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A Tropical Staycation with Spy Valley E Block

After a fair amount of traveling this summer with more still to come, I was looking forward to spending time at home with my family this week. Both of my millennial children have recently moved back to Houston but the home-cooked meals have been few and far between. I had recently received a sample of the Spy Valley E Block Sauvignon Blanc 2017 along with an invitation to participate in an on-line tasting with the Wine Pairing Weekend group (find them online under the hashtag #Winepw), this became the inspiration for this family gathering.

I gleefully sent out a group text, "I'm grilling poolside tonight, be home by 7:30 p.m. to eat, come earlier if you want to swim." I am surrounded by funny people as the responses reflect, "Who is this?", "What have you done with my mom?", "Not a good night, Bachelor in Paradise is on."

I was undeterred, I knew that they would come. I pulled the bottle out of the wine fridge to investigate what I was serving. The label had a wealth of information on it including, of course, the origin of the grapes, Waihopai Valley. While I certainly know a fair amount about Marlborough, it is New Zealand's largest wine producing region, Waihopai Valley was not a subregion with which I was familiar. A quick google search got me up to speed.

Per Wikipedia, "Waihopai Valley is an area near Blenheim in the Marlborough region of the South Island of New Zealand. The Waihopai River drains the area. The Government Communications Security Bureau operates what it describes as a satellite communications monitoring facility in the Waihopai Valley, which it GCSB Waihopai. It has been identified as being part of ECHELON, the worldwide network of signals interception facilities run by UKUSA consortium of intelligence agencies." 

How interesting, plus, it explained the winery's name. I decided to make a low prep dinner because I was working on a magazine deadline in conjunction with being an exemplary wife and mother. I also really wanted to make sure that I had time to enjoy a glass of wine in the pool before my guests arrived.

As soon as my article was submitted, I went grocery shopping without too much of a plan besides light and summery. As soon as I had everything prepped and ready at home, I opened the bottle and gave myself a generous pour before heading outside. The first sniff made me wish that I had bought the Texas Peach salsa instead of the one I had chosen. 

The Spy Valley E Block Sauvignon Blanc 2017 is loaded with aromas and flavors of fresh ripe peach. It also has notes of melon and tropical fruit with a distinct mineral edge from start to finish. Fresh and beautifully balanced with moderate alcohol and bright acidity, this wine had a pleasing texture and was a delight to drink. The light tropical note dances with the minerality through the lingering finish.

The dinner that I prepared was simple to make yet still a big hit with the family. Aside from the wine, everything came from Whole Foods - sustainably sourced food to go with my sustainably produced wine. We started with Hatchamole served with tortilla chips, heads up, that guacamole was spicier than I expected. Second course, I bought their in-store prepared jumbo lump crab cakes and cut them in half to make  normal sized cakes and gave each a little sprinkle of Mexican seasoning. I sautéed them in butter and topped them with warm pineapple-mango salsa. My husband and I each had one before the kids arrived because we were hungry and they were a little late. For our main course, I grilled jumbo shrimp skewers with peppers, onion, and tomatoes with more of the salsa on the side. I also grilled some fresh corn just because it is summer.
The wine was excellent with everything. It helped cool down the heat of the guacamole and was a great complement for both the crab cakes and the grilled shrimp. After dinner, we did turn on Bachelor in Paradise. It fit my tropical theme and added some drama and entertainment to an otherwise quiet evening, the wine definitely made the show more palatable as well.

I highly recommend the wine and this easy dinner for your next tropical staycation at home.

Join the discussion about New Zealand Wine on Twitter on Saturday morning by following at #WinePW. You can participate in this live chat at 11:00 ET, 10:00 CT, or 8:00 PT. 

You can also check out the other participating writers below and get their thoughts and menu ideas for pairing with an array of New Zealand wines. 

Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be making Hāngī in a Dutch Oven + Gimblett Gravels Malbec 2017
Linda of My Full Wine Glass will be posting New NZ wine, old Sicilian dish
Jane of Always Ravenous will be pairing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Fresh Flavors of Late Summer
Cindy of Grape Experiences will show how to Beat the Heat with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Chilled Cucumber Soup with Mint
Gwen at Wine Predator will be pairing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Zesty Arugula Kale Pesto Pizza and Salad 
Jennifer of Vino Travels Italy demonstrates Seeing the Potential of North Canterbury, NZ at Mt. Beautiful Winery
David of Cooking Chat  will be pairing Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings will be serving New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pan-fried Chinese Potstickers
Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm will be Discovering New Zealand Wines
Cynthia and Pierre of Traveling Wine Profs will be sipping New Zealand Chardonnay with a view of… The Pyrenees
Rupal the Syrah Queen will be drinking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Grilled Mediterranean Swordfish
Lori of Exploring the Wine Glass, is thankful that Humans May Only Be 5%, But They Make Great Wine


  1. This sounds like a fabulous staycation! I love picking up items at Whole Foods for an easy dinner.

  2. Your text responses are hysterical. Interesting about the region. I also was not aware of any of that! Thanks for the lesson

  3. What a fun evening! It looks like you all had a great time, once the troop were rounded up.

  4. Sounds like a perfect summer meal! A glass of Sauv Blanc while enjoying the pool is a nice touch!

  5. A perfect summer meal. So happy you have your kids back. Nothing more satisfying than a family meal with lots of laughter.


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