Wineries in N.Z?

Old May 24th, 2009, 12:34 PM
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Wineries in N.Z?

We will be spending 3 weeks in N.Z. in October. We will be traveling via car, but more likely in an RV-van. We will be flying into Auckland and out of Christchurch.

I am a fairly serious wino. (I just spent the morning bottling 8 cases of our own wine.)

We love Pinot Noirs, so of course we will be focusing on them. In general we prefer the reds, but expect to be excited by some whites as well.

I am interested in any wine-tips that people can provide. There are waaaaay to many wineries to do anything like a thorough exploration, but any and all information will be appreciated and logged into the "idea book".


kc
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Old May 24th, 2009, 03:20 PM
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When you are in Christchurch, take the opportunity to go to Pegasus Bay vinyard for lunch. It is about 45 minute's drive north of Christchurch and is in the middle of the Waipara wine area. They do an excellent lunch in a very nice setting and their Pinot Noir is equal to the task of matching their food (their Chardonnay and other wines aren't too spotty either). There are several other wineries in the area offering tastings as well.

Are you going down to Queenstown? The Central Otago Pinot Noirs are my preferred drop. It is Pinot Noir Heaven down there!
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Old May 25th, 2009, 01:55 AM
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We spent a couple of days in Marlborough where there is obviously a high concentration of vineyards and we tried a few - Montana, Villa Maria, Cloudy Bay, Hunter as well as some of the less well known, such as Highfield and Wairu River.

Most will offer a complete range of six or seven different wines - Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Merlot etc. and the Reislings were a nice surprise. Many of the vineyards have very good restaurants.

We also spent a few days in Kaikoura and, aprt from the fantastic seafood, there was also a small vineyard in the hills just outside of town (sorry I cant recall the name) which is jointly owned by the owners of some of the majors in Marlborough almost as a bit of a hobby. They had some very interesting wines to taste.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 09:07 AM
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I absolutely loved the vineyards Nautilus, Huia, and Mud House. I don't drink red but what Crellston said was correct. They will have the sav blancs I liked, but also a variety of other choices such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cab Sav, etc. Have fun!
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Old May 25th, 2009, 04:03 PM
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Oh man, where do I start? I'm a bit of a wino myself and I've visited many winieres during our numerous trips to NZ. I just scoured a few of my trip reports and located some of our favorites:

South Island -

Rockburn Winery near Cromwell - nice whites

Mt Difficulty Winery near Cromwell - great wines and tasty lunches overlooking the vineyard

Black Ridge Winery in Alexandra - the southernmost winery in the world and one of the original Otago vineyards - very unique as the vines grow up against schist rock - I recall a really good Chardonnay there.

Amisfield Winery - Arrowtown - fantastic Pinot Noir and an enticing lunch menu

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley (previously mentioned) - excellent place for lunch - we liked their Merlot Cab

Kaikoura Winery, Kaikoura - nice wines in a unique location, they offer once daily tours of their underground wine celler too

Fossil Ridge Winery, Richmond - loved, loved, loved their oaked Chardonnay

The Grape Escape, near Richmond - they have wine tastings for Te Mania and Richmond Plains vineyards. Richmond Plains makes some nice organic reds.

Serisin (organic), near Renwick (Blenheim) - lovely Pinot Noir

There's a place in Queenstown called Wine Tastes where you can sample wines from all over the SI, and there's a place called the Wine House and Kitchen near the bungy bridge in QT, where you can sample up to 13 wines from three vineyards (VanAsch, Rockferry and Freefall) for about $5.

Carrick Winery in Bannockburn makes a lovely EBM Chardonnay.

Rippon Winery in Wanaka is the only winery in NZ that produces Osteiner, a German style white (not a favorite of ours, but it was an interesting stop).

The SI produces some fantastic Sauvignon Blancs. Even though you prefer reds, you'll want to at least try a few Sauv Blancs while you're there. You'll find some great Pinot Noirs in the Central Otago region as mentioned previously.

Enjoy the fantastic wines of NZ.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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Dear Serious Wino...

Obviously, you've come to the right forum! Lots of us in here apparently (myself included).

