6.42pm, Friday 12th June, Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Evening folks, and where the heck did that last two weeks dissolve to?? We’ve been busier than a one armed barmaid, I know that, and I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning.
So here’s a quick catch up. Since the night we opened my last bottle of 1996 Yalumba D Black Sparkiling Shiraz two weeks ago up in Newcastle NSW, it’s been a whistlestop run back down to Sydney, home to swap one suitcase of dirty clothes for a new set of clean ones, then into the teeth of a Tasmanian gale – nearly got blown off the edge of the island last Monday – and across here to whip around Melbourne. Here in the elegant capital of Victoria, we presented the Rare & Fine wines to 24 venue and dining hotels and 30 consumers from Kew – a big wine event splash into town in only two days and nights. We do not muck around when we’re on the road folks!
So here’s the best pictorial representation that I can put together for you from the last 14 days – sorry because sometimes I just plumb forget to take pictures! And sometimes I do take pictures – on the phone – and they don’t synchronise with this I pad thingy, so where there’s gaps – it wasn’t my intention. The good news is that all goes well. Some folks that didn’t know us well and that were under the impression that we were a fuddy duddy old winery not doing anything terribly trendy have been completely pleasantly surprised……and folks down in Hobart, Tasmania that hadn’t seen us for a while just didn’t seem to want to go home……the best possible compliment! – big ‘thanks very much’ for the sensational hospitality James, Fiona, the Hobart trade (you know who you are!) and the consumer wine brigade from Cool Wine – promise it won’t be as long between drinks and we’ll get ourselves back to your town as soon as we can.
So here we go.
DAY 1 : Newcastle, NSW
We followed the trade tasting at the Customs House Hotel with a long table consumer dinner with Neil Slater at Scratchleys on the Wharf……got so carried away with the evening didn’t take one photo! It was a big night out with a seriously on side crowd that loves Yalumba…….and not a word about the local ‘supastar anaethsitist’ who was determined to take his shirt off!! Thanks to our man up that way Richard…..and to Neil….for making Newcastle such a Yalumba stronghold.
DAY 2 : Newcastle to Sydney
Another lovely morning on Newcastle harbour, and even the tug boats were sensibly sleeping in as the sun poked up over the coastline. We were headed back to Sydney for events, but first it was a breakfast time catch up with Mick, one of our top local private clients, at Cha Chaz – one of our favourite Yalumba houses in The Junction part of town.
Sorry, no photos again – intense session, as I had some pretty curly in depth questions from our mate Ian Cook at Five Way Cellars – always keeping me honest!
NEXT DAY! Saturday 13th June – Back in the Barossa Valley now folks, nice uneventful flight out of Melbourne airport – still buzzing from the Malaysian Airlines engine fire earlier in the day – back to Adelaide, then had the roads to myself for the drive north to the Valley. So today’s job? A load of washing, re pack the suitcase and get set for the last two weeks of the Rare & Fine roadshow – two weeks from Cairns and Port Douglas down to the Gold Coast. And…..there’s a new cafe in the Valley – up in the top right hand corner of the Barossa, in a town called Stockwell – so that’s where we’re off to for lunch. But let’s get back to the last two weeks that just whipped past.
DAY 3 : Sydney, NSW
Today was all about doing a lunch with some old friends of the Yalumba family, and it was in a very quiet corner of a Serengeti styled long room steakhouse – The Meat & Wine Co. – tucked into the side of the Intercontinental Hotel lobby at Circular Quay. Just look for these brass and mesh doors –
Then the steps and around past the bar, all timber, brush, leather and stone……with the black and white photographs of Africa setting it all off
This is definitely the right place to show off shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the fabulous combination of the two that is old school Australian ‘claret’…….the steaks were a work of carnivorous art! If you’re keen to tap into your inner cave bloke or gal – then The Meat & Wine Co is for you! Having said that though, we started with a share plate featuring pork belly and prawns with our exotic aromatics the Eden Valley Viognier and Virgilius.
From one part of Sydney Harbour – Circular Quay – it was off to another section of the same water – Felix Bay. Here you’ll find the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, built at the foot of the Point Piper hills, right on the southern shoreline of the Harbour. It’s a bit of an adventure finding the place – which is half the fun….
We were thrilled to bits to be invited in to do their first ever proper feature Wine Dinner. Full house folks – 60 people on the yacht club deck, heavy duty plastic walls zipped into place to keep a pretty serious Sydney winter night shut right out……and what a top night out! Looks like we may very well have an annual booking at the club, and the 2012 Signature is now on at the bar. Couldn’t think of a nicer crowd to sail…..and drink Signature…..with! Thanks a million Tracey for making it all happen……and to our Dearne and Garth for the set up, pouring, follow up and getting me from A to B all the time. Love being the three musketeers around Sydney with you.
Nearly forgot the food at the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club dinner! Here’s the nice piece of fish for the viognier….didn’t take any other photos folks, as I was flat out getting around the tables, making new friends for Yalumba, and giving out lots of theatre and restaurant suggestions for travellers to New York, London, and the Barossa!!
That was it for a big wine day and night out in Australia’s Harbour City, so we’ll finish this blog there, and do a whole new one for our finish off day in Sydney – wine and food matching lunch with one of the hottest stoves in Sydney right now – the Green Peppercorn in the Civic Hotel in the city. See you when it gets really spicy!!