After your adventures in Part 1 of the Marlborough wine tour; by now you’ll be heading back towards Renwick, and you’re about to have to make some tough choices – there are more than 30 Cellar Doors in the Marlborough region, and this area is packed with them! We can’t vouch for all of them, as even on our ‘wine professional’ Field Trip, we had to pick and choose!!
First stop driving towards Blenheim again is Seresin at 24 Barracks Road in Hawkesbury. Vineyard tours and tastings are by appointment only though – we didn’t visit. Take a look at www.seresin.co.nz. They have great Pinot Noir and I’ve heard good things about a Syrah from there too.
At 56 Anglesea Street in Renwick is Te Whare Ra – they are open for Wine Tasting from October through to March, although the Cellar Door is often open for sales outside of that time. This is a fine boutique winery – winner of umpteen awards – including things like Viticulturist of the Year. Running small batches of hand-picked, hand-made wines, but quite an impressive and wide range.
Across the road is Forrest where generations have been crafting wine since the 80s, at 19 Blicks Road in Renwick. It’s the home of ‘the Doctors’ having been founded by Dr John and Brigid Forrest – there’s a range of wines bearing ‘the Doctors’ label as well as the ‘Forrest’ and ‘Tatty Bogler‘ ranges. The Cellar Door is award-winning and you can get platters for a picnic alongside comprehensive wine tastings.
In the same area is Mahi – the brainchild of local character Brian Bicknell, making hand-crafted wines in an expressive style – often unfiltered, and visitors are welcomed to one of the most picturesque and stylish Cellar doors around. Chardonnay is a speciality here, and some fantastic Pinot and Sauvignon Blanc of course. 9 Terrace Road, Renwick.
Any avid readers of WineFolio will know what’s coming next! In my humble opinion, Framingham is simply a Must-Do if you are in town. I’m a big fan of this winery, and adore their Rieslings in particular (they have some of the oldest vines around), but also the Pinots – and the Pinot Gris did well in the Top 10 tasting in February. The Cellar Door is a picture perfect wall garden, and the venue is well known for its music nights – the Framingham Underground, and events. Try the ‘Nobody’s Hero’ range as well as the posher stuff in the ‘F-Series’ – where the F-Series Sauvignon Blanc will challenge your perceptions of this variety, and is a stand-out.
Bladen Wines is at 83 Conders Bend Road in Renwick. A 30-year history is clear to see on the impressive photo wall in this Cellar Door. Open 7 days a week from 11am. Family-run, this is more of a boutique experience, where you’ll likely meet the owners at the Tasting Room. WineFolio recommends the Riesling (don’t we always..).
Those previous six wineries are quite close together geographically, but stand by as things get quiet crowded now for a while!
The Nautilus Cellar Door is found on Rapaura Road – an important address in Marlborough wine, (it’s no.12). They built the first specifically Pinot Noir winery in Marlborough, and, despite being arguably best-known for their superb Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines, take their Pinot Noir seriously here. Whilst here, try their Gruner Veltliner – an unusual variety, or the flagship Clay Hills vineyard Pinot Noir.
Right nearby is Giesen at no. 26, and is rumoured to have the best platters of any winery in Marlborough – the Monday I visited it was heaving, and our feed – ‘the Vintage Platter’ was exceptional. Giesen are quite the pioneers – you’ll get the chance to try a wide range of NZ’s most famous grape, including a first – a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with zero alcohol. As well as doing big business at the entry level of the market, Giesen do some big powerful, serious wines too.
From the Clayvin Vineyard (I’d definitely say it’s one of the ten most important vineyards in the country) comes a stand-out Chardonnay and a region-defining Pinot Noir.
The big Wairau River site at 11 Rapaura Rd, houses a Restaurant and Cellar Door – opening in 1991, it was one of the first winery destinations for tourists. The Cellar Door is open year round, and you can taste both the Estate and Reserve range of wines. Their vineyards were planted back in 1978, with land backing onto the river.
Hans Herzog Estate is an amazing vineyard experience. Not only is it headed up by the man with his name on the label – a real ‘vigneron’ in the old school way, but in this small family vineyard are grown 26 different varieties of grapes. Not to mention what is one of the best the best vineyard restaurant in the country. There’s a real feeling of luxury here – treat yourself to a degustation meal, and an in-depth wine tasting. 81 Jeffries Rd.
At Georges Michel Wine Estate – down on 56 Vintage Lane, right in the heart of Marlborough, is another family-run winery. Producing a range of award-winning wines, including Chardonnay and a Blanc de Blancs Methode wine.
Fromm Winery at 15 Godfrey Road was founded by two friends from Switzerland, planted in 1992. Hatsch Kalberer is the winemaker here, and known throughout winemaking circles in NZ as the creator of exceptional wines expressing terroir and with amazing texture and vitality.