We’re long time fans of a good vineyard lunch. It’s just everything I love all wrapped up into one irresistible package – out of the city, great views, amazing food and great wine – and Marsden Estate didn’t disappoint.
Form me vineyards are the ultimate indulgence so it made sense that on my birthday weekend it was top of my list to do. Bearing in mind too that evening we were staying in a solar powered cabin in a clearing in the woods with a long drop so it was also the yin to my yang.
I don’t know how many times I’ve written about how much I love a good entrance (not making one, but going in one). And the entrance to Marsden Estate had me excited from the moment I saw it. Vines stretched out in perfect lines, a peek of a pond and a big old estate covered in Ivy had me bursting to get inside and start exploring.
There’s always two parts to a vineyard experience – first there’s the place, next there’s the wine and food. I’m impatient so the wait for one of the other is often excruciating – particularly if I can do neither while waiting. Fortunately that wasn’t the case at Marsden Estate as I was able to slip out and explore while we waited for our food and wine.
The service was so great though that I had to do my exploring in 2 parts to fit between the courses (more on that later).
The grounds at Marsden Estate are incredible and I imagine that a visit each season would see them look totally different each time. The photographer in me immediately spotted the thoughtfully created spots to capture the perfect photo – this spot must be a hot spot for weddings in Summer!
One glass of spectacular chardonnay, a couple of prawns and some ceviche in and I go for my second wander.
There is the most adorable set of ducklings which gets me to musing (as I sometimes do one Chardonnay in) that the duck really is my spirit animal. We both appear calm on the surface – barking orders to our ducklings following along, have a borderline obsession with bread and and at times it can feel like you are constantly swimming in others shit!
Wandering done, countless photos taken (my ideal way to spend an afternoon) and we come back in for some more wine tasting.
Our wonderful waitress recommends the flight deck tasting (3 for $15) and James asks if we should do some cheese with it. Always a fan of a bit of cheese with my wine tastings I agree but then our waitress throws a spanner in the works and asks if we want cheese or antipasto. As much as I like a cheese platter, I LOVE an antipasto platter so I go for that one. James says he only wants the cheese so I say I will eat the other stuff. I’ll just let the picture do the talking for a moment….
Literally the most giant platter I think I’ve ever seen – reminiscent in fact of when my Grandma ordered a chocolate log from New World for Christmas Day that took up the whole table.
I tried, between fits of laughter of the hugeness of it all, but I was no match for the platter which came home in a doggy bag and became a very good midnight snack after the engagement party we were heading to in Kerikeri that night and indeed a hungover breakfast the next morning before I finally admitted defeat!
My picks – of course the Antipasto platter – but only the Antipasto platter. Take a few breaks to explore the amazing grounds and plan for a long lunch. Oh and the Chardonnay and the Pink bubbles are incredible!