Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Back home...

...and feeling the strain of trying to turn a 4 month-old baby back from NZ time onto UK time. Little Hugo did very well on the long flights out and back, only seriously losing his rag a couple of times on each trip. I can't really recommend taking a baby on a 26-hour flight, but Hugo was far better behaved than we expected and drew admiring comments from both passengers and cabin crew for his almost-invisible presence. Mind you, the cost to his parents of keeping him quiet was almost total attention during the entire trip (especially from the Kiwi, bless her).

After the obligatory 10 days' stay with Hugo's grandparents in Tauranga (and we were touched that several other members of the whanau had travelled from remote parts of the country to meet their new relative) we headed up to the area north of Auckland, the first time either of us had visited this part of North Island. We worked our way through the wineries of Kumeu, Henderson and Matakana, slowly drove up the west coast through kauri forests and then spent a few days in the Bay of Islands. This part of NZ is arguably the most "historical", in that it saw the first European settlements and some of the heaviest fighting between Maori and pakeha. Unfortunately we didn't manage to vist any of the surviving pa in the area, but I will add a post on the things of interest that we did see in a day or two.

As always with any visit to New Zealand, the food and wine were excellent; a strict diet is now in force for the foreseeable future. We enjoyed drinking up some of the wine we had left maturing at the in-laws' during our previous trips and during the course of our vineyard visits we tasted NZ's only carmenere, it's most northerly-grown sauvignon blanc, it's only chambourcins and it's pinotages (I didn't even know NZ made pinotage). In total we visited 19 wineries and my tastings notebook tells me that I drank (as opposed to tasted, so I had at least one full glass of) 115 different wines during the holiday.

Unfortunately I have only one liver, so I'm going to be on the wagon for a wee while now. But for those who are interested in such things, wine highlights were as follows: Peregrine Riesling 2005; Nga Waka Pinot Noir 2006 (you have to be very careful how you pronounce "Nga Waka"); Te Mata "Coleraine" 2005; Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2008; Mills Reef "Elspeth" Chardonnay 2008; Trinity Hill Noble Viognier 2008 (thanks, Kerry!); Millton Opou Vineyard Chardonnay 2006; Morton Estate Brut 2000; Sacred Hill "Riflemans" Chardonnay 2006; Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004; Cloudy Bay Pinot Gris 2008; West Brook Gewurztraminer 2009; Marsden "Black Rocks" Chardonnay 2008; Marsden Pinotage 2006; Seresin Chardonnay 2007; Lochiel Estate Chardonnay 2008; Cable Bay Reserve Pinot Noir 2007; Villa Maria Ihumatao Vineyard Verdelho 2008. Emirates Airlines deserve a mention for selecting the rather yummy Eroica Riesling 2007 from Washington state.


RTB said...

Hi Giles

Nice to have you back.

Fancy a bottle on the election? Something red perhaps.........

I am now experimenting wioth drinking in copious quantities French country wines as I think your lot will win!


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Welcome back - I sense an emigration at some point in the future perhaps?? :o))

El Grego said...

Welcome back, and a 'Huzzah' for the Eroica Riesling 2007 !

Consul said...

Nice to have you back! Looks like a great trip.

The first efforts of painting ECW with the army painter are now up at my other blog.



Stokes Schwartz said...

Hello Giles,

Sounds like a fantastic trip and visit. Glad you enjoyed yourselves, and I'll keep my eyes open for some of that Riesling here in the US..

Best Regards,


Gallowglass said...

Nice to see you back, Giles - looks like a great trip. Well done, Hugo!

Andy McMaster said...

Welcome home Giles! Baby on 26 hour flight? We just took our 4 and nearly 2 year old on an epic 1 hour 30 flight from Newcastle to Newquay and that was bad enough! :)

Look forward to more French appearing.

May be dabbling in the AWI again soon with the new Peter Pig stuff.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back-with such a lovely looking countryside I am amazed you actually returned to the Septic Isle!

Docsmith said...

Giles - sounds like you enjoyed your annual(?) Kiwi pilgrimage and little Hugo did you proud - that is one hell of a long flight! It is a beautiful place and you must be kicking yourself to return in the middle of a ruddy election!

Should have stayed in EnZed mate!

But since your back perhaps we can look forward to more of your wonderful painting? ;-)