Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Something to wine about

As I wind down my time in Australia, there was still one thing I wanted to do before I left: a wine tour. Australia is pretty well known for some of their wine varietals and since I've never been to a winery for a wine tasting before, I figured now would be the perfect time.
(The view at Domaine Chandon)

The wine tour that I chose was suggested to me by the owner of my hostel (who has been super helpful in more ways than one). We rode an hour outside of Melbourne to the Yarra Valley to get us started. At the first winery there was an informal wine tasting tutorial of sorts. We were taught the process of tasting wine - look at the wine color, swirl the wine in the glass, notice the aroma, take a small sip, and finally take a bigger sip and kind of "chew" the wine to help aerate it. Afterwards there were a number of wines that we could choose to taste, both lighter and heavier varieties.

At the second winery there were more tastings, but this time the goal was to choose a wine that we wanted to have with our lunch. I'd selected a lamb ragu pappardelle for lunch and decided that a pinot noir would be a lovely pair for it. Our tour group consisted of probably about 24 people and at lunch I was able to chat with Americans, Aussies, Kiwis, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indians, quite the international group. The restaurant also serves and sells a dozen different types of fudge and after lunch we were able to have free tastings of as many of them as we wanted. I'm pretty sure I tried almost all of them!

After lunch there were still two more wineries to visit with the last one being Domaine Chandon (of the Moet and Chandon family). At Domaine Chandon we were given full glasses of wine instead of just tasters and I chose a sparkling shiraz because I'd only ever had a sparkling red wine one other time before. Along with the sparkling wine there were cheese and chutney plates, as well. 
(Not a great picture, but it was one of only two of me taken during the tour.)

When all was said and done, we were given the opportunity to taste 60 different wines at four different wineries. I lost track of how many I tried, but I didn't even come close to trying half of them. I just know that I tried chardonnay, fume blanc, sauvingnon blanc, cabernet sauvingnon, sangiovese, fortified cabernet, dessert wine, and a number of sparkling wines. So, uh, yeah, I tried a bunch. :-) We had a wonderful lunch and enjoyed really pretty scenery on the way to and from the Yarra Valley. I'd say that's a great way to spend a day!


  1. Sounds like a great day! I love the pictures.

  2. that sounds like a laura sorta day. wish i had been there with you!!