This week, I was given a bottle of Pencarrow Chardonnay 2014 to try. Pencarrow is the second label to Palliser Estate, a wine producer in Martinborough (an area of New Zealand close to my heart). I"m not going to get involved in trying to describe the wine. But I can tell you it's great, and it's great with this dish. 

I love chardonnay, and I love gnocchi, and the match came about after I spent a good amount of time reading about and playing around with lots of different ideas.

The three main ingredients of potato gnocchi, browned butter and pumpkin each compliment the richness of the wine. The acidity of the chardonnay (being young) cuts through that richness, cleansing the palette. The sage and the hazelnut work well with the savoury characters in the wine, for example the slight nuttiness from the oak is perfect with these lightly toasted hazelnuts.

You can make your own gnocchi if you have a bit more time (it’s seriously not that hard and there are heaps of recipes online) but there are some great quality pre-made brands available at specialty supermarkets. If using pre-bought, this becomes a quick but luxurious mid week meal.

Add a couch and a blanket and a glass of chardonnay and you’ll be winter comfort personified. 

Recipe inside!

Gnocchi with brown butter, sage, and hazelnuts

Serves 2-3


¼ cup hazelnuts (get fresh New Zealand ones if you can)

1 small buttercup pumpkin

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp honey

100g good quality unsalted butter  (I used Lewis Road Creamery)

300g gnocchi

1 bunch fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped (about half a cup)

1 tsp lemon zest

Grana padano or parmesan, to garnish

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to garnish


1. Take the hazelnuts and dry toast in a frying pan on a high heat for a couple of minutes. Roughly chop and set aside.

2. Slice buttercup, skin-on, into thin crescent wedges, and roast at 200C with a little olive oil, honey, and chilli flakes, for about 30 minutes, until golden and caramelised.

3. Make gnocchi according to instructions, or buy fresh-frozen gnocchi, and cook in boiling water according to instructions. Leave in water until ready to add to sauce.

4. In a frying pan, add butter. Heat on a medium-high heat until nearly all melted, then add your chopped sage leaves.

5. Cook a couple of minutes, until the butter starts to brown and the leaves start to go crispy. Add the gnocchi, and stir to coat in the butter. Cook for a further couple of minutes, being careful not to allow the butter to burn.

6. Remove from the heat and add lemon zest. Add the hazelnuts, and serve on a plate with the roasted buttercup.

Garnish with grana padano or parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Serve with Palliser Chardonnay 2014.

// Posted by Delaney at 11:01 PM // Labels: wine match, cooking, onvine