Today we went for a highly extravagant all-day wine tasting tour. We were due to be picked up at 9.15, but nobody came, so just before 9.30 I rang Odyssey to find out what was happening. We had booked after the office had closed and somehow they had missed our online booking. By 9.50 their Graham had arrived and picked us up. We were the only two on this trip, though we were to be joined after lunch by another eight who were doing the afternoon session.
Presently I am hazy about the six wineries we visited and brewery, it will be filled in before I publish after I receive confirmation of where we visited. In all we tasted some 36 different wines, so you can perhaps sympathize. Yes they did provide us with a list, it was the fourth winery which R and I have little recollection of.
The first place was Moana Park, a small boutique vineyard which produces wine with no animal products (finings are often being made from egg white or fish entrails). They also use the minimal amount of sulphur dioxide in their wines. It was a small place which produces only about 20,000 bottles a year. We loved the rosé and the white wine with the German sounding grape, Gewursztraminer. Turns out the grape has Italian origins. So much so that we bought a bottle of rosé, and Odyssey bought us a bottle of the white to compensate for the mess up on the start of the tour. Very kind.
The next stop was the Wine Museum, actually the Church Road vineyard in action, but with a museum documenting the founder’s wine making. Here we had another tasting of six wines, after a walk around the working winery, and a gaze at the museum.
(I should say the tasting amount of wine is about a tablespoon in a big glass. You are encouraged to swirl and sniff. There was a spittoon at all establishments, but we did not make use of any of them.)
Our next stop was the Mission Estate which was founded in 1851 (they claim to be the oldest winery in NZ) by French Catholic missionaries & is still owned by the Catholic church. It is now is a restaurant and function room. Here we had an excellent meal, I had lamb with some feta and an olive paté. Rosemary had chicken. Included in the meal was a glass of wine (oh no!). A Fantail bird chased amongst the vines on the pergola under which we dined, and a small cat stared pointedly at two fellow diners. After the meal we had a wine tasting. Quite out of character, we found ourselves buying a half bottle of a delicious dessert wine – be warned, Christmas guests.
Our tour operator arrived back, he had been ferrying the afternoon participants around. He drove us back to the first place to pick up the six Brummie friends and two girls from Melbourne.
Here is all gets hazy, and what is filled in is the result of diligent research
We visited TeAwa, and I can’t remember anything about this. (Rosemary claims she can, but she would say that, wouldn’t she?)
We then visited a sizeable vineyard, Sileni, that actually has its wine sold in the UK in Tesco and Waitrose. It was, I think, a Sauvignon Blanc. (I have a picture of the label.) A very reasonable wine.
(There was much wine technical talk of Gimblett Gravels (largish pebbles) versus a red soil, red metal, but my brain has failed to retain the information.)
Our final stop was at another very small vineyard, the Oak Estate, operated by a young German couple. It is their first year of selling at the cellar door. Here we stopped for a platter of cold meats, bread and dips, along with several wines to taste.
The Melbourne girls had elected to go to a brewery instead of the meal. So, after we had eaten, we picked them up, and some of us chaps had to inspect the brewery where I purchased a litre of very palatable, well-hopped IPA, which even R when sampled the next day.
Back at the campsite we went for an evening walk along the estuary shore looking for birds, disturbing a few white faced Herons. Back at the campsite for our staple of cheese and Vegimite rolls.