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Food and wine matching

Wondering what wine to serve with dinner? We can help you make the perfect choice. 

When pairing food and wine, there are 4 basic rules to follow that you have probably heard before:

• Pair white wine with white meats and fish
• Pair red wine with red meats
• Serve young wines before wines that have been aged
• White wines should be chilled and red wine should be at room temperature

While they are a good place to start, some rules are made to be broken. Think of them more like guidelines. For example, Chardonnay is great with grilled lamb cutlets and Pinot Noir is marvellous with roast salmon.
Our wine pairing guide will show you which guidelines are best to follow, as well as when it’s ok to break the rules.

Jim Harré, Chair of Judges for the New World Wine Awards, takes us on a journey through different foods which complement our best known wine varietals.

"I was fortunate in growing up on Auckland’s West Coast beaches and being able to access its kaimoana. One of my most memorable meals was shared with a group of friends and consisted of fresh green-lipped mussels straight from the sea, grilled over a fire on a bed of seaweed and matched with a lightly chilled Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. I still have a vivid memory of the taste of the mussels and the wine, but it’s the memory of the occasion that is strongest. A meal of fresh green-lipped mussels in a restaurant with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc will still be a great match, but without a defining occasion it will never reach the heights of a most memorable meal."

Wine pairing tips

Here are some wine pairing tips to get you started:

  • Balance the body or weight of a wine with a similar body or weight of food. For example, a light white wine will probably be overpowered by a pasta with a heavy cream sauce. Instead, it deserves a wine with a similarly weighty mouthfeel.
  • Try and find equal partners between the wine and foods. For example, pair a delicate fish like flounder with a lighter style dry Riesling.
  • Match to the most prominent element of the dish. This is often a sauce. For example, the wine that would be a great match for grilled chicken with a fresh tomato salsa would not necessarily work with a spicy Thai chicken curry. For the chicken and salsa, match with an aromatic, spicy, medium-bodied Viognier. To cut through the spice of a Thair green curry you would want to match with a lighter, slightly sweeter Gewurztraminer.

Red wine pairings

As the guideline goes, if you’re cooking with red meat, a red wine is a natural place to start. Steak, tomato based pasta dishes, or a lovely roast lamb. 

But what about the exceptions to the rule? Salmon, cheese and pork can also pair beautifully with a light and fruity red wine.

The styles of red wine available in New Zealand vary from a sweet Rose, to a light Pinot Noir, a peppery Shiraz, or a big and bold Cabernet Sauvignon. To give you an idea for your next food and wine pairing, here are some suggestions for each red wine varietal.


Pinot Noir pairing

Pinot Noir is a fruity red wine with a medium body and soft tannins. It can be rich and velvety, with flowery aromas and flavours of violets and roses, red plums and a slight smokiness.

Match with: cheese

Pinot Noir pairs very well with cheese; it’s that simple. So when serving Pinot Noir to a group of friends, create a platter with Kapiti Kakato Gouda cheese, Dutch edam, chevre mild goat’s cheese and nutty Barrys Bay Traditional Gruyere. They are all amazing with Pinot Noir.

To complete the cheese board, add some red peppers stuffed with feta, marinated mushrooms and a jar of chutney, then suddenly you have an occasion. Remember the warm crusty bread!

Match with: duck

The cherry fruit and savoury mushroom character of Pinot Noir complements the earthy character of the duck. It pairs wonderfully with relatively simple duck dishes like our roast duck with lentils recipes and more extravagant dishes like our duck breast with caramelised apple balls on a potato rosti.

Other notable matches

Mushroom dishes, roast lamb, lamb rack, venison, rabbit, pork



Roast duck with lentils
Duck breast on a potato rosti with caramelised apple balls and aubergine caviar
Mushroom risotto
Classic roast lamb

Shiraz / Syrah pairing

It’s no accident that the flavours of ripe Shiraz go so well with cured salami, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese, as they all share strong influences of the Mediterranean.

