breathe issue 31 summer 2011-12
I am Woman
The Ben Ean Still
Between Evans and Hell Meet the Locals Wine Reviews Whatâ€™s On
Game On! The Food, the Mood, the Venue, the Menu!
Dine around the vines on Calais Estate with a 14 course tapas-style taste sensation with 14 diﬀerent wines. 9 hours of non-stop ﬁne wining, dining and entertainment. Cooking demonstrations, winemaker’s presentations, live music, comedy acts, and a whole lot more at several locations accross the property. This is the Hunter's ﬁrst marathon, tapas-style, progressive dinner with an outstanding menu and the wine... just divine! Tickets are strictly limited. Date: Saturday 31st March 2012. Time: 3pm till midnight Cost: $220 per person including all food, wine and souvenirs. To avoid disappointment, call the restaurant to book now and see our website for further information: Ph: 02 4998 7231 email: email@example.com website: www.verandahrestaurant.com.au Address: Palmer’s Lane Pokolbin, Hunter Valley.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.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
I Am Woman
contents issue 31 summer 2011-12
5 7 25 46 48
President’s Note News Meet the Locals Out & About What’s On
10 I Am Woman 14 The Ben Ean Still 18 Wine Profile: Pepper Tree Wines
22 28 30
Something to Sing About Between Evans & Hell Hunter Valley Uncorked Balmoral Pictorial Wine Reviews
36 A Share Thing
40 Art: Sculpture in the Vineyards
meet the locals
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES Photographs by Chris Elfes appearing in Breathe may be purchased by contacting Chris Elfes, Photography on Hermitage firstname.lastname@example.org.
kay, hands up. Who stole 2011? It’s been another incredibly busy year for us in the Hunter Valley wine industry, and while we’ve had some very trying times, we’ve had huge successes too. Congratulations to the many wine companies who have continued to prove the quality of premium Hunter Valley wines, winning trophies, awards and fantastic reviews for their wines. The Hunter Valley can proudly lay claim to the 2011 International Winemaker of the Year, 2011 Australian Producer of the Year, as well as producing the 2011 International Semillon Trophy winner, the 2011 New South Wales Wine of the Year, and the 2011 Best Australian Chardonnay. Turn to the News pages (pages 7, 8 and 9) to read about these outstanding results and several trophy cabinets more. Award-winning wines don’t just make themselves; they are created and nurtured by award-winning Winemakers. On page 10, Andrew Graham chats with some very talented Hunter Valley Winemakers, all of whom just happen to be women. And, on page 22, Patrick Haddock discovers why being awarded a place at the Len Evans Tutorial is a once-in-alifetime experience shared by a very select few. The Hunter Valley has an amazing history and one which is vital to preserve. In this issue, Rhiannon Stevens investigates the Ben Ean Still (recipient of the 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Heritage Award), and catches up with Hunter Valley Legend, Karl Stockhausen, who reflects on his time perfecting it. For most of us, summer is a great time for sharing with family and friends. There is time to kick back with the school holiday break, Christmas and New Year, and of course, just chilling out around the dinner table. On page 36, Melinda Kelly takes you to some of the Hunter Valley’s favourite restaurants, where a table loaded with great shared dishes and wonderful wines is the perfect way to dine this summer. We understand that not everyone can make it to the Hunter Valley, so on the first Sunday of each November, we take the Hunter Valley to beautiful Balmoral Beach in Sydney. Photographer, Scott Elher, captured this year’s event and we share it with you on pages 28 and 29. We’d love to see you there for 2012 Hunter Valley Uncorked at Balmoral. Of course, in this issue are all the regular features, like Meet the Locals, art, wine reviews, What’s On, and much more. Take it easy over the holiday period. Relax and enjoy your summer edition of Hunter Valley Breathe.
ANDREW MARGAN PRESIDENT - HUNTER VALLEY WINE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association Rowena Hawkins p 02 4991 4533 e email@example.com
Sally Sneddon p 02 4934 4781 Sally Sneddon Graphic Design e firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Elfes p 0413 805 222 Chris Elfes Photography email@example.com www.chriselfesphotography.com.au
Lauren Kennedy e firstname.lastname@example.org
Melinda Kelly p 02 4991 4533 e email@example.com
EDITORIAL Writers Andrew Graham, Patrick Haddock, Melinda Kelly, Virginia Mitchell, 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: (02) 4998 7402 Email: email@example.com
WORLD’S BEST 2006 McGuigan Bin 9000 Hunter Valley Semillon awarded by 2011 International Wine & Spirits Competition, London.
In another win for Australia, 2009 International Winemaker of the Year, McGuigan Wines has triumphed at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). The award winning wine brand took out the 2011 International Semillon Trophy with the 2006 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon and the Gold Best in Class for the 1997, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 Bin 9000 vintages. Neil McGuigan, CEO McGuigan Wines says; “This internationally renowned trophy and the subsequent gold medals, are a testament to our winemakers consistency in the production of award-winning, premium wines. This recognition is reinforcing our credentials as one of the leading Semillon producers in Australia, particularly when we were up against such quality competition. Collecting a trophy of this calibre makes me extremely proud of our brand, proud of the quality of Hunter Valley Semillon and immensely proud to be an Australian winemaker. This is a great win for us all, producers and winelovers alike.” McGuigan Wines look forward to seeing you at the Cellar Door where these medal winners are available to taste and purchase. If your time permits, please ask for a vertical tasting. Some are in very limited quantities, so please visit us soon. McGuigan Cellar Door. Open 7 days 9.30am to 5pm. Groups welcome by appointment.
Corner of Broke & McDonalds Roads Pokolbin NSW T: (02) 4998 7402 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.mcguiganwines.com.au www.mcguiganwines.com.au
Diary dates Simply Harvest Saturday 10 March & Sunday 11 March 2012 www.oakvalewines.com.au Hunter Valley Legends & Wine Industry Awards Thursday 31 May 2012 Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month Month of June 2012 www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au
Hermitage Road is buzzing with recent changes to the area. Keith Tulloch Wines has settled into its new Cellar Door, which now also incorporates Muse Kitchen. Muse Kitchen is a second venture for Troy and Megan Rhoades-Brown, who operate Muse Restaurant & Café on Broke Road at Hungerford Hill. Troy Rhoades-Brown says the menu changes frequently and is dictated by the seasons. “The foundation of Muse cooking is simple, great produce,” he said. “We concentrate on bringing the best out of the ingredient, without confusing or losing its true flavour.” Meanwhile, Scarborough Wine Co. has opened their second Cellar Door: Scarborough on Hermitage at the old Keith Tulloch property. “The Gillards Road property remains our original home, but having another location means the ability to offer a totally new tasting experience,” said Sally Scarborough. “Scarborough on Hermitage is a bright and contemporary space that offers a unique way to enjoy our wines. It incorporates amazing views, winery tours and the chance to order a hamper, a glass of wine and relax at your new home away from home.”
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.
Hunter Valley Uncorked Balmoral Sunday 4 November 2012 www.huntervalleyuncorked.com.au
Semillons are Semsational Hunter Valley Semillons are pride of place, winning dozens more awards in recent months. Tyrrell’s Wines 2006 Vat 1 Semillon has won the Trophy for Best White Wine of the Show (other than Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling) at the 2011 Royal Hobart Wine Show. “This is great result for the Hunter Valley Semillon. It’s the eighth year out of the last nine that we’ve won the trophy. Our winemaker, Spinner, forgot to put in our entries the other year,” said Bruce Tyrrell. And, Tyrrell’s 2006 Belford Semillon won the Trophy for Best Semillon of Show at Royal Adelaide Wine Show, where Tyrrell’s Wines were awarded three gold, six silver and seven bronze. Meanwhile, Pepper Tree Wines was awarded Best Semillon in the 2012 The Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide by Nick Stock for the 2011 Alluvius Reserve Hunter Semillon, and the 2011 Two Rivers Stone Throw Semillon was named Best Value White Wine. Jackson Hill Vineyard 2005 Semillon took out the Trophy for Best Wine of Show at the 2011 Hunter Valley Boutique Winemakers Show.
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news NEIL McGuigan Named International
Winemaker Of The Year Multi-award-winning, Hunter Valley based wine producer, McGuigan Wines, has been hailed as the ‘world’s best winemaker’ for the second time in three years by the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition in London. Having already received the award in 2009, just two years later, McGuigan Wines has been named both 2011 International Winemaker of the Year and 2011 Australian Producer of the Year. Central to its success was the highly decorated McGuigan Bin 9000 Hunter Valley Semillon, with the 2006 vintage being awarded the highly coveted International Semillon Trophy - an award more commonly known as the ‘World’s Best Semillon.’ The wine also received Gold and ‘Best in Class’ awards. The Hunter Valley’s reputation for producing Semillon of exceptional quality, character and longevity is worldrenowned, with the 2006 vintage being hailed for its ‘texture, richness and depth of flavour.’ The 1997, 2003, 2004 and 2005 vintages of the Bin 9000 Semillon also won Gold and ‘Best in Class’ awards. On being named the world’s best winemaker, McGuigan Wines’ Chief Winemaker, Neil McGuigan (pictured), commented, “What an achievement! To have won International Winemaker of the Year once is phenomenal, but to be recognised by our industry peers as International Winemaker of the Year twice in just three years is mindblowing. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, and fantastic recognition for the Hunter Valley on the international stage.” The backbone of its success was built on McGuigan Wines’ performance across the competition, winning an impressive 34 medals from a total of 37 entries - an unrivalled success rate of 91.9 per cent. In addition to the International Semillon Trophy, the winery received five Gold, 21 Silver and eight bronze medals, including 11 ‘Best in Class’ awards. “To put this into perspective, we won the same number of Gold ‘Best in Class’ awards as the entire German industry, and the entire Chilean industry, and more than the sum total of Portuguese table wines - an amazing achievement for a single producer. A great result for McGuigan Wines and the Hunter Valley industry in general.” Founded in 1969, the International Wine & Spirit Competition is the premier competition of its kind in the world, attracting entries from over 80 countries across the globe.
