Exploring Tasmanian history around Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

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Home Hill, once home to Joe Lyons, Tasmania’s only Australian Prime Minister Devenport, Tasmania, Australia

 

Overlooking Bass Strait on Tasmania’s northwest coast (an island state of Australia, south of Adelaide and Melbourne), Burnie was settled by Aboriginals long before the island’s discovery by European explorer Abel Tasman in 1642.  Paying homage to its industrial heritage, Burnie has proclaimed itself a “City of Makers,” replacing once-thriving paper, chemical and lumber plants with artisanal cheese makers, a single-malt whisky distillery, ceramic workshops and handmade paper.  The abandoned paper mill in town employed 3,000 workers until about 10 years ago.  We were very impressed with the ongoing, but successful so far, transformation of the city from an industrial city to one catering to creative artists and tourists.  This being Australia, exotic flora and fauna are also part of the scene, from diminutive fairy penguins, echidna and platypus to lush gardens, nature reserves and waterfalls.

 

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Vineyards at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell, Tasmania, Australia

 

Our first day in Burnie we joined a group that headed south from the city on the coast of the Southern Ocean inland towards Cradle Mountain.  Our route first took us east along the coast towards Devenport, passing through Ulverstone and other seaside towns along the way.  Our first stop was for a guided visit to Home Hill, once home to Joe Lyons, Tasmania’s only Australian Prime Minister.  Further on, Devenport Bluff features numerous aboriginal sites.  Around midday, we arrived at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell for a tour and wine tasting and a gourmet lunch featuring Tasmanian seafood, cheese, veggies and smoked meats, along with a glasses of wine.  The winery is on the “Cradle to Coast tasting trail” which features Tasmanian farms, cheese makers, wineries, etc. that are open for visits; this reminded us of our local Sonoma County, California, USA, “Taste of Sonoma Trail”.

 

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The winery building at Ghost Rock Winery in Port Sorell, Tasmania, Australia

 

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The outdoor display of winners of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition at Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

On our drive after lunch to Cradle Mountain [see our next blog post], our route south took us through Sheffield — in the foothills of striking Mount Roland (42 miles (67 km) from Burnie) — known as the “Town of Murals” for the 60 or so paintings which decorate most of the buildings, depicting the town’s history in a colorful display of al fresco art.  We found it interesting that many small towns in Tasmania have found a theme, like “Town of Murals” to develop as an attraction to draw tourists to the town.

 

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A winning mural (#A) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

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A winning mural (#B) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

Sheffield has gone so far as to have created the annual “International Sheffield Mural Fest” whose winners are on display outdoors at the Mural Park in Sheffield.  At the park, we found an informative sign that asked “Why are these murals different?”  It explained, “The murals in and around Sheffield were painted by dedicated artists whose main aim was to bring the region’s history to life, and tell the stories of our early pioneers.  A true picture from the past.  Here in Mural Park, the murals were painted during the International Mural Fest, Sheffield’s annual week-long mural art competition.  They are the personal interpretation of a themed poem by the nine finalist artists as they compete for the major prize.  These works add a contemporary perspective to Sheffield’s murals.”

 

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A winning mural (#C) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

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A winning mural (#D) of the International Sheffield Mural Fest annual competition, Mural Park, Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

 

Exploring Tilba Valley, south of Batemans Bay, New South Wales, Australia

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Moruya Heads, popular with human surfers and dolphins, is located on the coast of the South Pacific Ocean east of the town of Moruya and south of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

 

Sailing south from Sydney on our way to Tasmania (the island to the south that is actually a state of Australia) we stopped in Batemans Bay (population 17,500) on the South Pacific Ocean coast.  Batemans Bay is a gateway to the region’s historic villages, stunning beaches and forested parklands.  We spent the day exploring the area south of Batemans Bay, centered on the Tilba Valley.

 

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Close up of the striated, eroded rocky shoreline, Moruya Heads, New South Wales, Australia

 

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We enjoyed a wine tasting and luncheon with some recent releases from Tilba Valley Wines ending with a nice tawny for dessert, Tilba Valley, New South Wales, Australia

 

On our hour-long drive to the Tilba Valley, we stopped half way at the Moruya Heads to see the beautiful coast line there.  Our first stop in the Tilba Valley was a visit to Tilba Valley Wines, the first (and thus far only) commercial winery on the Far South Coast opened in 1983.  The winery produces about 700 cases annually, including Shiraz, Cabernet, Semillion, Chardonnay and Rose. We were met by the winemaker who explained their production as we tasted the recent vintages of his varietals.  Production is quite limited as the weather is a major challenge (being so close to the ocean) and the birds and animals enjoy eating the ripening grapes. Our light lunch was accompanied by a local pianist and we finished with a glass of Tilba’s Tawny Port-style wine.

