Marlborough

Reluctantly leaving the views and beach front of Kaiterteri , F&L arranged a delightful drive across the top of the south island with the particular objective of stopping in the mussel capital of NZ, Havelock.  Lindsay had targeted the Mussel Pot for lunch, however no such luck as it was closed. Instead we found a delightful sun filled balcony at the Captains Daughter for our special lunch.  Giant sized mussels made for a big lunch.

After lunch we took the scenic route across to Blenheim for our Marlborough wine experience. Along the way we passed beautiful sandy bays and headlands with fabulous views across Queen Charlotte Sound to mountains in the distance.

It was a bit windy

And then we turned a corner and were in Picton, just like that, a port for exporting logs and the ferry to Wellington

Our digs for the next few days is a cottage on a farm: vines on either side, cows outside the window, sheep bleating in the next paddock, olive trees behind and hazelnut trees on the driveway.  And to top it all off, a cricket pitch outside the back door!  Ideal being isolated and peaceful, although only a mile or two to the shops and wineries.

The first stop the next day was at Hans Herzog where we were impressed with the red wines particularly. Marlborough is noted for its white wines and lighter style pinot noir, Hanz Herzog surprised us with its full bodied reds.

Next stop was Wairu winery for a tasting and then on to Jan Hunter’s winery where we enjoyed a relaxed lunch and tasting served to us by the delightful Helen.

The area is especially known for the sauvignon blanc and pinot noir varieties, however we were surprised to see numerous other wine varieties available throughout the area. Hans Herzog had an impressive collection of varietals including some of Italian origin such as a Barbera and Tempranillo, and Montepulciano and a Sweigelt from Austria. This was a very interesting visit and tasting.

We are getting better at distinguishing regional differences in, particularly, pinot noir, with Central Otago wines being bigger and more flavoursome and the Marlborough more delicate.  Despite having been brought up on Hunter Shiraz, we can now, after our 10 week immersion in NZ wines, appreciate better these delightful NZ wines and their regional differences!

We have noticed how the vines are trimmed, even during the bud burst and bunch ripening season. We are told this is to ensure the maximum sunlight does to the bunches.

Our last dinner together (F&L are returning to Oz early for the birth of their second grandchild) was at Scotch Bar, a restaurant in town with a menu that focused on sharing plates using freshly sourced local ingredients.  We opted for the chef’s selection including walnut and chive dip with multi gain sourdough, super fresh (the carrot and radish snapped crisply in the mouth) lightly pickled vegetables with an avocado dip, sashimi cod with daikon and cucumber jus, slow cooked rib eye with whipped duck fat and the finale was chocolate mousse piped over whipped  buttermilk with pepper on top!

The waiter very helpfully suggested a local pinot that suited the meal especially well and then recommended two further wineries for us to visit the next day!

So, the next day we did visit a couple more wineries as well as enjoying a very delicious lunch at the restaurant at Wairu winery.  We should have rented a bicycle as they come equipped with a very important carry bag!

w 1

It now feels a bit like we are moving towards home.  Certainly we will be travelling north (tomorrow on the ferry to Wellington and after that driving up the North Island) to drop off Goldie and catch a plane back to Oz from Auckland.  The Coronavirus is a growing concern, although NZ seems to be relatively free of the anxiety we are reading about in Australia.  Restaurants are full, campers everywhere and supermarkets fully stocked.  We will need to self-isolate when we arrive in Sydney so that will slow us down.  A lunch John was looking forward to has been cancelled, the MG National Meeting over Easter cancelled and a golf weekend John was especially excited about has gone. Looks pretty grim from here. But we do have a very good supply of toilet paper at home! Australia seems to have gone mad with panic buying during our absence! New Zealanders are behaving in a much more sane and restrained fashion.

 

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