Victoria Grog Files

250px-Flag_of_Victoria_(Australia).svg

Victoria, AU

We had two opportunities to check out the wine regions of Victoria.  The first was just after we finished up our time working at a horse racing stable and the second is when we decided a mandatory piece of the great Australian road trip with Tiffany’s brother Chris was to jump-start his education on “How to find wines I like?”  While both visits were brief, they both netted solid results on quality vino.

Unfortunately, it was easier to find the beers of Victoria elsewhere in the country than the wines.

Crown Lager

Crown Larger

Type: Beer

Rating: 1 Sheet to the wind

Contact: http://thecrowncompany.com/

Notes: Even for an Aussie beer, this was in the lower bracket.

Pure Blonde

Pure Blonde

Type: Beer

Rating: 2 Sheets to the wind

Contact: http://cub.com.au/beer/

Notes: lighter beer, not undrinkable but not remarkable either.  They have a “naked” version that is a little different, but not notably better

Victoria Bitter (AKA: VB)

VB

Type: Beer

Rating: 2 Sheets to the wind

Contact: http://cub.com.au/beer/victoriabitter/

Notes: Pretty much a standard beer of Australia, it’s OK and they have better.  Which, this being Australian beer we’re talking about, is saying something in and of itself.

Carlton Draught

Carlton Draught

Type: Beer

Rating: 2.5 Sheets to the wind

Contact: https://www.carltondraught.com/ageVerification.php?page=/

Notes:

One of Greg’s go-to beers for his “knock off” comp drink after a night working at the pub.  For a standard Australian beer you can pretty much find anywhere, it’s drinkable and a little better than the other mass produced ones.

Crittenden and Co.

Crittenden

Type: Winery

Rating: 3 Sheets to the wind

Contact: http://woolworths.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/webSite/Woolworths/ (it’s a supermarket brand)

Notes:

Sometimes you don’t need every night to be an expensive bottle of wine.  Sometimes you need an inexpensive bottle to just have with your Indian mild curry.  That’s what this place produced and when we were working in Melbourne and living on a budget, they were one of our go-to’s.  These guys were not awesome, but they were good at a OK price.

Pino Noir – It’s a table wine.  Not a lot of tannens and good blackberry taste.  A drinkable light red but as Tiffany said “Not my new favorite.”  However for being priced at the bottom of the market it delivered on the value front as well.

Rose – Sweet, light, better chilled and highly drinkable.  For the price a good deal.

Late Harvest Riesling – Enjoyed it.  Pretty much what you would expect from a basic sweet white.

B’darra Estate

Rasperry

Type: Winery

Rating: 3

Contact: http://www.bdarraestate.com.au/

Notes:

When working 12+ hours a day, 6 days a week, at a Melbourne race horse stable, we found that our lives were rapidly becoming consumed by work.  On one of our days off we decided to make the effort to get out to the Geelong wine region for a change of pace.  This was before we owned The Beast but we thought public transit would be easy enough to use.

We were wrong.

After a metro, followed by a train, a bus and endless connections we were on the brink of giving up.  After 3 and a half hours of missed connections we finally made it to the Geelong tourist information center.  Informed that many of the wineries were closing for the day we almost gave up until we decided that after this much work, we would turn back until we had sampled at least a single wine.  Asking for the tourist center staff’s single recommendation for a place that was close, had a good chance of still being open and was actually good, we sprung for a cab and finally made it to a single winery.

Worth the effort.

A boutique place, B’darra had some unusual selections which, as you might have guessed, gave it early points in our book.  Several of their wines were good but the two that stood out for bonus points for being both good and unique were the wines made from raspberry (pictured above) and the one made from Ruhbarb

Ruhby

Sounds insane, tasted good and a worthwhile experience for the bragging rights alone!  Good enough to pick up a few bottles of each and we greatly enjoyed them.

Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that since our visit those many months ago the winery has closed its doors and is selling the last of their stock via their website.  Sad to see someone willing to be adventurous with winemaking who also delivered solid results have to close their doors but at least you can take advantage of their 50% off prices while they still have wine left!

Lethbridge

Letherbridge

Type: Winery

Rating: 3 Sheets to the wind

Contact: http://www.lethbridgewines.com/

Notes:

Pino Gris – Very tasty for a Pinot Gris: fruity and not overly dry.

Resiling – not super sweet, but had a good balance between acidity and sugar.  Good but not great.

Pino Noir – OK, it was fine.  Basic Pinot Noir.  As a newer wine drinker, Chris preferred it to the other reds at the winery.

Carmener / cabernet mix – Mellow, easy to drink and very fruity for a red and low on the tannin.  Tiffany really liked this one.

Shiraz – Tiffany was not a fan

They also had gourmet goat cheeses to sell alongside the wine, which is always a nice plus.  Go for the herbs and garlic goat cheese!

Clydepark Vineyards

Clydepark

Type: Winery

Rating: 2

Contact: http://www.clydepark.com.au/

Notes:

OK wines all around.  Little heavy on the acidity though.  One of their wines had a particularly notable bouquet.

Littore wines

Littore

Type: Winery

Rating: 3

Contact: http://www.littorewines.com.au/

Notes:

As we’ve discussed at some length, libations in Australia are outrageously expensive.  Since we are travelling on a budget and are looking for wines we can eventually enjoy by shipping them to the United States, a major piece of these grog files is finding the gems that deliver good taste while not gouging us for our hard-earned Aussie dollars.

In effect, we are searching for the Sutter Home of Australia.

And this place might just be it:

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