AES’EA – Methode Traditionelle

We made very few plans aside from our housing and travel well in advance of this trip. Most things we’ve done were planned the day before, or even during our adventures. As soon as we decided upon Melbourne, however, Ethan and I knew we had to visit the famous Yarra River Valley and taste some wine.

I incorrectly guessed un-oaked chardonnay; It was pinot gris

The first stop was a nice, regular sized winery. The wine on the whole was pretty good, though a bit overpriced. There was also a small (lit) fireplace in the room which wreaked havoc on the wine-tasting experience. It’s really hard to accurately judge a wine when all you’re smelling from every one of them is smoke.

The second stop was a four and a half star resort. We first tasted five wines and then had lunch with the wine pairing of our choice. The wines were again, decent, but the beef cheek was simply fantastic. It was exceedingly mild and fell apart without requiring the use of a knife. Ethan and I chose a Cabernet Merlot to pair, but upon receiving our dish found the wine well too strong for the meat. In retrospect (and with 20/20 hindsight) I should have chosen a pinot noir or even a white wine to better complement the dish.

Artful fork placement credit goes to Ethan

The next stop was a super small winery, not even on the map. Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, they had my favorite wines of the day. The winner (both of this winery and of the day) was a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit flavors were subtle and soft and the spicy, peppery finish was slow and complimented by a heavy but not oppressive body.

On the other side of the world and I am suddenly reminded of the Blue Ridge Mountains of home.

For our fourth and final stop, we went to Chandon, a huge producer of champagne-style sparking wines, both in Australia and internationally. This stop included a tour of their facilities and lots of introductory winemaking information, most of which was a bit redundant for a past wines student (HADM4300 repping!) At the end we got to pick one glass of sparking wine to sip while walking around the lawns; I opted for their traditional brut and was quite happy with my choice.

Those curves though..

The wine caught up to us as soon as we got onto the bus. Ethan fell asleep quickly while I talked politics with some Australian friends we made on the tour.

Sleepy time!

When we made it back to the hostel we took a quick nap and then settled in for the most scandalous of traveler activities – laundry and chill. Before putting our laundry in the washer, we went out to grab the most American of dinners, burgers and fries.


It was a pretty good burger, though a bit overpriced. Not quite as good nor quite as cheap as Five Guys, if I’m using that as a benchmark. The fries were pretty good though, and the sprite was on the more acidic side, which was interesting.

Aaron returned, alive and full of judaism (and cheesecake.) We got our laundry, found out that our flight tomorrow leaves at 10:35 not 5:35, and went to bed. Tomorrow, New Zealand!


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