Chapter 20: Last Stop - The Legendary Hunter Valley...

  This place needs no introduction, it is perhaps the most famous wine region in Australia. The Hunter Valley was Australia’s first wine region and vines planted in the 1860’s are still producing exceptional wines which is incredible. This area is world famous for it’s Sémillon, Jancis Robinson M.W. once said “Hunter Sémillon is Australia’s great gift to the wine world”. The guy in the photo on the left is fifth generation John Tyrrell of the famous Tyrrell family and they have been in

 

This place needs no introduction, it is perhaps the most famous wine region in Australia. The Hunter Valley was Australia’s first wine region and vines planted in the 1860’s are still producing exceptional wines which is incredible. This area is world famous for it’s Sémillon, Jancis Robinson M.W. once said “Hunter Sémillon is Australia’s great gift to the wine world”. The guy in the photo on the left is fifth generation John Tyrrell of the famous Tyrrell family and they have been in

  the area since the 1850’s and are still winning impressive awards for their wines. In 2012 their Vat 1 Sémillon and Vat 9 Shiraz jointly won the Wine of Provenance award at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, this denotes wines that have proven their ability to age and improve over time. Sémillon is an interesting grape as when young it has either lime and citrus or herbaceous and cut straw characters, then after adolescence from 2 - 5 years of age it starts to develop incredible lemon

 

the area since the 1850’s and are still winning impressive awards for their wines. In 2012 their Vat 1 Sémillon and Vat 9 Shiraz jointly won the Wine of Provenance award at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, this denotes wines that have proven their ability to age and improve over time. Sémillon is an interesting grape as when young it has either lime and citrus or herbaceous and cut straw characters, then after adolescence from 2 - 5 years of age it starts to develop incredible lemon

  curd and passionfruit or toasty lemon meringue pie and charred butter characteristics. Sweet Sémillon can develop apricot, pineapple and marmalade flavours and goes excellently with truffled pecorino as you can see above. This was the last stop of my trip across Australia and it was emotional driving out of the valley, during 10 weeks I drove 6000km’s and visited 80 vineyards which made for one incredible journey. I hope you enjoyed reading my wine journal.  

 

curd and passionfruit or toasty lemon meringue pie and charred butter characteristics. Sweet Sémillon can develop apricot, pineapple and marmalade flavours and goes excellently with truffled pecorino as you can see above. This was the last stop of my trip across Australia and it was emotional driving out of the valley, during 10 weeks I drove 6000km’s and visited 80 vineyards which made for one incredible journey. I hope you enjoyed reading my wine journal.

 

Chapter 19: High Altitude Wine Tasting in Orange...

  Orange is one of Australia’s youngest wine regions and it’s highest in altitude which means hot days and cool nights. The difference between the daytime and nighttime temperature is called the diurnal range, and the bigger the difference the more interesting the flavours are that develop in the grapes so as you can imagine Orange is an exciting place for wine growers. It has the feel of a small farming community which is exactly what it was not long ago, however wine is starting to bring tourists to the area.

 

Orange is one of Australia’s youngest wine regions and it’s highest in altitude which means hot days and cool nights. The difference between the daytime and nighttime temperature is called the diurnal range, and the bigger the difference the more interesting the flavours are that develop in the grapes so as you can imagine Orange is an exciting place for wine growers. It has the feel of a small farming community which is exactly what it was not long ago, however wine is starting to bring tourists to the area.

  The grapes on the left are juicy Malbec ready to pick, these were very tasty indeed. I tried some incredible Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet France and Shiraz in Orange but I think that Sauvignon Blanc in the one to watch. This was my first taste of Sancerre style wine in Australia and it was beautifully textured with tropical fruit, whereas other examples were more floral with citrus and passionfruit characters and were free of the typical grassiness you often find in Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

 

The grapes on the left are juicy Malbec ready to pick, these were very tasty indeed. I tried some incredible Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet France and Shiraz in Orange but I think that Sauvignon Blanc in the one to watch. This was my first taste of Sancerre style wine in Australia and it was beautifully textured with tropical fruit, whereas other examples were more floral with citrus and passionfruit characters and were free of the typical grassiness you often find in Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

Chapter 18: Waiheke - the Island of Wine…

  Conveniently located half an hour by ferry from Auckland harbour is a paradise island covered in vineyards, my dream came true! This was a total surprise to me and made for a most enjoyable day out with old friends, and you can do several vineyards on foot which is very leisurely.