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Hunter Shines at NSW Tourism Awards The Hunter Valley has excelled at the recent 2011 New South Wales Tourism Awards, with four businesses taking out gold awards. Congratulations to Wyndham Estate Winery for ‘Tourism Wineries’, along with Margan Restaurant for ‘Tourism Restaurants’, who won their categories for the second year running. Also winning their category was Newcastle Airport for ‘Specialised Tourism Services’, and Somewhere Unique - An Escape for 2 in the Hunter for ‘Unique Accommodation’. Silver winners were Christmas Lights Spectacular - Hunter Valley Gardens for ‘Festivals and Events’, and Chateau Elan Hunter Valley for ‘Luxury Accommodation’. All gold award winners will go on to the National Tourism Awards, to be held in Cairns in March 2012.
New Chairman of Judges Pepper Tree Wines’ Chief Winemaker, Jim Chatto, has been appointed the new Chairman of Judges at the Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show. Jim takes over the reins of Chairman from industry legend, Iain Riggs, who has overseen the judging for the last eight years. “I am truly honoured to follow Iain Riggs, a great judge and true champion of our region,” Jim Chatto said. “Iain has been an important mentor throughout my judging career, setting a very high standard in his 20-plus years of involvement in the show.” “The Hunter Valley Wine Show is one of the cornerstones of our wine region, with a long history of setting quality benchmarks, whilst continually exploring the boundaries of style,” he said.
In the Kitchen Chef Daniel Hunt, formerly of Robert’s Restaurant and Tower Estate is now at 221 Restaurant & Bar, at The Royal Oak Hotel, Cessnock. Daniel says 221 Restaurant & Bar is open for lunch and dinner every day, with a special Chef’s Table experience also available on Friday and Saturday evenings. George Franciso, formerly of Jonah’s, is the new Executive Chef at Tower Estate, covering restaurant nine, Tower Lodge, The Convent and what was formerly known as Robert’s Restaurant. Meanwhile, Nathan and Coral McBlane are the new owners of Wine Bar & Restaurant at Pokolbin Village. They bring with them a new look, a new menu and the new name of Vittorios.
Brokenwood Welcomes New Winemaker
NSW WINE AWARDS
Brokenwood Wines welcomes Simon Steele as their new Winemaker. Simon comes to the Hunter Valley via Shadowfax and Chapoutier in Victoria. “We were looking for a Winemaker with experience across a range of warm and cool regions and with good management ability, and Simon brings all of these,” said Iain Riggs, Brokenwood Wines’ Chief Winemaker and CEO. “He has a reputation as a sharp taster who ‘gets’ the wines of the world, and we know from his time spent here in 2003 that he also fits this unusual place that’s Brokenwood.”
2011 Citibank NSW Wine Award Trophy Winners
Simon joined Brokenwood Wines for the 2003 vintage when he was given the nickname ‘Stainless’.
Top 100 Wines
Wine writer, Tony Love, has released his Top 100 wines for 2011. Hunter Valley wines which have made the cut include Tulloch Wines 2011 Semillon, De Iuliis 2011 Verdelho, Brokenwood Wines 2011 Semillon, Tempus Two 2011 Verdelho, Scarborough 2010 White Label Semillon, Tyrrell’s Wines 2006 Belford Semillon, Margan 2009 Limited Release White Label Shiraz, McWilliams Mount Pleasant 2007 Old Paddock & Old Hill Hunter Valley Shiraz, Tower Estate 2009 Shiraz, Margan 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, and Scarborough 2010 Late Harvest Semillon.
David Lowe (President NSW Wine Association), Nick Paterson (Winemaker Mistletoe Wines) & Ray Gori (Citibank)
Both Tyrrell’s 1999 Vat 1 Semillon and Brokenwood Wines 2009 Graveyard Shiraz are listed in the deluxe wines section.
Mistletoe Wines Wins NSW Wine of the Year A Hunter Valley wine company has claimed the New South Wales Wine Awards title of 2011 NSW Wine of the Year for the fourth year running, with Mistletoe Wines taking out the award with their 2009 Reserve Chardonnay. Last year, Tempus Two won NSW Wine of the Year, in 2009 it was Brokenwood Wines, and in 2008 Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard took out the top honour. Congratulations to the following Hunter Valley trophy winners: Best Young Chardonnay Best Young Semillon Mistletoe Wines 2009 Reserve Chardonnay Two Rivers 2011 Stones Throw Semillon Best Mature Dry White Thomas Wines 2006 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon
Ken and Gwen Sloan
Best Young Shiraz First Creek Wines 2010 Winemakers Reserve Shiraz
Hunter Valley wines dominated the 2011 New South Wales Wine Awards’ Top 40, with 13 wines from the following companies making the list: Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, Ballabourneen, Centurion Wines, Constable Estate, De Iuliis Wines, First Creek Wine, Mistletoe Winery, Pokolbin Estate, Thomas Wines, Tulloch Wines, Two Rivers and Tyrrell’s Wines. Meanwhile, the celebrations continue for Mistletoe Wines’ owners, Ken and Gwen Sloan, and Winemaker, Nick Paterson. Their Mistletoe Wines 2009 Reserve Chardonnay has also been named ‘Best Australian Chardonnay’ at the Winestate Magazine Wine of The Year Awards 2011. The award was judged from a field of over 3,000 Chardonnays from Australia and New Zealand, tasted blind by Winestate over the last 12 months. Pokolbin Estate Vineyard also celebrated at the 2011 Winestate Magazine Wine of the Year Awards, with their 2011 Pokolbin Estate Hunter Valley Riesling named Best Australian Riesling.
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I Am Woman
WORDS BY Andrew Graham PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES
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In 1966, James Brown wrote a song titled, ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World’. The classic Brown tune described an era when traditional sex roles still ruled, when the notion of successful females holding key management positions was still largely unheard of (particularly in the wine industry). Pictured left to right: Suzanne Little, Sam Connew, Liz Jackson, Xanthe Leonard and Sarah Crowe.
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ut could Brown have ever envisaged that, in the Hunter Valley, 45 years later, it could be a woman’s world? A world where being female could often be more advantageous than being male?
That idea may sound ridiculous for some, but considering that the current Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year is Liz Jackson, three of the biggest wineries (Tower Estate, Bimbadgen and First Creek) have female chief winemakers, and a further three are run by women (Sally Scarborough at Scarborough, Christina Tulloch at Tulloch, and Bec Poynter at Bimbadgen), that idea may not be so fanciful. So, what is it that gives women an edge in the Hunter Valley wine industry, particularly in a historically male-dominated one? We asked several winemaking women of the Hunter Valley, attempting to establish whether such an edge exists or if the winemaking glass ceiling still lingers. With a relative newcomer’s perspective, upcoming Hunter Valley winemaker Xanthe Leonard (Assistant Winemaker at Hungerford Hill), believes that the success of female Hunter winemakers might be a question of communication. “Hunter winemakers are very much in the public spotlight, and are repeatedly called upon to conduct tours, tastings and generally talk about the products they make. I believe that this ‘coal face’ existence for winemakers makes them more dynamic and valuable to a business, but also works well with the female strengths of communication and relationship building,” she says. Leonard, instead, suggests one overlooked (if quirky) idea about why women may make better workers in the winery - that it comes down to physical attributes. As she explains, “If anything, we are perhaps better at doing the work in the lab, as we generally have smaller hands that are more suited to more intricate work, but that’s not really a positive, as I would prefer to be out in the cellar!” Tower Estate Winemaker, Sam Connew, thinks that the gender division might be overstated, though still suggests there might be a timing factor at play: “I think maybe women are finally starting to get a bit more of a profile and move further up the ladder, so maybe it’s ‘our time’,” she says. Don’t go calling Connew a top female winemaker though. “I do get really fired up at being described - as I was recently - as a ‘leading female winemaker’. I think I’ve earned my stripes and can take a place amongst all winemakers, male or female! And no-one ever talks about male winemakers, so for me, the term ‘female winemaker’ is redundant,” she says.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Sarah Crowe, Senior Winemaker at Bimbadgen. “I’ve never experienced negativity from the ‘good ol’ boys’. I think the mentality in the Hunter Valley is based on having a good work ethic and being community-minded,” she says. It’s that kind of thinking which sums up why women of the Hunter Valley have been making their mark of late - it’s all about community. “The Hunter Valley has a reputation for being a difficult place to grow grapes and make wine. All of the Hunter winemaking women are smart, talented, focused and fun. We are all friends, and there is no competition between us, only support,” Crowe says.
A little more about the winemaking women of the Hunter Valley Who: Sarah Crowe Where: Bimbadgen Did you ever imagine being a winemaker, as a kid?
“I grew up on the South Coast of New South Wales, the daughter of a storeman and housewife. A career in winemaking would have seemed as likely as being the Prime Minister of Australia, even though my Gran said I was a bit bossy and that I’d “run the country one day”. I studied Horticulture after school and worked as a gardener - that was my doorway into the vineyard. I tried accountancy for work experience but if I told that to our accountant at work, he’d die of laughter.” Who: Suzanne Little Where: Little Wine Company If you weren’t making wine in the Hunter VALLEY, where would you choose to make wine?
“Anywhere with good surf within walking distance!“ Who: Liz Jackson Where: First Creek Wines/Monarch Winemaking Liz’s recent accolades:
On that note, we also asked the winemakers what they thought about the International Womens’ Wine Competition, judged entirely by women, for women drinkers. According to Suzanne Little, Winemaker at the Little Wine Company (and a former Senior Winemaker at Rosemount Estate), it’s a bit naff.
2011 Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year, Finalist Gourmet Traveller WINE winemaker of the Year 2011, named as one of the ’Ten People to Watch in 2011’, produced five wines that made it into the 2010 NSW Top 40 wines, including NSW Wine of the Year.
“So naff! We all compete on a level playing field and a wine show for women seems a bit patronising. The only difference between male and female winemakers is that some are male and some are female!”
Who: Sam Connew Where: Tower Estate Did you ever imagine being a winemaker, as a kid?
But, for Connew, it’s a great initiative. “Anything that makes wine more accessible to people (especially women) is great in my book. And we definitely need to change the perception about who our average consumer is, which is, apparently, a male who buys hip flasks and driving gloves!” she says. “You’d be amazed how often it still happens, when I am out at a restaurant and the wine list is still handed to the bloke at the table - I don’t think so!” Such sexual discrimination seems to be largely confined to the dinner table, however, as all the women surveyed mentioned that they hadn’t seen any in the winery. 12
“It’s not a blokes’ club in terms of shutting women out, and I’ve personally never had a problem. Well, I did have a foreman take a swing at me, but I think that would have happened even if I were a bloke,” Little says. “In some ways, I guess I’ve had to work harder to prove to cellar hands that I’m not asking them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Working for large wineries, I found it was much quicker to get respect from young blokes if they could see that I could swear and throw barrels around, too.”
