G'day from the land down under! This is part one of a ten part series of articles I'm writing while touring the wine regions of Australia and New Zealand.
It's been an amazing journey so far, which began with a long weekend in Sydney. If you ever have a chance to travel to Sydney, make sure you do it. It is absolutely incredible.
When my time there was up, I boarded a flight to Adelaide (on the country's southern tip), and drove just a few miles north into the Adelaide Hills region. I spent the better part of the afternoon at the Penfolds Magill Estate, where I enjoyed an incredible tasting and dinner.
One thing that is very different (and more enjoyable) about tasting in Australia is that many of the wineries have fully functioning restaurants on site. Their tasting rooms are called "Cellar Doors" and are a little more lively and less formal than what you usually experience in Napa Valley.
The Penfolds team took incredibly good care of me during my visit. I tasted 15 wines, culminating in the chance to enjoy several single vineyard offerings and the legendary Penfolds Grange (2012).
I enjoyed a wonderful meal at their restaurant following the tasting, which began with their house baked sour dough bread and butter. My main course was a Grass Fed Angus Eye Filet served with Chilled Green Beans with Miso and Almonds.
I paired the meal with a glass of Penfolds 2013 St. Henri Shiraz, which worked out magically. Here's a look at the full lineup of what I tasted:
2016 Eden Valley Riesling Floral and grassy with bright citrus and tropical fruits
2014 Cellar Reserve Traminer Green apple with with pineapple-mango and hints of citrus
2015 Max's Chardonnay 100% Adelaide Hills fruit, 9 months in Fench Oak, delicious
2016 Cellar Reserve Fiano An Italian varietal grown in the McLaren Vale. Lively stone fruits.
2015 Bin 23 Pinot Noir Bright strawberry and raspberry. 90 months French Oak. Excellent!
2015 Koonunga Hills Shiraz Cassis and black fruits. Surprising intensity and length. Value +.
2014 Bin 138 Shiraz-Grenache-Mouvedre Blend Red berries and baker's chocolate. Vines from 30-110 years-old.
Stay tuned for the second half of this incredible tasting in an upcoming article. I'd like to commend the entire staff of Penfolds Cellar Door and restaurant on the fantastic service, knowledgeable presentation and attention to detail during my visit.
I highly recommend visiting this Cellar Door if you visit Australian wine country. Don't overlook the Adelaide Hills Region is you come here. You'll be missing some great experiences.
by Brian Fry
by Brian Fry