Wellington Wine Country
Larry McKenna speaking from the edge of his Escarpment
Our tour through New Zealand wine countries finished with two days in Martinborough and its neighbor regions, all together known as Wairarapa, and now together reclassed as Wellington Wine Country. Wellington Wine Country sits about an hour and a half drive from the city itself. It’s one of the coldest growing regions in New Zealand with one of the longest growing seasons as well. As a result, it’s brilliant for producing truly cool climate varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with genuine concentration and density native to the fruit itself. Some of the founding prestige wineries of the country that first brought attention to the nation for producing high quality Pinot Noir originate here. The landscape through the region is incredible. At the same time, the townships hold a sort of country or frontier sort of feel that speaks to their remoteness, even if in proximity to the nation’s capitol. It’s a charming combination.
Here’s a look in photos as shared to Instagram while we traveled.
Oh my Bella, I love you too. My new friend, the Kunekune pig at Gladstone Vineyard in the Gladstone subregion of Wairarapa in Wellington Wine Country. She’s full of advice on how to move to New Zealand and what it means to respect the land. Lovely girl. #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwine @gladstonevineyard
Well look at that! A Gruner-like Gruner right here in the Te Muna Road subregion of the Wairarapa. The whites of the region bring a feeling of delicacy while still offering persistent mouth stimulation and here that white pepper character so integral to the variety. Refreshing and nicely focused. #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @bigskywines
Commercial fishing in Alaska growing up was often unbelievably tiring as a result of working for long days and even days at a time on few hours of sleep. It was watching and reading the skies that would get me through. Watching the skies has continued to be one of my great loves connecting me powerfully to some regions for the vibrancy and life that moves through the horizon. New Zealand for this is incredible. Here looking North from Escarpment in the Te Muna area of Martinborough. Stunning. #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa
Founding members of the Curly Girl and Lipstick club with one of our honorary knights (being appointed knight is a very high honor. It means you are one of our favorite people anywhere). A total honor to have the morning tasting with Helen Masters and Clive Paton at Ata Rangi. From left: Madeline Stenwreth MW from Sweden, Helen Masters, Clive Paton, me. #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @ata_rangi @madsmw
The Ata Rangi 2015 Craighill Chardonnay from Martinborough opens with nuanced aromatics that move to an elegant sweep across the palate. Full of savor from a not quite chalk-salinity woven with the texture of raw silk cut to the lines of a floor length gown. Lovely, textural, fresh and nuanced. #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @ata_rangi
There is a gentle element to the white wines of Martinborough that still carries in it concentration of flavor and power of persistence, where even when the signature flavors of a variety like Sauvignon appear they do so not so much softly (they still carry tension and poise) as with patience, as if assertiveness or pushiness is unnecessary because the flavors without question will arrive in your mouth over time. Here the Urlar 2016 Sauvignon Blanc carries that gentle persistence somehow also with fresh verve and even curiosity. Pleasant, feminine and flavorful. #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @urlar_wine
The salted version of the best butter I have ever had in all my life from Lewis Road Creamery. All organic milk and craftsmanship. In mere hours I have successfully converted delegates from Scotland, Germany and England to Lewis Road butter converts and they are now gorging themselves on bread and butter. My work here is done. #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa
Sketching sense impressions from tasting on the trip through New Zealand to eventually do illustrations of the wines. (I don’t expect these particular ones to make sense to anyone else they are just a way to get my thinking started. When I am tasting wine I get a lot of visual and tactile experience in relation to the flavors of a wine. At times the multisensory experience of tasting makes it hard for me to use words to describe wine in a way I think others will recognize. So I started sketching the wines instead. Sketching the shapes of how a wine feels to me like shown here gives me a way to record my memory of a wine while I search for descriptors to give it later. These particular sketches are me thinking through regional characteristics rather than single wines.) #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa
United Nations international wine mission for world peace delegate from the United States in the van alone en route to the airport. Will report back to her colleagues in California and beyond on mission findings. Report: I’ve left my heart in New Zealand. (Seems like I must need that my heart.) Must return for further research. #nzwine Thank you to @nzwinegrowers and @nzwineusa for a life changing trip, good wine and even better people.
Brilliant summary of trip to New Zealand captured in one photo by Sarah: Spend time with remarkable people. Be totally silly while also taking all your work seriously. Love everyone and be struck by how loving they are too (what a fantastic country of beautiful people). Laugh more steadily than ever in your life. Be joy. Find joy in/from others. (Thank you again to everyone for a fantastic trip.) #nzwineusa @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa Thank you you to Sarah for sending this awesome photo from Nelson. @paulpujol
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