We’ve stayed at plenty of holiday parks during our time in Australia and New Zealand on the #GoByCamper road trip so it was time to try something a little different when we entered the beautiful wine region of the Marlborough District in New Zealand’s South Island. Its an unmistakable sight, row upon row of grape vines as far as the eye can see. This area is definitely blessed with just the right weather to produce some of the world’s best wines and our next stop was an award winning vineyard called Forrest where we’d be staying the night.
Forrest is a relatively new vineyard in the Marlborough region and its not the biggest either but judging by the accolades they’ve received and numerous awards they’ve won in recent years they sure are one of the best. Founded by Doctors John and Brigid Forrest with a clear emphasis on quality rather than quantity, they’ve produced some fantastic award winning wines that we were lucky enough to try for ourselves.
We arrived around 2pm for our wine tasting experience. The full package included a tasting session, food hamper for our evening meal and permission to park our lovely Maui Motorhome for the evening right near their cellar door. In fact we could choose just the right spot for great views and a quiet nights sleep. As we were parked up for the duration we could relax, unwind and enjoy the wines without the need for a spittoon too! They’re well set up for families as our daughter played very happily with a generous collection of toys at the cellar door while we selected the wines from their collection.
Trying something new
I’ve never really been a fan of white wines, always opting for reds whenever I partake, but New Zealand is probably most famous for its Sauvignon Blanc so I felt compelled to try a few and see if I could be converted. We were given a list of the wines on offer and chose 6 to taste. I selected 3 white sand 3 red, a couple of safe options and a host of unusual ones. I like to be surprised and this seemed like the perfect place to do so!
I have to say they were all excellent and a couple in particular really stood out for me. The Forrest Gewurztraminer was a fantastic white that I’d never heard of before, in fact I had to ask how it was pronounced as many people do. It seems this grape gets less attention than it deserves merely down to its rather tongue twisting title. From the reds it was definitely the fruity Pinot Noir that surprised by myself and my wife the most. Gorgeous hints of cherry and raspberries that definitely left us wanting more. I’ve never tasted a Pinot Noir quite like that before and would highly recommend giving it a go.
The luxurious surroundings of the Forrest Cellar Door were perfect for a relaxed wine tasting session, no need to gulp and spit here as we weren’t driving either. We could slow things down, savour the flavours, inhale the intoxicating aromas and share some of the tangy Camembert cheese with our daughter who became an instant fan. I’ve visited cellar doors before but only ever or a brief encounter, a quick sample and purchase, so staying for the entire afternoon was quite a novelty. Wine tasting is definitely better when you have more time to enjoy it at your own pace.
A hearty hamper
After our tasting session a hamper was presented with succulent lamb ribs for us to cook in our Maui Campervan and utterly fantastic pies supplied by The Burleigh. I have to say that these pies were hands down the best I have ever tried in my life! Definitely check them out on Facebook and track down there amazing pies when you’re in New Zealand. Sublime! Our hamper also included a bottle of Forrest wine of our choice so naturally we opted for the delicious Pinot Noir. It was so nice enjoying a glass as we watched the sun set over the gorgeous vineyard, the sun lighting up the delicate leaves of the grape vines. We had the place to ourselves too and it was such a nice change from the distracting activities of other folk at holiday parks. For one night it was quiet, peaceful bliss. Great food and some truly exceptional wine to celebrate the end of our day and the end of our South Island experience.
A huge thank you to Forrest Wines cellar door for their hospitality and amazing wines. Its no wonder they’re award winning and I do hope to taste some more of their excellent produce again soon. The wine tasting and overnight stay was a welcome change from the normal campervan experience and a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon and evening too. You can find out lots more about Forrest Wines on their website and you can check out and book a winery experience with Maui Motorhomes on their website too.