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“I was supposed to be either a diplomat or a rally car driver, according to a kooky guidance counsellor I had at high school! I actually quite like the sound of rally car driving ... maybe in my next life.” Who: Xanthe Leonard Where: Hungerford Hill If you weren’t making wine in the Hunter VALLEY, where would you choose to make wine?
“I love that the Hunter Valley is so close to the coast. So, if I were to make wine anywhere else, it would have to be a coastal wine region like Margaret River or McLaren Vale, where you can head down to the beach or the fish co-op on the weekends.” n
The 2009 Heritage Vineyards Shiraz Tasting will be available during the Summer months, and will include a private tasting with wines served in Riedel glasses. 2009 Shiraz includes our Old Paddock and Old Hill, Rosehill, High Paddock and Phil Ryan Shiraz.
The 2009 Heritage Shiraz Tasting is available for a minimum of 2 people at a cost of $15 per person. Mention this ad when booking, to receive a bonus tasting of our 1991 Rosehill Shiraz - a wonderful example of aged Hunter Shiraz
The Ben Ean Still WORDS BY Rhiannon Stevens PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES
Hunter Valley Living Legend, Karl Stockhausen, shares the history and stories of this wonderful Hunter Valley icon with Rhiannon Stevens.
ach year in the Hunter Valley, we celebrate and acknowledge excellence with our Hunter Valley Wine Industry Awards and induction of our Hunter Valley Legends. In 2011, the Ben Ean Winery Old Still House was presented with a Hunter Valley Heritage Award. Despite being formally recognised as having integral historical importance to our region, little is known as to the origins of the Still at Lindemans Ben Ean. It is believed the still was already in place when the Ben Ean property on McDonalds Road, Pokolbin was purchased from John McDonald by Dr Henry Lindeman in 1912. Who better to ask about this icon than the amazing Hunter Valley Legend, Karl Stockhausen?
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So, what is a still? A still is a permanent apparatus used to heat and then cool liquids to condense and capture vapours. The Ben Ean Still is a simple pot still, with a single chamber heated by a steam boiler piped from the Ben Ean Winery. The purpose of the Ben Ean Still was to collect alcohol and produce Brandy. Pot stills release condensation once, due to only having one pot. The first distillation results in low concentrations of alcohol, and the process is repeated to obtain higher concentrations. When Karl used the still in the early 1960s, the first distillation would work successfully, however, secondary distillations would - frustratingly - lose alcohol in the process. The still is made of copper, and the natural properties of copper remove sulphur from the alcohol. Eventually, the metal corrodes. The carry-over to the condenser column metals were so eroded that alcohol escaped. A Customs Officer informed Karl that he may have to pay duty on the alcohol losses, so Lindemans Head Office quickly replaced them with new ones! The pot itself, and the condenser, are from the original still. When Karl Stockhausen first arrived at Ben Ean in 1955, there were large stores of Brandy from the still. Karl recalls being appointed Winemaker and Manager of Lindemans in 1959, and using the still to recover losses from leftover grapes after pressing, through distillation. The labour-intensive process was fraught with losses and, by the early 1960s, Karl had convinced his directors to retire the still. By 1964, the still was no longer in use, and Karl could invest his passions into making Hunter River Riesling (Semillon). Karl is cautious to assume the Brandy from the still was used to fortify wines such as Port or Muscat styles. This is because it would have been difficult to produce high concentrations of alcohol (ethanol) used in fortified wines. In order to do this, the still would have required a rectifying column, which separates the different alcohols by respect of their different boiling points. Therefore the still at Ben Ean likely remained there to satisfy a personal preference for Brandy consumption.
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Is it a taste for Brandy which has paved the way for Australian wine? Until the 1960s, the majority of Australian wine on the market was fortified, in the style of Port or Sherry. Perhaps it was the shortage of beer and spirits during the second world war, which encouraged the consumption of fortified and table wines. Alternatively, the appeal of a sweet, rich wine with brandied complexities to an early wine drinker may have begun the evolution of Australian palates. A preference for Brandy may have led to a taste for fortified wines, which evolved into curiosity about table wines. A growth in Australian wine sales from 1960 onwards owes to greater popularity in styles such as the semi-sweet Ben Ean Moselle, enjoyed characteristically of the era with an Alpine Lite! Karl Stockhausen blushes as he reveals this iconic wine of the 1960s wine boom was first made at Ben Ean in 1956, but was not yet what the market wanted. Later, the market became enamoured by the fruit-friendly forwardness of the Ben Ean Moselle. Many a wine drinker owes their interest and evolution of their own palates to the entry-level Ben Ean Moselle, which became the biggest-selling white wine for over a decade. In the late 1960s, dry red wine sales were greater than whites. Karl recalls the 1965 vintage as peculiarly dry and hot, whilst still producing an unusually large crop. This meant all open fermenters were full, leaving none to take the quickly-ripening fruit. They managed to leave off harvesting the Shiraz until well into March. When they finally harvested, the sugar content in the fruit was exponentially high, leading to high alcohol percentages and worried winemakers. At the end of vintage, Karl explains, the Lindemans directors came to the Hunter Valley to taste the wines. “They were the best range of Hunter Reds they had ever seen.”
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Top-shelf styles, which Karl describes as “fabulous wines”, are all still revered today. Karl proudly describes how a bottle from 1965 recently broke the record, selling for almost $2,000. Other influential styles that Karl Stockhausen has been involved with include the iconic Hunter River Riesling, which was an alias for one of the three Semillon styles he produced at Lindemans. The next trend, for shoulder pads and oaked Chardonnay, emerged in the 1980s. But what is it about these wine styles that give them decadelong demand? Karl’s theory rests on the obvious. Literally. Karl explains, “it was not the flavour of Chardonnay, but its obvious oak that made it popular. Sauvignon Blanc, although opposing in style, also carries obviousness of character.” Karl explains that wine drinkers are searching for characters they can recognise in their wines. For fortified wines it is the Brandy base, for Moselle, the sweet, supple fruit, and for Chardonnay, buttery, vanillin oak. For Sauvignon Blanc, it’s about gooseberries, crispness and green notes. But more often than not, it’s too hot to grow this variety in the Hunter Valley. McGuigan Wines have now announced their market–friendly, home-grown competitor, affectionately named The Semillon Blanc, using our Hunter Valley reliable and faithful staple, Semillon. Karl describes this wine as a “modern, late-picked version of Semillon, with full varietal flavour up-front, something that lends well to current palates.” So, what about the future, as we all become more familiar with the wine world and more informed about personal preferences of style? Which wines will be fashionable? I am a product of the 1980s and can’t go past a good Chardonnay, but I’ve always said: drink what you like. (That way, no one has to share!) Take the opportunity to go back to our roots and enjoy the Hunter Valley’s heritage Ben Ean Still for a wine tasting at Lindemans. Cheers! iWineo blog: www.iwineo.id.au n
1616 Broke Rd Pokolbin | www.dewine.com.au | 4993 8000 | Also on location Butterflies Gallery and Cracked Pepper Restaurant
keeping it simple
Taste @ The Small Winemakers Centre & Hunter Resort
T 02 6574 7371 E email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org W thomaswines.com.au
Pepper Tree Wines:
WORDS BY MELINDA KELLY PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES 18
breathe summer 2011/12
o Sing About breathe summer 2011/12
Making and selling wine is serious business, but at Pepper Tree Wines, it’s not all hard work and no play. The Pepper Tree team has plenty to sing about after an exciting and eventful year, including being named the 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Cellar Door of the Year. Melinda Kelly stopped in for a glass of wine and a chat with Pepper Tree Wines’ Marketing & Direct Sales Manager, Tristan Jones, to find out what makes them tick. Cellar Door of the Year at the 2011 Hunter Valley Legends & Wine Industry Awards … How was that? Rewarding! Our team is very proud. It’s an overwhelming experience to feel that all of the hard work and dedication is recognised by our local industry peers and showcased to guests who visit our Cellar Door. Full credit must go to our staff, all of who really do strive to provide the best possible experience for everyone who walks through the door. What is it that makes Pepper Tree Wines the Cellar Door of the Year 2011? Foremost, it is our team. It must be said that the Pepper Tree Wines team is genuinely passionate about wine. With the interesting mix of people that make up our staff, everyone brings something of their own to the table. We’ve had the same core group of staff for the better part of five years now, and they are really passionate about the brand. The friendships that have been forged amongst the group are likely to be lifelong and the unity that it brings to the workplace is fantastic. Hopefully this is evident to the customers who visit us. It must be said that it is quite easy to be passionate about the wines that Jim Chatto and the winery team continue to deliver; it makes our job pretty easy! It’s been a busy year for Pepper Tree Wines … Absolutely! We’ve just been awarded ‘Best Semillon’ in the 2012 Good Wine Guide by Nick Stock for our 2011 ‘Alluvius’ Reserve Hunter Semillon. We’ve also been awarded a 5-star status by James Halliday in the 2012 Wine Companion for the third year running (2010, 2011 and 2012 editions). We won Most Successful Exhibitor of Young Wines (Current Vintage Dry White Wines & One-Year-Old Dry Red Wines) at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, taking out the Bill Ryan Memorial Trophy, and we received a gold medal for our 2010 Limited Release Hunter Valley Shiraz (Class 8). 2011 has been a very successful year for Pepper Tree Wines, and Chief Winemaker, Jim Chatto, was recently announced as Chairman of Judges at the 2012 Hunter Valley Wine Show! What is your favourite Pepper Tree Wine on offer this summer? It would have to be our Limited Release 2011 Hunter Valley ‘Tallawanta’ Semillon. What a fabulous wine. It displays perfectly the balance of fruit and structure that makes it such a lovely wine to drink both now and in 15 years’ time.
