Tui and I are waiting at Blenheim airport for our flight back to Auckland.
On Sunday we moved to the Jasmine Court Motel. It is very close to the Harbor View but half a block further from the harbour. In fact we couldn’t see the harbour at all all from our room on the first floor (second floor in the US). The Harbour View has a fantastic view of the Harbour, especially from our room which was on the highest floor. Consequently we were sort of disappointed that we decided to move from one place to the other. We liked the staff at the Jasmine Court though. The manager was very nice. The owners of the Harbour View were fine too but not as personable. I believe that they are very hard working though and maintain their establishment extremely well. The same can also be said of the Jasmine Court. So the biggest difference is the spectacular view from our room at the Harbour View.
Yesterday we took a wine tour in the afternoon. The Sound Tour office was just a couple of buildings up from the Jasmine Court Motel where we were staying. We left at 1:30 and our driver/tour guide’s name was Frank. We were in a van with seven other passengers. It proved to be quite a congenial group despite my early reservations about one of the passengers who seemed to be a bit loud. He turned out to be OK though.
It was a 30 minute drive from Picton to Blenheim where most of the vineyards begin. Blenheim itself is a town of about 30,000 although it felt a lot smaller, without anything outstanding to see on our drive-by.
Our first stop was the Seresin Winery, the furthest of the four from Blenheim that we would visit. Peter and Gee had visited there in the past and recommended it. The owner is Michael Seresin who works in the film industry and worked on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Seresin is a small winery. Their reception area is small too so they only take small tour groups putting us in the small group of nine that we were in. I’m not a wine connoisseur so I don’t consider myself a good judge of wines, but everyone has their own tastes and I was disappointed with the Seresin wines. New Zealand seems to be mainly a white wine country, at least in the Marlborough wine region. The tour guide, Frank, said 75% of Marlborough wines are Sauvignon Blanc. Their is also Reisling and Pinot Gris among others. I much prefer red wines in general. The Seresin wines seemed acidic and light bodied. The one exception was a late harvest desert wine that we tried. It was sweet but not too sweet, delcious!
The other vineyards we visited were Hunter’s Wines, Forrest Wines and Drylands Cellar Door. I’m not even sure what order we visited those others. It’s surprising how a gradual state of inebriation can sneak up on you pretty quickly even though you are only consuming an ounce or so at a time.
To save money on today’s transportation, we took the Intercity bus from Picton to Blenheim, then hired Marlborough Shuttle from the i-Site center in Blenheim to the airport. There was a later Intercity bus that drops off at the airport but that one would have been too close to the departure time of the flight to Auckland..
I think our plane just landed. It’s a 50 passenger turboprop plane operated by Air New Zealand.