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breathe issue 30 spring 2011

2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show A Spring Seduction Wine Reviews What’s On


behind every taste there’s a tale…

Discover over 150 years of winemaking experience with a trip to Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley winery. We are proud to share our rich heritage by taking you on a journey beyond the Cellar Door – explore our red and white winemaking facilities and see first hand the old oak vats and historic red cellar, still in full operation. Visit the original iron bark hut built by Edward Tyrrell and then let Andrew, Murray and the Cellar Door team guide you through as tasting of our award winning wines including the: • Vat 1 Semillon - Australia’s most awarded white wine. • Vat 9 Shiraz - our flagship shiraz and rated 97 Points in the 2012 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion. • Johnno’s Semillon – sourced from 102 year old vines and made using the original basket press. • Our range of Single Vineyard semillons, chardonnays and shiraz – all scoring over 93 Points in the 2012 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion VISIT US: 1838 Broke Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320 CONTACT US: Ph: (02) 4993 7000 Email: info@tyrrells.com.au info@tyrrells.com.au www.tyrrells.com.au

CELLAR DOOR: Monday to Saturday, 9am–5pm & Sunday, 10am to 4pm Winery tour daily 1.30pm, cost $5 per person

TyrrellsWines


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wine show

profile

contents issue 30 spring 2011 Every Issue 5 President’s Note 7 News 25 Meet the Locals 43 What’s On 49 Out & About

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recipes

Wine 10 Judgement Day - 2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley

Wine Show Results

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2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show Judging Pictorial

Celebrations Luncheon Pictorial

16 18 22 28

All in a Days Work

2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show

Wine Profile: Jeff Byrne Something Fishy Wine Reviews

Food 32 Recipes 34 A Spring Seduction

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meet the locals

Lifestyle 40 Art: From Branxton ... to Paris 50 Gardening: Mulch, Mulch, Mulch COVER PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES Photographs by Chris Elfes appearing in Breathe may be purchased by contacting Chris Elfes Photography elfesphoto@bigpond.com.au.

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elcome to the spring issue of Hunter Valley Breathe. In this issue, we congratulate our local winemakers and their teams for their talents and expertise, and for turning out some pretty amazing wines with the results of the 2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show. Trophies were presented at the Celebrations Luncheon, held at Tyrrell’s Vineyards, where guests were treated to exceptional gold-and trophy-winning wines and superb food and service by Muse Restaurant. A special thank you must go to Tyrrell’s and the Wine Show Lunch Committee for transforming a barrel shed into a fantastic function venue. Join us on pages 10, 11 and 12 as we congratulate the 2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show trophy winners, then turn to pages 14 and 15 to enjoy the Hunter Valley Wine Show & Celebrations Luncheon, as seen through the lens of local photographer, Chris Elfes. There is more to winemaking than meets the eye; it’s quite a complex combination of art and science, as Rhiannon Stevens explains on page 23. With its rich history and natural beauty, the Hunter Valley has attracted many young winemakers to the region. On page 20 Melinda Kelly catches up with 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Rising Star of the Year, Jeff Byrne, who swapped the icy extremes of Canada for a successful winemaking career in the Hunter. And, of course, we share all the regular features, like Meet The Locals, art, gardening, wine reviews, recipes, What’s On, and much more. We understand that not everybody can get to the Hunter Valley, so we are taking the Hunter Valley south during October and early November for the inaugural Hunter Valley Uncorked Sydney Festival. This is your official invitation to join us at our #Semsational Semillon event at Coast Restaurant, Hunter Valley Wine Show Masterclasses at Etch Restaurant and 3 Weeds Restaurant, and then relax on the shores of beautiful Balmoral beach for Hunter Valley Uncorked Balmoral - one of our favourite events. See the News pages and What’s On for more details, or go to www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au. Enjoy! ANDREW MARGAN PRESIDENT - HUNTER VALLEY WINE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

Publisher

Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association Rowena Hawkins p 02 4991 4533 e rowena@winehuntervalley.org.au

graphic design

Sally Sneddon p 02 4934 4781 Sally Sneddon Graphic Design e sally@ssgd.com.au

Photography

Chris Elfes p 0413 805 222 Chris Elfes Photography elfesphoto@bigpond.com.au www.chriselfesphotography.com.au

SUB-EDITOR

Lauren Kennedy e wordhappy@gmail.com

ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES

Melinda Kelly p 02 4991 4533 e melinda@winehuntervalley.org.au

EDITORIAL Writers Rowena Hawkins, Melinda Kelly, Nicole Maclean, Virginia Mitchell, Sean O’Brien, Grant Radford, Rhiannon Stevens. Printing

Finsbury Green p 02 9662 2600

Publisher DETAILS Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association ABN 15 728 023 119 All correspondence to: PO BOX 352, Cessnock. 2325 © COPYRIGHT This publication may not, in whole or part be reproduced, translated, copied, photocopied to any form without the express written permission of the publisher. While every care is taken in compiling the contents of this publication, the publisher assumes no responsibility for the effects arising there from. The information and figures contained in this publication have been provided to the publishers by the advertisers and their sources. No warranty is given by Breathe Hunter Style Magazine as to the accuracy of these figures and information as they are subject to change without notice. The responsibility or copyright on all supplied material rests with the supplier.

2011 CLEAR IMAGE

HUNTER VALLEY

WINE SHOW

Thank you to all the exhibitors and congratulations to the medal and trophy winners. Full results available on our web site hunterwineshow.com.au The 2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show supported by the following:

Newcastle Airport Limited, National Liquor News, Plasdene Glass-Pak, Global Packaging Pty Ltd,Vinkem Packaging, Harris Transport, Hunter Resort, Jennings Print, Jurd’s Real Estate, Kirkwood Produce Co, O’Connor Harvesting Co, Rover Wine Country Coaches, Draytons Family Wines, Elliott Family, Meerea Park Wines, Robyn Drayton Wines,Tulloch Wines,Tyrrell’s Vineyards


news Hunter Valley Wines Bring Home the Trophies Hunter Valley wines have shone again in the last round of Australian regional wine shows, continuing to uphold its reputation as the nation’s premium wine-producing region. From 12 October to 6 November 2011, Sydney will get a taste of Australia’s birthplace of wine, with the inaugural Hunter Valley Uncorked Festival. Sally Scarborough, Hunter Valley Uncorked Festival Event Organiser, said, “We are very excited to unveil our new Festival. The area consistently produces some of the best wines in the world, including our signature variety, Semillon. The Hunter Valley Uncorked Festival will be a one-of-a-kind experience for Sydneysiders to get to know fresh, new and award-winning wines, with several events to be hosted in and around the city,” she said.

You can be among the first in the country to taste the Gold medal and trophy-winning wines from the 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Show at the Hunter Valley Wine Show Trophy Masterclasses, being held on Wednesday 12 October at Etch Restaurant, and again on Thursday 13 October at 3 Weeds Restaurant. The masterclasses will be hosted by Hunter Valley Wine Show judges and winemakers, who will explain the finer points of wine show judging in a hands-on, entertaining educational session.

At the recent 2011 Cowra Wine Show, Tyrrell’s Wines took out the Rosé Trophy and Best Single Vineyard Wine Trophy, while Two Rivers Wines won Best Verdelho of Show (pictured left are Brett and Linda Keeping with the trophy), Saddlers Creek won Best Sweet White Table Wine of Show, and McGuigans was awarded Best Dry White Table Wine of the Show, Best Semillon of the Show and Most Successful Exhibitor. Meanwhile, Mistletoe Wines has excelled at the NSW Small Winemakers Show, with its 2009 Reserve Semillon being awarded the trophies for Best White Wine of Show, Best Boutique White Wine of Show and Best Semillon 2009 & Older, and its 2010 Silvereye Semillon won the trophy for Best White Table Wine. At the same show, other Hunter Valley wine companies awarded trophies were: David Hook Wines - Best Semillon 2010/11, Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard - Best Chardonnay 2009 & Older, Leogate Estate - Best Chardonnay 2010/2011, Constable Estate - Best Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Briar Ridge - Best Cabernet Sauvignon.

For some Friday night fun, head along to Coast Restaurant at Cockle Bay on 14 October for a #Semsational evening of speed dating with a difference. This premium event will launch the Hunter Valley’s 2011 Semillons and allow you to become better acquainted with the Hunter’s other key varietals - Shiraz, Chardonnay and Verdelho.

You can also experience the unique taste of the Hunter Valley’s wines and produce beachside, at Hunter Valley Uncorked Balmoral on Sunday 6 November 2011. Now in its sixth year, this event has all the elements of a great day out: premium Hunter Valley wines, fantastic food by Hunter Valley restaurants and producers, at a relaxed and beautiful beach. For further details, see go to: www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au.

sales@brokenwood.com.au

ANY ONE FOR COFFEE? Along with great wine, the Hunter Valley can also make great coffee. Ridge View Restaurant’s head waitress and barista, Anneliese Moore, has been crowned Champion Barista at the recent Maitland Aroma Festival. Ridge View Wines owners, Tracey and Darren Scott, said they are thrilled with Anneliese’s win. “We’ve been carefully crafting our wines for ten years, and now it’s great for our Ridge View Restaurant patrons to know we also put as much passion into making their coffee,” said Darren.

www.brokenwood.com.au breathe spring 2011

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Diary dates HUNTER VALLEY WINES SCORE HIGH ON HALLIDAY’S LIST Hunter Valley wines and wineries have received excellent scores in the recently released 2012 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion. Keenly anticipated each year by winemakers, collectors and wine lovers, the Australian Wine Companion is recognised nationally as the industry benchmark. Over 3,424 wine were tasted for this latest edition, with 1,477 wineries profiled from 57 sub-regions across Australia. Each wine is rated out of 100, with this year’s highest score of 98 going to the iconic Penfold’s Grange. The Hunter Valley upheld its reputation as the nation’s leading premium wine producer, receiving six scores of 97, 29 scores of 96 and loads of 95s. Just one point behind the Grange, ten Shiraz scored 97, five of which were from the Hunter Valley: 2009 McWilliams Mt Pleasant Maurice O’Shea, 2009 Mistletoe Reserve, 2009 Thomas Kiss Limited Release, 2009 Tyrrell’s Single Vineyard Old Patch 1867, and 2009 Tyrrell’s Vat 9. Our Hunter Valley Semillons reigned supreme: 35 of the 38 highest-scoring were from the Hunter and, interestingly, two of the other three were also made by Hunter Valley winemakers.

KIWIS TAKE A SHINE TO OUR SEMILLON Hunter Valley winery, Bimbagden, has won the trophy for Best Other White Wine for its McDonalds Road Signature Semillon 2007 at the inaugural Speigelau International Wine Competition in New Zealand. It also picked up the trophy for Champion Other White Varieties at the 2011 New Zealand International Wine Show. Commenting on the Speigelau International Wine Competition, Director, Belinda Jackson, said, “It’s great to see Semillon take a trophy as it’s an overlooked style in New Zealand. The Bimbadgen Signature is just wonderful, and could be the catalyst to a greater awareness of this style of wine.” Receiving the award, Bimbadgen General Manager, Rebecca Poynter, further noted, “While Semillon is still viewed as a small category in the eyes of New Zealand consumers, it wasn’t that long ago that Australian wine buyers saw Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in the same way.” Meanwhile, one of the world’s most influential independent wine competitions, the International Wine Challenge, has announced its 2011 trophy winners. The Hunter Valley’s Tempus Two took out top honours, winning both the International Dry Semillon Trophy and the Hunter Valley Trophy with its Zenith Semillon 2003.

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Tyrrell’s 2005 Museum Release Vat 1 was awarded 97 points and the following Semillons scored 96: 2010 Audrey Wilkinson The Ridge Reserve, 2005 Brokenwood ILR Reserve, 2010 Keith Tulloch Field of Mars, 2005 Keith Tulloch Museum Release, 2005 Margan Family Aged Release, 2007 McLeish Estate, 2006 Meerea Park Alexander Munro, 2010 Pepper Tree Alluvius Reserve, 2005 Pooles Rock, 2003 Tempus Two Zenith, 2010 Thomas Braemore, 2006 Thomas Cellar Reserve Braemore, 2006 Tyrrell’s Belford Reserve, and 2004 Tyrrell’s Museum Release Vat 1. Meanwhile, Ballabourneen has been named in the Ten Dark Horses category, which pinpoints wine companies described as “providing a particularly impressive series of wines for the edition”. For a complete rundown of Hunter Valley wines, wineries and varietal scores and ratings, see the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2012 Edition.

