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Wine matches for your favourite lockdown dishes

  • by Mikela Dennison

Lockdown measures mean more of us are cooking at home than ever before.

We've loved seeing so many of your ideas, creations and inspirations for lockdown cooking, so we thought we'd create a handy list of the best wines to match with the most popular lockdown dishes (as suggested by our awesome Instagram fans). 

We caught up with our production winemaker, and extremely talented home cook, Kate Bennett, to get her tips on pairing some lockdown favourites, with some perfectly matched wines from our te Pa, Pa Road, Koha and Montford Estate ranges.

Stir Fry:

Packed with big aromatic Asian-cuisine flavours, stir fry is quick, healthy, and delicious (plus, you can use frozen stir fry veggie packs so you don't have to chop your veggies, that's a win!). 

So, if a tasty chicken stir fry is on the menu, a crisp, refreshing wine such as Sauvignon Blanc is going to be the best pick to stand up next to the full-on flavours of your stir fry creation. Our Montford Estate Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect option here, especially as it showcases some lovely makrut lime flavours of its own.

BBQ  

With a bit more time on our hands with the lockdown, people are flocking to BBQ cooking which takes time and patience but results in decadent, melt in your mouth meats, with big bold smoky flavours. 

For brisket fans, you'll want to reach for a wine that is grunty enough to stand up to the juicy, salty, briny brisket flavours. Our Montford Estate Hawke's Bay Merlot-Cabernet is a match made in heaven.

If pork ribs are on the menu, Kate recommends an earthy, savoury Pinot Noir (our te Pa Pinot Noir or Koha Pinot Noir would both be stunning matches) and for white wine fans, try an off-dry Riesling like our te Pa 2020 Riesling, which can bounce off the ribs' smokey, chipotle type flavours. 

Seafood  

Like us, many of you seem to be massive seafood fans (yay). The most popular kaimoana being cooked during locked down is salmon, and prawns. Let's tackle these separately as they have very different flavour profiles and therefore, wine matches. 

For salmon, with its rich, unctuous texture, you want a wine that will cut through the fattiness, but still bring some lightness and fruit flavour to complement the fish. Our te Pa Rose, with its acclaimed strawberry flavours and crisp, dry finish, is divine when paired with salmon, whether cooked, hot smoked or cold smoked, or sashimi style. 

Next up - prawns. With their rich, sweet, slightly salty savoury flavour, prawns are incredibly versatile so it's no wonder they are a favourite lockdown dish. You can buy them fresh, frozen, or cooked, and they can be used in so many ways. Stir fry, curries, pasta, fried rice, noodles, prawns on the BBQ with butter, garlic and parsley, or even as a classic retro prawn cocktail, you name it, prawn (or shrimp) can go in it.

So the important question is, which wine is the best match for these juicy little things? Kate says that for prawns, you can't look past our flagship wine - our te Pa Sauvignon Blanc. With it's briny acidity, the Sauv will make your prawns really sing.

Salads

While some of us are trying to recreate our favourite takeaway treats like Big Macs, fish and chips, and sweet and sour pork - many of you have been making salads at home this lockdown. 

So let's take a classic rocket, pear and blue cheese salad. With the fresh sweetness of the pear, and the salty, pungent richness of the blue cheese, and the slightly peppery flavour of the rocket, a fragrant and lightly spiced Pinot Gris is the natural wine match.

Our te Pa Pinot Gris has lush, pear notes that would beautifully mirror the pear in the salad. Winemaker Kate says that because the wine is dry in style, this will help to cut through the richness of the blue cheese and make your salad the hero of the meal.

Curries 

Curry and spicy food in general can be a challenge to match wine with - but never fear, we've got you guys! Kate's recommendation for a curry is the Pa Road Pinot Gris - it's what we call a 'BYO banger' and what our wine friends in the USA would call a 'patio' or 'porch' pounder. Dry, deeply aromatic, and heaps of fun to drink, this is one of our favourite matches for lockdown. 

Nachos & Tacos

Quick, simple, and full of flavour, Mexican and Tex-Mex inspired dishes are proving very popular at home this lockdown. 

For beef or chicken nachos, Kate suggests our gorgeous new Montford Estate Central Otago Pinot Noir. The spicy, savoury characters of this wine will both support and stand up to the big, sometimes and challenging flavour of meat based nachos.

For a lighter dish, try beautiful fish tacos with a lime and avocado crema, with our bright and zingy te Pa 2020 Riesling - you won't regret it! 

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Who doesn't love a big, hearty bowl of perfectly al dente pasta, with rich and tangy beef or pork meatballs covered in a deep red tomato sauce on top? For this big dish, we need a big wine and like our BBQ brisket pairing, our Montford Estate Merlot-Cabernet offers a classic earthy match.

Lockdown baking favourites

Of course, no Covid lockdown food and wine pairing list would be complete without special mentions to sourdough and banana bread, which have apparently been baked by everyone in lockdown! 

For sourdough, Chardonnay is a perfect match. With its creamy, buttery, smoky notes, Chardonnay has enough weight and flavour to stand up to the heavy, addictive sourdough bread. Try our gorgeous new Montford Estate Chardonnay which is rich, ripe and full of flavours to complement the sourdough.

And for the sweet tooth bakers and wine lovers, we can't think of a better match than our te Pa 'Noble' Sauvignon Blanc dessert wine. With its sweet, honeyed notes, and balanced charred pineapple and lychee flavours, the Noble is ideal to be enjoyed with a thick slice of warm homemade banana bread with a smear of butter. 

Which will you try? 

So there you have it - our definitive list of lockdown dishes, and their ideal wine matches. 

We'd love to hear if you try any of these exciting and expertly made pairings in your bubble, and hope you will make use of this information when we're out of lockdown and you want to take your at-home cooking creations to the next level with some professional wine pairing ideas! 

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