Marvellous Marlborough

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, March 3, 2008

We had been looking forward to visiting the Marlborough wine region for as long as we could remember. Our attraction to the area started a few years ago in SA when we tasted our first Sauvignon Blanc from the area which happened to be from a famous winery called Cloudy Bay. The Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most well know wines to come out of New Zealand and potentially one of the best Sauvignon Blanc's in the world. With delicious gooseberry and floral aromas this is probably the best example of what a Sauvignon Blanc should taste like.
The closest town to the Marlborough wine region, Renwick happened to be slap bang in the middle of the area and has little more than a few pubs, restaurants and one or two hotels, everything we needed. We stayed at a lovely backpackers called Watson's Way which was a short walk from the nearest wine farm. The ideal way to tour the wine farms was by bicycle which could be rented at the backpackers for a small fee. This was our first choice but once again, the same old story of the weather not playing along, so we were forced to use our trusty automobile, Sunny. I was just hoping that due to the appalling weather the traffic police had decided to take the day off or at least leave their breathalysers behind .?
You might be thinking we rushed straight to Cloudy Bay and never left but I was a little apprehensive about going directly there and possible being disappointed so we decided a warm up was needed. We plotted a route through the wine region that would gradually allow us to work our way to Cloudy Bay. See, we do do some work. ;-)
We were presently surprised with the wines we tasted along the way and had some fantastic aromatic Rieslings, buttery Chardonnays and yummy Pinot Noir's. It seemed the region was good for more than just Sauvignon Blanc. By the time we reached Cloudy Bay we'd sampled some fine wines and were ready for the big gun!
The Cloudy Bay range of wines was larger than we had expected and even included a sparkling white, a Riesling and a Late Harvest. The 2007 Sauvignon Blanc was good but in some ways was not as good as the previous vintages we'd tasted. There was however a big surprise install for us in the form of the 2005 Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc. It was like nothing we had ever tasted before, a more full bodied Sauv with all the original Sauv Blanc's characteristics but with a hint of oak. Not something you often find on a Sauv Blanc. It blew us away and we savoured every sip of the meagre sample. The price tag matched the performance and after much deliberation we decided to splash and cough up the NZ$43 for a little piece of heaven. The challenge now would be to find a special occasion and location to enjoy the wine. Anyone is welcome to come join of course....
Wine tasting was not the only thing we got up to in Marlborough. We did manage to spend a full day sea kayaking through the Marlborough Sound which we both thoroughly enjoyed. We got to see stingrays and a host of sea birds up close and at the same time got a really good workout.
Next stop for us was the capital of New Zealand, Wellington and to get there we had to cross the notoriously rough Cook Straight by ferry, car and all. We'd heard many stories of some very rough crossing so where hoping for the best.  
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