Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Aussie Adventure Continues Four Vineyards and a Chocolate Factory in Hunter Valley Day 4


February 8, 2017
Sydney, NSW Australia

I'm up at 5:45 a.m., the rain is pouring down again and wakes me up. We got back to our room around midnight after the Springsteen show and were asleep by 1 a.m.. We have to get up early today because were heading to Hunter Valley-the famous Australian wine region. We're doing a wine tasting tour with Hunter Valley Wine Tours. I researched them before we left Vermont and it looked like a good fit for us.

We have breakfast in bed (we need to leave the Lord Nelson before breakfast is served, so we shopped at the Woolworth's for croissants and OJ the day before.)

We're meeting our tour group at the Harbour Marriott on Pitt Street at 7 a.m.. We head to North Sydney on M1-the Pacific Highway to B82 to Cessnock. It's pretty gloomy so the sights from the bus aren't the best.
Small van means small group. And that's how we like it.

Our first stop is a coffee and comfort stop-Oliver's Organic and we're back on the bus.



Our driver tells us "Cessnock-Mines, Wines and People", population 50,000 is the gateway to the Lower Hunter Valley.

Our first stop is Wynwood Estate.

The vineyard is 100 years old and is considered Boutique. They do not export their wines or sell them in shops. You can only purchase them on site or at local restaurants. Their 2014 Reserve Hunter Valley Semillon was really smooth and crisp. As it ages, it's citrus tones become more buttery.

We try a 2013 Reserve HV Chardonnay and a 2014 Vine Blossom Vendello. We move to a 2015 Grey Gum HV Rose, a 2013 Grey Gum HV Shiraz and a 2014 Grey Gum HV Durif.
We learn that 2014 was a terrific year for reds in Hunter Valley. My favorite was 2016 Cherry Blossom Sparkling Moscato-it was light, sweet and fruity.

We stumble out the door and back into the van.

Next up McGuigan Wines, we start with some bubbles!



A Sparkling Semillon Blanc, 2016 Bin 9000 Semillon. Next we try a 2016 Pinot Grigio, the fruit is from Victoria but the wine is made in Hunter Valley. We follow up with a 2016 Cellar Select Gewurztraminer, 2014 Cellar Select Cabernet Merlot and a 2014 Blend HV Merlot. We move on to a 2013 Personal Reserve Shiraz and Cellar Select Noon Harvest Merlot. We finish with a couple of dessert wines a 2016 late picked Gewurztraminer and a HV Personal Reserve Tawny.
As a fellow travel described the Tawny-"It tastes like maple walnut ice cream."
Cheers, no seriously CHEERS!

Oh look who's been here before...

About now, we're all feeling quite happy and light headed. Time for lunch. We head over to the Epicure Cafe.
I had the yummy risotto with grilled summer veggies and Jay had the Chicken Caesar Salad.

And it's time to taste more wine.

Tulloch Wines is our first after lunch stop. Where we crack open a a bottle of 2016 Hunter River White Semillon. It's light and white.
Next we try a 2016 Pinot Gris, their trophy winner. It's less fruity and more floral. We try a Cellar Door Release Vermentino then a Sangiovese and a 2015 Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz followed by a 2015 Tempranillo which is very dark and somewhat sweeter.

Our last red is "88" Red Shiraz, it's smooth and silky.


We end with J.Y Tawny NV a fortified dessert wine.

Ok, where am I and how did I get here. Where's the van? Who has the keys?

On to our final vineyard...
Lambloch Estate


This lady is cool. Her wine philosophy "There are two types of wine, the ones you like and the ones you don't like." Also she says "Your wine, you be the boss of it." Well, I think that's what she said, I can barely read my notes.

I think she said their number one selling wine is the Muscadet. A dessert style wine. "If it's too sweet add a touch of lemon juice!"
"You can freeze it and make a sorbet."

Sort of tastes like lychees or turkish delight. WOW, she has a great job.



Our final stop is to the Hunter Valley Chocolate Factory. It smells great in there but I'm so wasted, I don't even care. Jay and I get some of the homemade gelato and call it good.

Back in the van and ready to sleep off some of the wine, we have a 2 plus hour ride back to the city and at this time we'll be hitting rush hour traffic-glad I'm not driving.

More photos from Four Vineyards and A Chocolate Factory: Click Here

We've been trying to meet up with our tour guide form our New Zealand trip and we hope to meet her for dinner at Lord Nelson.

We get back to Sydney around 6 p.m. and hear that Erica has been held up. The Lord (Nelson) has a special pulled chicken salad on the menu which Jay orders and I try the chili crab spaghettini. Both are excellent.

Thursday is BRUCE Sydney 2 so we plan to do something easy for the day...hopefully we'll have good weather for a day at the Taronga Zoo.