Day 248 of 400: Canberra to Sydney – NSW, Australia

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Breakfast was scrumptious this morning…fresh poached farm eggs with spinach on toasted bread, smothered with smoked salmon and a dollop of dill creme fraiche.  As we checked out, the B&B  gave us a small complimentary jar of homemade jam and sent us on our way.

We had a wine map of the area…there were more vineyards than we could get to in one day, so we had the B&B give us some “must taste” places and set out to our first one, Helm Winery ( .

We drove down a long dirt road amongst many vines on all sides of us.  We arrived at a small old school-house which was established in 1888.  It had hard wood floors, a green tin roof and old iron fire-place.  We saw a truck driving through the vines towards us…it was the wine maker himself who had been tending to the vines and saw us arrive.  He welcomed us inside and we saw his wine list had a focus on Riesling.  We have always thought of Riesling as a sweet white wine which is usually not our favorite.  We started chatting with the wine maker about his varietal and thoughts on winemaking.  He explained to us there is both dry and sweet Riesling…it just depends on how long it ages.  He was from Germany where their expertise is Riesling so had a lot of experience.  He also had spent time in France learning the traditional methods of wine making in order to make his own wine better.  We shared stories on wineries we had been to and styles we have grown to prefer.  We felt very lucky to be talking to him…he had shared wine with some famous wine makers and is invited to very special tastings around the world.  We bought a couple of bottles, thanked him for his time and were on our way.

The next stop was, Clonakilla Vineyards ( which was well-known for its famous winemaker.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet him but did get to taste his wine.  A few of them were young and needed some time to develop so it’s hard to judge them, but we did really like his Shiraz Viognier…which was out of our budget…$60.  We decided not to buy anything and drove to our next stop.

Although the women serving wine at Jeir Creek Wines ( wasn’t exactly the most friendly women we’ve come across, we still got to taste some of their wines.  They were known for their sparkling Shiraz which we purchased…it had nice body and we hadn’t purchased any sparklings in the area.  It was interesting though to see the lid of the champagne bottle…Instead of a mushroom-shaped cork which we are accustomed to, it was a beer bottle lid.  We have never needed a beer bottle opener for a bottle of champagne, but they said they moved to it so they didn’t have to worry about the corks going bad.

Knowing we had to get to Sydney by a certain time tonight we decided to leave wine country, although there were many more vineyards waiting to be tasted.

We drove a short distance to the city of Canberra, the capital of Australia.  We stopped at an old pancake parlor restaurant for lunch and walked around the city for a bit.  The city seemed like a working city with many business buildings and people working.  There was also a shopping area with stores and restaurants to browse through.  We stayed for only a short time knowing we were scheduled to see our friends Veronica and Pat in Sydney by about 6PM.

We drove the 3-4 more hours until we finally reached Sydney.  We didn’t get to see the actual city…we went straight to a suburb called Denistone.  Veronica, Pat and their kids were waiting for us with big smiles and welcome flowers when we arrived.  We hadn’t seen them for about 7 years!  They helped get our things in the house and we all sat down for a yummy seafood dinner and lots of catch up conversation.  We had so much fun drinking plenty of wine and sharing stories before bed.

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