Monday, October 09, 2006

Travels With Bacchus

When planning your vacation do you choose the location based solely upon the cuisine of said locale?

Do you plan your daily meals with an attention to detail that only an athirst epicurean can muster?

Do you have a link to Woochi on your favorites menu?

Does the wine portion of your weekly grocery bill provoke the checker at your local supermarket to recitation of passages from The Big Book when at the register?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, well, then New Zealand and more specifically, Waiheke (affectionately referred to as the Island of Wine), is the vacation destination for you.



Upon arrival at our island retreat we immediately scoped out the vineyard geography and jumped right into the sauce with a lovely degustation menu and wine pairing supper par excellence at Mudbrick Vineyard Restaurant. Can you say 10 courses of gastronomic bliss combined with wines good enough to sate the Bacchanalia??? Nothing like a three hour meal to kick start a vacation in paradise I tell ya. Needless to say, a return taxi to our home away from home was unnecessary for at meal's end our sommelier needed only to turn each of us on our respective sides, give our newly acquired spherical forms a gentle nudge, stimulating our party of four into a wobbly roll straight out the vineyard gate and back to our point of origin. Um, yeah.

Day two began early for there was much more wine to be had and therefore stomachs needed to be lined before the next round of imbibing could commence. Carbohydrates consumed signaled the arrival of our designated driver ("DD") at 10:00 am to whisk us off to our first watering hole, Peninsula Estate Vineyard.



Situated atop a picturesque bluff overlooking Hauraki Gulf, this little vintner bestowed upon us quite a surprise...a rose that didn't suck! In fact, the Oneroa Bay 2005 Rose was outstanding and I have been kicking myself since leaving the Peninsula grounds for not having purchased a case of their deep pink ambrosia. Taps be gone!

Anyway, four substantial glasses of vino under our belts meant that we needed to board the shuttle for transport to our next island wine-o stop, Kennedy Point Vineyard.



There we toured the vineyard, olive groves and danced about the barrels of bliss in the back.







We also sampled a wonderful sauvignon blanc and cabernet franc (at least that's what my wine sodden cerebrum seems to conjure of our time there) at which point the mistress of the cellar door began to pour some of their award-winning olive oil into little tasting wells. I don't know, maybe it was the six glasses of wine each of us had previously consumed or maybe it was the outstanding flavor of the oil, but we didn't leave Kennedy Point Vineyard until we'd cumulatively purchased seven bottles of olive oil. Yes, seven. Moving right along.

Next our designated driver spirited us off via winding bush flanked trespass to Passage Rock Vineyard.



While there we sampled their lovely and light '06 Voignier, scintillating '04 Sisters and topped off the duo with a sampling of their '05 Syrah, reveling in all of it's peppery goodness. Always remember this...nine fully loaded glasses of wine portends flagrant credit card usage. Lucky for the folks at Passage Rock. Mom and I left with a case of their nectars.

Three vineyards visited meant sustenance in the form of food was in order. So, our medium-like DD, divining our desire to stuff our faces or risk having to drag us all home by our bootstraps, dropped us at yet another vineyard, Stonyridge, for a welcome respite from the distillery expedition to obtain some much needed grub.



I took pictures of the delightful dishes for fear that I would forget the mouthwatering muckamuck set before us amidst our wine-induced haze. Methinks I inhaled the seared tuna and olives...



Needless to say, the travelers four didn't move about much upon our return to our cliff top beach bungalow. Nope, pretty much we were all at one with the sofa. Not a painful place to be when you're nursing hangovers amidst this panorama...



Stay tuned! Definitely more Middle Earth to come...there be Hobbits in the future.

Wine tour provided by Ananda Tours, Waiheke - Auckland, New Zealand.

By the way peeps, the picture in the previous post was photoshopped at a booth providing said silly tourist pics at the Sky Tower in Auckland. We weren't really hanging off the side of the spindle-like monument!

17 comments:

Brandy said...

Beautiful Pictures. Cant wait to hear more about your trip.

Vik said...

Mmmm, the Sunset picture is my favourite! What a wonderful trip, Regina!!!

Jessica said...

Woo-hoo! You know how to live, woman! How's the liver? ;-)

Can't wait to see more pics!

SheCrochets said...

Wow. That's a lot of wine! Did you bring me a case or two?

Can't wait to hear more about the trip!

ladylinoleum said...

All - We had a fabulous time. Truly, NZ is magical.

Samantha said...

Yum yummy yum! Lovely photos as well... Welcome home!

Imaginary Maggie said...

It's all your fault: Although I purchased the very extended wide screen version boxed set of TLOTR years ago I still had only seen FOTR. (I had asked EVERYONE for this set for Christmas and I still had to go out and buy it myself)Thanks to your teasing I pulled those puppies out last Saturday and watched the entire thing over the weekend. Over 14 hours, and without a minute spend on the extras.

Loved it! And thanks for the inspiration.

Jenn (knittyJenn) said...

oh my gosh. one word...so envious! ok, that was technically two words. but you know.

what a beautiful vacation!

oh and thanks for the woochi link...that's awesome!

.♥.

christianne said...

What a great trip! I'm soooo jealous of you. so jealous! And I can't tell you how intrigued I am by this "rose that didn't suck." I spent a week in the French Riviera this summer downing that miserable stuff in search of something tolerable, with no luck at all!

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

I think I got a contact high. I'm inebriated just from reading your highlights. (or maybe it's just the antihistimine.) Beautiful, wonderful, fantastic. I'm so glad you had a great time.

Tara said...

It looks gorgeous. I'm not a wine drinker, but I love vinyards.

briana said...

One of those bottles of olive oil was for me!!! I am the luckiest blogger in the western hemisphere!

Can't wait for your wine to arrive - which probably also makes me the most self-entitled blogger in the western hemisphere...

JANNIKINZ said...

What a way to enjoy New Zealand. Just GRAND. Did you go to Rotorua? Now that is a place to visit.

Jerry & Maxy said...

I must visit NZ!!! I look forward to more tales of your trip.

And I'm glad to hear that pic was photoshopped - I looked at it for a long time, worrying.

Renee said...

Your vacation sounds amazing! All that wine and such a breathtaking place to drink it! (Although I could probably drink wine just about anywhere!)

stuffed said...

Love Bacchus! God, Jim, whatever--it's all good. Beautiful pix.

Anonymous said...

Wow. So many vineyard photos and only one food photo. That can only mean it was a VERY fun trip :) Of course, NZ looks fabu - I've never been, but now I could be convinced. If not just for the wine! A really good rose? Pee-shaw! I have to see it for myself.