Mudgee Wine Tasting Weekend
When it was booked back in October, the group who volunteered to go wine tasting in Mudgee did so ONLY because the weather would be good and the roads would be quiet after the school holidays, not for any other reasons like the pursuit of personal pleasure!
How wrong can you be? the weather was diabolical and consequently the roads were dire - but the personal pleasure was excellent!!
Travelling over the Blue Mountains in the worst rain NSW has seen for a long time was not recommended, particularly after work on a Friday. At this juncture I feel I should add the reflections of one car passenger who shared her observations of some of the more interesting facets of her journey with me (thanks Tash!)..
Al announcing his guts are rather lively and he's had 5 gastro stop tablets but we could still be making unscheduled stops (at which point I notice the emergency bog roll in the centre console)
Al announcing to the car that he's not really a very good driver*
The understatement of the century - 'I don't really feel like camping any more' as the road disappears under water
'The pies at this pub in Blackheath are awesome' followed by the waitress stating that 'the mushrooms are in there ...somewhere'
Calling Becky and Ross and getting hold of Becky who is no longer in the car with Ross but wandering down two lanes of stationary traffic with an umbrella looking for a quiet spot to pee...
Jump starting another car whilst in the traffic jam in torrential rain (what's that thing about electric and water?) HEROIC EFFORT AL!!!.
The Happy Ending - the overwhelming joy of booking in a cabin with a fully functioning roof for the night, and arriving to it in one piece and before Midnight. Not bad. Oh and luckily no impromptu emergency stops were required.
The way back was quite boring and civilised in comparison.
However, eventually, all were safely housed in cabins and motel rooms after a tour of Mudgee for Jill and Mike as they searched for the Indian Restaurant Owen had spotted on the way in. This was a fairly eventful trip in itself with Mike driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway TWICE- (claiming he couldnt see the road markings or the barrier, Mike??) and then eating a pretty good curry in a mega thunderstorm which kept taking the power out.
Saturday dawned grey and drizzly but the bus was waiting and the pleasure trip, sorry, research expedition, began at Lowes vineyard, which, I think, was universally judged to be the best stop of the day. This was followed by Robert Oatley (way too commercial) then a new cellar door whose name no-one could remember but which sounded like Buggermyroo (too sterile), then off to the Old Station for lunch.Lunch held a few disappointments Becky choosing the salad over the steak and Tash not being able to face the raw slab of chicken on her hot basalt stone, but I think eventually everyone judged it to be an excellent meal.
The afternoon, by which time we were fairly mellow, saw us heading for Thistle Hill (where the Erudgere label wines were being sold off at half price many cases purchased) and Burnbrae (where there was nearly a fight amongst interested parties for the last 4 bottles of the Pinot) and then a place selling honey which was not exciting but maybe enough as wed pretty well wine tasted to the max by this point.
Power/Nana naps were discussed when we returned to camp, after the exertion of unloading the wine cases from the bus, but only a small number took advantage (namely Rob!). Zoe and Owen went shopping and found the cheapest shop in NSW 3 packets of crisps, 2 rissoles and an onion for $9! Bargain! Destination secret!!
It was then time to eat, and being generous, kind-hearted souls we invited the flies to join our party and believe me it must have been posted on Fliesbook as they gatecrashed in their thousands! Even a praying mantis arrived with our resident biologist Ross being the only one willing to pick it up and move it to safety.
We witnessed Mike, on his last evening as a 40-something, being totally crestfallen when Koto appeared with a cake with candles and we all sang Happy Birthday. to Rob! (at Robs suggestion, you evil man!). Some saw it out to the bitter last bottle but many were wined-out and went off to bed when the camp kitchen closed.
The following morning was Mikes birthday and Jill faced the challenge of finding a way to keep him in bed until it was time for breakfast (he went a bit pale when the rope appeared). Eventually Zoe called us for breakfast and the unthinkable happened Mike was rendered speechless!!! For those historians amongst us who like to note key dates of rare events it was 07-07-10! Everyone else had got up early (even Tash!) and prepared the best surprise birthday breakfast ever in the barn and he hadnt a clue!! Note, for future reference Bens your man for sticking balloons in high places without ladders will you loan him out Tash?
This time the cake WAS for him and he was absolutely delighted that the birthday hed thought was going to be a real damp squib turned out to be one hell remember forever thanks everyone.
Special thanks have to go to Anne for organizing the whole thing, which was an administrative nightmare in terms of emails, keeping Mike out of the loop and having an extra loop for Jill about planning the surprise, as well as keeping the general loop going without a hitch. Good job it was Anne in charge I KNOW Id have sent the wrong email to the wrong person at some point!
After breakfast many of us took a detour to Gulgong, the town on the $10 note - and thats all I have to say about that!!!!
Im sure this trip will be repeated, though depending on the rate of consumption, or perhaps the level of alcoholism, some stocks of wine will take a while before theyre depleted. Count me in for that trip!!