>(posted on day 29)
I had read about a tour by Jason of the Hunter Valley wine district while doing my research on Sydney, and decided to sign up for it today. We headed out at about 7:00am.
Jason was quite delightful, giving us commentary along the way, including a stop for this photo opportunity :-).
The bad news was that he said that the best wine in Australia does not leave the shores. And that most of the wine available elsewhere is produced by the big business wineries.
He said that at the very least, one should not buy wine that says it is from Southeast Australia, but to look for wines from specific regions such as Barossa or Hunter Valley. And to look for words on the label such as single vineyard or low yielding vines or hand picked, etc. Meanwhile, we were going to go to vineyards that produce small amounts and don’t export their wines. We would have the opportunity to buy some of these wines (but darn it, that obviously won’t work for me).
Our first stop was…..
This is a small father and son owned vineyard that produces about 5,000 cases per year.
The main varieties that we tried throughout the day were semillon, shiraz, merlot, chardonnay and verdelho. This vineyard’s special wine was called William Henry Shiraz. (all of their wines were named for people, such as family members). I actually liked their merlot.
Our next stop was…
…a family owned winery that produces only 3,500 cases per year. They had just produced their 2010 semillon which we were the first to try. We tasted it with their 2005 vintage. I liked the newer one better, although the older one was supposed to be more full bodied (but what do I know :-). The one we tried here that I liked was a 2009 chambourcin. This is a red that can be chilled as it has no tannins, as the skin of this grape provides the red color.
Our third stop was…
Upon entering this property, we came upon some kangaroos…
As you can see, this one has a Joey in its pouch….but she didn’t turn around for a better view…
This vineyard is owned by a previous Cathay Pacific pilot
who was looking for an acre to retire on, and ended up with this 200 acre property, where he grows grapes, as well as olives….he also makes excellent, hand-pressed olive oils. He has a shiraz, which I liked a lot, that won a #1 rating against many of the much bigger vineyards.
Our last stop was…
…where we took this shot of our small group…
….from Denmark, Canada, England, Mississippi (stationed in Afghanistan), and North Carolina.
What I liked here was a verduzzo.
Although the weather started out a bit ugly, it ended up being a beautiful day.
What fun we had! I was so glad i’d signed up for this small group experience with Jason, rather than the one my hotel concierge tried to steer me towards.
Thanks, Jason, for a great day and a great wine experience. This one’s for you…
Location:Hunter Valley, Australia