Wine and Cheese tasting in the Hunter Valley

Cessnock Travel Blog

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Kevin Sobels Wines

Friday was a glorious day.  I joined a small tour organised by the YHA with the sole intent to get leathered on fine wines and talk rubbish like they do on TV - Oh yes, I can taste peppermint with honey and a hint of… grapes maybe?

 

The intimate crew consisted of 4 young students from America; A French Canadian and her Germany boyfriend (love moves in mysterious way), 2 beer drinking lads from Melbourne, Irish Michelle, English Yvonne and my self.

Lindemans
  The tour cost $50, and it was worth every penny for a great day out.  I have to excuse my self at this point because earlier in my blog I did say that I wasn’t coming to Australia to get plastered and all I seem to write about is drunken antics, well, old habits die heard.

 

There are more than 120 wineries in the Hunter Valley, but our choice was limited to a small selection of 5, which frankly was enough by the end of the day. We started off with a small family run business, Kevin Sobels Wines and tried 4 whites and 4 reds, plus a few ports.  This line-up was the same at every other winery and the idea is that you start off with the light stuff and move on to the heavier wines, finally the ports knock you out.

Lindemans
  My attitude was of genuine interest, so I asked many questions and learnt a lot of interesting facts on the art of winemaking, if only I could remember any!  Next up was Lindemans, much bigger business and a well known name.  Here, aside from the wine tasting, they also had a selection of bread dips, which I don’t think were included in our tour but we all tucked in like hungry sharks, the chilli one was great.  Thirdly we stopped at McGuigan Cellars, which is next door to the Hunter Valley cheese factory shop, now that hit the spot!  Oh I love cheese, more than I love chillies, and these were proper Australian award winning cheeses.  The only disappointment were the portions, I know we were supposed to get just a taste of them but every bite was about the size and thickness of a post stamp, come on girl… this is torture!  Slap on a decent slice!  The forth winery was another small family business, Drayton’s.  Apparently they had a huge explosion in the factory last year, killing a member of the family and a technician.
Cheese Factory
  Their wines were pretty good, we all agreed, partly because we were pissed and partly because none of us knew a thing about good or bad wine.  The final stop was a place called the Golden Grape Estate, where they produce a selection of schnapps.  We tried various different drinks, all good, but the best was kept for last.  The name says it all ‘Dragons Breath’, it’s a chilli schnapps and boy was it hot.  I had to buy a bottle of it for future reference.  It was a fun ride back and a good day out, I’m none the wiser about wines but I’ve discovered a new schnapps drink I like, that’s a bonus.     

 

To top up the good day, the girls and I went out for the night and carried on drinking.

  There’s a good pub about 20 minutes walk from the YHA called the Delany, where they play live music most nights.  They had a good band on and I was particularly happy to be able to hit the dance floor again at 7 month from having surgery on my left knee, Elvis is back (that’s a private joke for my friends :-)  Let’s hope I don’t get carried away… on a stretcher.

 

Along my travels, I have met a number of interesting characters, and here’s another one to add to my collection, Rhett.  I met him in my last few days at the YHA, he’s an Holistic Healer from Brisbane.  Now, I’ve never been a great believer in holistic healing, because I only believe in what I see, so I was particularly interested to pick his brains and find out what I was missing out on.

McGuigan
  Well, he gave me an iridology reading, which sounds painful but it’s actually a diagnosis of your health through the inspection of your eyes.  It was fascinating, he was fairly accurate with my problems and was even able to tell me that a while ago I suffered a nasty injury (3 years ago I torn a ligament in my knee).  I wanted to know how he did it and what he looked for in the eyes, so he showed me a load of photos and diagrams.  I couldn’t make out much from his info but this is a very interesting subject and I will definitely ‘look’ into it when I have the chance.    

 

I left on Tuesday, Frank got up at 6 to get ready for his interview so I wished him good luck.  The night before he ask me all sorts of questions about interviews and how to pass them, as if I were an expert.  I told him what I knew.  Later in the week I got a text message from him.  Frank got the job!  Nice one buddy.

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Kevin Sobels Wines
Kevin Sobels Wines
Lindemans
Lindemans
Lindemans
Lindemans
Cheese Factory
Cheese Factory
McGuigan
McGuigan
Draytons
Drayton's
Dragons Breath, hot stuff
Dragons Breath, hot stuff
Golden Grape Estate
Golden Grape Estate
me and Tex, hes the funnies guy I…
me and Tex, he's the funnies guy …
Yvonne and Michelle
Yvonne and Michelle
Group photo
Group photo
Beauty and the Beast!
Beauty and the Beast!
Cessnock
photo by: o_mendfornd