I’ve been trying to develop an appreciation for Pinot Noir and figured that Central Otago is probably the best place nearby to give it a go. I did a bit of research on wine tour companies before our trip and went with New Zealand Wine Tours Queenstown.
Our day started out relatively early – our guide Liz picked us up and took us for a scenic detour up to the Crown Range lookout nearby. On the way out Liz asked us what kind of wine we drink / enjoy back at home and got to know us. I loved her right away – she was friendly and really seemed to love wine and sharing her knowledge. She set us all at ease immediately and I was certain that we were in for a fantastic day.
We stopped at Peregrine Wines for a tasting first.
After Peregrine wines Liz took us to the Nose Restaurant and the Aroma Room. The Aroma Room was incredibly cool – it allowed us to develop a common vocabulary for the wine we were sampling for the remainder of the day. We followed the Aroma Room experience with a delicious platter lunch.
Our next stop was to Rockburn, further down towards Cromwell. The wines weren’t bad, but we found the service to be pretty cold.
After Rockburn, Liz took us out to Bannockburn for a visit to Akarua – perhaps my favourite winery of the day. I wanted to buy everything we tried – they had an amazing chardonnay, a lovely vintage brut, ice wine and finally, some INCREDIBLE pinot noir. I bought a few bottles (and then hoarded some via Dan Murphy’s upon my return to Australia), a couple of which we enjoyed in the spa.
At Brennan we were treated to a lovely tasting – fantastic Gewürztraminer, amazing Pinot Noir.. we were a bit drunk by this stage, but I still enjoyed a vertical tasting of their most recent Pinot vintages. The woman at the cellar door told us about their recent-ish win at the IWC with the 2011 B2 Pinot.