SAMPLE KUMEU WINERY TOUR.
- Treat yourself & refine your palate.
Our first venue will be The Hunting Lodge Winery, formerly Matua Wines, for a tasting & lunch.
In charge of the restaurant, which is in the property's historic villa, is the acclaimed Des Harris (ex-Clooneys) whose cuisine is regarded as innovative & exceptional.
"We wanted to create a range of wine that showcases the best wine regions in the country, but also captures the pioneering spirit of New Zealand wine - the search for something new and interesting. So we decided that our wine range would evolve with the seasons, allowing you to discover something different every time you visit. Come visit us, share a glass of wine, and experience The Hunting Lodge.".Peter Turner - Winemaker
We will then proceed to Kumeu River Wines.
Cuisine magazine talks of the Brajkovich family being producers of "Gargantuan status" within the wine-making industry & comments that, when you come to the winery, you are entering "Chardonnay heaven" with critics & enthusiasts saying that the winery has the best chardonnay in the world. Bob Campbell's review of the 2016 Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay gave 96/100:
Ripe, quite lush chardonnay with stone fruit, peach, apricot and nectarine flavours, with citrus and a seasoning of hazelnut and ginger characters. A very attractive wine with an impeccable balance and a lingering finish 08 AUG 2017
The last venue visited today will be Mazuran Winery. Kerry Tyack, a NZ wine judge, has commented: "The moment you arrive at Mazurans, you realise you have come to a very special place. On one side of the intimate cellar door there are well-ordered shelves of sherry, port & wine....the other is filled with pictures & memorabilia sharing the lives of the Mazuran family, which has been making fortified wines in this place for generations. The sweet smell of port lingers in the air...."
The winery is now run by Rado Hladilo, voted the wine-maker of the year at the 2007 San Francisco International Wine Competition, & his sons. Mazurans is the only NZ winery that still distils its own grape brandy for fortifying its wines - many of which are made using juice from vines planted in 1938.
Our first winery today will be WestBrook Winery.
We have visited Westbrook several times with groups & have always enjoyed the experience. Westbrook is one of the country's oldest & most respected boutique wineries. The fourth generation of the ivicevich family, originally from Croatia, continues ownership & operation of the winery a comment on TripAdvisor rates the winery highly:
"This is terrific winery, catering for the novice to expert... no pretentiousness, just charming chat... walk through the vines, play chess or petanque or just soak up the peaceful charm by the lake over a bottle of their fantastic premium quality wine...Unfortunately only 5 stars are available, so 5 it is
We continue to one of our favourites, Soljans Estate for a tasting & lunch.
Soljans is the third-oldest winery in NZ & is still owned & operated by the original family.
In 2017, the winery has won awards at The Air NZ Wine Awards, The Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, The NZ International Wine Show, The International Wine & Spirits Competition, The Decanter World Wine Awards & The Decanter Asia Wine Awards.
So ready your palate for a tasting treat!
Coopers Creek is our final venue for the day. The winery was started in 1980 by Andrew & Cynthia Hendry. At that stage, the NZ wine industry was relatively small & unknown. The venue has evolved over 3 decades into a top-class winery with a strong international reputation. It has innovative new wine styles, having introduced & pioneered promising new grape varieties e.g Viognier, Albarino, Arneis, Gruner Veltliner, Marsanne & Montepulciano, suited to cool climate regions. Coopers Creek is satisfying a growing demand for these stylish new varieties but, of course, one mustn't pass up trying its top-rated & awarded Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Syrah & Bordeaux reds.
Our day will start at 10.00 am with a tasting of the quality wines at Villa Maria Winery,
Villa Maria is NZ's most awarded winery. Their website comment perfectly expresses its ethos:
"Truly exceptional wine made by passionate people encapsulates the Villa Maria story. From the early ambitions and inquisitive nature of owner Sir George Fistonich when he began in 1961 to the way our people fervently make our premium New Zealand wine today, we’ve always been in pursuit of creating something special. We’re proud to have remained entirely New Zealand and family owned and that makes us distinctive, because the beautiful wine regions of New Zealand are our stomping ground and we know them like the back of our hand. Our kiwi ingenuity makes our wine shine and pushing the boundaries has seen Villa Maria emerge as one of the most iconic and admired New Zealand wineries. With a single sip, open our world."
Our last visit for the tour will be the wonderful Vin Alto Winery in the Clevedon hills. Clients will experience the winery's exceptional Enoteca silver service, white-tablecloth 5 course lunch with matched wines. The winery is owned by Enzo & Margaret Bettio, the founders of Del Maine Fine Food.
Relax between Enzo's extensive collection of antique glassware and winemaking equipment or in the intimate olive tree lined courtyard overlooking vineyards, herds of deer and views back to the city.
Vin Alto Fizzante
Char-grilled vegetable Tonnato
(Famous tuna sauce with capers)
Vin Alto Rose
Venison Terrine with duck liver & sauce cumberland
Vin Alto Merlot Barbera
(Cacciatore means 'hunter' in Italian and in cuisine, the word refers to a meal prepared
'hunter-style' with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and herbs)
served with grilled Italian polenta & vegetables
Vin Alto Merlot Montepulciano 2013
Margaret's Lemon Meringue Pie
Vin Alto Limoncello