 

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Just outside the town of Central Tilba on rolling hills is the Tilba Real Dairy, New South Wales, Australia

 

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A view downhill of some of the shops and cafes in Central Tilba, New South Wales, Australia

 

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The Emporium Store in Central Tilba offers a broad array of goods and services: gasoline, groceries, fishing bait, lottery tickets, the post office, an Internet café, and fudge; New South Wales, Australia

 

After lunch we drove across the valley to the tiny town of Central Tilba, a nicely restored heritage village protected by its National Heritage status.  Set against the backdrop of Mt. Dromedary, the village grew around a cheese factory built here in 1891.  The tradition is carried on at Tilba Real Dairy, whose owners operate the ABC Cheese Factory in town.  We met with the cheese maker for a tasting of some of their award-winning products and an explanation of their cheese production process.  Afterwards we bought excellent fresh whole milk for subsequent breakfasts on board the ship and some of their delicious smoked garlic cheese.

my-favorite-shop-cafe-was-the-candy-store-with-an-old-fashioned-soda-fountain-and-this-1950s-american-auto-culture-seating-area-replete-with-a-working-juke-box-central-tilba-new-south-wales-a

My favorite shop/café was the candy store with an old fashioned soda fountain and this 1950s American auto culture seating area replete with a working juke box, Central Tilba, New South Wales, Australia

 

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A real, old-fashioned English tea with scones and clotted cream and jam at a tea room in Central Tilba, New South Wales, Australia

 

 

the-central-business-although-it-employs-very-few-people-in-central-tilba-is-the-abc-cheese-factory-founded-in-1891-at-the-edge-of-town-which-sources-milk-from-the-owners-dairy-tilba-rea

The main (and historic) business — although it employs very few people — in Central Tilba is the ABC Cheese Factory, founded in 1891, at the edge of town which sources milk from the owner’s dairy, Tilba Real Dairy, New South Wales, Australia

 

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The ABC Cheese Factory cheeses were quite tasty — right to left: cows’ milk mountain ash, a hard cows’ milk cheese, smoked garlic cheese, and an Australian-style cheddar, Central Tilba, New South Wales, Australia

 

The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region (part II), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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A partial view of some of the winery buildings at Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia, viewed from a high position in the winery restaurant’s vegetable garden (artichokes with purple blooms are in the foreground)v

 

As noted in our prior post, The Mornington Peninsula is a sub-region of Victoria that, in recent years, has been identified as the best area in Australia for cultivating classic Burgundian varietals (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir).  Situated on a long stretch of land embraced by three bodies of water – southeast of Melbourne — the Peninsula is graced with winds from Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait which provide a very cooling effect on viticulture.

Ten Minutes by Tractor (yes, that’s the name of a highly regarded winery!) is a pioneer in fine wine making and a beacon to those striving for quality.  Originally set up in 2000, the winery has been run by Martin Spedding who oversaw the rise of the winery to almost cult status.  Its three vineyards ten minutes apart by tractor produce outstanding, cool climate wines including single-vineyard and cellar door-only releases.  Spedding’s philosophy is to be as non-interventionist as possible and for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to utilize traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques.

 

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The set up for our Museum Wine Masterclass conducted by Head Sommelier Jacques Savary de Beauregard, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

Upon arrival at the winery we were able to “take” a Museum Wine Masterclass conducted by Head Sommelier Jacques Savary de Beauregard.  This was followed by a five-course degustation lunch at Ten Minutes by Tractor’s restaurant that is run by Chef Stuart Bell, who combines his classic French training with an Australian feel.  The chef harmonizes local produce to match the winery’s award-winning international wine list, while the restaurant boasts an enviable ambiance with sophisticated, yet unassuming service.  The Restaurant has won awards as the 36th best restaurant in Australia and is regarded as a member of the Top 10 Regional Victorian Restaurants.  It was quite interesting that many of the wines served with our luncheon were neither Australian nor from the Ten Minutes by Tractor winery where we dined.  Overall, the meal was full of surprisingly good combinations (food as well as wine with food) and another example of the excellence of Australian restaurant dining.

 

a-few-of-the-wines-we-tasted-in-our-museum-wine-masterclass-conducted-by-head-sommelier-jacques-savary-de-beauregard-ten-minutes-by-tractor-the-mornington-peninsula-wine-region-victoria-australia

A few of the wines we tasted in our Museum Wine Masterclass conducted by Head Sommelier Jacques Savary de Beauregard, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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Mid-morning, what’s not to like about a beautiful Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine?; Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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As a starter “snack” our table was served plates of fresh, local radishes as we sat down for our five-course degustation lunch at Ten Minutes by Tractor’s restaurant that is run by Chef Stuart Bell; The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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Our appetizer was smoked Tasmanian salmon and chicken liver mousse, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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Our composed salad included fresh steamed asparagus with avocado mousse, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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Our selection of wines (one wine paired with each course) included wines from around the world from the extensive wine cellar of the Restaurant, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia; shown here are wines from Germany, Hungary, Australia and France

 

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Our fish course was a local white fish, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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The baby quail were well prepared and tasty in their sauce and accompaniments, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

yes-australians-really-do-eat-kangaroo-pictured-here-as-well-as-wallaby-and-crocodile-ten-minutes-by-tractor-the-mornington-peninsula-wine-region-victoria-australia

