If you’re a fan of natural wines, you will love Cambridge Road Winery in Martinborough.
While natural wines are fairly popular and available in Australia, I’ve struggled to find many in New Zealand. The ones I have found have been fairly mediocre. Boy was I in for a treat when I found this spot!
Another winery suggested we visited Cambridge Road winery after they couldn’t find us a table for a platter. Their words were, ‘the wine is crap but the cheese platter is excellent.’ So to be fair, I didn’t think we were in for much more than smashing some delicious cheese.
Although I’ve visited Martinborough many times before and searched for natural wines in New Zealand, this winery had never crossed my path. We found the long gravel drive, leading to some sheds, a lovely outdoor area under a huge gum tree and the cellar door. Reasonably unassuming and casual.
Inside I asked to taste a couple of wines to choose what I wanted.. and that’s when the fun started! After explaining their wines to me I did a tasting of almost all of them and settled on ‘Under Your Skin’ (aromatic skin contact Sav blend, creamy, white pepper spice) to go with my cheese platter. It is so scrumptious and perfect on a hot day!
The cheese platter arrived with a streaming, crusty French baguette. Excellent start. The cheese was delicious, the meats were delicious, the olives were delicious, and it was also reasonably priced.
I was in my happy place.
The winemaker was wandering through providing tastings and swinging around a bottle of rosè that he was shaking. Curiosity got the better of me and I asked him why he was shaking the bottle. Experimenting with oxygen in the wine he said. Would I like to try some? Absolutely I would. And here begins my love affair with Rose of Venus. A bottle I generally enjoy in the sunshine, and well shaken. He was lovely enough to write some notes for me on other wines I might like to try that matched my taste – what a legend.
Needless to say, I walked out with a fair amount of wine that day and have been back three times since! Each time my list gets larger as friends and family request bottles that they have tried with me. Cambridge Road doesn’t sell everything online, so definitely take the time out to visit if you’re in the region and enjoy natural wines.
As well as Under your Skin, and the Rose of Venus, I also LOVE their Rosso. I serve it slightly chilled, perfect during season changes and so fruity and fresh. And the Naturalist. Honestly, just go try all of them and do a tasting with a cheese platter.
PS. The vineyard is organic and biodynamic. Highly recommend!