Il Vino Veritas

The wait was over. It had been long enough time to go and visit a familiar region – one that anyone who has visited or lived in Sydney is quite familiar with. We had not really thought too much about visiting this little corner of the world as it has been ‘on our doorstep’ since we took up residence in Sydney.

Now, it was time and it started, as most adventures do, with a throw away comment…

We would love to go to the Hunter. We haven’t been there yet!

Before you could say Montepulciano – six of us had a wee overnight trip planned.

That morning Rowan collected us in the morning and we drove up to our base of operations – Cypress Lakes Resort in Pobolkin.The Hunter Region is situated around 120km north of Sydney and we had a bit of a scenic drive up the M1 after we cleared northern suburbia.

The Hunter Region is named after the Hunter River that runs right through it. That river was named after the second Governor of New South Wales and native of Edinburgh – Captain John Hunter in 1797. (He was also the first person to surmise that Tasmania was an island). The concentration of rich pasture in the uppermost section of the valley has led to it becoming the largest horse breeding areas of the world and has produced most of the countries best racehorses. But we didn’t travel all this way for some fillies, we came here for it’s other major export – wine!!

So that everyone in the group could partake we decided to rent some bicycles. After nearly 20 monthes on the road these would turn out to be the shoddiest bikes we had used. Karen tried to use bell and it came off in her hand. It also had quite a lot of spokes on first inspection until we realized it was an elaborate cobweb. Our first real warning sign came when the guy gave us a fiver off each bike for no good reason.

So away we went…and five minutes later we were at our first stop. – Tamburlaine. A bit of a rogue this one as it is a completely Organic outfit and can lay claim to be Australia’s largest Organic Wineyard that was also celebrating 30 years in business. This was a pretty good first stop with some interesting fruity wines and a bit of gossip from the barkeep who told us about how he got the phone number off a mysterious woman called Beryl! (It was probably just his wife).

Karen and I bought a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon and left it behind to be collected the following morning.

As we left the building we noticed a steampunk inspired statue of a Mongol Warrior. No doubt serving as an Avatar to the wineyard’s namesake – Turco Mongol Emperor Tamerlane (pronounced as Tamburlaine in some texts).

We took an immediate break from wine and headed to Cafe Enzo for an open air lunch in the grounds of David Hook’s Cellar Door. The food was right up our street but the beetroot went right down john’s shorts legs..such a messy pup!! With such a feast partaken we decided to cycle along the back trails to get to our next few wineries. With no audience or other traffic to speak of – Cindy turned up the tunes as we enjoyed a country cycle.

That is until we reached the massive hill on Thomson’s Road. With no real gears to speak of we were – all of us – off the bikes and having to push them over the crest of the hill before enjoying a great glide back down into Pobolkin Town.

Winery two was called Cockfighter’s Ghost. No honestly that was the name!

Cockfighter was a horse whose ghostly apparition spends its time haunting the surrounding areas. It’s also a stunning setting for a wedding – with great views across the valley.

Our last stop was the nearby Tulloch Estate and they had some serious wines.
The Cellar Door is called Glen Elgin – a nod to the Glen Elgin Distillery in Speyside perhaps? There is definitely a Scottish connection as it was established by Scottish immigrant John Younnie Tulloch in 1895 and there has been a Stark in Winterfell, ahem Tulloch in Glen Elgin ever since!

We really enjoyed ourselves here – even Karen finished every glass and they were very generous with the tastings. We were smitten and proceeded to buy 4 bottles – oops!

The sun was coming down as we bounded out of Glen Elgin, gifting us with quite a striking skyline as well as a fear of being caught on the bikes after dark. With that the ‘Peloton’ headed back for the safety of Cypress Lakes.

That evening we finished it with a great session in Harrigan’s – the only pub in town. Less said the better – especially for Anthony 🙂

While we were dancing the night away Papa Smurf (Rowan) was curled up on the couch in front of the fire. He was too old for this s%^t!

According to Greek Mythology when Pandora opened a box all the Evils in the World flew out.

Well they must have all met up at a certain cafe in Pobolkin as we finished our meal both hungry and disappointed but $40 worse off. Karen is still making monthly payments on that gluten free toast. Ridiculous.

But what about what was left in the box? What about Hope?

Well they have a Cellar Door and Lisha and Tones are now members! 🙂

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