Australia help needed

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Will Lewis
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Australia help needed

#1 Post by Will Lewis » January 21st, 2019, 4:43 pm

As a gift for my wife's 50th birthday, we are going to Sydney in March. We have family friends in Melbourne (though they've agreed to come to Sydney), and are considering going there as well. From what I can tell, the Hunter Valley is near Sydney, and the Yarra Valley is near Melbourne. I know, sounds like a great trip, right?

The problem is, back when we drank a lot of Shiraz, it appears most, if not all of the wine we loved is out of McLauren Vale, which is nowhere near either Sydney or Melbourne. Right now, we have a total of 8 days in the country, and we are really only planning one going to 1 region.

Wines I remember loving were: Dead Arm; Wild Witch; Nine; Noon; Torbreck, etc. Domestic wines (not Syrah at all) we love: Abreu; Justin (Isosceles); Hundred Acre; Araujo; Kosta Browne; Sea Smoke; Leonetti; Scarecrow; Sine Qua Non; Sojourn (Pinot), etc.. I tell you this so you get an idea of the style, tastes (and pricing) we like/are open to as much as possible.

I am trying to figure out, as much as possible, to go to Sydney, see our friends (again, who will come to Sydney), and go to 1 great wine region that matches our tastes. I am wondering if I can do all of that by going either to Yarra or Hunter, or if we are looking at McLauren no matter what.

I am truly geographically challenged when it comes to Australia (and, until today, where the wineries I love are located), so any assistance would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.

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Jeremy Holmes
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Re: Australia help needed

#2 Post by Jeremy Holmes » January 21st, 2019, 10:59 pm

Hi Will,

The Hunter is about 2 hours drive from Sydney. The Yarra is about an hour's drive from Melbourne. McLaren Vale is about 45 minutes drive from Adelaide. If you are basing yourself in Sydney, Melbourne is an hour's flight away and Adelaide is about an hour and a half. The two major domestic airlines are Qantas and Virgin, both will have regular flights.

The Barossa is an hour from Adelaide. Make sure you come here, some exciting things happening.

Cheers
Jeremy
ITB

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Dave English
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Re: Australia help needed

#3 Post by Dave English » January 22nd, 2019, 12:37 am

If you are a McClaren Vale fan, I'd probably fly directly to Adelaide, then onto McLaren Vale for 2-3 days. Then fly to Sydney, meet your friends, do the Sydney sights, and then fly home. You have named a Barossa Valley winery in your list, the issue is that McLaren Vale is south of Adelaide and the Barossa is directly north of it. Barossa is more geared to tourists (to be honest) so you can visit Torbreck, Rockford, Greenock Creek, Seppeltfield (try the 100yo port) etc, these are all makers of big wines which should suit your palate.

Fly to Adelaide - Travel up to the Barossa - 2-3 days (about 90min drive)
Fly to Sydney - 5 days (you could squeeze Hunter Valley in but they are stylistically very different with their Shiraz) (see other post just recently on Sydney tips of what to do)
Fly home.

TimK
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Re: Australia help needed

#4 Post by TimK » January 22nd, 2019, 12:43 am

https://wineberserkers.com/forum/viewto ... 9&t=157322

I see Bret has the same idea!!

You said 'When you used to drink Shiraz.... Do you still? Anyway, it's a generalisation of course, but I think Hunter Valley wines may not be to your wine taste, yet it's a lovely place to spend a few days away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. But given you've only got 8 days, and Australia is huge with airports and commutes taking time as well, plus since your friends are based in Melbourne, I'd suggest you spend a couple of days in Sydney, see the sights, then base yourself in Melbourne for the rest of the time and do a few days trips to Yarra and Mornington, both beautiful wine regions and only an 1 hour drive or so each way. You can easily drink plenty of McLaren Vale wines in and around Melbourne, enjoying it's vibrant food scene, while also sampling the nearby regions. Plenty of time to see your friends, relax, drink and eat very well, lots of interesting wines happening in both areas (much more than just Pinot and Chardonnay), there's a ton of exciting new producers doing great things, and enough old school producers to balance things out.

I suppose if your friends want a holiday, think about Barossa etc as Dave says, but they may also enjoy hosting you at their place etc...

Just my 2c...!