Shiraz refers to varieties grown in Australia, while New Zealand and the rest of the world call this dry, very dark red wine with plum and spicy black pepper flavours Syrah. 

Match with: pepper steak

A great food pairing with Syrah is steak, especially if you’re serving with a pepper sauce. The black pepper notes of the Syrah match the pepper sauce and the tannins in the wine balance the steak’s natural fat. 

Even a slow cooked steak improves dramatically with just a little wine added. 

For a different take, try a full flavoured venison steak with a Shiraz or Syrah for a beautiful match.

Match with: cheese

An aged Parmigiano Reggiano is delicious, as is aromatic and blue cheese. 

Match with: bitter (dark) chocolate

Nothing goes better with an Australian Shiraz than dark, bitter chocolate. It just works.

Other notable matches

Singapore chili crab



One pan steak
Slow cooked steak and mushrooms
Venison steaks
Singapore chili crab

Petite Sirah pairing

It’s worth mentioning that Petite Sirah isn’t actually related to Syrah or Shiraz. What the Americans and Australians call Petite Sirah, the rest of the world calls Durif.

Durif is all the peppery, big elements of Syrah without its finesse. Food being paired with Durif needs to be big and bold enough to stand up to the strong flavours in the wine. 

Match with: spicy dishes

Add Petite Sirah to spicy dishes to give them an extra kick. 

Match with: burgers

Petite Sirah pairs excellently with burgers especially with cheese. 

Match with: steak

To take the classic steak and red wine pairing to the next level. Try Petite Sirah with a robust steak and blue cheese combination. You’ll need the robustness of the wine to cut through!



Chinese roast pork
Beef and blue cheese burger
Ribeye steak and Whitestone Windsor Blue cheese

Blended red wine pairing

For those lovers of South African meat BBQ’s and the meat lovers’ pizza, you’ll be familiar with the balance that blended reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Malbec bring to the proteins and fat in meat. 

Match with: cheese and meat platter

Next time you’re serving one of these great wines, put together a selection of cold roast beef, spicy cooked bierstick, Spanish chorizo, beef pastrami, hot pork and thinly sliced salami on a platter. Add mustard, spicy tomato chutney, olives and a soft blue cheese like gorgonzola along with lots of sliced ciabatta.

For more on wine and cheese pairings, have a look at these suggestions.

Merlot pairing

This dry red wine is just as popular bottled with other red wines as it is on its own. Its dry, natural acidity combined with red fruit flavours and leafy aromas make it an ideal pairing for full flavoured dishes. 

Match with: cheese

Pairing cheese and Merlot? Choose a hard or aged cheese with strong aromas and slightly sweet nutty flavours. For example, Kapiti Kakato Cumin Seed Gouda Cheese, Mainland Special Reserve Gouda, Mainland Aged Cheddar Tasty Cheese, or even the decadent Kapiti Port Wine Cheddar Cheese.

Match with: beef

Merlot matches exceptionally well with roast beef and horseradish. The spiciness of the tabasco and horseradish pairs with the acidity and fruitiness of the wine. What a combination!

Match with: lamb

You might also like to pair Merlot with lamb. Sweet orange, salty feta, plus a little pepper and plum from the Merlot. 



Horseradish crusted roast beef
Braised Spanish lamb

Cabernet Sauvignon pairing

Slightly more acidic than Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon is a robust wine packed with tannins and dark fruit flavours like blackcurrant, black cherry and black olive.

Match with: steak

By now, you know that bold red wines pair well with steak. Of course that’s true of Cabernet Sauvignon, but it’s richer flavours offer up different opportunities for food matches. 

Match with: lamb and pork ribs

Try Cabernet Sauvignon with smoky lamb or pork ribs. The smoky flavour with bold tannins from the wine are a match made in slow-cooked heaven.

Match with: mushrooms

If you’re a vegetarian or looking for a meat-free recipe, you’ll love Cabernet Sauvignon with portobello mushrooms. 

Or for something with a bit more oomph, try mushroom and lentil chilli. Add some dried porcini mushrooms to take the Cabernet Sauvignon to a new level.

