Brick Bay - Matakana, Auckland, New Zealand
Culture, Art and Wine all in one sweet little spot.
When you descend the hill from the main road and down to the tiny Brick Barn Vineyard you are greeted by a idyllic little valley.
A small lake, vines, beehives, olives and a forest sculpture trail, all within eyesight of the coast.
Brick bay really presents itself well, with the main 'Glass House' structure designed by the award-winning Auckland architect, Noel Lane.
The cellar door itself is just a small part of the building but it makes for a lovely time as the tasting is not just of Brick Bay's small selection of wines but also of their olive oil and honey both of which are from right there as well.
Their wooden box pack for sale in the cellar door labelled 'a sense of place' encapsulates this special place very well.
It is very much like this tiny area between two hills is it's own little world, separate from the tourist filled beaches and far away from busy Auckland city just an hour to the south.
Now before I speak on the wines, I can first tell you that both the honey and the olive oil produced here is absolutely first-class.
Included with the wines is a tasting of their honey and olive oil with some nice soft bread.
As well as being smooth and delicious this is also perfect for having in between the wines to clear the palate.
Now for the wines.
Brick Bay is just a small vineyard (only 5 hectares) and their winemaking is handled externally by West Brook Winery in Waimauku (roughly 50km to the south).
There are four wines to taste:
Martello Rock (61% Merlot 18% Cabernet Sauvignon 14% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec)
Pharos (the premium blend: Malbec 45% Petit Verdot 36% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Merlot 9%)
Each wine was very unique and the compositions of the red blends certainly perked my interest.
The stand out of the four for me was the Pharos (named for the lighthouse that is Brick Bay's symbol).
Malbec and Petit Verdot work together to create a aroma of berries and chocolate, with Mocha and blueberries starting the palate before finishing with the spice and plum that the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot bring to this very special wine.