Day 233 of 400: Hawke’s Bay – New Zealand

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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.

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