Get on Your Bike for Wine - Hic! (Day 91)
Updated: Feb 20, 2018
I’m not much of a wine connoisseur, however I do like a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc so as we were staying in this region, I was in for a treat....and for free!
A glorious sunny morning in #Marlboroughwines, we walked round the corner to hire our bikes for the day from Bike2Wine. A lovely lady Janice got us kitted out and went through the map, showing us where all the good vineyards were that offered free wine tastings.
Our first vineyard was Forrest, owned by Drs John and Brigid Forrest, both from medical backgrounds. I love that one of their wine ranges is called The Doctors’ which are all about innovation and excellence, exploring different grape varieties and winemaking techniques. The vineyard was beautiful with a backdrop of scenic mountain range and a very Kiwi relaxed feel, beanbags to laze on whilst tasting delicious wines.
Next stop was Framingham. A very different feel, classy yet hip with quotes of songs from my youth of the Specials, Stranglers, David Bowie and rock music playing in the background. I reckoned the owner was British and about my age – and I was right. Dr Andrew Hedley come from Gateshead with a PhD in organic chemistry (these winemakers seem to be clever dudes) and apparently is a staunch lover of Punk music. Sounds like a great guy, as were the wines.
Third stop was Bladen where a very gregarious man, John from SE London, served us. He’s the brother of one of the owners and in the perfect job. Loves people and loves wine. We tasted 6 and I enjoyed the first 4. In fact my favourite turned out to be not Sauvignon but a very easy drinking Riesling! A light-straw with a green hue and bright clarity – the nose sensed aromatic notes of granny smith apple and lemon with a hint of ginger and tea leaf – the palate tasted fine mineral notes with lemon zest and lime. Yes – it was very tasty.
We got chatting to a young couple on their extended honeymoon, over a year! They had travelled extensively to SE Asia so was interesting to hear about their travels. I noticed that my words were getting a bit slurry…mmm…time for some lunch.
3.7km later we arrived at The Vines Village, a collection of boutique stores, delis, patchwork quilt shop and a lovely café. The food was delicious, loads of it, the flat white coffee was ok, a slight burnt undertone with a hint of cracked pepper and caramel and the milk needed to be thicker with a seamless pitcher of velvet microfoam.
The afternoon was spent at 3 more vineyards, Huia winery first, where the youngest daughter of the owners, Sophie, who had just turned 21, served us. It was so nice to hear her passion about the wine being organic and also why they called the vineyard Huia after the legendary and now extinct native bird. This bird was important in the Maori culture and the feathers were said to represent wisdom, elegance and great dignity.
Round the corner was No. 1 Family Estate owned by a French couple where we tasted a classic and elegant Cuvée and an award winning Assemblé. Nice bit of fizz for Valentines. Last but not least was Fromm, another organic vineyard where we tasted the most expensive offering at NZ$60 a bottle, not my cup of tea though.
It was wonderful to try out such a range of wines, all for free. We learnt a smidgen about the variety of grapes, blends weather and soil effects, the magic of the Viticulturalist and Winemaker that make the wines all so different. Every day’s a school day and what a great experience riding our bikes and successfully finding delicious wines. Hic!