Wine, cheese and dried up rivers

On Saturday we took a wine tasting tour around Martinborough.  The day started with a train trip to Featherston, where we were picked up by our guide in a minibus.

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The mini-bus!

The first place we visited was Murdoch James http://www.murdochjames.co.nz/ where we sampled 4 wines, which I have to say we thought really good. We bought a bottle of Pinot Noir 2011, which we enjoyed when we got home.  The sign about shot guns below should be explained…it was to scare birds, not shoot anyone or anything!

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Karl with purchase

We then returned into Martinborough, where we had a delicious anti-pasti lunch at The Village Cafe, along with a glass of wine, and some really good mini cake pieces to follow.

The second place we visited was a specialised boutique vineyard, Muirlea Rise  http://www.muirlearise.co.nz/ which produces only red wine.  This is one of the few vineyards to use corks, as opposed to the screw top norm here.  The guide said this was to allow the wine to mature properly even though it costs far more.  Our third tasting took place at Schubert Wines http://www.schubert.co.nz/ where we bought a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and tasted 5 different wines.

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Beside an apple tree at Schubert Wines – a bit of a windy spot!

Our final vineyard was Alana Estate http://www.alana.co.nz/ where we tasted 6 different wines, and the second nice Chardonnay (not usually a favourite of mine) of the day. The trip ended with a cheese tasting back in Martinborough.  I wish I had made a more careful note of what we tried, but there was a lovely, creamy sheep’s milk cheese, a tasty blue one and a cheddar named after the cows that provided the milk to make it!

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Martinborough

It was a fun trip, informative and interesting trip.  As a fan of trivia, it was a great trip to pick up ‘useless facts’ such as the patriotic founder of Martinborough, who laid out the main town square with the roads leading off in the shape of the Union Jack! As we travelled around, we could really appreciate how dry the country is at the moment, especially when we drove over dried up river beds.  However, this has been great for the grape harvest, so I guess we can expect some great wines from New Zealand in 2013.

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