Marlborough: wine tasting, day 1

by | Dec 15, 2016 | International Travel, Travel

We woke up in a Nelson to a rainy morning but we had scheduled wine tasting for this day so no big deal. First we finished packing, then called all family members to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Headed out by 10:15am and although it was hard to see much along SH 6, the drive went quickly with Eric providing Spotify music. About an hour later we were in the famous Marlborough valley.

Wairau River Wines – Our first stop of the day. We enjoyed the wines here, plus a free tasting which was nice. Virginia was fine hostess and we decided to make a reservation to return for lunch at 2pm. I loved the ’13 Reserve Syrah and Eric liked ’16 Sauvignon Blanc and ’16 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc.  Unfortunately we never made it back to buy their wine as we ran out of space in our bags. Next time!

No 1 Family Estate – Not on our radar, Virginia mentioned that this place only does bubbles – so we were intrigued! We tasted four sparkling wines (complimentary) and really liked all of them. We purchased a bottle of the sparkling rose to take home. Tracy, our pourer, had actually studied abroad briefly in NC so we chatted about various nuances of weather and culture. A woman stopped in to pick up some bubbly for the holiday party and she mentioned working at White Haven – a coincidence as that was our next stop!

White Haven – Located in the Vines Village among shops, this medium-sized winery has their standard Sauvignon Blanc in multiple grocery stores near our house in the US. In fact, she mentioned that they export nearly 90% of their flagship wine! The tasting room was fairly busy but we had a good time chatting about the wine and taking the tasting slow. Eric tried all the available whites and I sampled the Pinot Noir. The Greg Sauvignon Blanc was awesome and not exported to the US, so we left with a bottle. We eventually drank it over the course of our trip and I wish we bought two bottles.

At this point, we headed back to Wairau River for lunch. I had the mussel chowder with garlic bread (so much dill!) and Eric had the blue cheese souffle with rocket, pear and almond salad. Everything was delicious and the rain cleared out by the time we finished lunch.

Wairau River Wines Cellar Door lunch @ Wairau River Wines Cellar Door

Seresin Estate Limited – Our least favorite of the day. Maybe my palate was just tired, but all the wines we tried here tasted thin and a bit sour. The small tasting room was crowded when we arrived but the two winery dogs provided some entertainment and the views from the hill were lovely.

Done with wine tasting for the day we drove into Blenheim and checked into our room. After settling in we decided to do some light hiking, so we drove north to Monkey Bay and White’s Bay for some great coastal and valley views.

Marlborough coastline

so that's where all the sauvignon blanc comes from!


The sun was still up so we headed back through town to the Wairu Lagoons Walk. It was super windy and after about twenty minutes we didn’t see much so we turned around.

Big Lagoon


Done with the car, we parked at the hotel and walked over to Roger’s Indian for take-out. I got the Beef Goan and Eric had the Mango Chicken curry. While that was being prepared, we walked across the street to Countdown to pick up some more milk and juice for the fridge. The main dishes could have been a touch more spicy (my fault, should have specified) but the naan bread was outstanding. Meal was enjoyed with the rest of our rose from Neudorf.

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Madrid, Spain (Mar)
Valencia, Spain (Mar+Apr)
Palma, Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)