As part of my New Zealand trip, I received a free day-trip. I had a few options: the Jenolean caves, Port Stephens dolphin watching, or a wine tasting in Hunter Valley. I chose the latter – I had never been on a wine tasting before, and I had talked to people who said that the Hunter Valley was a must-see (you can read more about the Hunter Valley here. It’s Australia’s equivalent of the Napa Valley).
As part of the trip we stopped at three wineries: Drayton’s, McGuigan’s, and First Creek. Each winery gave us eight different wines in a 3-3-2 pattern (three whites, three reds, and two dessert liquors). Many of these wines have won multiple awards, and they are considered the best that Australia has to offer.
I learned why sophisticated wine-tasters smell and swirl the wine before they drink it. The faster the lines drip, the less alcohol content the wine contains. And if there are more lines, there is more alcohol.
I’m still a wine rookie, so there were a lot of wines I had never tasted before. I don’t think I can really make a judgment on what I like and don’t like yet, but there were a few reds and ports that I really enjoyed.
Overall, it was a great day to be out in the country – the weather was perfect and our tour guide was excellent. At one point he locked the keys in our van and had to call roadside assistance. I also tried kangaroo meat for the first time, and it was delicious. I’ll probably cook some more at the house before I depart.
Here are some pictures from the day: