After tasting our way through Waiheke near Auckland and Central Otago near Queenstown, we knew we couldn’t miss the most famous of wine regions in New Zealand: Marlborough.
With an overnight in Picton, gateway to Marlborough and the place to catch the ferry from the south island to the north, we decided our best bet to fill the one day we had there was (once again) wine. So we went to the local i-Site and signed ourselves up for a ferry trip and a wine tour, and off we went!
Marlborough is most famous for it’s Sauvignon Blanc; you’ll see it on wine menus the world over. We were lucky enough to explore a little deeper than this acidic white. Here’s where we went:
This is one of the more famous vineyards in the region, and the Hunter family is credited with putting the Marlborough region on the map. Sadly, Ernie Hunter, who founded the winery with his wife, Jane, died in a motor accident shortly after they ‘made it,’ leaving his wife to tirelessly carry on the legacy. She is now a VIP in the wine world, and her wines are sold all over the world. We made our way through a couple of Chardonnays, a Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc (obviously), and a Pinot Noir that was actually our favorite. But that could partly be because, after living in Australia for 3 years, I was Sauv-Blanc-ed out.
This place was like a wine emporium; a variety of labels lined the shelves. We tasted from Drylands itself, with the Sauvignon Blanc winning the day with its fruit and balanced acidity. The tasting room was nicely laid out for purchasing a variety of wine-related accouterments, and they were in the process of adding more space when we visited.
This vineyard had the prettiest cellar door, and a very knowledgeable staff who took us out into the vines and explained the process they use to grow, trim, and maintain the vines. There are few labels under the Forrest umbrella, and we tasted from Forrest and The Doctors (an homage to the owners’ former profession). At this point, we suffered a bit from overtasting (and we weren’t spitting), so it’s hard to remember what to recommend here, though I do recall being impressed with the reds from the Doctor’s line.
Our final wine stop was a small, Dutch-family run cellar door that wasn’t on the premises of the vineyard itself. We were able to taste their entire range, which was made up of a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Rose, Pinot Noir, and dessert wine called Sticky Mickey, in honor of the owner of the vineyard. We decided to bring a bottle of the Pinot Noir back with us to have with dinner, but the whites were good as well.
By the end, the older ladies were coming up to us with shining eyes and commenting on how we were tasting everything, and not spitting. We just smiled and admitted that we’re lushes, but I think everyone on our tour was a little tipsy. We’d had enough to think twerking next to our tour bus was a good idea…
So when our tour guide suggested a stop off at a Chocolate Factory, there was a resounding cheer from the bus. After a serious sampling session, we were dropped back at our hostel with a package of dark chocolate and a bottle of Pinot Noir, and decided that a cheese and meat plate was just what the doctor ordered for dinner.
And this concluded our wine tour of New Zealand!