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Ngahuru / Autumn wine & food matching ideas

  • by Mikela Dennison

The Southern Hemisphere is in the middle of our autumn / fall season, and here at te Pa, we're embracing the cooler months and all of the beautiful autumnal bounty that comes with it. 

From the warming meals, and nourishing vegetables like zucchini / courgette, pumpkin and kumara / sweet potato, and vibrant fruits like figs, feijoa, persimmon, and passionfruit, to the versatile wine pairing choices, and the beautiful red and orange leaves falling from the trees, it's one of our favourite seasons. Not to mention, it's when we harvest our own bounty - the precious grapes! 

In this post we wanted to share some local information on the autumn season from the traditional Maori calendar, as well as some of our chief winemaker Sam Bennett's top wine and food matches for these cooler months before we head into winter. 

Ngahuru: Autumn

According to Te Ara (The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand) the Maori name for autumn was 'ngahuru', which is a traditional Maori word for ten.

This is due to the fact that autumn starts during the tenth month (February–March) in the traditional Maori calendar.

Ngahuru was also the name for 'harvest', which occurred at the same time as the autumn season kicked in. The saying ‘Ngahuru, kura kai, kura tangata’ (harvest-time, wealth of food, the wealth of people) indicated that food was plentiful in autumn.

We love this special piece of indigenous knowledge, which would have been a key part of traditional life back when Haysley's ancestors lived on the ancient lands of the Wairau Bar. (Information and quotes referenced from Te Ara, The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand).

Our winemaker's top picks for autumn

Our chief winemaker Sam Bennett has selected three wines which are ideal for the autumn months. 

Sam says; “All of these wines will go amazingly well with comforting autumnal bounty, such as mushrooms, sweet corn, and vine ripened tomatoes. 

"As the nights get cooler, the meals tend to get more comfort food focused. I’m looking forward to cooking soups, light casseroles, pastas and cheeses, which would all compliment these specially selected wines, from across our flagship ranges." 

Montford Estate 2019 Central Otago Pinot Noir

The wine is a sophisticated and soothing drink, very comfortable in its own skin. It possesses a bouquet of bright red fruits, not quite ripe plums, violets and potpourri. The palate is equally gentle in its approach. Raspberry and strawberry notes give way to some earthy beetroot and savoury influences. The tannin profile is velvety and is supported by a delicate acidity with hints of five spice and nutmeg. You can explore this beautiful wine in more detail here.

Food matches: Roast chicken, grilled or barbequed salmon.  Of course, duck is always good with Pinot Noir. For the more adventurous foodies, give this wine a try with chicken liver paté or pork rillette. For the less carnivorous try honey roasted beetroot, caramelized Brussel sprouts, or mushroom risotto.

te Pa 2020 Chardonnay (New Release) 

A complex Chardonnay with enticing undertones of smoky driftwood, almond pastry, and a spicy musk which weaves in and around the vibrant citrus blossom and stone fruit aromatics.

A limey acidity, paired with a creamy, yet mineral inspired palate sits perfectly alongside the finest oak layers. An intriguingly moreish drop. The fruit for this Chardonnay was hand-picked then whole bunch pressed to barrel, 40% of which were new barrels selected from our most trusted French coopers. These barrels tend to have long, light toasting profiles. Find out why critics adore this wine by clicking here.

Food matches: For plant-based food lovers, this toasty, oaky Chardonnay would pair nicely with a creamy sweet corn soup or chowder. It would also pair nicely with mushroom risotto or pasta, and a decadent topping of black or white truffles wouldn't go astray with this bold wine either. 

te Pa 2017 Oke Sauvignon Blanc (cellar release)

This is a special cellar release from our library stock. The 2017 Oke is one of our most critically acclaimed wines, and was awarded 95 points and ‘Outstanding’ by Decanter Magazine.

Aromatically the wine gives impressions of stone fruit, citrus blossom, and tropical notes, all supported by lightly smoked oak with just a hint of flint and vanilla pod. The palate is equally as complex and generous. Tropical fruits are balanced by lemongrass and citrus themes. The oak provides a savoury element to the wine; caramel and vanilla notes combined with toasted cashew and spice. Learn about this complex and unique wine here.

Food matches: The Oke Sauvignon Blanc is a celebration of Marlborough and is perfectly suited to fresh seafood and light poultry dishes. One of our favourites is seared scallops on a white bean and prosciutto salad, which would be perfect fare for the autumn weather. 

So, wine whanau; what's your favourite wine and food match for autumn? 

Tagged with: wine and food
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