The wandering Palate is visiting the Marlborough wine region soon, so I thought would share some research on accommodation in the area. Having not stayed at these places, I cannot personally vouch for them, but they do come recommended by local vignerons.
If you happen to know of any places that have some character or outstanding features, we would be happy to hear about it – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blenheim is a short 25 minute flight (hair raising in turbulent weather) from Wellington, although a lot of people take the Cook Strait Ferry, http://www.interislander.co.nz/ which takes about 3 hours and wonderfully scenic as you come through the Marlborough Sounds – or rather nauseous if you cop bad weather in the Straits. It is obviously popular with weekend travellers and gets very busy, but you will find it pretty quite on weekdays. Summers are gorgeous here, long, dry warm days and crisp evenings.
The Hotel d’Urville – I like the look of this place, a luxury boutique hotel in a wonderful art deco style building (1920s) with a splendid columned façade and high ceilings – actually the Old Public Trust Building, a Blenheim landmark. They have nine rooms and a fine dining restaurant with well-known Chef Marie Connolly focused on top local produce. I must say the menu reads well, particularly the Prime Beef Selection: Westland Eye Fillet Mignon, Canterbury Angus Pure Eye Fillet, Local Awatere Valley Black Angus Sirloin, ‘Firstlight’ NZ Bred Wagyu Ribeye.
I have booked myself in here so look forward to sharing the experience. http://www.durville.com/
Marlborough Vintners Hotel – This looks like fairly standard hotel stuff, with Executive Vineyard Suites that look contemporary. It is located close to Blenheim Airport in the heart of Marlborough Wine Region. 30 minutes from Picton/Wellington ferry and 1.5 hrs from Kaikoura or Nelson. It does have that convention centre/weddings look so I would not have high expectations of cosy, personalised service but perhaps suitable if you’re a large group or just looking for a place to lay the head. www.mvh.co.nz
There are a staggering number of wineries to visit in Marlborough – to which I will hardly do it justice on my upcoming two-day fleeting visit. I have however been to the region many times and built up a list of favourites (see below). This time around I have been invited by Villa Maria for a visit, who are celebrating there 50 years of winemaking, indeed a significant milestone in the spectrum of the New Zealand wine industry and I am a big fan of founder Sir George Fistonich.
I will also be going on a 4WD tour organised by a group of vineyards through the Awatere and Southern valleys taking the back country routes through the Awatere, Brancott, Omaka and Waihopai valleys to discover the special sites where elevation, aspect, slope and soil is shaping the new Marlborough and putting the regions pinot noirs on the map.
Make sure you visit the regional association website which has loads of information: www.wine-marlborough.co.nz
The Wandering Palate Marlborough Favourites:
Clos Marguerite – www.closmarguerite.co.nz
Churton – www.churtonwines.co.nz
Dog Point – www.dogpoint.co.nz
Foxes Island – www.foxes-island.co.nz
Framingham – www.framingham.co.nz
Fromm – www.frommwineries.com
Huia – www.huia.net.nz
Mahi – www.mahiwine.co.nz
Nautilus Estate – www.nautilusestate.com
Seresin – www.seresin.co.nz
Spy Valley – www.spyvalleywine.co.nz
Terravin – http://terravin.co.nz/
Villa Maria Estate – http://www.villamaria.co.nz/about-us/wineries-and-cellar-door/marlborough