Nov 28, 2013

WineWalkabout WW Greenock One from Eldertons

This weeks drop comes from the Grenock Creek area of the Barossa Valley South Australia.

Its the Grenock One from Elderton Wines in Nuriootpa. This is the first release of Greenock One, and leaves one wondering how good will this very nice drinking Shiraz be in the future. Shiraz is the number one variety in the Barossa Valley and this is a nicely balanced example. With enchanting Black and purple fruit flavors and nice soft tannin's, this wine drinks nicely. The Grenock One has a medium body, nice fruit and tannin structure with a soft finish, this is a wine to enjoy any time. The oak barrels used are older (second fill) combination of French and American puncheons and the wine lives there for about 15 months.
This wine comes from vines ranging 20 - 35 years of age with low yields, sometimes as low as one tonne per acre.
The vineyard is located in Greenock which is located on the west of the Barossa Valley and was added to the Elderton family vineyards in 2010 and has made a great addition to their portfolio. This 60 acre vineyard has plantings dating back to 1915 and a terroir that has been in demand by many of the Barossa’s elite winemakers.
A very nice wine for any occasion, and priced just outside a four star rating unless you buy a case or so, then it comes in at *** and 7+, excellent value / quality. Go get yourself a bottle or two and enjoy.

Happy Tasting Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

Nov 22, 2013

WineWalkabout WW

Having recently been to Taste Morgan and enjoying the experience, a couple bottles were purchased for later enjoyment.

Both were from the Lee Family Farm Label. In 2005, Dan introduced a second label, Lee Family Farms, intended to provide a fun outlet for his exploration of “alternative” varietals. These wines were absolutely delightful and at **** prices should be a standard at at everyones dinner table.

How refreshing it was to taste these lovely wines that are also not very common, and that can be had for such reasonable prices.

The purchased wine that was pulled from the wine fridge to be enjoyed and is this weeks WineWalkabout WW, was the lovely 2011 Lee Family Farm Rio Tinto (a blend of 61% Touriga Francesa and 39% Touriga Nacional). On the palate, it is soft and velvet smooth with ripe concentrated blackberry and black cherry flavors, good acidity and a nice soft finish. This wine rates 6-7 and ****. A great drop at a great price!

Go by and visit Taste Morgan, tell em we sent you and say G'day.

Happy Tasting Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

Nov 19, 2013

Nostalgia Airlines and the return trip update.

On a recent trip back to Australia I was determined to use my Airline miles. Come to discover that a mile is not as long as they used to be, and do not get you as far or as direct as you would imagine. Using miles for regular flights was really like booking as a second or third class citizen. If there are enough seats you may get one and if there are enough business or first class seats you may be able to upgrade. Traveling to Australia this time, a direct rout was secured, coming back is another story. For the second year in a row I was to travel on United Airlines. This is where the term 'nostalgia' Airlines comes in and not in a good way. I can hear the collective 'cricky, what's a nostalgia airline'? The flight was in one of their 747-400's. These old veterans of the air are exactly like flying in the 90's. With only the tiny movie screens down the isle, watching a movie is not very easy. Also when a PG13 or there a bouts is on, the  inserted language just makes the dialog seem obvious and out of character. Yes there are all ages on the plane and that needs to be considered but this is not the experience that one gets on a modern international flight where every seat has a multitude of entertainment choices. The lack of engaging entertainment makes for a long, no, make that very very long flight. Although the flight was smooth and straight forward it is hard to appreciate the nostalgic thread bare feel.

The food on the flight was pretty good with a BBQ sauce covered chicken that was washed down with a quite nice little French Cabernet number. Not a bad drop for cattle class. Breakfast I chose was a scrambled egg over sausage with a potato pie slice. The cabin staff were efficient and relatively friendly. No complains there.

Not impressed with the Club Miles situation and will not be pursuing them anymore. Will be flying next time with a modern airline. Rating of 'If they ask us back we would give them a second chance (sometimes stuff happens)'

Well as it turns out there was still the matter of the return flight from Adelaide Australia to San Francisco US. The best, of the worst case scenarios for my member miles. Depart Adelaide for Singapore on a Star Alliance partner Singapore Airlines. The flight was very nice, with hot moist flannels for the face upon takeoff and prior to landing. Full personal entertainment system and USB charging if you wanted to watch your own entertainment on some electronic device or charge something up. The food and wine were also quite nice with the nice touch of having a classy menu. All this with a warm smile and first class service even in cattle class. With no Star Alliance lounge (United does not have a lounge) allowing a United member to enter, it was a long 6.5 hours of wandering the pleasant and large Singapore Airport (only 4 hours nice). Next it was off to China's Pu Dong Airport near Shanghai. Much less nice than Singapore, this is where the trip really unraveled. While having been told that I would need to disembark, collect my luggage and redo the whole customs thing (China problem not United) I was prepared for that, just not the next problem.

