We recently visited the Marlborough region and had two stand-out experiences- Villa Maria Estate and Hans Herzog Estate. It’s a great weekend destination and has always been easy for Wellingtonians to get there on the ferry, but now it’s just as easy for Aucklanders as Air New Zealand have a direct flight to Blenheim.
The wine tasting at Villa Maria was excellent.The complimentary tasting included a line-up of seven wines, most of which were their ‘reserve’ labels.
Starting with the Reserve Wairau Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, we worked our way to the richer and deeper brews including the Reserve Gimblett Gravel Syrah, 2010, finishing up with a delicious dessert wine, the Reserve Noble Botryis Riesling, 2012.
Hungry, we headed off to Hans Herzog for lunch.
Walking through the tasting room to the garden, surrounded by vines, we could have been in Tuscany. Our charming German waitress, Sabine moved our table so we could make the most of the winter sun.
The boutique winery has two restaurants. Their fine dining eatery is closed for the winter and has a legendary degestation menu of five or three courses, plus a la carte. But the Bistro, fondly called the ‘casual little sister’ is open all year. Chef, Peter Koller, from Switzerland is hoping to make New Zealand his home so look out for his name as he is destined for great things.
Both Tim and I both chose the duo of Canterbury lamb with bread dumplings and leeks (to avoids food envy)! The rare and slow cooked meat, complimented each other and matched with their 2010 Pinot Noir it was superb.
We would go back in a heart beat and if you haven’t discovered this gem, you need too.
Cuisine Magazine shares our sentiment and had this to say. “If there’s a better destination-dining experience in NZ, I’ve not found it in 20 years of restaurant writing”.