76 STYLE | travel WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE Gaynor Stanley follows capital trails to wild wine, wild life and wild creativity. Zealandia is the world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary. Image: Rob Suisted I had smelled a kiwi – sweet and earthy – in the new Te Taiao Nature exhibition at Te Papa. I had heard the male’s high-pitched call across the dark native bush-clad valley and the female’s low grunt in reply. And now I was standing about 10 metres away from one on the Zealandia By Night Tour. At least 140 kiwi are known to be roaming predator-free in this remarkable urban wildlife sanctuary, located just minutes from parliament in the Karori Hills. The tail end of our group had seen one kiwi scurry under a log earlier, but it was swallowed into the undergrowth before I doubled back. Now the German bird watcher, who’d also spotted a tuatara popping its gnarly head out of its burrow earlier, the French - WILD LIFE - conservationists stopped in their tracks by criticallyendangered takahe and paths illuminated by glow worms (their romanticism dims when our guide Peregrine tell us we’re entranced by fungus gnats) and most of my family have the little spotted fella in their red torch beams. Alas, despite my daughter’s excitedly whispered directions, could I see the kiwi? Its camouflage and my night vision defeat me. Still, I leave seriously impressed having learned the female gives birth to the equivalent of a four-year-old child and of Zealandia’s 500-year vision (they’re 20 years in so far) to restore this fully-fenced 225-hectare valley to the environment our rarest wildlife enjoyed before man and introduced predators descended.
STYLE | travel 77 Loretta - WILD WINE - First there was the obsession with coffee. Then it was craft beer. And right now our culinary capital is embracing the wine world’s newest fascination with gusto. Natural wine is introducing a whole new lexicon to wine lists at bars and restaurants across town like ‘pet nat’ (pétillant naturel, French for natural sparkling) and ‘carbonic maceration’. Don’t be mistaken in thinking natural (or, as Garage Project terms their locally produced range, ‘wild wine’) is simply another term for organic or biodynamic wine. While it’s likely those with a bent for making it have chosen to grow the grapes organically, that’s not essential. Natural wine actually means wine made with minimal intervention and little or no additives, allowing the grapes to ferment as naturally as possible with skins and stems on. When I ask the waiter at foodie hotspot Loretta (181 Cuba Street) for advice, she cautions the wines are likely to be cloudy with flavours unlike those we’re used to and offers a tasting of two orange wines. Not Orange as in the New South Wales wine region, but actually orange in colour due to the skin contact. The pinot gris/gewurtraminer from Waipara’s Tongue in Groove tastes like a bone dry fortified wine so I play tame with a glass of Loveblock Orange Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. It’s a decent match for the buffalo mozzarella with cucumber and feijoa entrée. But as I devour an aubergine, farro, kale, feta and mint pie, with a side of wood oven roasted Jerusalem artichokes and a Ottolenghi-like salmon and freekeh salad, Loretta’s food is the only thing I’m going wild for. OTHER PLACES TO TRY NATURAL WINE: • 1154 Pastaria (132 Cuba Street) – unpretentious newcomer serving classic pasta dishes lovingly made from scratch. • Glass (Chews Lane) – French bistro favourites in a new window-walled restaurant-cum-wine bar. • Golding’s Free Dive – a cool pub in the mustvisit Hannahs Laneways between Leeds and Eve streets strewn with artisan food producers like Fix & Fogg Peanut Butter, Lashings specialising in seriously good brownies (try the Vegemite), Wellington Chocolate Company, Leeds Street Bakery, one-hatted Shepherd restaurant, and Fortune Favours Craft Beer Brewery. • Garage Project (91 Aro Street) – the Taproom just up the road from the cellar door. Overlooking pounding waves, the quirkily restored surf club that is Maranui Café (Lyall Bay waterfront) doesn’t have natural wine, but instead delicious wholesome food that makes it a must-visit too. Fix & Fogg on Hannahs Laneways. Natural wines are often bottled with a crown top, like Garage Project’s. Maranui Café at Lyall Bay.