I was in Australia and I was on the road. Two blokes, a car, an ipod full of Paul Kelly songs and a couple of spare weeks; it was going to be good. First stop was Port Fairy to visit friends. This tiny seaside town has a rich historical past and was one of Victoria's first settlements. Though there is still a large fishing fleet, today the whaling has been replaced by tourism and Port Fairy is well known for its annual Folk Festival. It's a long way from Melbourne and while there's a couple of streets of antique shops, cafes and B & Bs Port Fairy keeps its charm and is one of my favourite places in Victoria.
The friends we stayed with offered us amazing hospitality. Not only did we get a comfortable room, an awesome meal, a guided tour of Griffiths Island, but we got involved in some seriously delicious local booze. When we were offered a local wine I was thinking of maybe something from the Grampians, but oh no they were all from the Henty region. Bottle after bottle was pulled out and we were told to take our pick. Located close to the nearby the town of Hamilton, Henty seems to offer some extremely good cool climate wines.
First we had a couple of glasses of local beer from the Red Duck Brewery in Purrumbete; it was good, perhaps better even than Fat Nick's homebrew. The enjoyable Amber Ale was a flavoursome, honest ale, while the special release Golden Dragon was a superb beverage. It was rich and complex, but an absolute nightmare to pour; it just seemed to keep foaming and frothing. A bottle of delicious Henty Estate Riesling followed and disappeared quickly after the beer; this aromatic, well-balanced white was a perfect aperitif. Looking at the pile of reds we went with the Hochkirch Maximus Pinot Noir 2004, a good drop with tantalising red fruits and an accompanying warm fuzzy feeling from knowing it was made following organic and biodynamic principals. Alongside dinner we tucked into another wine from the Henty Estate stable, this time it was the Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. This was a cracker of a wine; complex and well structured it went perfectly with dinner and was just plain tasty. To finish we had a little sip of Chambers Old Wine Muscadelle, and though not local, it was definitely very good.
Heading for Adelaide the next day - via Langhorne Creek of course - we were grateful for a fantastic night in Port Fairy, a chance to catch up with friends and an opportunely to try some great wines from the area.
Visit Henty wine region website