It’s a Monday evening and the first day of the working week is thankfully at an end. Incredibly, considering the weekend just gone, I’m already onto my second glass of red!
These Two Clowns are generally weekend homebodies. Solitude, sunshine, sighing wind through the gum trees occasionally interrupted by the sound of an insistent Facebook alert tone…
So what does it take to rouse us out of our recuperative slumber? What lure strong enough to result in two packed bags and a tank full of petrol?
Effervescence 2014 and the promise of everlasting alcoholic bubbles, that’s what!
Josef Chromy has long had a hold on us. Whether it’s enjoying a platter of fine food in the wan winter sun at their Relbia winery, or selecting a quality pinot noir from the wine list at one of Hobart’s fine dining establishments, the Josef Chromy label comes with high expectations.
Inevitably, the inaugural Effervescence 2014 sparkling wine event went straight into our calendars!
Showcasing the best of Tasmania’s fast-growing and highly desirable sparkling wine sector, Effervescence brought 15 wine houses together under Josef Chromy’s proverbial roof. Spread over two days, the festival provided attendees with the opportunity to partake in a number of different activities, yet all with sparkling Tasmanian wines as their centrepiece.
On Friday, 31 October it was a dinner choice between three leading restaurants in the Launceston region, with all meals matched to local fine wines. The stand out of these had to be the dinner at Josef Chromy’s own restaurant where for the princely sum of $135 you not only received a 5-course degustation prepared by Executive Chef Sean Keating, but you also had the privilege of being joined at your table by one of the 15 winemakers to give context to the wine pairings! While we didn’t take them up on this offer, it sounded incredible!
It was on Saturday though that things really ramped up. Throughout the day a number of different ‘masterclasses’ were held in the winery Barrel Room. Cheese and wine matchings? Oysters and sparkling? A casual chat with the numerous winemakers? An exploration of Tasmania’s finest sparkling wines together with the wine makers themselves? What’s not to like?!
For us though it was the ‘Grand Tasting Experience’ that appealed. Simple in concept, for our $10 entry fee we had the pleasure of spending an afternoon tasting as many sparkling wines as we liked, while also enjoying some of Tasmania’s freshest produce.
After registering at the front desk and rounding the corner, this was the view with which we were greeted…
Each of the 15 wine makers had their own stall, with a number of different sparkling wines on offer at each. We spent the first half hour or so slowly ambling up and down, perusing the offerings, asking the odd question, but mostly sipping!
Feeling a little peckish after thoroughly enjoying the wines on offer by The House of Arras and Pirie Tasmania, we grabbed a tasting plate ($15) from Huon Tasmania, consisting of whisky cured salmon, salmon pate and sour dough, all topped off with some hand milked salmon caviar!!
With the sun beaming down, we made the most of a couple of very comfy bean bags and cleaned up another couple of glasses of wine while watching the gardens fill with late arrivals.
Before long we heard the strains of some fantastic jazz coming from the band on the verandah…
Deciding the view wasn’t awesome enough, we changed positions, initially moving over to the hill overlooking the lake, only to find the sharp breeze just a little too cutting for our liking! We ended up finding a cozy spot out of the worst of the breeze, and strategically located closer to the kitchen where we ordered ourselves a cheese platter ($30). The signage was pretty poor down at the Josef Chromy wine stall, because it was only later in the day that we realised they were actually selling cheese platters down there as well.
As the wind rose, the temperature dropped! In typical Tassie spring fashion, within minutes we went from blazing sun to icy rain, to tiny shards of hail! Check out the ‘before and after’ on these guys…!
And of course, within another few minutes we were back out there getting a smidge sunburnt again!
It was a great afternoon and the event was well run. With such a gorgeous backdrop combined with the fantastic opportunity to try so many varied sparkling wines from across Tasmania, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Grand Tasting make an even bigger and better appearance in 2015!
For more information about the Josef Chromy winery, drop by their website here.
Alternatively, you can also find them on Facebook here.
If Relbia is too far to travel, perhaps you’d prefer Frogmore Creek in the Coal River Valley, only 20 minutes outside Hobart? If so, click here for our review, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Stay tuned for Part 2…