IN THE KITCHEN The Beltree welcomes back chef Guy Parkes and his team from Saturday 1 October. Guy, who has successfully launched La Vespa in Charlestown, said he’s excited to be cooking in the vineyards again. “I’ll be bouncing between both restaurants, so, like La Vespa, all pastas, gnocchi, stocks and sweets will be made from scratch, by hand, in-house,” said Guy. With a menu best described as “relaxed, European-style food to share”, the restaurant will be open on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch, and has a BYO wine policy but offers a great beer list. It will also be available for private functions and small weddings. The Verandah Restaurant has added a new Tapas Tower to their mid-week menu. Chef Matt Dillow says it’s a fun way to share tasty tapas treats.

Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Congratulations to Belinda Stapleton, General Manager Spicers Vineyards Estate & Restaurant Botanica, on being awarded Highly Commended Young Restauranteur - 2011 Electrolux Appetite for Excellence. The restaurant was also awarded two glasses in the Gourmet Traveller Wine Australian Wine List of 2011.

Wine List Winners Congratulations to the Hunter Valley restaurants included in the Gourmet Traveller Wine Australian Wine List of 2011. Esca Bimbadgen and The Cellar Restaurant were awarded one glass (recommended) each, while Margan Restaurant and Restaurant Botanica both received two glasses (highly recommended). The judging panel consisted of some of Australia’s finest wine and food writers, including Peter Bourne, Maryann Egan, Jane Faulkner, Ken Gargett, Ray Jordan, Tony Love, Graeme Phillips, Jeni Port, Louise Radman, Nick Ryan, Nick Stock and Kim West. Under the direction of the Chairman of Judges, Peter Forrestaal, each wine list is assessed by two judges and given a score and rating: three glasses (100-90 points), two glasses (89-80 points) or one glass (79-70 points).

Hunter Outshines Grange at Icon Lounge Grange might receive top marks in the 2012 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion, but Hunter Valley Shiraz was the stand-out at a recent blind tasting at the Icon Lounge. In a line-up of 2005 Brokenwood Graveyard, 2005 McWilliams Maurice O’Shea, 2005 Thomas Kiss and 2005 Penfolds Grange, customers scored the Hunter Valley Shiraz higher than the Grange.

Please join us at our 2011 events: Hunter Valley Wine Show Trophy Masterclasses Wed. 12 October & Thurs. 13 October 2011 www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au #Semsational Friday 14 October 2011 www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au Broke Fordwich Spirit of the Vine Festival Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 October 2011 www.brokefordwich.com.au Hunter Valley Uncorked Balmoral Sunday 6 November 2011 www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au

Keeping up with the Hunter Valley

If you are keen to keep up with all the latest events and news from the Hunter Valley Wine Industry, we now have a Facebook page and Twitter account: twitter.com/_hunterwine. We’d love you to join us. Our winemakers and local wine families will be tweeting and updating on a regular basis.

Hats off to Hunter Restaurants Congratulations to Bistro Molines and Muse Restaurant on receiving One Hat each at the 2012 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. Meanwhile, Hunter Valley restaurants and accommodation houses excelled at the 2012 Hunter and Central Coast Awards of Excellence. Congratulations to these Hunter Valley gold award winners: Margan Restaurant - Tourism Restaurant & Catering Services; Wyndham Estate - Tourism Wineries; Château Élan Hunter Valley - Luxury Accommodation; Hermitage Lodge - Deluxe Accommodation; Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens - Festival & Events & Inductee Hall of Fame. Hunter Valley Restaurants have also dominated the 2011 Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Regional Awards for Excellence. Tower Lodge’s Restaurant Nine was named Restaurant of the Year and Best Restaurant in a Winery with other Hunter Valley winners including Restaurant Cuvee (Breakfast Restaurant), The Cellar Restaurant (Contemporary Australian Restaurant informal), Muse Restaurant (Contemporary Australian Restaurant formal), Emerson’s at Pokolbin (New Restaurant), Restaurant Botanica (Restaurant in a Motel/Motor Inn/Guesthouse), Il Cacciatore (Italian Restaurant honourable mention) and Hunter Valley Gardens (Wedding Caterer).

Margan Restaurant - Restaurant Manager, Dee Ann Heath, Chef, Joshua Davidson & Lisa Margan breathe spring 2011

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he 2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show has awarded trophies to some of the region’s most prestigious wineries and up-and-coming entrants, with Tyrrell’s Vineyards being awarded Best Dry White Wine of the Show and Thomas Wines taking out the Best Dry Red Wine of the Show. Respected Hunter Valley wineries to collect trophies included Audrey Wilkinson, Ivanhoe Wines, Thomas Wines, Ernest Hill, Pepper Tree Wines, Pooles Rock Wines, Tyrrell’s Vineyards, Drayton’s Family Wines, Tempus Two, Allandale Winery and Wombat Crossing Vineyard.

Judgement Day Results of the 2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show

WORDS BY ROWENA HAWKINS PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES

Thomas Wines had an amazing show, taking home a total of six trophies, while boutique wine company, Wombat Crossing, received its first Hunter Valley trophy. This year, 732 wines from 92 exhibitors were judged. Eighteen respected wine industry personalities, led by Iain Riggs, immersed their senses in Hunter Valley wine to choose the winners. Judges included Nick Stock and Nick Bulleid, highly credentialled authors, wine journalists and judges. Paul Lapsley, Senior Winemaker (and judge) for Accolade Wine Group was also among the judges, along with wine journalists, Jane Faulkner and Mike Bennie, plus Hunter Valley Senior Winemakers, Samantha Connew, Sarah Crowe and Jeff Byrne. Chairman of Judges, Iain Riggs, said the 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Show saw half of the entries awarded medals, which is on par with previous shows. “There were 52 gold, 74 silver and 237 bronze medals. A most pleasing aspect of the gold winners is that they were shared between 29 wineries, representing the older family wineries right through to new entrants to the wine industry,” Mr Riggs said. “Once again, Semillon dominated the results, receiving 27 of the gold medals, highlighting what this area does best – winning medals from 2011 right back to 1999. Shiraz followed this, with 15 Gold medals,

then Chardonnay and Verdelho. The strength of the 2009 Shiraz was also a major highlight of the show,” continued Mr Riggs. “On the trophy front was an array of producers, with 11 wineries taking home 19 trophies between them. Congratulations to all winners.” International Judge, Chuck Hayward, said, “I have had the fortune of visiting the Hunter Valley a few times, and this visit has only reconfirmed to me what a special place this is. The wines of the Hunter Valley have unique attributes that other wine regions would die for.” “The region has a rich history: old vines that transmit terroir and the first winemakers who started the Hunter Valley wine industry decades ago. There are people, from those winemakers who first showed the wine world the potential of Hunter Valley wines, both reds and whites, to personalities like Len Evans of the past, Iain Riggs today and all the young winemakers who judged the Wine Show, who will be part of the Hunter Valley’s future. The Hunter Valley has wines that are unique to the Hunter that cannot be duplicated anywhere else on the planet,” Mr Hayward said. According to Iain Riggs, we can all look forward to some very good wines from the 2011 vintage. “The 2011 wines demonstrate that this region’s winemakers have exceeded expectations. We haven’t seen the reds yet, but going by the whites, they have done very well,” he said. The Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show celebrates its 29th year this year, and is widely regarded as the country’s leading regional show. It has a strict regional focus and is exclusively for wines whose grapes are grown in the Hunter Valley. Trophies were officially presented at The Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show Celebrations Luncheon, held at Tyrrell’s Winery on Friday 19 August, with an audience of 400 local wine industry colleagues.

Chuck Hayward, International Judge & Iain Riggs, Chairman of Judges

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Andrew Thomas & Phil LeMessurier, Thomas Wines

Usher Tinkler, Pooles Rock Wines

Marc Robinson, Allandale Winery

Scott Comyns, Tempus Two Wines

2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show Results TROPHY WINNERS Current Vintage - Semillon Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard 2011 The Ridge Semillon Current Vintage – Chardonnay No trophy awarded Current Vintage - Verdelho Ivanhoe Wines 2011 Verdelho Current Vintage Dry White Wine - Other White Varietals & Blends No trophy awarded Current Vintage Dry White Wine Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard 2011 The Ridge Semillon One-Year-Old Dry Red Wine Ernest Hill Wines 2010 Shareholders Shiraz Most Successful Exhibitor of Young Wines - Current Vintage Dry White Wines & One-Year-Old Dry Red Wines Pepper Tree Wines One-Year-Old Dry White Wine Pooles Rock Wines 2010 Chardonnay Two-Year-Old Dry Red Wine Thomas Wines 2009 Sweetwater Shiraz Premium Vintage Dry Red Wine Thomas Wines 2009 Sweetwater Shiraz Premium Vintage Dry White Wine Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2006 Vat 1 Semillon Premium Vintage Sweet White Wine No trophy awarded Premium Vintage Sparkling Wine No trophy awarded Premium Vintage Fortified Wine Drayton’s Family Wines NV Liqueur Verdelho Museum Vintage Dry Red Wine No trophy awarded Museum Vintage Dry White Wine Tempus Two Wines 2003 Zenith Semillon Dry Red Wine - Currently Available Thomas Wines 2009 Sweetwater Shiraz

Dry White Wine - Currently Available Allandale Winery 2007 Semillon Best Chardonnay - Any Vintage Pooles Rock Wines 2010 Chardonnay Best Named Vineyard Wine Thomas Wines 2007 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon Best 100% Hunter Valley Dry Red Wine Wombat Crossing Vineyard 2009 Hermit’s Block Shiraz Best 100% Hunter Valley Dry White Wine Thomas Wines 2007 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon Best Dry White Wine of the Show Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2006 Vat 1 Semillon Best Dry Red Wine of the Show Thomas Wines 2009 Sweetwater Shiraz

1616 Broke Rd Pokolbin | www.dewine.com.au www.dewine.com.au | 4993 8000 | Also on location Butterflies Gallery and Cracked Pepper Restaurant

For full results, go to www.hunterwineshow.com.au. The winner of the 2011 Alasdair Sutherland Scholarship was also presented at the Celebration Lunch. This year’s scholarship was awarded to Scott Comyns of Tempus Two Wines.

keeping it simple

The scholarship is aimed at fostering the talent of young aspiring wine show judges in the region. Scott will attend the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course (AWAC), and will also have the opportunity to be an associate judge at the 2012 Royal Sydney Wine Show. n

Taste @ The Small Winemakers Centre & Hunter Resort Jim Chatto, Pepper Tree Wines & Mike De Iuliis, De Iuliis Wines

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Ian Napier, Wombat Crossing Vineyard

T 02 6574 7371 E sales@thomaswines.com.au W thomaswines.com.au


2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show Luncheon PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES 2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show Judging PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES


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wirl, sniff, taste and spit. Imagine repeating that process over 120 times a day, for up to three consecutive days. How would your palate, tastebuds, nose and brain process all of that information?

For most of us, it would be a total sensory overload. But some of the Australia’s top wine judges, including Hunter Valley winemakers, Australia’s leading wine journalists, and sommeliers, it’s all in a day’s work. Sarah Crowe, one of the Hunter Valley’s leading young winemakers, and Senior Winemaker with Bimbadgen, has just finished judging at the 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Show. This is her first year as a fully qualified judge, having earned her stripes over several years as a trainee, and then an associate judge, not to mention the endless hours spent studying, training her palate and learning from established winemakers. She says that although she loves judging at wine shows and it is a real privilege to be invited, it is far from the glamorous wine indulgence we imagine.

Each wine is usually tasted by a panel made up of three judges and one assistant judge, and is scored on a 20-point scale. Points are divided into a maximum of three points for appearance, seven points for nose, and ten points for palate. “Any wine scoring less than 15.5 is awarded nothing, 15.5 to 16.9 receives a bronze, 17 to 18.4 receives a silver, and 18.5 or above receives a gold medal,” explains Sarah. The top gold medal winners in each category are then judged again to decide which wine is the ultimate trophy winner in class. Australia’s first wine show was held in the Hunter Valley in 1848. The Hunter Valley Wine Show has been held annually since 1974 and is regarded as Australia’s premier regional wine show.

“It is far from the glamorous wine indulgence we imagine”

Sarah Crowe

“We begin judging at 8.30am sharp. You might start the day with 60 one-year-old reds with lots of tannin, which dries out your mouth first thing. Alternatively, it could be 60 current vintage Semillons with all that fresh, zesty acidity, which can also dry out the mouth. Depending on your dental history, it can be quite painful. Not to mention scaring small children with blackened teeth when you smile at them,” Sarah says. “It’s actually a job and a very serious one. There is an obligation to the exhibitors to judge fairly and consistently, and also to the wine show system to maintain the integrity it has fostered for over 150 years to improve the quality of Australian wine.”

