Marlborough

Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon

I’ve been meaning to write up this incredible event for a while now…with the move back to the UK and the new website to set up, the blog has been a bit neglected, but I am back in force with a shiny new format and plenty of wine related musings to post.

An incredible highlight of my last month in New Zealand was the Saint Clair Half Marathon which took place in the Marlborough Vineyards at the top of New Zealand’s South Island.
This is such an amazing event, for anyone interested in running, wine, or just looking for a good day out I highly recommend this event!
Highlights for me were receiving my trophy at the end of the course in wine bottle format- a lovely bottle of The Saint Clair Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, running through the stunning Cloudy Bay Vineyard at the 10k point, the refreshing Sauvignon Blanc gelato at 13k and the bagpipe players on the final end straight. The course was so scenic, running through the vines with the morning sunlight breaking through was beautiful. I can’t think of a more stunning course to run my first half marathon on.
A simply wonderful event- check out more info here:

http://vineyardhalf.com

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Wine of The Week

Going to keep my wine of the week short and sweet this week.

This week’s wine of the week is none other than the House Sav from our good old local in Miramar, ‘Gasworks’, a lovely bottle of the Dusky Sounds Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Not only is this a very drinkable typical South Island Sav, it’s the wine of choice that’s been enjoyed by my best NZ friend and I once a week during good times and bad, venting our stress over a bottle of wine and a burger.  Sugar and carbs, what’s not to love?!

It just goes to show that sometimes, it’s not even what you’re drinking, or what you’re eating, but just the company you are in that makes the evening worthwhile.  It is with a poignant note and a heavy heart that I write my last wine of the week in NZ.  I’ve had an incredible time, and I hope to come back some time in the future….I have a few more things to write up on the blog before I leave.  But for now, this is my wine of choice to end my wine of the week feature- to good Kiwi wine, good Kiwi friendship and good Kiwi times!

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Wairau River Wines Marlborough

Wairau River Wines Marlborough is one of the largest independent wine estates in Marlborough and has a suitably impressive cellar door and restaurant to match.

We enjoyed a tasting at Wairau River from a very informative guide and one of our favourite things about this vineyard was that we were encouraged to take a wonder out in the vineyard amongst the vines.

The restaurant has lovely seating with verandas that leads straight out to the vineyards, it was wonderful to be able to take a stroll around.

The unique aspect of the wines produced here are that the vineyards are completely family owned which they believe enables better quality control from fruit to bottle. Wairau River offer an estate and a reserve range and their flagship wine is of course their Sauvignon Blanc.

The restaurant menu looked absolutely delicious! Would love to have eaten here had we need been so full already.

Wairau River Cellar Door & Restaurant
Corner State Highway 6 & Rapaura Road
Ph +64 3 572 9800

http://www.wairauriverwines.com

OPEN 10AM-5PM EVERY DAY*    LUNCH SERVED 12PM-3PM

*except Good Friday, Xmas Day & Boxing Day

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Framingham Vineyard Marlborough

Framingham Vineyard was a real stand out vineyard in the Blenheim area for me.  The entrance to the cellar door was through a pretty little archway which led to a very sweet courtyard with a water fountain in the middle.  It was a little haven and we were informed they sometimes have concerts in there.  A picture perfect garden. More bands should play in vineyards.  Especially those that have settings like this.

Framingham may sound familiar to UK readers.  I was informed that they supply wine to one of Gordon Ramsay’s London Restaurants.  I really like the way the vineyard have branded their wines, there’s something that feels very cool about their approach.  I think they have the right balance between class and innovation in their design.

Whilst waiting for my flight at Heathrow back to New Zealand over Christmas time I decided to take a rest from the busy crowds and put my feet up at the Seafood Bar which was perfectly positioned for me to drool over the Chanel Handbags in the window opposite.   I overheard the customer opposite me ask for a recommendation to go with his seafood platter.  The barman responded to this, ‘You simply must try this ‘New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’.  It was none other than the Framingham Sav on the wine list! I was pleased to see the wine of such a lovely little vineyard had made it to Heathrow’s hustle and bustle and made a mental note to stock up on a bottle or two once I had returned to New Zealand.

The original vineyard was established by Wellington engineer Rex Brooke-Taylor who took the name Framingham from his ancestral home town near Norwich, England.

