Tag Archives: Canberra District Wine Week

Out of Left Field!

Picture this … the sun is setting over a hillside garden looking over the vineyard, the tables are groaning under local home-made pâtés, cheeses and good country breads, and more importantly—the wine is ready for tasting! By Paul Stewart.

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LFW is at Clementine Restaurant for Food by Clementine and Left Field Wines wine tasting as part of Canberra District Wine Week in Yass and we’re here to sample wines out of ‘left field’ by six local producers, and with accompanying canapes and finger food.

I began the tasting with the Fumé Blanc from Sholto Wines, a small boutique winery established in 2013 by young winemaker Jacob Carter. This wine was neither vegetal like a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, nor could I detect any minerality such as in a Sancerre Blanc, but it had a pleasant floral nose of its own and was easy drinking. A good way to start the evening!

To be honest, I worked my way through most, if not all, of the offerings without much of a plan except to pounce when a space opened at a tasting table. Up next was Mallaluka Wines, another small boutique producer using minimum chemicals and open vat fermentation, with the wine bottled at a fairly young age with the potential to mature further for many years in the bottle. Their Riesling was not my favourite, but a young lady commented that it was ‘very hipster’—not sure if that was a ringing endorsement or not, but its sibling, Cabernet Shiraz Sangiovese blend, proved much more to my taste—both accessible and enjoyable. Although some may suggest it could be characterised as a bit of a mongrel—this puppy sat very well.sholto wines

Returning to the Sholto table, the Barbera was tasty and teased my nose … was that a touch of clove, cinnamon or perhaps soft tobacco? A half step to the side and I was at the table for Yassgas! This small batch of ‘whatever was left over’ was actually very pleasant. I don’t think it will impress aficionados and snobs, but it slipped down easily with a playful nose and no rough edges—a glass of vino fun, if ever there was one!

The Collector Wines’ offerings were a Marsanne and a Sangiovese. I’m not particularly a fan of Marsanne but it was a good representation of the variety even though I wouldn’t buy it myself. On the other hand the Sangiovese was truly luscious—soft, generous, and drinkable; everything that one seeks in this scion of Chianti. Collector Wines is made up a group of growers with grapes farmed on the granite and reddish shale loams of the Canberra district.

Last, but by no means least, was the Yarrh Wines table. A slightly cloudy (and please don’t be put off by that description) rosé with a touch of frizzante, labelled earlier in the day as Nat Sem, was unusual and wonderful. With the aromas of ripe tropical fruits, this little lovely would be perfect to enjoy over lunch on some of the warm sunny days left to us in this autumn. Yarrh Wines produce a high quality range of small batch, hand crafted, estate grown and bottled wines, available for purchase at the cellar door, online, and at selected retail outlets.

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Breads, cheeses, and pâté at Clementine Restaurant

And now to the food! Overall the food was delectable, including a large round of Camembert layered with truffle, house-made hummus, and a ready supply of artfully created canapés, which went perfectly with the wines on offer. This had much to do with the skill of Clementine Restaurant and head chef Adam Bantock. Clementine opened in December 2015 and is well known by locals and more than worthy of the trip out from Canberra one Sunday afternoon. The food is inspired by regional French and Italian cooking and the 1950s weatherboard cottage is a comfortable and relaxed setting.

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Clementine’s Restaurant, Yass

For all the enjoyment of the evening, I was left with the lingering sense that perhaps these may not have been the finest wines on offer in the region, and that the Yass Valley still has a lot more up its sleeve. That said; it was a very pleasant way to spend a Thursday evening.

Photos by Paul Stewart for LFW

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Days of Wine and Roses

Wine with lunch. Wine with dinner. Wine with friends.  How many ways can you have wine for a week? Well, more than you think if you check this out! Wineries in the Yass Valley are gearing up for Canberra District Wine Week—a celebration of—well, wine!summerside-shaw-vineyard-estate

“Canberra District Wine Week is the perfect time to visit Yass Valley as the region’s wineries offer some great wine events, dinners, lunches, tastings, tours and more,” said Sean Haylan, Economic Development & Tourism Manager at Yass Valley Council. “It’s also harvest time which really is a great time to come and celebrate the 2017 vintage with the winemakers of the region”.

Canberra District Wine Week runs over 10 days from 31 March to 9 April, and includes a program of wine tasting, food matching, and tours and events held across the entire Canberra wine district including Hall, Bungendore, Gundaroo, Murrumbateman, and Yass; culminating in the annual Harvest Festival on 8 and 9 April. The week will also include live music and art from local bands and artists.degustation-1

A Festival Passport is also available. Get your passport stamped at three participating wineries and you’ll be in the draw to win one of three Canberra mixed dozens.

Some of the fabulous wine events during the week include a degustation dinner on Saturday 1 April at Ewe and Me Restaurant, and wines and canapes at Clementine Restaurant on Wednesday 5 April.

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Image courtesy Clementine Restaurant

At Four Winds Vineyard Cellar Door on 6 April, you can enjoy a fun 4XSangiovese dinner with four courses of pizza each matched with a sangiovese—a variety of red/black wine grape used in making Italian Chianti, and presented by their winemakers, or Taste of the Region Long Lunch in Yass on Friday 7 April, which will feature local food and wine from five local vineyards. A full program of events and happenings will be posted on Canberra District Wine Week’s website.

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Image from Four Winds Vineyard Cellar Door

The Yass district also has a range of quality accommodation for those who wish to stay a little longer, from hotels and motels, to luxury self-contained apartments and villas, and several will be offering wine week ‘stay and taste’ packages.

Wine tours are a great way to taste and learn about local wines, and Canberra wine tour company, Vines and Wines are offering independent wine tours, during wine week, for groups of nine people or more—mid-week only. For more information contact them via their website.degustation-prestige-jpg-1024x617

For more information on wine week visit www.canberrawines.com.au