I second: KiwiRob about Central Otago Pinots;

Crellston listed some favorites of mine - Cloudy Bay,Villa Maria, Montana;

Skiergirl listed my other favorites (love Huia!);

and then Mel finished off with two wineries I also like in Cromwell, as well as others I will now need to add to my list for a future visit!

The one thing I would suggest, and you've probably already thought of it, is to check your local store wherever you buy your wine and see which one of the above suggested wines are carried locally and then scratch them off your list. Just too much wine and too little time to waste on something you can buy at home!

Beverages and More has quite an extensive list of NZ wines, btw; don't know if you have one close by to where you live.

Hope this is helpful!

Melodie
Certified Kiwi Specialist
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Old May 27th, 2009, 04:07 PM
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Melodie makes a good point about checking your local bottle shop for NZ wines....but.... you'll most likely only find wine from the BIG producers, not the small, family run wineries. You'll also find that NZ wines are often (but not always) sold under a different label overseas, so it can be a bit confusing.

However, NZ bottle shops and many NZ grocery stores are a great resource for wine you've already tried and know you like, and we've often found it priced a bit lower than at the wineries, but the wineries are much more fun!
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:10 AM
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If you plan on renting a car and driving from Auckland down to Wellington before crossing over to the South Island, I recommend you make your first winery stop at Villa Maria Winery in Mangere, not far from the Auckland Airport. This is one of NZ's biggest wineries--I like to think of it as the Mondavi of NZ--yet their reserve wines are very special, and not so easy to come by in the U.S.
Then head toward the East Coast and drive down to Hawkes Bay, which, though not known as a region for the Pinot Noir grape, is home to some of the finest wineries in NZ. I recommend Craggy Range, whose Te Muna Road Pinot Noir (sourced from Martinborough grapes) is consistently rated among the country's best. They are also now producing a Pinot Noir sourced from Central Otago grapes. Their other reds are also excellent and hard to come by in the U.S. The winery and its setting are also stunning. They have a wonderful restaurant, too. They are mentioned in this excellent article about the growing stature of NZ reds:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddr...he-future.html
If you make it to Hawkes Bay, also try Sacred Hill, Trinity Hill, CJ Pask, Matariki, Te Mata, Esk Valley--there are so many wineries here. Even though you are seeking Pinot Noirs, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the Bordeaux and Rhone type reds being produced by wineries in this region. The whites are also good.
Then, as you drive toward Wellington, make sure you pass through Wairarapa/Martinborough, a region known for its Pinot Noirs. Ata Rangi, Martinborough Vineyards, Palliser, Te Kairanga, and James Murdoch are among my favorites from this region.
If you are planning to visit Blenheim/Marlborough, you will be overwhelmed with choices, many of which have already been suggested. Don't miss Cloudy Bay Winery--their wines are not overrated; they are genuinely good.
You are probably not going to Nelson, which is not too far from Blenheim, but some wineries in Nelson produce some lovely Pinot Noirs. One of the best NZ Pinot Noirs I ever tasted was Te Mania Reserve Pinot Noir. See:
http://www.temaniawines.co.nz/wineli...pinotnoir.html
Neudorf Winery of Nelson also produces some good Pinot Noirs.
Even if you don't visit Nelson, you might try one of these Pinots in a restaurant.
Others have already suggested wineries worth visiting in Waipara, near Christchuch, and in Central Otago. But, in Bannockburn (about 20 miles from Queenstown), in addition to visiting Mt. Difficulty, don't miss Felton Road--terrific Pinot Noirs, but don't be surprised if they are sold out!
When you first arrive, you should consider picking up a copy of the most recent edition of Michael Cooper's Buyer's Guide to New Zealand Wines and a copy of Cuisine Magazine's annual guide to the Wine Country.
Once a year Wine Spectator also does a special rating of NZ wines. I usually take along a photocopy.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 04:11 PM
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Just north of Christchurch, don't overlook Waipara. Pegasus Bay is the most well known, but if you're interested in smaller wineries and meeting the winemakers, you can do that here. Some of the small places are appointment only. Torlesse is another place where there is a good chance that the winemaker will be pouring as I lucked into on my last visit. Waipara is also interesting for the wide range of grapes grown there, lots of microclimates. Don't miss a chance to try the NZ Pinot Gris.

http://www.waiparawine.co.nz/wineries
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