We've visisted so many vineyards, tasted so much wine (and a little beer & cider), seen so many beautiful hills and valleys, rivers and coastline, bought far too much wine (54 bottles and counting, oh dear), and enjoyed so much warming, cheering sunshine. How decidedly wonderful.
So, in a vague effort to try and remember what we've seen and where we've been, a few random notes and some poignant memory triggers from each place:
- Zepelin (we arrived as they were wheeling out their open sign; red wines, only bought a rose),
- Askerne (sister vineyard to Zepelin, included a red sticky),
- Craggy Range (what an incredible setting! Picture below. Love the displays of the different rocks in the perspex cubes behind the bar, and the enormous picture window looking out to the ranges - who needs art when you have nature),
- Te Mata (eep, memories where are you??? No, I'll have to wait for Simon's memory on that one. Ok, now we're both going Duh as we visit their website and remember exactly who they are - Coleraine. Duh!).
- Clearview Estate - where we lunched. Tim Turvey was a fantastic host and really looked after us - then we bumped into him at 2 more vineyards the next day!
- Dinner at Restaurant Indonesia - which came highly recommended and very much met and perhaps even exceeded our expectations.
- Unison Vineyard (first place I've been where we had to walk down a really steep drive literally in to the Cellar of the building! So lovely and cool. Terry was fantastic, so knowledgable and so willing to share her knowledge and passion for wine - Thanks! We learnt a lot about the various soils in the area from Terry. Hopefully we'll see her again at wine club),
- Te Awa (young presenter, knowledgable, but felt like he was reciting a script all the time, and being a casually dressed kiwi and being referred to as 'Sir' always feels a little odd. This isn't a complaint! Just a good memory trigger!!!),
- Trinity Hill (Sarah is seriously high on something! Maybe the vegetarian diet! Nice to have a presenter with so much energy and enthusiasm! Soooo many wines on offer, this was a distinct challenge to keep this list manageable!),
- Alpha Domus (bumped into Tim again here. Would love to know the story behind the old aeroplane logo. Met Paul Ham here while discussing their Sticky (the white sticky, not the red), not sure if Paul is the owner or the winemaker or both - hopefully we'll get him up to wine club),
- Sileni - where we lunched (a little disappointed by the service and undercooked bread, loved the setting though.) And then the
- Silk Oak Chocolate shop on the way back to Napier.
- Misson (somewhat dismissive as usual, but still love many of their wines - we just learn to lower our 'experience' expectations here - the setting makes up for it!),
- Church Road (like the Mission, quite commercial, but had a lovely presenter here - he reminded me enormously of Philip Sherry.),
- Moana Park (wonderful, boutique winery experience - Dan presented 10 wines - 4 white, 4 red, an ice wine (yum!) and a 10 year tawny - another person we hope to see at wine club), then to
- The Filter Room for Simon to do a beer & cider tasting and to have a beautiful antipasto platter for lunch.
More photos up on my flickr pages - Napier set.
Ooh - and something really unusual, every evening we enjoy listening to the sea lions barking across the road! We're almost directly across the road from Marine world. Love it!
And a shout out to Cafe Ujazi - great food, fantastic friendly service. We also breakfasted at Cafe Divine which had been recommended to us, but their lack of warmth and friendliness sent us straight back to ujazi. Good food, but it's a whole experience, so we'll stick with Ujazi.