Match with: cheese

Like a Merlot or Shiraz, a Cabernet Sauvignon will pair well with hard, aged cheese like cheddar, gouda or gruyere. Don’t be afraid to also pair a strong cheese like gorgonzola if Cabernet Sauvignon is on the menu.


Rosemary and olive lamb with a cracker crust
BBQ pork ribs and slaw
Roasted Portobello mushrooms
Mushroom and lentil chilli

Malbec pairing

Most of the Malbec in New Zealand comes from Argentina. Given that country is famous for South American barbecue (“Parrillas”), steak seems like an obvious choice for this juicy, jammy, rich red wine. 

So, let's skip the obvious (steak) and find other great dishes that will pair with Malbec. The rich, dry, full bodied flavours and texture is ideal for  moderately spicy, full flavoured dishes. 

Match with: spicy burritos

For a Latin themed menu, pair with spicy burritos. Malbec is one of the few wines that can handle the spice and the creaminess of avocado and cheese.

Match with: nachos, empanadas & quesadillas

If you have a favourite hearty Mexican meal like nachos, empanadas, or quesadillas, Malbec will be a good match.

Match with: chilli

Another hearty meal at home with a glass of Malbec is a spicy beef chilli. Paired together they will blow any wintery blues away.

Match with: dessert

For a truly decadent treat to end the night, pair with a Mexican chocolate dessert. With cinnamon, cayenne pepper, a hint of chilli plus coffee flavours from the Kahlua, this dessert was made for a wine like Malbec. 



Mexican steak burritos
Quick and easy nachos
Mexican empanadas
Black bean and corn quesadillas
Easy slow cooker beef chilli

Tempranillo pairing

Another robust red, Tempranillo is from Spain and famous for its chewy texture, earthy tones and rich spicy, fruity flavours.

Match with: chicken

Here’s an example of a rule that was made to be broken. Tell your friends you’re pairing a red wine with chicken and they may question your judgement. 

One of the reasons Tempranillo works well with Spanish chicken dishes is because many recipes include spicy, meaty chorizo. The use of smoked paprika, orange, chorizo and chilli in the Flamenco chicken makes it a wonderful pairing with equally spicy and fruity Tempranillo.

Likewise, the smoky Spanish stew uses chorizo and bacon to create a punchy, hearty dish that would be right at home as tapas or the main meal. 

These strong flavours matched with a bold Tempranillo, create an exciting flavour combination.

Other notable matches

Vegetable ratatouille



Chicken and chorizo paella
Flamenco chicken recipe
Smoky Spanish stew

Rosé pairing

Often described as the best of both worlds, Rosé brings together the crisp, fresh characteristics of a white wine with some of the fruitier flavours of the red grapes it is made from.

Match with: barbecue

Rosé is a versatile, classic summer wine and works wonderfully with everything on offer at a Kiwi barbecue. Sausage in bread, chicken nibbles, or a beef steak, Rosé is a wonderful accompaniment.

Match with: seafood

Sweeter or blush Rosé matches beautifully with salty seafood and lemon. If you’re preparing a summer seafood platter of mussels, scallops and oysters with some hummus and crusty bread, the sweet fruity flavours of the Rosé balances out the salty seafood into delicious harmony.

Related article

Read our guide to seafood wine pairing

Match with: cheese

Sticking with sweet options, if you prefer a blush Rosé, match your wine with a saltier cheese. Feta sprinkled over prosciutto, and aged gouda or a blue cheese.

If you prefer a drier, brut Rosé, pick a cheese with an earthy, nutty flavour profile that can be highlighted by the more fruity wine. A Gorgonzola cheese or creamy Monterey Jack are perfect with a fruity, acidic, dry Rosé.



Feta spinach and strawberry salad

Sweet red wine pairing

Have you got a sweet tooth? Moscatel, Vin Santo, Lambrusco and port styled dessert wines are delightful as an after dinner aperitif as you prepare for dessert.

