Craggy Range played host to Michelin starred chef, Roger Jones, and his famed Tri Nations wine dinner series on Tuesday evening.
Rogers’s six course degustation dinner compared a lineup of six South African wines against six of New Zealand’s best, and through unanimous votes; New Zealand won the fixture.
Each course was matched with two wines of the same variety, one from New Zealand and the other from South Africa. Guests were not told which wine was which, but were asked to vote for their favourite.
First up, guests enjoyed two sparkling wines; No1 Reserve Blanc de Blancs NV New Zealand and Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2012, South Africa; matched with an Oyster from the shell, on a bed of cauliflower cous cous, cauliflower cream and sorrel granite. This course proved to be popular with a split of the votes and a draw was announced.
Flight two was an arguably easy win to New Zealand, with the Sauvignon Blanc category featuring the Greywacke Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (New Zealand) and South Africa’s Duncan Savage Sauvignon Blanc 2014. These wines were served with citrus cured Ora salmon, creme frâiche and fresh Craggy Range Garden Herbs.
Perhaps as easily as the landslide vote for the Sauvignon Blanc going to New Zealand, the Chenin win was South Africa’s. The Gisborne based Millton St Anne Chenin Blanc 2014, proved a tough competitor however it was pipped from the post by South African Stellenrust 51 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015.
The fourth course of fresh scampi tempura, scampi bisque, potato and saffron crisp matched perfectly with the Chardonnay class; of which it was New Zealand’s win, thanks to the strong contender; Neudorf with their Moutere Chardonnay 2015, beating the 2015 Chardonnay by Hamilton Russell.
The fifth flight of the night paired the winning New Zealand lamb and Pinot Noir combo. Lamb rack, pressed belly, Heirloom tomatoes, with Craggy Range honey & Verjus; alongside two outstanding Pinots; Felton Road Calvert Pinot Noir 2015 and the Crystallum Cuvée Mabalel 2015 from South Africa. The winner was chosen as Nigel Greenings Central Otago expression.
The final course compared two “Iconic Reds”, the 2014 Craggy Range Le Sol and South African Waterford The Jem Cabernet Blend 2009; with Craggy Range coming out on top, giving New Zealand the win over South Africa!
The Tri Nations dinner series was established in 2015, by Roger Jones over a dinner in Cape Town, South Africa. The series now travels the globe and compares some of New Zealand’s finest wines with selected wines from Australia and South Africa; copying the competitive spirit and format of the well-known rugby tournament.