Tag Archives: Lark Hill

Some Recommended Canberra Wineries

Preface

There are a lot of very good wineries in the Canberra region, and it’s our intention to visit them all in the not too distant future.  Having said that, there are some standout local producers who warrant highlighting for either the consistent high quality of their wine or the pleasantness of their cellar doors. 

Sometimes this might apply to both!  Note that this is just a limited selection of the many brilliant wine producers in the region; look out for an updated list in coming months.

Note that if you are a local Canberra wine producer and would like to get in touch, Aussie Wine Guy (and associates) are very keen to chat with local producers.  We’d like to learn more about the challenges facing the region in recent times, and to also discover any new varieties being grown (or experimented with!).

Some Canberra Region Cellar Doors

Brindabella Hills

Brindabella Hills

End of Woodgrove Close, via Hall NSW 2618

Nestled in the hills between Canberra and Murrumbateman not far from the idyllic village of Hall, and just down the road from Pankhurst is the tidy vineyard of Brindabella Hills.  It’s a nice stop dropping in on the cellar door and Brindabella Hills are always producing something interesting. 

Their wines are priced in the more moderate $20-$30/bottle range, and the wines themselves are fairly consistently rating around the high 80s to low 90s on the 100-point scale.  We originally ventured here a few years ago drawn by the fairly budget friendly Sauvignon Blanc, but right now their wines are drinking across the board.

Clonakilla

Clonakilla

3 Crisps Lane Murrumbateman NSW 2582

Aussie Wine Guy and associates are quite fond of the wine coming out of this standout Murrumbateman vineyard, which has seen great success in the past six years with their Shiraz Viognier, Syrah and Canberra District Shiraz (the O’Riada), 

The cellar door sits in the middle of the large property, and is an easy drive from the Nation’s capital.  The staff are always friendly and take the time to help visitors through the tasting list.  The member’s mail out means less need to visit the cellar door in person, but there’s substitute for your own personal reconnoitre.

Eden Road

Eden Road Wines

3182 Barton Highway Murrumbateman NSW 2582

Another Murrumbateman property receiving a lot of attention; Eden Road sits just off the busy Barton Highway which links the capital with the smaller town of Yass.  We originally encountered this wine when it was being produced from the Eden Valley property, which is no longer associated. 

That said, you’d be terribly surprised to learn that the NSW property is producing a superb Shiraz, grown locally in the Canberra region.  The real bargain though, is their Hilltops Shiraz which is a steal at around $20 a bottle.  If you happen to be heading towards Murrumbateman, then it’s worth heading off the highway to call in.

Lark Hill

Lark Hill

Corner of Bungendore Rd & Joe Rocks Rd Bungendore, NSW 2621

Having recently visited the winery, we have to heartily endorse the excellent wines being made from this Bungendore area estate.  Not too far off the Federal highway, it’s worth the diversion if only to check out the biodynamic wine and the highly tempting Auslese Riesling. 

Tasting here costs $5 per person, but comes off any purchases made at the cellar door.  The estate also features a restaurant which has a superb setting looking out over the rows of vines.  The staff were very friendly and amiable, made for a very pleasant visit.

Lerida Estate

Lerida Estate

The Vineyards, Old Federal Highway, Lake George, NSW, 2581

We’ve driven past this area, west of Lake George, so many times.  As it turns out, the vineyard has a number of locations around the area although the principal seems to be just south of the small town of Collector (which is north of Lake George). 

The estate produces a wide variety of wines in the Canberra region style, with quality generally varying from good to excellent and prices in the $20-$40 range.  The principal location looks out over majestic Lake George and also has Cafe Lerida – so you can also stop for a delicious meal.

Mount Majura

Mount Majura Vineyard

314 Majura Road, Majura, ACT 2609

The Mount Majura vineyard is a rare example of a vineyard which is actually located within the Australian Capital Territory itself!  Just east of the Federal highway as you drive into the Territory, the vineyard is north-east facing and occupies a good portion of the side of the mountain. 