Match with: dark chocolate

Some of the sweeter red wines need a touch of bitterness to balance the subtle flavours and prevent a sweetness overload. Dark chocolate made with a lot of cacao is a good place to start.

This take on the classic banana split combines salted caramel, peanuts and dark chocolate into a delightful gooey mix that will provide real contrast to a sweeter dessert red wine.



Classic banana split 

Find your perfect red wine

Want to find out more about red wine before starting to pair with food? Our wine finder tool can help you find a bottle to match your taste buds.

White wine pairings

You’ve probably been told that white wine pairs with chicken, fish, and sometimes pork, but the truth is a little more nuanced than that. 

The styles of white wine available in New Zealand vary from a crisp Pinot Gris, to a sweet Riesling, an aromatic Sauvignon Blanc or a robust Chardonnay. To give you an idea for your next food and wine pairing, here are some suggestions for each white wine varietal.

Sauvignon Blanc pairing

The fresh pungent flavours and crisp zingy acidity of Sauvignon Blanc are the perfect foil for fresh Thai or Japanese dishes.

Match with: curry

When served with Sauvignon Blanc, the heat of a vegetarian Thai green curry complements the wine’s acidity and the fragrance of lemongrass enhances the wine’s citrus notes.

Match with: seafood (especially mussels)

A zesty Sauvignon Blanc packed with delicious citrus flavours is delightful with a range of seafood dishes. Steamed mussels, Bluff oysters, or almost any shellfish with a briny flavour will pair beautifully. 

Try matching a Sauv with fish, ginger, spring onions and soy for a truly refreshing spin.

Match with: cheese

Soft ripened cheeses with a white mould and creamy texture provide a tasty contrast to a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. You can’t go wrong with classic brie or camembert.

Other notable matches




Vegetarian Thai green curry
Steamed mussels
Bluff oysters
Whole fish steamed with ginger, spring onions and soy

Chardonnay pairing

Most people think Chardonnay flavours are all oak, butter and nutty. But the truth is there are a range of flavours behind the Chardonnay label.

If you look for a New Zealand Chardonnay produced in our cooler climates like Marlborough or Central Otago, you can find some lighter, fruitier varieties. 

Match with: salmon

If I was stuck on a desert island with only Chardonnay to drink, my next request would be salmon and lots of it! Smoked, cold, hot, gravlax, it’s all a great match.

A quick and easy idea for Chardonnay is to place a large piece of hot smoked salmon and thin slices of cold smoked salmon on a platter. Add a pile of warm blinis and a dip made from finely chopped capers, lemon zest, horseradish, chives and black pepper all mixed into cream cheese. 

Spread the dip on the blinis and top with salmon – remember to serve with lemon wedges for extra zing.

For a more adventurous recipe, try this Japanese-inspired sesame kale, broccoli and salmon recipe. The bitter kale, rich salmon, and a fruity Chardonnay all comes together in a melt-in-your-mouth moment. 

Match with: crayfish

A more buttery Chardonnay pairs beautifully with a Hawkes Bay or Kaikoura crayfish cooked in butter and garlic. 

Match with: chicken 

With a tender, juicy roast chicken, Chardonnay can add another delicious texture on your palette. Yum.

Match with: cheese

An acidic, unoaked Chardonnay pairs well with white mould cheeses like brie and camembert, as well as harder cheeses like cheddar, gouda and gruyere.

Other notable matches

Pork, Beef (really!), 



Cold smoked salmon crackers
Sesame kale and broccoli with salmon
Roast chicken

Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio pairing

Pinot Gris is a versatile wine. It can complement a meal with similar, harmonising flavours but also provide balance to the meal with contrasting flavours.

Match with: Japanese cuisine

A New Zealand Pinot Gris pairs extremely well with Japanese food - raw, cooked, hot or cold. The texture, spiciness and sweetness balanced by acid is a great match for the peach, quince, pear, ginger notes and crisp acidity of the wine. 

While it’s a big ask for Pinot Gris to match teriyaki steak, it’s brilliant with sushi. Try salmon sushi, tuna, egg roll and California rolls. It’s also great with sashimi, soba noodles, chicken yakitori, sesame seaweed salad, tempura, miso soup and Okonomiyaki, Japan’s national pancake. 

