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Thursday, 7 July 2022

Crisp White and Big Red - Antipodean-Style

Three antipodean wines: Crisp Whites and Big Red from the other side of the planet

I've said it many times, Crisp White and Big Red is the classing pairing for almost any meal - begin with something refreshing and zippy as an aperitif-cum-starter wine before moving on to a bigger red to go with a meaty main course. It's food and wine matching 101.

In Europe, you can take your pick from red and white Burgundy, Chablis and Rioja or even a couple of Loires.

Here is a southern hemisphere version of the same pairing, with classic New Zealand Sauvignon and an unusual Australian Tempranillo.

White: New Zealand

Nelson is New Zealand’s sunshine capital where the Seifried family have been crafting their art for nearly 50 years. Today, Seifried Estate is devoted to sustainable winegrowing and producing the very best Nelson has to offer.

Classic South Sauvignon Blanc 2021 and Seifried Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2021 from Nelson are more restrained and balanced than its famous Marlborough cousins. These wines are brimming with everything great about New Zealand Sauvignon and bursting with bright fruit, balanced by the delicate, mineral freshness resulting from sunny vineyards, on the shores of the Tasman Sea.

The Seifried family have more than 320 hectares of estate-grown vineyards across 10 properties in the Nelson region.

The vineyards relevant to these two wines are Brightwater, 15 kilometres from the coast and sheltered from the south by the Richmond Ranges. Here, the vines grow in rocks and boulders, which, although hard on the farm machinery, are key to holding the warmth of Nelson’s sun and for ripening the grapes. 

Queen Victoria Vineyard is known for its apple orchards, kiwi and hops, and the grapes grow on stony free draining soils giving the fruit clarity and varietal intensity.

Redwood Valley Vineyard is on a gently sloping, north facing clay site where the vines range from 10 to 30 years old and enjoy maximum exposure to sunlight for intensity and optimal ripeness.

Seifried Estate was established by Austrian-born Hermann Seifried and his Kiwi wife Agnes when they planted their first vineyard in the Moutere Valley near Nelson, in 1973, establishing themselves as pioneers of modern winegrowing in New Zealand’s South Island.

Hermann and Agnes still oversee the business which has grown to include the whole family. Son Chris and daughter Heidi are qualified winemakers, and daughter Anna oversees sales and marketing.

Seifried Estate wines are marketed in 26 countries around the world and 60% of Seifried Estate’s wine production and export is Sauvignon Blanc.

Classic South Sauvignon Blanc 2021, (£10.99, Waitrose)

Classic South Sauvignon Blanc is sustainably made and vegan-friendly from Seifried’s Brightwater, Queen Victoria, and Redwood Valley Vineyards.

2021 was a cooler year than normal in Nelson, with a warm run of weather just as the fruit was ripening and during harvest, resulting in delicate aromas and bright acidity. 

expressive lifted aromatics with lemongrass, lime zest, green herbs, tropical fruits, florality and white pepper; citrus, grapefruit and lime marmalade with white stone fruits, melon and pineapple; hints of spicy pungent muskiness; good underpinnings.

Drinks nicely on first opening; gains complexity with aeration.


Match with herby foods such as mozzarella with basil, tomatoes with rosemary or saltimbocca.

Also reviewed by Tom Cannavan here:

Seifried Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2021, (£14.99, Waitrose)

Seifried Estate Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes from the Brightwater and Queen Victoria Vineyards; they were destemmed and pressed immediately after harvest and cool fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain the clean aromatic fruit characters. 

2021 was a cracker vintage in Nelson, albeit the yields were devastatingly light due to spring frost, unsettled flowering weather and Boxing Day hail. 

citrus and lemongrass with minty chives and white pepper; saline and savoury with grapefruit, citrus, acacia blossom, white stone fruits, white pepper and creamy brazil nut; saline and complex.


Match with ham hock terrine and parsley or monkfish with a herby broth. 

Red: Australia

Running with Bulls is an Australian wine made from Tempranillo, the main grape variety of Rioja. It’s not a traditional variety in Australia but has proven to love it here, and with its feet firmly planted in Barossa soil, it has adapted well.

The ideal warmer climate of the region helps to showcase the stylish fruit flavours of this emerging variety and produce some promising wines such as this one.

The Hill-Smith family created the Running with Bulls collection back in 2008, unapologetically bucking tradition to produce a wine that was not only new, but brilliant. Running with Bulls is a well-priced Australian interpretation of a Mediterranean classic.

Running with Bulls Tempranillo (£8, Tesco, Co-op)

Barossa-grown Tempranillo is fermented with wild yeasts indigenous to the vineyards, followed by a wild malolactic fermentation in tank which brings out the fruity character and lovely tannins.

dark berry and cherry fruits with spice and wild herbs; juicy plums and black fruits with cocoa, cinnamon and cola; concentrated, fresh and supple with gentle tannins.

Well made and thoroughly enjoyable

Served lightly chilled as a summer garden sipper or match with a range of Mediterranean foods such as pizza, paella, antipasti or mezze.


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