Yes, Australians really do eat Kangaroo (pictured here) as well as Wallaby and Crocodile, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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Desert included dark chocolate mousse, orange mousse and, passion fruit ice cream, Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region (part I), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

a-view-of-the-old-shiraz-syrah-vineyard-at-paringa-estate-winery-the-mornington-peninsula-wine-region-victoria-australia-from-a-beautiful-stained-glass-window-in-the-estates-restaurant

A view of the old Shiraz (Syrah) vineyard at Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia, from a beautiful stained glass window in the Estate’s restaurant

 

The Mornington Peninsula is a sub-region of Victoria State (southeast of Melbourne) that, in recent years, has been identified as the best area in Australia for cultivating classic Burgundian varietals (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). Situated on a long stretch of land embraced by three bodies of water – southeast of Melbourne — the Peninsula is graced with winds from Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait which provide a very cooling effect on viticulture.

 

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The winery entrance, Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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The oldest Shiraz (Syrah) vines – adjacent to the winery building — had just been trimmed by owner and winemaker Lindsay McCall, Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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The roses on the edge of the old Shiraz (Syrah) vines provided a nice color contrast to the vineyard, Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

Paringa Estate Winery was established by owner and winemaker Lindsay McCall (formerly a school teacher!) in 1985.  Situated on the Mornington Peninsula in beautiful Red Hill, Victoria, this winery’s vines stretch across 10 acres (4 hectares).  It is most famous for producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while also creating one of the country’s top-rated cool climate Shiraz (Syrah) wines.  On our visit to the winery, we had an opportunity to do a wine tasting with the property manager, joined, just after we began, by the winery’s winemaker and founder, Lindsay McCall.

 

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Your blogger caught in the act of making the prior photograph (by a friend and fellow traveler) at Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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Our wine tasting was in the winery’s barrel room, Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

after-an-early-morning-of-trimming-vines-winemaker-and-owner-lindsay-mccalll-joined-us-for-an-hour-of-winetasting-at-paringa-estate-winery-the-mornington-peninsula-wine-region-victoria-australia

After an early morning of trimming vines, winemaker and owner Lindsay McCalll joined us for an hour of wine tasting at Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

McCall and Paringa Estate Winery’s first award was at the Yarra Valley wine show where he took out gold for his 1990 Shiraz (Syrah).  Over the following years, numerous awards followed.  In 2007, the teacher who had no formal training in wine was awarded the Best Winery in Australia in the James Halliday Wine Companion.  McCall likens it to being chosen as captain of the Australian cricket team!  We thoroughly enjoyed his highly rated and excellent wines and bought a number of them for our “cellar” on the ship.  The Paringa Estate Chardonnay proved to be an excellent match with local Tasmanian lobster at dinner!

 

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Some of the French oak barrels aging last year’s vintage in the barrel room (where we had our tasting) at Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia

 

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The restaurant at Paringa Estate Winery, The Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria, Australia, and it’s great view of the estate vineyards

 

Eat Local: The Louise, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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The entry walkway to The Louise, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, with luxury suites on either side with views of the estate’s vineyards

 

Following our morning winery visits and wine tastings in the Barossa Valley, we drove to The Louise, a boutique luxury hotel in Marananga (where we had stayed several nights a few years ago on a previous visit to Adelaide).  The Louise combines luxurious private spaces, inspired contemporary design and stunning vineyard views with Appellation, one of Australia’s finest regional restaurants (and regarded as tops in the Barossa Valley); it is a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia and the international Relais & Chateaux.

 

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One portion of the Louise Estate’s vineyards, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

 

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Each suite has a patio that overlooks the vineyards – a perfect spot for breakfast on the terrace or wine tasting in the afternoon, The Louise, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

 

The Louise is owned by Managing Director Jim Carreker, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO from the San Francisco, CA, USA region.  Jim personally hosted our luncheon at Appellation that featured local products prepared by Ryan Edwards, Executive Chef, and some wonderful wines from his cellar at the Louise.

 

the-first-course-of-our-luncheon-was-terrine-of-red-beets-with-goats-curd-and-toasted-walnut-vinaigrette-accompanied-by-2014-radford-wines-quartz-garden-riesling-at-appellat

The first course of our luncheon was Terrine of Red Beets with goats’ curd and toasted walnut vinaigrette accompanied by 2014 Radford Wines “Quartz Garden” Riesling at Appellation, The Louise, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

 

our-main-course-was-rare-fillet-of-coorong-angus-beef-with-smoked-potato-lachsschinken-floss-and-buttered-onions-accompanied-by-2007-charles-melton-nine-popes-shiraz-syrah-grenach

Our main course was Rare Fillet of Coorong Angus Beef with smoked potato, lachsschinken floss and buttered onions accompanied by 2007 Charles Melton “Nine Popes” Shiraz (Syrah) Grenache Mouvêdre at Appellation, The Louise, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

