Nelson: wine tasting on Thanksgiving Day

by | Dec 13, 2016 | International Travel, Travel

After sleeping in a bit we headed out on foot to pick up snacks at the grocery store and explore Nelson. Eric went into the city center to check out some gardens and I picked up a tea towel with kiwi birds on it before heading back to the room to work for a bit.

downtown Nelson  downtown Nelsondowntown Nelson

We got chased out of our room around 11:30am for housekeeping so we headed out by car to our first winery of the day.

Fossil Ridge – Beautiful setting. We were given one free tasting each at the entry area but four tastings plus olives and walnuts cost $10. The tasting tray fee was not waived with purchase; however, we loved the wines here. The rose and pinot noir had a lovely red pepper (paprika) flavor with lots of spice. We sat out on the back patio with a view of the ponds, gardens, and vineyards.

Fossil Ridge Winery  Fossil Ridge Winery

Our next stop was T.O.A.D. Hall for New Zealand-style fruit ice creams – Eric had the ice cream with raspberries and I had the yogurt with black currants. Mine was tangy and tart – absolutely delicious.

Next up was Neudorf Vineyards and we decided to take Moutere Hwy instead of the main road for a change of scenery. By far the most professional website of the wineries around Nelson, we were worried it might be expensive and pretentious, but were happily proven wrong with a tasting experience that was relaxed and awesome. We purchased two bottles, the rose and chardonnay, and opened the rose to drink out on their lawn with a bit of cheese and crackers. We didn’t finish the bottle, so thanks to a screw cap, we were able to close it up and head out. While sitting outside we enjoyed the antics of a bird trying to lift a large feather, presumably for a nest, and making it to the trees on the second try.

Neudorf Vineyards

Te Mania / Richmond Plains – One winery with two different vineyards, apparently this has something to do with the organic designate. Tasting fee is $2/pour but all was waived when we purchased two bottles. The whites were better than the reds and we both preferred the Richmond Plains label. Our pourer was very friendly, now I just need to know more about the British Ferrari guy who left with a few cases of wine!

We had some time before our dinner reservation to try a pub on our list, Bel-Aire Tavern, on our way back to the hotel. Though they had 30+ taps, most were IPAs, pales and lagers. The Lighthouse Stout was nice and Eric had the Altitude Goldpanner’s lager.

Our Thanksgiving meal was at Ford’s downtown. My arancini app (with prosciutto wrapped asparagus and roasted red pepper aioli) was big enough for a main course and my venison with tabbouleh salad and goat cheese was solid. Eric opted for the Angus beef sirloin with duck fat roasted new potatoes and roasted tomatoes filled with chorizo. Both the wines we got were from a Nelson ‘winery’ owned by a liquor company. No matter though because the rose and pinot noir were both good choices for our meals. Overall I had better luck with my meal here.

asparagus app @ Ford's Restaurant and Bar taps @ The Free House Pub

Last stop of the day was the Free House Pub. Of the fifteen beers on tap, I found a decent Gingerbread Stout and Eric had the 666 Tripel.

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