Saturday, March 22, 2014

New Zealand Day 36: More Marlborough Wine, and Back to the North Island

Boy, am I sorry to be leaving the South Island today. On the other hand, the North Island is pretty terrific, too! 

I spent a fair amount of time last night finding a winery that did brunch. Many of the ones near Nelson open at 9:30 or 10 AM, and some have restaurants . I finally settled on Saint Clair, which turned out not to have a formal brunch but did do tasty coffees and amazing scones. 

We sat in the garden, surrounded by grapevines: 

My family abandoned me when it came to actually tasting wine but I persevered. After all, it was well after 5:00 New Hampshire time! Here's the "cellar door," the Kiwi word for tasting room.

Saint Clair is known for making single block wines, wines from a particular section of a vineyard. (Those don't get exported, though.) I tried a 2013 Sauv Blanc from block 1, a 2012 Riesling from block 9, a 2012 Gruner Veltliner (an Austrian grape, not frequently grown), and a 2010 Pinot Noir from block 15. Though I'm generally a Riesling girl and did enjoy the Riesling, the Sauv Blanc was particularly fine and I ended up buying a bottle of that.

Then I convinced the crew to hit one more winery on the way to the ferry at Picton. I picked Hunter's because it was close and had won garden awards, so at least my mom would have some nice things to look at while I tasted!

Our hostess had bright green nails for Saint Patrick's Day, since the founder of the winery was Irish!

I tasted my first Kiwi bubbly, yum. They also had a not-too-oaky Chardonnay that was quite good. I wasn't a big fan of the Riesling.

Then we headed through the grapevines... the ferry.

This boat had a big playground belowdecks that B really enjoyed.

As we docked, we headed back to our car to drive off the boat. Suddenly, an alarm sounded, a gate right in front of us closed, and we started moving! Turns out we were parked on a ramp that lowered to the next deck.

Once in Wellington, we made our way to the Top 10 in the suburb of Lower Hutt (yes, I felt Star Wars-y the entire time). Yay for a playground!

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