If you’ve been reading Mountain Kidd the past few weeks, you’ll know that “Kiwi” is another term for “New Zealand”. If not, you’re probably thinking that kiwi wine sounds gross but interesting; I agree.
The wine I’m actually talking about is from a boutique vineyard by the name of Redoubt Hills. My fiance, Colby, is now a federally and state licensed importer and as such has become the official gatekeeper for Redoubt Hills into the United States. Rationalizing that this made New Zealand a business trip, we set aside a few days to visit our new business friends at Redoubt Hills.
Our travels in New Zealand began on the North Island in the Wellington area, but Redoubt Hills is located in the northern half of the south island next to the Motueka River. There are two ways to travel between the islands and as the costs are nearly identical, we choose to take the ferry over to the island and the plane back, which was dumb.
“Wine Spectator calls it “one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world”, says the Interislander ferry website, but I can’t say I agree. I can’t say I disagree either, because I couldn’t see anything. The sky was spitting sideways and the swells significant enough that our 150 meter ship lolled from side to side for the majority of our 3 hour trip. Luckily, New Zealanders are particularly fond of ginger beer, which has real ginger but not real beer and is the perfect remedy for motion sickness.
New Zealand is so beautiful and varied that it’s actually hard to quantify another beautiful place, so I’ll just say that the Nelson area delivered in spades. Lesley and Daniel, owners of Redoubt Hill, welcomed us into their home and gave us an up-close and personal look at the vineyards surrounding their home and even arranged for an extensive tour and interview with their winemaker. Their vineyard is incredibly steep, which mandates that all work, including harvesting grapes, is done by hand. It’s also on a very unique soil dubbed ‘separation point granite’. Terroir is a hot term in the world of wine, which loosely means ‘specificity of place’ and more specifically the flavor that the soil imparts to the wine. In the case of Redoubt Hill, the wine comes off with a distinct (and very nice) clean and minerally taste (these are my laymen wine terms, for official reviews, click here).
And Redoubt Hills isn’t the only vineyard in the region. We’re hard at work drinking samples from other vineyards to find the next great red that isn’t available to the U.S. It’s a tough job, but I’m glad we’re doing it. But even if you’re not into fermented grapes, the Motueka valley and its close proximity to the famed Abel Tasman National Park make it easy to see why the area is revered by Kiwis and expats alike.