I prefer to buy New Zealand cheese and wine. We have such wonderful products here it seems a pity to buy imported. I recently bought some NZ wine from the Advintage Online Wine Store who – like many New Zealand wines – are based in the Hawkes Bay region. Advintage offer a range of wines including wines from NZ, Australia, France, Spain Italy, and USA.
What I liked about the Advintage website is you can easily sort wines by price, region and variety. They also have a few useful categories such as SPECIALS, CLASSICS or HIGH ROLLERS depending on how your shopping/drinking style.
Prices are per bottle or per case with good savings for both. I found it super cool that their case pricing applies to mixed cases. You don’t have to buy all the same wine take advantage of their case pricing, as long as you buy 12 bottles of any wine, you’ll pay the case rate.
I selected five New Zealand wines priced from $18-$22 on Advintage but actually retail at $24-$35 elsewhere. The wines I picked where ones that looked interesting to me and came from different categories. I’m not a white wine drinker so these are purposefully absent.
I then selected five New Zealand cheeses from The Dairy in Ponsonby Central to match the wines. The Dairy sell New Zealand cheeses only and their staff are both passionate and knowledgeable.
Wines are delivered overnight as long as you order before 4pm. The wines arrived in perfect condition, packed snug in a recycled winebox with cardboard spacers. There were no packing peanuts or extra wasteful packaging.
I invited five friends over for an afternoon of wine and cheese tasting. I presented the wines and cheeses from light to heavy and we tasted them in this order:
Squawking Magpie SQM Blanc de Blanc Brut, Hawkes Bay
St Benedict the Black
Squawking Magpie SQM Blanc de Blanc Brut has a few awards: Silver at the 2013 Bragato Wine Awards, Silver medal at the Air NZ Wine Awards, 4 stars CuisineWine, 5 stars Dish Magazine. It is a little sweet, a little creamy and citrusy. A very nice drink. The ladies loved this wine.
St Benedict the Black is a French Ashed Brie made from buffalo milk made by Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Co, Dairy Flat. Creamy with a strong mushroom flavour.
Was perfect! Best match of the day. Both were light and creamy with flavours that worked well together. I could eat this pairing all day.
The Squawking Magpie bubbles could also pair well with the Marin Blue due the unexpected creaminess of the blue.
Te Mata Estate Gamay Noir 2014, Hawkes Bay
Te Mata Estate Gamay Noir is a light wine, similar to a Beaujolais. Vibrant, young and berry-licious, this wine can be served at room temp or even lightly chilled in summer. The colour is red and smells sweet.
The Bureaucrat is a washed rind cows brie made by by Kaikoura Cheese, Kaikoura. Served cold it is mild, served at room temperature it is seriously stinky! I didn’t realise when I paired these, that washed rind brie is a “stinky” cheese. The brie I am used to is bloomy rind brie, which would have paired better with the Gamay Noir. My mistake!
Didn’t work for me. The cheese was too strong for the bright tasting wine. Although some of my friends thought the contrast was interesting.
The Bureaucrat starts off mild but as it comes to room temperature it becomes very stinky indeed. We loved this cheese at first, but as it got stinky the consensus was that it was too stinky. It developed bitter notes and the oozy texture while interesting, wasn’t to our taste.
The Bureaucrat would be better matched with a merlot or syrah. The Te Mata Estate Gamay Noir would pair beautifully with a bloomy rind brie a nutty maasdam or any mild cheese.
Big Villa Reserve, Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
Very Old Edam
Big Villa Reserve Pinot Noir is an Advintage brand wine and a classic tasting pinot noir with a lean towards the bolder side.
Very Old Edam won the Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese 2012, 2013 and 2014. A cows milk edam aged for at least 10 months made by Mahoe Cheese, Keri Keri. Savoury with hints of sweet and creamy, the crystals in the cheese from aging gave it a delightful texture. The Very Old Edam was hands down our favourite cheese.
Was great! The cheese was really robust without being stinky and would easily pair well with any pinot noir, merlot, syrah or red blend.
