Lauraine Jacobs

Food Writer and Author of Delicious Books

Wines to drink

19 May 2010


I was delighted when Belinda Jackson, a wine consultant from Marlborough, was paired with me on stage at the Wellington Food Show this past weekend to match my food with wines. Great, as a glass or two of wine is an important part of any meal I eat. And Belinda thinks as I do, that the wine that matches your food best is the wine you really want to drink. (Don’t tell that to my husband as that would mean only big Shiraz and Chardonnays forever on our table.) That said, there are wines that will certainly enhance food better than others. It is really all about weight. To explain that; match light food with light wines, and serve heavier style wines with more robust dishes. We only had 45 minutes, three dishes to cook from scratch, and three wines to talk about. But we managed brilliantly, and Belinda was able to catch her plane home 45 minutes later!

First up was my fennel, lemon and olive tart. Belinda had chosen the Te Whare Ra Pinot Gris 2009, grown and made in Marlborough. I can shy away from Pinot Gris as you never quite know what you might get. Some are oily, some are overly sweet but the best are aromatic, slightly dry and have a wonderful mouth filling appeal that lasts and lasts. The Te Whare Ra team are passionate about white aromatic wines and this was lovely. A wine that stood out from the crowd and could be drunk as an aperitif, or to accompany my tart perfectly. As it did.

Next up, I showcased pork medallions on a warm salad of spicy chickpeas, beetroot and spinach with a horseradish dressing. As Belinda said, a very complex dish with lots of competing flavours. She stepped up with Passage Rock Syrah 2008 from Waiheke Island. This wine, year after year, deservedly is favourably noticed by the wine writers, and wins medals and awards in many competitions. It is dark, spicy and totally engaged with the pork. I might have to purchase some for the husband.

To finish I had rounded up some of the artisan products from the show, and threw together two light, fruity desserts with fresh seasonal Doyenne du Comice pears. The first featured artisan honey and creamy yogurt, and the second included Lemon Z ice cream and limoncello. The Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2009 was light, very fruity, not cloying at all and the sort of wine that you could easily drink without overpowering the delicate dessert. Good work, Belinda, and please come and choose wine for my food anytime. (All recipes are on the recipe page )

And if the wine and food matching on stage wasn’t enough, we found the most scintillating wine to match our seafood at Mark Limacher’s new Ortega Fish Shack when we ate there in Wellington on Friday night. We ordered oysters, fish cakes, squid and snapper and accompanied these fishy treats with a bottle of Domaine de l’Aurière Muscadet 2006 from Sevres et Main in France’s Loire region. It was crisp with nice acidity and lovely gentle flavours. Just right for seafood and a nice change for our kiwi palates!