Some of us in the Cellar Maison team were lucky enough to escape the chills of London this January for the hot summer days of Nelson, New Zealand.
The Nelson region is at the top of the South Island of NZ. The district enjoys a marvelous Mediterranean climate with high sunshine hours, cold, crisp winters and particular soil conditions that make it an ideal wine growing terroir.
It’s a dream destination for wine lovers. Boutique wineries, surrounded by rows of manicured grape vines; open to the public for wine tasting and local gourmet treats. The winery styles range from rustic, rambling farmhouses, through to stunning, cutting edge, eco-architecture. Well designed wine trails mean you can meander through a selection of wineries taking in the varietals that are doing so well in the Nelson region including pinot noir, chardonnay, a range of Rieslings and aromatic Gewurztraminer. Winery cellar door tastings are often conducted by the wine makers themselves; a chance to gain a real understanding of the hard work and passion that goes into producing such quality wines.
Exquisite restaurants are onsite in a few of the local wineries. They offer an ideal opportunity to enjoy the culinary specialties of the Nelson region. Perfectly matched with the wines of the vineyard, diners can sample the best of freshly caught fish, locally harvested mussels, and scallops. The artisan cheeses, quality breads and preserves lend themselves perfectly to generous platters and picnics paired with wines. Freshly picked produce is abundant and the famous lamb, beef and venison that New Zealand is so well known for features proudly on the menus.
One of the Cellar Maison team’s favourite visits was Neudorf Vineyards. A winery established back in 1978 and consistently high quality with owners and wine makers, Tim and Judy Finn at the helm.
Neudorf Vineyards is a highly acclaimed, multi award winning winery. The cellar door is housed within beautiful, earthy farm buildings. The doors open out onto a lawn dotted with tables and spots for visitors to put down a rug under the trees and picnic on the grass. With a glass of wine and your own hamper or a selection of local artisan cheeses and crackers from the shop, it’s a decidedly fine way to spend an afternoon.
We enjoyed a well-presented wine tasting by the friendly staff and then settled on a bottle of the stunning Tom’s Block pinot noir and a chose patch of shade under a tree. With a selection of handmade, local cheeses and the late afternoon sunshine, it was the picture of Nelson’s best.
We’re back to the cold UK now, sigh… but a few bottles of good Nelson wine for the cellar better off.
Look out for our next posts featuring some more vineyards from the Nelson and Marlborough region.