Posts Tagged ‘new zealand’


Peregrine Winery

Wine is one of these strange things that a lot of young people drink and love but they don’t become passionate about it until they get older. Peregrine winery, however isn’t the sort of place that is stuck in the same old stereotypes of old people, old buildings and old traditions. It’s hard to expect anything of the sort as you drive down the driveway, the massive white roof of the winery catches your eye, sticking out in a strange harmony with the landscape.

It’s quite difficult to actually see what you are looking at until you get closer, the judges of some bigwig architecture prize described it as “an elegant blade of light” and that “the age-old process of making wine has been radically reinterpreted for our time”. Not really sure how a building reinterprets the wine making process, but each to their own. I think the beauty of the building is it’s multiple purposes – not only does it reduce the cooling costs of the winery, but it acts as a concert stage.

Concert stage you may ask? It turns out that Central Otago summer is perfect for producing wine as the number of awards Peregrine has won attests to. The summer is also perfect for sitting on the lawn, enjoying some good wine, taking in the scenery and listening to awesome bands, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Jose Gonzalez in recent times. Needless to say, the wine flows freely and the weather is great.

Peregrine Winery is a must stop on your way through the Gibbston Valley, preferably in summer when a band is playing but if it’s winter and the mountains are snow capped the wine will still taste great.

Ohau Lodge and the Glen Mary House Bar

As casual observer you might think that the Ohau Lodge is a quiet ski lodge in one of the most remote parts of New Zealand and that it would only cater to a family ski holiday. While no-one would blame you for thinking this you would be horribly incorrect. I will say that it does cater perfectly to Mum and Dad, not only is staying there cheap but it is easy, very easy. The cheap cost of a room (we paid $270 for 3 people) includes breakfast and a 3 course meal for dinner. The lodge itself is nestled in the startling landscape of the South Island’s Mackenzie country, where the bar, dining room and spa pools look out over the breathtaking view of Lake Ohau.

What does all of this have to do with an aching head you may ask? To which, the answer is the Glen Mary House bar. This place may well be the heart and soul of Ohau, it is a bar which you can only wish that every place you go to has. $4 basic spirits and cheap beers would normally be all I would have to say, but it doesn’t stop there. The deck is massive and get’s some great afternoon sun, the staff are extremely friendly and happy to have a chat and the chances that your fellow visitors are going to be like minded are very high.

My mention of the spas is definitely relevant to the hangover that I woke up with, when we checked in we asked the receptionist about the whereabouts of them to which she replied, “Oh they are just over there, and there aren’t any rules. You can drink in them and they don’t have a closing time.” Taking full advantage of that, my companions and I polished off a couple of boxes of beer and pretty much put ourselves on the ropes for the rest of the evening. A couple of gin and tonics, dinner and a couple of glasses of wine and we were well and truly ready for bed.

Dinner was close to the highlight of the stay, (except for the beef and gravy rolls on the skifield) we were served pumpkin and coconut soup, followed by roasted yams and pork belly with a blueberry pie for desert. I certainly didn’t walk away hungry and the preparation and quality of the food was top notch, especially when you compare it to other places within a 200km radius. While the dinner was sensational, the breakfast was somewhat of a let down, billed as a 2 course breakfast the cereal, fruit and coffee was good, not great (although how you have below average cereal beats me) and the hot part of the meal was small, served with no toast and tasted like it had been being warmed for a few hours.

Don’t let me put you off with my lack of enthusiasm for the breakfast though, everything else about my stay was amazing and I’m really keen to go back. Hopefully in the summer when all I’m interested in doing is getting boozed and having a lazy time and not letting something like snowboarding get in the way.

Steinlager Pure Review

Possibly the coolest advertising campaign ever, with Harvey Keitel telling everyone how cool New Zealand is, and finally claiming the he loves the beer. It’s pretty clear that the campaign and the beer have been a runaway success here, with 2 other brands of beer coming out with clones and everyone and their dog drinking the beer itself. It comes in a tall sleek green bottle that really stands out from the crowd of kiwi beers. The whole premise behind this beer is that it is made from all pure ingredients (and no preservatives) sourced from the untouched wilds of New Zealand.

It’s clearly cliched to call the taste of Steinlager Pure crisp and clean, but I’m all for cliche, so to describe the flavour, it is crisp and clean. I don’t really believe in the idea that some beer gives you a worse hangover than others (with equal alcohol content and this is one is a reasonable %5). I’m a huge believer that all hangovers were created equal and if you don’t wake up with an aching head then you haven’t drunk enough. Anyway, a few people I know think that because of it’s purity it is gentler on the head.

In any case, of all the good commercial beer in New Zealand (and there is a lot of good beer) I’m willing to say that Steinlager Pure is the best. 2 high quality beers that it is comparable to in drinkability are Speights Distinction Ale and Monteiths Radler. Distinction Ale is obviously a more robust drink while Radler is similarly crisp but has a taste that you can’t have for more than a few. Generally though, you could spend the whole night on the Pure.