There’s nothing like an exhilarating day on Mt Ruapehu in the summer holidays to stimulate the thirst buds. You can ride the Rangatira (first) and Waterfall (second) chairlifts to Knoll Ridge café and toboggans can be hired to sled on the snow for the younger (and possibly older) who dare.
This combined with a walk down the Rock Garden, a walk on the Whakapapanui track and a spot of bird watching – although trying to capture on camera New Zealand’s smallest bird, the swift moving titipounamu (rifleman), will have to wait for another day. I did see the rare whio (blue duck) that graces our $10 bill, and an extra bonus was the sighting of the one ‘white’ blue – exciting to see.
Returning to Ohakune the wine was chilled and waiting. Rosé of course. Tonight the Matawhero Single Vineyard Pinot Rosé 2016 from Gisborne. Yes, Gisborne. Granted it is not the first or even fifth region that comes to mind in New Zealand when you think of where pinot noir is grown, but after tasting this rosé it does have a sense of purpose in this place.
The wine has the pink hue of uncooked salmon. The bouquet is delicate but the taste is totally flavoursome with macerated strawberries and a zing of tangelo. It’s heading to off dry with a light viscosity to the texture and chilled to the bones it hits the spot perfectly, filling the palate to linger with a long full flavoursome finish. Perhaps a little too strong as a foodless quaffer, this is a have-with-nibbles Rosé – and it was fantastic with softened Castello Blue on black sesame rice crackers.
Matawhero’s pinot noir rosé has 13% alcohol and costs $23. It is made from the Dijon 777 clone grown on the Tietjen Vineyard in the Golden Slope sub region in the northeast. It won a gold medal and a Trophy at the 2016 New Zealand Aromatics Wine Competition. Go to www.matawhero.co.nz to find out more.