No doubt, Hunter Valley is a wine region and true that you do need to be somewhat into wine to really enjoy and appreciate this wine country. I’ve been to Hunter Valley numerous times and seriously thought that I’d only need to visit this region a couple few more times then I am done, I’d have seen it all and no need to come back again. Unless your name is James Halliday and have visited all 150 wineries in the region, if not then my friend, there are still over 6,000 hectares of vineyards for you to unearth.
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.
The hills are alive.
With the sound of swirling wine that is. A full weekend itinerary was given to me by Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism, soon enough The Pom and I have organised a house-sitter to look after our pets, bags are packed, bicycles are loaded onto the car and we are setting off to the lushious green wine region for an indulgence weekend to unearth the secrets of Hunter Valley.
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.
The Hunter Valley is abundant with some really amazing food experiences, and we are lucky enough to boast a myriad of talented chefs throughout the region. We caught up with Donna Hollis, Executive Chef of RidgeView Restaurant, to get to know a bit about her job, and she even gave us a yummy Chocolate Fondant recipe to try at home!