Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand

The situation: getting from Golden Bay (Takaka) to Queenstown by car.

The problem: the main road, Highway 1, was destroyed south of Kaikoura by an earthquake and was still being reconstructed (only to open three weeks later).

The solution: a 30-hour road trip!

Marlborough was one of three stops en route to Queenstown on Highway 7. Luckily, it’s New Zealand’s largest wine growing region and known for Sauvignon Blanc. We enjoyed visiting several vineyards with Bubbly Grape Wine Tours, which we’ll highlight below. Update: we definitely need another suitcase.

Lawson’s Dry Hills

Our favorites in the tasting were the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (10-15% old barrel fermentation) and the 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir.

Wither Hills

We loved the 2017 Kruanui Pinot Gris. The view was incredible.

Alan Scott

We really enjoyed the Cecilia Bubbles and the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. We also had lunch here in the courtyard – I couldn’t get enough of my cheese and charcuterie patter; John thought his gnocchi was decent.

Cloudy Bay

Our pick was the Pinot Noir from 100 percent Marlborough vines, and the 2015 Chardonnay. This is the “big time” winery owned by Luis Vuitton… we favored the smaller, locally-owned places. But we still managed to pose with the magnum bottle!

Villa Maria

By this stop all the wines were delicious and my notes were a little blurred but… it was good! 🙂

Overall, experiencing the Marlborough specialty wines was a good way for us to enjoy a few hours out of the car and in this serene area of New Zealand. We thought it was worth the expense and we picked up a few bottles that we’re taking home with us. We discovered a taste for Sauvignon Blancs and began our love affair with South Island Pinot Noirs.


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