It's now the middle of winter and we are more inclined to think rich, warming red wines - but what of our favourite white varieties? Should they be left to languish in the cupboard, cellar or wine rack until the temperatures start to climb?
We thought it was time to explore some really good wine and food matches that are comforting for winter, and accommodate the examples we review this week.
Sauvignon blanc is fresh, crisp, bright and breezy - so how do we turn these flavours into something satisfying for the winter table? It's easy if Bluff oysters, which are dredged between March and August, are your idea of a delicacy. Sauvignon blanc is the ideal partner whether you prefer them raw or cooked; if deep fried oysters are the ticket, the crisp acidity of sauvignon blanc will cut through the fat nicely.
Other foods that pair well with sauvignon blanc include chicken, pork and scallops, especially if prepared with a lighter touch and include apple or citrus sauces and/or dressings.
Chardonnay is an absolute gift for winter, and is a great friend to those who cannot drink red wine. The best chardonnays (in our opinion) are full-bodied, full-flavoured, rich and proudly show off a dash of oak. They go well with food that is roasted, grilled or sauteed.
Team chardonnay with chicken or pork either roasted or grilled. Chardonnay enhances tuna, crayfish and scallops and will go with beef or lamb providing it's prepared in a lighter style.
As for vegies, chardonnay is lovely with parsnip, pumpkin, silver beet and even avocado.
Gewurztraminer with its inherent spiciness is another natural for warming winter dishes. Chicken, fish and turkey are naturals - and if you want to go Indian or Chinese - stick to chicken and fish dishes for best pairings. Pork in a spicy south East Asian sauce works well too.
Pinot gris is a textural wine - its flavours tend to be lighter so team it with white fish such as terakihi or gurnard, chicken, ham or veal. It also goes well with light pasta dishes and antipasto.
A white winter . . . now all we need is snow, lots of lovely snow!
Stoneleigh Latitude Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($27.99) We reviewed this wine a couple of weeks back but - oops, the wrong bottle shot appeared. As it's a very good wine, we feel a correction is necessary so here we are . . .
The lifted aroma is breezy with soft tropical notes, notably pineapple with interleaved notes of warm cut grass.
The gooseberry and capsicum palate is crisp to start, rounding out with clean passionfruit notes and finishing crisply with citrus. It's a delicious combination that will have wide appeal and go well with grilled pork chops served with a pork and pineapple stirfry.
Lawson's Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($20.00) Vibrant, lifted and enticing are words to sum up the aroma. Gooseberry, freshly cut grass and melon notes set the scene.
A lovely, fleshy wine with a blend of creamy and crisp notes. Concentrated, deeply flavoured with plenty of lime and tropical notes. The integrated, full-bodied palate is textured with an overlay of apple/citrus notes from start to finish. Tomato leaf aromatics add interest and soft minerality ensures the finish is refreshingly dry.
A delightful wine, oozes class and just waiting to be enjoyed.
Wild South Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 ($19.99) Nectarine and vanilla biscuit, dry straw and some very light spice combine in this soft, subtle aroma.
There's plenty of peaches and cream flavour with a juiciness that's appealing. The wine finishes crisply and adds a full stop to the line of crisp citrus acidity, typical of Marlborough chardonnays, that runs across the palate.
Easy to drink and perfect teamed with some of the lighter food choices mentioned above.
Aronui Nelson SV Gewurztraminer 2013 ($21.95) The delightful light rose-scented Turkish delight aroma, notes of guava, lychee and a soft talcum powdery whiff.
The silky palate has typical ginger spiciness and rose Turkish delight flavour. Aromatic and fruity, there's some ripe tropical notes here along with a gentle hint of honey towards the finish.
Not a really intense gewurztraminer, so it will find favour with many and go with the foods we list above. Medium-dry in style and oh so easy to enjoy.
Invivo Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013 ($21.90) Very fragrant aroma, broad tropical and lychee notes. Some savouriness and a rich dash of prune.
The tingly acid spine supports pear and ripe apple fruitiness. Soda-like minerality adds interest to this medium bodied, softly textured wine. There's good palate weight and a leanness of style that makes for enjoyable, easy drinking.
Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Gris 2013 ($25.00) Another pinot gris from the Gladstone line-up, not to be confused with the 12000 miles we reviewed a few weeks back.
The aroma is fleshy and ripe with fruit salad notes that are rich, supported by a savouriness that is almost meaty.
The palate is European in style; it has a slight earthiness, dry with fresh figs, and spiciness.
Of course there's also lots of lovely, sweet, ripe peachiness that washes across the palate. This well- crafted wine finishes with excellent definition and some off-dry lychee flavour. A really lovely full-bodied wine to be savoured.
- The Marlborough Express