New Zealand Sauv Blanc with Zesty Arugula Kale Pesto Pizza #WinePW

Many of my favorite foods pair best with sauvignon blanc: goat cheese and fresh crusty sourdough bread, oysters on the half shell, pesto made of greens, caesar salad with anchovies, greek pizza with artichokes, olives, and feta.

So it was a no brainer when we received a sample of Waipapa Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region to come up with pairing ideas for a warm summer evening with a wine friend visiting from Puerto Rico, David Rodrigues. We added two more wine samples from Brancott and one from Clifford Bay to the round up.

And it was no surprise that the pairings were successful!

All of these wines are from Marlborough, the largest wine growing region in New Zealand. 

  • 2016 – Brancott Estate – Flight Song – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – 9% alcohol
  • 2016 – Brancott Estate – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – 13.5% alcohol
  • 2015 – Clifford Bay – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – 13% alcohol
  • 2018 – Waipapa Bay – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – 12.5% alcohol  



Arugula Kale Nasturtium Flower Salad with lemon vinaigrette 

All of the wines went well with our arugula kale salad dressed with a lemon vinegarette and topped with a tomato basil herbed feta. It was right on with these wines.

Grilled Pizzas

Using mix and match ingredients, it was a fun and satisfying make your own pizza night. My family just loves when we do one of these nights but in the summer, it’s especially great to be able to cook them outside on the grill instead of heating up the house!

We had three bases to choose from: freshly made kale/arugula/nastutrtium pesto (recipe below), marinara (purchased pizza sauce), Alfredo (purchased). We knew the pesto would pair perfectly with NZ sauvignon blanc– and it did.

Goat cheese (chèvre) and feta are favorites with sauvignon blanc so these were on our cheese board to select from as well as fresh mozzarella and quatro formagio (blend of four Italian cheeses already grated — so easy!)

Toppings again focused on ingredients we knew would go great with these wines and included pancetta, fennel pollen salami, oil cured olives, green olives, artichoke hearts, mushroom, and tomatoes freshly picked from Sue’s garden. .

Sue’s Zesty Pesto 

4 to 5 cups fresh mixed greens: we did about one third each kale, arugula, nastursium leaves
4 cloves chopped garlic (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (can be omitted for vegan option)
1/4 cup pine nuts (can substitute walnuts or other nuts)
1 cup olive oil (or less depending on texture)
Dash salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor adding olive oil slowly and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Add more olive oil as necessary. Makes about one pint.

Artichoke hearts are really difficult to pair, but with these sauvignon blanc wines they worked beautifully on the pizza. We also felt that grilled artichoke would work well with these wines and would make a classy appetizer.

All of theses wines went beautifully with our salad and pizzas. It was not a surprise for us. We enjoy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc often because it pairs so well with food and is a great value, so we  know the flavor profiles that we’d expect to work with these wines.

The meal was so satisfying with these wines! We could hardly stuff another bite in our mouth when the evening was over!

2016 – Brancott Estate – Flight Song – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – 9% alcohol – SRP ????
Sample for review consideration, opinions are my own, and no money was exchanged. 

What an interesting concept! Harvesting early brings down the alcohol level. Great pool side sipper. Low alcohol makes it a perfect mid day wine. I would buy this!

Color:  Pale yellow with a green tinge

Nose:  Gooseberry and grass, a bit more delicate, not overwhelming, David picked up some rosemary notes.

Palate:  There is a bit of effervescence that blows off quite quickly. It is light and crisp, bright acidity. This is a nice poolside sipper. Eureka lemon, a bit of grapefruit, but the lemon is forefront. Quick finish that is nicely pleasant.

Pairing:  Fantastic with the green olives, marinated goat cheeses; both the sea salt and  rosemary and the herbed goat cheeses. David “this is super tropical, maybe a bit of green mango.” The effervescence shines through with the marinated goat cheeses. Delicious with the sheep milk cheese. The plain chèvre was nice, but not as interesting as the marinated goat cheeses on the table. Really nice with the arugula.

I want this wine on a wines by the glass menu so I can have it for lunch or order it with my salad course and have something else with my main dish.


2016 – Brancott Estate – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – 13.5% alcohol – SRP
Sample for review consideration, opinions are my own, and no money was exchanged. 

Color:  Rich lemon yellow with a tinge of green.

Nose:  Sulphuric, wet stone, petrol, cat pee, David’ “this is a bit subtler than the Flight Song”

Palate:  Slate, limestone, sulphur like saline has a sulphuric quality to it, lemon, gooseberry,

Pairing: Great with the green olives and the chèvre, they balance each other out. I thought it was great with the sheep’s milk cheese. Fantastic with the marinated goat cheese. It loves the rosemary in the sea salt and rosemary marinated chèvre. We imagined that it would go well with a rosemary lemon roasted chicken.

