Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Napier in November: Wine tastings and golf

Napier is quite a town. It's hip art-deco culture is balanced nicely against its down-to-earth vibe and its silly tourist draws (the main street's "Opossum World" comes to mind.) It has a nice little rocky waterfront and a comfortable atmosphere.

It's about a four-hour drive from Wellington - perfect for a short and relaxing weekend away.

Even though we were tempted by the sign at the local liquor store (that was actually advertising Kentucky State products - whiskey and cola combos I think), you'd be a fool to visit Napier and not enjoy the wine.

We've been here for a weekend once before but of course it's hard to see it all in such a short time. This time we visited Askerne, Ngatarawa, the Black Barn, Salvare and Craggy Range wineries.

Askerne had a wonderfully knowledgeable gentleman offering our tasting and asking us what we smelled and tasted with each variety. He walked us through from viognier to syrah and even desert wines. I tried to remember the food pairings we discussed (salmon and chardonnay is one) but I'm afraid I enjoyed the wines too much to remember all of them. I loved the pinot gris there.

The Ngatawara winery is involved in a rather brilliant community collaboration. Each variety in its Farmgate series is designed to pair with the product of a local grower.

We couldn't live without a bottle of the Pinot Noir, which pairs well with Te Mata mushrooms that are grown locally in Hawkes Bay. And I find the series labels just as irresistible.

On Sunday we fit in a bit of golf - my first game ever. Napier has a beautiful well-groomed golf course not far from the coast. We went to its slightly less sophisticated public cousin next door, which was perfectly fun. I'm certainly not going to complain when I'm only paying $10 to play nine holes of whiffs and shockingly bad shots.

But Jake and Brett were doing rather well.

The entire weekend was just as relaxed and enjoyable as this charming little golf course. I'd love to go back to Napier again soon. Until then, I'll have to reminisce with the three new bottles of wine we brought home.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Jake (from the back shot) displays all the grace and elegance of a Tiger Woods. Brett..um..doesn't.

Pictures of those dudes on the wine bottles look hilarious. Rather like a line-up of the FBI's "Most Wanted".