acidity, or unique, savoury flavours.
Grilled Corn + Chardonnay
Sweet, salty, buttery grilled corn needs a wine that will accent—but not overwhelm—its flavours, which is why Chardonnay aged in steel or old oak is a natural match. Most unoaked Chardonnays still go through malolactic fermentation, which creates a creamy, buttery texture without oaky flavours of vanilla and baking spice (that would overwhelm the corn).
Grilled Seafood + Sicilian White
Embrace the essence of grilled seafood with a salty, zesty Sicilian white. Sicilian white wines, particularly those grown on the slopes of Mount Etna, have distinct volcanic minerality, lemon acidity, and a touch of salinity, which makes for an ocean-reminiscent flavour.
Grilled Tofu + Champagne
Vegetarians need barbecue options too, and creatively prepared tofu can be an excellent substitute for otherwise meat-heavy festivities. The bubbles in Champagne provide a nice contrast to the texture of tofu, while tart citrus flavours and focused acidity make it perfect for pairing with almost any flavour profile.
Pork Chops + Pinot Noir
Pork chops pair well with both red and white wine, but with a dry rub on the grill, red wine has the edge. Medium-bodied Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon has a little bit of everything that pork chops call for, flavour-wise, melding lush New World cherry cola-esque fruit with Old World earthiness.
North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork + Riesling
For a wine to stand up to North Carolina-style pulled pork’s vinegar-based sauce, two things are crucial: sugar and acid. Off-dry Riesling is the answer, with mouthwatering acidity and just a touch of residual sugar to keep the wine from seeming too austere.
Memphis-Style Pulled Pork + Zinfandel
Slightly sweeter than the North Carolina-style, smoky, spiced Memphis-style pulled pork calls for a wine with juicy, round fruit, like a classic California Zinfandel. While Zinfandel can be overly jammy and high-alcohol, the best examples balance body with acidity, allowing fresh red and blackberry fruit to burst onto the palate and complement the pork.
Ribs + Syrah
For a knock-out baby back rib pairing, embrace the flavours that make ribs so good with a wine that carries them. Full of smoke, meat, and black peppery goodness, Syrah from the northern Rhône is right on the money—as if someone took the smoked ribs themselves and put them into the wine.
Steak + Cabernet Sauvignon
Matching steak and Napa Cab is a no-brainer, but to take the pairing to a new level, look up the mountain. Vineyards situated within the mountain ranges that form the Napa Valley—such as Spring Mountain District or Chiles Valley—have the added benefit of elevation, creating a more restrained and elegant style of wine.
Pairing wine with cheese is far from rocket science—even the “wrong” matches will still taste (mostly) stellar. That being said, you didn’t spend who-remembers-how-much on that sommelier-led pairing course last year to be left in the dark when you need the advice—and the brie—most.
Here, we tapped three wine and dairy professionals for the top mistakes people make when matching wine with cheese, plus how to fix them. Because who says you need to host a crowd to fix yourself a fancy, delicious hors d’oeuvres?
Pairing Red Wine With Soft Cheese
According to Laura Werlin, a James Beard Award-winning cheese author, red wine typically has more tannins and low acidity which can cause soft cheeses to taste chalky. Instead, reach for an equally full-bodied, flavorful cheese, such as an aged cheddar, if you must drink a red wine. The tannins act as a palate cleanser, making each bite and sip just as delicious as the last.
Mismatching Intensity and Flavors
The pairing rule of ‘like with like’ rings true when pairing wine and cheese. “In general, white wines pair best with lighter, milder cheeses,” says Werlin. This allows the fresh, often fruity notes of the white wine to enhance the sweet creaminess of the cheese. In fact, Werlin suggests pairing most cheeses with white wines. An unoaked Chardonnay pairs well with an alpine-style butterkase or Swiss cheese while Riesling goes with asiago or Parmesan, and Sauvignon Blanc with cheddar or gouda.
Forgetting the Palette Cleanser
“When tasting a variety of cheeses with wine, it is always good to have a palate cleanser,” says Ken Monteleone, owner of cheese shop Fromagination. He recommends Potters wheat or white crackers, water crackers, or bread (like a plain baguette, nothing grainy)—they act like sponges to absorb any lingering flavors. Also, avoid anything flavored or overly salty, as the point is to refresh the palate for each new wine.
