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Paula & Neil's excellent New Zealand adventure


     I’ve been asking loyal blog readers to keep journals of their wine travels and report here when they return. So the rest of us can live vicariously through their eyes.

     Here’s a missive from Paula and Neil Linden, triggered when I wrote about New Zealand wines in my Thursday column (which is still posted at MiamiHerald.com/wine).

Dear Fred,
    We were in NZ last year at the end of April for 3 weeks and spent several days in the Marlborough region  (we stayed at Old St. Mary's Convent--now a B&B--in the honeymoon suite--formerly the nunnery--you figure that out!). 

     For my 60th birthday (says Neil), we had dinner in the only 5 star restaurant in NZ, at the Hans Herzog Vineyard.  We visited several of the vineyards you featured.  We were somewhat surprised you did not mention Cloudy Bay for their Sauvignon Blanc (admittedly we are somewhat partial as our daughter-in-law works for LVMH, which owns the brand).  We had a private tour of their vineyard which was delightful.  They are actively marketing a Pinot Noir as well.

     You list Mt. Difficulty pinot noir---this is a great wine and it lives up to its name because we can't find it anywhere!  Do you have a source?  Also, it was quite pricey there, over $100 in restaurants.  Wine shops in NZ complained they couldn't get enough product.

     Finally, we spent an incredible day on Waiheke Island, off Auckland, and had lunch at the Mudbrick Vineyard, pictured above.  Their 2006 Reserve Chardonnay was delicious.

     Thanks for bringing back very fond memories of three of the best weeks we've spent!

Paula & Neil

Dear Paula and Neil,

     Sounds like a great time. I haven’t been to New Zealand yet, but it’s on my list. And I’m definitely a fan of Cloudy Bay’s wines.

     A number of readers have said they can’t find Mt. Difficulty wines. I’m checking with the distributor, and I will let everybody know the answer. Or, if anybody knows, message me.

  Cheers, Fred


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Hi all,

I work for American Estates Wines which imports Mt Difficulty wines. In which state(s) do you purchase wine so I can assist you in procuring this great brand?

michael schneider

Returned from 2 week trip to NZ to visit the wines and stayed 2 days each in Hawks bay and Marlborough abd in Cental Ortaga. I visited Mt Difficulty and ate lunch in their fine restutant. The wines are very good but I have my favorites. Next to Kim Crawford is Clearview and the wine maker Tim Turvey makes very good wines esp the reserve chard and I fell in love with the Syrah block 14 2006 from Craggy Range in Hawks bay Gimblett Gravels area. Michael Schneider

Nathan Eastaugh

Hi All,
Please call me at 305-321-5600 if you are interested in purchasing Mt Difficulty wines in South Florida. Stock will be arriving this week.

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