Top drops under $20 (and over) and wine news from Joelle Thomson

Category: Food

For Heaven’s sake…

Pizza and wine can be a match made you know where, so why is decent  quality wine often in short supply at many pizzerias?
“It often seems like an after thought but it doesn’t have to be because it’s easy to create a drinks list that is fun and low key without being pretentious or overly complicated,” said Daniel Dew of Regional Wines & Spirits, when he launched a new wine list he had curated at Heaven Woodfire Pizza in Wellington last Monday.

He launched the new wine list at the Cuba Street pizzeria because the venue has new owners and is having a refresh.

Dew is the go to guy at Regional Wines & Spirits for the restaurant and bar trade. He is charged with the task of creating interesting wine and beverage lists for cafes, bars and restaurants around town, as well as providing information to them.

It sounds like a fun job, but ticking the boxes of affordability, availability and appealability can be an extremely challenging one, so Dew’s role is, like most jobs, part creative solution, part pragmatic reality.  He invited me to co host last Monday’s tasting, at which we talked about taste, personal preferences and classic matches.

Pizza and wine stand outs

Fresh green flavours, refreshing high acidity and a medium body made the Soho Reserve Stella Sauvignon Blanc a sublime match with the fresh green herb flavours in the seafood marinara pizza.

Montepulciano and meat…

The 2010 Tenuta Ulisse Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a velvety, full bodied red from central Italy, which proved popular with the regulars at Heaven last last month; it also matched beautifully with the pancetta and pepperoni pizza – the meaty flavours worked well with the crisp savoury wood fired pizza base and its slivers of savoury-sweet protein on top. I personally enjoyed this wine and the pizza it was matched to, but it also matched because of its complementary flavours.

Chardonnay with salmon and cream cheese…

The 2016 Tony Bish Fat n Sassy Chardonnay is a big, buttery, full bodied wine that matched decadently well with the salmon and cream cheese pizza – a hedonistic, richly flavoured dish. It was a case of like with like, and it worked, for those who love the creamy intensity of the dish. I found this incredibly rich and found myself opting for the vegetable pizza, preferring its savouriness with the other red wines that Dan included on the new list.

The new Heaven Woodfire Pizza wine list will launch this month:

Beach House Merlot Cabernet Franc

Soho Stella Sauvignon Blanc

Greystone Pinot Gris

Tony Bish Fat n Sassy Chardonnay

Te Tera Kiritea Pinot Noir

Tenuta Ulisse Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Blackenbrook Pinot Rosé


 The cellar wine list is made up entirely of Italian vino and features:

Pieropan Soave Classico

Punset Barbera d’Alba

Leone di Castris Salice Salentino

Maretti Langhe Rosso

Rocca delle Macie Tenuta Sant’Alfonzo Chianti Classico

Umani Ronchi Cumaro Conero Riserva

Lamborghini Campoleone Umbria IGT

Need new wines on your list?

Contact Dan Dew at Regional Wines & Spirits, phone 027 250 0009

If world politics tire you, how about…

If world politics are getting you down, here’s something light and tasty to look forward to this summer in the small town of Martinborough, an hour and a quarter’s drive from Wellington city – Palliser Estate has all day casual platters by local chef Jo Crabb.

Pip Goodwin, the new Palliser chief honcho at Palliser Estate says the winery’s outdoors have been re-designed by landscape architect Hamish Moorehead. Visitors to the winery can now enjoy sitting outdoors enjoying not only the wines but Crabb’s French-inspired platters to go with them. Each plate is matched with a wine and a dessert.

Palliser Estate is open for tastings 7 days a week from 10.30am to 4pm at 96 Kitchener Street, Martinborough, phone 06 306 9019. 

Fast food that works

Sydney based TV chef, award winning food writer and author Lyndey Milan will host two cooking classes at the NZ School of Food & Wine this September to empower people to make great tasting, home cooked meals from fresh ingredients – without spending a fortune or long periods of time in the kitchen.

“One of the recipes is – don’t drop dead of shock – porcini mushroom risotto which is cooked in the microwave. It will make you wealthier than cooking it on the stovetop because it takes less power and it does taste fantastic,” says Milan, who insists that she only simplifies technique when it does not compromise taste.

“Everybody is busy. It’s a matter of getting food on the plate that’s delicious and enjoyable to cook and share, while using good ingredients – my great belief when it comes to food is that it’s all about the shopping – buying fresh food and quality ingredients.”

Lyndey was born into a family that lived and breathed hospitality – “There was always room for one more at the table when I was growing up and when I did a double major in History and Fine Arts at the University of Sydney, I cooked and entertained a lot because I loved preparing food and its social aspects.”

This laid the groundwork for her future career as a chef, caterer and food communicator in magazine columns, regular radio slots, books and her own TV company, all of which began when she pitched for and won a catering contract at the advertising agency she worked for, after having her first child.

Lyndey Milan’s book, Taste of Australia, won Best TV Chef Cookbook in the World (in English) & Best Culinary Travel book in Australia at The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2014 (Hardie Grant 2014), going on to win third place at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair’s Best of the Best for the last 20 years.

In 2014 she received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to food, wine, hospitality and the community.

The cooking classes are at the third Wine and Food Celebration in Auckland at the NZ School of Food & Wine from Saturday 10 to Monday 12 September.


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