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North Island ▷ Wairarapa ▷ Martinborough
Only a stones throw from Wellington, Martinborough is a wine lovers dream. Picture Blenheim but on a smaller scale, with all cellar doors within a 20km radius.
From the immaculate Top 10 campsite we turned left onto Princess Street and another left further up on to Kitchener and we were at our first destination, Palliser Wines. On offer were some great whites including an oaky Chardonnay which we just had to buy. The two Pinot Noir's for tasting were excellent and our host Jane was very knowledgeable about all things wine.
After returning to the junction with Princess we took a left and continued up to Martinborough Vineyard which is set back on the left. A small cellar door here offered the usual mixtures of whites including an outstanding early Riesling , which we took away with us. Their flagship Pinot Noir has won awards for 2010 and 2011 and their new crop was particularly tasty.
Schubert Wines was next up, take a right at the junction of Princess and Huangarua Road and its a short distance up the road on the right. The Tribianco on offer was very impressive as was his Pinot Noir, but it was his Rose that surprised us enough to buy a bottle (we don't usually pick out Rose!).
Further up Huangarua and on to Puruatanga Road is the brand new Poppies, proprietor Poppy welcomed us for a late lunch (it was getting on for 3pm when we arrived). We tasted their range of wines and were especially impressed with the Pinot Gris so ordered a bottle to accompany our platter for two (reasonably priced at $20 per head). The platter created by ex-chef Shayne was divine combining the following ingredients for mouth watering results: pork, fresh salmon, soaked mushrooms, hummus, courgettes, artichokes, whole olives, chopped olives, pickled garlic, pickled red peppers all served with two huge slices of ciabatta. I cant recommend this place enough, the hospitality we received was first rate.
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We spent a couple of days touring the cellar doors for free tastings - a real treat. Most are free. You can hire bikes for $25pp a day or just drive.
Self drive. Most people go to Blenheim but most vineyards are in Renwick. Friendly peoole with parrion for wine.
The taste of the wines was good. But we expected to see how they produce the wines with visit to the cellar.