New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is a favorite “go to wine.” Its crisp acidity and characteristic “green flavors” pair well with the produce I buy at my local farmers’ markets and the lighter foods I cook and eat. It is no wonder while living in California, with a focus on vegetables and sunshine, I became addicted to drinking Sauvignon Blanc. With the harvest of late summer vegetables here in Atlanta, I paired a 2018 Nautilus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with Citrus Marinated Chicken Breasts and heirloom tomatoes, green beans and a new favorite, pink-eyed pea relish.
This month the Wine Pairing Weekend group is taking a virtual trip to New Zealand to taste some wines down under and explore food pairings with New Zealand wines. Join us on Twitter Saturday, August 10th at 11:00 AM ET as we share and chat about all things New Zealand food and wine. (follow the conversation using hashtag #winepw)
Marlborough New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough is located in the northeast tip of the South Island. The climate is cool with a maritime influence; no vineyards are more than 80 miles from the sea. Most of the vineyards are planted in the flat plains or on the gentle hill slopes. The soils range from clay, volcanic rock, to a fertile river-basin mix. The terroir allows the grapes a consistent long growing season resulting in wines that are elegant and express true varietal flavors.
Marlborough is the premier wine-growing region in New Zealand. 60% of all NZ vineyards are in Marlborough, and 90% of all Sauvignon Blanc produced in NZ is from Marlborough.
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is like none other. Quoting Karen MacNeil author of “The Wine Bible.”
(Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is) …explosive yet taut, they evoke a spectrum of fresh greens: limes, wild herbs, watercress, gooseberries, green olives, green figs, green tea, green melons, plus a host of green vegetables from snow peas to green beans.
But Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand often exhibits flavors beyond those “green flavors,” with hints of exotic tropical fruits like mango, passion fruit, and papaya.
My Tasting Notes
Disclosure: The wine was provided to me as a media sample. All opinions are my own.
2018 Nautilus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand
12.5% abv | $20 SRP (Sample) | 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Nautilus Estate, located in Marlborough, is a small family-owned wine estate established in 1985. Their approach to making wine is to blend grapes from select vineyards to reflect diverse flavors and add layers of complexity to their wines. All their wines are sustainably produced and vegan-friendly.
Grapes were machine-harvested at night and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Some of the fermentation tanks were started with non-saccharomyces yeasts for texture and complexity and the remaining tanks with aromatic yeasts for aromatic intensity. The wine was sur-lie aged for five months providing a creaminess and integration of flavors.
Pale straw in color with a slightly green hue. Medium-bodied and acidity. An aromatic nose of fresh green grass, herbs, and passion fruit. On the palate, balanced, refreshing acidity with notes of lemon-lime, saline with an underlying smooth texture.
The Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc paired with citrus-marinated chicken breasts complements the fresh citrusy flavors in the marinade. The late summer vegetables; heirloom tomatoes with a nice balance of acidity, green beans and the herbs in the pink-eyed relish all enhance those same characteristics found in the wine. The smooth, creamy texture of the pink-eyed peas highlights the creamy texture noted in the wine from the sur-lie aging. Overall the weight, textures, and flavors in the wine and food make this a foolproof pairing.
Citrus Marinated Chicken Breasts with Pink-Eyed Pea Relish
- 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut in half lengthwise for 6 chicken breast cutlets
- 1/4+ cup extra-virgin olive oil + more for sautéing the cutlets.
- 1-1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
- 1 pinch kosher sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large resealable plastic bag, add 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Add the chicken breast cutlets and mix and massage the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours, turn the bag half way through the marinating time.
- When you are ready to sauté the cutlets, heat a large frying pan with enough extra virgin oil to coat the bottom of the pan and place over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken cutlets in batches and sauté for 5-6 minutes, turning after 3 minutes and adjusting the heat down to medium.
- Serve with pink-eyed pea relish. Recipe follows.
Pink-Eyed Pea Relish
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 cups pink-eyed peas, cooked
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup mix of fresh parsley, cilantro, and chives
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- slat and pepper
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the shallot, garlic, and white wine vinegar for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix gentle to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
For more New Zealand food and wine pairing ideas check out my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers and their articles.
Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be making Hāngī in a Dutch Oven + Gimblett Gravels Malbec 2017
Linda of My Full Wine Glass will be posting New NZ wine, old Sicilian dish (#WinePW)
Jane of Always Ravenous will be pairing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Fresh Flavors of Late Summer
Cindy of Grape Experiences will show how to Beat the Heat with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Chilled Cucumber Soup with Mint
Gwen at Wine Predator will be pairing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Zesty Arugula Kale Pesto Pizza and Salad #WinePW
Jennifer of Vino Travels Italy demonstrates Seeing the Potential of North Canterbury, NZ at Mt. Beautiful Winery
David of Cooking Chat will be pairing Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings will be serving New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pan-fried Chinese Potstickers
Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm will be Discovering New Zealand Wines
Sandra of Wine Thoughts will be taking A Tropical Staycation with Spy Valley E Block
Cynthia and Pierre of Traveling Wine Profs will be sipping New Zealand Chardonnay with a view of… The Pyrenees #WinePW
Rupal the Syrah Queen will be drinking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Grilled Mediterranean Swordfish
Nicole at Somms Table will be sharing Memories of New Zealand’s South Island with Waipapa Bay Wines.
Our host for this month, Lori of Exploring the Wine Glass, is thankful that Humans May Only Be 5%, But They Make Great Wine #WinePW