Jun 5, 2012

Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tour

After checking the weather forecast and seeing that the clouds would clear and chances of rain would be lower on that particular day, the only consideration was the cost. At $100+ AUD per person... we balked for a while thinking it was pricey for a day tour. However, because we were already in Sydney and that we have moved schedules around plus the weather was getting better, we decided to take it for the experience (a rare opportunity). We were the last 2 seats booked when Jerry confirmed at the last minute.

The day started out cloudy as predicted and I shivered as we waited for the 14-seater MB mini bus assigned to get us at 730am in front of our hotel. It was 11 degrees centigrade but felt like 0 for this 44yo woman from the tropics. Hehe... After getting the last 2 couples, we were on our way.

Our tour guide, named Mike, was very entertaining and narrated inside stories about some famous city landmarks, such info you wouldn't have come across on your own. And before we drove out of the city, he was considerate enough to stop by a coffee shop so we could take some refreshments (own expense) and have our toilet break.


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pit stop for hash browns


Savannah Estate

"Savannah Estate Wines are hand crafted from quality fruit grown in various renowned viticulture regions throughout Australia. These wines are made on site at our Mount View Winery." - lifted from their website.

The cool weather and the quaint winery made for a great setting for my foray into wine-tasting. Being a neophyte at this, I got slightly inebriated after a few sips of the 20 or so different kinds of wines (on this 1st stop alone!). And then I realized I didn't have to drink to the last drop. Instead, I tipped the rest of the wine in a spittoon after I had a little sip. O-kay... so that was what those metal vessels were for. Haha!

We bought a bottle of sparkling Zibibbo here.

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McGuigan

This is one of the oldest and biggest winemaking companies in Australia which, according to their website, received "an unprecedented five Gold medals across its premium portfolio including 2010 Shortlist Adelaide Hills Chardonnay; 2005 Shortlist Eden Valley Riesling; 2007 Shortlist Eden Valley Riesling; 2010 Shortlist Eden Valley Riesling and 2004 Bin 9000 Hunter Valley Semillon."

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see that metal spittoon for tipping wine remnants

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And on our way to our next stop, Mike suddenly pulled over and parked on the side road to let us see the wild kangaroos (or wallabies, it's hard to tell for somebody who's not familiar, especially after having alcohol from 2 wineries. LOL)...

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cute as furry toys

Bluetongue Brewery Cafe

"Try the unique Beer Tasting Paddle with accompanying notes for each of the brews. Laze away the afternoon listening to great music. Maybe a quick game of pool, or something delicious off the blackboard menu." -
lifted from their website.

Finally... lunch. I thought this was good in resetting my taste buds back to normal. Jerry and I shared a generous plate of chorizo pasta penne with mushroom, tomato, spinach and pesto. We still had time for a cup of coffee before proceeding to our next stop.

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bottom left pic: the beer tasting paddle with notes of the 6 types of beer

Iron Bark Hill Vineyard

This is the venue for that lovely Hunter Valley vineyard wedding which reminds me of bay area event locations from www.estateweddingsandevents.com. They were giving out discounts on some wines when we got there.

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we bought a couple of bottles of Merlot and Moscato for home

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A quaint chapel

Lambloch

For our last winery, we stopped by the stylish Lambloch Estate. It looked like a modern and spacious Zen-looking house in the middle of a vast vineyard and with a truly breathtaking view.

The tour group has become quite at ease by this time (blame alcohol too! haha!) and we took turns taking each group's photos. It felt like a small party with different wines to boot. :)

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love the glass walls and the dining area with a view

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stunning Lambloch Estate

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Our wine tour group from England, Ireland, France, Chicago, India and the Philippines looking flushed after all the wine we had... Hehehe...

And as our tour ended, we went to the Chocolate Company and Smelly Cheese for our last stop before heading back to Sydney.

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