It was an early afternoon in October when we arrived at the village of Martinborough in South Wairarapa. A place popular with wine lovers and one hour and a half travel away from Wellington.
The road headed through Lower Hut and Upper Hut, though twist and turns between the Kaitoke Regional Park and the Pakuratahi Forest.
Two wine tastings and a very late lunch were our plan. I always liked wine, now I am getting older and developing the skills to enjoy the flavours, understand what is good and what is bad and learning what I prefer. In many others areas of my life, too.
We arrived at the Palliser Cellar. A stylish building in white, with large courtyard. The green around was brighter than usual. People were sitting outside and enjoying their drinks and their meals on that spring day.
We tasted Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. I felt happy. The atmosphere was casual in this chic environment. We decided to buy a bottle of Rosé to take home with us.
On the village roads we saw families riding their bicycles, couples and groups of friends wandering around, visiting one cellar after another. The town is peaceful and it made me feel calm. We passed vineyards.
Schubert was our next stop. We stepped into the tasting room in a tiny wooden house. It was less snazzy than the first place. I reminded myself not to judge by the appearance.
We tried a similar selection. I liked it and was tempted to spend more money. My small suitcase came into my mind and I decided to leave with empty hands and tipsy.
The best place was still to come. The setting of Poppies could be in a movie scene. Colours of brown, white, grey and natural shades dominated the venue and the large windows were leading my gaze to the green colours of the vineyards outside.
We felt welcomed. Our table had the best spot in the room, next to the garden, with the right amount of light. We chose the wine before we ate. The owner entertained us with her stories. We could feel her passion.
The food came and it was delicious. A platter with cheese, salmon, pork belly, antipasti, dips and bread.
We ate, we drunk, we talked. Life was bliss.