TOP WINERIES TOUR
MARTINBOROUGH, WAIRARAPA, NAPIER - FEBRUARY 10-16
Come with us on another convivial sortie to treat your palate & increase your wine knowledge.
DAY 1 - TAURANGA - MARTINBOROUGH
After flying you to Wellington, we will pick you up & head to our first day of deliciousness!
Moy Hall Vineyard
"Moy Hall produces single-vineyard wines where the quality starts in the vineyard with healthy soils and vines. Traditional winemaking practices and minimal handling during vinification capture the unique character of our vineyard block and the seasonality of each vintage...Moy Hall produces Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Rosé, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Noble Rot dessert wine, with varied availability throughout the year." www.moyhall.nz
When we were enquiring about places to lunch, this venue was recommended, so we'll be having a tasting & lunch here. The venue has many great reviews for both its food & wine. One of the review platforms took our eye with its wonderful name - Sluurpy.
Kai Schubert and Marion Deimling, both Geisenheim UniversityViticulture & Oenology graduates from Germany established SCHUBERT WINES in 1998.
Having worked with top winemakers & in various vineyards across the world, their dream had always been to search for the ideal place to plant and produce their true passion – Pinot Noir. On arriving in Martinborough, Kai and Marion felt they had found what they were looking for, & in Spring,1998, they acquired a small established vineyard in Martinborough and 40 hectares of bare land in East Taratahi, just north of Martinborough, followed by plantings from scratch in 1999 and 2000.
SCHUBERT’S philosophy is to craft wines of uncompromising quality that will stand out alongside the finest in the world. 14 hectares of wines are closely planted in the traditional, European style and the unique climate produces low yields. As a result they have been quick to capture the attention of connoisseurs and critics alike for their alluring, internationally award winning wines of outstanding character, complexity, balance and grace.
Cambridge Road Wines
We like the sub-heading on the winery's website as it expresses their philosophy perfectly:
"Natural, Biodynamic, Organic Wines Crafted by the Land".
"In the winery we’ve progressively stepped further back from intervention. In recent years this means almost no use of sulphites and no additions of any other kind. Our wines today are simply the honest living reflection of fruit fermented by nature and bottled simply with nothing added or stripped away. My reasons for this are simple; in my opinion clean farmed organic fruit is fundamental to a wine's potential to be healthy for human consumption. Once the wine is fermented with a diverse population of natural microflora, including lactobacillus, it’s important to not filter these away. In the same way that beneficial anthocyanins are part of red wine, we choose to draw on skin and seed coat extraction of many white varieties thereby increasing their tannic and antioxidant gifts to the wine. These methods also mean we can mostly avoid the need for sulphite additions which can be harmful to some consumers."
Here we'll have five wines to try, covering a range of white, orange, rose, and red wines, all, of course, organic and naturally produced.
DAY 2 MARTINBOROUGH
Raymond Chan in a review wrote:.
"The production of the Colombo wines is small and will remain so. It’s all part of the complete hands-on approach, where Baptist and Carolyn oversee and control as much of the process as possible. Their first harvest on site, in 2014 saw 6 tonnes of Pinot Noir from the home site processed, with 2.5 tonnes of clone 95 Chardonnay from the Escarpment Vineyard in Te Muna Road, 4 tonnes of Sauvignon Blanc from Palliser’s vineyards, and 4 tonnes of Syrah from the William Murdoch vineyard in Hawke’s Bay, run by friend Jenny Dobson. To make a rosé, they contract Pinot Noir fruit from a local site, so as to not use their precious resource of old vines from their home block. This amount of fruit will remain pretty much constant.
The home block is planted wholly to Pinot Noir, 50% Abel clone and 25% each clones 115 and 667. Baptist notes that the vines are dry farmed. Being on the Martinborough Terrace, their vineyard is surrounded by illustrious neighbours, with a Palliser vineyard on the other side of the road, the former Martinus vineyard, now used by Kusuda, the Dodd vineyard to the west, and Olly Masters’ vineyard to the south. Being on a high point of the terrace, they seem to escape frost."
Luna Estate is the former Murdoch James Estate, undergoing revitalisation under the ownership of Wellington businessman and wine lover Charlie Zheng. Purchasing Murdoch James in 2011 then Alana Estate in 2014, the vineyards are undergoing a programme of replanting which will see Pinot Noir become the predominant variety in a 44 ha estate of vines.
Two precious parcels of land are home to Luna Estate’s vineyards - Blue Rock and Eclipse. From ancient seabed to river terrace, their two distinct terroirs allow them to create wines that truly reflect place. Pinot Noir focused, they also produce delicious Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Rose, Chardonnay and Syrah.
The World of Wine when writing about Top Wine Destinations, said:
“Of the many fine wine producers there today, Luna Estate is one to know and visit.….Wines for tasting are from the estate and single vineyard sites each showcasing their own distinctive profile, flavours & textures.’
When we visited in March, our clients commented on the tasty menu, so we're having a tasting & lunch here.
"We are devoted to producing premium Pinot Noir wines, handcrafted using traditional Methods."
