Food Match

One of the great things about living in New Zealand is the incredible range of fresh produce that's readily available. We keep that in mind when we make our wines. Every Spade Oak Vineyard wine is made to go with food and friends, to add to the occasion, add to the enjoyment, and be poured with absolute confidence. 


Or kai moana as we Kiwis like to call it. Some of the best in the world, yours for the taking if you know how and where, and so easy to prepare. Mussels, paua, crayfish, pipis, octopus, squid, fish, scallops and more. Try our lush Viognier if you're using Thai flavours in the recipe. Our Voysey series Sauvignon Blanc is the classic Kiwi match with seafood, while our  Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay are also renowned for their ability to bring out the best in seafood. And if you're looking for something different to serve, either Spade Oak Albariño or Grüner Veltliner will be just the ticket; clean refreshing whites that compliment seafood perfectly.


Again, so much to choose from; world famous New Zealand lamb, beef, venison, mutton, pork. Do you roast, barbecue, hangi, stew, fry?  With influences from where? Morocco, Spain, India, Asia, Europe or just good old En Zed? Our range of reds is made to go with all of it. Big Syrah, chocolatey-smooth Temprañillo, fruity St. Laurent, exhilarating blends. What about our sensational Sangria to go with paella or some nuts and olives while the sun goes down? If it's a red you're after, we have one that will bring out the best in the food you're serving.

Wine Speak

Hang out with wine people and it seems like they speak a whole new language. Wine writers and judges use phrases and words that can leave you wondering if they're talking about wine at all, with terms like 'armpit' and 'pencil' being bandied about. Winemakers generally tend to grunt, not because they're unable to speak, but because they're preoccupied with what they do 24/7. And because some of them can't speak. Anyway, below are a few of the terms you might come across when wine is being talked about, along with a simple translation into good ol' kiwi. After all, when all's said and done, Spade Oak wine is there to be drunk and enjoyed, not talked about! 

Malolactic - a sort of fermentation process that gives wine a creamy, wonderfully buttery taste and feel. Often found in Chardonnay.

Chary – heavily toasted barrel flavour. We hesitate to say burnt as that is not usually desirable, but in a barrel it is great.

Persistence - something that hangs around, but in a good way. Could be a taste, could be a smell.

Noble - funny one this. Noble means rotten. Yep, good old noble rot, botrytis cinerea, is a benevolent grey fungus that brings out the best in sweet wines. Hard to describe, wonderful to taste. Our Noble Viognier is a stunning example. 

Buttery - just what it says. A big buttery wine is a big buttery wine and you'll know it when you drink it. Chardonnay and Syrah often have this characteristic. 

Mineral - tastes of cold river stones, or wet gravel, or whatever other poncy term some wine writer has come up with. You’ll know it when you taste it. Very common in Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, is minerality. 

Rustic - old style. Funky. Unpretentious. A wine that's grown and made the way wines are supposed to be grown and made. Honest table wine. Lovely stuff.

Recently Disgorged - usually used for champagne-style wines. The deposit that has formed on the neck of the bottle during the secondary fermentation is briefly frozen, the yeast removed and replaced by a dosage of wine and sugar. Then the cork is placed in the bottle and the wine is left to rest for a time in the cellar. What does all that mean? Really mean? A) that the guy making the wine knows what he's doing and B) that the wine will taste much nicer. Spade Oak methode champagnoise wines are all recently disgorged. Look for the date on the bottle. 

En Tirage – when the wine sits on its lees or residual yeast. The longer it sits, the smaller and more integrated the bubbles.
Has to be good.


Batonage - an ancient trick this one. It means stirring the wine on its lees, the deposits of dead or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate, or are carried by the action of "fining", to the bottom of a vat of wine. It gives the wine balance and a creamy mouth feel.

Tannin - Wine tannins come from grape skins, stems and seeds, and their extraction depends on how the wine is made. Sometimes tannins also come from barrels, especially new ones, if these are used to age the wine in. All in all, it's a really complicated thing, that has led to all sorts of other jargon such as cofermenting and copigmentation. If you drink a badly made red wine and your mouth puckers up, that's too much tannin right there.

Savoury - similar to what you would expect in food. Generally means the wine is well made and nice to drink.

Luscious - soft, velvety, fruity, rich wines. A Bond Girl in a glass.

Acidity - acidity is critical to how nice the wine tastes, and how long it lasts. The natural acids in wine are citric, tartaric, malic, and lactic. Wines from hot years are usually lower in acidity; wines from cooler wet years tend to be higher. Acidity can maintain the wine's freshness keep it drinkable for years, but too much acidity masks the wines flavours, and is a big no-no. 

Phenolic - Phenols affect taste, give red wine colour and act as a preservative during the aging process. Being part of the tannin thingy, they create their fair share of jargon too: "The weight of a wine on the palate is largely a result of the interaction of phenols with other compounds in a wine. Because these interactions change through ageing, the perceptible astringency can be very different in a young red when compared with an aged one"


"Phenols are a class of compounds containing a phenyl ring and varying substituents. This class of compounds is found in many organisms; from animals and plants to small microbes. They are used by animals and microbes as defense mechanisms, and by plants as protection by stopping biologically active growth inhibitors."

What does this mean to you? Well phenols are developed as a defence mechanism for plants, so the more stressed the vines are, the more phenols the plants will produce. So hot, dry years when the vines struggle a bit means better wine. 

Complex - When a wine expert says a wine is complex, he or she means they've a wine that they never get bored with and find interesting to drink. Complex wines tend to have a variety of subtle scents and flavours that keep your attention. If someone you're with says "this wine is wonderfully complex", just reply "Mm, I like it too."