Editor’s Note: Actually, this month we bring you a trip report by KAFKA Wine Co.’s Michael Scharber who recently went Down Under to the Hunter Valley in Australia.
The Aussie Trip…
I just returned from a 2 week trip Down Under---and, yes Joe, the water really DOES go the wrong way down the drain!
Blah Blah Opera House, Blah Bridge Climb, Blah Blah miles of beaches…let’s get to the real fun…WINE COUNTRY! (just kidding btw…the city is beautiful.)
I embarked on my wine adventure to the Hunter Valley, 3 hours north of Sydney. After the confusion of driving on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car, searching for unmarked, unpronounceable towns (Wooloomooloo?) I arrived at McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Estate nerve wracked, but unscathed.
Mount Pleasant was established in 1880, and I was lucky to be shown the property by the talented and super friendly Phil Ryan, who’s been Mount Pleasant’s Chief Winemaker since 1978. This is a vineyard rich with history, and Phil is a deservedly respected icon in the wine world. I arrived during the crush (they are starting fall & harvesting in the Southern Hemisphere) and was amazed at the amount of wine Mt. Pleasant could produce! The facility was ultra-modern, and was processing unbelievable quantities of wine from grapes being trucked in from outlying vineyards. The vineyard staff was so cheerful, and I spent a good amount of time in their cellar tasting fantastic wine with their sommelier, Martin. Thanks for the hospitality, guys!
A quick lunch and I was off to meet with Hope Estate’s Chief Viticulturalist Neil Orton. Neil is the kind of guy you want as a friend…energetic, intelligent, and a wine lover!
Primarily Semillon, Verdelho, Chardonnay, and Shiraz are grown throughout the Hunter Valley and I got to taste all of them at Hope. The Verdelho was so fresh, just a week in the tank fermenting---and already you could taste the ripe fruit and citrusy finish that make this wine so popular. “A little acid balancing and filtering and it’s into the bottle with these beauties,” Neil said as we barrel sampled the rest of the ‘05’s. Hope is another gargantuan facility with much of their production exported to the U.S. KAFKA will continue to support this outstanding brand, so stop by soon to check out Hope Estate’s delicious wine…and I’ll show you my pictures! Cheers, Mates!
And don’t forget about KAFKA’s First Fridays wine tasting series held the first Friday of every month. Bring your friends or come make some new ones! Call to reserve now as space is limited!
Kafka Wine Co., 3325 N Halsted