Sean Connolly Visits Marlborough

Renowned chef and restaurateur, Sean Connolly, is in New Zealand and about to embark on an adventure that will put his wine and food matching skills to the test. First up, he pays us a visit. Upon arriving at Stoneleigh Vineyard in the heart of Marlborough, Sean is greeted by our winemaker, Jamie Marfell. Jamie has some new wild-fermented wines for Sean to try – as well as a few challenges up his sleeve.

The native micro-flora and stony terroir of the Rapaura region in Marlborough allows Stoneleigh Wild Valley wines to develop a wonderful, complex taste, with minimal human intervention. By employing wild fermentation, these textural wines are crisp and vibrant – the perfect partners for food.

Sean samples the Wild Valley Pinot Noir, a naturally-flavourful wine that captures the essence of the Pinot Noir grapes. Next, Jamie pours Sean a glass of Wild Valley Sauvignon Blanc, a crisp and complex wine with vibrant, stone fruit textures. But Sean isn’t here for a simple wine tasting. Jamie knows this is a chef with a passion for nature, someone who loves to know where his food and wine comes from. That’s why Jamie is tasking Sean with a series of wine and food pairing challenges, sending him out into the New Zealand wilderness to source some of the country’s finest naturally-wild foods. The aim: creating a series of delicious dishes to complement Wild Valley naturally-fermented wines.

Chef Sean Connolly preparing Buffalo Mozzarella & Pear Sala
Chef Sean Connolly
Chef Chef Sean Connolly Fishing for Flavour
Chef Sean Connolly and Stoneleigh Winemaker Jamie Marfell

Is Sean up to the challenge? As one of Australia and New Zealand’s most recognised and respected chefs, he certainly has plenty of experience to rely on. Always looking for ways to share his love for honest food, Sean is at the helm of award-winning restaurants including ‘The Grill by Sean Connolly’ in Auckland and ‘The Morrison’, situated in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. This acclaimed chef is also known for hosting 2009 SBS television series ‘My Family Feast’, as well as being the star of the six-part documentary, ‘Under the Grill’. The face of a number of brands and charities, with numerous accolades under his belt, Sean isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. But how will he fare in the wilds of New Zealand?