After a great night out at the Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Market with friends (and a zillion other people, with huge lines to boot, but an excellent experience none-the-less) on Thursday night, we headed up to Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley wine region on Friday (via one cache on the way). Approximately two hours drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley comprises myriad vineyards and surprisingly (to me at least) lots of cheese dairies.
The Hunter Valley Cheese Factory was the first dairy we visited and we found a very high calibre of cheese. I particularly liked their washed rind cheese (which had a nice bite to it) and their blue cheese (that was very light in blue flavour but lovely and creamy).
After checking in at our accommodation on Hermitage Road we headed along the road to Emerson’s at Pokolbin for lunch. They have only been open for 3 weeks (according to the chef/owner) and are doing tapas style meals. The duck liver pate was divine and one of the best we have had. We also had garlic prawns and calamari, both of which were okay although lacked a wow factor. We were impressed however that the chef/owner came out and asked us what we thought of the meals and took a genuine interest in our feedback.
We then ventured on to Piggs Peake for our first wine tasting and they were okay but nothing noteworthy. They were very friendly and gave generous tastings. I do wonder though whether since they were the first vineyard for the day and our first for this region whether I was being overly critical.
DenMar was our second vineyard and there was yet again nothing jumping out at me. I also found that their Pinot Noirs weren’t to my palate, but I think that may be more so due to me being more in-tune with NZ Pinot Noirs.
Tintilla Estate was my pick of the vineyards on Friday, also helped by the exuberance of the wine salesman. He was a member of the family and consequently knew lots about their huge selection of wines and was very open to all feedback. I particularly enjoyed their Semillon 2010 and their Sangiovese 2009. I also really enjoyed tasting their selection of fortified wines.
We then quickly grabbed a lovely cheddar cheese from Binnorie Dairy before they closed and had a taste of their washed rind cheese (which I enjoyed). We will return tomorrow for a proper tasting.