Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hunter Valley

I like to drink wine.  I'm not one that does it every night, but I enjoy it.  I know nothing about it - the grapes, fermentation, aging, how to properly "taste" test - all of that just starts sounding like blah blah blah blah blah to me.  Just being honest. I said, I like drinking it, and I live in a country that likes to produce it.  So, when my friend Shelby came to visit me from Texas, and one of the items on her "to do" wish-list was to visit a winery, it gave me a perfect reason to knock off one of my "50 Before 50" items too. 

PLUS, as a bonus, my friend Stefan (who is South African but he's lived in Australia for 17 years) went to Texas a few months back.  I connected him with Shelby to show him around Austin.  He offered to return the favor and take us around the Hunter Valley, a wine region about an hour or so from Sydney.  He's a member of a few wine clubs, so we happily agreed to put ourselves in his capable hands.

First stop was at Peterson House - makers of all wonderfully bubbly things.  Our complimentary tasting consisted of whites, roses, reds, and sweet wine too...all sparkling.  Some of these, Shelby and I didn't even know you could get in a sparkling wine, and we were a little skeptical, but oh lawdy, were they phenomenal.  She and I both left with multiple bottles.  My purchases included a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, a Tempranillo, and a dessert wine that I still can't pronounce: Botrytis Semillon.

This greeted us at the entrance of Peterson House.  Fortunately it was 100*F+ temps (40*C), so I was making the assumption that the snakes would be hiding somewhere to keep cool.

Our second stop was at Hungerford Hill Wines, a place that Stef recommended the reds. 

Shelby and I prefer reds, and since we had about 12 wine tastings already and had more stops ahead, we chose to just stick with reds at this stop.  We were not disappointed.

C'mon.  The wine's name is "Heavy Metal" (and y'all know I'm a rocker girl for life), the label is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and it was a delicious red.  Of course, I bought this one.

Stefan joined their wine club, and Shelby & I bought some bottles.  They were happy to see us visit.

Our next stop was the Lambloch Estate, and we were greeted with this beautiful view.

One of Stefan's wine buddies praises their Shiraz, so, you know, I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Yes, this is a wine region, but other tasty beverages are concocted as well.  I'm a fan of the cider, so this was a pleasant surprise.  I bought a four pack - one of each.

Is that enough wine for you?  Well, we went to the Hunter Distillery too.  Didn't want any alcoholic beverages to feel left out.

This baby right here is a test tube of Caramel Vodka, and it is one of the most amazing libations to ever pass these lips.  Take all my money.

Supposedly, the founder of the distillery looks a lot like Santa.  So, every Christmas they create a raspberry and honeydew melon liqueur packaged these bottles using his likeness.  It was only a few days after Christmas.  Raspberry Santa needed to come home with me.  I like mixing it with Coca Cola and create my own version of a cherry-ish (raspberry) Coke.  This bottle will most likely last me all year.

Many of the wineries has lovely restaurants with exquisite food, but Stefan had learned that Shelby and I are big fans of the cheese platter, so he took us to The Smelly Cheese Shop for some much needed food.

Last stop, a brewery.  Actually, the Hunter Beer Co. located at Potters Hotel Brewery Resort.

I had an Ale Dorado...I know, I know, it's fashioned like an American beer, but I just loved the name, and in the heat, I didn't want anything too heavy.

Stefan tells me that we just scratched the surface of all the places to visit and sample.  He's already got a list for us to visit in the future.  Plus, it is a gorgeous, scenic spot that could make for a great weekend getaway someday.

If you visited Australia, would you be interested in visiting the Hunter Valley?


  1. This looks like such a fun way to spend a day! Australian wines are delicious. We have a wine region here, and it's fun to do the winery tours!! I bet it was even better with someone so knowledgeable about it all! I am a sucker for pretty labels too.

  2. first of all this looks like a heavenly day! minus the heat :) that heavy metal is right up your alley! and the santa - so fun! caramel vodka sounds interesting too. what fun exploring! also stefan hello cutie. lol. sign me up for these tours!

    xoxo cheshire kat

  3. Uhh I want some raspberry liquor to make cherry cokes (currently I use cherry coke and Sailor Jerry)! Charleston is the home of Firefly vodka/moonshine and they sell certain liquors only at the distillery. I was pumped to pick up some of those goodies in Nov when we visited for a tasting.

  4. That santa.. how fun of a gift would that be for everyone.
    Anything with the name "caramel" before it, I'd try it too.
    Seeing a sign that says "Beware of snakes" would have me running & screaming already.

  5. It sounds like Stefan was the perfect tour guide! Can we just talk about how delicious all those liquors sound?? I'm now craving (spiked) cherry/raspberry coke. And the cider looks soooo good! (I'm not one for dry wine or beer, but I love certain liquor and cider!)
    You are absolutely gorgeous in the wine glass photo! I've glad you and Shelby were both able to check something off your lists!

  6. >>>adds all these places to my must-visit list.

  7. I really know nothing about how wine is made either and I've visited a few wineries too! :D The sparkling wines sound delicious and I prefer champagne or sparkling wine over plain jane wine. HA! And those ciders and the caramel vodka sound amazing. Is it terrible my first thought was to make homemade vanilla with it? :D

  8. I love a good winery. They're always so pretty and I love when you can see the winemaker's personality. As a cheese lover, I think The Stinky Cheese Shop would be my kind of place!

  9. So this sounds like the most perfect day ever! Not only did y'all go wine tasting but you also got to visit a distillery and a brewery too! I'm so glad that you got to knock something off your list and that y'all had a great time! P.S. I love the name of the cheese place that y'all went to! I love smelly cheese!

  10. I so want to do this again! This time without bronchitis, a busted eardrum, and a ruptured rotator cuff.

  11. oh fun! I am so so so not a wine person. As in, I'll drink it if it's in a sangria...but otherwise I'm not that into wine. I definitely don't know much about it, BUT I always think that winery tours sound lovely! I love that you have friends from far away who have shown each other around and that she came to visit you from Texas! Wow, how cool for both of you! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  12. I did a day trip minibus thingo with my family on a previous visit to Sydney. It was a lot to take in, I was new to wine and ended up getting totally smashed by accident. Slightly awkward! I did love visiting all the different wineries though, and I remember some nice gardens, too. I'd definitely be up for a return visit, maybe this time I'd stay over somewhere so I could pace myself a little better...


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