Rushing Through Without Savoring the Process
“Before we start a tasting with a variety of our delicious cheeses, we like to open up the taste buds,” says Monteleone. “Pinch your nose and then un-pinch and you will be ready for a wine and cheese tasting.” Remember to savor and taste. “Slow down, look and smell, then taste. Visualize and isolate flavors as you’re tasting. Identify flavors in the wine and the cheese before moving on. Pay attention to texture and body.”
Playing It Safe
Pairing wine and cheese is all about finding new flavor combinations and having fun. “Try a Wisconsin original cheese, such as Sartori’s Merlot BellaVitano with Fantesca King Richards Reserve Pinot Noir 2018 and Crissante Barolo 2014,” says D Lynn Proctor, director at Fantesca Estate and Winery. “The style, the palate, the texture is simply amazing.” Cheese should take you on an adventure of taste and texture. Get out of your comfort zone by trying something unique like Roelli’s Red Rock, a bright orange Cheddar Blue combination. Bubbles are very forgiving, so a sparkling wine is always a good choice for cheese wildcards. Want another unique idea? Grab some bubbly and pair it with a blue cheese for an unexpected dessert pairing after dinner. The crisp carbonation of the sparkling wine will cut the creaminess of the bold, blue cheese.
Taking the Task Too Seriously
“You’re here to learn and experiment, and not every pairing is going to take the world by storm,” assures Molly Browne, the education manager for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional. “The worst thing that you can happen is that you eat something slightly less than delicious, and that’s just motivation to buy more cheese and try again.” And go outside your comfort zone. It’s great to pick one beverage to pair with one wine, but you will learn a lot more from tasting around the board/across the flight. “Once you’ve sampled your intended pairing, push your palate even further by trying an unintentional pairing and seeing what happens.”
A list of the world’s 50 best vineyards for wine tourism has named a Central Otago and a Hawke’s Bay estate as being among the best.
And those two Kiwi vineyards rank in the top 20 in the world in the list out today.
The global list of wine tourism destinations named Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco in the top spot for the second year running.
Bodega Garzón in Uruguay was second for a consecutive year and Domäne Wachau in Austria jumped 16 places to claim the third spot this year.
But Central Otago’s Rippon, on the Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Rd, placed 13th and was also named the best vineyard in Australasia. The Hawke’s Bay’s Craggy Range was 17th best on the list. Last year, the biodynamic Rippon was in eighth place and Craggy Range was 11th.
13 AT A GLANCE:
THE BEST VINEYARD IN AUSTRALASIA
Name of wine estate: Rippon Country: New Zealand Wine region: Central Otago Standout points: Jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka; stunningly sleek biodynamic wines Winemaker: Nick Mills Wine style: Precise, site-specific noble varieties (Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer)
The list said Rippon had “jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka, stunningly sleek biodynamic wines” from winemaker Nick Mills and “precise, site-specific noble varieties of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer”.
“What makes Rippon one of the most desirable estates in the world to visit? The wines, the views and the people – in equal measure. Lake Wanaka, an ancient moraine lake, shimmering under the crystal light of a sunny Central Otago day must count as one of the most Instagrammable images on the planet. That Rippon maintains 15ha of vines in this immaculate landscape is wonder enough, but the quality and sense of place of its wholly estate-grown wines gives this little corner of heaven an extra special appeal,” the citation said.
Burgundy-trained fourth-generation Mills and his team were praised along with the organic and biodynamic methods and intensive handwork on display. “Rippon’s cellar door is open for small group tastings by uncharged appointment throughout the year. Expect to enjoy an informal yet informed tasting of some of the best wines of Central Otago as you’re guided through a selection of five or six Rippon wines by a switched-on member of the Rippon team, who will talk you through the farm, the family’s history and if you’re game, the arcane world of biodynamics,” the list said.
17 AT A GLANCE
Name of wine estate: Craggy Range Country: New Zealand Wine region: Hawke’s Bay Standout points: Stunning location in the shadow of Te Mata Peak; luxury boutique accommodation; award-winning restaurant Winemaker: Julian Grounds Wine style: Multi-region, site-specific wines, everything from aromatic whites to Bordeaux blends, and terroir Syrahs and Chardonnays
On the 17th-ranked Craggy Range, the list said it was in a “stunning location in the shadow of Te Mata Peak, luxury boutique accommodation; award-winning restaurant”. It cited winemaker: Julian Grounds and said wines were “everything from aromatic whites to Bordeaux blends, and terroir Syrahs and Chardonnays.
