New Zealand Wines tend to have some standard aromas to those who love their Sauvignon Blanc’s. The grassy, jalapeño, tropical, and mineral notes flood your nose and leap out of the glass. Recently I was having lunch with Peter Yealands of Yealands Wine from New Zealand. First building his fortune in the Green- Shelled Mussel industry, he soon bought a plot of land in 2008 and started what would be an incredible wine journey.
His stories are extremely funny and I could have listened to him talk about wine for hours. He has a strong passion for wine and the environment, which is shown throughout all of his stories and startup lessons. He began purchasing vineyards in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley in the mid-2000s, and now produces award-winning wines. His winery was the first to be carbon neutral from inception, and he continues to pursue his goal of being NZ’s most sustainable winery!
Marea, a wonderful restaurant near Columbus Circle was the spot for some amazing pairings. Starting off with Lobster over Burrata was just the beginning to an incredible meal paired with Peter’s Sauvignon Blanc. What’s nice about these wines is that you don’t get that huge grass and jalapeño right off the bat. Instead you get a nose full of citrus, and an elegant palate that’s medium bodied and perfect with the meaty lobster, smooth burrata, and accompanying ingredients.
Next up: Mushroom Risotto, and due to the rainy day we were having (at that time in NYC) it was the most delicious and comforting choice. Paired with more Sauvignon Blanc as well as a Pinot Gris, this dish was another perfect pairing. Although risotto is heavier, these wines took to the challenge and stood up against this dish very well, which is what I think makes them very versatile with food. Many think NZ wines should pair with lighter dishes, and sometimes that is the case. These wines however, I would even pair with a mild turkey chili for winter, this risotto, or even a potato gratin.
For those of you who enjoy New Zealand wines, and know more than Sauvignon Blanc grapes exist in the vineyards, then you will know that the red varietals grow well here. The Single Vineyard Pinot Noir went beautifully with the rest of the risotto (due to the savory mushrooms), and also the desserts. The Fried Doughnuts were the ultimate choice and were lightly dusted with cinnamon and sugar; a “seasoning” that tends to love earthier pinot noirs. Accompanying the doughnuts was a Huckleberry Jam and Caramel Sauce, which were both out of this world yum! The earthy Pinot Noir from Peter’s collection was medium bodied and full of ripe raspberry, black currant, and minerality. The earthiness in the wine paired nicely with the light dusting of sugar on the doughnuts and when dipped in the Huckleberry Jam it brought out some nice rich plum and more currant notes in the wine.
To see the entire Yealands portfolio, click here and view the wonderful wines and incredible journey Peter took to make it to where he is today. His story is funny, inspiring, and relatable. I think you will find a place in your home for these wines, and even on your Thanksgiving table this holiday season!