The vineyard produces some very fine white wine (which we tasted last year at the NSW wine awards) as well as an array of Canberra region favourites. 

Again, wine here is priced between $20 – $40 a bottle, most being in the low $20 range.  A very nice place to visit, and so convenient being literally just a few minutes off the highway.

 

Coming Up..

Later on Aussie Wine Guy we’ll be cracking open a bottle from Hunter Valley producer Brokenwood
It’s a 1996 HBA Shiraz and we’ve had it down for about five years.   The HBA is a blend of the best of seasonal Graveyard (Hunter) and Rayner (McLaren Vale). 
According to the Brokenwood site, it’s easily at drinking age, so stay tuned for the results.

Long Weekend Vineyard Tour in Canberra

Over the recent Canberra long weekend, we decided to head out across the border to Murrumbateman (in New South Wales, but part of the Canberra wine region) to pay a visit to the cellar door of local producer Clonakilla.

We’ve previously visited a couple of times, primarily to keep tabs on the development of their heralded Shiraz Viognier.

Clonakilla  Vineyard
Outside at Clonakilla / The vineyard

The weather during summer earlier this year was not particularly kind to wine makers in the region and it had an adverse effect on crops and yields.  Clonakilla, by its own standard, were not spared.  Nonetheless, the 2011 Shiraz Viognier was released, and we’ve now stocked the Aussie Wine Guy cellar accordingly.

Barrels
Inside the cellar door

Price Lists  O'Riada
Clonakilla Price List 2012 / The district O’Riada Shiraz

We tasted a range of Clonakilla releases starting with a remarkably memorable Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and ending with the regional Shiraz, the O’Riada.  Most likely due to lower production, the Shiraz Viognier was not available for tasting.

The cellar door was particularly busy and in all the chaos we ended up with a bottle of O’Riada instead of Shiraz Viognier.  We were able to return the next day and the bottle was swapped over, no fuss – many thanks to the folks at Clonakilla for sorting that out.

Our next stop took us pleasantly east along Murrumbateman road towards Lake George.  The countryside has a beautiful serenity to it, framed by a wonderful blue sky, and punctuated every now and then by local wildlife (an echidna crossed the road in front of us) and cattle.

Once we had crossed the Federal highway, we made a line towards the small township of Bungendore.  Our route took us to the local vineyard of Lark Hill, of which we’d become more acquainted at a recent 8-course degustation.

Lark Hill  The Line Up
Lark Hill Cellar Door / Tasting Range

The estate is set back from Bungendore road nestled in the bush.  When we arrived a party had just left the cellar door, so we had a few minutes to look around.  It costs $5 (per patron) to taste the wine, but this is deduced from any purchases one makes after tasting.

Now, in all honesty, if (at bare minimum) you took home one bottle of the “Auslese” dessert Riesling, then you’ve come out well ahead.  We tasted the selection on offer starting with the (non-sweet) Riesling and running through some very interesting performers including a biodynamic wine (the Austrian inspired Grüner Veltliner)..

Biodynamic  Informational  Sweet Riesling
Biodynamic Wine / Disgorgement Defined / The luscious Auslese Sweet Riesling

Afterwards, I had a chat with winemaker Chris Carpenter and he mentioned that they had moved to screw cap closures from 2002 onwards. We lamented the degradation in the quality of cork (which reminded me of our 2009 trip to Portugal and the cork plantations), that had ultimately led them to make the change to screw cap.  There was also mention that they were planning on expanding their biodynamic certification – so keep an eye on Lark Hill wine.

The folks at Lark Hill also have a restaurant which looked quite nice and it can be booked for weddings and other functions.  They evidentially pair their excellent Auslese to fruit desserts (poached pear) at the restaurant, which sounds simply divine.  Their website also has some very useful tips on caring for your wine.

Canberra Region
Map of our journey

Check back with Aussie Wine Guy for more tasting notes from both Clonakilla and Lark Hill.

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