 

dessert-was-bittersweet-chocolate-and-dark-fruits-with-cherry-sorbet-vanilla-bean-and-lemon-balm-accompanied-by-2010-milhinch-wines-seize-the-day-fortified-shiraz-at-appellation-th

Dessert was Bittersweet Chocolate and Dark Fruits with cherry sorbet, vanilla bean and lemon balm accompanied by 2010 Milhinch Wines “Seize the Day” Fortified Shiraz at Appellation, The Louise, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

 

Barossa Valley, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

the-adelaide-region-is-home-to-a-number-of-disparate-high-quality-wine-regions-the-most-famous-of-which-and-the-largest-producer-is-the-barossa-valley-adelaide-australia

The Adelaide region is home to a number of disparate high quality wine regions, the most famous of which (and the largest producer) is the Barossa Valley, Adelaide, Australia

 

Acclaimed as one of the world’s great wine regions, the Barossa Valley has been producing wine for over 150 years.  Despite its diminutive size less than 16 miles/25 km long the valley produces over 20% of Australia’s wine, from hearty Shiraz and crisp Riesling to Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro (Mouvedre), Genache and Semillion.  There are several notable wineries in this region including Lehmans’s, Penfold’s, Château 1847 Yaldara, Seppeltsfield, Torbreck, and The Louise.

 

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The winery building and tasting room at Torbreck, a leading Barossa Valley winery, Adelaide, Australia

 

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Our tasting at Torbreck was in the barrel cellar, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, Australia

 

“Torbreck is an Australia winery in the Barossa Valley, founded by David Powell in 1994 [who left the firm in September 2013].  The winery was named one of the World’s Top 100 Wine Estates by Robert Parker [editor of the influential USA newsletter Wine Advocate].  The winery is named after a forest in Scotland where Powell worked as a lumberjack.  The wines are made in a style emulating those of the Rhone Valley and are made from various grapes including red grapes Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro [Mouvedre] as well as white grapes Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne.” – Wikipedia

 

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Somewhat overwhelming, we tasted 13 different white and red wines at 10:00 a.m. at Torbreck winery, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, Australia; excluded was the winery’s flagship wine, The RunRig which is produced form 120- to 160-year-old Shiraz (Syrah) vines and a small amount of (white) Viognier

 

the-vineyards-adjacent-to-the-winery-at-jacobs-creek-wines-australias-largest-wine-brand-with-over-160-years-of-winemaking-in-the-barossa-valley-adelaide-australia

The vineyards adjacent to the winery at Jacob’s Creek Wines, Australia’s largest wine brand with over 160 years of winemaking in the Barossa Valley, Adelaide, Australia

 

a-whimsical-directional-sign-at-jacobs-creek-wines-barossa-valley-adelaide-australia-putting-it-at-the-center-of-the-world

A whimsical directional sign at Jacob’s Creek Wines, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, Australia, putting it at the center of the world

 

jacobs-creek-wines-was-the-first-winery-anywhere-in-our-travels-to-wine-regions-around-the-world-to-have-a-breathometer-sobriety-tester-at-the-exit-of

Jacob’s Creek Wines was the first winery – anywhere in our travels to wine regions around the world – to have a “breathometer” (sobriety tester) at the exit of the tasting room, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, Australia

 

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Seppeltsfield Estate is well known as a fortified wine producer in the Barossa Valley, Adelaide, Australia

 

one-of-the-rare-vintage-tawny-style-fortified-wines-at-seppeltsfield-estate-is-their-100-year-old-para-wine-barossa-valley-adelaide-australia

One of the rare vintage tawny style fortified wines at Seppeltsfield Estate is their 100–year-old “Para” wine, Barossa Valley, Adelaide, Australia

 

Eat Local: Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

our-dining-room-for-a-private-tasting-menu-dinner-with-icon-and-luxury-wine-pairings-at-the-penfolds-magill-estate-restaurant-adelaide-australia-overlooked-the-magill-shiraz-syrah-vineyards

Our dining room for a private tasting menu dinner with Icon and Luxury wine pairings at the Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia, overlooked the Magill Shiraz (Syrah) vineyards, in the middle of which sits the original (1844) Penfolds “cottage”, named “Grange”, that was the residence of the winery’s founder, Christopher Rawson Penfold, an English physician who emigrated to Australia

 

Our visit to Penfolds Magill Estate culminated in a spectacular private dinner in the Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant that overlooks the Magill Shiraz (Syrah) vineyards, in the middle of which sits the original (1844) Penfolds “cottage”, named “Grange”, that was the residence of the winery’s founder, Christopher Rawson Penfold, an English physician who emigrated to Australia.  “The Magill Estate Restaurant combines modern architectural style with the natural attributes of its historic Adelaide foothills location.  Here stunning views, contemporary food, and exemplary service are complemented by a cellar boasting the finest collection of [Penfolds] wines dating back to the creation of the first (experimental) Grange in 1951, to complete one of Australia’s finest food and wine experiences.” – Visit Penfolds brochure