All in a Day’s Work

How scoring works

At all Australian wine shows, judging is done ‘blind’ - that is, labels and any distinguishing marks on bottles are covered, the wine is poured by stewards and, except for the name of the class which is defined by variety and vintage, the judges are not aware of which wine they are tasting.

At this year’s Hunter Valley Wine Show, an incredible 732 wines were exhibited by 92 Hunter Valley exhibitors. They were judged by a senior panel of respected palates, led by Chairman of Judges, Iain Riggs, and including Nick Bullied, Paul Lapsley, Nick Stock, Jane Faulkner and Mike Bennie. Guest International Judge was Chuck Hayward, the New Zealand and Australian wine buyer of JJ Buckley, one of the largest internet wine retailers in the United States. Amongst his many professional responsibilities, Chuck is the wine educator for JJ Buckley, a wine blogger, conducts educational seminars for the both the trade and consumers (focusing on New Zealand and Australian wines), and is considered to be one of America’s foremost experts on our wines. According to Chuck, the Australian wine show system is a unique aspect of our wine industry. “Wine shows in Australia have played an essential part in expanding the knowledge and improving the quality of your wines in a way that few other countries have utilised,” he says. “One of the great benefits of the Australian wine show is the passing of knowledge from the experts of the wine industry to the associate judges, trainees and those who have the enthusiasm and drive to expand their understanding of wine.” With so much training and expertise, we can be well-assured the quality of Hunter Valley wines is in good hands. n

WORDS BY MELINDA KELLY PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES Nick Bullied, Mike Bennie & Luke Watson

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Stuart Hordern

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wine profile

jeff byrne everyone’s

buddy

WORDS BY MELINDA KELLY PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES

Whether it’s on the rink for a game of ice hockey, or in the winery crafting Audrey Wilkinson Vineyards’ next vintage wines, the Hunter Valley’s favourite Canadian seems to be a natural.

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riginally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he started skating and playing ice hockey at the tender age of six, Jeff Byrne is now trading winning goals for winning wines. In 2010, he had a stellar year on the wine show circuit, with a total of five trophies, 22 gold medals, 31 silver medals and 60 bronze medals, including the ‘Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor’ at the 2010 Australian Small Winemakers Show, and the Trophy for ‘Most Successful Exhibitor of Young Wines’ at the 2010 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show. This year, he has backed up those credentials, having been named the 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Rising Star of the Year, and taking out trophies for Current Vintage Semillon and Current Vintage Dry White Wine at the recent 2011 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show. Melinda Kelly recently strapped on some ice skates and caught up with Jeff, who affectionately greets everyone with “Hey, buddy.” You’ve just been named 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Rising Star of the Year. How was that? It was a great night, and a nice surprise to have won the award. We had a lot of fun celebrating and paid for it the next day!

Have you found a replacement crystal trophy for the one that came to grief at the awards night? Not yet, I’ve been meaning to do that. What’s left of the original trophy is sitting in the Audrey Wilkinson lab. It was a pretty good effort to break the trophy within about a minute of walking off the stage. You are originally from Canada. What inspired you to come to Australia, and why the Hunter Valley? I had a great friend and neighbour who spent a year travelling around Australia, particularly the Gold Coast, and he said, “You have to go to Australia!” Two years later, I came down with some buddies and quickly saw what he was talking about. I met my wife, Bridgette, sharing a maxi-taxi on the Gold Coast one random night, and moved to Australia permanently four years later. Bridgette’s work brought us from the Gold Coast to the Hunter Valley and I fell into the wine industry by asking Len Evans for a job at the then-new Tower Estate. Thank God he said yes. Did you ever consider another career, apart from winemaking? Like all Canadians, I dreamed of being the next Wayne Gretzky (a Canadian ice hockey player who has been called “the best ice hockey player ever”), but reality hit home pretty quickly. I worked for my uncle in law in the building industry for a year and really enjoyed it, so maybe a builder – although, looking at my handy work at home, maybe not. Who or what has influenced you most, professionally? Without question, watching how hard my Dad has worked over the years as a partner in a large accounting firm in Canada has shaped me professionally, but in my winemaking career, to be fortunate enough to work for, and taste wines with, Len Evans for six years was incredibly lucky. What is your favourite Audrey Wilkinson wine? 2010 Audrey Wilkinson The Ridge Semillon.

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Besides the legendry Audrey Wilkinson, you are the only other person to make wine on the property. How does that feel? It’s pretty amazing to be a small part of the history of a property with so much history. We respect the amount of work Audrey put into the property and the quality wines he made over the years. Since Brian and Valerie Agnew bought the property, we’ve been trying to keep that tradition going, with a lot of effort put into the vineyard and grounds, and, of course, we’re always trying to make the best wine we can. Hopefully, Audrey would be happy with what we’re doing. What do you see as the future for the Hunter Valley wine industry? There are a few emerging grape varieties that have been performing well in the Hunter, like Tempranillo, but I think the future for the Hunter Valley is what we’re known for globally, and that’s Semillon and Shiraz. I think the general public are looking for a white alternative to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and I think Semillon is it. What has been your best experience? Personally, having three girls come into this world and watching all the funny things they do growing up, with my wife, has been the best experience in my life. Professionally, spending eight weeks living with a family in Burgundy and helping them during vintage was an amazing experience. What has been your worst experience? Let’s just say, in the cellar, there are lots of things that can go wrong, and when you’re the cause of one of them, it’s never a good experience. Everyone has a favourite Hunter Valley hideout - what is your favourite place in the Hunter Valley? I’m a bit spoilt working at such a stunning property. I hosted my family from Canada at the Mulberry Cottage here at Audrey Wilkinson this past Christmas, and sitting on the deck overlooking the property with a glass of Champagne in your hand is magic. To date, what has been your best ever wine and food experience? I was fortunate enough to have participated in the 2009 Len Evans Tutorial. The week was a very intensive tasting of the best wines in the world, from some of the best vintages, coupled with amazing food from Jody Evans and Roberts Restaurant. Gastronomic overload! If you could choose your last meal, what would it be? A pot of Nova Scotia lobsters, a vertical of Hunter Valley Semillons, white burgundies and plenty of friends to share it.n

Restaurant Sanctuary offers exquisite meals complemented by a wide selection of excellent local wines from which to chose. These are dishes that truly stand the test of time. A veritable institution of the Wine Country region, Restaurant Sanctuary focuses on quality, creating intensely sophisticated yet simple flavours incorporating the rich local & seasonal produce. Restaurant Sanctuary has justly earned a high reputation for delivering excellence. It is ‘fine dining’ at its best. The outstanding menu is beautifully handcrafted by our highly dedicated and creative Executive Chef, Michael Bolam and his talented team. Simply magnificent food is presented for your pleasure in the warm, friendly and professional ‘Peppers’ service style. LUNCH & DINNER 7 days Peppers Guest House, Ekerts Road, Pokolbin NSW P: 02 4993 8999 E: restaurantsanctuary@peppers.com.au

www.restaurantsanctuary.com.au


wine

D

something fishy WORDS BY RHIANNON STEVENS PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES

I am often asked why there are warnings on wine labels pertaining to fish, milk and egg products. Aren’t the basic ingredients of wine just grapes and yeast? Sometimes we need a little help to optimise our basic ingredients.

uring the fermentation process, yeast converts the grape sugars (glucose and fructose) into alcohol (and carbon dioxide). Yeast can be found naturally on the skins of the grapes, or it can be introduced. The type of yeast can also affect the flavour, aroma, texture and body of the final wine. The winemaker may also choose to put the wine through secondary fermentation. Malolactic fermentation (or malo for short - pronounced ‘may-low’) would usually occur after the primary ferment. During malo, lactic acid bacteria get busy converting malic acid from the grapes into lactic acid in the wine. Lactic acid is not as sharp and acidic to taste, resulting in a wine that has a smoother mouth feel. Malo can result in a buttery, creamy Chardonnay, but, if not done skilfully, can end up causing faults in the wine. It is a sad ending for the yeast as, after primary ferment, it dies. Unfortunately, the yeast is a casualty of our consumption. Making matters worse, all the residual and dead yeast cells, or lees, are now floating around in our wine. There may also be natural proteins, bacteria and other particles suspended in the wine. Most people don’t like ‘floaties’ in their Shiraz or Chardonnay. What is the solution to this problem? Flocculation (verb): Forced removal of sediment from a liquid through addition of a flocculating agent. Gravity-controlled flocculation precipitates solids within a liquid. Winemakers use a fining agent to flocculate at various stages during wine production, ensuring your Hunter Valley Semillon is crystal clear. Clarity, brightness and transparency are important for both wine judges, and us, the wine drinkers. Now for the science lesson: as the diagram suggests, the fining agent is added to the top of the tank, weighing down on the dead yeast cells (and other floaties) and dragging everything to the bottom of the tank, where it can be siphoned off. Fining agents can improve haze, phenolics, astringency, colour, flavour and even off-odour in wine. Therefore, fining is a process which results in a wine created with finesse, which may also have attractive qualities not present in unfined wine.

Stabilisation can be used to prevent wine faults caused by environmental changes to temperature, humidity and movement. Unstable wines can be subject to haze, tartrates and premature ageing. For example, cold stabilisation encourages liquid tartaric acid to solidify. Wine diamonds (tartrate crystals) form when the wine is very cold. They develop in small crystals or long shards and can be removed prior to bottling. Sometimes these form in the finished bottle - they may look like glass, but are completely harmless. So where does fish come into this? Not to worry - winemakers are certainly not throwing seafood medley into the tank! Below are some common fining agents: Isinglass (pronounced ‘eye-sin-glass’) is a gelatin derived from the air bladder of a fish - especially, and traditionally, the sturgeon. Isinglass is expensive, delicate, will not strip flavour and is often used with white wines.

Gelatin has been used to fine wine since Roman civilisation. It can remove harsh tannins, bitter flavours, and improve astringency. Casein is an active protein in skim milk or powdered skim milk. It can be used to nullify astringency and bitterness in white wines, sometimes lightening the colour. PVPP, or polyvinyl-polypyrrolidone is a synthetic polymer chain that behaves like a natural protein. Albumin is the fining agent relating to eggs. Only the whites are used (sometimes powdered) - so, never sunny side up! This is usually reserved for red wines and, believe it or not, it’s only one to two egg whites for every 100 litres of wine. There are natural proteins present in grapes that may cause a cloudy haze if the wine is subject to higher temperatures. Bentonite is a naturally-occurring clay or mineral derivative that stabilises the wine, preventing cloudy protein haze in the wine. Did you know? Bulls’ blood was commonly used as a fining agent in many European countries, including France, until 1997 when the European Union banned this practice as a measure to curb Mad Cow’s Disease. If I’m allergic to seafood, do I have to avoid wine? No. Not even wines fined with isinglass. The protein in fish which commonly causes allergic reactions is called parvalbumin. It’s not normally found in isinglass. Modern manufacture of isinglass ensures that no residual parvalbumin remains. The European Food Safety Commission led the way and granted isinglass exemption from allergen labelling laws. In 2009, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) also granted food labelling exemption for isinglass in beer and wine. Even if trace parvalbumin snuck into the wine with the isinglass, it would settle with the isinglass when flocculated and be removed during the filtration process. This doesn’t sound kosher! Well technically, isinglass that is derived from a sturgeon isn’t. However, isinglass from a kosher fish is. Other un-kosher fining agents include gelatin and casein. What if I’m a vegetarian/vegan? A lot of wines on the market are still unfined or use vegetarianfriendly fining agents. Synthetic fining agents are becoming increasingly popular, and bentonite is one of the most common fining agents. It is important to consider that some wines and many beers may not be suitable. Vegans can look for wines that boast ‘unfined’ or ‘unfiltered’ or ‘bentonite/clay’. Some wineries, cleverly, are labelling for vegetarian and vegan consumption determined by their winemaking processes. Just because some wines are labelled as vegetarian-friendly doesn’t mean that the wines that don’t specify aren’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans. Continue enjoying Hunter Valley wines and, if you are concerned, read the label and ask the friendly folk at the winery. Testing has shown that there is limited capacity for wines to absorb fining agents and, when they have been detected, only in negligent proportions. Fining is considered more natural and delicate a process than filtration, which can rapidly strip a wine of colour and flavour. It’s also an important part of traditional winemaking practice that Australian winemakers have inherited from old-world wine countries. So now you know more about the processes behind some of our proud award-winning wines. Celebrate quality Hunter Valley wines and appreciate the complexity of the science and skill it took to produce them. Cheers to that! Rhiannon Stevens - iWineo blog: www.iwineo.id.au n

breathe spring 2011

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Welcome 7 days McGuigan Cellars open 9.30am to 5pm pointment Groups welcome by ap at 12 noon & Winery tours weekdays oon weekends at 11am & 12n Corner of Broke & McDonalds Roads, Pokolbin NSW mcguigancellars@mcguiganwines.com.au Telephone: (02) 4998 7402 Email: mcguigancellars@mcguiganwines.com.au

Enjoy a personal tour with a local winemaker ...in the comfort of your own car.

The Yellow Brick Guide is just like an art gallery audio guide, but uses GPS to weave together music and directions with a fun and fascinating commentary from young Hunter winemakers. Learn about wine and history, hear the inside stories about life in the Valley and have a laugh with the local characters, as they take you to the places they take friends and family when they come to visit.

“As magical as its name suggests” Open Road Magazine

-day 3 halflu s VIP

tours p tings s wine ta

$ 9 Only 3 r for you y! ta whole s

Hire from your Hunter Valley hotel or from Hunter Valley Visitors Centre (02) 4990 0900. Ask at reception.

wine

meet the locals WORDS BY GRANT RADFORD

ADRIENNE LIND CELLAR DOOR MANAGER & RESTAURANT MANAGER, BRIAR RIDGE VINEYARD Adrienne immigrated to Australia from the United Kingdom 18 years ago and moved to the Hunter Valley in 2000, establishing Queen of Tarts cake and pastry shop in Cessnock. After six years of whipping up scrumptious pastries and biscuits, and downright amazing cakes, she took a change in direction, joining Briar Ridge Vineyards as their Cellar Door Manager. She is also the Restaurant Manager for Briar Grillade. What is the best part of your job? Knowing that there are never any two days the same – it’s always pretty busy at Briar Ridge because we are a small team, so there is no time to get bored! What is the worst part of your job? Getting up early and travelling from Newcastle – I’ve recently moved there; I used to live five minutes away from Briar! A typical day for you includes? Emails, serving at the Cellar Door, running back and forth between the Grillade and Cellar Door, and answering the phone that never stops! What is your most memorable bottle tasted? Most recently, it was a Skillogalee Gewurztraminer matched back with a confit of ocean trout at Tetsuya’s – it was a very memorable evening. What are you currently drinking at home? Mainly white wine like a Hunter Valley Semillon or Verdelho. And I’m rather partial to a Gewurztraminer - I love to eat Asian styles of food. How do you relax after a hard day? By the time I’ve driven back to Newcastle, I’ve had time to unwind, which is great. In summer, we’ll head to the beach for a swim, followed by dinner and a glass of cool, white wine. Your most embarrassing moment was … ? When I owned The Queen of Tarts patisserie I dropped a freshly iced chocolate mud cake on my head off the top shelf in the cool room. I was covered in chocolate, but was too busy to go home to change, so was wearing it for the rest of the day!

The best customer/visitor is one who… Leaves having had a great time, and preferably with a case of wine under their arm! What is your favourite food and wine match? A young Hunter Semillon and fresh seafood, of course. Your fantasy dinner party guests are… Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and my late grandmother - she was a fantastic cook, and I bet she could still teach both those amazing chefs a thing or two! What would your last meal and drinks be? Really good, fresh fish and chips with a cold beer at the beach. It’s not cool, but I love… Peanut butter on toast - or straight from the jar. If you weren’t you, who would you like to be? I’m actually really happy just being me. I have a wonderful partner, fantastic friends, and a great job in a beautiful part of the world; why would I want to be someone else?! What is your favourite product on offer at the moment? It would have to be our 2011 Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Semillon. What is your favourite holiday destination (outside the Hunter, of course)? In Australia, it would be the Mornington Peninsula - I have some very dear friends who live right on the beach down there. We all used to work together in Europe as chefs years ago, so when I go down to their place, it’s all about great food and wine and having lots of fun. Overseas, it would have to be Paris - I just had a trip over there and couldn’t get enough.

TRACY-ANNE GANZER CELLAR DOOR MANAGER, TEMPUS TWO

The Hunter’s best kept

Secret is out ...

Treat your tastebuds! Visit our breathtaking vineyard in the rolling hills of Pokolbin to discover the best the Hunter Valley has to offer. Centurion Wines 110 Old North Road Pokolbin NSW Cellar Door - Open Weekends 10am - 4pm www.centurionwines.com www.centurionwines.com

Briar Grillade is located at Briar Ridge Vineyard 593 Mount View Road Mount View NSW 2325 T: 02 4990 8601 F: 02 4990 7802 E: briargrillade@briarridge.com.au www.briarridge.com.au www.briarridge.com.au


Tracy-Anne has worked with wine and food for over 12 years. Starting in regional Queensland with a boutique cheese factory and cellar door, her working life since has involved all aspects of our beloved industry. Currently Cellar Door Manager at Tempus Two, she has been enjoying life and work in Hunter Valley since 2008 What is the best part of your job? Witnessing the evolution of a wine from its origins in the vineyard to the winery, then to the cellar door and on to the consumer. An enormous team effort goes into getting that bottle on the shelf. Team success is always the most satisfying. What is the worst part of your job? For me, it is being so far away from my Queensland family and friends. A typical day for you includes…? Opening the doors to an amazing view every morning and feeling privileged to be a part of the Hunter wine industry. Another vital What is your favourite food and wine match? aspect is keeping up with new flavours of gelato on offer at our A luscious Botrytis Semillon with lots and lots of cheese. neighbours, the Smelly Cheese Shop. Your fantasy dinner party guests would be…? What is your most memorable bottle tasted? Jamie Oliver, Julia Child, Peter Jackson, Johnny Depp and Paul An amazing single Vineyard Champagne, Les Folies de la Kelly. I think the conversation would be really interesting, and Marquetterie, when visiting Tattinger in Rheims. After a tour of the Jamie and Julia would definitely have to bring a plate. caves, those bubbles were magnificent. The Cellar Door Manager Your last meal and drinks would be … ? and I had the same conversation that my Hunter colleagues have A perfectly ripe Epoisses de Bourgogne (French washed rind all the time. It was great to see wine business is the same all over cheese), a fresh baguette and a bottle of great Hunter Valley Pinot. the world. It’s not cool but I love… What are you currently drinking at home? Watching multiple episodes of The West Wing under a snuggly At home, we have the everyday quaffing store, which is within doona. Saturday: 12-3pm; Sunday: easy reach of the dining room table,Lunch and also the locked cellarBreakfast 10am – 11.30am; Lunch 11.30am – 3.30pm Ifayou weren’t you, who would you like to be? Rustic Mediterranean inspired cuisine in spectacular outdoor setting. which requires a short trek. Which wine we choose depends on Views from every table of manicured vines, picturesque countryside & theO’Meara winding from Hunter River. How about Maeve Food Safari on SBS? She gets our mood and what food we are eating. Hunter Valley Semillon to taste great food and travel to amazing destinations. and Shiraz are usually pretty high on the agenda. Ph: 02 4938 1831 If I wasn’t a Cellar Door Manager, I would be How do you relax after a hard day? Wyndham Estate Winery, Dalwood Road, Dalwood via Branxton. www.olivetreerestaurant.com.au … A wise hermit - my cave is very important to me. Usually with a glass of wine and ridiculous television or a good What is your favourite product on offer at the moment? book. Our Tempus Two 2009 Wilde Chardonnay - the cellar door staff What is your most embarrassing moment? fight over the last bit in the tasting bottle at the end of the day. While serving at Cellar Door, my most embarrassing moment What is your favourite holiday destination (outside the was telling a customer that my colleague, who was tidying up our Hunter, of course)? storage room, was “about to come out of the closet”. It took me A white sandy Queensland beach, or a bistro in Paris. a minute to figure out why they looked at me strangely. The best customer is one who… Really wants to engage and asks lots of questions. It’s great fun chatting to people from all over the world.

BELINDA STAPLETON GENERAL MANAGER, SPICERS VINEYARDS ESTATE & RESTAURANT BOTANICA Belinda has been General Manager of Spicers Vineyards Estates and Restaurant Botanica for just over three years and works alongside her husband, Mark, who is the Executive Chef. Earlier this year, she added motherhood to her busy schedule and, in August, was awarded Highly Commended Electrolux Young Restauranteur in the highly acclaimed 2011 Electrolux Appetite for Excellence. What is the best part of your job? Working in Australia’s oldest wine region – the history of our area is inspirational! What the worst part of your job? There are never enough hours in the day. A typical day includes… Way too much to mention! Team meetings, guest liaison, restaurant service, front office, marketing, accounts, and not to mention, being mum to our beautiful seven-month-old baby girl! What is your most memorable bottle tasted? 1996 Salon Champagne - only one of the best vintages and the best champagnes! If I think back, I can still taste it as if I just tasted it for the first time. What are you currently drinking at home? Brokenwood 2006 Belford Block 6 Semillon and Briailles Les Lavieres 2006 - Premier Cru from Beaune, Burgundy. I relax by… Sitting on a picnic rug in front of our vineyard with my husband and baby girl, with a good bottle of wine, our housemade salami and sourdough bread, and some good jazz playing in the background. The best visitor is the one who… Comes back again and again; we love our regular guests and treat them like family! What is your favourite food and wine match? Aside from current vintage Semillon and fresh prawns, I would have to say Pedro Ximenez Cognac and chocolate. What is your favourite local produce? Our very own Botanica garden produce! We grow a lot of our own vegetables and herbs, and there is nothing nicer than picking fresh leaves out of the garden to make a salad for lunch! What is your favourite dish to cook? I married a chef - who needs to cook!

charming

THE CELLAR RESTAURANT Awarded: ●

One Glass Rating (Recommended)

2008, 2009 & 2010 Fine Wine Partners Wine List of the Year Awards ●

One Glass Rating

2010 & 2011 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide

Chef/Owner Andrew Wright is passionate about sourcing the freshest and best quality local ingredients. His ever-changing menu showcases his talent for combining contemporary Australian Fare with the influence of European traditions, presented in a simple and uncomplicated manner.

Open for lunch and dinner – bookings recommended ● Indoor and outdoor dining ● Various menu options including fixed price, à la carte and degustation ● Air-conditioned in summer ● Open fire in winter ● Fully licensed

“Such good food in such unpretentious surroundings is worthy of rural France”.

THE LONDON SUNDAY TIMES

What is the best thing about living in the Hunter Valley? The vibrant food and wine culture of the area, the history, the new generation of winemakers, and the world-class artists that we attract for the annual concert season. What is your favourite drink, other than wine? Either a cold beer at the end of the day, a Tanqueray gin, tonic and lime on a hot summer’s day, or a Pimms cocktail before dinner. What would you last meal and drinks be? Vintage Champagne. Who needs anything more? It’s not cool but I love… The smell of antique books. If I wasn’t in hospitality I would be… A potter. To create beautiful things out of a hunk of clay is such a gift. What is your favourite product on offer at the moment? Our Complete Indulgence Package! Three nights of luxury accommodation, complimentary mini bar, a delicious breakfast every morning, a gourmet dinner on one evening in Restaurant Botanica, massages for two and a late check-out - what more do you need! What is your favourite holiday destination (outside the Hunter Valley, of course)? France, of course. Where else but a country that offers a Champagne bar serving Krug by the glass, right in the middle of a shopping centre! Plus, of course, the pastries, burgundy, foie gras, cheese, the back streets of the 5th in Paris, and the markets in Provence! If I could live anywhere it would be… Australia is the only place to live! I love travelling overseas, but I love coming home to Australia more! n

regional

rustic

2011 Restaurant & Catering Associations Hunter Valley ‘Best Restaurant in a Guesthouse’ Recently awarded a Highly Commended award for the 2011 Appetite for Excellence Young Restaurateur of the Year award

The Cellar is a hot spot for locals and a must for new visitors to the region. Hunter Valley Gardens Village Broke Road, Pokolbin. Tel: 4998 7584 www.the-cellar-restaurant.com.au www.the-cellar-restaurant.com.au

located at spicers vineyards estate 555 hermitage road pokolbin reservations recommended 02 6574 7229

Belinda and the team invite you to enjoy regional Hunter Valley dining from Wednesday to Sunday evenings. Fresh produce is harvested from the restaurants kitchen garden daily and boasts one of the country’s best regional wine lists.


wine

wine

reviews

reviews First Creek 2009 Winemakers Reserve Semillon

Tulloch 2011 Vineyard Selection Verdelho

RRP $30

RRP $20

COMPANY OVERVIEW The accolades for First Creek Wines speak for themselves. Winemaker Liz Jackson was recently crowned the Winemaker of the Year at the Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Industry Awards; is currently a finalist in the Gourmet Traveller WINE, Winemaker of the Year Awards; and was named as one of the top ten people to watch in the SMH Sydney Magazine. This matched with the HHHHH James Halliday Wine Companion rating, First Creek is definitely the wine to have on your table.

