Hunter Valley is a beautiful vineyard located next to the town of Cessnock. Or should I say Cessnock is located inside Hunter Valley.
And the main spot is called Lovedale.
Locating Lillians took a bit of effort, we came from the south of the map and headed north. It's located in the 5th column 5th row in the map. Can you find it?
We were pretty excited as we drove up the estate house in the middle of a vast empty land (3-4 acres?).
The house from the driveway already looked pretty promising.
Soon we were at the front porch moving our luggage into the house from the car.
Due to my personal request for a specific dessert wine that I've heard so much about, Bill from Allandale winery (from next door) specially had someone hand-delivered a bottle of Anna Semillon Sauvignon Blanc to our door step just as the evening arrives.
The wine was awarded wine of the year in some competition btw, just to prove my point of how lovely this wine was. :p
We chucked the bottle into the fridge to chill and drove out to a nearby boutique restaurant to have our first wine dining.
Out of excitement, I forgot to bring my camera out. We've chosen Mojo's to have our first dinner in Hunter, a local recommendation.
photo taken from the site.
The dinner cost us almost AUD80 per person, with wine. Not a full three course meal as we're not exactly big eater, but you get the rough idea. Nothing fancy is cheap.
Mojo's was absolutely lovely. I especially adore their cameralised balsamic vinegar they served with their Hunter's own olive oil which you usually dip with home made fresh dinner roll/bread. I even bought the bottle of vinegar and now it's sitting half bottle consumed in my fridge.
That night we got home and took the bottle of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc out and went backyard to spend the rest of our night chatting in the cold winter drizzles.
Nothing beats a lovelier evening. Everything was perfect. If only Kif and I were single back then, damn it. *Potong steam* (kidding :p)
We went to bed separately as the night drew in. But not before placing the frozen croissants on the tray in the kitchen for the next day.
I took the chance to use the beautiful jacuzzi in my bathroom. Ho ho ho...
It got cold so I borrowed a jumper from Kif and pulled it over myself. Brrr....
Morning in Lillians was perfect. The fresh air, the cold quiet lounge, unwashed wine glass on the table. It's something I wouldn't mind waking up to every morning for the rest of my life. We even spotted a few wallabies hopping around the fences out of the kitchen window.
Things got more "homey" when we went to check out our croissants on the table.
It's raised to perfection.
So we stuck the two loaves into the oven and proceeded with our morning hang abouts.
There, our perfect croissants, with butter, for breakfast.
Before and after
After changing, we drove out to explore the rest of Hunter Valley.
Okay, one thing beautiful about living in Lillians or in a vineyard, is that you wake up to a scenery like this every morning.
Makes you wanna skip a few steps everywhere you go.
We visited some chocolate shops (will blog about this more, he he he).
Some cheese shop.
There was one winery that has everything to do with pigs.
You know the owner is obsessed with pigs when you find the name of the bottle of wine named after this.
Wanted to walk around the Hunter's garden when it started raining. So only got to see the map at the entrance of the garden.
So instead we went back to Allandale and met up with Bill for lunch at Leaves and Fishes.
Bill and Kif talking about the wine industry in Malaysia
Baked salmon and fish & chips here were excellent.
Service was wonderful, so was the humor of the place.
"Stressed is Desserts spelt backwards" Haha! I never knew that!
Making this my new fav phrase, I decided to live up to the phrase.
Wine chocolate! What better choices of dessert in a wine country!
We proceeded to visit more wineries after lunch. And get drunk while at it. Make sure your driver was either a very responsible driver, or pretty darn good drinker.
Having visited more cheese shop and wineries, we ended up making our own candlelight dinner at Lillians.
Perfected with bread, vinegar and olive oil, salads, and steaks as main.
Salad and beef from supermarket in Cessnock.
As a bottle of sparkling sweet rose from a nearby winery.
Dinner, as I may put it, was superb. Prepared by yours truly. :p
Sirloin and blue cheese
We ended the night by playing Oreo Checkers and Kif eating up all my checkers.
On our final morning, we packed our bags and went next door to pay a visit to Allandale Winery. :D
Met up with Bill, manager of Allandale,
chatted for a bit and had him gave us a tour around his distillation.
Bad move, Bill, bad move.
Next thing you know half of your distillation will go missing overnight, especially that distillation tin with Sweet Semillon Sauvignon Blanc listed on it.
We learnt a lot about wine making that day.
Facts like French oak is a favorable choice for aging red wine or Chardonnay, it's one of the most expensive oaks too,
or the fact that you have to change a new oak barrel every five year or so because the wine would have soaked away a thick later of the oak.
or the fact that if you like free wine as I do, make friends with the wine connoisseur of the winery.
By the end of the tour, you'd end up with more than a dozen glasses of wine down your liver.
We then returned to the house and moved our bags into the car to prepare our trip north into Newcastle.
Before we leave, we flipped through the guest book and left a comment, or two.
If you're ever had the chance to stay in Lillians, look for my signature. :)
Till then, we'll miss you Lillians.
Thank you for the most amazing experience.