New Zealand Day 8, Marlborough Country

Okay, shot down to Wellington from Hawkes Bay, and after a couple of misadventures in the airport (note to self: when renting one-ways, always rent from a big car rental firm. The sign off is easier.) got on a Beech 1900D.

What a hoot! Haven’t flown in one of these since commuting up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Real flying, where men are men, and the rest of us puke.

Picked up by Brian, Sacred Hill’s viticulturalist in Marlborough at the airport. Wandered through wine country, with various and sundry features pointed out by Brian.

This is one of those things you never get to do. If you visit vineyards in the summer or fall – or even spring – the viticulturalist is WAY too busy to talk to anybody. Mostly they’re nursing their ulcers, worrying about frost, mold, yield, pruning, everything except talking to itinerant winos.

Brian very graciously gave up a couple of days of his time, hauling me over hill and dale, showing me the sundry micro-climates (okay, I exagerate. My notebook total was eight but I might have missed a couple.) of Marlborough.

Along the way, he got me into wineries he detested – and what greater sacrifice might there be? – and wineries he loved almost as much as his own.

The differences amongst the sauvignon blanc, never mind the chard, riesling, and pinot noir, were fascinating.

I should be so lucky as to have somebody like he as my guide elsewhere.

And if you ever find yourself down in Blenheim, be sure to check out the Dodson Street Bistro. Loved their pale ale, and hand drawn taps. And the Renaissance has to be drunk to be believed.

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