During a recent trip to New Zealand, I was lucky to be hosted by Quentin Quilder, at his Wild Earth vineyard in Central Otago. We stock their fantastic Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2009, which at £18.99 is as good a NZ Pinot Noir as you are likely to find. Below is a bit about the winery that I learnt during my visit, followed by some tasting notes on this great wine and then 3 fantastic recipes for beautiful dishes as recommended by Quentin, that match perfectly with this Pinot.
Back in 1998 Quintin Quider and his family were living on Stewart Island, a natural wilderness and conservation sanctuary at the southernmost tip of New Zealand. Along with fishing and diving he was a keen pinot noir fan and when offered a patch of bare land at the end of Felton Road in Bannockburn, Central Otago, he knew it would be perfect for a vineyard.
What he didn’t know was that ten years later the 2006 vintage pinot noir would be awarded the Trophy for Best Red Wine and Champion Pinot Noir at the world’s largest wine competition, the International Wine Challenge in London. These awards, along with four other trophies that same year, endorsed a string of gold medals won for every vintage up to then. To be named Top Pinot Noir in 2009 by Cuisine magazine for the 2007 vintage was further encouragement.
A small but dedicated team, the sole aim of Wild Earth is to create the finest pinot noir possible. They're working with young vines, planted from 1999 - 2001 that are already showing incredibly exciting potential.
Alongside the real pleasure of harvesting superb grapes at the end of the season is the enjoyment of cooking a meal at dusk over an open fire next to the Kawarau River. They cast a line for trout from the bottom of the vineyard and the wild rabbit and thyme aren't hard to find. Wild Earth wines are the perfect match.
I was lucky enough to be treated to a six dish food and wine pairing which was absolutely amazing. We sat outside by the river drinking wine and discussing the cooking techniques with Quintin, who was so helpful and loved to share his adoration of food and wine with us. From octopus, to lamb and honey glazed carrots and salmon, everything was delicious and the outdoor seating was perfect for a day in the sun.
Quintin prides himself on using home grown organic ingredients as much as possible in his restaurant and at the end of our visit he took us to an area in his vineyard where he grows all the fruit and vegetables used in his restaurant, even treating us to a bag of his own home-grown potatoes! They kept us going on our travels!
We stock the wonderful Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2009, and I was lucky enough to get some perfect recipes from Quintin that perfectly complement this wonderful wine, which got the following review from Robert Parker's website;
90 points by eRobertParker.com
"Medium ruby-purple in color, the 2009 Pinot Noir has slightly closed warm cherry, mulberry and spice aromas with some dark chocolate and salami hints. Medium bodied with fine tannins, it has a refreshing acid backbone supporting the concentrated fruit, finishing long. Drinking now, it should cellar through 2015."
Lisa Perrotti-Brown for eRobertParker.com
Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Most of the grapes for this wine came from the Terraces Vineyards in Felton Road (Bannockburn) and the rest from Wild Earth’s Lowburn Vineyard. The Bannockburn vineyard is composed of predominantly Dijon clone vines and the Lowburn is planted mainly in clones five and six.
The 2009 season was exceptional, with perfect conditions for a small crop. Budburst occurred in late October. November and December were cold and frosty, yet dry. This resulted in the vines cropping low but with a successful flowering, producing small, uniform and disease free bunches. January and February were cool with below average temperatures. Little irrigation was needed resulting in smaller than normal berries. Conditions remained cool, allowing extended hang time, perfect for a small crop. Ripe fruit was hand harvested throughout April.
Several fermentations were undertaken for this blend from different clones. 90% of the fruit was de-stemmed, pressed, settled, and fermented slowly in open top stainless steel tanks. The other 10% was fermented whole. The must was left for five days on cold soak and lightly pumped over once a day. The fermenters were warmed and inoculated with yeast to ferment the wines till dry. The wines were plunged twice a day and the fermenters peaked at 32°C. The wines spent three to four weeks on the skin to extract optimum colour, tannin and aromatics. The wines were gently drained, pressed and tank settled for three days, then racked to French oak barriques (30% new). Malolactic fermentation took place in the barrels in December. The wine was racked out of barrel and blended in March, then settled in tank through autumn, filtered in July and bottled in October.
Deep red with purple-red hues. Red and dark cherry, black liquorice and musky oak. The palate is full with ripe black cherry, plum, orange peel and cassis, supple tannins and a lingering finish.
The first recipe that Quintin gave me was for BBQ Lamb with Cauliflower Mash and Roasted Mushrooms. Below is
When matching food to wine I don’t like to use specific flavours of that wine in your food. Rather I use foods linked to those flavours, so when you drink the wine with your food they enhance each other.
900 grams lamb rump
100ml red wine preferably Pinot Noir
50ml Japanese Soy Sauce
50ml Dijon Mustard
1 tbl Black Current concentrate (optional but added touch)
30 ml Olive oil
2 stalks of fresh thyme.
Mix all ingredients and marinate lamb for at least 2 hours. BBQ on a grill on low or roast in oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until lamb is medium rare.
Let stand for 20 minutes.
6 medium spuds, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
50 ml cream
sprinkle of Parmesan
Salt to taste.
Boil potatoes, cauliflower and garlic till soft. Mash through a fine sieve for super smooth. Melt butter and add cream to butter. Mix into spuds till creamy. Salt to taste.
Bake stuffed mushrooms
6 Portabella mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
crushed zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl Balsamic
3tbl olive oil
Handful of Parmesan.