With over 7 hours to kill it would be no problem to use a little time changing and repacking and playing with bags after traveling for 24 hours so far (not really but what are you going to do). But I was not prepared to discover that once outside the airport that upon going up to the United counter only to discover that I was not going to be checked back into the airport for at least 5 hours as no-one would be there from United until 2 hours before the flight (United problem not China). Not only was I stranded with all my luggage in the foyer of a foreign airport there was no WiFi on the outside, only inside the international Terminal. So with no communication ability, and 24 hours of semi sleepless travel I was ready to start an international incident (couldn't was too tired).

Over the next 5 hours I wandered back and forth pacing, as I did not want to fall asleep and miss my flight, and when I did nod off, standing up, I would wake only to find people had gathered around me (very disconcerting).
I was finally checked in and allowed into the inside. I got something to eat as by this time I was starving (had found free water fountains in foyer) and the first edible food I saw was Burger King! Yes, that's what I ate, a #3 meal all $12 of it. Most of the other food was still in its living shape or looking like gas station Sushi.

So now to get on WiFi to let my loved one's know I was still alive. No bueno, not going to happen. Needed to follow Chinese instructions (my Chinese is rusty) Once I was helped to get logged on to the free WiFi by a couple basically non english speaking Chinese girls from the Ice Cream parlor it was going to be a twitter bashing for United. Next problem is there is no access to twitter or Facebook or any of those types of communication apps out of the airport (maybe China). My final flight was now boarding and just as I had feared it was one of those non updated nostalgic 747-400's with no amenities again. 
So in summery there are a few things that stand out;

1. You fly through these other countries international airports yet do not have a lounge for your members.BAD
2. As a member of the Star Alliance there is no 'Alliance' except for a seat on a plane (thats better than your own a plus). No perks and no lounges to be shared. Good, BAD
3. You are OK with just dumping your club members in a foreign airport foyer to fend for themselves instead of using an 'Alliance' to get them checked back in to some amount of safety and comfort. BAD
4. Your planes are from the nineties with no personal entertainment and yet you have the audacity to charge $16 for non streaming WiFi. BAD
5. You do not seem embarrassed by this sub par service. Epic fail.

The trip was not something one would ever choose to do. The Singapore Airlines flights were great and would "recommend" flying with them any time, whereas the United flights and the way the trip was put together by them, just leaves us thinking a downgrade to "move on / don't stop" is more accurate.

Happy Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

Nov 8, 2013

Taste Morgan Carmel Valley

Having been to Taste Morgan before and enjoying the experience, we felt it was time to go back and taste the latest releases and also to check out the remodeled tasting room. On a nice, sunny Californian autumn day it was off to the tasting room. Arriving at the Barnyard shopping center at the west end of Carmel Valley finding the Tasting Room is fairly easy.

Having scored a park right out front it was in to the newly remodeled Tasting Room. First impressions were very positive, with a much larger tasting bar that was nicely built and looked good as well. The room still has a very roomy feel and some away from the bar comfy chairs to sit at around small tables. Overall impressions of the remodeled space were very positive. The space is well used and remains very service oriented and yet very comfortable.
The next nice surprise was the number of tasting options with one being the Lee Family Farm Label. In 2005, Dan introduced a second label, Lee Family Farms, intended to provide a fun outlet for his exploration of “alternative” varietals. These wines were absolutely delightful and at **** prices should be a standard at at everyones dinner table.