2015 – Clifford Bay – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – 13.0% alcohol – Around $10
purchased on sale at Vons 

Sustainable New Zealand wine growing.

Color:  Pale yellow, with a slight green tinge

Nose: Gooseberry, cat pee, gooseberry,

Palate: Tart and tangy, almost like a sweet tart, the finish is definitely a lemon sweet tart, gooseberry. salinity with a grassy quality.

Pairing: The olives really brought out the gooseberry flavors in the wine. Really fun with the fennel pollen salami. The wine seems to like salinity in food. Sue wanted oysters with this wine. It needs stronger flavors to stand up to the intense flavors of the wine. The sea salt and rosemary marinated goat cheese is also a nice pair. It likes salty foods.

2018 – Waipapa Bay – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough – 12.5% alcohol – SRP
Sample for review consideration, opinions are my own, and no money was exchanged. 

Color:  Very pale yellow with a clear rim

Nose:  White stone fruit and florals, nectarine, the nose is very interesting and complex

Palate: There is a roundness on the palate. Nectarine, or peaches at the front of the palate. I got some very interesting baking spices, like cardamon and coriander. There is a nice lengthy meyer lemon finish. David felt it had a bit of white pepper as well.

Pairing: Wow! exclaimed Sue as she had a piece of fresh bread topped with a piece of sea salt and rosemary marinated chèvre. I felt it brought out a nutmeg quality in the wine. Great with the fennel pollen salami.

Really nice complexity in this wine alone or with food.

Join our twitter chat on Saturday 8am Pacific by following the hashtag #WinePW for Wine Pairing Weekend and #nzwine. Twitter: @nzwine Insta: @nzwineusa / @nzwinegrowers FB: NZ Wine

Here are a few of the participants and what will be talked about; blog posts should al be live by 5am Saturday morning Pacific time– or 6pm Tanzanian time because that is the timezone I am in! Also please note that while we did the dinner and I took the photos in California before I left for Tanzania, I had to finish up the post and add the photos after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro the other day and I brought the wrong adapter so I’ve had to borrow them to charge my laptop! So please excuse any rough spots because I’m about out of power — not to mention the slowness of the internet! 

Check out the questions below or click on the links to read our blog posts any time!

What we will be chatting about today and when — that’s 8am Pacific :

8am PT

Welcome to this month’s #WinePW chat about #nzwine. Let’s give a thank you to our sponsor @nzwine. Who’s chatting with us today? Where are you tweeting from?

8:05am PT

Q1: Who here has been to #NewZealand? It looks like an amazing place. What are some must do things to do? Besides drink #wine of course! #winePW

8:10am PT

Q2: How familiar were you with #nzwine before this month? #winePW

8:15am PT

Q3: Share the title and a link to your blog about #NZWine. #winePW

8:20 am PT

Q4: What #wine did you pair with your #nzwine meal? What were some of your tasting notes? #winePW

8:25am PT

Q5: There are 11 #wine regions in #nzwine. Which region is your #wine from? Is there anything you found out about the region you found interesting? #winePW

8:30 am PT

Q6: Let’s talk about food! What dish did you serve with your #nzwine? #winePW Show us a beautiful picture! #winePW

8:35am PT

Q7: Did you stick to classic New Zealand food or venture off the islands for your #nzwine pairing? #winePW

8:40 am PT

Q8: Tell us about your #nzwine pairing? Was it a success? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate it? #winePW

8:45am PT

Q9: Share a little something that you learned about your winery while researching for this #nzwine article. #WinePW

8:50am PT

Q10: Sustainability is so important to many #nzwine producers. In fact, it is important to the majority of the people living on the islands. Was your winery sustainable? #winePW

8:55am PT

Are there any final words you would like to share about #nzwine before we wrap this session up. Let’s thank our sponsor @nzwine one more time! #winePW

9:00 am PT

Join us next month on #winePW as we explore the #wines of Brazil with host Susannah @Vignetocomm


7 thoughts on “New Zealand Sauv Blanc with Zesty Arugula Kale Pesto Pizza #WinePW

  1. These sound like the perfect pairings. Now I need to see whose yard I can raid for nasturtium leaves. I’ve used the seed pods to make “capers” but never used the leaves. I need to fix that soon. Thanks for the inspiration.


  2. I also explore wines from Waipapa! The pesto pizza sounds like a perfect pairing for these SB’s. I love the mix of greens Sue used in the pesto too.


  3. Your menus and pairings are always so dang awesome and the information provided on the wines is so detailed and informative. Your posts inspire me to try harder.

    Liked by 1 person

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