Vynfields' first award was a Gold medal at the Royal Easter Wine Show for the 2003 Pinot Noir. From then on their awards include Gold and Best In Class for their Reserve Pinot Noir 09 at the London International wine show and a Gold in Decanter for the Reserve Pinot Noir 11. Every one of their Pinot Noirs has had at least a five star award or a Gold medal.
Tiwaiwaka Wines is a family business, run by husband and wife team Morton and Elise Anderson.
From grape growing to pouring a tasting glass at cellar door and everything in between, Morton and Elise do it all.
After spending 5 years in the South Australian wine industry Mort and Elise moved back to New Zealand, and to Martinborough. Here they purchased a 5-acre vineyard and winery in August 2002. Tiwaiwaka’s first vintage came to fruition 2003, as winemaking begun in earnest.With the 2019 Vintage underway, Morton and Elise have nurtured the grapes in their own vineyard (and manage 2 others) and put their hands to the entire winemaking process, grape growing to bottling and labelling ready for sales.
DAY 3 - MARTINBOROUGH
Renowned sailors, the Butterworth Family have, as they say on their website, "changed tack". They are the new custodians of Julicher vineyard, planted in the iconic soils of Te Muna. "The J-Knot on every bottle, the strongest knot you can tie, is a tribute to our vineyard’s founder, Wim Julicher."
We're fortunate to have been able to arrange a tour of the vineyard, before a tasting with the winemaker.
We had intended to go to one of the nouveau-arrivé wineries, but found them pretentious & discourteous to deal with. This was a new experience as wineries we have dealt with over the past 20 years, no matter how prestigious, have always been more than helpful & receptive when approached.
So we're lunching, again, at one of our favourites - Coneys, as we were given a superb lunch there last March.
This winery is owned by Tim & Margaret Coney. When they bought 16 acres of bare land south of Martinborough, those cognisant of Tim’s rock ‘n roll past thought the couple were mad. We love that the wine names reflect his past passion & the Coney sense of humour: - Pizzicato Pinot Noir, Rallentando Riesling, Ramblin’ Rosé, Que Sera Syrah. Prepare to be entertained while indulging your palate; Tim has the same linguistic gifts & sense of humour as his brother, cricketer & commentator, Jeremy!
Hamden Estate planted its first vines on the Dry River Terraces of Martinborough in 2003. One hectare was planted with sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and four clones of pinot noir resulting in their first small vintage in 2007. A further hectare yielded its first crop in 2011. Critics consistently comment that the winery "punches above its weight".
We liked the sound of what was offered to us at the winery:
"We have 6 wines to taste.Chardonnay a leaner style at the Chablis end of the spectrum;
Pinot Gris - a bone dry example; Sav Blanc dialled back compared to Marlborough, we give the juice 36 hours skin contact to enhance tropical fruit characters; Riesling in a dryish style; Pinot Rose' full of summer berry fruit on the nose, dry; Pinot Noir-We taste older Pinots to show the aging potential of our wine - currently13/14 vintages both are yummy."
DAY 4 - GLADSTONE/MASTERTON
Cameron Douglas, in World of Wine recommends trying The Single Vineyard Dakins Road Pinot Noir 2018 …but your selection should include all the Pinot Noir on offer, as well as the Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Gris.”
Nga Pari (formerly Cottier)
"Our beautiful vineyard sits comfortably alongside the Ruamāhanga River in the Wairarapa.
This part of the Ruamāhanga is affectionately known as The Cliffs, or Ngā Pari in Māori, by generations of locals."
We'll stay the night in Masterton.
DAY 5 - GLADSTONE/ MASTERTON/NAPIER
Johner Estate Vineyard and Winery is situated in Gladstone. It is a boutique, hands-on, family owned winery. The Johner Family also own a winery in Germany.
In New Zealand, their wine is made by Raphael Burki, who has also been making wine in his native Switzerland; he brings with him extensive winemaking skills, producing elegant wines.
This is another winery that has a multiplcity of superb reviews.
Le Gra Vineyard & Winery
"As our family grows, becomes stronger and more experienced in wine, so does our Le Grá story. The labels will keep growing yearly with every vintage, adding a ring to our vine, and so adding another tale to our story.
When we decided to come home to the Wairarapa we wanted to find something we could put all our effort into and see the fruits of our labour come to bear – we think we have found it in Le Grá vineyard and winery. We love working together outdoors, have an appreciation for great food and drink and enjoy meeting people to share in new experiences – it’s a match made in heaven. legras.nz
We will lunch at Le Gra.
Matahiwi Estate produces its wine according to the criteria of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) over 75ha.
Grapes are predominantly grown in the Wairarapa with small volumes of Chardonnay and Syrah sourced from selected vineyard sites in Hawke’s Bay. The Wairarapa vineyards lie on the north-west outskirts of Masterton, with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc the two main varieties plus a small amount of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.
Recently, the winery commented:
"Another great accolade for our ever popular Matahiwi Estate Brut Rosé
UK industry publication, The Drinks Business, has rated our Brut Rosé in its top 10 great value sparkling rosés. We have to agree!
