"Field Blend of Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Riesling, Chardonnay, Muscat and Tempranillo From a single vineyard in the Southern Valleys of Marlborough. Harvested and Pressed on the same day. 50% skin contact for 24 hours. 100% barrel fermentation in seasoned French barrels. Small batch pressed. 6 months aging on full yeast lees. Natural (wild) fermentations (Alcohol and 100% malolactic fermentation). Unfined and unfiltered."
Vandal is a micronegociant project based in Marlborough, New Zealand. It began in the 2016 vintage, and it’s a collaboration between three local winemakers who all had kids, and who wanted to get out of the house more. They’d all been making Sauvignon Blanc since they were young, and now wanted to make something different: not the commercial, bright style they’d been taught to make at all the big wineries.
The idea is to work with good sites, all in the southern valleys of Marlborough, and to use winemaking techniques they don’t get to use in their day jobs. The whole secrecy thing is because their contracts allow them to make some home brew, but not to promote it. ‘We all reached the point at the same time when we wanted a creative outlet; a side project,’ one of them explained. ‘We met up over beers and came up with this.’
The term vandal comes from ancient times when the vandals couldn’t fight Caesar on the open battlefield so instead they defaced his statues. ‘We are defacing the commercialization of Marlborough, showing that it isn’t just a one-trick pony,’ another one stated.
The approach isn’t natural, but rather lo-fi. 2016 was a great first vintage to start off with, but in 2017 they made no wine.
The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.
We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.
Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines.
Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.
If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not bitter but rather have refreshing acidity.
Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are very fruity and do not have medium-high tannins.
Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not have tannins but have lots of fruity flavours nor do they have extremely high acidity.
Chilli heat is similar to umami rich foods where by it will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are very fruity but also have higher sweetness.
Wines that are just a touch off-dry like many Gewurztraminer or Riesling work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you should consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or a Gamay Noir.
Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help balance out not just the acidity but to cut down the perception of fattiness in the seafood.
This is why when you are having a piece of red meat that is high in fat, like lamb, then you should pair it with a Pinot Noir instead of a Merlot as a Pinot Noir will have a higher acidity and will help to balance out the dish.
These rules will help you with starting to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that are what need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that work well with cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity through a Pinot Noir.
We don't stock a wine or spirit that we don't believe in. Our directors taste each and every product in order to ensure the best quality and value is delivered to you.
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