Like any proud New Zealand chef, Sileni Estates' Paul Condron loves the local lamb. He's been known to serve a main course with three preparations: a tartare, a spring roll and, best of all, a crispy, tender schnitzel. A recipe for that delicious schnitzel is partnered with Sileni's graceful Pinot Noir—a wine that's fast becoming another New Zealand signature.


The Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand's North Island has a warm, dry climate that sounds enviable—unless you're a winemaker trying to make Burgundy-style Pinot Noir. "The area is generally considered too hot for the European style of Pinot Noir," explains winemaker Grant Edmonds of Sileni Estates, which was founded in Hawke's Bay in 1997. Sileni planted one of its vineyards at a higher altitude to take advantage of the cooler temperatures there; the vineyard makes all the difference in the 2003 Sileni Estates Cellar Selection Pinot Noir.

"This Pinot shows classic black-cherry character, with some earthiness adding complexity to a relatively light body," Edmonds says. Sileni chef Paul Condron sees the wine as an ideal partner to his lamb schnitzel: "Succulent New Zealand lamb matches beautifully with the Pinot's ripe cherry flavors."

—Richard Nalley