Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Napier to Hicks Bay

We took the Pacific Coast Highway from Napier after two days pottering around there; it's a pretty town, devastated by a huge earthquake in 1931 and completely rebuilt in Art Deco style, some beautiful buildings, pedestrianised streets and friendly people. It's right beside the beach and the main road into the town is an avenue of Norfolk Island pines, simply stunning.

We took the opportunity to do some wine-tasting here and went off with Vince's World of Wine tours to four wineries; Askerne, Salvare, Hatton Estates and Moana Park, where we got to taste about 40 wines in four hours!! Lots of spitting was in order or we'd not have made it past the first one, where there were twelve wines to taste. We tried Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, Viogniers, Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, some wines called 'stickies' which are dessert wines, some of which were like ports. None of these wines are we likely to find in UK unless we go to Gordon Ramsey's restaurants, so it was fun to try ones that we'll never see again. The Moana Park Viognier is to die for, crisp and delicious; I'll be looking out for other versions of that one.

What on earth are the strange string tents for, we wondered; ah kiwi fruit, we eventually realised. Surrounded by tall poplars or man-made windbreaks, there were these tall poles with string attached to them, looking a bit like the umbrellas we used to have in kids' playgrounds; they train the kiwi plants tendrils around them so the kiwi fruit hang down and are easier to harvest. There must be millions of plants in the East Cape.

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