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Published: July 31st 2010
Before I forget and the internet dime runs out, one of the best wines tasted today, highly recommended for a Thai meal is 'Gewurztraminer'. And Spy Valley exports its wines to Nova Scotia. Despite the fact that Sauvignon Blanc is well known from this area, the Pinot Noirs are the up-and-coming wines. Light, interesting based on where they were grown, cheeky reds are quite nice. I enjoyed the Pinot Gris....very light, soft and surprising. No, I can't change my mind about Chardonnays...don't like them, although the un-oaked varieties were o.k.
The tour was quite informative. There were three of us, two from Sweden. We ate a big lunch so that the wine wouldn't hit us too hard. Every place gave us Sauvignon Blanc as the first drink, then we had one wine from different years so that we could taste the change two years can make. We went to seven vineyards and by the fourth one I didn't want much more. We drank lots of water to wash the palette and nibbled on bread with olive oil. Nobody took offence when we sipped once and then dumped the rest out. Except for the really good ones...I asked for seconds of one
What would you like?
How many varieties of a Riesling do you want to try? sauv? pinot noir?
sample of the Gewurztraminer and then bought a bottle of it. Each tasting ended with a sweet desert wine. I declined most Chardonnays.
Along the way we visited cafes, chocolate factory and specialty shops with flavoured oil. I bought the avocado spicy one and will carry it along to the next hostel to jazz up the food. The tours are geared to sell you whatever they can as well as introduce you to medal-winning wines. It was a pleasant afternoon, and being in such a small group we got full attention of the wine experts.
I liked the décor of the tasting lounges. Each one had a different style but all were rich and inviting. Some featured local artists' work, others had statues or signature displays (tall vines) or unique gardens and fountains. Some sold clothing with their brand. There were different sizes of vineyards with the small ones highlighting exclusive ones often hand picked. The largest ones use machines to gather the grapes. The largest producer of wines in this area is a company from France.
Two days later: Hummin' Willie Nelson' "On The Road Again" while packing up, its time to move. Gone are the sunny days
For show on front lawn. Can you tell its winter here?
in Picton. Moody dark clouds are creeping over the sea and mountains, and the winds have picked up. It might be raining before I check into ferry terminal but I'll get a ride from here.
The photos in this blog are of daily items like food and local rugby. Not very entertaining but a diary for me when I return and start looking up New Zealand wines and asking for exotic vegetables at the grocery store.
I leave South Island very satisfied. This is the 'empty' island with one million people total, the one with the spectacular scenery. The people say they are different from the North Islanders. We shall see.
A big city will be a nice change, even if the weather is foul.
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