We live surrounded by vineyards. It is heaven to live in a country where wine is a locally-produced item. Nowadays, even buying a South Australian wine seems pointless when there are so many Victorian wineries I haven’t tried yet. My personal favourite is Candlebark Hill up in the Grampians, in Hanging Rock country (about an hour’s drive from here). But the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula are no more than an hour’s drive from home, and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of these regions or Geographic Indications, the Australian version of “appellations controllées”.
Grape varieties I have never heard of are enthusiastically embraced by boutique wineries. Petit Verdot, Arneis and are wines I could select by the glass the other night in a small wine bar. Even grape clones are heralded as varieties in their own right: for example the MV6 pinot noir clone so beloved of the Hurley vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula. However I don’t think I will ever be able to bring myself to order a glass of “cab sav”, preferring to give cabernet sauvingnon its full title always, despite not being understood by many waiters.
All in all, food and wine here in Australia is so different in many aspects as to be a completely new experience. I cannot think of one way in which our lives have not been enriched by this aspect of Australian life.