Round 2 in New Zealand: From Waipara to Kaikoura

After tasting the wines of Central Otago and finishing our stay in Queenstown on the South Island, Mrs. Wine with Dinner and I drove north toward Marlborough, Motherland of sauvignon blanc. Sadly, due to a scheduling snafu, we had no time to actually tour in Marlborough and had to rely on our tastings at various restaurants and wine shops for our sample of the region. We did, however, get a chance to stop at a few wineries on the way through Waipara as we drove toward the whale-watching town of Kaikoura. I managed to find time to snap a few pictures and take a few notes as we sped down the left side of the road in our rented Ford Falcon.

Rosebank Vineyards
The Grounds at Rosebank Vineyards

Our first stop on the road to to Waipara was Rosebank Estate Winery. Rosebank Estate has beautiful grounds and is located very close to the main drag, which makes it a nice place to stop for lunch and a nice glass of wine on a drive out of Christchurch. The standouts here were the 2006 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and 2005 Pinot Noir. Nearly colorless, the white presented aromas of citrus and a hint of lychee and flavors of grapefruit and lemon. While a solid example of Marlborough sauvignon blanc, it was a little thin (the Mud House 2006 is still the best that I have had), 3 Stars1/4, $8.73 per bottle. The Pinot was ruby red in color with streawberry, cherry, and red berry aromas complimented by a touch of dark chocolate, with a flavor of red berries and limited spice notes, 3 Stars1/4, $9.70 per bottle. Sadly, their website has know distributor information, but you can contact them directly.

Pegasus Bay Winery
Pegasus Bay Winery

Our next stop in Waipara was one of my favorite wineries in New Zealand. Pegasus Bay is owned by the Donaldson family and was one of the first vineyards to establish that high quality wine could be made from grapes grown in Waipara. Everything we tasted was delicious, but the winery’s Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend and its Late Harvest Riesling, Aria, were the best of the class. The 2006 Sauvignon/Semillon has a light yellow hue with aromas of lemon, honey, peach, and passion fruit. The palate is fruit-forward and lemony with hints of peach and spice on the back of the tongue, 4 Stars1/4, $16.32 per bottle. The 2006 Aria has honey and floral aromas with a fruity, sweet peach flavor. This is a very good dessert wine, 4 Stars1/2, $24.25 per bottle. I highly recommend anything that you can get from Pegasus Bay; fortunately, their distributor is right down the road in Alexandria, Virginia.

Pegasus Bay 2006 Sauvignon-Semillon
Pegasus Bay 2006 Sauvignon/Semillon

Finally, just before reaching our hotel, we happened upon Kaikoura Winery. This is one vineyard that could survive simply on the view out of its tasting room windows. Fortunately, they have not settled for being a tourist trap. Kaikoura has several quality wines that you can enjoy while looking at the bright blue Pacific stretching as far as your eyes can see. Their best offerings are whites, their 2006 (Off-dry) Riesling and 2004 Noble One Late Harvest. The Riesling is pale yellow with orange, honey, pear, and whitewater aromas (thanks to Mrs. Wine with Dinner for that last descriptor) and a fruit-forward palate with a hint of ginger spice that finishes clean, 4 Stars, $12.00 per bottle. The Late Harvest is a Riesling/Sauvignon blend with aromas of fig, ginger, honey, and apricot. It is decidedly sweet, with a syrupy honey, apricot, and fig palate, 4 Stars1/4, no price presently available. Also of note is that Kaikoura winery makes a wine-based creme. A curiosity, but it was delicious enough for me to lug a bottle back to the States. I am uncertain if they ship to the U.S., but inquiries can be made here.

Mrs. Wine with Dinner at Kaikoura Winery
Mrs. Wine with Dinner at Kaikoura Winery

Rosebank Estate
Rosebank 2006 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 3 Stars1/4, $8.73 per bottle.
Rosebank 2006 Canterbury Pinot Gris, 3 Stars.
Rosebank 2004 Estate Riesling, 2 Stars.
Rosebank 2005 Pinot Noir, 3 Stars1/4, $9.70 per bottle.

Pegasus Bay
Pegasus Bay 2006 Main Divide Sauvignon Blanc, 3 Stars1/4.
Pegasus Bay 2006 Sauvignon/Semillon, 4 Stars1/4, $16.32 per bottle
Pegasus Bay 2006 (Semi-dry) Riesling, 4 Stars.
Pegasus Bay 2004 Pinot Noir, 3 Stars3/4.
Pegasus Bay 2004 Merlot/Cabernet, 3 Stars1/4.
Pegasus Bay 2001 Merlot/Cabernet, 4 Stars.
Pegasus Bay 2006 Aria, 4 Stars1/4, $24.25.

Kaikoura Winery
Kaikoura Winery 2005 Chardonnay, 2 Stars1/4.
Kaikoura Winery 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, 2 Stars3/4.
Kaikoura Winery 2006 (Off-dry) Riesling, 4 Stars, $12.00 per bottle.
Kaikoura Winery 2006 Gewurztraminer, 3 Stars.
Kaikoura Winery 2005 Pinot Rose, 2 Stars1/2.
Kaikoura Winery 2006 Select Rose, 2 Stars3/4.
Kaikoura Winery 2004 Pinot Noir, 3 Stars1/2.
Kaikoura Winery 2004 Noble One Late Harvest, 4 Stars1/4.

The View from Kaikoura Winery’s Tasting Room
The View from Kaikoura Winery’s Tasting Room

Published in: on March 4, 2007 at 9:21 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. That’s such a small world. I was just there on 02MAR while driving from Christchurch to Kaikoura. Didn’t realize Pegasus Bay was such a standout.


    Well, we liked it, anyway. Thank you for posting your album!

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