Autumn colours reflected in heavenly harvest wine and food match

By Wright Communications

The Sacred Hill team has been dining out on Perfect Pumpkin Risotto paired with its own Orange Label Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2015 as they reflect on the latest harvest and exchange war stories.

Managing director David Mason says there is nothing quite like the annual harvest at Sacred Hill which is characterised by relentless long hours, tension, the biggest adrenaline buzz of the year, joy and finally relief - and just about every emotion in between.

"The team put their heart and soul into the vineyards and this brief period is when we reap the fruit of their year-long labours."

Senior Winemaker Tony Bish says there's a special comradery among the vintage crew on the ground, working together at the mercy of the weather with their tannin stained hands.

"We share a sense of fulfilment, joy, relief and exhaustion as the grapes come off the vines and in the knowledge that great fruit has been safely secured for the next vintage," he says.

Bish says this year's harvest has lived up to expectations.

"Our Chardonnay is showing very good volume and richness in the palate. The Merlots are fermenting merrily and look to have the colour and tannins to produce wines of integrity, power and finesse."

He says while his winemaking team has much work ahead, they are very happy with the harvest results.

"The end of harvest is like coming out of a long tunnel. There's a sense of satisfaction, a chance for reflection and it's a time to spend with family who have supported us during the ups and downs of the previous months," he says.

As the Sacred Hill team recovers from their latest vintage, says goodbye to its vintage interns, and looks forward to vineyard pruning and a winter of nurturing the wines in the winery, they are sharing their recipe for their favourite autumn food and wine match.

Perfect pumpkin risotto

2 Cups Arborio rice

Olive oil

1 chopped onion

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 cup chopped pumpkin (1cm cubed)

3 rashers bacon

2 Litres of chicken stock

Grated parmesan to garnish and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat stock in pan and leave to simmer. Sauté onion, garlic and bacon. Stir in pumpkin and rice, add two ladles of stock and mix until stock is absorbed. Repeat until rice is soft and creamy and pumpkin is tender.

Sacred Hill 2015 Orange Label Hawke's Bay Chardonnay - Attractive straw colour. The aroma has ripe stone fruit, orange rind fragrance and nutty complexity. The palate has a rich core of ripe stone fruit and a soft textured palate line. Rich and tasty.

Sacred Hill 2015 Orange Label Hawke's Bay Chardonnay is available from supermarkets throughout New Zealand and has a recommended retail price of $19.95

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