 

Conveniently located half an hour by ferry from Auckland harbour is a paradise island covered in vineyards, my dream came true! This was a total surprise to me and made for a most enjoyable day out with old friends, and you can do several vineyards on foot which is very leisurely.

  The main grape grown here is Shiraz and Cable Bay are making it in a Syrah style which is medium bodied, juicy and peppery and we really liked it. This differs hugely to the full bodied jammy styles of the Borossa Valley which is what a lot of Europeans think of as typical Australian Shiraz.

 

The main grape grown here is Shiraz and Cable Bay are making it in a Syrah style which is medium bodied, juicy and peppery and we really liked it. This differs hugely to the full bodied jammy styles of the Borossa Valley which is what a lot of Europeans think of as typical Australian Shiraz.

  Cable Bay also make a Shiraz Rosé which is light, peppery and full of refreshing red summer fruit. Being a dry style, this Rosé can happily be enjoyed on a hot summers day. Rosé (Brosé as a lot of men are now calling it) has become a popular summer drink and it is easy to see why.

 

Cable Bay also make a Shiraz Rosé which is light, peppery and full of refreshing red summer fruit. Being a dry style, this Rosé can happily be enjoyed on a hot summers day. Rosé (Brosé as a lot of men are now calling it) has become a popular summer drink and it is easy to see why.

Chapter 17: Eating and Cycling our Way Around Hawke’s Bay…

  Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region and was established by Marist Missionaries in 1851. It’s seaside location is picturesque and the maritime climate allows grapes to thrive. The vineyards are close enough together for a bicycle tour which I highly recommend for a fun day out and there are several exceptional vineyard restaurants

 

Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region and was established by Marist Missionaries in 1851. It’s seaside location is picturesque and the maritime climate allows grapes to thrive. The vineyards are close enough together for a bicycle tour which I highly recommend for a fun day out and there are several exceptional vineyard restaurants

  as you can see from my lunch. The region is well known for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Shiraz. We tried several Sancerre style Sauvignon Blancs which I had not experienced in Australia, these were interestingly textured from lees stirring with delicious notes of guava and passionfruit on the palate. What a great place to relax.

 

as you can see from my lunch. The region is well known for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Shiraz. We tried several Sancerre style Sauvignon Blancs which I had not experienced in Australia, these were interestingly textured from lees stirring with delicious notes of guava and passionfruit on the palate. What a great place to relax.

Chapter 16: Wine from some of the World’s Oldest Vines…

  The almost microscopic phylloxera insect is a pest originally native to North America that sucks sap from roots and slowly kills vines. In the late 19th century it wiped out most of Europe’s vineyards causing utter devastation.  South Australia escaped the destruction as did other isolated pockets such as parts of the Grampians. This means that original European vines planted in the mid 19th century still exist in Australia, whereas the majority of plants in Europe are cuttings grafted onto American rootstock that is naturally resistant to phylloxera.

 

The almost microscopic phylloxera insect is a pest originally native to North America that sucks sap from roots and slowly kills vines. In the late 19th century it wiped out most of Europe’s vineyards causing utter devastation. 

South Australia escaped the destruction as did other isolated pockets such as parts of the Grampians. This means that original European vines planted in the mid 19th century still exist in Australia, whereas the majority of plants in Europe are cuttings grafted onto American rootstock that is naturally resistant to phylloxera.

  Last week in the Grampians I was lucky enough to be treated to an ’87 Pinor Meunier made from some of the oldest vines in the world, it was delicately perfumed and unbelievably smooth however was still full of vibrant red fruit flavours. The ’92 Chardonnay had stood the test of time and was nothing short of stunning, powerful fruit and heavy oak had no trouble spending 24 years together in this bottle! Unfortunately I am unable to mention the place I tasted this or the people that generously provided it but thank you both so so much, you are true Australian treasures. 

 

Last week in the Grampians I was lucky enough to be treated to an ’87 Pinor Meunier made from some of the oldest vines in the world, it was delicately perfumed and unbelievably smooth however was still full of vibrant red fruit flavours. The ’92 Chardonnay had stood the test of time and was nothing short of stunning, powerful fruit and heavy oak had no trouble spending 24 years together in this bottle!

Unfortunately I am unable to mention the place I tasted this or the people that generously provided it but thank you both so so much, you are true Australian treasures. 

