What better place to have the second of only two rest days on our epic ride than Queenstown. Our accommodation at ‘The Historic Stone Cottage' (great place, loads of old world charm with all the mod cons) was centrally located just above the township giving us a steep descent down Ballarat Street into town for breakfast at the civilised time of 10.00am. Afterwards we wandered down to the wharf to reconfirm our tickets for our trip on the TSS Earnslaw down the lake tomorrow... only 3 days of riding to the finish line and we don't want any organisational slip ups preventing is from getting to the finish line in Bluff on time. We resume our ride from Walter Peak Station and need to take the TSS Earnslaw to get there.
Just after 1pm we headed to Amisfield winery restaurant and cellar door for lunch, we had intended to go there (our favourite place to lunch in the region), however they emailed me before we began our ride and offered to host us for lunch as their guests. It was a warm, bright, sunny day so they had reserved us a table outside. We ordered a selection of dishes to share and a bottle of their Amisfield 2010 vintage Brut Cuvee. It was delicious, very Champagne like with excellent lees aging complexity having spent 5+ years ageing in bottle and that was beautifully balanced by good fruit, crisp acid and fresh mineral notes.
We ordered a second wine to be served with the main dishes of duck, pork belly and slow cooked Merino lamb – it was the latest release 2012 vintage of Amisfield Rocky Knoll Pinot Noir recently rated 98/100 Bob Campbell MW. First made from the 2003 vintage it is only made in select vintages (6 out of 12 vintages so far). The fruit is from a special site of older vines and undergoes patient hands on winemaking including many traditional Burgundian practices like foot treading of the grapes straight to barrel to give more refinement and length in the tannin structure. It proved to be well worth Bob's 98/100 rating and although youthful at 4-years (age for 10-15 years and potentially longer if well stored) it was incredibly approachable… it was so amazing we drank two bottles.
After lunch we snapped a couple of pictures with the 6 magnums of Amisfield Pinot Noir they generously donated for our Riding for Hospice fundraising wine auction with date TBC. We had no expectation that they would pay for the wine as well as lunch, but they did without hesitation. It remains our favourite place to lunch and we will long remember the beautiful gesture to bestow such hospitality on us in recognition of what we were doing for Hospice.