breathe summer 2011/12
Pepper Tree Wines loves to party. When you all get together, what’s on the wine list and the menu? That’s true; we don’t need an excuse to party! It’s hard to beat a good Aussie barbeque with ‘the lot’- seafood, snags, juicy steaks and, of course, loads of salad. It really is one of Australia’s best offerings to the culinary world, and lends itself perfectly to a limitless number of wine styles. There are always, of course, a number of Hunter Valley wines on the table, and it’s always nice to have some Burgundy (Pinot and Chardonnay) - but, you can guarantee, if Craig Stephenson (Cellar Door Manager) is around, there’s bound to be plenty of Champagne. What is so special about working in the Hunter Valley and working with Hunter Valley wines? We have so much diversity to offer visitors to the region. We have the best beaches and are spoilt by so many choices. We have our amazing vineyards with quality wines from so many producers, all with the stunning backdrop of our landscape, framed by the Brokenback Ranges. We’re privileged to have the quality of vines available to us, especially Hunter Valley Semillon, Shiraz and Verdelho. The passion that so many people have for our area is evident in the end product, so it’s no wonder we love working with Hunter Valley wines. You’ve got a very strong and loyal Wine Club - what is your most memorable/favourite wine club event? Our Wine Club members are great and we love spending time with them. Our Sydney Harbour cruise is just fantastic - it’s our annual sojourn down to Sydney, where we cruise the harbour on two nights, relaxing with canapés and wine. There are always a few surprises on the night. We take bets on who will drop a tray of sparkling while we get our sea legs waiting for our members and guests to board. The title at the moment belongs to Craig, who managed to do this just as the first guest was about to board. Of course, there is always an after-party and some of the members join us well into the night! The Hunter Valley attracts its share of celebrities and sporting identities. Who’s been to Pepper Tree Wines lately? The boys always are scrambling to get the Cellar Door shift when ‘A Farmer Wants a Wife’ comes into the Valley filming, so they can admire Natalie Gruzlewski. Dr Katrina Warren from ‘Talk to the Animals’ is always a welcome visitor, and is a great fan of Pepper Tree Wines. Best Pepper Tree Wines staff party? That would have to be last year’s Christmas celebration, complete with sumo suit fighting, good friends, good food, great wine and, of course, lots of laughter! n
Between Evans and Hell WORDS BY Patrick Haddock PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES
The Len Evans Tutorial is the world’s most exclusive wine school. Patrick Haddock investigates what it means to be accepted into the inner sanctum. “The eight wines in front of you are all connected - you have to tell us how…”
breathe summer 2011/12
f you thought the usual game of wine options was tricky, then welcome to the game of super options: a nightly ritual at the world’s most exclusive wine school, the Len Evans Tutorial. The bracket of wines could be from the same vintage, the same vineyard, the same producer. The onus is upon the well-drilled wine professionals to dig into their reserves of vinous knowledge and find an answer. Sound difficult? It was never intended to be a walk in the woods, or a stroll in the vineyard, for that matter. This is the very pinnacle of achievement in the careers of our country’s wine professionals, and gaining a place on the course is not to be taken lightly. At the time of writing this article, the 2011 Tutorial is underway and when two participants of this gruelling week of wine are quizzed, it is revealed they had applied numerous times before being accepted. Now in its eleventh year, the Len Evans Tutorial, or LET, has become the breeding ground for the current and next generation of wine judges, writers, retailers and sommeliers. And, its home base is the Hunter Valley. It was the brainchild of the late Len Evans, and his vision has been maintained by some of the original trustees, including James Halliday and Iain Riggs. Evans saw himself as somewhat of an authority, having tasted close to a million bottles of wine throughout his life. His original idea was to create a tutorial where the best wines in the world could be put into context. As Evans said, “My hope is that, by hastening the development of young people interested in wine, they may have more time in the future to become even more knowledgeable.” To really understand how intense the tasting schedule is, you only need to gaze at the flights of wine that are looked at and tasted. Over 300 bottles, with a value of up to $150,000, are scrutinised and judged over a five-day period – so you can see why people become possessed by the need to be accepted. Participants are well aware of how privileged they are to have experienced some of the rarest and finest wines on earth and know they may never do so again.
There are four Masterclass sessions, ranging from flights of Bordeaux and Prestige Champagne to the final class of the week: a full set of Domaine De La Romanee Conti, where the students are asked to guess the vintage and the vineyard source of these hallowed wines. The wines unveiled in the Tutorial are like a roll call of some fantasy list a sommelier has been given an unlimited budget to compile. It could be a 1975 Dom Perignon, 1959 La Tour, 1998 Krug , 1984 Grange, or a rare 1976 d’Yquem. If all this sounds rather exhausting, it must be remembered that there’s a break for lunch to drink great wine, and an hour before dinner to recalibrate before the real games begin. We asked Tower Estate Winemaker, Sam Connew, what the experience is like and whether you can study for such a program. She believes that sticking to gut instinct is the best option. “Most of the day was trying to avoid any humiliation, especially during options trying not laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of me ever being able to answer questions such as, ‘You have 11 wines in front of you name the vintage and the Chateau’.” Although the aim is not to humiliate, there are always moments of doubt, but all are in agreement that this training prepares you for more than just show judging and evaluation. As Connew states, ”The important thing is not about whether you get it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but about being able to justify and support your case.”
What does wine writer, Mike Bennie, think the Tutorial taught him? “How long is a piece of string? Listen to the old blokes on the panel... they will know more than anyone sitting in front of them.” He ultimately sees the Tutorial as important for the future of Australian wine: “It is a great vindication and goal for many aspiring wine [I felt] “Sad, relieved, people and an accolade that reinforces and encourages people into further excellence. It exhausted, humbled, is a fantastic training ground and a wonderful proud, tired, emotional, cultural edifice of the Australian wine empowered, motivated, industry.”
excited, empty, full ... and wanting more.” That says it all really...
According to Iain Riggs, it is increasingly difficult to locate some of those rarer bottles, especially the classic Hunter wines of the 1960s, one of which - the Lindemans Hunter River Burgundy Bin 3310 - is down to the last few bottles. The rarer French wines, Riggs is able to locate through connections in Europe, but it is the old and rare Australian wines that have unanimously surprised and seduced previous participants. Three past inductees all cited aged Aussie reds (particularly from the Hunter), as giving them the most excitement and helping to provide a historical context. Similarly, for some sommeliers who had never seen theses wines, the tutorial was a vast and humbling learning experience. Wine writer, Nick Ryan, suggests that if you want a serious career in wine, undertaking the Lens Evan Tutorial is one of the most important steps you can take. He believes it changes the goal posts in wine assessment: “When you have 20 or 30 epiphanies a day, it broadens the perspective.” As he rightly points out, “How can you understand greatness if you are not exposed to it?” He is grateful for the experience and knows that he will never have a week of such consistently high quality wine in his life again. Just looking back over the brackets of wines tasted in those five days is a veritable treasure chest of the world’s most sought-after and collectable wines. Blind tastings are held each morning of 30 varietal wines, Chardonnay one morning, then Shiraz the next, from up to five countries and spanning up to 30 years. The wines are judged as if they were entered in an Australian wine show.
The Tutorial has had an amazing ripple effect on the industry, with many past alumni already chairing wine shows and influencing changes we are seeing in the wines being awarded.
Hunter Valley Winemaker, Jim Chatto, has just been appointed Chairman of the Hunter Valley Wine Show. He also believes the Tutorial was hugely influential, as benchmarking world wines can only make you strive to make better wines as a result. “The Tutorial thought me to judge purely on quality, across style. All great wines share the (un-)common thread of line, length and balance, regardless of variety, region or style. This has helped my winemaking and tasting immensely. I am also far better at articulating my thoughts on a wine.” Every year since participating, Chatto has volunteered to go back and help at the Tutorial, either by assembling the wines or pouring, and attests that there is a great camaraderie among past and present candidates. On being asked for any words of advice to this year’s Tutorial participants, Nick Ryan glibly replies, “Don’t sit between Halliday and the cheese.” You have been warned. Catching up with this year’s students an hour after the tutorial I asked Dan Sims, Project Manager at the Wine Guide, how he felt after the experience: “Sad, relieved, exhausted, humbled, proud, tired, emotional, empowered, motivated, excited, empty, full ... and wanting more.” That says it all really. Congratulations must go to Dave Brookes, (pictured bottom right) wine writer and director of Vinosense who was voted Dux for his consistent judging and knowledge throughout the tutorial. n breathe summer 2011/12
LUNCH & DINNER 7 days Peppers Guest House, Ekerts Road, Pokolbin NSW P: 02 4993 8999 E: email@example.com
Muse Kitchen boasts a more personal approach to food, wine and service delivering European inspired food that is season and produce driven. Muse Kitchen, located at the new Keith Tulloch Winery on Hermitage Road Pokolbin, is the newest venture for huband and wife team Troy and Megan Rhoades-Brown of Muse Restaurant and CafĂŠ. Lunch: Wed - Sun: 12noon - 3pm Breakfast: Sat - Sun: 9am - 11am Available for private functions by request. Keith Tulloch Wines Lot 17 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin T: 02 4998 7899 firstname.lastname@example.org E: email@example.com
meet the locals WORDS BY GRANT RADFORD
MEGAN RHOADES-BROWN OWNER & RESTAURANT MANAGER, MUSE RESTAURANT & CAFÉ and MUSE KITCHEN With a passion for food, Megan began working in restaurants aged 18 at Roberts Restaurant under Robert and Sally Molines and fell in love with the industry. She opened Muse Restaurant and Café at Hungerford Hill in March 2009 with her husband and executive chef, Troy. The restaurant has an amazing reputation winning the 2010 Restaurant of the Year at the Regional NSW Restaurant & Catering Awards, the 2010 Contemporary Restaurant of the Year at the Restaurant & Catering Industry Awards, and has been awarded One Hat by the 2011 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. Megan and Troy have recently extended their talents opening the more relaxed Muse Kitchen at the new Keith Tulloch’s Wines on Hermitage Road. What is the best part of your job? Looking after our loyal clientele, and watching the passion and professionalism of our staff. What is the worst part of your job? The pressure I put on myself to achieve goals and the hours and hours and hours it takes to achieve them. What is your most memorable bottle ever tasted? Absolutely it would have to be a 1983 Bollinger ‘Grand Annee’ champagne. It was divine.
