By Rebecca Sterry

Within this article, we will be telling you what food pairs with Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, a uniquely blended wine that has been created by Verwood Estate Wines!

Who are Verwood Estate Wines?

Verwood Estate Wines is a family run vineyard, in the cool climate region of the Southern Highlands in New South Wales, Australia. It is the first vintage collection the vines at Verwood have produced, and it’s a special one at that! We have a 2019 Vintage Collection comprising of Shiraz Rosé, Sparkling Shiraz Rosé, Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and last but not least, our new to August 2020, Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon! All of our wines you can find on our website

Here at Verwood, we have created a series of videos called Ballgowns & Booze on our YouTube channel ‘Verwood Estate’. This series focusses on what food pairs well with Verwood’s range of 2019 vintage wines, giving you ideas of what to cook with the different varieties.

Firstly, let us tell you a bit more about Verwood’s Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, 2019 Vintage wine before we begin with the Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir food pairing.

Our Verwood Estate 2019 Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir has a toasty flavour with hints of custard apple and berries, leaving lingering flavours on the palate. We strived for a special delicacy taste in our sparkling wines, (which we hope you agree), in that the Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir has a taste that quickly melts away after swallowing, leaving your mouth tingling with body while remaining fresh and clean. You can also experience this sensation if you try our Sparkling Shiraz Rosé, difference being that you’ll taste crisp red berries!

There is a reason why this is a Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, instead of just a Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir wine. The reason being, as it seems that the kangaroos in Sutton Forest developed a keen taste for the Pinot Noir grapes and decided to indulge themselves on many of them! Because of this, we were unable to produce a sole batch of Pinot Noir, so with the remaining amount of Pinot Noir grapes, we decided to blend them with the Chardonnay creating our Verwood Estate 2019 Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir. So, for all you Pinot Noir lovers out there, you can blame the kangaroos for the absence of this wine in our selection! 

It’s difficult to be mad at the kangaroos though, as if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have produced a deliciously blended wine! Since this incident, we have now built fences to keep the kangaroos out (protecting their safety) and to help protect our produce. I suppose the saying ‘trial and error’ fits this instance appropriately! 

Now, let’s get down to business with what food pairs with Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir?

Shrimp Asparagus Stir Fry

Shrimp asparagus stir fry is native to the Mediterranean basin, where asparagus is first consumed (most often in the wild) among the Egyptians and the Greeks. 

In ancient Greece, asparagus was believed to be a plant with sacred and aphrodisiac properties. As a result, the Greeks became interested in its biological and pharmacological qualities. 

Hippocrates, a physician in ancient Greece used asparagus to treat diarrhoea and pain in the urethra. This plant indeed contains asparagine recognised for its diuretic qualities. The Romans, for their part, rather appreciated its gastronomic attractions.

Asparagus was often enjoyed as an appetizer or as a side dish with fish-based meals. It then fell into oblivion in the Middle Ages. 

For this recipe, you will need:

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 Ibs of raw shrimp 
  • 1 Ibs of asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish

If you’d like to follow the method and recipe, you can also cook along with Natalie and Elouise as part of the Ballgowns & Booze series, of which the episode is called ‘BALLGOWNS & BOOZE: EPISODE 12: SHRIMP ASPARAGUS STIR FRY (Southern Highlands Wines)’.

Here is the method as follows:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the pan and season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook until the shrimp is pink (about 5 minutes). Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set it aside.
  2. Using the same skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the asparagus, ginger and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently and cook until the asparagus is tender-crisp (about 5 minutes).
  3. Return the shrimp back to the skillet and heat through. Add the soy sauce and lemon juice, stirring well until combined.
  4. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve immediately!

Teddy the Sommelier paired this dish with the Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, as the Chardonnay brings out the freshness and the Pinot Noir creates the structure within the food, which balances perfectly with the added spice.

What is another great Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir food pairing?

Beef Dumpling in Hot & Sour Soup

Let’s find out a bit of history behind this dish! Originally, the sweet and sour sauce would come from Hunan province in China. Very popular throughout the country, the Chinese serve it as an accompaniment to dishes based on fish or seafood, mainly as a dipping sauce. Its taste can vary depending on the food served and even be very different from that known in the West. 