How refreshing it was to taste these lovely wines that are also not very common and that can be had for such reasonable prices. We recon these wines are hit over the boundary for six (home run for you Baseball fans). The current tasting possibilities are
Albarino, Verdelho, Grenache Rose, Tempranillo and Rio Tinto (blend of Portuguese varietals: Touriga Nacional and Touriga Francesca).After the Lee Family Farm Tasting it was on to the big guns of the Morgan Label. The current releases are very nice and although very well respected for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the Riesling was very nice as were both the Syrah's. There were three different tasting options and perhaps you should mark the calendar with three visits and get started tasting some very nice wines.
Left that afternoon having purchased two wines (broke the one bottle rule) for future enjoyment. A simply delightful Lee Family Farm 2012 Albarino, The 2012 Albarino displays a beautiful pale straw color and has aromas of white peach, mango, and little citrus. On the palate lingering flavors of nectarine, nice acidity, and apricot. This is a light bodied wine which is delicious as an aperitif or with light summer fare. Next was a lovely 2011 Lee Family Farm Rio Tinto (a blend of 61% Touriga Francesa and 39% Touriga Nacional). On the palate, it is soft and velvet smooth with ripe concentrated blackberry and black cherry flavors, good acidity and a nice soft finish. Both wines rate 6-7 and ****. Great drops at great prices!

A great way to start a day on the Carmel Valley Wine Trail is a taste at Morgan, some lunch in the Crossroads (without moving the car) and then head on down into the beautiful Carmel Valley. When visiting Taste Morgan, tell em we sent you and say G'day.

Happy Tasting Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

Nov 3, 2013

Worlds top 10 city to visit. #9 Adelaide

Mclaren Vale.

Recently, there has been a bit of a buzz in one of our home towns, as it was named the #9 of the Worlds Top Ten Cities to Visit by Lonely Planet. That town is Adelaide. Having already told tens of people this in recent years, it feels a bit like validation.

Adelaide Hills
When you grow up in a town, for some reason makes it harder to appreciate. But having been gone for the better part of three decades, those childhood memories take on a more golden filtered hue. Adelaide, or probably more accurately South Australia, from first hand knowledge, has a remarkable number of amazing places to experience. Follow this link for a list of some of the fav's. In the last decade or so, it has become even more obvious with every visit back home that Adelaide is an amazing place to base a holiday/vacation from.

We have written a number of posts about some of our Adventures, and even a couple on areas that we loved. Recently it was decided to try to do a bit more of a travel series on a couple of selected areas. With that in mind the next big decision was, which areas? With only a fortnight to cram it all in, making a choice for the first two features was anything but easy (refer to link).
Southern Barossa Valley
Besides writing about these experiences, there is family to spend time with and friends to visit and hang out with so time is precious.

In the end we decided there will be a Holiday/Tourist trip article on the Barossa Valley, then a series of day trips to places like the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale as well as a few Adelaide City area attractions. We have some exciting things lined up in the Barossa already and can't wait to have the experience, get the story and tell you all about what you can expect when you book your holiday / vacation to the spectacular Barossa. Rest assured there will be great stories! Maybe even some friends of WineWalkabout savings to be had! So stay tuned...

All of the Adventures with people, places and things will hopefully capture your attention and help highlight what Lonely Planet has just discovered and we have know for years. Adelaide, or South Australia is a world class tourist destination with fantastic offerings. You can follow along for the daily / hourly updates as to where we are, and what we are doing, with twitter at winewalkabout@kiwiandkoala

It is with great excitement that in a couple of weeks WineWalkabout will be on the loose in Adelaide. There are so many beautiful places to go and stay and see as well as fantastic food and of course the world renown wines its hard to know where to begin.
If you see us about, come on over and say g'day and tell us about your favorite Adelaide Adventure. If there is someone or something you feel we must meet or experience, shoot us an email, there is always room for one more great story! 

Happy Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala
South Aust Video
Another Sth Aussie Video

Blue Lake

Nov 1, 2013

Visit Adelaide and South Australia

Just some of the amazing things and places to see in this amazing State...

Kangaroo Island
Rundle Mall
Adelaide Central Markets
Cleland Wildlife Park
Mount Lofty Lookout
National Wine Center
Penfolds Magill Estate
Morialta Conservation Park
Adelaide Zoo
Coffin Bay
Mt Gambier
Blue Lake
Victor Harbor
Flinders Ranges
Adelaide Casino
Murray Bridge
Warrawong Sanctuary
Port Adelaide
Mount Barker
Adelaide Festival Center
Barossa Valley
Langhorne Creek
McLaren Vale
Adelaide Hills
Barossa Valley
Clare Valley
The Riverlands
Coober Pedy
Wilpena Pound
Gorge Wildlife Park
Botanical Gardens
Adelaide Entertainment Center
Kayak in The Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary and Ships Graveyard
Port Lincoln
Cage Diving with Great White Sharks From Port Lincoln