Pinot Gris is a versatile wine. It can complement a meal with similar, harmonising flavours but also provide balance to the meal with contrasting flavours.

Match with: Japanese cuisine

A New Zealand Pinot Gris pairs extremely well with Japanese food - raw, cooked, hot or cold. The texture, spiciness and sweetness balanced by acid is a great match for the peach, quince, pear, ginger notes and crisp acidity of the wine. 

While it’s a big ask for Pinot Gris to match teriyaki steak, it’s brilliant with sushi. Try salmon sushi, tuna, egg roll and California rolls. It’s also great with sashimi, soba noodles, chicken yakitori, sesame seaweed salad, tempura, miso soup and Okonomiyaki, Japan’s national pancake. 

Match with: cheese

A crisp, fruity, acidic Pinot Gris can stand up to the intense flavours of fresh cheeses like feta and mozzarella. 

Match with: salad

The zesty, citrus flavours in Pinot Gris can make a simple green salad, or chicken salad shine. 

Match with: game meat

Serve Pinot Gris with a rich game meat like venison or duck, and it can cut through the fat with refreshing acidity. A glass of Pinot Gris will provide the balance and acidity you didn’t know it needed. 

Other notable matches

Lean red meat, tomato-based sauces, creamy sauces, chicken



Salmon sushi
Chicken sushi
Greek chicken salad
Roast duck, pumpkin gratin and cranberry mostarda

Sweet and dessert wine pairing

Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Moscato can all produce sweet varieties to be enjoyed after dinner. Check the label for terms like “Noble”, “Late Harvest”, “Late Pick” and “Botrytis” which all mean the wine inside the bottle is sweet. 

Other dessert wine varietals include ice wine, Sauternes and Vin Santo.

Match with: fruity desserts

These sweet white wines pair well with fruity, but not overly sweet desserts. They bring a tropical bouquet of flavours ending your dinner party on a real high note.

For contrasting flavours that bring a whole dish together, try a dessert wine with this gingerbread and pear pudding. Sweet and spicy with cinnamon and walnut, this is a wonderful wintery dessert.

Walnuts and pears not in season? Try this peach and blueberry cobbler. The acidic burst of flavour from the fruit is the perfect counterpoint to a sweet, honeyed dessert wine. 

Other notable matches

Blue cheese, pate, stone fruit



Gingerbread and pear pudding
Peach and blueberry cobbler

Gewurztraminer pairing

Gewurztraminer can be sweet or dry, but what sets it apart is a distinctive cinnamon flavour, combined with aromas of rose petals and lychee. 

Match with: Spanish cuisine

Gewurztraminer can be stunning when drunk with dishes containing saffron, nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon and paprika. This is where being adventurous can create a sublime dining experience. 

You can find most of these spices in Spanish cuisine, especially with paella. Make it with chicken, seafood, or a combination of the two, it’s the sauce and spices that pair with the fruity Gewurztraminer.

Match with: spicy Asian dishes

The mixture of cinnamon and ginger flavours, combined with crisp acidity make Gewurztraminer a welcome companion to some Asian cuisines and spicier dishes. 

Something like this rich crispy pork belly with a Vietnamese style slaw is noticeably enhanced by a refreshing, off-dry Gewurztraminer. 

TIP: If you’re not a big fan of Pinot Gris, substituting a dry Gewurztraminer when pairing with spicier dishes or Asian cuisine will still provide that refreshing balance. 

Match with: cheese

An off-dry Gewurztraminer especially can be served with gingerbread and mild blue cheese, and a little quince jelly or paste. Gewurztraminer is also good with sweeter, nuttier mild cheeses, like maasdam, gruyere, gouda or an aged cheddar.



Easy paella
Rich crispy pork belly with a Vietnamese style slaw

Zinfandel pairing

Zinfandel is a robust, rich red grape that is often used to make sweeter Blush Rosé wine. Because they have less contact with the red grape skins, Blush Rosés are usually lighter in colour, as well as less acidic and lower in alcohol, making Zinfandel Rosé a summer crowd pleaser.

