It’s mid-June on a Friday night at Queenstown’s Botswana Butchery, and the restaurant is humming. We are here to partake in New Zealand’s most coveted food and wine tasting experience, the 2019 Cloudy Bay Pinot & Game Tasting Trail, and it’s a fitting end to what’s been a particularly hectic working week.
With the big snow yet to arrive in the resort, the towns winter season is off to a quiet start, but not here at Botswana Butchery, where a parade of diners continually files through the doors of the sophisticated locale while some poor visiting hopefuls miss out.
The popularity of the iconic Queenstown Bay restaurant does not surprise. Botswana Butchery has been open 11 years this coming August, and as the resident sommelier Jeremy Olsen confirms, it’s a beacon for modern cuisine, the world’s finest wines and liquors and excellent hospitality.
As one of fourteen restaurants around the country participating in the pairing of unique game dishes with Cloudy Bay pinot noir during the month of June, Botswana Butchery has chosen to champion Te Wahi Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016.
“Te Wahi is a single origin pinot noir from the Northburn Estate in Bendigo, which is a sub-region of Central Otago that is generally 8 to 10 degrees hotter than Queenstown,” says Jeremy. “ It represents that regionality with a full-bodied, rich fruitiness that is driven slightly spicy, delivering beautiful length and balance on the palette.”
“This is a pinot noir that has a lovely linear acidity that just sits in the background and is ideal served with slightly sweeter meats like lamb, an eye fillet steak, venison or even duck.”
Botswana Butchery executive chef Warwick Taylor has expertly matched Te Wahi with a signature dish of locally sourced game – a carpaccio of Fiordland red deer, marinated beetroot, goat’s milk pannacotta, smoked parsnip, honey, truffle, and thyme oil.
“It’s a beautiful match – 100%,” says Jeremy. “The wild caught Fiordland venison has a deliciously subtle flavour, unlike farmed venison that can sometimes be quite gamey. The dish is a showcase of lovely lean and tender cuts of venison with lots of natural flavours that marries well with the red and black fruit notes of Te Wahi with that hint of spice.”
We concur. The dish is expertly curated and aesthetically very pretty – the perfect expression of natural, earthy flavours and creamy sweet notes that create a beautiful array of distinctive tastes on the plate.
Te Wahi is a little culinary mouthful all on its own and matched with the red deer carpaccio – an absolute masterstroke. Botswana Butchery serves a generous pour, and its bright and vibrant colour is very appealing in the glass. We love it.
The 2019 Cloudy Bay Pinot & Game Tasting Trail coincides nicely with the end of New Zealand’s game season, and June’s cooler temperatures offer the perfect reason to seek out a participating restaurant and experience the originality and creative flair this unique culinary initiative has on offer. Highly recommended.
To find out more about the 2019 Cloudy Bay Pinot & Game Tasting Trail and participating restaurants in the North and South Islands, click here.