“Over the past 20 years, Terry and Mary Peabody have expended every possible effort to make Craggy Range an exceptional visitor experience. Whether it’s the cellar door, inspired by some of the Napa Valley’s leading wineries, the award-winning restaurant with 360-degree views of the local landscape, or Craggy Range’s exceptional boutique accommodation, expect nothing but the best in this beautiful little corner of Hawke’s Bay,” the list said of that operation established in 1998.
“When it came to establishing their vineyards, from the off Terry and Mary pursued an innovative multi-regional approach, focusing on the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay, ideally suited to high-quality reds including Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and Te Muna Rd in Martinborough – better for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc – to produce a range of wines that speak eloquently of their place,” the list said.
“On a typical cellar visit, former New Zealand sommelier of the year Michael Bancks greets guests at the door and begins the tour in the main cellar building, Sophia, where you learn the history of Craggy Range. Then it’s on to the subterranean barrel hall, The Quarry, where you will taste from the estate’s unreleased prestige collection wines still in the barrel.
“From there, the tour moves on to the restaurant garden in the shadow of Te Mata peak. At the award-winning Craggy Range Restaurant, head chef Casey McDonald has devised a menu inspired by the elements and produce abundant in Hawke’s Bay. Finally, it’s on to the sun terrace to enjoy a guided tasting of Craggy Range’s diverse multi-region range, with a variety of flight options available to suit each guest’s tastes,” the citation said.
The world’s best vineyards list is based on nominations from a voting academy made up of more than 500 wine experts, sommeliers and travel correspondents from around the world. It aims to raise the profile of wine tourism and encourage travellers to enjoy wine-related experiences globally.
By Walt Dickson. First published in Wairarapa Lifestyle Magazine, Winter 2020.
Contrary to what the name might suggest, The Flying Winemaker doesn’t own a plane, nor does he hold a pilot’s licence. But there is sincerity in Eddie McDougall’s moniker, yes, he does literally jet in to make the wine.
Born in Hong Kong, based in Australia, Eddie might be relatively new on the scene in Wairarapa, but he is an established name in other parts of the world; an award-winning winemaker, chairman of the Asian Wine Review, wine judge and TV personality behind one of Asia-Pacific’s most dynamic wine brands, The Flying Winemaker.
He swooped into the region in late 2018 buying the Gladstone Vineyard with lofty ambitions to make the best and most expensive wine in New Zealand.
Last year, his first vintage, he made two special wines at Gladstone that he says, will turn heads when they’re released: a field blend of three aromatic white varietals and an icon Pinot Noir that will be positioned as ‘New Zealand’s most expensive wine and best pinot’.
Eddie grew up in Brisbane and was studying for a business degree and working as a waiter in the early 2000s when he had a wine epiphany one night. Someone handed him a glass of Alsace pinot blanc and he was hooked. He enrolled in a winemaking degree and worked vintages across Australia and Italy. In 2009, he launched his wine label, making wine in the King Valley (Victoria), and later, Margaret River (Western Australia), buying fruit and leasing space in other people’s wineries.
His big break came in 2009, when he moved back to Hong Kong to set up the city’s first urban winery, shipping frozen grapes in from Europe and Australia. That’s when he earned his Flying Winemaker name, attracting the attention of television producers. Fast-track to 2018 and he was again looking for opportunities, initially in Australia, but when nothing caught his fancy, he looked across the Tasman.
‘I was happy to go wherever good wine is made, and Gladstone ticked all the right boxes
Making it such a great acquisition was that at Gladstone, all the ‘really hard work’ has been done, he says. ‘We believe that it is still the oldest white wine vineyard in the area – the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes were planted in 1986’.
Pinot Gris and Riesling have also since been planted, and instead of making three wines, Eddie makes a blend of all three.
‘Coming here we want to represent the region, and on a brand, level to represent what our true unique selling point is …we think we can make some serious, serious wines’.
In addition to the winery site, Gladstone Vineyard also owns considerably larger blocks of vines at nearby Dakin Road, as well as leasing crops from other growers. It is from the Dakins Road block that Eddie hopes to produce his icon Pinot Noir – to be called The Wairarapa – which he says will be the most definitive wine of the region, only made in the best possible years, 2019 is one of them.
