Dining Down Under

Crossing new frontiers in search of great wines!


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Dining Down Under As a wine geek I'm always looking to be able to incorporate wine with my travels, even my vacations. Of course I may not want to spend the entire day visiting wineries when I'm supposed to be chilling and taking time off from work, but that's doesn't mean my interest in wine stops. In fact, vacations are the time when I can take the most interest in wine, as in a single wine, or maybe two. Kicking back and relaxing with a fabulous meal and fine wine is just what the vacation doctor ordered.

Today, being below freezing as I write this, I'm not interested in just another vacation. I'm interested in heeding somewhere warm, and beautiful, and today that means the other side of the world. Southern Hemisphere here I come. I recently did a roundup of great lists south of the USA but now it's time to look to the east, or west depending on where you're standing and check out some of the greatest lists in Australian, New Zealand, and South Africa. Each has a long standing wine culture, superb natural resources, and a new generation of restaurateurs and chefs who are celebrating their culture. Sounds like reason enough to consider heading south this Winter!

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  • Snooth User: Zuiko
    Hand of Snooth
    540750 839

    Speaking of the Southern Hemisphere, there are some excellent restaurants in Papeete, Tahiti. No, it's not a wine area, although they do have a vineyard on one of the islands. Since this is French Polynesia, the French influence is quite noticeable, including both food and wine. There is an amazing selection of French wines here.

    Dec 02, 2013 at 5:14 PM

  • Snooth User: Bobby Boy
    219559 29

    est does have a great Wine List as does Aria, but the best in Sydney in my opinion would be Rockpool Bar and Grill, a veritable tome of a List. If every you are looking to knock off another wine in the "1001 Wines to Drink before you die", you will find it at Rockpool Bar and Grill. In recent visits I have had a Numanthia from Spain, a Lebanese wine from the list, (Kefraya I think?) and a Shafer Napa Cabernet. They even have a few bottles of 1945 DRC La Romanee Conti - a snip at $75,000 per bottle - a few bottles left the Sommelier said!

    Dec 02, 2013 at 7:20 PM

  • Snooth User: SGD
    610727 21

    The last time I looked Sydney is the largest city in Australia

    Dec 03, 2013 at 12:41 AM

  • You must include the restaurant at Craggy Range winery, Terroir. Located near the Art Deco town of Napier, it is fabulous and offers the only-sold at the winery wines by the glass. Their single vineyard Chardonnays are worth the trip alone!

    Dec 03, 2013 at 2:37 PM

  • Snooth User: Damndit
    551960 218

    Sorry SGD, Melbourne over took Sydney mid way through 2013 (July I think it was) Was bound to happen even if you check wiki it has figures from June 2012 and MEL was only 400k behind SYD back then...

    Dec 03, 2013 at 7:34 PM

  • Snooth User: Damndit
    551960 218

    I should should've pre empted the statement above with, it won't be confirmed until the next census of course the population figure is based soley on expected growth yada yada yada. So yes until the next census SYD is still the largest city, but on paper MEL has taken the crown so to speak.

    Dec 03, 2013 at 7:39 PM

  • Snooth User: Bobby Boy
    219559 29

    I agree with SGD. As an Aussie, Sydney has always been a larger city than Melbourne
    and as of Feb 7 2013, remains so by a margin of 400,000. I have seen no evidence to suggest that Melbourne has overtaken Sydney since then. If Damndit has any evidence I would love to see it.

    Dec 03, 2013 at 8:21 PM

  • Snooth User: OldMoel
    471503 2

    Australia and the U.S.A. are similar sized countries and we probably look at distances in a similar way as well. But the definition of "local"?

    Wineries "local" to Sydney would be Hunter Valley, Upper Hunter, Bathurst, Mudgee, or, at a stretch maybe Canberra District or Hilltops (see http://www.winecompanion.com.au/win... for details) but *not* Granite Belt!

    That's like saying Sacramento, CA is "local" to Los Angeles, CA. 580 + Km? Then again, maybe Americans count the Napa Valley, at 620 Km distant, as "local" to Los Angeles?

    Dec 03, 2013 at 9:30 PM

  • Snooth User: Rami irani
    1421262 1

    i am interested in a tour to wine and dine without having to drive

    Dec 21, 2013 at 9:07 AM

  • Snooth User: OldMoel
    471503 2

    Rami irani - I'm not an expert on this type of trip, but I can make a couple of suggestions.

    First, if you want simply to wine and dine, you could travel to a city such as Sydney or Melbourne or Adelaide or Perth and find one of the many "fine dining" restaurants in those places. Most of those establishments have extensive wine lists with wines from all regions in Australia and New Zealand as well as from other countries around the world (such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Chile, America and Argentina, to name a few ...).

    The other option is to book yourself on to one of the many wine region or winery tours that run regularly from, in particular, the capital cities around the country. These are usually guided tours which visit selections of wineries in your chosen region. Most of the wineries have well organised tasting facilities and cellar door sales outlets, and quite a few have their own restaurants, some of which could easily be classified as "fine dining" (d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant in the McClaren Vale comes to mind, but there are many others). Naturally, as these tours are guided, you would be transported on a bus or tour coach and you would not need to do any driving.

    Lots of information about such tours can be found on the web and a good place to start is "Wine Tours Down Under" (http://www.winetoursdownunder.com.au/).

    When searching for tours to suit your tastes, it helps to know a bit about each region. Again, there is a wealth of information on the web. A web site that gives a very quick - but not extensive - outline of the regions is "Wine Regions of Australia for Dummies" at http://www.dummies.com/how-to/conte...

    At the opposite end of the information scale, as it were, is James Halliday's "Australian Wine Companion" site (http://www.winecompanion.com.au/). James Halliday is considered to be Australia's premier wine writer and his site has information about literally hundreds of wineries and thousands of wines covering every region in the country.

    You can also find a few snippets of information about some of the more obscure Australian wine regions in an article, "Australian Wine Regions You've Never Heard Of" on the News dot com dot au website (http://www.news.com.au/travel/austr...), but these are less likely to be included in winery tours.

    Anyway, I hope that helps.

    Dec 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM

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