On the Road with Howard Price: Australia, Part I

On the Road with Howard Price: Australia, Part I

This morning will be the final day in the Barossa Valley where some of the finest Shiraz in the world is made. And it’s a good thing too, because with the amounts we’ve consumed …. Many of the wineries will be working overtime attempting to recover.

The trip began in Denver…. Then flying to LA and catching a direct 17 hour flight to Melbourne, Australia. Knowing that at our young age, the length of the ride in the silver trash can would do maximum harm to our bodies… we selected Business class and had full laydown seats across the ponds. … But let me tell you…. While I’m absolutely positive it was 100% better than coach…. The 17 hours takes a toll on the body. Thank goodness for some good movies, and lots of good hooch on the plane to pass the time and the aches….

Melbourne is a thriving BIG city. And while Ms. Jane and I had been there before…. The past journey was mainly distant in the memory, and was extremely short…. So we spent a bit longer and took in more of the sites. VIBRANT is the best way I can describe Melbourne… and lovely. Lots of parks….and everything is clean. Now it doesn’t hurt that it’s summertime here now….and the temps are in the UPPER 90’s….. a far cry from the 2 feet of snow we left in Colorado….But green was the major color. Lots of trees… and in case it hasn’t dawned on you…. They almost speak English…..

Another positive for the Aussies…. They love us from the States….. And not just because we spend money in country…. There is a strong BOND between the two countries…. And in my opinion… it’s stronger than with the UK, and for sure a lot friendlier.

Anyhow…. We toured and drank our way through the Yarra Valley and enjoyed the hospitality afforded us. 1st stop was the TarraWarra Estate.

There we tasted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot, Marsanne and a few other wonderful wines. It wasn’t until later that I realized they also had a block of Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes and wished I had tasted those grown in Australia. I already loved them in Italy.

We then hit Giant Steps Vineyard…. Where they specialized in Single Vineyard wines. One thing for sure… NO ONE can criticize Australian grown grapes and the wine they produce. Simply Fantastic!!!!!

Something else I’d like to point out….the Australian wines are reasonably priced as well. We’re talking very good to great wines under $50 Australian… and with the US dollar strong….that’s about $35 American.

Third stop…. Yarra Yering…. I think we actually saved the best for last…. Besides having a ball at the special tasting …. The wines there were simply put…. Wonderful…

Now let’s discuss the food…..The sea food was 3 steps above great…. Scallops that were out of this world. We were told that if we really like Scallops… just wait until we get to Tasmania and taste the Scallop pie. Needless to say… I’m ready and looking forward to it.

FYI, we stayed at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne…. And the best way to describe it is W O W !!!!!!! You might say that the 4 of us were LIVING LARGE in Melbourne. The lap of luxury. Sorry, I should have noted that there are 4 of us traveling together…. The other two are my Chicago Cousins…. Bert and Benita (Benny) Theleen. The 4 of us have traveled the world together over the years…. And we have so much in common that …. Trips like this are usually argument free. The biggest problem we normally have is… when do we switch from Wine to Martini’s and then Scotch. Life’s a bitch isn’t it, when your problems are that tough.

Anyway… we left Melbourne on Virgin Australia Airlines and headed to Adelaide. Another major city in Southern Australia…. We did a short tour of the city and then headed out to the Barossa Valley for 2 ½ wonderful days of Wine.

We wanted to return to where we had stayed once before… The Louise…. A wonderful estate in the middle of wine country where they pamper you and the rooms are beautiful, and the food even better.

While the drive was an hour in length from the airport to the Barossa Valley we figured, we should hit a winery or two, have lunch and then check in…. so that’s what we did. After all, traveling an hour in Australia without wine is against the law… or should be…..

--Howard Price

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