We were craving some good Pinot, and rather spontaneously decided to book a couple weekends away in Pinot land: Launceston in Tasmania and Martinborough in New Zealand.
Thank goodness for winter air fare discounts – although we got quite lucky with regards to the wineries in Launceston. A lot of them are still closed during this lull season, but some had reopened beginning August, which was when we visited.
Because we were only there for just a day and a half, we just crammed the itinerary with winery visits. Managed to hit 8 in that time frame, and went a little nuts buying over two cases of Pinot, Rieslings, and Pinot Gris. Three of our hits: Goaty Hill, Sinapius, and Velo. Actually, our top favorite Pinot was Velo’s 2010 Reserve Pinot. Such a beautiful example with beautifully balanced notes of earth, spice, strawberries, and a silky mouthfeel. Would have loaded up, but we’d already shipped two cases of wine back!
This past weekend, we went off to Wellington and Martinborough in New Zealand, to continue our Pinot trail. This time around however, we strove to limit our purchases, given our excesses in Launceston, and because shipping back to Sydney wasn’t free. Nonetheless, we still managed to come back with 6 bottles (plus a bottle of Moon Over Martinborough’s lovely olive oil!).
Martinborough is only an hour’s drive from Wellington, but what a gorgeous windy, mountainous route through verdant cliffs shrouded in light mist and fog. We made our way across mid-morning, having only arrived in Wellington past midnight and sleeping only at 330am. But the wineries in Martinborough are tightly packed together just at the outskirts of town, so we left our car there and wandered around on foot.
In this way, we managed to hit 6 wineries in 4 hours, and bumped into many of the same wine tasters who were also making their winery hop on a drizzly Saturday. Favorites of the trip were Margrain (amazing Gewürztraminer!) and Schubert (their Pinot and Con Brio, a Bordeaux blend, were standouts).
We had an early afternoon flight Sunday, so decided to explore the many parks in Wellington instead – if only we’d more time to do a bit of a tramp along the non-urban stretch of the Te Araroa trail!