Waiheke, an island paradise with stunning water views, boutique wineries and amazing dining experiences, is only a short ferry ride from Auckland City and waiting for you to explore.
Situated in the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island is partially protected from the cold and wet West and Southwest winds making it warmer and drier than nearby Auckland. With its diverse soils types and terrain, Waiheke is home to a wide range of varieties and wine styles and has something for everyone to enjoy.
Taking its name from a lockable wooden cabinet that holds decanters of precious wine, Tantalus Estate features a stunning modern restaurant, a gorgeous private dining room, the Alibi Brewer’s Lounge, and their winery, all surrounded by beautiful vineyards. Chef, Tino Passano’s delicious food and the lovely Tantalus wines are perfect for a Waiheke long lunch. Feeling fancy? Tantalus have a helicopter pad ready and waiting!
Tantalus Voilé Syrah 2015
Syrah with a small portion of Viognier, a practise used in some parts of the Northern Rhone in France, is added to accentuate the red fruit and floral characters in the wine. Hand harvested and fermented with both indigenous and inoculated yeasts in stainless steel tanks. The grapes are then basket pressed and the wine is aged for 12 months in French oak, then bottled unfined.
Deep, dark ruby with concentrated aromas of dark cherry, plum, dried roses, and black olive tapenade with a touch of olive leaf. I love the complexity of this wine, still holding onto its primary fruit characters but also showing signs of development with crunchy leaves, cigar box and tobacco notes. The long finish is predominantly juicy plum with oak spices and a splash of acidity brings it all together.
Antonio Crisci had a vision of creating a place where his Italian heritage would be combined with his love of New Zealand and as I’m seated on the terrace at Poderi Crisci, I feel completely immersed in that vision, and it’s stunning. Winemaker, Herb Freidl creates interesting and textural wines that compliment the Italian fare from the open kitchen and the friendly and knowledgeable staff make you feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. No trip to Waiheke is complete without a trip to this spectacular spot.
Poderi Crisci Arneis 2019
Poderi Crisci is the only grower of Arneis (pronounced Ahr-nase) on Waiheke Island, a white grape variety which originates from Piedmont in Italy. Coming from the superb 2019 vintage, the Arneis is harvested early in the season from low cropped vines. The fruit is handpicked, and foot stomped before being basket pressed, then fermented in stainless steel tank.
Pale lemon in colour with a bouquet of apple, crunchy nectarine, ripe citrus fruits, and intense florals. The palate is dry and full of mandarin, grapefruit and lemon pith with mouth watering acidity and an amazing steely mineral finish. It was perfect with the Te Matuku oysters.
One of the most respected and well known brands in the Waiheke region, Te Motu takes its name from the original Maori name for the island, Te Motu Arai Roa. The estates first vines were planted in 1989 by the Dunleavy family and the first vintage produced in 1993. With its outstanding microclimate, soil composition and North facing aspect, Te Motu is the perfect spot to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Boasting an award winning restaurant, The Shed, where you can dine and enjoy their award winning wines, you don’t want to miss visiting Te Motu.
Te Motu 2013
A predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon blend with Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Handpicked from low yielding vines, Te Motu’s flagship wine is left in bottle for three years before release to ensure it is ready to enjoy, but these wines have incredible ageing potential and can be cellared for many years. The 2013 vintage was long, warm and dry and this wine shows the concentration and power of that perfect season.
It’s a good sign when your first thought as you smell a wine is, OMG. The intensity of the aromas blew me away; blackberry, currant, Doris plum and toasted oak with a leafy green note adding to the complexity. The supple, rounded palate is full of dark fruit with touches of savoury crunchy leaves and oak spices with grainy integrated tannins.