‘Proving that New Zealand can play alongside Italy when it comes to affordable fruity pink fizz, this sparkling from Matahiwi Estate has plenty of ripe red berry fruits, frothy fizziness, and palate-cleansing apple and citrus characters too.’
HASTINGS/NAPIER - DAY 6
Urban Vineyard -Tony Bish
Located in the historic National Tobacco Company Art Deco building (known colloquially as the ‘Rothmans’ building), the winery features spectacular egg shaped concrete and French oak fermenters. These intriguing winemaking vessels produce extraordinary wines and never-before seen styles of Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay.
Tony's passion for all things Chardonnay can be seen through his selection of only the finest French oak barrels and large format vat which populate the cellar.www.theurbanwinery.co.nz
We love the title Tony gives himself & his followers - chardonnistas.
This week, on Facebook, Tony commented:
"Always great to share a bit of Hawke's Bay with the world! And this has got to be one of the best descriptions of Heartwood I've ever read. 'Concentrated, firm in acidity, and intensely flavoured. A sort of richer in Chablis style. Excellent, remarkable value, Premier Cru quality.' – 93 pts, Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine "
Te Awanga Wines
Shallow volcanic loess soils over deep gravels – ideal for creating wine of great flavour. Underlying these soils is a rising and falling clay pan at about 35 centimetres. Even though it’s a challenge for grape growing, the pan limits vine vigour and is a major factor in concentrating the flavours of the fruit.
The coastal climate, with its sea breezes and mild day and night temperatures, is vital in creating slow ripening which also intensifies the flavours of both red and white wines." teawangaestate.co.nz
The owner of Squawking Magpie, Gavin Yortt, comments on the first page of their website:
"From day one I have passionately believed that quality fruit in our Gimblett Gravels vineyards in the Hawkes Bay would produce outstanding wine in our bottles. While in the winery technical management and winemaking processes are necessarily complex, our aim has always been simple: to create quality wines worthy of fine food and great company.
That will always be our aim and I make a personal promise to diligently and unrelentingly keep on delivering just that. Life is short, so enjoy our wines today, but if you can trust yourself to cellar a bottle or two, you’ll be richly rewarded."
We have been lucky enough to be granted a tasting of 6 the company's exceptional Premium wines & will be hosted by their wine maker, Jenny Dobson
DAY 7 - NAPIER/TAURANGA
Kate Radburnd is the owner/winemaker of this acclaimed winery.
Radburnd Cellars, established in 2017, has the single purpose of Kate making her very best wine from each vintage without compromise - using the best fruit, the best equipment and the best resources.
Kate has served as a senior judge at national and international wine competitions & in 2010 was appointed Chair of Judges for the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, New Zealand’s oldest national wine competition.She has been a Director of New Zealand Winegrowers, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke's Bay, and a wine consultant to Air New Zealand, plus pioneered the introduction of the winery programme for Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand. In recognition of her services to NZ wine, Kate was awarded the Sir George Fistonich medal in 2010 and made a Fellow of New Zealand Winegrowers in 2015, the first female winemaker to receive the award. In 2019, Kate was inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame.
We were spoilt for choice when looking for good reviews on Radburnd wines. There are reviews from Michael Cooper, Huon Hooke, Bob Campbell, Sam Kim, Geoff King & a multiplicity of other wine critics extolling the excellence of Radburnd’s portfolio.
We will taste 3 varietals: Syrah , Merlot Cabernet & Chardonnay.
We have had to replace Linden Estate as dates/timings couldn't be synched. We're sure you won't dislike the replacement, a tasting and lunch at the excellent Church Road.
One of NZ's oldest wineries, Church Road was made famous by the charismatic Tom McDonald, who began working there as a teenager & later bought the winery.
"The vineyards of Church Road Winery were the first to craft exceptional quality Bordeaux-style red wine in Hawke’s Bay. It took a focused attitude to make wines that could hold their own against the world’s best. Since then, we have continued to create highly acclaimed, award-winning wines by using outstanding fruit from vineyards across Hawke’s Bay, and a combination of traditional and modern wine-making techniques. These are techniques we have been continuously refining and improving ever since." (churchroad.co.nz)
BE QUICK TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT - ONLY 14 SEATS AVAILABLE
Cost: $3451.00 pp. ($2940.00 pp. Twin share).Deposit -$300.00pp./or per couple to be paid on booking; remainder by 10 January. Should the tour, for some reason, not proceed, all monies paid will be refunded.
Includes: Transport (including flight to Wellington), accommodation (Greyfriars Motel Greytown, Discovery Motel Masterton, Bella Vista Motel Napier), winery presentations & tastings, lunches.
Account for payment: 01 0322 0214423 00
Does not include breakfast, dinners. Accommodation is within walking distance to restaurants.
CONTACT: LYN OR PAUL MARSTON
TAURANGA TASTING TOURS & CHARTERS
PH:(07) 5441383 or 0275224607