What are you currently drinking at home? Whatever Troy is drinking at the time; he always beats me to the fridge when we get home! How do you relax after a hard day at work? After a long indulgent shower or bath it’s straight to my beautiful and welcoming bed. My hard days end at 2am!! What is your most embarrassing moment? In the hospitality industry there are so many openings to embarrass yourself. Mine was walking into a table in the middle of our busy café service knocking over and smashing four expensive bottles of imported wine. If only I hadn’t been laughing at one of my male waiters being smothered by a
“ . . . th e re ’ s g o l d i n t h e m t har hi lls !” 110 Old North Road Pokolbin NSW Cellar Door open weekends 10am - 4pm Andrew Grubb: 0417 680 225
www w.. c e n t u r i oo nn w w ii nn ee ss..ccoom m
group of older ladies dressed in feather bowers it may not have happened. It was horrific. The best customer is one who … Recognises and appreciates our dedication to the experience that we provide them. What is your favourite food and wine match? Sashimi Tuna with a young Hunter Valley Semillon. Bliss! Your fantasy dinner party guests would be … My guests would be restaurant critics / food writers, Terry Durack, Joanna Saville and Pat Nourse - for obvious reasons. Your last meal and drink would be …? An enormous banquet of the freshest sushi and sashimi and of course French Champagne! It’s not cool but I love … Keeping up with the Kardashians! If you weren’t you, who would you, I like to be? Miranda Kerr for many, many reasons. If you weren’t in hospitality what would you like to be employed as … I’d love be an interior designer. I could have so much fun spending other peoples’ money! What is your favourite product on offer at the moment? Steam irons. It’s sad but they make ironing table cloths so much easier. What is your favourite holiday destination (outside the Hunter Valley, of course)? Troy and I love escaping to the beautiful beaches of Byron Bay, but I would definitely take any holiday destination at this point!
A typical day for you includes … An early rise, walk or swim, answering endless emails, vineyard inspections, working in the Cellar Door, meeting with our Winemaker, Nick Paterson, and of course, attending to advertising and marketing. What is your most memorable bottle ever tasted? That would have been on my 40th birthday, when we had some exceptional wines: two Maurice O’Sheas from vintages 1944 and 1945, together with an Imperial of Redman Coonawarra Cabernet vintage 1974. What do you drink at home? That depends on what we are eating, but our summer preferences are Semillons, Rieslings, Chardonnays, and of course, some good fizz. I also love good Spanish sherries – bone dry and cold! Winter sees a variety of reds. Late night winter: muscat by the fire! How do you relax after a hard day? In the winter, it is time in front of the fire, and in summer, it’s a swim both before and after dinner. Oh, and the occasional good beer - Singha, preferably!
KEN SLOAN VIGNERON, MISTLETOE WINERY Ken Sloan and his wife, Gwen, are living the life many of us dream of - owning a successful winery in the Hunter Valley and producing award-winning wines. Ken, who, since the mid 1970s, has described himself as a frustrated wine producer, says his passion for wine probably started as a youngster living in the western suburbs of Sydney, surrounded by migrant families from Mediterranean countries, who, of course, all drank wine. Following his dream, Ken and Gwen established Mistletoe Wines in 1989, and all of their hard work has paid off. The Mistletoe Wines 2009 Reserve Chardonnay was recently named the 2011 NSW Wine of the Year at the NSW Wine Awards, and Best Australian Chardonnay 2011 at the Wine State Magazine Awards. What is the best part of your job? I love mixing with the young wine people here in the Hunter Valley. They are dedicated, passionate and special, and they will do this great area proud in the years to come. What is the worst part of your job? I honestly can’t answer this! I enjoy all I do. The one thing I do find costs me more and more time is my email load. I would love to spend more time in the vineyard.
What is your most embarrassing moment? This is a true story! Asking a lady in the Cellar Door how long before her baby was due. She wasn’t pregnant, and her husband’s comment, “I told you you should be going to Jenny Craig”, just made things worse. I ducked under the bar and then bobbed up again and said, “Welcome to Mistletoe!” They were both quite good about it, but my wife and daughter have never let me live it down. I keep my thoughts to myself now! What is your favourite food and wine match? Hunter Valley Chardonnay with snapper and scallop pie! Your fantasy dinner party guests would be … Murray Tyrrell, Len Evans, Max Lake, Hector Tulloch, Karl Stockhausen and Maurice O’Shea, with Neil McGuigan to keep things in order! [laughs] The only one of these people I haven’t met was Maurice O’Shea. Your last meal and drinks be? Whole suckling pig, cooked in the great wood-fire oven built at our home by my son, accompanied by some of the lovely old Hunter Valley wines in my cellar. It’s not cool, but I love … Mornings at Mistletoe, and my grandchildren with their wacky (inherited) sense of humour. The change of the seasons, and our vegie garden. My lifelong soul partner, my wife, Gwen.
@ PETERSON HOUSE
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 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.petersonhouse.com.au www.petersonhouse.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.
If you weren’t you, who would you like to be? I had never, ever considered this previously, but upon reflection, I am very happy with my life and what I have achieved. I don’t think I would like to be anyone else. What is your favourite product on offer at the moment? I am particularly proud of the Mistletoe Reserve Chardonnay 2009. It may have won a lot of awards, however, it is a lovely drink and a testament to the skills of our Winemaker, Nick Paterson. What is your favourite holiday destination (outside the Hunter Valley, of course)? That would have to be Red Rock. It’s a little, unspoilt, coastal village, just north of Coffs Harbour. My wife, Gwen, originally a Grafton girl, has been holidaying there since she was a baby. It is paradise – I love the late afternoon on the headland, looking north with a bottle of champagne – it is as good as it can be. Heading back to the house with the stars and the moon showing the way is just fantastic!
MICHAEL LEE HEAD CHEF, RIDGEVIEW RESTAURANT As Head Chef at RidgeView Restaurant on Sweet Water Road, Michael Lee has bought his passion for Cyprus, Turkey and the Middle East to Pokolbin. He trained in Sydney and has worked in Newcastle and Pokolbin for the better part of ten years. During an extensive trip to Europe and the Middle East, he fell in love with Cypriot cooking and has now introduced the method, complete with Cypriot grills and an extensive mezze menu, to RidgeView Restaurant. What is the best part of your job? The freedom to change the menu every week.
What is your favourite food and wine match? A rare tuna steak with Pinot Noir. Your fantasy dinner party guests are … John Lennon, Bob Marley, Robin Hood, and Heston Blumenthal on the pans.
What is the worst part of your job? Having to come up with a new menu every week! A typical day for you includes? My day kicks off with an early wake-up call from my newborn son, a coffee with my wife, a rumble with my four-year-old daughter, and a disagreement with Tim Suffell, who works alongside me. What are you drinking at home? I’m loving the RidgeView 2006 Shiraz and Reserve Semillon. And, of course, I’m into most beers and the occasional Ouzo. How do you relax after a hard day? Downing a couple of quiet ones at home, while enjoying quality time with my daughter and my new baby son. Your most embarrassing moment was … ? It’s a case of ‘don’t try this at home’… I was attempting to light a stovetop by using a trail of methylated spirit from the flame of the
oven. I had only a trickle of metho left and started pouring straight out of the large air hole. The flame sucked up into the drum and caused a sonic boom, which knocked me to the floor! I was very fortunate there was only a trickle of metho left inside the drum!
What would your last meal and drinks be? Bluff oysters, super fresh sashimi, and vintage Dom Perignon. It’s not cool, but I love … Missy Higgins! If I wasn’t a chef, I would be … A carpenter. I would like to be able to make something that doesn’t get totally destroyed within minutes of creating it. What is your favourite product on offer at the moment? At the restaurant, that would have to be preserved lemon and baby lamb shoulder. At home, it’s got to be Johnson & Johnson’s baby talc. What is your favourite holiday destination (outside the Hunter, of course)? Turkey and Italy are so spectacular, but one day I’d love to take my family to New Caledonia or Japan. n
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
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.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SCOTT EHLER
breathe summer 2011/12
breathe summer 2011/12
reviews Margan 2011 Semillon RRP $18 COMPANY OVERVIEW The Margan Range with its distinctive Margan style provides a pure expression of single vineyard, Hunter Valley varietals. “I have been making these single varietal wines since our first vintage in 1997. They are made to be true reflections of the region and their variety, and for this reason we don’t blend them. They are ready to enjoy upon release but also have cellar potential, depending on the variety and the vintage. They represent excellent value for money and consist of Semillon, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.” - Andrew Margan, Winemaker. WINEMAKING NOTES The grapes for this wine were selected from our 40 year old vines growing on our volcanic ‘Fordwich Sill’ vineyards of Broke Fordwich. This vineyard produces wines of a slightly richer style with intense citrus like flavours. Handpicked and100% estate grown. The juice was fermented under temperature controlled conditions to maintain all of its fruit characters. True to Hunter Valley tradition, no oak is used. Vintage 2011 Variety Semillon Region Broke Fordwich, Hunter Valley Vineyard The Sill Wine Analysis Alcohol - 12.5 % TASTING NOTES Straw in colour the 2011 Margan Semillon displays a lifted bouquet of citrus blossom and honeysuckle with riper notes of lychees. The palate is zesty and sherbet like with seamless acidity accompanying an approachable and enjoyable textural quality. Enjoy now as a young, racy wine or cellar for another five years (and beyond) to appreciate the aged complexities of classic Hunter Valley Semillon. FOOD MATCH Enjoy with a Carpaccio of Kingfish with piccalilli, capers and white balsamic vinaigrette as featured on the menu at Margan Restaurant.
p 02 6579 1372 e firstname.lastname@example.org Cellar Door open 7 days 10am - 5pm daily
1238 Milbrodale Broke Fordwich www.margan.com.au
reviews Tulloch Verscato RRP $16 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 Valley and to sample some of the regions most renowned wines. Located in the heart of Pokolbin, the award-winning Tulloch Cellar Door is a must visit Hunter Valley destination. WINEMAKING NOTES Verscato is Tulloch’s fabulous new take on the more traditional Moscato style. Pretty and pink, what more could you ask for in a wine! In 2008 Tulloch decided to add a Moscato to their range. Unfortunately the weather gods had other ideas and unrelenting rain during the 2008 season wiped out the Muscat. Not to be deterred, they set about to make a wine in a similar vein, but from what they are most well- known for, Verdelho. TASTING NOTES Moscato is generally low in alcohol with a slight spritz and a hint of sweetness. Tulloch have successfully captured all of this and more with the the popular Tulloch Verscato. The Verscato is low in alcohol at only 8% and is characterised by a vibrant refreshing palate, finishing with a touch of sweetness. Blush in colour with an enticing fizz, the Tulloch Verscato is the quintessential Australian summer wine and should be enjoyed very cold. FOOD MATCH The Verscato is a very versatile wine and the fact that it’s low in alcohol makes it the perfect accompaniment for brunch. It is also lovely served before a meal or as a lighter alternative to a traditional dessert wine. Versatile and pretty, this wine has everyone’s imagination captured!