Big Villa Reserve Pinot Noir was quite heavy for a pinot noir and would pair well with robust cheeses such as The Bureaucrat or the Raw Gouda.
Mission Estate Reserve Merlot 2013, Hawkes Bay
Mission Estate Reserve Merlot 2013 has a few awards: Gold medal at the 2014 NZ International Wine Show, double gold medal at the 2014 Six Nations Wine Challenge, blue gold medal at the 2014 Sydney International Wine Comp. Red wine drinkers love this wine.
Raw Gouda is a vegetarian friendly Gouda-style cheese made from certified organic goats milk made
by Aroha Organic Goat Cheese, Te Aroha. A hard cheese with an unmistakeable goaty flavour. Fragrant and not too salted, this cheese would be great for cooking with or on a salad.
A good pairing. Both the Raw Gouda and the Mission Estate Reserve Merlot have strong qualities and work well together.
Crossroads Milestone Syrah 2012, Hawkes Bay
Crossroads Milestone Syrah 2012 won a gold medal at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards. This wine had deep plum notes and would be great with venison, beef, lamb or pizza.
Marin Blue is a creamy buffalo blue cheese made by by Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Co, Dairy Flat. Surprisingly, this cheese was one of my favourites. Important to note that this cheese is loved by those who do not like classic blue cheeses, but not strong enough for blue cheese lovers. Consider this a good “gateway cheese”.
Not a match. Marin Blue was too creamy for the Crossroads Milestone Syrah which was very full flavoured.
The Marin Blue would pair better with the Te Mata Estate Gamay Noir or even the Squawking Magpie bubbles.
The Crossroads Milestone Syrah would be great with the Very Old Edam or the stinkiest cheese in our trial: The Bureaucrat.
I hope you enjoyed this little insight into some New Zealand wines and cheese pairings.
A big thank you to Advintage for sponsoring this post.
I’ll leave you with some photos from our wine and cheese tasting. Good times had by all.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Advintage Online Wine Store but does not reflect their opinion. All photography and thoughts are my own (and of my friends).
Yum, this is so good! You’ve made me quite hungry 🙂
Just hungry? Not thirsty too?
you got me at wine……and cheese….
This looks amazing, I love the table setting! there is something about chalk and blackboards for wine pairings that gets me everytime.
Me too. I think designers have a thing for blackboards in general. Somehow they make everything look cool.
What great pairings!
OMG. We need to be friends. #iheartcheese 😉 But in all seriousness – this looks amazing! Beautiful post Genie! x
Thanks Ari. That means a lot. I always love your posts. Yes, we should be friends. Any friend of cheese and good food is a friend of mine.
Ohh what an awesome night out with friends, definitely something that I would love to do. The bubbles and ashed brie would be my favorite to try i think.
What an incredible spread, LOVE that chalkboard table, so clever! What’s in the plastic container 😉?
Hi Eva, great question. My friend made a dukkah dip to go with the ciabatta. It had lots of seeds in it so I didn’t want to transfer it into a ceramic bowl in case I lost a lot of the seeds that were at the bottom. The table is just a couple of sheets of black paper and silver pen. It made clean up a breeze because let’s face it, after 5+ bottles of wine and a pile of food, there are always a few crumbs.
Looks like it was a lot of fun! Loved the way you presented the pairings, beautiful presentation!
Thanks Susan! I had a lot of fun letting my inner creative out with this. Glad you enjoyed it too.
i LOVE your graphics and the chalkboard table setting! looks like a lot of fun. i wish i lived closer to NZ 😉
Thanks Alice! Could you not do a similar thing pairing 5 Cali wines with 5 Cali cheeses?
of course! they do say that happy cows come from california, and we do have multiple regions of wine country. but kiwi stuff sounds cooler. 😉
Did you do the graphics here? I love it, gorgeous!
Thanks Sofia. Yep I photographed all the cheese and wine and spun some Photoshop wizardry, then experimented with fonts. Had lots of fun with this one.
LOVE your pictures!
Spot on, I am loving tasting my way around the Hawkes Bay! So many good wineries here!
I bet there’s also some damn fine food there too, Ash 🙂