Published: June 3rd 2012May 31st 2012
To prepare us for the day ahead of cycling around the wineries and line our stomachs we took advantage of the motel breakfast and stuffed our faces. We were then picked up by the Grapemobile bus at 9.30am and drove past a few of the wineries to Palmers Lane where we picked up our bikes for the day, water, maps and a few recommendations of wineries we set off for a day's wine tasting on our bikes.
The first stop was at Waverley Winery that was only a short cycle away, and as it specializes in aged wines we were keen to taste the difference with the wines from the prior day. Although we were there first customers of the day they were prepared for us and we merrily worked our way through their aged wine list. The first we tried was a 1997 Semillon and it was after tasting this one that we really started to understand the difference between young and aged wines; this tasted like smooth toasted butter, whereas the young Semillons that we had tasted the previous day were very sharp. The only problem with this discovery was the price tag that comes with Aged wines,
or the patience we would need to develop to buy a young wine and age it ourselves. However we did also find that the red wines tend to mellow out and become less strong with age, which was something we weren't so keen on, so we can still buy cheap reds!
From here we had planned to try Gemelli which is known for it's sweet wines, as it was only a few minutes up the road, however when we arrived at the gates we discovered it was closed so we turned around and made our way to the Honeytree Estate, although this too was closed so we peddled back down McDonalds Road to Tempus Two. Near the Hunter Valley Gardens this winery also has a few other restaurants and shops also based around it and is set in beautiful gardens with a big tree lined driveway leading up to the doorway of Tempus Two winery. After trying out the range of wines on offer at we passed by the Smelly Cheese shop where we tasted the cheese, olives, as well as a selection of olive oils and vinegars that they had on offer. With renewed energy from the food
and wine tastings we made our way to Tamburlaine, which is one of two wineries in the Hunter Valley, which produce Jo's favorite wine, Malbec. The Tamburlaine winery is an organic winery producing a variety of whites, reds and stickies as well as stocking a range of food produce. This was our favorite range of wines that we had tasted and we were tempted to buy a few but conscious that we only had a bike basket and a back pack to carry any purchases on our bikes we decided to hold off on purchases for now and consider calling back later in the day.
Leaving Tamburlaine, we headed further South on McDonalds road to Audrey Wilkinson winery that had been recommended to us for it's beautiful views over the valley. However beautiful views over the valley don't come without being up high so it was quite a climb to reach Audrey Wilkinson on our bikes and we were both ready for a drink when we arrived, although after a lot of water! We weren't a big fan of the wines on offer at Audrey Wilkinson but we did enjoy the ride back down the hill as we left
the winery as the sun was shining and there was a nice cooling breeze. At the bottom of the hill we passed Tulloch winery, and although we didn't know much about them we decided to stop by and see what they had on offer. It was very quiet in the valley so the wine taster offered to show us around the awards room and explained the history of the family owned vineyard. There were a couple of wines that we liked here too but we were going to pass the winery on the way back to Palmers Lane to drop off the bikes later in the day anyway so we decided to hold off on buying and head further South to the final winery of the day, Lindeman's. There were a few wines we enjoyed here and as this was the last stop of the day we decided to buy a couple of bottles and get them wrapped up in a box so that Jo could carry them in the bike basket on the front of her bike. It was a tight squeeze in the basket but with a bit of adjustment we managed to squeeze it in and Jo
managed to keep her balance with the extra weight on the handlebars.
From here we made our way back towards Palmers lane to drop off the bikes. We stopped along the way to pick up a few bottles of wine from those wineries that we had enjoyed earlier in the day although as Jo had the disadvantage of a box of wine on the front of her bike we decided to divide and conquer as Will stopped off at Tulloch to pick up a bottle, whilst Jo continued along McDonalds road at a slow pace. On the way back we realised we could probably squeeze in one more tasting, so we called in to Pokolbin Estate Vineyard where we tried both a range of wines and some of the Olives that they had on offer. We then carried on back towards the Grapemobile site, but stopped on the way at our favorite winery of the day, Tamburlaine, to pick a couple more bottles.
We made it back to Palmers Lane to drop off the bikes just as it was turning to dusk. The owner wasn't so pleased to see that we had managed to squeeze a box of
wine in the front bike basket as they are only made of wicker but we did make it in one piece, although when Will tried to pick up the basket with the handle the handle came right off, but the owner took it well and didn't seem to mind too much. We boarded the Grapemobile bus again and they drove us back towards our hotel in Cessnock, kindly stopping along the journey for Will to use his last McDonalds voucher for a free burger.
Back at the hotel we dropped off our purchases from the day and made our way into the town center stopping at a Thai restaurant for dinner, before an early night with a movie back at the hotel.
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