Hawke's Bay, Martinborough and Marlborough

Seresin, Marlborough vinyard view

Seresin, Marlborough vinyard view

The aim of our trip was to taste Shiraz in Hawke’s Bay, Pinot Noir in Martinborough, and Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough... or so we thought when we planned the trip.  In addition to a great time, we made some interesting wine discoveries.

We spent:

2 days in Hawke’s Bay

2 days in Martinborough

1 day traveling between Martinborough and Marlborough

1 day in Marlborough (should have been 2)

Itinerary, Dinner and Accommodation

Monday 8 March – Arrive in Napier from UK & taste Hawke’s Bay wines

Havelock North road sign

Havelock North road sign that gets its point accross

Dinner - Barbecue at the cottage.  Lamb bought from butcher in Havelock North.  Bought a 2002 Vidal Bordeaux Blend, Gimblett Gravels area ($38) that was full and mellow – excellent with the barbecue.

Accommodation - Milbrook Lane cottages, Havelock North

2 bedroom cottage on an apple farm – very pleasant

Tuesday 9 March – Taste Hawke’s Bay wines

Terroir Restaurant

Terroir Restaurant - the view, if one had too much to drink. Almost as impressive as the view from the cellar door (See wine tasting notes on Hawke's Bay)

Dinner -Terroir Restaurant at Craggy Range – an impressive modern building in great rural setting with scenic hills on which sheep and cattle graze and small lake with ducks.  Trinity Hill H – method traditionelle blanc de blanc nv; great, less acidic than usual for a blanc de blanc.  Trinity Hill 2002 Hommage Syrah – excellent, very soft tannins but still good fruit.

Venison Carpaccio was really good as was the fillet steak.   The chocolate tasting plate was also memorable.

Wednesday 10 March – Travel to Martinborough and taste wines

Another informative NZ road sign

Another informative road sign

Accommodation - Mole End Cottage, Greytown on www.greytown.co.nz  A 3 bedroom cottage one block from the main road where there is a great coffee shop.

Dinner - Saluté in Greytown – a top rated restaurant said to be on a par with the other two restaurants we ate at – but nowhere near.  Reasonably priced wine list; reasonable food. Was tempted to get a Hawke’s Bay wine but resisted.  Had Benfield & Delamare (specialise in merlot / cab blends) 2006 merlot based Bordeaux blend; good – typical merlot fruits and the tannins had softened nicely.

Thursday 11 March – Taste Martinborough wines

Dinner - Dinner in the house.  They seem to be fond of pies in NZ, and many are ‘award winning’ – so a chicken and cranberry pie and a venison pie.  Also lots of berries for desert.  Had the Tirohana red which did not disappoint and the sticky from Schubert.

Friday 12 March – Travel to Marlborough

The trip across the Cook Straight and through the fjord to Picton was a great spectacle; but, boy, was it windy.  One could lean forward into the wind like you were on the bow of a ship.  The captain even missed the dock the first time – that had us laughing!  As it turned out, unbeknown to us, we were sailing through a hurricane that caused its fair share of damage around Marlborough.

Accommodation – The Loft, Blenheim www.the-loft.co.nz A very nice cottage in the suburbs of Blenheim not too far from quite a good supermarket.

Dinner – Barbecue at the cottage with sauvignons and shirazes that we had bought earlier in the trip.

Saturday 13 March – Taste Marlborough wines

Dinner – Hans Herzog restaurant.  Duck Liver Parfait was really interesting – foie gras sorbet covered with chocolate. The beef fillet was accompanied by ‘Spaghetti Illusion’ which was a beef consommé that looked like spaghetti.  The wine list was poor for NZ wines.  Had the 2001Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Shiraz that was really good, good enough for a second bottle – made us confident in the aging potential of what we had bought.

Sunday 14 March – Drive to Christchurch to catch flight

Great scenic drive – mountains and sea.  If you do this make sure you stop for breakfast at The Store in Kekerengu about an hour south of Blenheim.