Ha, Dave, beat me to it!!
(K 1 t t o)

Paul Fountain
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Australia help needed

#5 Post by Paul Fountain » January 22nd, 2019, 4:36 am

Just to add to what those above have said, Flying Melbourne to Adelaide is pretty similar in timing Sydney to Melbourne. Melbourne's airport is further out than Sydney and is in the North West. It doesn't have a rail link but there is a shuttle bus that isn't too bad that will take you back into the city. You could do Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide but it would be rushed so in your position, I'd be choosing 2 of the 3 I think. Melbourne has other region options that aren't that far away, although if you are likely to stay with your friends, which side of the city you are on will matter. Yarra and Mornington have already been mentioned but for Shiraz I'd go to Heathcote which probably isn't much more than an hour out of Melbourne either.

Graeme Gee
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Australia help needed

#6 Post by Graeme Gee » January 22nd, 2019, 4:31 pm

It does sound like you'd be better off seeing your friends in Melbourne or Adelaide and skipping Sydney altogether.
By the time you get to and from airports, an hour early each way, plus flights, plus stuffing about with rent-a-cars and so on, you'll be spending an awful lot of time in transit. Particularly for just 8 days.
Graeme

Will Lewis
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Re: Australia help needed

#7 Post by Will Lewis » January 30th, 2019, 6:07 am

Thank you all. We kicked it to 9 days, and are now for sure going to Sydney and Melbourne.

TimK asked whether I still drink the Aussie Shiraz, and the honest truth is I bought a lot, and drank a lot, many years ago. I have not had much since, and my palate may have changed. I still like a lot of fruit, but I've also come to appreciate more nuanced and complex wines as well.

As much as I'd like to go to Adelaide and McLauren, it doesn't sound like that's going to happen. So, that leaves me with either Hunter or Yarra. I know my wife wants to see the Blue Mountains, which I believe are in/near Hunter, but I'm still open to which of these areas (any any specific wines) that any of you think would match my palate.

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Dave English
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Re: Australia help needed

#8 Post by Dave English » January 30th, 2019, 2:16 pm

Hunter and Blue Mountains are not near each other (you couldn't do them both in a day). Blue Mountains are 90mins west of Sydney, Hunter is 2hrs North of Sydney.

You could find wines you like in either Hunter or Yarra if you pick carefully, I'd probably hit Yarra Valley up of the two given your preferences. Yarra has better Cabernets which is another red option to try.

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Dave English
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Re: Australia help needed

#9 Post by Dave English » February 1st, 2019, 3:45 pm

Here is a better picture of distances.

Sydney to Blue Mountains and Sydney to Hunter Valley
SydBMHV.jpg
Melbourne to Yarra Valley
MelYV.jpg
If I was taking you to the Yarra Valley I'd probably hit up the following wineries (on the basis that not everyone is a wine tragic in the group so I've gone for a balance of a nice cellar door, wines, overall experience, there are undoubtedly lots of smaller producers doing exciting stuff but may not be geared up as well). There are some great restaurants in the area, and attached to the wineries also.

Coldstream Hills - good variety, some good examples of terroir, good range of reds
https://www.coldstreamhills.com.au/

Giant Steps - good range of wines and styles, I think the winemaker posts on WB occasionally?
https://www.giantstepswine.com.au/

Yarra Yering - Old school wines, quirky cellar door
https://www.yarrayering.com/

Oakridge
https://www.oakridgewines.com.au/

Yering Station - nice artistic setup for the non wine lovers, tasting room is a bit commercial
https://www.yering.com/

Punt Road
https://puntroadwines.com.au/

Will Lewis
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Re: Australia help needed

#10 Post by Will Lewis » February 10th, 2019, 5:52 am

Once again, thank you everyone for your responses.

I'm not sure if anyone set this board so they get follow up messages, but my friend in Melbourne sent me this link and said they have a coupon for the tour. I'm not a huge fan of tours, as I'm not always sure I'm getting to taste anything more than wine where the tour guide gets kickbacks, but if you have any suggestions/know of these wineries, please let me know:

https://www.winetours.com.au/tour/morni ... wine-tour/

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Dave English
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Re: Australia help needed

#11 Post by Dave English » February 11th, 2019, 1:50 am

Firstly, Mornington Peninsula is the Burgundy of Australia, famous for its Pinots and Chardonnays and some nice cool climate Shiraz. No big wines here. It is a lovely area with some breath taking scenery as you drive up from sea level.

If there are 4 of you, that is around $720 for a day. Which is a bit exxy in my opinion especially if your friend is able to drive (although if he can drive, I’d hit Yarra Valley instead). But it is easy for everyone so it would be up to you.

The Wineries aren’t too bad, I’d rate Paringa/Stonier as the top two of the bunch listed. If at all possible I’d probably throw in Kooyong/Port Phillip Wines and 10 Minutes by Tractor. (their restaurant is probably the best in the region imho) if he can.

It is about an hour and 15 to get there so you will lose 2-3 hours of your day travelling.

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