Chop out trunk of mushroom and divide all ingredients evenly over inside of mushroom sprinkling the Parmesan last. Bake in barrel or oven at 180 for 20 minutes. Carve lamb against the grain into 1 cm thick slices. Serve with the cauliflower mash and baked mushrooms.
Normally I would make a red wine reduction sauce to go with the lamb, which takes a few hours to make properly. However the Dark Cherries, Plums along with the Mocha and mushroom floor in Wild Earth 2009 Pinot Noir marry perfectly with the meat. In this case Wild Earth replaces the reduction sauce and becomes part of your meal.
A second recipe is for Spanish Paella, the Wild Earth Way
Anything with seafood I love of course, but when I heard traditional Paella is cooked with rabbit, well, the light bulb went on. The Wild Earth 2009 matches perfectly with the rabbit and seafood.
1 large onion
3 celery sticks
salt to taste
4 cloves of garlic
2 KG rabbit or chicken carcass
1 400gr tin of tomato
1 bottle of red wine.
Roughly chop all the veg. Lightly sauté in olive oil till soft. Add the rabbit pieces and sauté till brown. Add the tin of tomatoes then the bottle of wine. Bring to boil and cook for five minutes. Add water till ingredients are covered. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Strain stock and discard solids. Shell and de-vein prawns. Add the shells and heads to stock. If the heads are black discard. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain stock again and discard solids
3 sweet tomatoes
2 red peppers
3 cloves of garlic
1 small Fennel bulb
1 cayenne pepper
Zest of 1 lime
1 tbl paprika
1 tsp New Mexico chili powder
1 tsp fresh wild thyme
salt and pepper
400g Calamari strips
6 rabbit back straps cut into 1 inch pieces
6 rabbit Maryland
3 cups of rice
1 cup of red wine
6 cups of rabbit stock
A pinch of saffron in the stock
Smoke the tomatoes, peppers, fennel and chilli, or roast in oven as an alternative. When cool chop the veggies fine. Wrap the rabbit Maryland in vine leaves and smoke till cooked. Steam the mussels in 1 cup of rabbit stock. Add the finished mussel stock to rabbit stock. Keep mussels in pot with lid on to keep warm.
Heat finished stock in another pot.
Sauté chopped veg in oil, add rabbit backstraps, lime zest, paprika, chilli powder, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Add the rice and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes.
Ladle in the warm stock one cup at a time to keep rice covered. When five minutes away from rice being done add prawn meat, scallop meat and calamari.
When the rice is finished put smoked rabbit Maryland and mussels on top of paella in an organized way. Squirt with 1 half of lime.
Serve and enjoy!
The final recipe that Quentin gave me that is again a perfect match with this 2009 Pinot Noir is DUCK RISOTTO WITH CHILI CHOCOLATE REDUCTION
(A Perfect Match for Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2009)
4 Duck breast
Salt to taste
½ tsp Chinese five spice
1 garlic clove
½ red onion
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp ground fennel seed
8 small brown mushrooms chopped in half
1 ½ tbl tomato paste
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cups risotto rice
100 ml red wine
4 cups of chicken stock heated up ready to add to rice
Handful of coriander
Chili Chocolate Reduction
6 squares of 70% dark chocolate
1 red chili, coarsely chopped
100ml chicken stock
½ tsp orange zest
Juice of ½ orange
1 star anise
1 tbl red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Prepare the Duck
Trim fat around duck breasts but do not discard.
Score the skin of the duck breast and salt skin side.
Turn over duck breast and sprinkle with Chinese five spice and salt.
Take duck fat and chop into ½ inch pieces.
Arrange in baking tray and roast in oven at 200C till fat and skin turns to crackling.
Set cracklng on paper towel to drain off excess fat.
Heat wok on medium low.
Cook the duck breasts skin side down till fat is rendered and skin is brown.
If the heat is too high the skin will brown but the fat won't render enough.
Don't turn duck over.
Remove duck from fry pan and arrange duck breasts skin side up in baking dish.
Finish in oven in a heated oven (180C) for 10 minutes.
Duck should be medium rare.
Remove from oven cover with foil and let rest till rice is done.
Prepare the Risotto Rice and Chili Chocolate Reduction
Discard most the duck fat from wok leaving behind about 1 tbl.
In a pan, heat stock, ready to add to rice.
Saute onion, garlic, ginger, and mushroom on low till soft.
Add fennel seed and cook for a minute till fragrant.
Add risotto rice give it a good stir and cook for about 2 minutes to heat up rice.
Add tomato paste, and sesame oil.
Cook for another 2 minutes stirring constantly.
Stir in red wine and cook till liquid is all soaked in, remembering to stir often. Salt the risotto each time.
Begin adding 1 cup of stock at a time.
Stir each time so rice cooks evenly and cooking down each cup till rice mixture is dry before adding next cup of stock.
Repeat till rice is cooked.
Add all ingredients except chocolate.
Bring to a simmer and reduce by half.
Slowly melt in chocolate.
Salt to taste (depends how salty your stock is).
Balance with either more vinegar or sugar.
Slice duck into ¼ inch slices.
Scoop 1 cup of rice on serving plate.
Arrange duck over top of rice.
Drizzle the chili chocolate sauce over the top.
Add rocket and duck fat crackling as garnish over the top.
This dish is a match made by you, and perfect with Wild Earth Pinot 2009.
We would encourage you to try any of these dishes and to pick up a bottle of this fantastic wine, click here. I promise you will not be disappointed!