Located in the heart of Marlborough wine country Hans Herzog Wines has a focus on outstanding quality and they deliver everything with European style and flair that reflects the Swiss heritage of Hans & Therese Herzog.
From the beautiful hand-crafted wines that are aged to perfection before being released to the public at their tasting room or the two restaurants that form part of the winery facilities to the exceptional service and beautiful food this winery’s quality is incomparable.
The formal restaurant is open from mid-October until mid-May each year while the cellar door Bistro is open all year, winter hours are reduced to Wednesday to Sunday and while this review is about the Bistro the gourmet restaurant is worth noting as it has become a shining star in the Marlborough restaurant scene and was the first restaurant to be awarded 5 stars by Cuisine magazine.
Just because the Bistro is less formal than the iconic restaurant don’t think quality and style are compromised, they aren’t. Set beside the tasting room the Bistro seating extends into the manicured gardens where you can sit on the verandas that wrap around the buildings or under the tree canopy designed to provide relief from the intense Marlborough summer sunshine while the sheltered environment means sitting outside on a sunny Marlborough winter’s day for lunch is a great way to while away a couple of hours and a treat we find difficult to resist.
The quality of the food is very high, using the very best ingredients they can source to create what appears to be simple dishes, however we all know appearances can be deceiving. One of our favourite dishes is the Chateaubriand for two, you could call it steak and vegetables but the chefs at Herzog’s take this dish to a gourmet standard. Wakanui grain fed beef properly aged for a minimum 60 days and cooked to a perfect medium rare, bordering on the rare side, with hand-cut fries, seasonal vegetables and Bearnaise sauce has become almost as famous as the winery.
Winter menu starters include Swede Soup with walnut croutons, a quiche of bacon, onion and cheese served with a rocket salad, Lightly Seared Tuna with soy marinated seaweed rice noodle salad and a truffled bouillabaisse foam, Seafood Risotto or a Winemakers Platter for two; the choices are comprehensive and it is always difficult to decide. We started with some fresh-baked sourdough bread and a glass of Herzog 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Sur Lie ($14.50) while we pondered our starter choices.
The main was always going to be the Chateaubriand with a glass of Herzog 2010 Montepulciano ($16.50) so the lighter Seared Tuna was the choice for both of us. Stunning presentation, perfectly cooked tuna, salty seaweed noodles and the perfect amount of delicately truffled foam maintained the culinary standard we have come to rely on over the years.
The servings are very generous so no need for side dishes and no dessert for us on this particular visit even though we were severely tempted by the cheese selection.
When it comes to price you don’t need to take out a second mortgage to enjoy exceptional service and stunning food, with starters ranging from $12 to $48 (platter for two) and mains from $24 to $69 (Chateaubriand for two) there is something to suit every budget. All you need is a couple of hours out of your day to relax in a delightful setting and be treated as though you were in a top-flight restaurant, because you are in a top-flight restaurant and as time slips by you wonder what everyone else is doing on the sunny mid-week winter’s day in Marlborough.
Hans and Therese Herzog are the very passionate, hardworking and hands-on owners of this outstanding bistro, restaurant and organic certified winery, they are normally around the facilities and you will often find them chatting with diners. They are deservedly proud of the business they have created and love to see people enjoying the fruit of their labour.
Finally they have a single boutique accommodation unit on the edge of the vineyard so you can turn your Herzog experience into a real treat. The only reason the Bistro doesn’t get 5 stars is because the degustation menu served in the formal restaurant is even better!
Food 5* Wine List 4.5* Ambiance 4.5* Service 5* Overall 4.5*