With a global team based in Hong Kong and currently exporting throughout Asia, Australia, Norway, UK and USA, the sky is the limit. But he is not ignoring the domestic market and is determined to continue Gladstone Vineyard’s reputation for hosting terrific events.
Building on the success of the nearby Harvest Festive, Eddie aims to run up to four events a year at the winery. Exactly what they will be and when, wine lovers won’t want to miss out if his super cool Rose’ Revolutions, a mainstay on the calendar in Asia, are anything to go by.
Meanwhile, if you are in the neighbourhood, the cellar door is open daily from 11 am – 5 pm (except public holidays), but don’t expect to see Eddie, after all, when you have wings you gotta fly.
39 members attended for the evening and orders for the wine & 5 cookbooks exceeded $3K which is one of our more successful orders.
An interesting note from our orders is that the 2019 Wairarapa Viognier was the preferred wine, with 2018 From the Ashes Riesling second. The Viognier also illustrates how they grow grapes and bottle wine from various areas around NZ, even though they are based in North Canterbury.
The list of wines we sampled during the evening for your recollection is below:
Quality and consistency have put Seifried Family Winemakers on the map with their 2019 Nelson Sauvignon Blanc releases – awarded a combined haul of seven gold medals and the “Best of Show” trophy.
The winery’s premium Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has been awarded three gold medals across New Zealand and international wine shows, including the title ‘Best of Show NZ White’ in the MUNDUS VINI 2019 in Germany. Their Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has now achieved its fourth gold medal since release to market.
Both Sauvignon Blancs have just been awarded gold medals at the 2019 New Zealand Wine of the Year™ (the official NZ wine industry competition, replacing the Air New Zealand Wine Awards). Recognition at these awards is particularly huge, given the hundreds of entries. An accolade at this competition is about celebrating New Zealand winemaking excellence, and is a win that is proudly shared among the whole team at Seifried.
Seifried Estate says that although it is a small grape growing region, Nelson’s climate and talent for crafting world class wine is clear. “We’re so proud of the recognition for our team’s commitment and hard work to making great wines. We’re also very proud of Nelson / Tasman and our fellow growers and producers, many who, like us, started from humble beginnings.
Combining the famous creative artisan spirit with the soil and climate in this special place at the centre of New Zealand, Nelson is a region known for some of the finest food and beverage products in the world.
We’re incredibly proud to call this place home.” – Seifried Estate Sales and Marketing Manager, Anna Seifried.
Proven over time – a snapshot of achievements:
The accolades begin with New Zealand’s most awarded dessert wine, Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling. Awards include ‘Champion Sweet Wine’ at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, as well as ‘Best New Zealand Sweet’ at the UK Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 – to name a few.
Seifried Nelson Pinot Noir has had its share of recognition and was named as a “Rising Star” in the ‘2019 Great New Zealand Pinot Noir Classification’ which lists only the top quarter of New Zealand’s Pinot Noir producers.
It’s not always the garden varieties associated with Nelson or New Zealand either. Aotea by the Seifried Family Méthode Traditionnelle NV took out the ‘WineWorks Champion Sparkling Wine’ at the 2017 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
The family is working hard with some lesser known varietals too, such as the Seifried Nelson Würzer, an aromatic white wine found only in very small quantities, even in its home country of Germany. Seifried Nelson Zweigelt, the Austrian classic, made with a Kiwi twist is another – “Great stuff for someone looking for something different. Real presence and grip.
Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Gold – New Zealand Wine of the Year™ 2019, New Zealand Gold – The New Zealand International Wine Show 2019, New Zealand Gold – AWC Vienna 2019, Austria Gold – MUNDUS VINI 2019 Summer Tasting, Germany 93 Points – Cameron Douglas MS, The Shout, August 2019, New Zealand
List of recent awards
New Zealand Wine of the Year™ GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Silver: Seifried Nelson Gewurztraminer 2019
25th Grand International Wine Award MUNDUS vini “Best of Show New Zealand white”: Aotea by the Seifried Family Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
AWC Vienna – International Wine Challenge GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Silver: Old Coach Road Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
NZ International Wine Show GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 GOLD: Seifried Winemakers Collection Nelson ‘Sweet Agnes’ Riesling 2019 Silver: Seifried Nelson Riesling 2019 Silver: Seifried Nelson Pinot Noir Rosé 2019
Contact SEIFRIED ESTATE Chris Seifried – Winemaker Email: chris Tel: +64 3 544 5599 Cell: +64 21 544 750 www.seifried.co.nz
2018 Misha’s The Cadenza Late Harvest Gewürztraminer
For the 19 members and 1 guest that attended, this was a great tasting as evidenced by the fact that 101 bottles were ordered, such was the quality and pricing.
