Monday, November 10, 2008

Hunter Valley

I woke up bright and early to have breakfast with Kevin (ham & cheese croissants and long blacks) before getting picked up for my wine tour at 7:30am. I chose a small van tour that focused on small boutique wineries in the Hunter Valley. This is a wine growing region 2-3 hours north of Sydney. I'd stopped briefly in the Hunter Valley on our first trip to Australia 10 years ago, but was looking forward to revisiting the area now that I actually enjoy wine.

The drive north was lovely, with great views of the Hawkesbury River and gum tree forests. The Hunter Valley itself was green with tree lined roads and back lanes. We visited 4 wineries in all, and tasted many wines. The valley is known for its semillon (crisp & fresh), verdelho (tropical fruits) and shiraz (robust & peppery) grapes. On the way to the final winery, we spotted two families of kangaroos hopping through the vineyards. Apparently they like the atmosphere in the vineyards, but don't eat the grapes at all.

I returned to Sydney by 6pm, and freshened up before joining Kevin for dinner in Darling Harbour. We tried the barramundi (an Aussie River fish) and a seafood risotto. Tasty.

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