COMPANY OVERVIEW The Tulloch story began in 1895 when John Younie Tulloch accepted an unusual settlement of a debt, a property in Pokolbin. Starting with just five acres of Shiraz, the Tulloch name is now synonymous with the Hunter. Visitors to the Cellar Door are invited to experience the true heritage of the Hunter and to sample some of the regions most renowned wines. Located in the heart of Pokolbin, the awardwinning Tulloch Cellar Door is a must visit Hunter destination.

WINEMAKING NOTES Our Winemaker’s Reserve Semillon is picked from mature low yielding Hunter Valley vineyards. The wine is then treated to very gentle handling practices, taking only the best free-run juice. This coupled with cool fermentation and early bottling allows the winemakers to optimise the pure fruit expression. TASTING NOTES The wine shows intense aromas of lemon and lime, with hints of straw and spice. The palate is light in body, with fresh citrus and ripe tropical flavours, balanced by lively acidity and a long persistent finish. This is one of the rare examples of a white wine that will reward many years cellaring or can be enjoyed now while young and fresh. FOOD MATCH It goes without saying ... chilled Semillon and seafood, a perfect Australian food and wine match. Enjoy with oysters and prawns, or salmon tartare with fresh coriander and limes. An impressive wine, with some impressive honours: 1 Trophy 7 Gold medals Five stars from Gourmet Traveller and Winestate Magazines Place in the Top 40 NSW Wine Awards

p 02 4998 7293 e sales@firstcreekwines.com.au Cellar door open 7 days 9:30am - 5pm

600 McDonalds Road POKOLBIN www.firstcreekwines.com.au

WINEMAKING NOTES The Tulloch Vineyard Selection Verdelho is a fine example of why Tulloch Wines has long been renowned for making Australia’s benchmark Verdelhos. Made from select parcels of fruit from Denman in the Upper Hunter and the JYT home vineyard in the heart of Pokolbin, this is a vibrant and lively Verdelho, with generous tropical fruit on the palate and a long, clean finish. The Tulloch name has long been synonymous with the Verdelho variety and we celebrate our commitment to this uniquely Australian style of wine with this special release. TASTING NOTES This is a full and flavoursome wine showing ripe tropical fruit salad characters with honeysuckle and spice. The well balanced palate is soft and fleshy and displays refreshing citrus with pineapple. This is a slightly drier style of wine than our regular, much-loved, Tulloch Verdelho, but doesn’t disappoint those who know and love us for our excellent Verdelho reputation. Available at the Cellar Door and through our 1895 Wine Club. FOOD MATCH This is a versatile variety that can be matched to a wide range of dishes. Enjoy this wine with Thai influenced flavours and modern Australian fare.

u Winner 2007 Cellar Door of the Year - Hunter Valley Wine Industry Awards u

p 02 4998 7580 e cellardoor@tullochwines.com Cellar Door 10am - 5pm daily (except Good Friday & Christmas Day)

638 DeBeyers Rd POKOLBIN www.tullochwines.com


wine

wine

reviews

reviews Hungerford Hill 2010 Fishcage Semillon Sauvignon Blanc

RRP $28

RRP $18

COMPANY OVERVIEW

COMPANY OVERVIEW Hungerford Hill is a Hunter Valley icon and a champion of New South Wales winemaking. Family owned and operated, Hungerford Hill produces a range of outstanding wines from its home in the Hunter Valley as well as cool climate regions of Tumbarumba and Hilltops in Southern New South Wales.

Tintilla Estate adds a new wave Sparkling Blush for your enjoyment.

Under the guidance of Chief Winemaker, Michael Hatcher, Hungerford Hill embraces contemporary winemaking blended with history, talent and experience. Paying particular attention to the diversity of regional characteristics, Michael has put his personal stamp on Hungerford Hill’s portfolio of quality wines. Hungerford Hill’s architect designed winery incorporates a spectacular barrel shaped tasting room and the acclaimed Muse Restaurant & Café, whilst concealed underground is the working winery and cellar. WINEMAKING NOTES This wine exhibits the freshness and beauty of the Hunter Valley’s greatest white variety Semillon. Sauvignon Blanc as a variety possesses incredible aromatics and together with Semillon has the ability to portray a full spectrum of fine citrus and herbaceous aromas. Hungerford Hill represents over 40 years of innovation, excellence and the confidence to be different. Fishcage is that story in a bottle - bold, daring, and truly unique. Why stand on the shore when you can swim against the tide? TASTING NOTES Bright straw with green hues. Fresh herbaceous aromas with lime pith and lemon rind. The palate has a mouth-watering though gently soft combination of citrus zest and fine fruit acid. The flavour and acid line are long and finish crisp and fresh. Winner of a gold medal - Royal Hobart Wine Show 2010, bronze medal Rutherglen Wine Show 2010 & 5 Stars Winestate Magazine 2010. Available at cellar door and selected fine wine outlets.

Tintilla Estate Rosalind Blush Sangiovese

Tintilla Estate is passionate about the unique character of wines coming from the Hunter Valley. We seek to deliver individual, hand crafted wines which reflect the traditions of the old world with the tastes and flexibility of the new. We have pioneered the Sangiovese variety in the Hunter Valley to match the love affair contemporary Australia has with Italian food. The Sangiovese grape variety lends itself to the Charmat process of secondary fermentation where the bubbles are derived from the secondary fermentation, as the yeast produce alcohol and CO2. Known as “Metodo Charmat” - or Italian Method, it has been developed to produce light, delicate sparkling wines with smaller, longer-lasting bubbles. WINEMAKING NOTES The Tintilla Rosalind base wine is made from the juice of the Sangiovese grape which is pressed and run straight into the fermentation tank with minimum skin contact - hence the “Blush”. The must is cold settled and fermented to dryness. The wine is then transferred to a specialized stainless steel tank for secondary fermentation following the addition of fresh yeast and sugar. During this fermentation the carbon dioxide produced is trapped in the wine so as to produce the bubbles. It is bottled under pressure and sealed with cork tied down by a steel basket. TASTING NOTES The wine has a bright translucent blush appearance with fine bubbles that persist. It has a crisp attractive nose with fresh strawberry and water melon, excellent structure with good mouth feel, crisp fruit on the palate with a slightly savoury and long lasting finish, which offers refreshment and excitement. It is rather moreish. FOOD MATCH This is a great party wine well suited to any celebration or festive occasion. It is a contemporary, new wave wine offering freshness and vibrancy. The wine is an ideal accompaniment to oysters, prawns, fish and a range of summer salads. Serve chilled.

FOOD MATCH This wine pairs beautifully with a plate of sashimi yellow fin tuna, New Zealand wasabi, wakami seaweed salad, pickled ginger, organic soy featured at Muse Restaurant & Café Hungerford Hill.

p 02 4998 7666 e wines@hungerfordhill.com.au

p 02 6575 7093 e info@tintilla.com.au

Cellar door 10am - 5pm Sunday to Thursday • 10am - 6pm Friday and Saturday

Cellar door open 7 days 10:30am - 6pm

2450 Broke Road POKOLBIN www.hungerfordhill.com.au

725 Hermitage Road POKOLBIN www.tintilla.com.au


food

food

RECIPE FROM MARGAN RESTAURANT HEAD CHEF JOSHUA DAVIDSON PHOTOGRAPHY CHRIS ELFES

JOHN DORY WITH DIAMOND CLAMS, POTATO GNOCCHI, PEA & MINT PUREE, LOBSTER OIL Serves 4 as a main John Dory 4 x 180-200g John Dory fillets Oil & butter Diamond Clams 1kg diamond clams 4 eschallots 6 cloves garlic, crushed ½ bunch thyme 2 bay leaves 300ml white wine Potato Gnocchi 500g desiree potatoes, unpeeled 1 small egg 160g plain flour Rock salt Pinch salt & nutmeg Pea and Mint Purée 1 medium brown onion, diced 3 sticks celery, diced 3 eschallots diced 1 litre chicken stock

6 cloves garlic Fresh peas Mint leaves (½ bunch)

John Dory 1. Score the dory skin with a sharp knife. 2. Heat a small amount of oil and butter in a pan. Place dory skin side down, and crisp slowly over a medium heat then turn over to seal. 3. Finish in the oven to your liking. Diamond Clams 1. Place a large pot on highest heat. Combine all ingredients. 2. Steam with lid on until clams begin to open. Strain and allow to cool, discarding any unopened clams. 3. Peel meat from shell. Potato Gnocchi 1. Place rock salt in flat pan. Place whole potatoes on top. Cook until tender. 2. Set aside until just cool enough to handle. Peel by hand and discard skins. Puree potatoes using a potato ricer or mouli. 3. Place potato on flat surface. Make a well, and add lightly beaten eggs, salt and flour. Knead together until combined. 4. Gently roll out on lightly floured surface to form a log 2cm wide and cut each piece into 2cm-long pieces. 5. Put gnocchi into a pot of slightly salted boiling water. As they cook, the gnocchi will rise to the surface of the water. Continue cooking at the surface for about 10 seconds. Drain well. Pea and Mint Puree 1. Sauté onion, celery, eschallot and garlic with butter until they become translucent and no colour. Add chicken stock. 2. Bring to boil then simmer until soft. 3. Take off heat, add peas and mint. Puree in bar blender. 4. Check for seasoning. Strain through a fine sieve. To Serve 1. Place pea and mint puree in centre of plate, then scatter with diamond clams and potato gnocchi. 2. Place dory on top. 3. Garnish with lobster oil and baby herbs.

p 02 6579 1372 e restaurant@margan.com.au Open Friday & Saturday Lunch 12pm-2pm, & Dinner 6pm-8pm Sunday Breakfast 9am-11am & Lunch 12pm-2pm

1238 Milbrodale Road BROKE www.margan.com.au

RECIPE FROM ESCA BIMBADGEN WINERY RESTAURANT HEAD CHEF EBONNIE NEWBY PHOTOGRAPHY CHRIS ELFES

STRAWBERRY AND SPARKLING ROSÉ SEMI FREDDO WHITE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE, DRIED STRAWBERRY PETALS Serves 4 as dessert 400ml thickened cream 1 vanilla bean 7 egg yolks 150g caster sugar 100g white chocolate 50ml strawberry puree 50g dried strawberries chopped 100ml Rosé syrup 1. Whip cream and vanilla bean to medium peaks. 2. Over a hot water bath, whisk the egg yolks & sugar until thick and creamy, then add the Rosé syrup. 3. Melt the white chocolate and working quickly fold it into the egg mix. 4. Fold in the cream. 5. In a separate, clean and dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks. 6. Fold the dried strawberry pieces into the mix then fold in the egg whites. 7. Pour into tin lined with baking paper & freeze.

Rosé Syrup 100ml Sparkling Rosé - Bimbadgen of course! 50g caster sugar 1. Combine and bring to the boil & simmer for 10 minutes. 2. Remove from the heat & allow to cool. White Chocolate Brownie 120g butter 220g white chocolate 1 ½ eggs ¾ cup caster sugar ¾ cup plain flour ¼ cup self-raising flour 100g toasted / chopped macadamias 1. Whisk eggs and sugar until pale. 2. Melt the butter and chocolate together then add to eggs. 3. Fold in flours and nuts. 4. Pour into a line / greased tin and bake at 160°C for approximately 20 minutes. To Serve 1. Place a slice of semi freddo and a slice of brownie in the centre of the serving plate. 2. Scatter some dried strawberries around the plate and serve with some strawberry coulis.

p 02 4998 4666 e esca@bimbadgen.com.au Open 7 days for lunch 12pm - 4pm Dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm

790 McDonalds Road POKOLBIN www.bimbadgen.com.au


food

A Spring Seduction WORDS BY Grant Radford and Nicole Maclean PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES

Like a spontaneous kiss planted on your lips at the conclusion of a first date, spring is a welcome and delightful transition from a long, cool, though often indulgent and pleasing winter. Her soft and warm caress gently banishes the harsh, barren months of winter, awakening nature, ourselves, and our appetites.

