An afternoon sojourn … at the Blue Mountains

An afternoon sojourn at the Blue Mountains

“Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living”

~ Robert Mondavi (1913 – 2008), Napa valley winemaker, California, USA

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Mysaucepan and I were recently invited by The Wine International Group Sydney (TWIGS) to yet another one of their wine tastings.

TWIGS is made up of a group of medical specialists who are very passionate about their wines. They take turns hosting wine tasting at each other’s home and this tasting brings us to Joe and Margaret’s beautiful home in the Blue Mountains, about a ninety-minute drive west of Sydney.

Driveway to Joe's house, Blue Mountains

Driveway to Joe's house, Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is a quiet and peaceful place where its higher ridges are thick with eucalyptus forest, a distinctive and beautiful Australian native landscape.

Each time I visit these mountains, beautiful music starts to flow into my mind as I gaze at the beautiful surrounds.

As we approach the long driveway into Joe and Margaret’s home, the serenity of the gardens, the tall and majestic trees are making the music even louder in my head. And what I hear is truly beautiful.

I hope you will join me in reliving an afternoon sojourn at the Blue Mountains that is filled with good wine, good food, great company and some of the most beautiful music ever written that was playing in my head the whole time I was there.

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So before you read further, I suggest you grab a pair of good headphones and listen to Grieg’s piano concerto in A minor Op. 16, second movement for it is this glorious music that I hear as I sample the wines, taste the food and take an afternoon walk around the beautiful gardens of our hosts.

I believe that even though you may not have been here with us, you will appreciate the beauty of our afternoon sojourn with one of the greatest works of this legendary Norwegian composer.

Click on the image below and come with me on an afternoon sojourn … at the Blue Mountains.

(Listening tip: use a pair of good headphones)

The soloist is 10 year old Jonathan Yang, a recipient of a scholarship from the
Lang Lang International Music Foundation

