Tantalus Estate is a contemporary oasis of luxury, impeccable food, panoramic views and of course award-winning wines. It's hard to picture a better setting for a long-lunch of seasonal dishes and the freshest of seafood, including local Te Kouma Oysters, all prepared under the guidance of talented head chef Paul Jobin who has led kitchens in Manhattan, Prague and Australia. Winemaker Alex Perez and viticulturist Chris Ward, ex Stoneyridge Estate, use traditional winemaking techniques including hand-picking and hand-sorting individually selected rows to craft a range of superb wines from estate only grown grapes. The rich and succulent, fine-structured Bordeaux and Rhone style reds are the stars.
Founded in 2007, the vineyard covers nine hectares on a gently undulating slope overlooking Wairoa Bay. The vineyard’s close proximity to the water means it enjoys a regular sea breeze, which keeps the vines dry, and coastal soil that imparts unique mineral flavours. The Landing Wines currently produce Rosé, Syrah and Chardonnay. Plantings have expanded over recent years to include Sangiovese, Pinot Gris, Montepulciano, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Processed at local winery, Marsden Estate, by award-winning winemaker Rod McIvor, the wines are then cellared on the property at The Landing. Vineyard Manager, Keith Barker will give you a personalised tour of the vineyard and host a tasting session in the cellar.
Destiny Bay's Cabernet blends have been compared to Napa's 'Opus One' and Italy's 'Sassicaia'. "Well worth seeking out ... its cashmere texture alluring and irresistible, reminiscent of a great Cabernet-based Right Bank wine like Chateau Figeac" Neal Martin, eRobertparker.com. Destiny Bay is a small, single vineyard, family-owned winery on Waiheke Island, that specializes in estate grown and bottled blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. As Destiny Bay produces fewer than 2,500 cases per year of their three distinct blends, these super-star wines are expensive and difficult find outside of some the world's finest restuarants.
'THE BEST NEW WORLD WINERY' Prestigious US wine magazine, The Wine Enthusiast (2014). Craggy Range began with the desire to create a legacy when American-born Terry & Mary Peabody visited New Zealand in 1997. The result is not only an enduring triumph in the wine-world, it is a showcase for New Zealand super-premium wine. Sophia & The Quarry (bordeaux-style reds), Le Sol Syrah and Aroha Pinot Noir rate amongst New Zealand's best and are becoming household names for premium wine around the world. The Giants winery complex sitting at the foot of Te Mata peak escarpment is also an exceptional showcase for winery hospitality. A private, Craggy Range sommelier guided tasting of Craggy Range Family and Prestige wines is a vinous experience not to be missed.
Lunch at Elephant Hill Winery
'Sensational' begins to describe the lunch and wine tasting experience at Elephant Hill on the dramatic Te Awanga coastline. Elephant Hill is what is possible when the quest for style, luxury and wine-perfection meets passion and no expense-spared. The multi-award winning winery restaurant is contemporary fine dinning, serving innovative cuisine from the freshest seasonal produce supplied by local growers and providers. Established in 2003 by the Weiss family from Germany, Elephant Hill has become one of Hawkes Bay's very best wineries, renowned for super-premium bordeaux-style reds and Syrah with grapes mainly grown in the famous Gimblett Gravels region of Hawkes Bay. The Te Awanga site, is also home to Elephant Hill vineyards which are influenced by the cooling sea to produce notable Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and elegant, finely textured Chardonnay.
Te Mata 'Coleraine' "New Zealand's First Growth" Decanter Magazine (2016). Te Mata Estate has been at the forefront of New Zealand fine wine since John Buck purchased the estate in 1974. The Te Mata vineyard was originally established in 1896, making the estate New Zealand's oldest surviving winery. Te Mata produces a premium range of white and red wines but are best known for the bordeaux-style reds. These wines are considered by many critics to be aligned with the best Bordeaux blends in the world. A visit to Te Mata gives the chance to walk in the famous Coleraine vineyard, view the historic 19th century cellars still in use, and taste Te Mata's significant wines with the winemaker.
British wine critic, Jancis Robinson MW, has described Ata Rangi as one of New Zealand's three most revered Pinot Noir producers, alongside Felton Road and Dry River. High praise indeed for a small family-owned vineyard whose first vintage was in 1994. Ata Rangi, meaning 'dawn sky' or 'new beginning' is a fully organic vineyard on a stoney free-draining site in central Martinborough. Winemaker since 2003, Helen Masters, crafts incredibly beautiful Pinot Noir from 30 year old vines, which exhibit a near perfect balance of richness and finesse. Other highly notable Ata Rangi wines are Chardonnay and Riesling.
Lunch at Poppies
Elegant, contemporary, rural-glam, laidback-cool, all can been used to describe Poppies Martinborough. Winemaker Poppy Hammond and viticulturist husband Shayne, both previously with the famous Dry River winery, will present a divine seasonal vineyard platter, showcasing local produce paired with a selection of Poppy's aromatic white wines, Rosé, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Nestled between vineyards, wrought-iron entrance gates open to a surprise collection of sculpture including a replica 1930s racing car, stunning chandeliers and a six-metre-long velvet couch, all making a visit to Poppies long remembered.
If New Zealand does have a Godfather of Pinot Noir, then it's Larry McKenna of Escarpment. Larry moved to Martinborough in 1986, spending 14 vintages at Martinborough Vineyards, and as a result bringing the Martinborough region to the attention of the wine-world. Situated in the Te Muna Terraces sub-region, a visit to Escarpment will reveal why Te Muna means 'secret' or 'special place' in Maori. The single vineyard wines, Pahi, Te Rehua, Kiwa and the super-star Kupe show complexity and great structure, making Escarpment a benchmark Pinot Noir producer in the renown Martinborough region.