S

pring is not just another season; it is the birth of a new year. There is no escaping the visual and physical awakening that accompanies her arrival in our region, as Mother Nature lifts her veil and shows off the natural landscape that is the Hunter Valley in the season of renewal.

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With most of the population living along the coast and in cities, we often miss the physical changes that occur throughout the natural flow of seasons. Gentle winter rains have kept the soils and fertile parts our region moist and welcoming ready for renewal and regeneration. Heady scents of wattle and freesias hint at the rejuvenation that is taking place in nature and in us, evident in the growing numbers of wildlife with newly-born young and the amazing array of wildflowers that scatter the roadsides. Nowhere are the cycles of the seasons more evident than in the vineyard. After staring at bare, naked vines throughout winter, the emergence of the first tiny blossoms of budburst are a welcome sight, which carry with it our anticipation for the new vintage. It is during spring the vines give their most to the growth that prepares them for a hot summer ripening, when they will be at their most flush and full. Passionate and dedicated vineyard staff have been hard at work throughout winter, pruning and planting cover crops to return nutrients to the soil and dormant vines.

Spring stimulates the senses, awakens desires and teases our palates in anticipation of the new season’s flavours and textures. It has always been the season of romance, rebirth, reproduction and renewal.

Think alfresco dining and picturesque picnic spots, long, leisurely lunches, and simple, but tempting, dinners … dishes that are made to share, meals that are fresh and easy to prepare, and food that should be eaten with your hands.

There is no denying that the longer days, warmer weather and rich array of colourful seasonal produce combine to create a sensual take on food and eating. Local chef, Robbie Molines, believes that, “Spring seems to come at the right time as we shy away from the cold of winter and long for longer days and warming sun.” “We are ready for lighter styles of food and adventure, longing for young, fresh broadbeans, new potatoes, crisp, bright green asparagus, snow peas, and seasonal seafood, bursting with vibrant colours.” Shake off the winter blues and embrace spring with gusto - treat yourself to an amazing food and wine experience or weekend getaway that will regenerate and refresh. If romantic, alfresco dining is more your style, head outside and soak up the spring sunshine. There are plenty of local and imported gourmet goodies to be found at the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shops, the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory, and

breathe spring 2011

35


food

HUNTER VALLEY

Cheese Factory

the Australian Regional Food Store & Café. Assemble a basket of local olives and cheeses, house-baked bread or gourmet lunch rolls and gelato for a feast to enjoy at one of the many local picnic spots. Enjoy baby vegetables that combine colour and flavour with new season lamb and veal, or served simply with gorgeous olive oils and vinegars from Pukara Estate or Woodlands Olive Grove in Broke. But, if a sampling of local chefs’ spring talents and passion is more your style, why not experience lunch or dinner at one of our Hunter Valley restaurants. Michael Lee, of Ridgeview Restaurant, believes that spring dishes are all about colour and that, to taste sexy, they must look sexy, too. He says some the sexiest ingredients he uses are vanilla and saffron, with both adding extra layers of taste to both sweet and savoury dishes. “Think mahi mahi poached in vanilla butter with tortellini of grape tomato and sweet basil, served with broadbeans and seared tuna carpaccio, confit olive and tomato, and fresh globe artichoke,” Michael suggests. If spring is all about colour, Michael Bolam from Restaurant Sanctuary has it nailed. “This spring we are having a bit of fun by offering a really interesting degustation called ‘Colours of the Rainbow’, where colours play a part in each course. The experience starts with themes of red, followed by orange, and progresses through all the colours of the rainbow to violet, “ Michael explains. Seasonally, Restaurant Botanica serves beautiful, fresh salad combinations based on the most vibrant and colourful ingredients sourced fresh daily from their own kitchen garden. They believe that this season’s “Botanica Spring Garden Salad” will be their best yet. “After three years and lots of TLC, the kitchen garden is at its biggest and best,” says executive chef Mark Stapleton. “I love working with such fresh ingredients and combining our garden treats with some of the region’s finest local produce like Binnorie Goats Curd and our house-cured pancetta. It’s the perfect match especially with a glass of Hunter Semillon.” At The Olive Tree Restaurant at Wyndham Estate, enjoy sand whiting with sage and Serrano jamon, and a vibrant salad of buffalo mozzarella, vine-ripened tomato, basil and olive oil. Ever the romantic, Chef/Owner, Andy Wright, recalls a classic assiette de fruits de mer in Normandy in 1991 with a lightly chilled Montrachet and his engagement to his lovely wife, Janet, as his favourite spring memory.

Artisan Regional Cheesemakers, the Hunter Valley Cheese Company have been producing handmade preservative free cheeses on site for over 15 years. • Factory Viewing and Tastings daily

• Complimentary Cheese Talk daily 11am & 3pm • Factory Outlet Sales and Discounts

“Blessed are the Cheesemakers” HUNTER VALLEY CHEESE FACTORY & SHOP McGuigan’s Complex, 447 McDonalds Road Pokolbin P: 4998 7744 E: huntervalleycheese@westnet.com.au huntervalleycheese@westnet.com.au W: www.huntervalleycheese.com.au

So whether it’s a quick weekend getaway, or a lazy, week-long break, you’ll find yourself seduced by the romance of spring in the Hunter Valley and so will your taste buds. Enjoy! n 36

breathe spring 2011

RESTAURANT

Cuveé

@ PETERSON HOUSE

AUSTRALIAN REGIONAL

australian regional Food Store & food Café store and café Open 7 days Breakfast 8.30am – 11.00am Lunch 12.00pm – 3.00pm Corner of Broke Road & Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin NSW 2320 P 02 4998 7881 E cuvee@petersonhouse.com.au www.petersonhouse.com.au

Venture out to Margan Restaurant in Broke where the menu currently features several dishes showcasing baby heirloom vegetables. The one-acre Margan kitchen garden consists of a vegetable garden, fruit orchard and free-range chicken run. It supplies much of the fresh produce for the restaurant’s menu, featuring seasonal highlights and influences from the rich flavours and textures of the Mediterranean.

Over on Palmers Lane, The Verandah Restaurant’s Matt Dillow has introduced a sexy new dish to his extensive and delicious tapas menu - oysters erotica (natural oysters with smoked salmon, cream cheese and marscapone), as well as inviting snapper and dill croquettes, and tasty Thai-style crab and prawn cakes.

www.smellycheese.net.au

• Made with Vegetarian Rennet

“The sirloin is chargrilled rare, served with crumbed sweetbreads, creamy duck liver parfait and purple congo potatoes,” says chef Ebonnie Newby, “The velvety sauce bordelaise finish ensures a seductive and satisfying finish for a lover of red meat and red wine.”

To experience a sunny spring afternoon with a glass of champagne head to Restaurant Cuvée at Peterson House and grab a sun-drenched spot on the verandah. Chef Chad Pridue dishes up delightfully seductive seafood dishes of Nelson Bay Sydney Rock oysters, salt and pepper soft shell crab, and seared scallops with white wine, bacon and pencil leeks.

pvr@smellycheese.net.au

• Preservative Free

For something a little more on the meat side, Esca at Bimbadgen features Hunter Valley Tajima Waygu Sirloin, renowned for its tenderness, distinctive marbling and flavour.

“We freshly prepare most menu items from scratch, including our signature gelati, pasta, butter, yoghurt, some soft cheeses, olives, small goods and pastries,” says owner and chef Lisa Margan. “There’s something really romantic and special about cooking with ingredients that you have grown.”

info@smellycheese.net.au

• Award Winning

lunch all day • produce tastings Sourced to state, open 7from days state • 9am-5pm @ city to coast, inland to island, winemakers tastethe oursmall fantastic rangecentre of clean, 426 mcdonalds road pokolbin hunter valley green Australian produce. p • 4998 6800 e • australianregionalfood@westnet.com.au Breakfast 9am to 12 noon w • www.australianregionalfood.com.au

Lunch 12noon to 4.30pm & produce tastings

Open 7 days 9am to 5pm @ the small winemakers centre 426 McDonalds Road Pokolbin Hunter Valley

P: 4998 6800 australianregionalfood@westnet.com.au E: australianregionalfood@westnet.com.au www.australianregionalfood.com.au W: www.australianregionalfood.com.au

Restaurant Cuvee located at Peterson House offers modern Australian cuisine at its best. Our al-a-carte menu has been designed using fresh local produce - with seasonal menu changes, you will be sure to find something to please your palate. The romance of the building provides a beautiful setting for weddings, private functions, corporate dinners or any special occasion of celebration.

Rustic Mediterranean inspired cuisine in a spectacular outdoor setting. Views from every table of manicured vines, picturesque countryside and the winding Hunter River. Saturday lunch 12-3pm Sunday breakfast 10am-11.30am Sunday lunch 11.30am-3.30pm Wyndham Estate Winery, Dalwood Rd, Dalwood via Branxton www.olivetreerestaurant.com.au

Ph 02 4938 1831


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6579 1082

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lifestyle art

From Branxton ...to Paris

Opposite page: If Found, Do Not Resuscitate. This page clockwise from left: Grade Six To Fall (Barry In The Wings); Level One Introduction to Ballet (Barry In The Wings); Bunny Bash; Damo In A Dress; Todd Fuller The Mascot; Todd Fuller with Newcastle artist Liam Power.

WORDS BY VIRGINIA MITCHELL

H

unter Valley Breathe recently met up with Todd Fuller, a young Hunter Valley artist who is currently taking on the Sydney art world - and with some success!

Todd grew up in the small village of Branxton, attending local schools before following his dream and enrolling at the National Art School in Sydney. We asked Todd a few questions about his journey as an artist. What is your first memory of art in your life? I remember painting and drawing from a very early age. I always tried to be the cool kid in the class who could draw dazzlingly well, but sadly, there was always someone better! On top of this, my brother was a typical Aussie boy who played all sorts of sports and thus I spent every Saturday on the sideline or in the car, where I would draw and doodle characters and stories. When did you decide you wanted to be an artist? I remember saying or thinking it quite a lot as a young child, but the first time I really knew I was going to pursue visual arts was the year when Euan Macleod won the Archibald Prize. Our class had gone to see the show on a school excursion, and while standing in front of his self portrait, ‘like a hole in the head’, I felt so moved, I realised that this was for me. I was also very close to pursuing dance, and law was another option. Both these career options still affect my practice: the organised, administrative side of myself which would have been useful in the law underpins my curatorial practice, while my experiences as a dancer informs how I choreograph a drawing or compose a space.

I put together exhibitions with theatrical narratives in mind, and the physicality and gestures in my sculptures, drawings and animations are very much enhanced by my dance education. Dance also affects my thematic concerns. My exploration of masculinity is very much grounded in the questions that I was confronted by as a male dancer. What inspires you? I really admire gutsy artists with a sincere and authentic voice, which they aren’t afraid to use. I am an unconditional disciple to William Kentridge, but there are other animators, sculptors and drawers whom I find equally motivating. There are some captivating animators utilising remarkable innovations all around the world, such as Moto Blu and Jeff Chiba Sterns. Their work reminds me to think outside the box and find my own voice in the animation world. I think that inspiration comes through persistence. I don’t think that you are ‘struck’ by inspiration like romantics would have you believe. It’s not a lightning bolt; it occurs over time and organically. I think long-term exposure to people and places is what really affects me. The values and protocol of rural life, as well as observations of queer cultures, and even the implications of living in places such as Paris and Kings Cross, all have residual effects on my work. You recently completed a residency in Paris. What was the high point of that experience? The residency at the Cité International Des Arts in Paris was awarded through the Friends of the National Art School. While I was there, I drew every day, but also took in all the sights and sounds of Paris. As a boy from Branxton, who had never left the country, it was a period of my life which I still struggle to describe. It was utter joy in every way, it was tough and challenging and wonderfully overwhelming all at once. Discovering the Musée de Rodin, exploring the underground Catacombs, spending time in London, meeting with galleries, the city of Nantes, not to mention just the bliss of sketching in the streets. It all seems quite surreal in hindsight; it did as well at the time, actually.

