Thursday, 7 April 2016

Sydney Cellar Door 2016 - a weekend of wine tastings

2016's Sydney Cellar Door in Hyde Park South on the weekend of 26-28 February was lots of fun!  After last year, I arranged to visit on the Friday night again as it is always a great night out after work.

Collecting our stemless plastic festival glass and drink tokens (get there right on 5pm for a short wait in the line up otherwise the line is horrendous later on!) we started in Mudgee and worked our way through NSW.
A sheet of 8 tokens will set you back $20. One token gives you a 30ml sample of wine from your winery choice.
Regions represented this year are Mudgee, Orange, Hunter Valley, Bathurst, Canberra, Gundagai, Hilltops, New England and Northern Slopes Riverina and Southern Highlands. I didn’t realise that NSW had such an wide range of wine regions but I am very interested in learning more (and enjoying) the cool climate wines from NSW.
Of course I’m straight over to visit Ross Hill Wines from Orange for their delectable Shiraz. This has to be my favourite shiraz, each year slightly different but always robust and spicy. It never disappoints!
Over the course of the evening we managed to sample quite a few wines. Unfortunately due to a miscommunication with event staff and the wineries service was cut at 8.30pm (which nobody was aware of) and many of us were left with an abundance of leftover tokens. We were lucky to be in a position to return on Saturday, but I know many who weren’t. This slight overview was quickly rectified by Saturday morning and everyone was made aware of the laws and the times.  Cheers!
Saturday was hot, sunny and perfect for an afternoon of more wine. First up though, when there is wine there has to be good food and Porteno was calling my name. We hadn't eaten dinner last night (another reason perhaps why we enjoyed so many samples!).
Check out the slabs of pork belly on the BBQ.
The BBQ pork belly sandwich with jalapeno aioli and leeks certainly hit the spot!

The boy enjoyed his Ribs & Burgers ‘Butchers Cheese Burger’.
I was enjoying a variety of wines over the weekend.  Whites, reds and even a glorious Rose from Heifer Station Vineyard in Orange.
There is lots of produce tasting to.  Everything from vinegars and oils, jams, chutneys, sauces  and cheeses from around the regions.  Baxter & Bird bird had a great eggplant chutney.
A food highlight for me was Oysters Unplugged.  Sourced from Ralston Bros. Oysters on the Clyde River, the oysters are meaty, briny and succulent. 
So with a glass of bubbles in hand I indulged in two of these Jumbo and they were huge as big as your palm.
 Gotta have cheese with wine right?
A new feature this year is Castello’s cheese bar. Bring your wine along and they will match a cheese to your wine (or in our case whatever you wanted to try). We tasted test their Creamy White, Creamy Blue and their two new cheeses in the range, the White with Truffle and the Mellow Black. After tasting, choose your favourite and they cut you a decent wedge with some lavosh on a plate you can pull up a hale bale or stool under an umbrella and enjoy a mini cheese platter.
Along with sipping and samples there are plenty of competitions to enter and lists to join. Hungerford
Hill always have a great competition.
Once again, this was a lovely weekend to enjoy NSW Wineries.  A great way to sample the varieties without the travel! Saying that, my travel list has just gotten longer now that I want to do so wine travel...along with the food travel!!!

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