Tag Archives: wine

Perth (period).

Our Perth visit should stop right here because we really didn’t see anything except the neighborhood of Victoria Park, where our Airbnb was located. Other than that, it was a week of studies and exams for the kids to wrap up their school term before Christmas break.

Our Airbnb was an interesting place – the cleanest accommodation thus far and a large 5 BR home that belongs to a Filipino/Scottish couple. We felt like we were living a “Big Brother” TV show. Michelle, the hostess, had a Holiday Party one night and it was quite fun to meet some locals as well as other guests from her different houses in Perth. There was a mixture of single, married, gay, and even cross gender to match with a variety of professions including movie producer, miners, Iranian immigrants, and us (a family)! After our week, we felt right at home with everyone and made some good friendships.

Victoria Park (like ours in Fort Lauderdale) has a nice local library, several local farmers markets and diverse restaurants that we enjoyed in the neighborhood. We also stocked up on some books at a cute little bookstore called Crow’s. Our farewell dinner celebration of 2 months in Australia included a nice bottle of red champagne from Barossa with pizza and chicken parm at the appropriately named Sebastian’s. We happily put together our top 10 list (to be shared soon) over dinner and recounted what a truly wonderful time we had in Australia. We bid farewell to Australia on December 16th flying to Bali but we will be back!

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Farewell Dinner at Sebastian’s

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Our last bottle of Australian wine

Wines of the Great OZ & Cool Kiwi

One-third into our journey and farewells to Oz & Kiwi – but wait! We can’t leave without a tribute to wine. Last summer, I gathered a short list of recommended wines from a sommelier at Jean Georges in NYC which was a nice start to a great experience. Here are the results with links to explore further:

  • Marlborough, New Zealand
    • Nautilus EstateHighly recommended
      • Champagnes (esp. rose) are impressive
      • Solid portfolio across the board as I’d be happy with any of their wines
    • Hans Herzog Estate – Highly recommended
      • Montepulciano is my kind of wine – a big Italian varietal
      • Hans has 20+ grape varieties on his estate and experiments quite successfully.
    • Spy Valley Wines – Easy Peasy!
      • All drinkable but nothing spectacular
    • Brancott Estate Great views, not wine
  • Central Otago, New Zealand
    • Felton RoadExcellent
      • Best Pinot in New Zealand
      • Low key but real good wines
    • Quartz ReefNice champagne
    • RipponHighly Recommended
      • All around quality winery in beautiful setting
    • Maud & Akitu – Recommended
      • Consumed these with our Wanaka host friends Steve & Shannon Turner
    • Craggy Range Nice wine
  • Barossa Valley, South Australia
    • A fantastic day thanks to our Air BnB Host, Mel, who took us on a special tour of wineries VIP style
    • Two Hands – Nice winery recommended
    • Hentley FarmWorld class restaurant
      • Nice wines too but the chef rocks
    • SeppelsfieldPartner with Fino for lunch
      • Historically significant
    • Murray Street VineyardsHighly Recommended
      • Big reds that I like! Shirazzzzz!
    • RockfordHighly Recommended
      • Awesome red pinot champagne
      • Buys grapes from small batch vineyards
    • Artisans group – Cool grouping of 7 wineries
    • LangmeilStrong recommendation
      • Missed the winery but shared a bottle of this delicious stuff!  Also missed Pewsey Vale
  • Clare Valley, South Australia
    • Following 3 fantastic days in Flinders Ranges, we spent 2 in Clare Valley. A mellow and fruitful time!
    • Jim Barry – Everyday nice
      • Just like 2 Hands, a solid start and everyone is related to the Barry Family in Clare!
    • Knappstein – Wine & Beer Winner!
      • Ok, we prefer the beer
    • KilikanoonHighly recommended
    • Sevenhills – Good wines
      • Beautiful grounds on church land
    • O’Leary-Walker Wines – Recommended
      • Wonderful views of Clare Valley too
    • Claymore – Rocker wines
    • Hop & Vine for beer and wine
      • Clare Valley Brewing Co: Monkey’s Uncle Red Ale! Cool and tasty
      • Good Catholic Girl wine – ok, next
  • Additional tastings and thoughts:
    • Planned to visit the Margaret River in Western Australia but school exams stopped that trip cold
    • Cleanskins – bottles sell for $5-12 and are same as cover label in USA. Box wine – perfect for campers and cheap! 

Conclusion: Both countries have great tastings and are worth a visit. While the wines may not match up to Napa’s finest, you do get a great diverse tasting ranging from Shiraz to Grenache to Malbec and Mataro. A second benefit is the old school open cellar doors that Napa used to have (but now you have to pay a fee to get a glass). Oh and the mountains that surround these wineries are a great escape as well. Cheers from Down Under and we are on the wagon in Indonesia!

Adelaide and the Barossa Valley

We have not been able to update the blog in a while. Between our trip to Adelaide, the Australian outback and the kids sprinting to finish their school term before we leave Australia, the blog got a bit neglected unfortunately. We will catch up on the places we have been in the next few posts.

We arrived in Adelaide on Thanksgiving day, which is our favorite holiday in the US. As a Brazilian, I learned to love Thanksgiving throughout these years as it is such a nice, relaxing holiday eating great food and being with special family and friends. While this year we were not following our traditional Thanksgiving with the Houchin cousins, we managed to find a nice pub in Adelaide – The Highway – serving typical pub food while we watched the 49ers get beaten by the Seahawks, argh!

We stayed at an airbnb during our week in Adelaide. Mel was our hostess, she is a vegan chef and was really great to us. The kids enjoyed playing with her 10-year old son, Liam. We enjoyed Adelaide, the weather was very nice and the “flat as a pancake” city made it easy to walk and bike around. Our place was just outside CBD and we spent a full day biking around the main sites. Adelaide is very bike friendly and offers a great service – free bike rentals (and free wifi in downtown). We took full advantage of it and enjoyed the Botanic Gardens and biking around the river. Also spent a day at the State Library, kids studying while Chris and I checked out the Art Gallery and the South Australian Museum next door.

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Free biking in Adelaide

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Adelaide Botanic Gardens

The highlight of our week in Adelaide was the day trip to the Barossa Valley. Mel was very graceous to take us on a tour of some of the best local wineries. We started with delicious coffee and gourmet tastings at Maggie’s Beer Farm Shop (loved the burnt fig jam, the vino cotto and the patés)  and then on to 2 wineries before stopping for a light lunch at Fino, a new restaurant at the beautiful Seppeltsfield winery. Then on to 2 more wineries before returning to Adelaide in time to get the kids for an Ethiopian dinner and Belgian crèpes for desert. If you are still reading this you can imagine how full we were by the time we went to bed..

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With our airbnb hostess, Mel

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Wine tasting at the Barossa

 

 

 

 

We departed Adelaide for our next adventure at the Australian outback heading to Flinders Ranges National Park. This time we did well in upgrading to a 6-berth campervan, much more comfortable than the one we had in New Zealand. We did learn our lesson! More to come on the outback trip…stay tunned.

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Quorn, on our way to Flinders Ranges National Park

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The Apollo, our upgraded campervan