This time last year we were visiting family back in Australia and took the opportunity to take some time out in the Hunter Valley. Located around 100 miles north of Sydney, the Hunter is one of the largest river valleys on the NSW coast, most commonly known for its wineries and coal industry. We were not there for the coal.
A Lonely Planet recommendation lead us to book into the gorgeous Buffs at Pokolbin. We stayed in one of the 4 cedar cottages, amongst 100 acres of bushland with Roos hopping about under the gum trees. Plus Tyrrell’s winery was just down the track.
Tyrrell’s, established in 1858, is one of Australia’s biggest family owned wine companies, producing some of the country’s most awarded wines. The company is a member of Australia’s First Families of Wine.
As we were being proper tourists, we booked onto the vineyard tour. Stunning sunshine welcomed us onto the gentle slopes as our guide showed us the beautiful vines, some over a hundred years old. All at Tyrrell’s speak with an abundance of enthusiasm, knowledge and love for their wine as they share both the modern and more historical processes behind the winemaking. Our guide shared tales of the family history and the sore heads following the Tyrrell’s winemakers reunion, while casually reminding us to watch out for the recently spotted Red Bellied Black snake. When I was a kid I almost trod on one – barefoot down by a creek.
Sampling was undoubtedly a highlight of the tour. Perched besides an underused spittoon, I sampled their finest: the Vat 1 Semillon which is considered to be one of Australia’s absolute best – a wine that improves beautifully with age.
This January, in muddy Cornwall, we are planning a return trip to the Hunter for 2017 – we just can’t wait.