 

the-evening-at-the-table-began-with-snacks-cucumber-and-eel-prawn-nasturtium-comte-gougere-and-more-see-the-next-photograph-accompanied-by-penfolds-2009-bin

The evening at the table began with “snacks”: Cucumber and Eel, Prawn & Nasturtium, Comte Gougére (and more – see the next photograph), accompanied by Penfolds 2009 Bin 51 Riesling, Eden Valley; Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

 

Our dinner was hosted by Zoe Warrington, Penfolds Magill Estate Ambassador and a charming and knowledgeable hostess who made our group of about 30 from our ship feel very much at home at the estate.  Our beverage manager and award winning sommelier had made prior arrangements for our group to not only take over the restaurant (which is normally open to the public) but also to have a menu that really showcased local ingredients and the talents of the restaurant’s award-winning chef accompanied by some of Penfolds’ iconic wines.  This was a holiday season celebration of great food and great wine that none of us will forget!

 

the-evening-at-the-table-began-with-snacks-show-here-scallop-penfolds-magill-estate-restaurant-adelaid

The evening at the table began with “snacks” – show here: Scallop & Ponzu, accompanied by Penfolds 2009 Bin 51 Riesling, Eden Valley; Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

 

our-first-course-was-king-crab-kombu-and-tomato-ice-note-the-fog-mist-rising-up-after-the-ice-was-poured-onto-each-plate-accompanied-by-penfolds-2008-yattarna

Our first course was King Crab, Kombu, and Tomato Ice (note the “fog/mist” rising up after the ice was “poured” onto each plate), accompanied by Penfolds 2008 Yattarna Chardonnay; Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

 

next-up-was-kingfish-wing-black-garlic-puffed-grains-accompanied-by-penfolds-1982-bin-820-cabernet-sauvignon-shiraz-from-coonawarra-of-which-only-1000-bottles-were-produced-and-we-drank-three-of-t

Next up was Kingfish Wing, Black Garlic, Puffed grains accompanied by Penfolds 1982 Bin 820 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz from Coonawarra (of which only 1,000 bottles were produced and we drank three of the last bottles from the Penfolds wine library!); Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

 

our-poultry-course-was-quail-pear-jamon-visible-on-top-penfolds-magill-estate-restaurant-adelaide-australia

Our poultry course was Quail, Pear, Jamón (visible on top) & Parmesan accompanied by Penfolds 1998 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon; Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

 

our-main-course-meat-was-wagyu-beef-carrot-date-penfolds-magill-estate-restaurant-adelaide-australia

Our main course (meat) was Wagyu (beef), Carrot, Date & Almond accompanied by Penfolds 2002 Grange; Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

 

As noted in our previous blog [“Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia”]: “Penfolds Grange (until the 1989 vintage labeled Penfolds Grange Hermitage) is an Australia wine, made predominantly from the Shiraz (Syrah) grape and usually a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is widely considered one of Australia’s “first growth” and its most collectable wine…  Unlike most expensive cult wines rom the Old World which are from single vineyards or even small plots (called blocks) within vineyards, Grange is made from grapes harvested over a wide area.  This means that the precise composition of the wine changes from year to year; it is the expertise of the winemakers which purchasers value, rather than the qualities of the specific places where the grapes are grown, or the particular vines.  The quantity of Penfolds Grange produced varies from year to year, with 1,800 bottles of the original 1951 vintage produced. Gago states that 7,000 to 9,000 cases are made each vintage as of 2013.  Despite the vagaries of grape sourcing and vintage variation due to growing conditions, some believe that there is a consistent and recognisable “Penfolds Grange” style.” – Wikipedia

 

our-dessert-was-baked-cheesecake-ice-cream-mango-penfolds-magill-estate-restaur

Our dessert was Baked Cheesecake Ice Cream, Mango & Passionfruit Snow accompanied by Penfolds Great Grandfather Rare Tawny port-style wine (an average of 30 years old); Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

 

with-coffee-and-tea-we-were-served-petit-fours-passion-fruit-pave-and-chocolates-penfolds-magill-estate-restaurant-adelaide-australia

With coffee and tea we were served Petit Fours (Passion Fruit Pavé and Chocolates); Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, Australia

 

Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia

several-of-the-older-winery-buildings-at-the-penfolds-magill-estate-site-of-the-founding-of-australias-iconic-winery-in-1844-adelaide-australia

Several of the older winery buildings at the Penfolds Magill Estate, site of the founding of Australia’s iconic winery in 1844, Adelaide, Australia

 

Our first wine tasting experience on this visit to Adelaide, Australia (as well as on a previous visit to Adelaide) was a visit to Penfolds Magill Estate.  Penfolds is regarded as one of the iconic Australian wine producers and its Grange wine is world renowned as one of the greatest red wines produced consistently over the past 60+ years.  Nestled in the foothills of Adelaide with views over the city, Magill Estate is one of the world’s few urban single vineyards — only a 15 minutes drive from Adelaide city.  The new Magill Estate Cellar Door wine center offers breathtaking views of the iconic Penfolds vineyards and the original (1844) Penfolds “cottage” (named “Grange”, it was the residence of the winery’s founder, Christopher Rawson Penfold, an English physician who emigrated to Australia) — an excellent setting for visitors to immerse themselves in the history and spirit of Penfolds

