The Hunter Games: part two

So after arriving in Hunter Valley, we started with the two cellar doors where we’d eaten – Meerea Park Wines and Tempus Two. I stuck to whites for the afternoon, while Dan was tasting reds. One of my favourite wines of the day was the 2003 Terracotta Semillion at Meerea Park. We took notes to go back at the end of the trip and pick up the ones we liked best, and this will probably be one of them.

Golf at Aqua Golf Hunter Valley

After a browse around The Hunter Valley Gardens shopping village (and a quick go at the Aqua golf driving range for Dan), we went to Peppers Creek Village and the David Hook cellar door. This place has a couple of shops, accommodation, a chapel and restaurant, yet still managed to feel quite small and quaint. I tasted a fantastic Barbera wine here, something a little different, and bought a bottle of the Rose, which had a good taste of strawberries and slightly dry too which I like – very drinkable on a summer’s day! Dan bought a bottle of the 2013 Pinot Noir.

Next up was our favourite winery of the day – Thomas Allen. This is quite a new place – so new in fact that it doesn’t have a website! It is just beautiful.

Thomas Allen Winery Hunter Valley

Thomas Allen Vineyard Hunter Valley

We were greeted by co-owner Craig Allen, who was a fantastic host, and not just because he poured some very generous tasting measures! Genuinely passionate and very knowledgeable about his wines, we could have very easily sat in the courtyard all afternoon! I bought a bottle of the 2013 Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc, a blend that I haven’t tried before and was very pleasantly surprised! Dan bought the 2012 Grenache Shiraz Merlot, and will almost certainly be going back for the 2010 The Doctor Cabernet Sauvignon and 2010 Alasdair Shiraz. These were his standout wines of the day.

Wine Tasting at Thomas Allen Vineyard Hunter Valley

Wine Tasting at Thomas Allen Hunter Valley

Continuing up Broke Road, we then stopped at Tyrrell’s Wines, where the 2009 Stevens Hunter Semillon stood out for me and the 2011 Stevens Hunter Shiraz was Dan’s favourite here. For something a bit different, we stopped in at The Hunter Distillery which had a large, and colourful, selection of flavoured vodkas and gins.

Hunter Valley Distillery

Selection of vodka and gin at The Hunter Distillery

Dan braved the chilli vodka, which he really liked as well as the gin and a ginger liqueur.

Tasting chilli vodka at The Hunter Distillery

We then went on to the nearby Oakvale – which had this fantastic wall of wines!

Oakvale Wines Hunter Valley

Finally we stopped at Glandore Estate and inadvertently interrupted the wine making! Most of these wineries have membership packages, but with this one members are invited to come up and help pick and crush the grapes once a year and enjoy a lunch. Sounds great fun! Dan bought the Canberra Shiraz and I am temped to go back and pick up the Savagin which was a refreshing dry white blend.

In the evening, we went to Casa Margarita, the only Mexican restaurant in the Hunter, and also what first appeared to be the only place in the Hunter that you couldn’t get a bottle of wine! After a bit of pressure, and some expensive margarita’s, we got a bottle of Shiraz – they are based at a winery after all! Maybe next time we’ll take our own just in case. After this little hiccup, we enjoyed the evening here and the food was good – not the best Mexican I’ve had but good nonetheless.

Starter of corn chips and tomato chilli sauce at Casa Margarita Hunter Valley

Margarita's at Casa Margarita!

Dinner at Casa Margarita Hunter Valley

Dinner View at Casa Margarita Hunter Valley

Dan had chicken and beef fajita’s which I think were the best dish of the two.

Fajitas at Casa Margarita Hunter Valley

Fajitas sides at Casa Margarita Hunter Valley

Making fajitas at Casa Margarita Hunter Valley

My chicken chile verde was very nice too, but I would go for the fajita’s or enchilada’s next time. The host was friendly and spent a lot of time talking the guests – and the setting of this place is just beautiful.

So…can we fit as much into day 2?!