Wednesday, March 29, 2017

NZ/Aus Day 11: Martinborough

It was a pleasure to wake up the next morning in the 'bach' (cabins varying from high-end villas to bring your own linen wooden shacks) Craig had found. This one, with its sophisticated style and finishing touches, felt like the splurge that it was. The outdoor seating area overlooking the property's olive grove was a great way to relax, and our two night stay easily felt like more because of the setting. We lazed about in the morning, then sunscreened-up for our lengthy afternoon walk.

We chose Martinborough as the wine region we would visit because of its small town centre and easy walking distance to wineries. It was surprising to discover that the area lacked a pedestrian-friendly approach to wine tasting. Thankfully, traffic was light as we pushed Baby along the side of the road in the stroller. We wisely chose a path that would loop us back to our accomdation with several winery stops bringing us closer to home. This was especially important when we learned there was no taxi service in town.

The first two tastings were uneventful. The standard of the region seemed to be $5 each to taste. Their sauv blancs, what New Zealand is most famous for, were well-balanced with a frutier finish than found elesewhere that we'd tasted. It was the third vineyard that really did things right. They boasted a lovely cafe overlooking their vines with a build-your-own flight of five half glasses. We skipped their tasting and did this instead, enjoying a leisurely lunch while (you guessed it!), Baby slept dutifully in her stroller. What an angel!

Our last stop at the Martinborough Vineyeard was impressive for two reasons: one, they offered nine different varietals to taste including an incredibly buttery chardonnay, the smoothest $75 pinot noir, and a late harvest riesling that could rival ours at home. Secondly, the sommelier - do we say sommeliere? - was cheerful, engaging, and incredibly knowledgeable. She giggled her way through our tasting while giving us great information about Wairarapa region.

We headed home to enjoy a bbq'ed lamb dinner that could rival any top chef in the area and a sunset that provided the perfect finish to our stay.


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