Hunter Valley - Day 10

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December 29th 2015
Published: January 20th 2016
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Today Melissa has arranged a wine tour in the Hunter Valley. We are leaving Martin at home (not his thing) and make our way to meet Hannah and her Mum. Hannah left Witney for Australia over 2 years ago and her Mum Alyson is visiting her too. When Melissa first arrived in Sydney, she stayed with Hannah for a short while and they are full of chatter and quickly catch up with each other. Alyson too has treated herself to an extended holiday and tells me that she has accustomed herself to the fact that Hannah is not coming home. How do you feel about that, I ask? I don't like it but I've got used to it and we keep in touch all of the time she replies. A little pang of panic sets in as I ponder if I too will ever have to say that.

We make our way to the first of four vineyards and I aim to find myself a red wine that I like. No, none there but our wine tasting options are limited to just 4 wines so there is still hope. At the next vineyard, we learn that white wine should not be drunk really cold. Really? Apparently drinking wine is like eating fruit and is the same as taking strawberries out of the fridge when they can be quite tasteless. Whereas eating strawberries that have warmed a little can be much more full of flavour. Also the first sip of a new wine acts as a palate cleanser and the second and third sip can taste quite different. Perhaps I just need to persevere with the red wine tastes before I make a judgement I think.

Now I know that I like Sauvignon so at the next vineyard I ask to try the Cabernet Sauvignon. Urghhh, it is horrid and I forget the 3 sips rule. I have already been advised that I most likely don't like tannins which is found in the skin of grapes and is probably why I can't drink a Shiraz. I also know that many red wine drinkers like a Merlot, it is always a hit with Richard and Amanda and I often default to buying this for parties at home because I have no way of judging any other options other than by price. So I give it a try and while I concede it was better than the rest, I still don't like it! I conclude that if I have come to one of the worlds most famous wine producing regions and have still not found a red wine that I like I probably never will.

Our final vineyard takes a different approach and has a 'guess the wine' game which was fun. Now I know a Chardonnay a mile off, or so I thought! Which brings me back full circle to what I know I do like - a New Zealand Sauvignon. The fact that my favourite bottle of Villa Maria is the standard NZ option in all Wetherspoons with a price tag of just a few pound more than the supermarket is just my good fortune!

The journey home, like the morning journey makes for stunning views through the valley and we sit back tired and surprisingly not drunk and enjoy the ride.

see photos below.

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