BAROSSA VALLEY: WHERE GRANGE GOES WITH PIES
Trip Start Mar 15, 2011
35Trip End Jun 11, 2011
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Where I stayed
The Tanunda Hotel
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Read my review - 3/5 stars
That was until we took a wrong turn as soon as we got out of the car! What was meant to be a 7km sign-posted roundtrip through bushland and an old sandstone mine ended up a meander down a horse track. Oops. We noted the lack of signs, and by the time we reached a roadway leading to some farms and a winery, we realised we'd totally misread the map and missed out on the walk! Still, we managed to see a bunch of kangaroos in the adjoining paddock and found a delightful log to act as our breakfast table, and sank our teeth into our lovely breakfast (which may otherwise be described as the leftovers from our cheesey lunch the day before!).
We arrived back in Tanunda in time for our appointment with Jan, our tourguide for the day. Her's was an impossible brochure to go past - it was a gold coloured number showing Jan in front of her bronze 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air. Magic. Another true Barossa local, she turned out to be just as fabulous a guide as Tony the day before. And so we cruised around in remarkable style to Charles Melton, Chateau Tanunda, Villa Tinto, Gibsons and Langmeil.
Again, we were able to have great chats with the winemakers and Jan even talked our way into one place that was officially closed. This one was Villa Tinto, and the husband and wife winemaking team was in the throws of closing up the house to head up to Adelaide for the day. We walked in while the wife was on the phone sorting out some utilities, and the husband was running around the garden chasing the cat, trying to get it back in the house before they left. It was just hilarious, and in great local style they threw open the doors to us and opened a stack of bottles while giving us a concise history of the rather apathetic cat.
One of the true highlights of the day was the 'Jan Platter' - the delicious assortment of meats and cheeses we had for lunch at Kaessler Winery. It contained her special orders for the kitchen staff, and took our usual 'cheese platter' lunch to a new level, with delicious German sausages and other accoutrements.
Given our food disaster the previous evening, we managed to book ourselves in for dinner at FermentAsian - but not, of course, before we'd watched that evening's edition of Masterchef! And so we wandered off for our meal at 8.45pm, which turned out to be amazing. It's a Vietnamese fusion restaurant, and was completely packed. It seemed apparent that some were travelling up from Adelaide to eat there, and it was well worth it. Our only regret was that we'd already eaten so much that day that we couldn't fit much in!
We were due to fly back to Sydney on Thursday afternoon, but had a few more things to fit in. Firstly, we headed back to Penfolds for the 2006 Grange release and our surprise free tasting. We were there as the doors opened at 8.30am with a stack of other enthusiasts, although we were rather thrilled to see we were the youngest there! They were offering meat pies and pasties for anyone walking in, and much to Erin's bemusement, she was the only one taking them up! Several of the winemakers were on the floor, chatting to all the would-be Grange buyers. We weren't so sure on the 2006 and asked him about how the taste would change over time. He started giving us a few descriptions and told us about how amazing it would taste with meat. I don't think he quite expected Erin to say, "Yes, it already tastes terrific with the meat pie." He walked away at that point.
Was a fun session though, and grabbing our new vintage we decided to give the walk we'd tried on Wednesday another stab - this time without having to rush back for a tour. We made sure we took the correct entrance this time, and had a terrific walk around the Alton Scrub, spotting loads more kangaroos and getting into the beautiful countryside bordering the vineyards.
Our last splash in the Barossa region was to dine at one of the other restaurants we'd missed out on - 1918. We'd booked in there for lunch, fearing we'd fall foul to its popularity again, but found we were only one of three tables in there for the day. Again, it was simply amazing local food and well worth heading back to Tanunda for the tasting! We rolled back to the airport in the afternoon, fearing the worst would come to our rather substantial haul. Luckily for us, they were pretty generous on that front and seemed more concerned with whether or not we had a great time in South Australia (and would we tell our friends?) than trying to penalise us with being overweight. And so we were northward bound rather content and feeling that we probably shouldn't eat / drink for at least a week. Great time to have a birthday party then...
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