To listen to Grieg’s piano concerto in A minor Op. 16 in its entirety, click here to listen Alice Sara Ott play this beautiful beautiful piano concerto.

~~~~~~~~O~~~~~~~~

Misty afternoon at the Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Misty afternoon at the Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Joe and Margaret are hopeful of hosting a lunch for their guests on the lawns of their sprawling gardens that occupy acres of native forest.

However, the weather today is a little less kind but nevertheless we have the comfort of good wine, good food and great company.

Blind tasting of white varietals

Blind tasting of white varietals

The wines this afternoon is a blind tasting of a selection of beautiful whites.

Each member brings a bottle that is covered with foil to conceal its identity although sometimes the shape of the bottle might give a hint as to what we might be drinking.

Blind tasting of white varietals and tasting notes

Blind tasting of white varietals and tasting notes

A section of Joe's private cellar

A section of Joe's private cellar

Before the wine tasting, Joe takes me on a tour of his private wine cellar that consists of thousands of wines from all over the world.

A section of Joe's private cellar

A section of Joe's private cellar

Arguably Australia's finest riesling: Grosset's Polish Hill riesling 2009 and 2011

Arguably Australia's finest riesling: Grosset's Polish Hill riesling 2009 and 2011

“No, this cannot be a riesling as it does not have that kerosene undertones” says a TWIG member.

He holds the glass so close to take a whiff, he could almost be drinking the wine through his nose.

It is serious fun because I can see these TWIG members are not just bonded by their love for wine but also from friendship that was born from being in university together more than fifty years ago.

1995 Chateauneuf du Pape

1995 Chateauneuf du Pape

2010 Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay

2010 Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay

2012 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

2012 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Awesome whites: TWIGS' wine tasting at the Blue Mountains

Awesome whites: TWIGS' wine tasting at the Blue Mountains

For the record, the wines for the afternoon were a distinguished list:

  • 2009 Grosset Polish Hill riesling - straw colour, kerosene on the nose, sweetish with a medium finish.
  • 2011 Grosset Polish Hill riesling - straw colour, floral bouquet with a touch of kerosene, good palate and a healthy finish.
  • 2012 Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc - light greenish colour with  fruity bouquet of persimmon and gooseberry, sweetish with a hint of pineapple on the palate and a medium finish.
  • 2007 Te Koko sauvignon blanc - straw colour with fruity and butterscotch bouquet, malolactic fermentation.
  • 2010 Felton Road Block 2 chardonnay - light straw colour, stone fruits bouquet, buttery on the palate with a healthy finish.
  • 1995 Chateauneuf du Pape - golden yellow colour with hints of pineapple and butterscotch, slightly past its prime.

Thank you to  the committee members of TWIGS, especially to Joe and Margaret for inviting us to your beautiful home and for hosting such an elaborate lunch.

Harjit's home-made bread

Harjit's home-made bread

Fish pate and croutons

Fish pate and croutons

Lena's pickled cucumber

Lena's pickled cucumber

Sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds for a summer salad

Sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds for a summer salad

Chinese style roast pork

Chinese style roast pork

Lentils

Lentils

Margaret's fish pate

Margaret's fish pate

Baked zucchini, carrots and French beans

Baked zucchini, carrots and French beans

Lunch feast for a sojourn at the Blue Mountains

Lunch feast for a sojourn at the Blue Mountains

Orange and poppyseed cake

Orange and poppyseed cake

Kiwifruit, watermelon, cherries, mango and strawberries

Kiwifruit, watermelon, cherries, mango and strawberries

Lemon meringue pie

Lemon meringue pie

Joe's garden, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Joe's garden, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

A corner in Joe's garden to reflect and contemplate

A corner in Joe's garden to reflect and contemplate

Lavendar at Joe's garden, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Lavendar at Joe's garden, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

An orchid in the rain ...

An orchid in the rain ...

Tender little blooms

Tender little blooms

Intricate as they are, no one blossom is as beautiful as all of them together

Intricate as they are, no one blossom is as beautiful as all of them together

Beauty does not just happen ... it is made up of many intricate things

Beauty does not just happen ... it is made up of many intricate things

Joe's garden, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Joe's garden, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Joe's garden, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Joe's garden, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

An afternoon sojourn in paradise

An afternoon sojourn in paradise

Succulents on a footpath

Succulents on a footpath

A moment to ponder, reflect or practice the golf swing ...

A moment to ponder, reflect or practice the golf swing ...

The grass will always be greener in your garden when you appreciate the things you already have

The grass will always be greener in your garden when you appreciate the things you already have

When the foundation is strong, the creation will stand the test of time

When the foundation is strong, the creation will stand the test of time

A fairway to heaven

A fairway to heaven

Manicured lawns for an afternoon sojourn

Manicured lawns for an afternoon sojourn

A rose in the rain ...

A rose in the rain ...

Tall, majestic and beautiful just like Grieg's piano concerto in A minor - 2nd movement

Tall, majestic and beautiful just like Grieg's piano concerto in A minor - 2nd movement

Tall, majestic and beautiful just like Grieg's piano concerto in A minor - 2nd movement

Tall, majestic and beautiful just like Grieg's piano concerto in A minor - 2nd movement

Driveway to Joe's house, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Driveway to Joe's house, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

A brief moment to stop and smell the flowers

A brief moment to stop and smell the flowers

Apres la pluie

Apres la pluie

Nature's beauty: Tender raindrops on maple leaves

Nature's beauty: Tender raindrops on maple leaves

Succulent displaying its pride and beauty

Succulent displaying its pride and beauty

A stony footpath ...

A stony footpath ...

that takes you on a sojourn ...

that takes you on a sojourn ...

The beauty of the path less traveled ...

The beauty of the path less traveled ...

So dear readers, do you have a favourite place to go for spending some down time?

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11 Responses to An afternoon sojourn … at the Blue Mountains

  1. It sure looked like it was one great day filled with lots of wine and food! I don’t make the trek out to the blue mountains enough. I should, we all should!

  2. My husband would love to have a private wine cellar like that! Well I want to have their garden… :D Such a lovely home (and lots of wines!) to be invited to. Sounds like you two had a fantastic time with lots of great food and wine. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Kimby says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely sojourn, music, food, flora & fauna, and wine! What a wonderful outing!

  4. Winston says:

    Beautiful post… And the audio pairing is just perfect. You really are a classic man, what with your intricate appreciation towards classical music and wine. I need to learn to move past my usual drink of choice: beer haha. I only visited the super touristy part of Blue Mountains back in 2008 so this post is really making me wish I had done sth more back then =/

  5. What a fun way to spend the holidays! The view and grounds are beautiful too :)

  6. Wow, what a stunning property and a beautiful looking meal!

  7. Raymund says:

    Thats a nice cellar, I want to have something like that at home.
    Anyways I am dropping by to say Have a prosperous New Year to you and your Family

  8. What and amazing story and fascinating group of people! I would
    Love to be involved in a gathering like that, especially in such gorgeous surrounds! Beautiful !

  9. What fun! That pate and lemon meringue look so yummy! I hope you had a great Christmas and have a wonderful new year!!!

  10. Looks wonderfully relaxing and serene. Hope you had a good Christmas and New Year celebrations!

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