Thursday, 14 January 2016

Mission Estate Winery

No wine or food trip to the Hawke's Bay region is complete without a visit to Mission Estate Winery in Taradale. After our wine tasting evening in October, we decided to take up Cellar Door Manager Trevor Mason's offer of a guided tour of the homestead and cellar if we visited. Trevor had already told us some of the history of the homestead and how it was constructed then moved to its current site. It was wonderful to be able to see it first hand and also look through the much more recently built cellar.

Mission Estate main entrance
The rain was just about to fall but this didn't put a dampener on our arrival at all. We meet Trevor in the tasting room and went straight downstairs to the cellar. There weren't too many cases being cellared when we visited but I really liked how the displays were set out.

Cellar display
This well is a tribute to the French missionaries who built the original homestead and established the vineyard in 1851. It also provides hydration for the wine being cellared.

Cellar well
From the other end of the cellar, you can walk out to the back courtyard of the homestead and look over the rows and rows of vines. It's no surprise that weddings are continuously held on the grounds as it's such a beautiful venue.

Mission Estate back courtyard
This is the view across the vines, moments before the rain came down. This part of the vineyard has no artificial irrigation system due to a river flowing to the right of this picture that keeps the vines permanently hydrated, even during drought-like seasons.

The former chapel has been deconsecrated and can no longer be used for weddings. It is now an elegant stand-up function room. Staff were busy setting it up for a large function when we arrived, so we moved back to the cellar door for a wine tasting.

Former chapel, now a function room
Wine tasting costs $5 and you can choose whichever wines you want to sample. You also get to take home an elegantly boxed Mission Estate-inscribed wine glass as a keepsake.

Wine highlights:
  • NV Mission Fête. There's a lot to be said for wine tasting in situ. This non vintage sparkling wine was a maybe during our earlier wine tasting but a definite yes at the Mission. We came away with a bottle of it for Christmas Day dinner, where we absolutely loved it.
  • 2014 Mission Estate Riesling. Once again, this aromatic riesling was a delight. We already had a couple of these bottles in our wine rack so didn't buy more but it's now a definite favourite.
  • 2015 Low Alcohol Pinot Gris. Who knew low alcohol wine could actually taste good? This light pinot gris is unexpectedly fruity, tangy and smooth.
  • 2015 Mission Estate Rose. A refreshing and fruity Malbec Merlot rose. This would make a great summer wine.
And then there is the award-winning Mission Estate Restaurant. Being a busy time of year (first weekend in December), the restaurant was fully booked for two of the nights we were in town. We returned for a fabulous Sunday dinner two days later, which I will eventually review on Zomato.

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