Sweet and sour chicken and pork, considered by us to be very popular dishes in Chinese cuisine, are therefore not typically Chinese recipes. Astonishing?! In fact, it was the restaurateurs from Chinese immigration who invented these dishes to adapt to the tastes of our Western palates. Seeing that their spicy recipes were not unanimous, they had to find sweeter alternative dishes: this is how the famous sweet and sour chicken was born! 

Heads up if you’re eager for a cooking challenge! I would recommend following the Ballgowns & Booze video for this recipe and method as it quite the lengthy one, and slightly more complicated than other recipes, but the result will definitely be worthwhile!

You can follow this recipe and cook along with Natalie and Elouise on YouTube, ‘BALLGOWNS & BOOZE: EPISODE 11: BEEF DUMPLINGS WITH HOT & SOUR SOUP (Southern Highlands Wines)’.

The recipe is as follows:

For the dough

  • 300g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 160ml of water 

For the filling

  • 300g of minced beef
  • 1 stalk of scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon of Sichuan pepper, or Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 150ml of water, or stock
  • 150g of Chinese chives, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil

For the spiced vinegar

  • 80ml of black rice vinegar
  • 80ml of water
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar or regular sugar
  • 1 piece of Chinese cinnamon (cassia cinnamon)
  • 1 star-anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch of fennel seeds
  • 1 pinch of Sichuan peppercorn

For each bowl of soup

  • 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese chilli oil, or to taste
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Spring onion, chopped
  • Coriander, chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds


Make the dough 

  • In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt, and water. Knead with your hands (or a stand mixer with a fitted dough hook) to form a medium-firm dough.
  • Leave to rest for 30-60 minutes. Then knead again until smooth.

Mix the filling

  • Mix beef, spring onion, ginger, ground Sichuan pepper (or five-spice powder), rice wine and salt.
  • Swirl constantly in the same direction while gradually adding water/stock into the mixture until all the liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Add Chinese chive and sesame oil then mix well.

Prepare the spiced vinegar

  • Simmer all of the ingredients for the spiced vinegar for 5 minutes (cover with a lid) and then drain through a sieve. Discard the spices. Set aside.

Roll the wrappers 

  • Make a loop with the dough (about 2.5cm/1 inch in diameter). Cut into about 40 equal sections.
  • Press each piece into a small disc with the palm of your hand.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin disk (always remember to dust with flour if the dough sticks).

Shape the dumplings

  • Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Fold the wrapper, then seal it. You may do it in any way you like as long as you make sure there is no leakage.

Cook the dumplings

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over a high heat. Gently slide in half of the dumplings and cover with a lid.
  • When the water returns to a boil, pour in about 120ml of cold water, then cover. Repeat the same procedure another two times.

Assemble the bowl

  • While waiting for the dumplings to cook, prepare the serving bowls. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of spiced vinegar into each bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients. Spoon in the cooked dumplings along with some water from the pot.

How to freeze dumplings

  • Freeze raw dumplings right after they are assembled. Lay them on a tray (dust with flour or line with parchment paper). When totally frozen, transfer them into an air-tight bag.
  • No need to defrost before cooking. Follow the same cooking procedure described above. 

For this Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir food pairing, Teddy the Sommelier was pleasantly surprised at how well the food paired with the wine. Despite this being a beef dish, which we would usually associate more with red wines, the boiling of the beef created a lighter texture, and therefore perfectly paired for the lightness and creaminess of the Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir. The wine also made it so that the dish wasn’t too spicy, again creating a divine balance. 

Purchase Your Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Today

If we’ve tempted you into buying this wine, you can order Verwood’s Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir for just $35.00.

If you do get around to trying the Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir and love it, then please give us a review on our website. We’re also open to new suggestions on more food and wine pairings so if you happen to find an exquisite match, then please let us know and we may try it in one of our Booze & Ballgowns episodes!