p 02 4998 7580 e email@example.com Cellar door open 7 days 10am - 5pm daily
Corner of McDonalds & DeBeyers Road POKOLBIN www.tullochwines.com
reviews First Creek 2007 Winemakers Reserve Shiraz RRP $45 COMPANY OVERVIEW The accolades for First Creek Wines speak for themselves. Winemaker Liz Jackson was recently crowned the Winemaker of the Year at the 2011 Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Industry Awards; was a finalist in the 2011 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. WINEMAKING NOTES Hand harvested from the Fischer Vineyard the fruit was crushed and destemmed into open top fermenters. After 36 hours cold soak to release colour and tannins the ferment was hand plunged four times a day for eight days. At 2â€™Be the wine was pressed to 30% new oak casks. After 12 months maturation the wine was gently fined with egg whites, filtered and bottled. TASTING NOTES The 2007 Winemakers Reserve Shiraz is deep ruby red in colour. The nose shows ripe blackcurrant and mulberry fruit, with savoury leather notes adding some complexity to the bouquet. There is a concentrated and very appealing palate showing quality fruit with soft and silky tannins and just enough acid to provide freshness and depth. This still has some time to fully mature but now gives a flavoursome mid weight food wine of some class. FOOD MATCH The wine is medium bodied with dry and savoury characters typical of Hunter Valley Shiraz. This style of wine is becoming better known by diners for its ability to match and compliment food. This Shiraz is particularly suited to rich braised casseroles, and the fine grain tannins make it very suitable for the char-grilled flavours of a range of red meats.
p 02 4998 7293 e firstname.lastname@example.org Cellar door open 7 days 9:30am - 5pm
600 McDonalds Road POKOLBIN www.firstcreekwines.com.au
reviews Tintilla Estate 2011 Spritzanti Lizzie RRP $26 COMPANY OVERVIEW At Tintilla, a family run winery, we aim to produce wines to enjoy and that suit our climate and way of life. A touch of fizz to refresh gives the ultimate finish to summer wines. The Spritzanti style wines have been produced in recognition of our summer outdoor life style and our new world freedom from the confines of tradition. WINEMAKING NOTES The Lizzie is made using Tintillaâ€™s famed Semillon with a touch of Chardonnay. The handpicked grapes undergo fermentation that is limited by chilling - this provides the wine with some residual natural sweetness. While chilled, carbon dioxide bubbles are captured in the wine. Totally unique in character, spritzig rather than bubbly - with a low alcohol of 9%. It is bottled early to capture the fresh fruit flavours and spritzig character. TASTING NOTES This wine has a clear translucent appearance with a fruity lemon lime peachy nose, good mouth feel with fruit softness on the palate and a crisp spritzig texture which gives balance to the slight sweetness. It is rather moreish! FOOD MATCH It is served chilled, a great party wine it is an ideal accompaniment to seafood and Asian or spicy foods.
p 02 6575 7093 e email@example.com Cellar door open 7 days 10:30am - 6pm
725 Hermitage Road POKOLBIN www.tintilla.com.au
reviews Hungerford Hill 2010 Collection Semillon RRP $35 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 exemplary wines from its home in the Hunter Valley as well as cool climate regions of Tumbarumba and Hilltops in Southern New South Wales. Under the guidance of General Manager - 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 Hunter Valley Semillons generally take the form of delicate and clean wines with razor sharp focus of tight citrus flavour and natural acidity. Breaking the mould slightly, this Hungerford Hill ‘Collection’ Semillon was not totally free of its grape pulp when it was fermented. This has created an extra layer of complexity and a fullness of flavour that is not only unique but suits youthful consumption as much as the rewards attained from careful cellaring. TASTING NOTES Bright medium straw in colour. Classic regional lime juice aromas with lemon and fragrant jasmine. The palate, being spicy and flavoursome balances its exceptional body and weight with a clean and complex long line of acid. Available exclusively at Cellar Door. FOOD MATCH This wine pairs beautifully with 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Cellar door 10am - 5pm Sunday to Thursday • 10am - 6pm Friday and Saturday
2450 Broke Road POKOLBIN www.hungerfordhill.com.au
reviews Bimbadgen NV Sparkling Semillon RRP $15 COMPANY OVERVIEW Situated in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country, Bimbadgen Estate is a state of the art, open plan winery comprising of 40 year old vineyards, contemporary Cellar Door, award-winning restaurant – Esca Bimbadgen and outdoor concert venue. The vineyards comprise of two Hunter Valley properties, with select contract vineyards Australia wide to produce the Bimbadgen range of wines encompassing over 23 varieties and styles. Bimbadgen has been inducted into the Hunter and NSW Tourism’s Hall of Fame for its outstanding contribution to tourism, and home to the ever-popular ‘A Day on the Green’ concert series, Bimbadgen is a destination not to be missed in the Hunter. WINEMAKING NOTES The Semillon for this wine is a blend of many great vineyard sites within the Upper and Lower Hunter Valley. Made entirely from the secondary fermentation of Semillon grapes using the charmat tank fermentation method, the juice was cold fermented and kept in stainless steel storage to retain maximum fruit flavours. As a non -vintage blend it is bottled three to four times during each calendar year. TASTING NOTES Highly aromatic bouquet with citrus and lime overtones and just a hint of baked bread. The palate is elegant with plenty of tangy fruit flavours, some richness from the secondary fermentation process and a small amount of residual sweetness retained in the wine. Enjoy whilst young and fresh over the next two years. FOOD MATCH An ideal aperitif style. A great accompaniment with shellfish, seafood, white meats and salads, or perfectly suited to enjoy with canapés. BRONZE 2011 Royal Adelaide Wine Show BRONZE New Zealand International Wine Awards BRONZE 2008 Royal Hobart International Wine Show BRONZE 2011 NSW Wine Awards
p 02 4998 4650 e email@example.com Cellar door 10am - 5pm Sunday to Thursday • 10am - 7pm Friday and Saturday
790 McDonalds Road POKOLBIN www.bimbadgen.com.au
A Share Thing WORDS BY MELINDA KELLY PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ELFES
“It’s summer time and the living is easy…”
Summer holidays - a time when we can forget about watching the clock, watching the budget and watching our waistlines. 36
breathe summer 2011/12
hether it’s lunch or dinner, dining out is at its casual best in the summer. It’s a time to share with families and friends - not just at Christmas and New Year’s, but finally stopping to make time to kick back and relax and catch up with the people we’ve been meaning to call for ages.
Ideally located under the shady verandah at the historic Wyndham Estate, The Olive Tree Restaurant showcases a selection of the region’s best produce, cooked in a rustic Mediterranean style. With views over the manicured vineyards, rolling countryside and the winding Hunter Valley River, it’s a perfect destination for a long, leisurely lunch.
What better way to reconnect than over a table loaded with flavoursome shared dishes and wonderful wines? In the Hunter Valley, it’s our favourite past-time. There is something to suit any palate or any group of friends, whether it’s Italian, French provincial, Cypriot, Spanish, or modern Australian.
“The food at The Olive Tree Restaurant is simple and rustic,” said Executive Chef and Owner, Andy Wright. “I let the ingredients speak for themselves. The quality of the produce is the most important aspect of any good meal.”
For a lazy day of Italian, family-style feasting, head out along Hermitage Road to Beltree. For Chef, Guy Parkes, and his partner, Jess Graham, who runs the front of house, this fun little restaurant is a work of love. They’ll welcome you with a cold beer from the generous beer menu and show you to a table of wonderful shared dishes, most of which are cooked from ingredients home-grown in their onsite kitchen garden. “Most of our dishes are made in-house, from scratch, and we try to use as many fresh ingredients from our garden as possible,” said Guy. With a menu that changes each weekend, there is always something new to try, like the gorgeous grilled calamari with white beans, tomato, chilli, rocket and lemon, or the ‘Salumi’ board of artisan meats, pickled vegetables and Spanish anchovy, and then there’s the grilled Hunter Valley spatchcock, black pepper, rosemary, chilli and lemon. If it all sounds far too good and you are finding it too difficult to choose, just let the staff know and they’ll keep sending out sumptuous dish after dish until you’re satisfied. To complete the Italian experience, Guy and Jess have added a boules court for some friendly Sunday afternoon competition … with wine glass in hand, of course. The recently opened Muse Kitchen is also located along Hermitage Road, in the new Keith Tulloch Wines Cellar Door. If the name sounds familiar - it is! Muse Kitchen is owned and operated by Executive Chef, Troy Rhoades-Brown, and his wife, Megan, of Muse Restaurant & Café at Hungerford Hill. This new venture is French provincial style with stunning designs, superb food and a relaxed atmosphere. “The foundation of Muse cooking is simple, great produce, sourcing and supporting local, when possible. But the importance lies within treating the product with care and knowledge, bringing the best out of the ingredient without confusing or losing its true flavour,” said Troy. “At Muse, we believe that preparing all food in-house is important for staff training, consistency and quality. Breads, pasta, gnocchi, ice creams, pastries and butchery, when possible, are prepared in-house by Muse chefs,” he said.