You can also find Zinfandel red wine, which is light bodied like Pinot Noir, but tends to have more tannins and higher acidity which makes it taste bold. Zinfandel has classic flavours of candied fruit, blueberry jam, cherry, plum, black pepper and a smoky, almost tobacco-tasting finish.

Match with: spicy barbecue dishes

As a sweeter red wine, Zinfandel is a great match with spicy barbecue dishes and curry. 

For a real flavour adventure, try pairing Zinfandel with this pulled pork in Coca-Cola chipotle BBQ sauce. The smoky flavours and spiciness of the chipotle and the sweetness of the cola combine with the similar flavours within Zinfandel to create something special. 

Another spicy barbecue recipe to try are these chunky BBQ beef kebabs. The savoury teriyaki sauce with the burst of freshness and sweetness from the pineapple are a wonderful match with a fruity Zinfandel. 

Match with: cheese

When pairing Zinfandel with cheese, look for hard, richly flavoured cheeses like Manchego, aged Cheddar, and Gouda.



Pulled pork in Coca-Cola chipotle BBQ sauce
Chunky BBQ beef kebabs

Viognier pairing

Pronounced ‘Vee-on-yay’ this dry white wine is becoming more popular within New Zealand as fans of Chardonnay look to try something just a little bit different. 

Like Chardonnay, varieties of Viognier can be full bodied but with soft flavours. What makes Viognier different are its fruitier aromas of peach, pears and violets. 

Match with: spicy seafood

Being very aromatic and fruity means Viognier can pair with spicier foods, and is delicious with grilled seafood. 

You can combine both of those elements and pair Viognier with this Thai yellow fish curry or a prawn Pad Thai. Viognier can also cut through the batter of mussel fritters. 

Match with: cheese

Viognier shares some characteristics with Chardonnay, but not the big buttery flavours. So it pairs well with more creamy and buttery cheeses. Think Mascarpone, Ricotta, Monterey Jack, Double Cream Camembert and Brie. 



Thai yellow fish curry
Prawn Pad Thai
Col's completely original mussel & parsley fritters

Riesling pairing

Riesling is marvellous with orange and rosewater, preserved lemons, dates, figs, apricots and the Tagine dishes they are used in. 

Match with: Morrocan tagine

Try pairing Riesling with a beef or chicken tagine to experience the way all the fruity flavours come together in harmony.

Match with: Asian dishes

Sweet Rieslings can cut through the spice of many Asian dishes. Look for crisp asian dishes like Thai salads. 

A sweet Riesling even works well with beef salads.

The freshness of the salad, plus the chilli, lime and coriander are elevated by a sweeter Riesling, you’ll forget all about the ‘supposed rules’ around red meat and white wine.

Match with: seafood

Being an aromatic, lighter styled white wine makes pairing Riesling with seafood a breeze. Try with freshly shucked oysters or scallops, pan seared with ginger, chilli, lemongrass and drizzled with lemons or limes. Better still, a dry Riesling with the kiwi classic that is whitebait fritters. 

Match with: cheese

As a sweeter style of wine, Riesling works wonders with saltier types of cheese. Look for blue cheese, aged gouda, feta or havarti that will balance out the sweetness of a delicious Riesling.

Other notable matches

Seafood, pan fried snapper



Tagine style beef with couscous
Moroccan chicken tagine
Quick noodle salad
Thai inspired beef salad with chilli and lime dressing

Moscato pairing

Its high sugar content and lack of acidity means Moscato is almost exclusively a dessert wine. While a lovely bottle of Moscato with its fruity grapefruit, pear, orange blossom and honeysuckle flavours could stand alone as your third course, it’s much more fun to find a dessert or cheese platter to pair it with.

Match with: less sweet desserts

Because Moscato is bringing the sweetness, pairing with an equally sweet dessert will lead to sugar overload. When pairing food with Moscato, gor for contrasting flavours that are salty, bitter, tart or sour.

