…Typed while drinking a 2008 Highfield Pinot Noir and eating smoked NZ salmon with fresh blue cheese – our pre-dinner/blogging appetizer…
We spent our first two days in New Zealand in the Marlborough Wine Country in the northern part of the South Island. Our trip from Japan was great – the upgrade to premium economy on the Air New Zealand flight from Tokyo to Auckland more than paid for itself in comfort, food and wine.
We flew from Auckland to Blenheim on a 14-seat plane. The first half of the flight was cloudy but as we crossed the sound to the South Island the weather began to clear and the view slowly became spectacular. The fingers of the Marlborough Sound emerged from the sea as we began our descent. The valley floor was covered with vineyards as far as the eye could see…it was sort of magical.
After finding the woman who came to meet us with our rental car, we left the 1-gate airport/air force base and headed to our B&B. We checked in, showered and changed into our summer clothes – shorts and a t-shirt – and were off to squeeze in some wine tasting before closing time. We managed to make it to three and purchased a bottle of wine from each.
We drove into Blenheim (about 5k) for dinner and ended up eating an early meal at a Thai/Chinese restaurant – very good. We were starting to get tired and headed back home where we had a block of blue cheese, an apple and a bottle of St. Clair Sauvignon Blanc on the deck on the backyard. After that, we had no trouble getting to sleep – even with the 4-hour time change from Japan.
On Day 2, we started out the day with a breakfast of fruit, homemade yogurt and muesli, croissants, and coffee – not a bad way to get going. We made it to our first winery by 11 am. I think I have decided that the wine you have between breakfast and lunch is invariably the best. Maybe we have this whole wine at night thing wrong? We visited 5-6 more wineries during the day and are now fully stocked for the first week of our trip. My recommendations for best wines in Marlborough are: Saint Clair and Seresin.
Tomorrow our plan is to get up and have another wonderful breakfast and then start our longest drive of the trip (6 hours). We will end the day in Lake Tekapo and stay at another B&B. We should have Internet access on a regular basis after that and will hopefully be able to get more pictures posted.