Despite being based in a region known for it’s excellent white wine, I was also impressed with the reds that Framingham had to offer and I absolutely loved the Montepulciano 2009.

19 Conders Bend Road, PO Box 37 Renwick, New Zealand.

Phone: +64 3572 8884
Fax: +64 3 572 9884

Opening Hours:

Mon – Sun: 10:30 – 16:30

http://www.framingham.co.nz

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Lunch at Saint Clair Vineyard Marlborough

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The Saint Clair Family Estate is a well known vineyard in Marlborough and it was here on our second sunny day in the region that we designed to stop for lunch.

We opted for the steak sandwich, and yes it tasted as good as it looked, and the platter for one which we joked should really have been for two, but after all the cycling around, we didn’t struggle.  The homemade pate was delicious!

The Saint Clair vineyard has a lovely little garden out the back to enjoy a peaceful lunch with plenty of shade.

The cellar door at Saint Clair is open 7 days from 9am – 5pm.  In winter the opening hours may change.

Saint Clair Family Estate Cellar Door & Café
Corner of Rapaura & Selmes Roads
Blenheim

E: cellardoor@saintclair.co.nz
P: 03 570 5280
F: 03 570 5280

http://www.saintclair.co.nz

It is also famous for hosting the half marathon through the vineyards in May, which I have signed up for!

http://vineyardhalf.com

Hillsfield House Marlborough

Driving down a country lane in Blenheim the last thing we were expecting of our accommodation was an approach reminiscent of an English country manor, it is a stunning building and quite unlike anything I have seen in New Zealand until now.

Hillsfield House is one of the best B&Bs I have stayed at in New Zealand.  The owners offer just two rooms; ‘The Courtyard’ or ‘The Loft’, both of which are in separate accommodation to the owners, allowing you to come and go as you please.

The rooms are so beautifully designed and put together, this is certainly a labor of love and it was clear that our host Jo loves what she does.  The gardens are beautiful, our room looked out over unspoilt scenery.  The attention to detail put into the accommodation is faultless.

The continental breakfast featured some of the most delicious croissants I have ever tasted and being able to enjoy the breakfast in the privacy of our own room was something we appreciated.

Hillsfield House is also the home of Wine Tours by Bike, even if you aren’t staying here you can rent bicycles, which is in my opinion the best way to get around the vineyards.

http://www.winetoursbybike.co.nz

I am returning to Blenheim for the Saint Clair Half Marathon in May.  I only wish Hillsfield House wasn’t already booked out, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather rest my weary bones after jogging around all those vineyards!

Hillsfield House

33 Blicks Road, Renwick, Marlborough, New Zealand

Phone: 03 572 7570 (NZ) or 
0064 3 572 7570 (from overseas)
Mobile phone: 021 432 950
Email: stay@hillsfield.co.nz

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Forrest Vineyard Marlborough

Drive for just over an hour after stepping off the ferry from the North Island and you will come across Marlborough, the area of New Zealand that is infamous for it’s wonderful Sauvignon Blanc.

Our accommodation at the absolutely fantastic Hillsfield House came with the free use of bicycles to explore the surrounding vineyards.  My mum, who had not been on a bicycle in many years was albeit nervous about the expedition but our hosts were incredibly kind in ensuring the bikes were set up so we were comfortable and provided us with safety helmets and a map to guide us on our way.

First stop (literally just next door) we stumbled across the small but delightful Forrest Vineyard a small vineyard set up by two doctors who left behind careers in molecular biology and science to produce wine, hence the infamous ‘Doctor’s’ range they produce.

One thing I have to credit New Zealand vineyards for is their role in my discovery of dessert wines.  I don’t think I had even tried a dessert wine before I stepped foot on New Zealand soil! Better late than never and I now can’t get enough of the stuff.

We enjoyed a wine tasting at Forrest, and it was here that the dessert wine in the ‘Doctor’s’ range really stood out for me.  I purchased a bottle of the Doctor’s 2009 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc and have since seen it on many good restaurant wine lists in Wellington so it obviously isn’t just me that finds this wine a complete joy.

Forrest Vineyard is open 7 days from 10am – 4.30pm

19 Blicks Rd, Renwick 7204
Marlborough New Zealand

+64 3 572 9084

info@forrest.co.nz

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