Bubbly Wine Tour

As we are in Marlborough, the largest wine region in New Zealand, with 27,000 Hectares, we thought it best that we do a wine tour! Well, what an indulgement! We enjoyed going to 6 different vineyards all transported by our lovely host Kathy, who did a great job of keeping up the conversations and making us all laugh! We were on tour with 4 other lovely people, one from France and 3 from England (and turns out they used to live in Wendover too!).

Our intention of doing this tour was 1) yes to drink wine but 2) to find a bottle of wine that we could both enjoy. Stacey doesn't normally like white wines, but this tasting changed her mind quite a bit!

Please bare in mind when we talk about these wines, they are personal preferences, so one that we may not like you (the reader) would possibly like, and vice versa!

Frankie (the dog) enjoying the wine tasting with us!
Our first stop was one of our favourites: Forrest Estate.
Here we got to try a Sauvignon Blanc which we both liked (so first tick there!), some of their Doctor's range, a Cabernet Riesling which was really sweet (although our driver Kathy's favourite), and a Rose which was dryer than the Cabernet (normally we are used to Rose's being sweeter so that was a refreshing change!). We then finished with a Pinot Noir which was a bit on the dry side, but still very enjoyable.

Next was an organic winery: Fromm Winery.
A surprising experience here as we get quite enthusiastic about organic, but we found the wines here were very acidic for us. The first one we had, Pinot Gris, smelled to us like our homemade courgette wine we made once, and tasted like a very dry cider! The Pinot Noir we had was not a favourite either unfortunately. The Syrah had a very strong fragrance of black pepper, was very peculiar, although the French lady on our tour did love it! Lastly we finished with a Riesling Spatlese which was only 7.5% and very sweet, almost tasted like straight elderflower cordial. We thought that one might work nicely with some blue cheese.

By this point, something interesting came about with the years of the wines; Stacey was realising that she likes newer whites but not newer reds.

So next up was Cloudy Bay, owned by Louis Vuitton, so as you can imagine, a slightly posher place, we said it felt like you could be at a beach resort if there was a beach! We enjoyed a lot of the wines here, but they did have more of a price tag to go with them! The first wine we tased was a Pelorous Non Vintage Sparkling wine, which was very nice, although I tend to like any of the Champagnes/Sparkling wines there are! Next was 2 of the same Sauvignon Blancs just different years, one was 2019 and the other 2006. Stacey much preferred the 2019 one as it was a lot cheaper, where as I was keen on the later one - so not luck sharing a bottle there! Then we tried a Chardonnay.. now my experience of Chardonnays so far in New Zealand have not been great, and unfortunately this one didn't change my mind. Apparently kiwis use to be ABC (Anything but Chardonnay) as it was too oaky, now they are BBC (Bring back Chardonnay).. but I'll remain as an ABC! Stacey could be a BBC though! Lastly, it was a Pinot Noir, which was hand picked grapes (so more pricey!), but I very much enjoyed that one, however Stacey wasn't keen!

The lady serving us at Cloudy Bay made an interesting point whilst I was swilling my wine on the table (in the glass, I may add!). She mentioned that as we are European we swill our wine anti clockwise, where as they swill clockwise.. must be something to do with the Northern and Southern Hemispheres!

The lovely view over Brancott Estate

Allan Scott was next! Here all the wines got a tick from me, and most from Stacey. We had lunch here too, a delicious meal and much needed by this point! We started with a Cecilia Brut here, but we thought it smelled like tissues, so our noses were putting our tastes buds off on this one! Then we had a Sauvignon Blanc, a Scott Base Pinot Noir Rose, and a Pinot Noir Generations, which got all got a tick from both of us! We are finally getting somewhere! We then got to try a Ginger Wine, which we both thoroughly enjoyed and so bough a bottle! Not really what we were supposed to be going for on a wine tasting, but there we go! We also bought two Sauvignon Blanc cans here as we had never come across wine in a can!
Enjoying the Pinot Gris
After nice full bellies, and starting to really feel the wine, we headed off to Brancott Estate! We weren't too keen on the wines here, although it does become more difficult with trying lots of different wines and grapes to get rid of the acidic tastes in our mouths. So we drank all the glasses we are given, as we thought it only fair to really try! They do say it is the 2nd or 3rd sips (mouthfuls!) that let you define the wine! The only one here we took a bit of a fancy to was the Pinot Gris.

Lastly, we ended up an Irish Winery, Hunter's. Seems only fitting to complete drinking at an Irishman's! It is getting harder to understand my writing in the notebook they gave us at this point. Theres lots of crosses, then crossed out and replaced by ticks, so I'm not sure they are honest answers, mostly persuaded by the drinking! We started off with a Miru Miru (Bubbles in Maori) Non Vintage, they repeat the word as Maori don't have doubles. We then tried Sauvignon Blanc, which started as crosses and moved to ticks, then a Chardonnay, A Gruner Veltiner which got 2 ticks but a question mark as well! Then we tried a Reisling and a Pinot Noir Rose, both with question marks, and finally the Chase, which we bought a bottle of as it got two solid ticks! We found the prices here as well really reasonable.

By this point we all clamber into the van, and get dropped back off at our places we are staying, we are just on someones driveway so nothing glam! But Stacey and I decided to finish the wine tasting with some beer tasting at a pub in front of the rugby! What a great decision that was too...


Popular posts from this blog

Looking back on 2023

Turkey and all it's delight

24 hours in Intriguing Istanbul