No.1 Family Estate
Only sparkling. What could be better than to begin a wine journey in Marlborough, than a glass of bubbles with Daniel & Adele Le Brun at No.1 Family Estate. Originally from Champagne, Daniel is a 12th generation winemaker who crafts some of New Zealand's finest Méthode Traditionelle. Marlborough's climate is perfect for producing look-alike Champagne, where Daniel Le Brun has been a yardstick for sparking wine since the late 1970s. No.1 Family Estate's 'Cuvee Remy', made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in honour of Daniel and Adele's son Remy, is a full-bodied, bold and complex triomphé.
Lunch at Cloudy Bay
For many wine-lovers the world over, Cloudy Bay is New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It was the unknown wine that 30 years ago exuded so much presence it demanded to be looked at. How fittingly, the wine that almost single-handedly put Marlborough and New Zealand on the international wine map now sits alongside the other luxury brands of the winery's owner Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. LVMH, since taking ownership in 2003. Here you will experience the Cloudy Bay wines over a handcrafted lunch showcasing the best produce of the Marlborough region at a once-in-a-life-time 'Gastronmic Experience' hosted in the architectural awarding winning 'The Treehouse' or 'Shack'.
If it wasn't enough to help create the global success of 'Cloudy Bay', Ivan Sutherland and James Healy have gone on to craft another worshiped New Zealand wine brand, Dog Point. In 2004, Sutherland, ex Cloudy Bay viticulturist, and ex winemaker Heally established their own vineyard in the Dog Point area, at the confluence of Marlborough's Brancott and Omaka Valleys. Here they produce some of Marlborough's most sophisticated Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Dog Point's barrel-aged, whole bunch pressed Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc has almost cult status amongst fans.
Nestled under the Wither Hills in Marlborough’s Southern valley, lies a remarkable piece of land with a remarkable history. On a historical vineyard site, where in 1873 Marlborough’s first vineyard and winery was founded, a contemporary family, Graeme and Linda Cowley, with sons Ben and Luc, who are responsible for viticulture and winemaking respectively, make showcase Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Explore the vineyards and see the Greywacke rock and Loess clay soils, which allow Auntsfield's artisan wines to express great texture, richness and minerality.
Peregrine's stunning wing shaped winery is as spectacular as its Gibbston Valley location. The architectural award winning design reflects the wing of the Karearea, the native New Zealand falcon who soar above the valley's vineyards. Recognised for high-flying award-winning Pinot Noir sourced from three Central Otago sub-regions, Peregrine also offers a superb collection of cool-climate wines including Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Rosé, Méthode Traditionelle and mouth-watering Riesling.
Lunch at Amisfield Winery
A lunch you will remember. Situated below the glacially sculptured Pisa Range and over-looking Lake Hayes, Amisfield's world-class winery bistro offers a seasonal á la carte menu, or their renowned 'Trust the Chef' shared dining menu. There is no better place than in their stunning schist, and copper roofed building, beautifully reflecting its dramatic location, to taste Amisfield's wines of elegance and harmony. Begin with a zesty 100% Pinot Noir Methodé Traditionalle or pure Dry Riesling before savouring Amisfield's signature Pinot Noir wines.
Valli di Como
There is no more respected winemaker in Central than Valli's Grant Taylor, a living legend with over 40 vintages, including 24 in Central Otago and responsible for some of the region's greatest ever Pinot Noirs. Valli, named after Grant's great-great grandfather Giuseppe Valli, an Italian winemaker who emigrated to New Zealand in 1870, produces complex, yet beautifully balanced Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. It will be a treat to taste these wines with Grant or the talented Valli winemaker Jen Parr, a Stanford graduate originally from Oregon, whose personality is every bit as delightful as the wines.
Critically acclaimed worldwide, Felton Road, is one of New Zealand's best. UK's Daily Mail wine writer, Matthew Jukes, said, “I can confirm that this is the single most impressive estate in New Zealand". Each and every wine is fantastic.” Little wonder it's said a visit to Bannockburn's Felton Road is more akin to a pilgrimage. Certified biodynamic, their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are compared with 1er Cru Burgundy and their Riesling with QmP German Riesling. Blair Walter is the wunderkind winemaker who will guide you through the world-class line-up from the winery over-looking the vineyard and the Kawarau River.
Lunch at Mt Difficulty
Mt Difficulty in the famed Bannockburn sub-region is a tour-de-force for wines of outstanding quality, with vineyard and restaurant views to match. The hard to find, top level single vineyard Pinot Noir wines were described by Decanter magazine as "unmissable and life-enhancing". You'll get the rare chance to taste these wines with long-standing winemaker Matt Dicey before experiencing an equally unmissable lunch, of imaginative cuisine showcasing the region's freshest produce, at their vineyard restaurant.
Two Paddocks Winery
Whereas Two Paddocks wine may be unfamiliar to many, chances are its owner, the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor, writer and film director Sam Neill, won't be. From tiny beginnings in 1993, Two Paddocks produces only Pinot Noir, from four vineyards in three of Central's main sub-regions. This diversity of fruit gives veteran Central Otago winemaker Dean Shaw plenty of scope to produce a range of expressive wines with refined structure and finesse. Much like its raconteur proprietor, Two Paddocks can now be counted as one of Central Otago's leading acts. Note: An audience with Sam Neill cannot be guaranteed, as this is subject to availability