Friday, February 19, 2010

Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant on Waiheke Island, NZ

(Feb. 10, 2010) Next stop was Mudbrick Winery where we were greeted by 4 servers holding beautiful trays of pink rose (see photo). It was a lovely site, with the sun causing the pink wine to shimmer and dance in the glasses like hundreds of jewels on a tray. We were invited to take the glass of 2009 Mudbrick Rose and proceed to our private lunch (starting around 2pm) on the covered patio. The view of the vineyards, harbor, surrounding islands, with the Auckland skyline in the distance was breath-taking. Furthermore the windows opened to lavender and rosemary gardens, which reminded me of being in Provence.

The lunch was incredible – Rod had told us it was $120NZ per person with the 4 wines. After the rose, which was served with olives, warm bread, and rosemary dip, we had fresh oysters on the half-shell with their 2009 Mudbrick Riesling. It had a beautiful nose of white peach, good texture, and just a touch of sweetness (around 20gpl), with a nice acid. For my main course, I had the snapper which paired beautifully with the crisp bright 2008 Mudbrick Reserve Chardonnay. It had very little oak; crisp acidity and good concentration with a long finish. Mike had the lamb which was paired with the 2007 Mudbrick Cabernet/Merlot which was a medium-bodied wine with both red and black fruit and a spicy finish. The meal lasted for almost 3 hours, including fabulous desserts (I had the cream brulee with lemon), and awards for best papers. It was a perfect way to end the conference – in a celebratory mood on the enchanting island of Waiheke.

I would have like to visit more wineries – especially the very famous Man of War Winery that had won so many medals, but we were sleepy after such a long and lazy lunch. Therefore we caught the ferry back to Auckland and landed just as the rain descended, forcing us to stop and buy an umbrella in order to walk back to the hotel without getting drenched. Even though we had an invitation to join the Italians for a late dinner at an Italian restaurant in Auckland (which would have been fun), we declined and spent the evening in our room and the hot-tub relaxing. After 3 days of non-stop wine and gourmet meals we needed a break. Besides, our plane departed at 10am the next morning to Queenstown, so it was probably a wise choice.

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