Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Cellar Door

Tasting at the Cellar Door
Australia has good wine, and with a week in the country, fitting in a day to taste some Aussie wine seemed a good activity. I enjoy a good full bodied red, and the Hunter Valley, an area a short way north west of Sydney and about an hour away from Regis’ cousin’s house, is renowned for its excellent reds; Shiraz, Merlots, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Shiraz is one of my favorites, and this is the grape this area really excels at, so this was a good spot to go do some Australian wine tasting. There are over 150 “Cellar Doors” (Australian for “tasting rooms”), so we had lots to choose from in Hunter Valley.

Having visited wine regions in Ontario, California, Spain and of course back home in Nova Scotia, we had some experience at how vineyards and wineries tend to take over an area,
All About The View
replacing other farms and crops, but the amount of wineries here is amazing. You can drive down section of road and find winery after winery side by side. Just the list on the Official Map and Tourist guide is slightly overwhelming . . . so many wines, so little time . . .

The up-side to so many wineries it that there is a great deal of competition, so the cellar doors offer mostly free tastings. After the $8.00 per taste fee in New Zealand this was a pleasant surprise. Some of the wineries do charge for “Superior” tastings, but the ordinary samples are free.

Cool Name, Good Wine
We left the choice of wineries up to “Cousin Wade”, our guide and designated driver, and he chose one he was particularly fond of, Audrey Wilkinson, but since he admitted that he liked this winery because of the spectacular views from the main building, I did not mind offering my method of choosing wineries with cool names, and requested visiting the “Cockfighter’s Ghost” cellar door I had seen on the way to his choice. As it happened, both were excellent, with Cockfighter’s Ghost having the most delicious Shiraz and Audrey Wilkinson having a delicious red blend I enjoyed enough to purchase a bottle for later.

Ready For The Steak!
Unfortunately, doing wine tasting when traveling far from home does not allow me to purchase much wine as my suitcase is stuffed already. I returned from Niagara-on-the-Lake with a trunk full of wine, but walked away from Hunter valley with only a bottle that will probably not survive this evening’s Aussie Barbecue.

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