Match with: antipasto

Moscato can pair wonderfully with an antipasto platter. Salty olives, cured meats like prosciutto and salami, a strong blue cheese plus soft creamy brie and camembert all bring contrasting flavours to a Moscato pairing. 

Match with: dark chocolate

If you’re drinking Moscato after dinner, you’ll want some of the darkest chocolate you can find. Something with a lot of cacao that will bring through those deliciously bitter flavours. 

Even if you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, you might be surprised by how much the sweet Moscato can almost change the nature of the chocolate and balance the extremes. 

Match with: fruit tarts

The Granny Smith apples in this apple tart bring a crisp, freshness to interact with the Moscato. You may even find that if you’re eating this tart with Moscato, the ice cream can stay in the freezer. 

From apples to oranges, these orange curd cheesecake tarts are delightfully zesty and zingy without being overly sweet. Combine these with the rich, fruity flavours of Moscato and you’ll have a real tropical treat on your table.



Apple tart
Orange curd cheesecake tarts

Sparkling wine pairing

New Zealand sparkling wines are spectacular and what better way to celebrate than as an accompaniment to the flavours of the Pacific Islands. Sparkling wines come in many styles, from brut to blush, Champagne to Prosecco, white to Rosé. What sparkling wines tend to have in common are the perfect balance of dryness, bubbles, and fruity flavours to enrich creamy, heavy, or fruit-based recipes. 

Match with: raw oysters

Generally speaking, New Zealand sparkling wines have a minerally taste that is perfect for pairing with raw oysters. The high acidity of the wine and it's cold temperature accentuate the briny character and fatty texture of the oysters, making a delicious pairing.

As well as oysters, sparkling wine has a similar effect on other shellfish, scallops, smoked salmon, and even caviar.

Match with: Pacifica cuisine

On a large platter arrange spears of pineapple, rock melon, watermelon and mango, add Southern style chicken nibbles, an avocado dip with finely diced tomato and a splash of Tabasco and plenty of Taro chips – you’re ready for a taste of Pacifica.

Match with: cheese

Choose a double or even triple cream brie or camembert. Combined with a dry sparkling wine, it will cut through the richness, but somehow create an even more decadent experience. 

Match with: biscuits & pies

This shortbread biscuit recipe is not just for Christmas. What may surprise you is the way the acidity in the sparkling wine cuts through the rich butter of the shortbread.. 

Pairing a buttery, blueberry dessert with a crisp, refreshing sparkling wine will create an unforgettable after dinner experience.

Other notable matches

Fish and chips (mainly with Blanc de Blanc)



Shortbread biscuits
Blueberry pie 

Find your perfect white wine

Want to find out more about white wine before starting to pair with food? Our wine finder tool can help you find a bottle to match your taste buds.

Start your food and wine pairing journey

At the end of the day, when it comes to pairing food and wine, make your own rules – only you know what wines you like and what foods you like. A great combination of a wine and food won’t work if you don’t enjoy either that food or wine style. 

So be adventurous, try new producers of the varieties you love and surprise yourself by discovering how good wines you have never tasted before can be. 

To get started, you can find more about the incredible range of New Zealand made wines available at your local New World right here.

Jim Harre - about the author

After studying viticulture and winemaking at Hawkes Bay’s Eastern Institute of Technology, Jim worked several vintages, both in New Zealand and Internationally as a winemaker. 

Identified as having a very good palate for quality assessment of wine, Jim has been a major part of New Zealand’s Wine Judging competitions for over 25 years. Now a well respected International Judge, he works as a Chair of Judges in Wine Competitions in USA, Japan, China, Australia and, of course, New Zealand. 

He is also regarded as a world authority on the effect of how wine perception changes in aircraft, a panel chair at the world’s largest competition; the International Wine Challenge, held each year in London; as well as Wine Consultant to Air New Zealand.

It is Jim’s love of education and teaching people about wine that makes him one of New Zealand’s most recognised Wine professionals.