I got into Auckland, New Zealand about 11 yesterday, then caught a little puddle jumper and flew to Blenheim on the Northern tip of South Island. Blenheim is the gateway to Marlborough, the largest and most famous wine region in New Zealand. There are well over a hundred wineries aroud here and I plan on visiting every single one.
Okay, I’m joking. Certainly I won’t get to more than 40 or 50.
By the time I got to Vintners Retreat, an interesting resort out in the middle of a vineyard, I had just enough time to shower, change, and make my way through the grape vines to the resort’s restaurant, Retreat, for dinner.
The restaurant is only open for guests at the resort, which seems a little odd to me, and, since it was Sunday, there were only a few other diners. Being in the heart of the Marlborough wine country, the chef likes to use local ingredients that compliment the area wines, and I’m all in favor of that. So I just went with her “Taste of Marlborough” menu which included a salad of baby arugula (which they call rocket down here) with asparagus and, of course, roasted rack of New Zealand lamb.
I love lamb. In fact, I’m thinking maybe I’ll have lamb every night for dinner for as long as I’m here. Or until I get sick of it. Which I can’t imagine happening. Then again, we’re right up against Cloudy Bay and the Marlborough Sounds, known for their lovely rock oysters and greenshell mussels. And you know how I love shellfish. So we’ll see. But for last night, it was a perfectly cooked medium rare lamb with a fragrant, mouth-filling Clayridge Excalibur Pinot Noir. An excellent start to the trip.
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