The Cuisine team release this special edition magazine every two years, just in time for the holiday season, and it’s a very useful item for any wine lover or foodie who is travelling around the country.
The magazine divides New Zealand into 15 different winegrowing regions and profiles all the winery cellar doors open to the public in each region, describing their settings and advising the unique features as well as recommending wines to try. There are address and contact details as well as the opening hours. Over 250 cellar doors are described this way; the regions being Northland, Matakana, Greater Auckland, Waiheke, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Central North Island, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa in the North Island, and Marlborough, Nelson, Waipara Valley, Canterbury, Central Otago and Waitaki Valley in the South Island.
For each region, there is a handy map, a general overview, and under the title ‘Tasting the Region’, profiles of restaurants, cafes and bars, foodstores and food producers, and a list of farmers markets open. The magazine also lists wineries which are not open to the public, but will accept visitors by appointment. It’s illustrated with many photographs which capture the character of the region, vineyards, eating establishments and people. There is information on how to get there and get about with diary dates of significant wine and culinary events, under the ‘Exploring the Region’ banner, as well as suggested itineraries for visitors.
This magazine has a wealth of information for those who wish to enjoy what each winegrowing region has to offer. Editor Sarah Nicholson has some very experienced contributing food and wine writers, and no doubt their expertise and standards contribute to the usefulness of the publication. What the magazine is not is a comprehensive list or guide to New Zealand’s wineries. It’s doesn’t purport to be that. Nor does it rate each of the cellar doors, the wines or dining establishments. However it doesn’t take much to read between the lines to reaffirm your preferences and help decide where you want to spend your time, though ostensibly each place is given a positive description and review. Maybe future editions could look at making judgements and assessments?
This year’s publication is a little slimmer than the previous 2013 edition, about 75 pages less, as the ‘Places to Stay’ sections for each region have been removed. It makes it a more focussed magazine, conducive to the wine and food aspects, which I suspect is what the readers really want to know.
I can recommend Cuisine Wine Country 2015, and it’s possibly a good idea to buy a couple of copies, one for the car and one for home. At $19.90, it is very affordable, about the same price as a premium Sauvignon Blanc. It will make a relatively inexpensive gift for Christmas for any wine and food interested person.
Cuisine Wine Country 2015, Ed. Sarah Nicholson
Fairfax Magazines, Auckland, 2014, ISSN11759925