 

the-old-wine-barrel-aging-cellar-at-penfolds-magill-estate-adelaide-australia

The old wine barrel-aging cellar at Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia

 

“Australia’s winemaking history of less than two hundred years is brief by European measures, though, like Europe, punctuated by periods of extreme success and difficult times.  From the earliest winemaking days Penfolds has figured prominently and few would argue the importance of Penfolds influence on Australia’s winemaking psyche.  Without the influence of Penfolds the modern Australian wine industry would look very different indeed.  Sitting comfortably outside of fad and fashion, Penfolds has taken Australian wine to the world on a grand stage and forged a reputation for quality that is without peer.  Penfolds has a history and heritage that profoundly reflects Australia’s journey from colonial settlement to the modern era.  Established in 1844, just eight years after the foundation of South Australia, Penfolds has played a pivotal role in the evolution of winemaking in Australia — and across the world.  Penfolds collection of benchmark wines were established in a spirit of innovation and the constant and endless pursuit of quality, evidenced from the secret bottlings of Grange in 1951 and the unbroken line of vintages of what is now Australia’s most iconic wine.” – www.penfolds.com

 

the-original-1844-penfolds-cottage-named-grange-was-the-residence-of-the-winerys-founder-christopher-rawson-penfold-an-english-physician-who-emigrate

The original (1844) Penfolds “cottage”, named “Grange”, was the residence of the winery’s founder, Christopher Rawson Penfold, an English physician who emigrated to Australia, Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia

 

the-living-room-of-the-original-1844-penfolds-cottage-residence-of-the-winerys-founder-christopher-rawson-penfold-penfolds-magill-estate-adelaide-australia

The living room of the original (1844) Penfolds “cottage”, residence of the winery’s founder, Christopher Rawson Penfold; Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia

 

the-kitchen-of-the-original-1844-penfolds-cottage-residence-of-the-winerys-founder-christopher-rawson-penfold-penfolds-magill-estate-adelaide-australia

The kitchen of the original (1844) Penfolds “cottage”, residence of the winery’s founder, Christopher Rawson Penfold; Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia

 

part-of-the-13-acre-shiraz-syrah-vineyard-at-penfolds-magill-estate-adelaide-australia-note-how-the-estate-is-hemmed-in-by-the-suburban-housing-development-precluding-expansion-of-the-vineyards

Part of the 13 acre Shiraz (Syrah) vineyard at Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia; note how the estate is hemmed in by the suburban housing development, precluding expansion of the vineyards

 

one-of-the-original-19th-century-underground-cave-wine-barrel-aging-rooms-at-penfolds-magill-estate-adelaide-australia-now-used-for-vip-tastings

One of the original 19th century underground cave wine barrel aging rooms at Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia – now used for VIP tastings

 

the-underground-cellar-at-penfolds-magill-estate-adelaide-australia-houses-the-estates-collection-of-early-grange-bottles-shown-here-are-two-of-the-third-vintage-produced-1953-a

The underground cellar at Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia houses the estate’s collection of early Grange bottles – shown here are two of the third vintage produced (1953) and 1964, all signed by the winemaker Max Schubert

 

“Penfolds Grange (until the 1989 vintage labeled Penfolds Grange Hermitage) is an Australia wine, made predominantly from the Shiraz (Syrah) grape and usually a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is widely considered one of Australia’s “first growth” and its most collectable wine…  Unlike most expensive cult wines from the Old World which are from single vineyards or even small plots (called blocks) within vineyards, Grange is made from grapes harvested over a wide area.  This means that the precise composition of the wine changes from year to year; it is the expertise of the winemakers which purchasers value, rather than the qualities of the specific places where the grapes are grown, or the particular vines.  The quantity of Penfolds Grange produced varies from year to year, with 1,800 bottles of the original 1951 vintage produced.  [Winemaker since 2002, Peter] Gago states that 7,000 to 9,000 cases are made each vintage as of 2013.  Despite the vagaries of grape sourcing and vintage variation due to growing conditions, some believe that there is a consistent and recognisable ‘Penfolds Grange’ style.”– Wikipedia

 

the-vip-grange-tasting-room-in-the-new-cellar-door-wine-center-with-older-vintages-of-grange-in-the-display-racks-and-a-custom-made-decanter-a-spectacular-glass-design-near-the-window-to-the-main-t

The VIP Grange tasting room in the new Cellar Door wine center with older vintages of Grange in the display racks and a custom made decanter (a spectacular glass design!) near the window to the main tasting room, Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia

 

