Hello and welcome to my first post of the new year about what I’ve been up to since making the move to Queenstown. Once we found our home and got a job it turned into work madness, and I was working ridiculous hours over Christmas and into the new year. However the long hours were worth it for the money and I have now started to replenish my much depleted funds. Here in the new year I have been looking towards the next trip that is in the works that I am sure you will all be very excited to hear all about. It’s nothing like anything I have done before. A half holiday, half traveling around. I cannot wait. So watch this space to hear all about it…
So without getting too sidetracked I shall be telling you all about what we got up to over my birthday weekend (I say weekend, and for once I mean it as my birthday was on a Friday this year). Yes we went and had a day of wine tasting. What could be a more Claudia day than going from vineyard to vineyard trying different wines? You are right nothing. It was the perfect day. When booking however I must have had a personality transplant because I thought that travelling by bicycle would be a good idea. I am a hazard on a bike. I don’t know what possessed me to make that decision but I did, and as a result nearly crashed a couple of times, but in my defence I was drinking and biking in the sun. Surprisingly enough nothing actually did happen and physical harm wasn’t done.
We started off the day by heading to the vineyard furthest away, so we had to cycle back from there and not go any further than the first vineyard. We headed straight to Brennan Wines. This being the best winery that we went to all day was both a blessing and a curse. On the one-hand a blessing, as you must start the day as you mean to go on. On the other a curse, because now we had such high standards for all of the other wineries that we were heading to.
Seven wines for $15 is always a good way to start the day in my book anyway. At Brennan we had a Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay and three pinot noirs. After all, when in central Otago one must have lots of pinot noir as it’s what the area is famous for. I can now officially vouch for the fact that they are delicious, in case you didn’t already know that.
The next stop on the agenda was Kinross Cellar door which presents itself not so much as a vineyard, but instead as a cellar door for five other wineries in the local area. The five partner vineyards are Coal Pit, Domaine Thompson, Hawkshead, Valli and Wild Irishman. The two that I took most interest in were the Coal Pit and the Domaine Thompson. The Coal Pit, as I have found their Pinot Noir to be one of my more favoured wines since moving to Queenstown, as well as the Domaine Thompson because I have had this in both hemispheres. The Thompson brand is based at the same latitude both in the northern hemisphere (Dijon, France) and the southern hemisphere (Lowburn, Otago). This makes it an interesting brand as it has roots in old world wine as well as developing wines within the new world industry.
This was a good one for us as it allowed us to try the maximum amount of wines without moving onto the next place too quickly.
Peregrine cellar door is the only free cellar door in the Gibbston Valley area so is obviously the most popular. Off we went and it was so much fun to get to walk around the barrels that are on display with the ageing wine within. The wines themselves were not to my taste at all, neither to Wills, but that is just our view on them. They were too acidic and sharp for us but it was well worth having a taste to compare to the other wines in the area.
The final winery that we toured was Gibbston Valley that allowed us to take a look around the wine cave. It is the largest wine cave in the area which was very interesting to learn about. It has the ability to keep the wine at the optimum temperature in summer as well as winter, a micro climate if you will, even in the extreme temperature changes that we have in central Otago. Out of the wines we tried there I thought that the selection wasn’t that great. All of them were extremely sweet, which isn’t my style of wine at all. This was also the largest grouping that we had during our tastings of the day which gave it a much more commercialised atmosphere.
All in all the Gibbston Wine tour was a success story. We had a really fantastic day of biking around sipping on wine. Never a bad way to spend the day.