Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Friday, 19 December 2014
One of the wineries we especially loved is located in the North island called Marsden Estate. Our guide for the day, Diane, picked us up at Eagle's Nest in the Bay of Islands (one of my favorite spots in New Zealand) and we had a lovely half day tour.

Marsden Estate is located just outside of the village of Kerikeri on the way to the airport. Quirkier is an area in the North island of New Zealand that is very "Northern" and has a different climate and soil makeup than places in the South island. The Marlborough region is very popular for New Zealand wines but this part of the country is also on the map. 

Marsden, while more of a boutique winery, has won international awards for its wine and our wine expert there, Trevor, was a fantastic guide through the tasting! (I even found a picture of him on the Marsden Winery website.) He was passionate about the product and knowledgeable about its properties. James and I learned quite a bit about the wine making process and the lovely Marsden wines.

Our tasting was quick but informative and we especially loved the 2013 Pinot Gris. It was light in flavor with hints of apple. The best part was the spicy, dry finish that left an amazing watering in our mouths. The winery is sustainable and grows some uncommon varietals for the area such as Tempranillo, Chambourcin, and Pinotage.

Eagle's Nest, by the way, (where we were staying while in the Bay of Islands) is a fantastic property with sweeping views and spectacular service. I would LOVE to go back. They even put up a little Christmas tree in the corner for us!

The properties are unique in that they are "self-cater." If you would like to go out to dinner, the hosts will arrange transportation for you down to the village of Russell. Or, if you would like to shop for fresh ingredients and cook your own meal, that is also an option. James and I opted to do that one evening. 

We purchased an amazing cut of lamb, new potatoes, corn on the cob, "Living Lettuce," fresh onion, and a beautiful avocado - all from New Zealand. I cooked the meal, made a mint, blackberry sauce for the meat, and James poured the sparkling wine that he also sourced from this great country. 

Some of the villas have their own lap pools and on the afternoon that we arrived, the weather was gorgeous so I had a nice swim. The weather was warm (it is summer now in New Zealand) but not hot so I was lucky that the pools are heated. 

The views certainly are beautiful from Eagle's Nest. The property is very private - located on a peninsula - and up on the peak of the mountain. When we arrived, there was a cruise ship in the harbor but it sailed out peacefully that afternoon.

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