The history of Grange: “In 1957, [Penfolds Chief Winemaker] Max Schubert was asked to show his efforts in Sydney to top management, invited wine identities and personal friends of the board.  To his horror and humiliation the Grange experiment was universally disliked.  Even further tastings in Adelaide resulted in negative opinion.  One critic observed, ‘Schubert, I congratulate you. A very good, dry port, which no one in their right mind will buy – let alone drink.’  Embarrassed, angry and dejected, Max Schubert’s ambitions to make ‘a great wine that Australians would be proud of’ were completely destroyed.  Grange was dead.   It was the happenstance of distance between senior management in Sydney and winemakers in Adelaide, 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) apart, which saved Grange.  With the help of Magill’s assistant general manager Jeffrey Penfold Hyland and Schubert’s team of winemakers, all the experimental Grange was hidden in the underground cellars of Magill and from 1957 to 1959, the ‘hidden Granges’ were made without the knowledge of the Penfolds board.  Max Schubert continued to source fruit and make his experiments in secret.  Although management was kept away, friends and associates were occasionally brought in to taste the wines.  Some bottles were even given away.  Although considered uncommercial in 1957, news was filtering out about Schubert’s unique Grange Hermitage.  A second tasting with the same board members was organised of the 1951 and 1955 vintages, both with bottle age development, were greeted with enthusiasm (the 1955 went on to have a very successful wine show career).  The Penfolds board ordered production of Grange to restart, just in time for the 1960 vintage.  During the 1960s Grange firmed its position as Australia’s most distinguished wine.  The rest is history.  It marked the beginning of a ‘dynasty of wines’ that would capture the imagination of the Australian wine consumer.” – www.penfolds.com

 

a-portion-of-the-library-collection-of-older-grange-wines-here-the-1998-through-2003-vintages-penfolds-magill-estate-adelaide-australia

A portion of the library collection of older Grange wines, here the 1998 through 2003 vintages, Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide, Australia

Margaret River Wineries (part II), Western Australia, Australia

vineyard-and-winery-with-stainless-steel-tanks-visible-voyager-estate-winery-margaret-river-region-australia

Vineyard and winery with stainless steel tanks visible, Voyager Estate (winery), Margaret River region, Australia

 

Margaret River is the only region in Australia where you can hop from award-winning wineries to stunning beaches, tall-timber forests, world-class surf breaks and ancient caves. It is located approximately three hours’ drive south of Perth.

 

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The Cape Dutch style architecture Voyager Estate (winery) tasting room and restaurant, Margaret River region, Australia

 

On our second day of touring wineries in the Margaret River we visited Voyager Estate first in the morning.  The property is beautifully landscaped, with formal gardens on the side of the walk to the Cape Dutch architecture tasting room and restaurant, with a formal rose garden beyond.  We particularly enjoyed the Broadvale Block 6 Chardonnay and bought both the 2014 and 2010 vintages to bring back to our home on the ship.

 

the-formal-rose-garden-on-the-grounds-of-voyager-estate-winery-margaret-river-region-australia

The formal rose garden on the grounds of Voyager Estate (winery), Margaret River region, Australia

 

“Wine, food, family and friends come together at Voyager Estate.  Located in the famous Margaret River region in Western Australia, Voyager Estate creates outstanding wines that are skillfully matched with the finest local produce.   Founder Michael Wright settled on the Stevens Valley site because it had the ideal characteristics to create beautiful wine.  With vineyards established in 1978, Voyager Estate is blessed with the raw materials required to make great wine.  From this strong foundation, the vineyard and winemaking team, led by Steve James, apply their craft and uncompromising passion to create elegant wines that do justice to their place in Margaret River.” – ultimatewineryexperiences.com.au

 

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The “VIP” tasting room at Voyager Estate (winery), Margaret River region, Australia

 

leeuwin-estate-is-set-on-a-former-cattle-ranch-and-its-wood-and-adobe-building-with-a-corrugated-metal-roof-appears-a-bit-dated-at-first-margaret-river-region-australia

Leeuwin Estate is set on a former cattle ranch and its wood-and-adobe building with a corrugated-metal roof appears a bit dated at first, Margaret River region, Australia

 

“Leeuwin Estate, which is Margaret River’s most famous winery and is renowned for its rich and complex Art Series Chardonnays, also feels worlds away from reality. Set on a former cattle ranch, the wood-and-adobe building with a corrugated-metal roof appears a bit dated at first. The modernized interior, however, has both a farm-to-table restaurant and a gallery showing paintings by Aussie artists.