Andy’s wife, Janet, runs the front of house and has added her own style to the restaurant with an eclectic range of antique service crockery, cutlery and glassware. “I love things that have a history and tell a story,” Janet said. “At The Olive Tree Restaurant, we believe it’s so important that guests can share their meals so that they can try and taste a little bit of each dish,” she added. And, with a menu including buffalo mozzarella, truss tomato, basil and Olio Mio extra virgin olive oil; pheasant, rabbit and duck terrine with watercress and piccalilli; housecured ocean trout with Binnorie fetta-stuffed zucchini flower and pickled beetroot; not to mention a great selection of roasts, chargrills, salads, and desserts, make sure you bring plenty of friends, as you will want to try everything on the menu. If it’s a light lunch you are looking for, The Oyster Bar at Restaurant Cuvée, Peterson House is just the ticket. Nothing says summer like oysters and prawns. The Oyster Bar offers fresh Sydney Rock and Pacific oysters from nearby Port Stephens, fantastically fresh king prawns, chargrilled antipasto platters, and local Hunter Valley Cheeses. “What a wonderfully relaxed way to spend a weekend afternoon,” said Executive Chef, Chad Pridue. The Verandah Restaurant at Calais Estate on Palmer’s Lane has long lunches down to a fine art with their extensive tapas-style menu. To help celebrate their fifth birthday, Executive Chef and Owner, Matt Dillow, has recently introduced a Spanish-inspired tapas ‘tower’. The tapas tower is a tiered tapas feast, including house-made dips with crisp flat bread, orange and spiced mixed olives, charred red capsicum filled with housemade labna, rocket and parmesan salad, rockmelon-wrapped prosciutto, grilled haloumi with rhubarb compôte, cumin and cayenne baby calamari with lime aioli, grilled chorizo, rosemary and orange chicken skewers, Asian-style pork belly, and crispy chat potatoes. “My family and I had a wonderful holiday in Spain and loved the tapas tower concept, so I introduced it to The Verandah Restaurant’s menu,” said Matt. “It’s been a huge hit.” Guests can enjoy the tower on the restaurant’s wide verandahs, in the barbeque area, or as a picnic in the vineyard grounds.
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For an amazing Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dining experience, RidgeView Restaurant on Sweet Water Road is the place to go. Celebrating its first birthday, the restaurant and Cellar Door has settled into its environment with gorgeous views of the Ridge View Wines vineyards, native bushland and a lovely lake. The restaurant’s new Cypriot menu is the creation of Executive Chef, Michael Lee, who, when travelling throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East, fell in love with this festive and celebratory style of cooking and eating. “Our Cypriot mezze is a very relaxed and casual ‘grazing’ meal, consisting of about 15 dishes spread over four courses,” said Michael. “We change the menu every week to take advantage of seasonal produce as well as our organic vegetable and herb garden.” “The signature dish of our mezze is the souvla grill - hot coals over which we cook meats slowly with lemon and oregano. It’s a great dining experience to sit out on the Ridge View terrace overlooking the vines, enjoying a glass of wine, watching and smelling these meats slowly cooking,” he said. The menu is so inviting with dishes like kohlrabi, grilled haloumi, koupepkia, battered prawns and lemon; smoked eggplant with labna, kotopoulo pilafi, baked marrow stuffed with spiced beef; lamb souvla cooked over the Cypriot grills, spiced pork and pistachio pastries, skordalia, and village cabbage salad. At Ridge View Restaurant, they have adopted the Greek term ‘Kopiaste’, meaning ‘come, eat and enjoy!’ We couldn’t agree more! n
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 • Award Winning • Preservative Free • Made with Vegetarian Rennet • 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: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.huntervalleycheese.com.au
australian regional Food Store & food Café store and café
Top two dishes from The Olive Tree Restaurant and bottom two from RidgeView Restaurant.
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 • email@example.com 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 RidgeView Restaurant 38
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P: 4998 6800 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.australianregionalfood.com.au
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 Saturday: Lunch 12-3pm; Sunday: Breakfast 10am – 11.30am; Lunch 11.30am – 3.30pm Sunday lunch 11.30am-3.30pm Rustic Mediterranean inspired cuisine in a spectacular outdoor setting. Views from every table of manicured vines, picturesque countryside & the winding Hunter River. Wyndham Estate Winery, Dalwood Rd, Dalwood via Branxton Ph: 02 4938 1831 www.olivetreerestaurant.com.au www.olivetreerestaurant.com.au Wyndham Estate Winery, Dalwood Road, Dalwood via Branxton. www.olivetreerestaurant.com.au
Ph 02 4938 1831
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”.
A true ‘local’ cheese tasting experience. We are providores of our own products as well as other local and imported cheeses, gourmet foods and home to the Hunter Valley Gelato Company. Purchase our products either to take home or sit and indulge in store with a glass of local wine or beer. Smelly’s Kitchen delivers fresh French-style bread, gourmet pizzas, stuffed baguettes, burgers and chips. VIP cheese tastings available $3 per person.
Purchases over $50 receive a 10% discount. All VIP tastings must be pre-booked.
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
THE LONDON SUNDAY TIMES
STOP! No need to look any further. We stock all your local favourite cheeses as well - Smelly’s own, Binnorie Dairy, Hunter Belle plus other favourites from around the country and the globe. • A gourmand’s delight - you have to see it to believe it! Come on in, have a big snoop around. • Enjoy Merlo coffee with hand made Adora chocolate. • Hampers, Wedding Fromage Cakes and Gelato Cakes also can be ordered. Give us a call. • Conveniently open 7 days (closed Christmas Day). email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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Intimate Boutique Weddings Relaxed Weekend Lunches â€˘ Special Occasions
266 HERMITAGE ROAD POKOLBIN NSW 2320 P 02 6574 7216 E firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Estateâ€™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. www.woodlandolives.com.au www.woodlandolives.com.au/oliveloverguide
Degustation lunches available. Reservations Recommended.
17 Gillards Rd, Pokolbin. Ph: 02 49987 410 F: 49987 175 E: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.vindenestate.com.au www.vindenestate.com.au
Sculpture in the Vineyards WORDS BY VIRGINIA MITCHELL & TODD FULLER
Will Coles, Memorial to the Unknown Armchair General, cold cast resin, 2011.
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Clockwise from left: Harrie Fasher, The Horse Walks, steel rod, 2011; Jimmy Rix, Greater Grater, steel, 2009; Al Pheminster, Dandelion, steel and paint, 2011; JaM, untitled, wood and wire, 2011; Nerine Martini, Departures, wood, perspex, paper 2011; Felicity Yorston, Bomb Harvest 300, 2011.
ow in its ninth year, Sculpture in the Vineyards remains the biggest event of public sculpture in the Hunter Valley region. It takes place across the picturesque Wollombi Wine Trail, including Undercliff Wines, Wollombi Wines, Noyce Brothers, Stonehurst at Cedar Creek and Wollombi Village. For 2011, the exhibition features 54 artists, including Al Phemister, the winner of the $5,000 acquisitive first prize. His piece, Dandelion, can be seen at Undercliff Winery. Al explains that his choice of the dandelion motif is derived from his love of nature. “I see beauty in the world around us. Each moment is an opportunity to be savoured. Our environment affects our lives every day. By enjoying its wonder, we come away with a positive outcome. The challenge is to capture the ephemeral moment of the dandelion as it succumbs to the elements around it. Using an unyielding material such as steel, I give it a longevity which makes it new to each of us.” Al is delighted that his work is displayed for the public to view on the sweeping lawns at Undercliff, and winning the major prize will allow him to travel and continue his journey of discovery about the works of other artists. In complete contrast, standing on the main street of Wollombi across from Noyce Brothers Cellar, is the incongruous Greater Grater, by local artist, Jimmy Rix. Jimmy explains that his reasons for creating a 3.5 metre kitchen utensil were underpinned by his passion for food, which started at an early age.
Greater Grater was also shown in Sculpture by the Sea in 2009. Jimmy feels the rusted finish of the work sits harmoniously on the sandstone ledge beside the weathered timber of Wollombi’s old slab buildings. “It looks much more natural here than beside the ocean.” Memorial to the Unknown Armchair General, by Will Coles at The Gate Gallery, is also a piece seemingly at odds with its environment. Will creates cold-cast resin replicas of familiar objects and then positions them in unlikely places. Will describes this work as “a minimalist 3D collage. It is the meeting of the two objects and the material they are made from which makes the message.” The soft, squishy armchair and felt hat are incongruously made from a hard, unyielding blend of resin and iron dust, which allows it to rust and age with time. The permanence of the material reflects the permanence of memorials and their role in keeping memories alive. Having created sculptural interventions in cities all around the world, Will comments that, “Usually, most of my works become lost outside an urban environment, as they’re specifically related to that. I rarely make works for the country, as it takes a certain headspace that only living there can produce.” Will feels, however, that this work is quite at home in the open landscape - the quietness of the setting reminds him of the peacefulness of a graveyard. For Will, the work is a contemporary take on the traditional war memorial: a comment about war, the expectations of victory that underpins war-related decisions, and the inherent conflict these expectations pose with most people’s desires for family, domesticity and a quiet life. It speaks of the loss war brings to families and the permanent change in their daily lives: the always-empty chair, the vacant extra setting at the dinner table.
“I see beauty in the world around us. Each moment is an opportunity to be savoured.”
Jimmy trained as both a chef and an artist, and continues to keep his two passions alive. “I currently manage and cook for a boarding house, where a cheese grater hangs above the kitchen sink. I have observed its beauty. It has inspired a series of works based on the idea that the things we use the most are the most important. I am currently working on a massive pencil sharpener for the University of Western Sydney Art Prize,” he said, from his studio at Sweetman’s Creek.
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lifestyle art Another artist exploring the theme of war - again, seemingly at odds with the peace of the vineyards - is Felicity Yorston. Felicity has been exhibiting in Sculpture in the Vineyards for many years, but her 2011 sculpture Bomb Harvest 300, displayed at Stonehurst Wines at Cedar Creek, is more political than her previous works. It was inspired by her visit earlier this year to Laos, where she was shocked to learn that almost 300 people a year are killed or maimed by cluster bombs leftover from the Indo-China War. Her use of children’s toys to in her work initially disguises the seriousness of her subject, but ultimately reminds us that children are all too often the victims of these mines.
“Choosing a name to express your work is really difficult. JaM is basically an acronym for Jane and Mandy. A simple solution,” explains Jane. “For this exhibition we wanted to make an installation that would relate to the surrounding environment, the posts, wires, and of course the fruit of the vines. Vineyards are essentially horizontal; the work was conceived as vertical in contrast, it has its own fruit budding above the vines.”
“We wanted to make an installation that would relate to the surrounding environment...”
Curator, Todd Fuller, explains that this is the first time there has been a sculpture with its own QR code in the exhibition. And what does that mean? The QR code is a barcode that people with a smartphone can scan, giving them access to an internet site. For example, if a visitor were to hold their smartphone up to this piece, the QR code would link them to the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) website, where they could learn more about the MAG’s work in clearing unexploded cluster bombs in Laos.
At Wollombi Village Wines the collective JaM has installed a site specific work ‘Untitled’ that can be found immersed in the vineyard. And who is JaM? JaM is a collaboration of two artists, Jane Theau and Mandy Pryse-Jones whose practice is largely focused on human interactions with the landscape.
breathe summer 2011/12
JaM also have another ethereal piece in the exhibition. Levitating Lightly, a delicate ensemble of acrylic rods that respond to their environment is a must see at Wollombi Wines.
