Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Port Festival 2011

The Port Festival is an arts and cultural voyage that has something for everyone . This years festival was held on the weekend of the 9th and10th of October. The biennial festival celebrates Port Adelaide's distinctive character - its people, places, culture, heritage and natural landscape. Only 20 minutes from the city of Adelaide, the Festival attracts the Port's locals as well as audiences across Adelaide and beyond, with more than 60 local organisations taking part. It was is an open-access and multi-faceted celebration offering a smorgasbord of activities, including music, art, food, workshops, guided walks, river cruises, and much more.

We started our tour from the Port Adelaide market which is popular for those who are hunting collectables, books and bric-a-brac.The market is located near the iconic lighthouse with the finest colonial and Victorian buildings all around. 

During the Port Festival weekend, the SA Maritime, Railway and Aviation museums were all open for free. Usually the ticket price is around $10-$12 for adults, so this was a very good chance to see what they have there. 

After spending the whole day at Port Adelaide, David took us to the North Haven Marina for a cup of coffee.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

McLaren Vale Wineries Tour

McLaren Vale, one of Australia's oldest wine making regions, located approximately 35km south of Adelaide. The region consistently produces fine wines from a number of varieties, most importantly Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. On this long weekend, with a few friends we drove along the main street and visited some of the cellar doors.

On the way, we stopped by at the Almond Train. They have a selection of more than 25 flavoured almonds and premium raw Willunga almonds. Free tasting's are conducted daily of almonds and varietal olive oils, olives, dukah, local jams, chutneys and honey.

The first winery we visited was Primo Estate, the home of JOSEPH wine and olive oil. In the 1980's Primo Estate became one of the first extra virgin olive oil producers in Australia. Their JOSEPH Cold Pressed and First Run olive oils have been acclaimed by chefs and gourmets around the world. In 2006 Primo Estate opened a stunning new McLaren Vale cellar door and tasting room, combining ultra modern design with Italian style, just like their wines and olive oils.

The next stop was Hugh Hamilton Wines. Hugh is the fifth generation of the family that planted the first vineyards at Glenelg in 1837, less than one year after European settlement in South Australia. As with all families one is a black sheep and Hugh Hamilton is it. You can expect therefore to enjoy the difference.

Battle of Bosworth was established in 2001 by Joch Bosworth and Louise Hemsley-Smith. The wines take their name from the original Battle of Bosworth, fought on Bosworth Field, Leicestershire, England in 1485. Battle of Bosworth make wines with flavour, texture, purity and balance, that best express the unique characteristics of their McLaren Vale foothills site. Joch and Louise also make the Spring Seed Wine Co range of wines, which are also made using organically grown grapes from their vineyards.

Lunch time! Our friends brought Vietnamese rolls and beef for barbecue. That's very nice. 

After lunch, our wine testing continued. The next stop was Fox Creek Wines. The story began when Jim and Helen Watts bought the 32 hectare Fox Creek Vineyard property in 1984. Leader of the pack and the first wine made at Fox Creek was our 1994 Shiraz, which won the Trophy for the best wine at the McLaren Vale Wine Show in 1995. Success has continued and Fox Creek now markets single varietal wines from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (Duet), Shiraz and Cabernet Franc (JSM), Shiraz and Grenache, and a sparkling Shiraz Cabernet Franc (Vixen). The white wines produced are a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Verdelho.

Tucked away in the eastern foothills of McLaren Vale, Pertaringa is a progressive family-owned winery and cellar door focusing on crafting superb wines from sustainably run vineyards. The name Pertaringa means ‘belonging to the hills’ and originates from the local Kaurna indigenous language. Situated across the road from Noon Winery in this beautiful part of McLaren Vale, Pertaringa is off the beaten track and definitely worth discovering!

David Paxton believes that those who apply the art and science of viticulture are just as important as the winemaker. For three decades the Paxtons have nurtured their prized McLaren Vale vineyards, some of which are over a hundred years old. It's this level of care and passion that has produced extraordinary fruit and wines.

That was the last wineries we were visited for this trip. Although we were a bit dizzy afterwards but we had so much fun and had planned for another go out together again soon.