El albergue

El albergue

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hawke's Bay = Wine Day

Alrighty, now that the holidays are over, we’re back to the much delayed chronicling of our adventures with Mom and Dad… Day 10!

The drive down from Taupo to Napier in the Hawke’s Bay area was beautiful, with forests beyond count and little waterfalls peaking out from all the nooks and crannies of twisting gorges or bubbling down near the road itself. As we drove along, we gradually realized we were actually travelling through sustainable logging country, with chunks of stately growth, baby pines, and shorn hills that looked like battlefields all evenly spaced across the hills.

As we started seeing fewer trees and more coastal landscape, Mom and Dad kept their eyes out for a nice winery to stop at for a little lunchtime tasting. As a happy chance, we pulled up into Esk Valley Winery, which had friendly service, picnic tables with a nice view of the sea, and excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And joy of all joys, to accompany these delightful wines, we had the luscious treat of a lunch of… PB&J! Not exactly the best combo, but ah well, such is occasionally the cost of travelling, right?

The second winery we stopped at, Crab Farm Winery, was a little bit disappointing in the wine department, although they did have a dessert wine with the amusing name of Botrytis, which Dad laughingly informed us is basically the technical term for something farmers usually call “bunch rot,” in which the grapes start to rot on the wine. …tasty… They did, however, have a restaurant with some meal options that got me thinking… now, who wants to come over and try some lime crusted fish on pearl barley with porcini cream and roasted tomatoes?!

Our third winery of the day was Church Road, one of the oldest in Hawke’s Bay and definitely one of the best. The attendants were quietly charming, and the wine amazing. One that stuck out to us as delightfully unique was their Marzemino, a deep red with a surprisingly light flavor that originated in the north of Italy. Of course, when we were lucky enough to get to sip a tiny bit from their Excellent Grand Reserve Pinot Noir, we got a view into exactly why some bottles are priced so very much out of our price range… let’s just say that if there had been a tag on the bottle, it might have made us cry… At least it was a wonderful finish to our day of tasting!

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