Match of the week | Seared tuna with sesame and 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah

Match of the week

Seared tuna with sesame and 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah

My final meal in New Zealand last week was also one of the most impressive of my recent trip: lunch at the award-winning Elephant Hill winery in Hawkes Bay.

It’s a stunning building with a tasting area at the front and a large light restaurant at the back overlooking the vineyards. The food and plating too is spectacular - everything I ordered looked amazing.

I dithered over which course to highlight - the prawns and sauvignon blanc pairing of my first course was spot on too but decided to go for the more unusual match of seared tuna with syrah. I don’t think this means any syrah would work - Hawkes Bay syrah - especially young syrah like the Elephant Hill 2013* which is co-fermented with a small amount of viognier - has a particular spicy, peppery character reminiscent of the northern Rhone but with softer, riper fruit. You could even chill it lightly though they don’t seem to go in for chilling reds much in New Zealand. Frankly I’d expected their pinot (which comes from Central Otago) would be the star match but the syrah eclipsed it - maybe because the tuna was really rare - more like steak than fish.

The other wine I particularly liked from Elephant HIll which I think would make a fantastic match for Indian food is the 2013 Le Phant Blanc - an unusual just under 50/50 blend of pinot gris and viognier with a dash of gewurztraminer. Gymkhana in London is selling it by the glass.

*UK stockists such as 31 Dover which currently has it on offer for £14.99 or Winetrust 100 still seem to be on the 2010

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