Bathurst’s Cool Climate Wine ShowAUSTRALIA, GUEST BLOGGERS, WINE & BEER — By Al McCartan on September 17, 2010 at 18:27
Story by guest blogger Al McCartan. Photos Copyright © Al McCartan.
Bathurst is in New South Wales (NSW), about two-and-a-half hour’s drive west of Sydney. Of the six states and two territories, NSW is Australia’s most populous state.
YOU’RE OUT OF Sydney, the freeway is less choked, and it’s now a leisurely drive along the Great Western highway, through the mountains and on to the Central Tablelands. You snake your way through the little tourist traps—the villages that make up the Blue Mountains. You drive through historic Lithgow and just fifty or so kilometres farther down the road is Bathurst.
Must be time for a rest and relax. “Okay,” you say. “Bathurst seems a great place to bide a while.”
Feature photo: Bathurst town centre
As you head into the city (est. 1815) just across the Macquarie River Bridge you’ll see the Bathurst Visitors Information Centre—we locals call it BVIC. Here’s where you can pull in for a snack and have a natter to the lovely team at BVIC about what Bathurst has to offer.
They’ll show you all the best tourist bits and proudly show off our historic past. My job is to whet your appetite. Ah! Appetite. Good food and wine.
Well, you lucky ones, it’s almost time for Bathurst’s Cool Climate Wine Show, held in October each year. This year it’s the 12th–15th.
Australia is blessed with a diversity of climes: tropical, sub-tropical, temperate and cool. We fall into the temperate zone. For the purposes of wine growing, Bathurst, Orange and surrounding regions come under the umbrella of cool climate; just cool enough to produce some darn fine wine.
We know wine has been around since recorded history and is the stuff poems are made of. Scottish author Robert Louis Stephenson said: “Wine is bottled poetry.”
Before we head off, Benjamin Franklin put in his contribution by saying: “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”
What a fabulous way to get our mini tour going.
Closest to the city is our famous Mount Panorama, beloved by the motor racing fraternity. Alright, let’s get it out of the system. A burn around the circuit . . . I know you want to, and, yes, you can do it.
All better now?
Great.Let’s call into the Mt. Panorama Winery for a tasting session. The cellar is open 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily. Here you can sip on a Shiraz. Our red grapes are among our great assets. The classic Australian Shiraz holds a prime position. At Mt. Pan you can enjoy both still and sparkling Shiraz. How about a Pinot Noir, ideally suited to our cool climate region.
I’m of the opinion that reds are the ideal winter wines. Imagine a cool night, a roaring fire, a slap-up dinner and a nice beefy red. They’re great, too, for the springtime barbecues. The experts at the wineries will tell you which wines match which types of meals and how to get the best from that particular bottle.
White wine lovers, you won’t miss out either. What diversity. They range from opulent golden yellow to pale lemon yellow, all crisp, clean and palate-pleasing. The colour determines which region the wine is from. Try out the Chardonnay or the Riesling from Mt Pan.
Limekilns Road is just a short drive and is the home of another great winery: Stockman’s Ridge. The climate of cool nights and warm days extends the growing season. Here, a wine buff can sample tantalizingly complex and enjoyable wines.Just out of town is Georges Plains, home of the G’day Pubs, and on Cow Flat Road is Vale Creek Wines.
Italian-style wines are the go here: Sangiovese, Dalcetto, Barbera, to name a few; plus our traditional wines. Scenic, too. Panoramic views of tranquil valleys and the surrounding hills. Vale Creek Winery also hosts some stunning musical events.
Before we say ‘bye to Bathurst, just a few miles east of the city is Winburnvale Wines. This is open on the first weekend of the month, or else by appointment. Here gold and quality wines go together. You see, the vineyards are planted next to old gold mines. Superior site selection and attention to detail in the vineyard and winery make Winburndale some of the most respected and sought-after wines in Australia.
In closing, let’s savour the words of US wine merchant, William Sokolin:
What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile.
AL McCARTAN lives in Bathurst with a redhead (aka Cheryl), one cat (Milo) and about 200 stuffed teddy bears. He has worked with the Department of Defence in Canberra, as a journalist with the Army Newspaper and with the Recruiting Directorate. As a sideline he became an easy listening music DJ and he still practices that medium as morning DJ at 2MCE-FM. Al says, “Reading, writing, fine dining and music are my likes. Oh! I’m nuts about history and I like to slant my writings to the good (and bad) old days.”