Botrytis in Blenheim

27th October 2006
(The ever faithful) Top 10 Blenheim Park Campsite

Well, the good weather stayed long enough for us to go cycling round Renwick sampling the delights of the local wineries (a word I never knew existed, I always thought they were vineyards, but there you go).

We rented wobbly bikes from Wine Tours By Bike and a lovely bloke called Nigel (rented bikes from him that is, not rented him.) So off we wobbled and after a whole day’s riding (and several near misses from large trucks – I’m still trying to get rid of her Terry!), we made it to a grand total of 7 wineries:

  • Matua (lovely lady who told us about tannins and botrytis)
  • Highfield (beautiful views, crap wine)
  • Serasin (organic rather dry wines and yummy olive oil)
  • Framingham (cold and impersonal, not that impressed really)
  • Forrest Estate (warm an friendly, mad dog and odd cat – slightly spoilt by large busload of tourists. Also had a terrible Merlot that honestly tasted like Worcester Sauce.)
  • Cellier Le Brun (‘sparkling wine’ specialists – my arse)
  • Fromm (lovely yummy yummy Riesling Spatlese, which we bought)

Matua was by far and away our favourite, so rather than visit the last two wineries, we stopped by there and had some cheese, biccies and of course a glass of wine! Ended up buying a lovely fruity and light Pinot Noir

By way of addendum, we were supposed to be leaving early in the morning (after a lovely visit to Julie vineyard – thanks!) to head off to Marahau (in the Abel Tasman National Park), but thought we’d just pop into Villa Maria as they are quite famous and do have lovely wines. 5 wineries later we left (don’t worry, I spat the whole time). - Villa Maria (nice guy from Oregon, fab wines, ended up buying two – a exclusive R&D Sauvignon that tasted buttery and creamy, real surprise; and a dessert wine, a botrytised Riesling – apparently botrytis is a fungus that grows on grapes, looks yuk but strengthens the flavours of the wine)

  • Kathy Lynskey’s (nutty woman who we’re sure was sampling her own produce, but a Chardonnay to die for!)
  • Te Whare Ra (middling wines, but friendly chatty woman who owns/operates the place with her husband)
  • Wairau River (very busy, rubbish vinegar wines)
  • Nautilus (very snooty lady and posh decor, but rubbish wines)

So, in summary we learnt a few things:

  1. We like sweeter wines
  2. Tannins are chewy (Jen says a ‘bitter aftertaste’
  3. Fungus tastes yummy
  4. Jen can’t ride a bike very fast
  5. Wine tasting is fun!