Love That Red

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The Hunter Valley: My New Favourite Place

In November last year I embarked on a girls week away where a suggestion was made that we spend a day touring wineries together. My reaction went something like this; “ummmm are we old….?” Consequently we didn’t go, as anyone who has ever met me knows that my opinions are pretty much the most important in the world and also there’s no need to force me into anything unless you want an onslaught of foreign objects hurled at your head. (Yes I am aware that I am sound like a spoiled errant child.) I can now shamefacedly admit that a winery tour would have probably been far better than what we ended up doing (even though vigorous club crumping created favourable memories), as I recently went to The Hunter Valley for the first time and fell in all types of love.

Less than a 2-hour drive from Sydney, The Hunter Valley seems like a different world. You can literally feel the relaxation ebb over you as rolling green hills and picturesque ponds replace the depressing Sydney smog and lovely young gentleman on my street corner who feels it’s in my best interest to be given a glimpse of his privates every day.

I began my day by being walked around the vineyard owned by my friends parents, Sovereign Hill, which is entrenched on what seems like one of the highest points of the Hunter Valley, overlooking captivating views.  The lush greenery, mouth-wateringly ripe grape vines, and quaint farmhouses seem endless, amplified by the zing of the crisp air to the soul and the thrill of being somewhere new and so lovely. My friends Dad quickly taught me how to prune the vines before realising I was a natural and recruiting me immediately, in my eyes it’s always good to have a new skill you can fall back on 🙂

Lunchtime came around and what fun that turned into as a very quirky and eclectic bunch of 13 people (many who had never met and ranged in age from 21 to about 80) perched their butts onto seats at the pristine Gartelmanns Café situated on a nearby winery.  Glasses of wine flowed and the sparkling bubbles evanescently tingled our tastebuds as the stimulating conversation created many a laugh. We started with the most amazing cheese selection (anyone who knows me in the slightest knows that my heart can be reached through a good cheese platter) and I gobbled up everything in sight, even braving a chunk of blue-vein much to my tastebuds disgust as the poor lads aren’t there yet, but one day I am sure… Quite possibly the same day that they decide to become partial to a glass of red. ATM any sip causes them to shout at me and fist my tonsils – not fun the stubborn buggers.

So after our inner-foodies had been momentarily satisfied we cheekily moved on to my first proper ‘Cellar’ where I discovered that not only are there delicious selections of wines to taste but YOU CAN TASTE THEM FOR FREE. Seriously, it’s the best version of heaven I’ve ever been privy too. Besides a good rogering I suppose but lets just mix the two and THAT’S a damn fine time :p Obviously I preferred the sparkling and sweeter whites (not to be confused with a dessert wine *vomit, the thickness engulfs your tongue like a particularly curdled tub of yogurt) and I was very angry with the old tastebuds as I was hoping they would at least pretend to be mature for a few hours rather than chucking a tantrum in my mouth, causing my entire body to shudder and my eyes to well up at the serious misfortune robust or bitter whites seem to inflict on them and don’t even get me started on the reds. So I sulkily bought a bottle of delicious but highly unsophisticated Moscato as I glared jealously at the refined reds perched up on their mantle looking down at me in their snobby manner.

We then headed to a few more cellars on wineries, getting more sloshed along the way as the car sloshed simultaneously with the plethora of wine purchases my housemates made.  Once twilight set in and a gorgeous sunset reined down over the exquisite countryside, we headed back to Sovereign Hill for a few more bottles of wine and quite possibly the best homemade pumpkin soup I have ever been lucky enough to gulp on down my greedy little gullet. Needless to say my head hit the pillow later that night slightly throbbing but filled with happy thoughts on such an amazing day I had originally disregarded.


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