How to Pair New Zealand Wines for your Next Dinner Party

Understanding which wines go with which type of foods can be a complex undertaking. The wrong pairings will mean that you won’t enjoy either the food or the wine, but when you get it right – both the food and wine sing!

So here are a few tips on pairing New Zealand’s wonderful award winning wines with particular food types, which will show off your knowledge and make your next dinner party a resounding success.


Some people believe that you should only pair cheese with white wines. However, the fruitiness and richness of Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the Bordeaux blends, pairs wonderfully with a cheese course, particularly strong, aged cheeses. You could also try a Pinot Gris, which goes well with creamy cheese sauces, garlic and chicken dishes (think pasta).

So if you are a traditionalist, then offer Chardonnay, Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc with your softer cheeses, such as Brie or Camembert, but for a twist and a hard, aged cheese – you can’t go past a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.


If you are cooking a chicken meal, then uncork the Chardonnay and be prepared for a match made in heaven. The nutty, toasty flavours of this wine perfectly complement the fuller flavours of savoury chicken meals, so look for oaked and more mature Chardonnays, rather than unoaked lighter vintages (these are better with seafood). However, if your tastes run to a citrusy and aromatic Riesling, then this goes perfectly with chicken or pasta, paired with garlic sauces.

Seafood and fish

The zing of a Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully with fresh seafood and fish, and adding a crunchy fresh salad and tangy tomato sauce will take you to heaven. With strong nutty flavours, a Chardonnay pairs really well with seafood, white fish and a tangy lemon sauce – and think garlic prawns or roasted barramundi as well. On the other hand, a Pinot Gris is fabulous, paired with salmon and seared scallops.

Game birds and red meats

For a rich accompaniment to game birds and red meats (beef and lamb in particular) you can’t go past the Bordeaux blends and a fruity, full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Strong tastes, such as turkey, quail and pork can also be complimented by the richness of a Pinot Noir (it is great with salmon as well).


Garlic and tomato sauces, particularly on red meat, pair very well with Cabernets and Bordeaux blends. Vinaigrette dressings, crisp salads, and seafood go really well with Sauvignon Blanc, and whilst a Chardonnay also loves a vinaigrette dressing, this wine goes beautifully with garlic or cream sauces (as does a Pinot Noir).


If you like poached pears, then you will love a glass of Chardonnay as well, but the big tip for desserts is that the lighter the dessert – the lighter the wine. So if you have a caramel or chocolate dessert go for a Pinot Noir or Grenache, a Riesling goes with creamy desserts (it is perfection with a custard apple pie) and a Chardonnay with fruity, spicy desserts.

So the next time you are arranging a dinner party for your family and friends and are looking for a New Zealand wine or two – you will find that some of the best wines are available on Advintage.

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