 

margaret-rivers-most-famous-winery-leeuwin-estate-is-renowned-for-its-rich-and-complex-art-series-chardonnays-margaret-river-region-australia

Margaret River’s most famous winery, Leeuwin Estate, is renowned for its rich and complex Art Series Chardonnays, Margaret River region, Australia

 

the-modernized-interior-of-leeuwin-estates-main-building-houses-the-tasting-room-and-restaurant-with-a-gallery-downstairs-showing-paintings-by-aussie-artists-that-are-used-on-the-art-serie

The modernized interior of Leeuwin Estate’s main building houses the tasting room (and restaurant), with a gallery downstairs showing paintings by Aussie artists that are used on the Art Series wine labels, Margaret River region, Australia

 

“’People like an adventure—they like to find you at the end of the road,’ says Tricia Horgan, who founded Leeuwin in 1974 with her husband, Denis. ‘And we have more than a hundred thousand visitors a year, so they figure it out.’ Many of these guests come for the summer outdoor concert series, which takes place on the lush lawn every year. The two chipper septuagenarians don’t make wine anymore, but are never far away from whatever’s going on at Leeuwin. When I stopped by for a tasting, the Horgans told me that back in the early days, they enlisted the help of a knowledgeable friend. ‘Neither of us knew anything before we met Bob Mondavi,’ recalled Tricia, of the man who put Napa Valley wine on the map. He told us what to plant and where to plant it.’” — Travel and Leisure (Magazine), November 15, 2016

 

we-had-lunch-outside-on-the-terrace-of-leeuwin-estates-farm-to-table-restaurant-whose-interior-is-pictured-here-margaret-river-region-australia

We had a wine tasting (5 varietals) with food pairings, followed by a delicious, multi-course lunch outside on the terrace of Leeuwin Estate’s farm-to-table restaurant whose interior is pictured here; Margaret River region, Australia

 

Moss Wood was our last winery visit of the day and we were treated to an extensive cellar tour and barrel tasting.  It was quite educational to taste two 2016 cabernet sauvignons that have been in very different barrels for just 4 months following the spring 2016 harvest (one 16 years old and the other only 7 years old).  (Northern Hemisphere readers need to remember that “Down Under” has the seasons “reversed” from the north, so grape harvesting is in roughly March and April – their fall season.)   We could actually see a big difference already in the tannins and oak that the wines had absorbed so far, with another 14 months to go.  Tasting the older vintages from bottles showed that the finished wines were very good and represent the top wines of the estate.

 

the-eucalyptus-trees-are-a-dead-giveaway-that-the-vineyards-are-in-australia-here-the-moss-wood-estate-where-we-had-a-superb-cellar-tour-and-barrel-tasting-margaret-river-region-australia

The eucalyptus trees are a dead giveaway that the vineyards are in Australia – here the Moss Wood estate where we had a superb cellar tour and barrel tasting, Margaret River region, Australia

 

Drink local: Calvados Christian Drouin (The Christian Drouin Calvados Estate), Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

After our tour of the estate, we had an opportunity to taste, with local cheeses, the three highest quality blended calvados offerings from Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

After our tour of the estate, we had an opportunity to taste, with local cheeses, the three highest quality blended calvados offerings from Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

A little ways northwest of Pont-Leveque (famous for its eponymous mild, cows milk cheese packaged in a square wooden box) is the commune of Coudray-Rabut, in the heart of the Calvados region – about one-half hour’s drive south of the Normandy coast and Deauville, Trouville, and Honfleur (where we were docked).

Calvados is a distinctive apple brandy produced only within the boundaries of the Calvados appellation contrôlée.

 

The estate, representative of the local architecture of the 17th century, comprises a group of half-timbered buildings; Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

The estate, representative of the local architecture of the 17th century, comprises a group of half-timbered buildings; Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

We visited the Christian Drouin Calvados Estate which is located in the heart of the region.  The estate was originally located near Honfleur until 1990 when Christian Drouin Junior moved the production to a former cider farm in Coudray-Rabut.  The estate, representative of the local architecture of the 17th century, comprises a group of half-timbered buildings: the press-house, the stillroom, store-rooms where the spirits are aged in barriques, the bottling plant, and a small manor house.

 

The apple orchard in the Estate is a traditional high-stem orchard, planted and grafted between 1991 and 1993, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

The apple orchard in the Estate is a traditional high-stem orchard, planted and grafted between 1991 and 1993, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

Over 30 different apple varieties are grown and pressed for the Calvados and cider.  The resulting juice is distilled in copper stills and then aged in large oak casks (barriques).  We had a chance to taste Pommeau (a blend of apple juice and Calvados brandy) along with several local Norman cheeses, followed by the three highest quality blended calvados offerings from Calvados Christian Drouin (see the top photograph).  As a special treat, our host, Christian Drouin Junior, let us enjoy some of the rare and delicious single vintage Calvados bottlings – 1990 and 1995.

 

One of the store-rooms where the spirits are aged in barriques, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

One of the store-rooms where the spirits are aged in barriques, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

A bottle of “Calvados Pomme Prisonnier” – Calvados in a glass bottle with a whole apple (now fermented) that was grown in the orchard inside the bottle; Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

A bottle of “Calvados Pomme Prisonnier” – Calvados in a glass bottle with a whole apple (now fermented) that was grown in the orchard inside the bottle; Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

 

The very special single vintage bottles of Calvados – of the past 25 years’ selection, we liked the 1990 (aged in a former Cognac barrique) the best;, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France

The very special single vintage bottles of Calvados – of the past 25 years’ selection, we liked the 1990 (aged in a former Cognac barrique) the best;, Calvados Christian Drouin, Coudray-Rabut, Normandy region, France