New South Wales – Undiscovered Hunter Valley
By Winsor Dobbin
There are dozens of boutique wine and food producers tucked away in lanes off the main Hunter Valley thoroughfares. It is well worth visiting some of them for a more personal experience away from the crowds.
This itinerary takes in some of the Hunter’s undiscovered treasures.
Stop 1 – Wine and condiments tasting
Moorebank Private Vineyard
Ian Burgess and Debra Moore produce a range of sustainably grown wines and also make a range of handmade vineyard garden condiments, including their spicy grape sauce, a popular marinade.
Many of the wines are sold in unusually shaped bottles and visitors are welcome to stroll around the gardens before or after sampling the chilli and capsicum spread, lemon chilli and semillon dip and fresh lemonade.
Open: Seven days from 10am to 5pm
150 Palmers Lane,
Tel (02) 4998 7610
Stop 2 – Cheese tasting
Cheesemaker Simon Gough specialises in soft cheese, made from both cow and goat milk, at his cheesery, which is part of the Tuscany Wine Estate complex and next to the Arrowfield Estate cellar door.
His cheeses are sold to top restaurants around the state and his specialties include marinated feta and labna. There is a large range of cheeses available for tasting each day and the cheesemaking process is explained.
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.
Cnr Hermitage Road and Mistletoe Lane,
Tel (02) 4998 6660
Stop 3 – Wine tasting
Family-owned and operated Mistletoe is one of the quiet achievers of the Hunter Valley and will celebrate its 23rd anniversary in 2012.
Several wines are available exclusively at cellar door – and there is plenty to occupy any members of the party not tasting wine; a fine art gallery – the Pokolbin Gallery - in the cellar building and a sculpture garden in the grounds.
Winemaker Nick Paterson previously worked at Brokenwood and Tyrrell’s and is regarded as one of the region’s best young talents.
You must taste:
- The semillon and shiraz are outstanding with a fresh and fruity mozcato (sic)
- The Rose to tempt those with sweeter palates.
- There are some terrific reds maturing in barrel.
Open: Daily from 10am with twilight tastings until 6pm
771 Hermitage Road,
Tel (02) 4998 7770
Stop 4 – Lunch
Leading Hunter winemaker Andrew Margan and his restaurateur wife Lisa opened their rammed-earth tasting room and restaurant in Broke in 2007, and it has become a firm favourite over the weekends.
Talented chef Josh Davidson uses local produce and as well as fresh produce from their own kitchen garden.
A range of Margan museum wines, along with Andrew’s favourites from around the world, illuminate the wine list.
On warm summer days, guests can dine al fresco on the veranda with expansive views of the vineyards and Yellow Rock, the spectacular local icon, part of the Brokenback Range.
Open: Friday and Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for breakfast and lunch.
1238 Milbrodale Road,
Tel (02) 6579 1372
Stop 5 – Wine Tasting
Glandore Estate is a relative newcomer to the Hunter, having only been formed in 2005, but winemaker Duane Roy is one of the region’s great talents and it is well worth making the effort to try his wines. Roy aims to make wines with regional character and has access top some wonderful old vineyard sites. He’s also been experimenting with Spanish varieties tempranillo and albarino, both of which show great promise.
Open: 10am-5pm seven days a week.
1595 Broke Rd
Tel (02) 4998 7140
Stop 6 – Dinner
The Cellar is something of a Hunter institution – and you’ll often find local winemakers enjoying chef and proprietor Andy Wright’s menu, which specialises in local produce. The wine list offers an excellent selection of current vintage wines, as well as cellared Hunter chardonnays, semillons and shirazes, and over a dozen wines are available by the glass.
Open: For lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday.
Hunter Valley Gardens Village
Broke Road, Pokolbin
Tel (02) 4998 7584
- Lower Hunter (NSW)
- Hunter including Newcastle (NSW)
- Upper Hunter Valley (NSW)
- Hunter Valley (NSW)
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