Chapter 15: An Eventful Day in the Barossa Valley...

  After an intense morning of tasting fruit bombs (mostly luscious and jammy Shiraz), a break was needed in the form of a glass of Saint Croix 'La Serre' with handmade gnocchi and some of the freshest pesto I have ever tasted at Casa Carboni in Anguston. The wine was organic Grenache Blanc (60%) and Grenache Gris (40%) both from old vines, the refreshing palate was full of citrus and herbs and was perfect. 

 

After an intense morning of tasting fruit bombs (mostly luscious and jammy Shiraz), a break was needed in the form of a glass of Saint Croix 'La Serre' with handmade gnocchi and some of the freshest pesto I have ever tasted at Casa Carboni in Anguston. The wine was organic Grenache Blanc (60%) and Grenache Gris (40%) both from old vines, the refreshing palate was full of citrus and herbs and was perfect. 

  The Barossa is about an hours drive Northeast from Adelaide. I was on a mission to find specific red wines for the Finnish market. The scorched land and mountainous terrain reminded me of East Africa and I was amazed at how well vines can handle this extreme environment. There are vast vineyards in this region that supply a significant proportion of the world's Shiraz, what a place it is. 

 

The Barossa is about an hours drive Northeast from Adelaide. I was on a mission to find specific red wines for the Finnish market. The scorched land and mountainous terrain reminded me of East Africa and I was amazed at how well vines can handle this extreme environment. There are vast vineyards in this region that supply a significant proportion of the world's Shiraz, what a place it is. 

  What other ending to this day than steak washed down with Torbreck 'The Loon' 2014 Shiraz eaten in good company at A Hereford Beefstouw in Adelaide?! This Danish themed steakhouse has its own farm full of free-range pasture-fed cattle. The wine is Shiraz co-fermented on Roussanne skins which creates an intense but balanced red full of juicy dark fruit with a hint of dark chocolate. 

 

What other ending to this day than steak washed down with Torbreck 'The Loon' 2014 Shiraz eaten in good company at A Hereford Beefstouw in Adelaide?! This Danish themed steakhouse has its own farm full of free-range pasture-fed cattle. The wine is Shiraz co-fermented on Roussanne skins which creates an intense but balanced red full of juicy dark fruit with a hint of dark chocolate. 

Chapter 14: Three glorious days in McLaren Vale

Europe fits into Australia about twice, with that in mind it is easy to understand why wine from Western Australia (WA) is very different to that in South Australia (SA). WA is all about Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon whereas SA has the ideal climate and geology for Grenache and Shiraz. 

The cool climate Shiraz in WA’s Frankland River was light, perfumed and full of white pepper however wine produced from the same vines in SA’s McLaren Vale is fruit forward, spiced and medium bodied.

I have been thoroughly impressed by McLaren Vale and am now ready for what the famous Barossa Valley has to offer.

 

Chapter 13. Italian Wine Varieties in McLaren Vale

Travelling through 25 vineyards in 25 days has shown me the incredible variation in terroir from one Australian state to another. 

McLaren Vale's rolling hills definitely remind me of Tuscany and varieties such as Fiano, Vermentino and Sangiovese and thriving here. It is interesting to start to understand how important finding the right environment really is for a grape's success in a region.

12. The Piece Project at Longview Vineyard, Adelaide Hills

Dear readers, after coming to the realisation that I am not going to be able to drink 80 wines in 80 days without seriously damaging my liver I have changed 'Across Australia in 80 wines' to '80 vineyards'! It will still be a challenge but I think it's possible, also I can now write about wine regions and events as well as wine so here is the first new chapter of my journey.    

For the last six years The Piece Project has annually brought street-artists to Longview to battle it out amongst the vines for their place on the next label of The Piece Shiraz. Provided on the day was a delicious BBQ, music from live DJ's and a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with summery citrus notes. It was a great afternoon drinking wine in the sun with good friends, I really liked this eagle by Putos and you can see the winners piece here.

11. Applewood Gin, Adelaide Hills

It is Friday and it's your day off from being a wine agent, what do you do? Well it turns out that Aussies have learnt how to make great gin.

Applewood were chosen by Noma to make an Økar for their popup restaurant in Sydney. This gin is packed full of lively botanicals including lemon myrtle, vanilla, lavender, orange and lemon peel and macadamia. I bloody love it!