Sculpture in the Vineyards is developing a national reputation as a key opportunity for young and emerging sculptors to show their work in the historic village of Wollombi, situated between Cessnock and Broke. Other exhibiting artists in 2011 include Harry Fasher, with her evocative renditions of horses, popular Newcastle artist, Peter Tilly, and Nerine Martini, whose work responds to the historic St Michaels church in Wollombi village. Nerine is one of four artists who have been selected to develop an exhibition for Cessnock Regional Art Gallery in 2012. Sculpture in the Vineyards continues until 29 January 2012. Catalogues are available from participating vineyards and Wollombi General Store. n
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FREE delivery on all jewellery Pokolbin Village Broke Road Pokolbin T: (02) 4998 6515 • E: email@example.com
How’s this for an experience?
Over 60 wines
NEAR TO BROKE CELLAR DOORS AND RESTAURANTS
Fourteen modern self catering suites or cottages Pool, Spa, Kids Play Gym Orchard, Chicken Run, Alpaca Feeding BBQ at each cottage and at the Poolside Cabanas INHOUSE FUNCTION CENTRE Gift Shop with Starline yarn and handknit clothing
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 Education Trust’s ‘Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits’ course, now available in Australia at McWilliam’s Wines Academy.
1100 Milbrodale Rd, BROKE
For all course information visit: www.mcwilliamswinesgroup.com www.mcwilliamswinesgroup.com
out & about
David Lowe, Andrew Thomas and NSW Minister for Small Business Katrina Hodgkinson - 2011 NSW Wine Awards. Mike De Iuliis - New Generation Pop-up Bar- Sydney.
Binnorie Dairy ladies - New Generation Pop-up Bar- Sydney.
Sandra Brown of Pepper Tree Wines - Trade Exhibition - Hong Kong. 46
breathe summer 2011/12
Chefs hard at work at the recent Hunter Chefs & Co Food Fight.
Bill Sneddon from Allandale Winery - Trade Exhibition - Hong Kong.
out & about
Alex Woods & Simon Rengger - Australian Wine Research Institute workshop - Hunter Valley.
Laura Moses, Samara Jones & Lee Wakeman enjoyed ‘A Girls Night Out’ Women���s Cancer fund-raiser at Gold Fish, Hunter Valley.
Chris Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s Wines (back row fourth from left) joined the James Halliday launch in Hong Kong.
Golf Day Brokenwood Winesthe trousers! 2011 - Got to love
Tyrrell’s Private Bin Red Day 2011.
breathe summer 2011/12
what’s on DECEMBER
Sculpture in the Vineyards Date Now until Thursday, 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. Christmas Lights Spectacular Date Now until Saturday, January 14, 2012 Contact 4998 4000 www.hvg.com.au Location Hunter Valley Gardens, Broke Rd, Pokolbin Open every night with over a million Christmas lights on show throughout designated areas of Hunter Valley Gardens. Special guest Santa, entertainment, food and beverages available for purchase on-site. Closed Sunday, December 25, 2011. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Bookings are essential.
New Year’s Eve Cypriot Feast Date Saturday, December 31, 2011 Contact 6574 7332 www.ridgeview.com.au Location Ridge View Restaurant, 273 Sweetwater Rd, Pokolbin Bring in the New Year with friends and family at Ridge View Restaurants fabulous Cypriot Feast. $120 per person includes a six course Cypriot feast matched with wines, house-pour “Hunter Kolsh” and soft drinks. Bookings are essential. “Kopiaste” - Come, eat & enjoy. News Year’s Eve @ The Vintage Date Saturday, December 31, 2011 Contact 4998 6789 Location The Vintage, Vintage Dr, Rothbury Ring in 2012 in Vintage style - New Year’s Eve with a Roaring 20s theme with a three course dinner, beverages, live music and fireworks at midnight. $199 per person. Bookings are essential. News Year’s 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. News Year’s Eve @ Esca Bimbadgen Date Saturday, December 31, 2011 Contact 4998 4600 Imonaghan@bimbadgen.com.au Location McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin Disco dance your way into 2012 this New Year’s Eve at Esca Bimbadgen. Enjoy canapés and sparkling on arrival followed by a four course degustation feast with flare, cheese plates and some more sparkling to toast the New Year. Local band ‘Phonic’ will provide the grooviest NYE party playlist as we count down the final hours of 2011.
JANUARY George Washingmachine @ Adina Vineyard Date Saturday, January 1, 2012 Contact 4930 7473 www.adinavineyard.com.au Location Adina Vineyard, 492 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale Kick off 2012 with a groovy day at Adina Vineyards with the funky sounds of George Washingmachine, some great wine and fabulous food.
Pokolbin Village Resort Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320 Ph: (02) 4998-6656 Open daily from 10am
School Holidays @ HVG Date Saturday, January 7 to Sunday, January 22, 2012 Contact 4998 4000 www.hvg.com.au Location Broke Rd, Pokolbin Head to the Hunter Valley Gardens this summer and cool down with some cold blooded creatures! Croc Stars interactive reptile-show will amaze your kids as they learn about these unique animals. There will also be roaming reptiles you can hold, face painting, a fun jumping castle and more. Wine Country Race Club Race Day Date Monday, January 9, 2012 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. Monica Trapaga @ Adina Vineyard Date Sunday, January 29, 2012 Contact 4930 7473 www.adinavineyard.com.au Location Adina Vineyard, 492 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale Spend your Sunday chilling out with some jazz tunes with Monica Trapaga at Adina Vineyards. Great music, great wine, and great food; what more could you ask for?
FEBRUARY Summer ‘In Season’ Dinner Date Friday, February 3, 2012 Contact 6574 7332 www.ridgeview.com.au Location Ridge View Restaurant, 273 Sweetwater Rd, Pokolbin Celebrate all that’s good about summer with friends at Ridge View Restaurant. Start with a welcome glass of Ridge View “bubbles”, canapés and a four course dinner all for just $65 per person or $85 with matching wines. BYO welcome and Ridge View wines available at Cellar Door prices. The Verandah Restaurant Locals Night Date Sunday, February 5, 2012 Contact 4998 7231 www.verandahrestaurant.com.au Location Calais Estate, Palmer’s Lane, Pokolbin “Verandah Favourites Night” - Be sure not to miss out on some surprises as The Verandah Restaurant celebrates their fifth anniversary along with five years of locals nights. 6:30pm start with complimentary canapés and bubbles followed by a five course tapas style degustation. $60 per person. BYO & no corkage.
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 Where Tempus Two Private Tasting Room PRICE
$20 p/p - complimentary for Pewter Members Bookings essential
Wine Country Race Club Race Day Date Monday, February 6, 2012 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. Rod Stewart @ Hope Estate Date Saturday, February 11, 2012 Contact www.ticketmaster.com.au www.hopeestate.com.au Location Hope Estate, Broke Rd, Pokolbin With forty years of chart-topping singles and albums under his belt, Rod Stewart will be rocking the Hunter Valley with his incredible “The Hits” show. Don’t miss out on Rod Stewart performing all the hits you love, with special guest Australia’s own hit maker, Diesel. Il Divo @ Hope Estate Date Saturday, February 18, 2012 Contact www.ticketmaster.com.au www.hopeestate.com.au Location Hope Estate, Broke Rd, Pokolbin The world’s most successful classical crossover group Il Divo is heading to Australia with a concert at Hope Estate on their itinerary. Fans can look forward to experiencing the emotion, beauty and power of Il Divo’s unique vocals and operatic arrangements as they take you on a journey that combines opera, pop and musical theatre.
Private Tastings and Group Bookings welcome by appointment.
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: email@example.com
www.tempustwo.com.au ABN: 78 052 179 932
O A K VA L E PRESENTS
MARCH The Verandah Restaurant Locals Night Date Sunday, March 4, 2012 Contact 4998 7231 www.verandahrestaurant.com.au Location Calais Estate, Palmer’s Lane, Pokolbin “Taste of the Ocean” - 6:30pm start with complimentary canapés and bubbles followed by a five course tapas style degustation. $50 per person. BYO & no corkage. Simply Harvest Date Saturday, March 10 & Sunday, March 11, 2012 Contact 4998 7088 www.oakvalewines.com.au Location Oakvale Wines, 1596 Broke Rd, Pokolbin A perfect way to spend the day enjoying the Hunter Valley; great wines from range of boutique wineries, fabulous food to graze on, and loads of local produce stalls. Add all day music and you have the perfect way to unwind with family and friends. 10am- 4pm. CMC Rocks the Hunter Date Friday, March 16 to Sunday, March 18, 2012 Contact www.cmcrocks.com.au www.hopeestate.com.au Location Hope Estate, Broke Rd, Pokolbin This one is a must do for all country music fans. Three days of music with a mind-blowing line-up including Tim McGraw , Faith Hill and Dierks Bentley out of the US, and Australia’s very own Lee Kernaghan, James Blundell, Shane Nicholson, Felicity Urquhart and Tex Perkins plus the Hunter Valley’s Catherine Britt, McAlister Kemp, Morgan Evans and Kirsty Akers. See the website for the full line-up. Wine Country Race Club Race Day Date Saturday, March 17, 2012 Contact 4961 1573 www.winecountryraceclub.com.au Location Race Course Rd, Cessnock Wine Country Race Club will be alive on Saturday, March 17. With sensational thoroughbred racing and live entertainment it will be a great day out. Go to www.njc.com.au for more information. Game On Date Saturday, March 31, 2012 Contact 4998 7231 www.verandahrestaurant.com.au Location Calais Estate, Palmer’s Lane, Pokolbin Dine around the vines on Calais Estate with a 14 course tapas-style taste sensation by The Verandah Restaurant matched with 14 different wines. It will be nine hours of non-stop fine wining, dining, entertainment, cooking demonstrations, comedy acts, live music, winemakers’ presentations, and loads more. $220 per person.
10 & 11 MARCH 2012 10.00AM – 4.00PM DAILY
A weekend festival showcasing premium, boutique Hunter wineries, seasonal foods and local produce. Wine Tasting Gourmet Foods Local Produce Winery Tours Live Music
RY ENTY $10*
EACH MONTH Wine Education, Tour & