Match of the week
Cherries (and plums) with Central Otago Pinot Noir
One of the standard ways of devising a wine pairing is to pick out flavours in the wine and put them in the accompanying dish. Not too much or it can cancel out the flavour of the wine but done with skill, as it was by chef Des Smith at The Hunting Lodge, it’s pretty impressive.
The dish was an unctuous chicken parfait served with deep red cherries that had been macerated in pinot and a sliced - and I think also lightly pickled - plum. Two fruit notes that chimed in perfectly with their Central Otago pinot. (And also pretty good, it has to be said with their rather delicious Lagrein, a grape variety of which there is a tiny amount in New Zealand.)
The fact that the pairing was about the fruit not the parfait was underlined by the fact that I had a similar dish at Tantalus Estate on Waiheke the day before - this time made with duck liver and accompanied by pear and ginger which went really well with their pinot gris, which like most in New Zealand is made more in the Alsace style.
Often a successful pairing is more about the accents in the dish not the core ingredient. A smooth rich parfait flatters pretty well everything (except perhaps sauvignon blanc and other acidic whites) - it's the fruit you put with it that suggests the match.
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