As some of you may know, I love to invite guest bloggers to share their wine experiences and knowledge on the blog. This week we have a very special guest poster – my Dad!! Naturally he is a big wino (I wonder where I got it from!) and he was recently invited along to Omata Estate in Russell, which is in the far north of New Zealand. Check out what he got up to…
A few weeks ago we received an invite to visit Omata Estate in Russell. The invite was for a Sunday evening to try out the new pizza oven at the estate. We travelled up to Russell, crossing on the Opua ferry for the cost of $13, which saved us about an hour of travelling via road. When we arrived at the estate, we drove down a long driveway into the vineyard which had absolutely stunning views over the Bay of Islands with the winery looking directly to Paihia.
The vineyard is set on 70 acres of coastal rolling hills surrounded by patches of native bush and views to die for. It was established around 20 years ago and now is home to many well established vines albeit some are up for replacement. We met with our host and sampled several of the wines on offer, but more about that later. We were invited down the hill to the main house to met and chat with the owners, the house is set in its own little bay – such a magical setting with privacy galore – I could live here forever!
As the guests arrived we wandered back up the hill to the winery where the pizza oven was ready to go. Corks popped and the evening began. As the pizzas were being constructed we were treated to a few delicacies at the hand of well-known chef Al Brown who was a friend of one of the guests, raw fish salad, marinated snapper wings and fish belini’s were a great way to whet the appetite.
The pizzas rolled out one after another thanks to the overview of an Italian friend of the owners, my particular favourite was the manuka smoked pizza, I think this was a one-off unlikely to be part of the future menu – which is a darn shame. It was definitely a great way to spend a Sunday evening and we’re very thankful for the invitation.
Well now to the wines, unfortunately I often rely on memory which is not always that reliable forcing me into purchasing a few wines enabling the opportunity to re-taste at a later date. Which I have now done except for the award-winning Syrah which was absolutely delightful and I have put that in the back of the cellar for another day. I think it will grow to something quite marvellous – it’d definitely worth keeping for a year or three.
Omata Estate Rose
This was the colour of pink amber. Refreshing both on the nose and mouth, with scents of fresh stone fruits and rose petals. Sweet up front on the palate with apricot, apple and peach flavours. It was interesting because as the sweetness waned the desire to have another glass was not missed. My purchased bottle was opened at 9.30 am on a Sunday morning while I dished up bacon, eggs and hash browns off the BBQ for brunch, very pleasant and refreshing although I must say that is not an every Sunday treat. Well worth the $25.
Omata Estate Pinot Gris
Colour of white lemons, with light citrus aromas. It’s a well-rounded wine with a zing at the end of grapefruit and hints of wild honeycomb direct from the hive, I’m not a big Pinto Gris drinker but this one was interesting to say the least and well worth the purchase.
Omata Estate Reserve Chardonnay
Colour of lime yellow, with a rather big nose full of smokey oak and citrus peels. The taste however was rather astonishing and not what one would have thought by the nose, it was buttery, silky and had great fruit depth which I likened to preserved nectarines and over ripe apricots. I found this wine very pleasant and easy to drink. My immediate thoughts were the need for a chicken and avocado brown bread sandwich or a nice seafood bouillabaisse.
Omata Estate 2013 Merlot
I usually make a point of skipping Merlot tastings, as I’ve just gone away from them over the last 8 to 10 years. However as the vineyard is replacing their Merlot I wanted to get one of the last bottles to ensure I didn’t miss out, this was boysenberry, dark plum in colour, which I found repeated on the nose with the taste being of dried forest berries with dashes of orange juice and leather overtones.