Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a Tropical Salsa with Halibut

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Yes this is one of my “off California wines” for the month of October. Why? It is important to understand what are the main differences between Sauvignon Blanc in the USA (specifically Northern California) verses New Zealand?  Briefly, in Northern California it tends to be more fruit aromatic with minerality notes with the sharp citrus taking a second row. Over the years, wineries either pushed the fruit-forwardness or lowered it with barrel aging. Others push the citrus flavors along with floral bouquets.

In New Zealand the grapes come mostly from the southern island of New Zealand. Here the Sauvignon Blanc tends to be herbaceous and fruit forward with decidedly tropical fruit flavors dominating the palate. Authorities in New Zealand claim their sandy soils impart good drainage causing the grapes to grow fuller-bodied and more fruit-forward. Yet once you taste a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the sharp acidity and citrus produces a love it or leave it demarcation. It is critical to understand what food you are pairing the Sauvignon Blanc with. I always keep Sauvignon Blanc’s from both Northern California and New Zealand on hand depending on food choices.

The Wine

Matua started producing Sauvignon Blanc in 1974 as the first winery in New Zealand in the Marlborough area. Today, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is world famous for its unique, fresh flavors, lime zest and lemongrass. They use grapes from all over Marlborough to provide a blend of extremely crisp tropical flavors from the entire region. This is an “inexpensive” wine but when looking for a crisp citrusy wine, it is always a “go to” wine.

The Food and Wine Pairing

Bought a fresh piece of Halibut today and decided prepare it with a tropical salsa. The salsa consisted of fresh diced pineapple, red bell pepper, purple onion, mango, cilantro, lime peel, crushed red pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Marinated for 1 ½ hours in the refrigerator. The Halibut was marinated in olive oil, lime juice and granulated chicken flavor bouillon for thirty minutes. Then cooked in a skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side. Topped off with the salsa and a side of flavored rice. Pairing the tropical salsa with the citrus and tropical wine was spot on for a beautiful food and wine pairing.




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