Since no one else was staying at our B&B, we had the breakfast spread all to ourselves. There was a plate full of ripe fruit, homemade cereals, yogurt, cheese, breads etc. We took our time eating and then set out to discover wine country. Yesterday, the wine shop in town had given us a map and descriptions of the wine area, so we had our game-plan. This area is one of the older wine regions in New Zealand and since we have minimal experience drinking NZ wine…we are looking forward to it.
Sileni Estates (www.sileni.co.nz) was our first winery of the day. They had a nice long driveway leading to a large modern building surrounded on both sides by their vines. We took a few pictures of the property and then ventured into the tasting room. We tried both their whites and reds but ended up buying a bottle we couldn’t taste. The women working the counter swore we would love it…she said it would be our absolute favorite and we would be calling her for more. It was called the “Pacemaker” and was 100% Cabernet franc. We usually don’t like cab franc but this women was so convinced this was the bottle for us that we decided to give it a try.
Alpha Domus Winery (www.alphadomus.co.nz) was right down the road and after a quick tasting we of course loved their superior wine called the “Aviator”. It was over our budget considering we were going to so many wineries but took a picture of it to possibly buy in the future.
At Abbey Cellars (www.abbeycellars.com), we met the winemaker who was very welcoming. She took time to discuss her wines and let us taste the various varietals. She had only recently purchased the property so only had a couple to try but they were good and she will probably be one to watch in the future. We bought our favorite and were onto the next place.
Triangle Cellars was not necessarily recommended but was in our path so pulled over to try it. It was a tasting room for three small vineyards. After tasting a few wines from all three, we decided none were our favorite…so onto the next one. Ngatarawa Winery was on a large beautiful farm with the tasting room in a refurbished horse barn but the wines we tasted were some of our least favorite.
Unison Winery (www.unisonvineyard.co.nz) however had very good wine…their focus was on blended reds and Syrah’s and had a traditional French style. The wines were all a little bit more than we would typically spend but since they were so good…we picked the 2008 Syrah, the description sounded delicious but we couldn’t taste it because they only had a few bottles left.
The last 2 wineries we stopped at were Trinity Hill and TeAwa. Trinity Hill had a pretty rude staff member pouring wine. He was a little on the snobby side…thinking we were like his other customers just coming in for a free tasting…but really we were there as experienced wine tasters and possibly there to buy wine. TeAwa (www.teawa.com) had very friendly staff and decent wine so we bought a nice bottle there as well.
After our long day of tasting, we went back to our place to freshen up before walking into town for dinner. We saw a super busy place called Kilim Cafe (www.kilim.co.nz) which had Turkish cuisine. At first it was so packed they couldn’t find us a table, but after ordering take-out…a table became available. We sat down and ate falafel, hummus and lamb and then walked back to our place to settle in for the night.
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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