Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hunter Valley Wine

Yesterday, we all woke up at the crack of dawn. At 7:45 AM, a tour driver picked us up for a private wine tour. Shane, Laura, 3 of their friends, and I went together on a private day long tour. The drive to the Hunter Valley took two hours.

Our first stop was a small vineyard that only has three employees. The vineyard's power was out, so we sat outside for our tasting. The wine maker was very direct and gave us the inside scoop on all things Australian wine.

Next, we went to another vineyard for a cheese tasting. We tried five or six kinds of cheeses with a small explanation by the staff.

The third stop was another vineyard. It was a larger production winery with a bar that we stood along to taste. They were quite old and family run for about six generations. The highlight was their ports. They had quite a few different ones of different ages.

Lunch was next. We ate at a casual little place. I had the chicken schnitzel. It's a lot like chicken fried steak in the US, or a German schnitzel made with chicken.

The last vineyard was just a year old. It was a vineyard previously that had gone down hill. Four wine makers came from a more established vineyard to start this one. Their tasting room was very nice, but the wine left a little to be desired. I didn't care for the whites at all, but the reds were fairly good.

After finishing at the last vineyard, the driver whisked us away to a local brewery. We had a brief tour and tried a few of their beers, including one made with oysters. The biggest surprise was that they had K├Âlsch beer. I've never seen this type of beer outside of its native home in Cologne, Germany. After talking to the tour guide, I learned that one of the brewers had spent a significant amount of time in Cologne and had brought the style back to Australia with them.

We left around 5 and made it back around 7 PM. We had dinner at a Thai place and I headed straight to bed. A day of drinking can certainly make you sleepy.

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