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breathe spring 2011

You have recently held a solo show at Brenda May Gallery in Sydney. It was my first commercial solo show, so it was an amazing experience to go through. I was introduced to Brenda during my honours year. I respect Brenda’s stable immensely - some of my favourite Australian artists feature in her racks - so there was no doubt in my mind that, as soon as I had the opportunity to exhibit there, it was one I wanted to take. The show continues my long-term exploration into the ideas of what makes a man, a man. I find the notion of masculinity to be a delicate and absurd idea. With my own experiences and stories in mind, I approach the subject with a real sense of play. Jim Croke once told me to, “never underestimate the value of play”, and I have taken this on board wholeheartedly. The show included sculptures of fat men in tutus, miners in hard hats, men in bunny suits, as well as drawings and hand-drawn films about these characters and their narratives. You currently teach at Sydney Grammar School, and practice as an artist and as a curator. Do you see yourself tending in one direction, or are you planning to continue the juggling act? I try not to plan my life to much! I have my goals which I work towards, but I think if you stick to preconceived ideas, then you may overlook an opportunity which is ready for the taking at this moment in time. I use these values not just in life, but also when animating and drawing. You have to be open to what is presented to you and be willing to go with an option which you may not initially have expected. Ideally, I would like to keep taking each of these roles to the next level. I am often told I should go overseas, but I love Australia and my family far too much to leave it for a long period. I want to work here and make a difference to my community and the art world - whether that is through my artistic practice, arts advocacy, or cultural policy. No matter what, I hope that at the core of everything I do and achieve is my actual work as an artist. This is my ultimate goal. In the meantime, I am happy, as long as I am making my art and it is being seen. n

breathe spring 2011

41


what’s on OCTOBER

One Off Date Closes October 30, 2011 Contact 4991 6619 www.crag.net.au Location Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, 16 Vincent St, Cessnock Monotype prints by Wollombi Valley artists James Whitington, Rebecca Rath and Helene Leane. The exhibition investigates the process of monotype printing and the impact of the gestural mark. Hunter Gatherer - 100 Mile Meal at Esca Bimbadgen Date Every day throughout October Contact 4998 4666 www.bimbadgen.com.au Location within the Bimbadgen Winery, 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin To enjoy the wonderful offerings of our abundant local area, join Esca Bimbadgen restaurant for their “Hunter Gatherer 100 mile meal”. The culinary team at Esca Bimbadgen have handpicked the finest local produce from Pokolbin to the coast, producing a menu to showcase a true taste of the Hunter Valley featuring a six course set menu available every day throughout October. Sculpture in the Vineyards Date Sun., October 2, 2011 to Thurs., January 26, 2012 Contact www.sculptureinthevineyards.com.au Location Along the Wollombi Wine Trail This exhibition gives local, regional and city based artists an opportunity to develop cultural partnerships through creating and exhibiting large - scale and site specific works inspired by the rural surrounds of the vineyards along the Wollombi Wine Trail and historic township. Artist run workshops and forums are also running in partnership with the exhibition.

How’s this for an experience?

Over 60 wines

30 grape varietals 11 countries and 100 wine growing regions all in six days? This is the education experience awaiting participants who enrol in the (WSET®) Wine & Spirit V I N TAG E D R I V E R O T H B U R Y N S W 2 3 2 0 A U S T R A L I A TELEPHONE 02 4998 2500

Education Trust’s ‘Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits’ course, now available in Australia at McWilliam’s Wines Academy.

EN Q U I RI E S @ C H AT E AU ELA N . CO M . AU W W W. C H AT E AU EL A N . CO M . AU

The Vintage Markets Date Sunday, October 3, 2011 Contact www.thevintage.com.au Location The Vintage, Vintage Dr, Rothbury Enjoy delicious sauces, liqueurs, breads, dukkah, fruit and vegetables, Hunter Valley wine, cookies, fresh cakes, cupcakes, handmade clothing, lavender products and much more! Free entry. Birthday Weekend @ Hunter Valley Gardens Date Saturday, October 8 & Sunday, October 9, 2011 Contact 4998 4000 www.hvg.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin Hunter Valley Gardens invites you to help celebrate their birthday. Have fun for free on the jumping castle and other amusement rides. There will also be free birthday cake, pony rides, face painting, activities and much more. All rides are free after Gardens Admission. Meat Loaf - A Day On The Green Date Saturday, October 8, 2011 Contact www.adayonthegreen.com.au www.tickermaster.com.au Location Bimbadgen Winery, 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin Meat Loaf’s “Guilty Pleasure” tour hits the Hunter Valley with A Day on The Green at Bimbadgen. Big tunes from the big man including all the old favourites like “Bat Out Of Hell”, and “Dead Ringer”. It will be big! It will be dramatic! It will rock!

Saddlers Creek Winemakers Dinner Date Saturday, October 8, 2011 Contact 4998 7231 www.verandahrestaurant.com.au Location Calais Estate, Palmer’s Lne, Pokolbin A fabulous four course dinner expertly matched to wines by Saddlers Creek & hosted by Winemaker Nick Flannagan & Chef Matt Dillow. $85 per person. Bookings are essential. The Verandah Restaurant Locals Night Date Sunday, October 9, 2011 Contact 4998 7231 www.verandahrestaurant.com.au Location Calais Estate, Palmer’s Lne, Pokolbin “German Night” at The Verandah Restaurant. Starting at 6:30pm with complimentary canapés and bubbles, followed by a five course tapas style degustation dinner. $50 per person, BYO no corkage. Plumm Wine Glass Experience Date Sunday, October 9, 2011 Contact 4998 750 Location Tulloch Wines, Cnr McDonalds & DeBeyers Rd, Pokolbin Discover that the glass you drink from really does make the difference with a special Plumm Wine Glass Experience at Tulloch Wines. $65 person. Bookings are essential. Wine Country Race Club Race Day Date Monday, October 10, 2011 Contact 4961 1573 www.winecountryraceclub.com.au Location Race Course Rd, Cessnock Experience the best of country racing. Cessnock Racecourse is just minutes from Cessnock city centre. Admission is free. Rose Spectacular @ Hunter Valley Gardens Date Monday, October 10 to Sunday, November 13, 2011 Contact 4998 4000 www.hvg.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin Visit Hunter Valley Gardens to see over 2 million rose blooms. See 35,000 rose bushes in over 125 different varieties. The majority of the roses are grown at Hunter Valley Gardens are of the fragrant variety, after all, a rose without perfume just isn’t a rose! Includes rose talks and demonstrations.

Date Wednesday, October 12, 2011 6pm to 8:30pm Contact www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au Location Etch Restaurant, 62 Bridge St, Sydney This is your chance to learn how wine shows are judged with 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Show judges and trophy winning winemakers. Taste four flights of four exceptional Hunter Valley gold & trophy winning wines expertly matched to four tasting courses. $110 per person including wines, tasting menu and structured tuition. Bookings are essential. Tickets available at www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au

For all course information visit: www.mcwilliamswinesgroup.com breathe spring 2011

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what’s on

what’s on The chance to see two of music’s most revered and multi-Grammy Award winning artists on one stage is undoubtedly a night not to be missed! After celebrating its 10th anniversary year last summer, A Day On The Green has another great series of events planned for the upcoming season.

Date Thursday, October 13, 2011 6pm to 8:30pm Contact www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au Location 3 Weeds Restaurant, 193 Evans Rd, Rozelle This is your chance to learn how wine shows are judged with 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Show judges and trophy winning winemakers. Taste four flights of four exceptional Hunter Valley gold & trophy winning wines expertly matched to four tasting courses. $110 per person including wines, tasting menu and structured tuition. Bookings are essential. Tickets available at www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au

New Generation Hunter Valley Pop Up Wine Bar Date Friday, October 21, 2011 Contact www.newgenerationhuntervalley.com.au Location Secret inner-Sydney Location The New Generation boys are popping up in a secret Sydney location. Tickets for this truly unique Pop Up Wine Bar are only $30, guaranteeing a whole lot of great wine and good times. The wine bar location will be revealed only to registrants in the week prior to the event. Burning of the Canes Date Saturday, October 22 & Sunday, October 23, 2011 Contact 6579 1386/9818 4126 www.whispering-brook.com.au Location Whispering Brook, Rodd St, Broke. In celebration of the vine featuring a wine flight tasting. Taste the Spirit of the Vines with slow cooked food prepared on open BBQs infused with the aromas of vineyards canes. “Burning of the Canes” is accompanied by traditionally cooked meats and accompaniments.

Date Friday, October 14, 2011 6pm to 9:30pm Contact www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au Location Coast Restaurant, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour, Sydney A Friday night with a difference; speed date your way through the Hunter Valley’s famous wine varieties including Shiraz, Chardonnay, Verdelho and the star of this summer… the fresh vibrant 2011 Semillons. Be introduced to some “semsational” wines and their makers, snack on delicious canapés, enjoy some live DJ tunes, and place your order at the Summer Cellar Door. $95 per person including wines, canapés grazing menu, entertainment & activities. Bookings are essential. Tickets available at www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au Opera in the Vineyards Date Saturday, October 15, 2011 Contact www.operainthevineyards.com.au www.ticketek.com.au Location Wyndham Estate, Dalwood. Relax in the vineyards at sunset, sipping a glass of fine Hunter red and listening to the soaring voice of one of the world’s greatest singers. Treat yourself as Opera in the Vineyards welcomes legendary opera diva, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to the 16th anniversary of its much-loved annual feast of opera, food and wine. Steely Dan & Steve Winwood - A Day On The Green Date Saturday, October 22, 2011 Contact www.adayonthegreencom.au www.ticketmaster.com.au Location Bimbadgen Winery, 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin Jazz rock icons Steely Dan and the legendary Steve Winwood will be the fantastic double bill headlining the first A Day On The Green concert for the summer season. 44

breathe spring 2011

Broke Fordwich Spirit of the Vine Date Saturday, October 22 & Sunday, October 23, 2011 Contact www.brokefordwich.com.au Location Several locations in the Broke Fordwich area. Discover the great wines and charm of the Broke Fordwich Wine region. Start your journey in Broke with a souvenir wine glass and map. Follow the banners to each of the ten participating venues to taste, enjoy, learn, meet and discover why the wines from this region are so unique. Jazz in the Vines at Tyrrell’s Vineyards Date Saturday, October 29, 2011 Contact www.jazzinthevines.com.au Location Tyrrell’s Vineyard, Broke Rd, Pokolbin Enjoy great jazz, wine and food in the picturesque setting of Tyrrell’s Vineyards. Get down to a sensational line-up including Kate Ceberano, James Morrison, Emma Pask, Soul diva Lisa Hunt, Weird Assembly, and George Washingmachine.

NOVEMBER Melbourne Cup at Esca Bimbadgen Date Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Contact 4998 4666 esca@bimbadgen.com.au Location Bimbadgen Winery, 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin Dress to your fabulous best and join Esca Bimbadgen for the race that stops a nation – Melbourne Cup 2011. Indulge in a glass of Bimbadgen Sparkling Semillon or Rosé on arrival, followed by two courses from our specially created menu and finishing with a cheese platter to enjoy whilst cheering your winner home!

HUNTER VALLEY UNCORKED BALMORAL

Date Sunday, November 6, 2011 Contact www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au Location The Esplanade, Balmoral The final event in our Hunter Valley Uncorked Sydney Festival - The Hunter Valley wine family invites you to a day of wine & food on the foreshore at Balmoral. Share a premium Hunter Valley wine & food experience with Hunter Valley Winemakers and their teams. Pair Hunter wines with the latest creations from local chefs, stock your pantry, fill your cellar & bring a picnic rug to relax with live entertainment. The Verandah Restaurant Locals Night Date Sunday, November 6, 2011 Contact 4998 7231 www.verandahrestaurant.com.au Location Calais Estate, Palmer’s Lane, Pokolbin “Spice Night” at The Verandah Restaurant. Starting at 6:30pm with complimentary canapés & bubbles, followed by a 5 course tapas style degustation dinner. $50 per person, BYO no corkage. Folk In Broke Date Friday, November 4, to Sunday, November 6, 2011 Contact 6579 1259 www.folkinbroke.com Location Broke-Fordwich Be part of the wine and great music experience that is Folk in Broke. Great wines, fabulous music, exciting workshops and market stalls. Christmas Light Spectacular @ HVG Date Thursday, November 10, 2011 to Saturday, January 14, 2012 Contact 4998 4000 www.hvg.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin It really is spectacular - Open every night with over a million Christmas lights on show throughout designated areas of Hunter Valley Gardens. Including special guest Santa, entertainment with food and beverages available for purchase on-site. Special night rates apply. Closed Sunday, December 25, 2011. Cold Chisel - A Day on the Green Date Saturday, November 12, 2011 Contact www.adayonthegreen.com.au Location Bimbadgen Winery, 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin Cold Chisel star at A Day on The Green at Bimbadgen with their “Light The Nitro Tour”- what more can we say! Australia’s most iconic rock band is back with their biggest tour in almost 30 years. So many great songs! One great band! Seeing is believing!

