Friday, March 28, 2014

New Zealand Day 39: Wine Tasting in Hawke's Bay

The plan for today was to celebrate my mom's birthday with a tour of some Hawke's Bay wineries near Hastings and Napier. Hawke's Bay, on the east coast of the North Island, is best known for its red wines, rather than the Sauvignon Blancs and other white wines that are the specialty of Marlborough on the South Island. 

We started our day at Salvare, which was a great choice!

We sat out in the garden for our tasting. Their motto is to slow down and enjoy the journey...and in that vein we had a very mellow and enjoyable tasting, served by one of the owners.

We tried three different chardonnays: a 2011 Salvare Chardonnay, which was the least oaked, a 2010 Salvare Chardonnay, which was a bit more intense, and then a 2011 Salvation Chardonnay which was wild fermented. Steve explained that this meant that they didn't add any it took 11 months (rather than 4 weeks) to ferment and is always an experiment because it relies entirely on what yeast is present in the vineyard. Sometimes delicious (like this one) and sometimes terrible. I don't usually like Chardonnay much but enjoyed trying these very much.

Then we tried a 2013 Merlot Rose, which was very fruity, a 2008 Salvaret Merlot (too dry to be my thing), a 2009 Salvare Syrah (very peppery with some clove), and a 2009 Salvation Hawkes Bay Blend (which if I liked reds I would probably have enjoyed).

Brynna stayed busy with some coloring and with a box of toys that they have available for kids. We also ate some chardonnay grapes that Steve picked right off the vines. Very sweet and yummy.

We finished off with this very interesting Frappe Vino wine slushy!

Yes, I know it sounds sacreligious but it was delicious.

After our hour or so in the garden, we moved inside to try olive oils, dukkah (an Egyptian blend of spices) and vinegars. Sooooooo tasty.

B liked looking around the shop, too.

I think this was my favorite cellar door of the whole trip. I liked the white wines down south better, but the whole experience at Salvare...fantastic.

Next stop was down the road at Ngatarawa.

Their cellar door (tasting room) is in this lovely converted stable.

I have never seen this before and think that it is brilliant. It's a sunscreen dispenser!

B liked the friendly chocolate lab in the courtyard, who sniffed her and then rolled over for a tummy rub.

We started with the whites:

A 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (they partner with vineyards on the South Island), a 2013 Pinot Gris, a 2008 Chenin Blanc, and a 2012 Chardonnay.

For reds, we tried a 2012 Pinot Noir, a 2009 Merlot, and a 2010 Syrah. We wrapped up with a 2013 late harvest dessert wine that I loved so much I got a bottle to bring home.

The views at the estate were lovely. It's just about harvest time—some places have just finished, other places in process, others just about to start.

Then it was time for lunch. We'd asked the Salvare guy where he recommended, and he mentioned the Unwined cafe at the Unison Vineyard because they had good food and a playground. So that's where we headed.

It was a hit. The food was tasty and B loved the playground.

Then we decided that we were actually wine-d out for the moment. Shocking, I know. So we headed towards Napier, stopping to take this grapevine photo. I didn't realize that the grapes hung down under the leaves like this rather than being scattered throughout the plant. Huh.

Napier was rebuilt in Art Deco style after an earthquake in 1931, and we really enjoyed looking at the architecture.

After some coffee and gelato (as well as some bagpipe music from a graduation ceremony) we headed towards Taupo for the night.

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