Saturday, May 7, 2011

High-HO to Hunter Valley We Go

I've never thought I'd say I LOVE WINE until I'm old- like 40 or something when all the wild years have already passed. But life could be pretty surprising sometimes! I'm admitting that I LOVE WINE. Love, love, love wine. And someday, my husband and I would own a beautiful vineyard, we'd also have a cheese shop, and we'd live happily ever after- that's the new dream. 

While I would admit that I love routine, an out of the ordinary trip is something that I'm always up for. However lame it may sound, I think this might be my first sort of out of town trip in Sydney.* My uncle invited me on a trip to Hunter Valley.** Hunter Valley is ever famous for the hundreds of lush vineyards that produce a lot of Australia's wine. So I was virtually jumping up and down inside.

It's a 2 hour long sort of scenic ride from say Sydney CBD. I don't mind a little scenery here and there, and I'm a-okay when it comes to long rides- so everything was tip top.

The trip to Hunter Valley was based on the region of Pokolbin. The first two stops were Tempus Two Cellar Door and Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop. I think I'm the only one who actually enjoyed the cheese shop. I loved the cold storage portion as well where they housed shelves just filled with plenty of gorgeous cheeses. If you could think of a cheese right at the top of your head right now, you'd probably find it there.  It's perfect for shopping around when you're making that luscious grilled cheese sandwich.*** YUMMO! 

Tempus Two is a retail shop with a fair selection of wine. We went up to the counter and started tasting a couple of different wines. It's ultimately interesting and fascinating how grave the wines could vary even though they're both Sauvignon Blancs.

We had a really brief trip to the Hunter Valley Gardens, it wasn't that great cause it's autumn and the leaves are pretty much falling of the plants and trees. I'd say it would be such a treat during spring though.

Then we were off to McGuigan's- one of the bigger vineyards. I really enjoyed the wine tasting here cause the staff were very friendly and helpful. They recommended suggestions based on the descriptions of wines that you like. My uncle bought a fair bit of wine from here. He also bought me a 2008 Verdelho.**** I'll be cooking up some poultry dish soon so that I'd be able to pair it with this wine. Sweeeeet.

Lastly, we visited Tyrell's Wines. There was a tour over there that we joined. It was interesting cause it was all so different and new. We told about the various processes that the wine undergoes, we viewed the store rooms, and there was also a brief history on the company itself.

What would a trip to Hunter Valley be without a meal? Specifically food and wine paired meal? We headed over to Esca Bimbadgen for a delightful late lunch!

And THAT was the short Hunter Valley trip. I hope I could head there next week for the Lovedale Long Lunch as well as the jazz music festival come September! Jazz and wine, how could you go wrong?:)

Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop - Hall of Food
Tempus Two Winery 
Hall 1, 2144 Broke Road
Pokolbin NSW 2320
p / f: +61 2 4998 6713

Tempus Two

Corner of Broke and McDonalds Road, Pokolbin
Open 7 days 10am-5pm
Ph 02 4993 3999

Tyrell's Wines
1838 Broke Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Ph: (02) 4993 7000
Private Group Tour & Tasting*
* Minimum 15 people. Bookings essential.
$5 per person for tour
$8 per person for tour and tasting

McGuigan Cellars
Corner Broke and McDonalds Roads,
02 4998 7400

*I was in Gold Coast last May, so it's not all that lame, okay?

** The uncle is epic. He brings me and my family to some new and outstanding restaurants and pretty everywhere else that is food-related. He's a foodie himself. It's in the blood.

*** I haven't made a grilled cheese sandwich in a while! I've been staying off carbs a bit lately! But I guess I could make an exception now for a bloody good grilled cheese with bacon. I should totally buy a panini press too!

**** I love my white fruity wine.

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