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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rock Ferry Wines - Marlborough

One of the best things about my annual catch-up with my 89 year-old Blenheim step-dad is the chance to also explore the Marlborough wine region.

This year, the whole family flew down and we met for lunch at Rock Ferry cellar door and café.  It is small, friendly and cosy, with a relaxed feel, and a good range of organic local produce on the menu also largely gluten-free (which is great for my gluten-intolerant daughter). Reasonably priced, hearty servings at about $27.  I had the organic steak open sandwich with hand cut fries, my wife had the Aoraki salmon with udon noodles and miso/lime dressing, My daughter opted for Portobello mushrooms with dukkha and pumpkin, topped with blue cheese and hazel nuts. All the meals were generous, tasty and perfectly cooked. Highly recommended.

A small family winery, Rock Ferry is operated by Tom Hutchison and his wife and co-owner Fiona Harvey. Tom is a former Wellingtonian who followed his love of wine to explore Europe’s wine regions and ended up studying viticulture at famous wine campus UCLA Davis in the US. On his return he started his own vineyards in Marlborough, and in 2005 they launched the Rock Ferry label. They own three vineyards – two in Marlborough and one in Bendigo, Central Otago. All vineyards are certified organic. They have a diverse range of grape varieties including sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, chardonnay, riesling, pinot blanc, grüner veltliner, viognier, pinot noir, tempranillo, and nebbiolo.
Before lunch, we did a tasting through their range. I ordered a mixed case of three wines to be shipped home from their top tier single vineyard range:

Rock Ferry Central Otago Trig Hill Vineyard Pinot Gris  2013 $33.00
Dry and flinty style with just a tiny hint of sweetness (7g per litre), aged in a mixture of stainless steel tanks and large oak ‘puncheon’ barrels. Gentle aromas of citrus blossom, bee’s wax, tropical fruits and poached pear. With the oak influence, the style is very similar to Chablis. Flavours of Packham pear, crisp apple juice, quince and a musky lengthy palate with a dash of clover honey. Would be fab with seafood.

Rock Ferry Central Otago Trig Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 $65.00Fermented with wild yeasts in French oak barrels. Smoky spicy aromas and red berry fruit, with a hint of earthy truffle. A good example of a great Central pinot, it opens up in the mouth with medium tannins, liquorice, black cherry, poached plum, vegemite, and a long finish of leathery gaminess. Would go well with duck, lamb or mushroom dishes.
Rock Ferry Central Otago Trig Hill Vineyard Tempranillo 2013 $40.00
Tempranillo is the main ingredient in Spanish Rioja wines. This is a lovely full-bodied red. Nice brick red in the glass with subtle aromas of baked Black Doris plum, cherry and a hint of savoury spices.  In the mouth, it’s a generous and seamlessly ripe soft palate of dark berry fruits, poached tamarillo and subtle spice. Great with Boeuf Bourguinon or a rich tomato based Italian dish.

Availability – through their website.
Cellar Door & Café
80 Hammerichs Road
Open 7 days 11.30 am–3.00 pm.

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