The low turnout was a disappointment but upon reflection, there were 3 couples overseas and another 4 people that contacted us beforehand and apologised because of sickness. These were 10 people that almost always attend and that, coupled with other regulars I have since heard were either out of town or sick, probably explains the low turn out. It can happen sometimes.
Cenna began her tasting presentation explaining the locations of Two Paddocks and Misha vineyards and as luck would have it, the wines presented covered the 4 main Central Otago sub-regions of Alexandra, Bannockburn, Gibbston Valley and Bendigo, Not covered was the area around Pisa Moorings or Wanaka.
She went onto explain that the reason for tasting the 2 Pinot Noirs first was so that any residual sweetness in our mouth from the whites would not destroy the delicacy of the 2017 Misha ‘Cantata’ Pinot Noir. All 3 red wines were excellent reflections of their styles but I especially enjoyed the savoury notes each had as compared to the dominate cherry flavours that tend to be more evident in other Central Otago Pinot Noirs.
The surprising wine of the night was Misha’s 2015 ‘Limelight’ Riesling. 4 years on, it still had a bright fresh citrusy flavour, This was a medium style Riesling with 34 grams/litre of residual sugar and I especially liked its delightful lingering finish. It’s hardly surprising to find later that wine writers have given this wine 5 stars. And to the surprise of everyone present, Jenny joyfully announced that she had finally found a white that she liked.
Misha’s 2019 ‘Dress Circle’ Pinot Gris was another of their whites to find great support from members. It had flavours of pear, citrus and spice, This is a very pleasing aromatic wine that will go well with Asian cuisine, which is hardly surprising, given that the owners worked in Asia for 16 years and set out to develop wines that would suit Asian as well as Western foods.
Of the two wineries, my personal favourite was Misha Vineyards with their theatrical named wines. So it was only fitting that the finale for the night was their 2018 ‘The Cadenza’ Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. This medium-sweet wine had aromas of apricot making it an excellent match with fruit-driven desserts or with soft cheeses. As I said earlier, a great tasting.
Our April tasting was a great success and certainly slightly different from other tastings, given the perspective of our presenter and her knowledge of wines in the current market.
Having someone of Joelle’s experience was certainly a coup for the club and we would like to acknowledge Regional Wines contribution in making this event happen.
The committee will be approaching Regional to see if we can re-establish some permanent benefits for club members and we will advise further if and when this is finalised.
As for the wines themselves, I have already said earlier that I really enjoyed the Montepulciano. But given the number and cross-section of orders that Joelle took away with her, it’s clear that all the wines were greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Joelle, for a very interesting tasting. Hopefully, we can arrange another tasting sometime in the future.
Yet another excellent tasting with Marc Udy from Villa Maria, ably assisted by Kirsty Warbrick, presenting a range of great wines including some from their Platinum Range. Marc is one of the winemakers from Marlborough. He was a good speaker and the consensus is that the winery has been really easy to deal with.
To reiterate the tasting included the Cellar Selection Rose 2018; Reserve Wairua Sauvignon 2018; Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris 2018; Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016; Platinum Selection Pinot Noir 2018; Cellar Selection Grenache 2017, rounded off with the Cellar Selection Late Harvest Riesling 2015. An enjoyable night.
Anna Seifried gave a presentation about the history of her family and the vineyard, where the wines were not the focus of the tasting, leaving the wines to speak for themselves. It was an enjoyable, fascinating presentation which was well received by those who attended the meeting. Anna was a confident and polished speaker and the presentation was well supported by a slide show. She intends to use the presentation in the near future on a planned overseas trip to potential markets. The weather was not the best on the night and a number of people were away due to sickness and other reasons.
24 people attended the tasting which was slightly lower than we had hoped for but despite these orders were good and Anna was pleased with how the meeting had gone.
Just to recap, the wines tasted included; the Old Coach Road Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (pre-release) as a quaffer and was followed with;