Hola from the Hunter Valley! No, not the Hunter Valley of Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is, in fact, the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. As we made our way up the drive of Casa La Vina we half expected the Three Amigos to be facing down El Guapo’s men in the bell tower. But this place is anything but Western schtick. I can honestly say this is the best accommodation I’ve ever stayed.
When there’s three pigs in the back paddock named Chop Chop, Salami2 and Crackle, you get the feeling the night’s feast will be fresh. We spot the pig pen before walking into Restaurant Botanica at Spicers Vineyards Estate in the Hunter valley but luckily don’t find out their names until after we’ve ordered.
Why bother wine when driving? I’ve always wondered why we do it. If you’re a couple or car-pooling, someone always draws the short straw as the designated driver. Yes, the idea of wine tasting is to sip and spit, but on all the trips I’ve taken to the Hunter Valley, there seems to be more of a “sit and savour” attitude to wine tasting. Throw in a few long lunches, because wineries seem to have the best restaurants these days, and you’re over the limit.
So who you gonna call? The GrapeMobile.
Our long-awaited return to the Australia’s oldest producing wine region has finally happened just recently, and the Hunter Valley never fails to amaze and inspire as I am yet slowly unearthing more hidden gems among the tangled vines. We picked the last crop grapes at Mount View during the harvest time in March, and this time we will be in the midst of pruning season at Hermitage Road. There are plenty of activities to be discovered, fine wine to be drank and scrumptious feast to be devoured. But first, let’s check into our little weekend getaway at Billabong Moon.
Picture speaks a thousand words, and you wonder where this wine region got its name from. Mount
Viewis only 20 minutes south of Pokolbin, it is a wine region in Hunter Valley that is less frequented by visitors, including myself. This is actually my first visit to Mount View and I think I have fallen in love with Hunter Valley all over again. Seriously, with a view like this, I don’t think I need to put much effort to convince you to come and discover Hunter Valley yourself.
What do you do for a living? Ever been asked this question and wanted to say “I’m an astronaut/lion tamer/lolly maker”? Well this year I’m a Hunter Valley Ambassador Blogger and I’m telling it to anyone who’s asking, even those that aren’t. Billy Law www.atablefortwo.com.au and Siobhan Curran www.cookingfromtheheart.com.au are my co-workers in what has to be the world’s greatest office. We’ll spend 2012 popping up to the Hunter Valley, with the tough gig of ferreting out some the region’s secrets. You’ll be able
to follow our adventures on our blogs, the Hunter Valley Wine Country blog www.winecountry.com.au and the twitter #hvsecrets.