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Featured Publication
posted 12 November 2001

Vineyards of New Zealand Cookbook
by Julie Le Clerc and Vic Williams
Vineyards of New Zealand cover
published in 2001 by Penguin Books
ISBN 0670911100

It is time to start think about Christmas presents and books always rate highly on my wish list. Top of the list this year for its wide appeal has to be the Vineyards of New Zealand Cookbook by Julie Le Clerc and Vic Williams, with mouthwatering photography by Ian Baker.

The format is simple - a recipe, a wine, a vineyard and a photo or two. Julie Le Clerc has either created recipes to match a featured wine, or has reproduced one of the vineyard's own recipes. Vic Williams profiles the featured wine. One of the authors provides some commentary about the winery. And Ian Baker captures the vision of the food, the wine, the people or place. Match them together over a two page spread and the visual effect is stunning.

It's a regional guide that starts in Matakana, north of Auckland and ends in Central Otago in the deep South. Over 70 vineyards are profiled.

Vic Williams, with his vast knowledge of the New Zealand wine industry, introduces the viticultural and historical aspects of each region in a delightfully vinous way with the Ian Baker images making a great impact.

At the book launch the authors spoke about their experiences travelling around the country doing research for the book.

Julie and Vic

"Julie fell in love with every male wine maker on her travels around the country", says Vic.

"I learnt a lot about winemaking and discovered I don't want to do it", says Julie.

"Julie is the ideal chef - every ingredient plays a part and her food just leaps off the plate", says Vic.

"We developed recipes to match the wine and may have broken a few rules", says Julie.

"Wine is to be shared with good friends and great food", says Vic.

"We discovered an amazing wealth of talent and people in the vineyards and discovered some of the vintners' favourite recipes", says Julie.

The enthusiasm of the two authors at the launch show through in their work, after all if you are a chef and a wine writer, what a great project to work on.

As I scroll through the book there are a number of recipes I want to try, for example

Sage Crusted Lamb Rack with Wild Forest Mushroom Gravy accompanied by a Matakana Estate Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/ Franc / Malbec.
Roasted White peaches with Prosciutto, Parmesan and Vincotto with a Mountford Chardonnay
Mediterranean Lamb Burgers with Beetroot and Pinot Noir Relish accompanied by Muddy Water Pinot Noir
Lake Ferry Whitebait Frittata served with Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc

The latter two were served at the launch and I loved the taste and presentation of the individually bite sized morsels.

The hard-back book is large, measuring approximately 255 by 255 mm.

Indexes at the back for both recipes and vineyards make for easy navigation.

This book has a recommended retail in New Zealand of $69.95 and should be widely available. A few copies were also sent to Australia. For enquiries from further afield, please enquire with your local Penguin distributor or check the Penguin Books websites at,,

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