Wine Country Race Club Race Day Date Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Contact 4961 1573 www.winecountryraceclub.com.au Location Race Course Rd, Cessnock Experience the best of country racing. Cessnock Racecourse is just minutes from Cessnock city centre. Admission is free. Dolly Parton at Hope Estate Date Saturday, November 19 & Sunday, November 20, 2011 Contact www.hopeestate.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin Back in Australia after nearly 30 years the Queen of Country Music, Dolly Parton is here to delight her fans with her legendry hits and new music from her latest album Better Day.

CELLAR DOOR Come enjoy our fine range at the acclaimed Pokolbin cellar door - a breath-taking contemporary space designed to complement your Tempus Two experience.

Wine tasting 101

Make your wine tasting experience more rewarding and unravel the mysteries with our fun and friendly cellar door team. When Sundays at 10.30am (October 9 to December 11)

Where Tempus Two Private Tasting Room PRICE $20 p/p - complimentary for

Pewter Members

Bookings essential

Private Tastings available by appointment & groups welcome by appointment. Bookings essential. OPENING HOURS 10am - 5pm, 7 days (closed Christmas Day & Good Friday) TEMPUS TWO cellar door Cnr Broke & McDonalds Rds, Pokolbin (PO Box 209 Cessnock 2325)

P: 02 4993 3999 F: 02 4993 3988 E: info@tempustwo.com.au

www.tempustwo.com.au ABN: 78 052 179 932


what’s on DECEMBER

The Verandah Restaurant Locals Night Date Sunday, December 4, 2011 Contact 4998 7231 www.verandahrestaurant.com.au Location Calais Estate, Palmer’s Lane, Pokolbin “Christmas Treats” at The Verandah Restaurant. Starting at 6:30pm with complimentary canapés and bubbles, followed by a five course tapas style degustation dinner. $50 per person, BYO no corkage. Elton John at Hope Estate Date Saturday, December 3 & Sunday, December 4, 2011 Contact www.hopeestate.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin Acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest living pop icons, Elton John returns for his 15th tour of Australia. His crossovers from classic balladry, soul and disco to country, gospel and rock have often confounded but never disappointed his legion of worldwide fans. As one of the greatest showmen of all time, his spectacular stage shows continue to leave the competition standing still in his wake. Carols at The Gardens Date Saturday, December 10, 2011 Contact 4998 4000 www.hvg.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin Join us for this community event and experience the wonder and spirit of Christmas under the stars. Featuring all the old favourites, everyone is invited to come along and enjoy the show. There will be pre-show entertainment, the main show including a visit from Santa, fireworks and more. Newcastle Herald Motor Traders & Truck Race Day Date Friday, December 16, 2011 Contact 4961 1573 www.winecountryraceclub.com.au Location Race Course Rd, Cessnock Wine Country Race Course will be buzzing on the 16th December. Only a week prior to Christmas, this meeting is perfectly timed to celebrate the festive season with friends and work colleagues. Admission is free. Christmas Lunch @ The Vintage Date Sunday, December 25, 2011 Contact 4998 6789 xmas@thevintage.com.au Location The Vintage, Vintage Dr, Rothbury Sit back and relax this Christmas Day with a sensational seafood Christmas lunch buffet at the Vintage including a guest appearance by Santa. $129 per person. Booking are essential.

Discover the great wines and rural charms of the Broke Fordwich Wine Region.

NEW YEARS EVE @ HVG Date Saturday, December 31, 2011 Contact 4998 4000 www.hvg.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin Celebrate the start of 2012 with entertainment, amusement rides, a festive fireworks display at 9pm and the Christmas Lights Spectacular. A fantastic night for the entire family.

Start your journey in the village of Broke with a souvenir wine glass and map. Follow the banners to each of the ten participating venues where you can taste, enjoy, eat. learn, meet and discover why the wines of the region are so unique. Don’t miss the Winemakers Dinner on the Saturday evening (bookings essential).

News Year’s Eve @ The Vintage Date Saturday, December 31, 2011 Contact 4998 6789 Location The Vintage, Vintage Drive, Rothbury Ring in 2012 in Vintage style - New Year’s Eve with a Roaring 20’s theme with a three course dinner, beverages, live music and fireworks at midnight. $199 per person. Bookings are essential.

EACH MONTH

Wine Education, Tour & Tasting Date The last Friday of every month Contact 4990 0702 sharon.evans@hungerfordhill.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin Go on a guided tour of Hungerford Hill’s underground winery and sample wines still in tank. Learn the characteristics of each wine while enjoying an assortment of canapés matched to enhance your tasting pleasure. Limited to 12 people. Bookings are essential.

For full details visit www.spiritofthevine.com.au www spiritofthevine.com.au

SATURDAY 22 AND SUNDAY 23

OCTOBER 10AM - 4PM

Wine, Jazz & Italian Date Last Sunday of every month Contact 4930 7473 www.adinavineyard.com.au Date Adina Vineyard, 492 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale Looking for something to do on your Sunday off? Adina Vineyard has the answer; on the last Sunday afternoon of each month you can enjoy fabulous tunes from jazz musicians from Sydney’s famous venue “The Basement”, along with an all afternoon four course Italian feast - all for only $49 per person. n

Come and enjoy an alfresco lunch on the terrace overlooking the vineyard at Vinden Estate Wines. Bistro Vinden offers an eclectic compilation of foods with special emphasis placed on fresh seasonal produce, local seafood and high grade Hunter beef. Produce is sourced from Vinden Estate’s own organic kitchen garden and other local suppliers. Specialties include Croatian Seafood, Beef with Asian Mushrooms, Salad Nicoise and Vitello Tonnato. Food is matched with wines from the extensive and highly awarded Vinden Estate Wines portfolio which is available for tasting at the Cellar Door.

CKM

RJ Wear

Pokolbin Village Resort

www.woodlandolives.com.au/oliveloverguide

Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320 Ph: (02) 4998-6656 Open daily from 10am

Lauren Vidal

Naot Shoes

www.woodlandolives.com.au

Degustation lunches available. Reservations Recommended. 17 Gillards Rd, Pokolbin. Ph: 02 49987 410 F: 49987 175 E: finewines@vindenestate.com.au finewines@vindenestate.com.au www.vindenestate.com.au

Bistro Vinden


FOOD & WINE MONTH GETS THE ‘SHUTTER BUG’

out & about

As part of Food and Wine Month in the Hunter Valley, Tulloch wines held a photographic competition where the participants’ brief was to create a cover shot for a food and wine magazine. Tulloch provided the props and camera, and each participant provided their talents (albeit some were well hidden).

Competition was tight however the unanimous winner judged by visitors to the Cellar Door was a ‘surfer dude’ from the Central Coast. Clearly channeling the call of the ocean, Roy Fraser-Watson took inspiration from the sea and photographed our Julia Semillon which is a perfect match to all types of seafood. Congratulations Roy, thank you for being part of 1st PLACE this event and we hope you enjoyed the n o Wats Roy Fraserselection of wines you received as your prize. W Terrigal NS Our Runner-up was Nomi Hallifax who acurately partnered our shiraz with pepper and our verdelho with citrus - two flavours that typify each variety.

Wine trade masterclass held during the August Hunter Valley Wine Show visit

Scott McWilliam, McWilliams Wines & Lyndey Milan catch-up - Hunter Valley Sydney media tasting.

Michael Hartcher, Vanessa Neal & Michael Paterson Hungerford Hill - Finalists Hunter Business Awards

McLeish Estate Wine Dinner RUNNER-UP Nomi Hallifax Hunter Valley NSW Special mention must also go to Pan Tan Han from Kingsford and Stephen George from Cessnock for their efforts. Thank you to all that participated. We look forward to seeing you at the Cellar Door again soon. WINNER 2007 CELLAR DOOR OF THE YEAR - Hunter Valley Wine Industry Awards Cnr McDonalds and De Beyers Road Pokolbin 2320 cellardoor@tullochwines.com P| 02 4998 7580 E|cellardoor@tullochwines.com W| www.tullochwines.com www.tullochwines.com

Rebecca Poynter General Manager Bimbadgen with their Variety Bash car

Trumpeter, Paul Goodchild at Allandale Winery’s annual “Strings in the Winery”.

Can you spot Maste r Chef Media Amazing Ra ’s Billy? Hunter Valley experi ce ence.


lifestyle gardening

W

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

ith the warmer weather sneaking up on us, and the constant issues of lack of rain and water restrictions, it is time to consider mulching. Long gone are the days when you would walk into a supplier and ask for mulch and all they could recommend was pine bark, pine bark or perhaps some pine bark! While pine bark is still available in various sizes and even colours, there are plenty of alternatives that not only look great, but also do a much better job. At Hunter Valley Gardens, we use a variety of mulches for different purposes, but for the home gardener, one mulch can be used for the entire garden, depending on personal choice and budget. So, why do we mulch? Mulching is now considered a vital part of gardening in Australia, not only for the obvious benefits of water retention and retardation of weed growth, but also for improving total soil structure. As some of the poorest soils in the world, Australian soils need all the help they can get. Organic mulches help improve soil structure by adding organic matter, protecting the soil surface from compaction and crusting, and regulating soil temperatures, which encourages micro-organisms and earthworms to break down organic matter and improve aeration. This all leads to better plant development with healthier, deeper root systems and the ability to withstand the harsh Australian climate. With so many mulches available these days, it can be a little confusing deciding upon the appropriate mulch to use. Here is a list to help keep your garden happy and healthy: Lucerne mulch is an excellent fine mulch that mats together well and is very good for the soil. Lucerne is a legume plant, which means it produces its own nitrogen so, unlike bark mulches, it puts nitrogen back into the soil. It also has high water retention properties and is easy to apply. It can vary in colour from bag to bag, but becomes uniform once exposed to the sun. It is a little more expensive than other mulches, but the long-term benefits of Lucerne generally outweigh the cost. It is generally considered as one of the best mulches. With the texture of light straw, Peastraw is another effective mulch. It is the remains of the pea plant after harvesting, and is slightly coarser and a little dustier than Lucerne.

You can get the odd pea plant popping up, but it is a little more economical than Lucerne. Sugarcane, as it sounds, is the leftovers from sugar cane after processing. It is a great mulch due to the fact that the processing can remove many of the weed seeds that may have been present. It has a pale grey-ish colour and comes in larger strands than Peastraw and Lucerne, which can make it a little more difficult to apply around seedlings and smaller shrubs. It can be a bit dusty and is not as high in nutrient content, but is economical mulch. It is also now available as certified organic mulch. Teatree mulch is a by-product from tea tree oil production and, like Sugarcane, may be free from weeds. A dark and aromatic mulch, it is much longer-lasting than the other mulches and has a more traditional appearance. Particle size will vary as it contains not only leaves but also the stems of the tea tree. It is very economical. Many gardens are using decorative pebbles as a substitute to the traditional mulches. They can make a dramatic statement and are available in a range of colours and sizes. The main drawback is the initial cost of the pebbles, as they can be expensive, but when you consider that they never break down, over the long term they do pay for themselves. It is also worth remembering that you do not necessarily have to purchase mulch - it is quite simple to make your own. Most areas now have green waste bins that councils kindly pick up for you every fortnight, after which they take it to the tip, compost it down and sell it back to us as mulch! Nearly all the material that goes into green waste bins can be reused and composted down for use as mulch. All it takes is a compost bin and a bit of time, and in a couple of months, you have mulch. While some organic mulches claim to be weed-free, there is always the possibility of some weed growth in all organic mulches and this should be expected. It should also be noted that many organic mulches can contain dust particles, so a dust mask should always be worn along with gloves and a long-sleeve shirt when handling the mulch. Happy Gardening, Sean O’Brien, Horticultural Manager, Hunter Valley Gardens n

“Pepper Tree Wines, Tristan Jones, in The Wine Tunnel�

11 OCT - 14 NOV 2010

Ta ke t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o s e e t h e Hu n t e r Va l l e y Gardens with over 2 mil lion rose blooms, throughout the annual R o s e S p e c t a c u l a r.

CHRIS ELFES PHOTOGRAPHY POKOLBIN

|

NEWCASTLE

|

SYDNEY

www.chriselfesphotography.com | 0413 805 222 | elfesphoto@bigpond.com.au

www.hvg.com.au



Hunter Valley Breathe Spring 2011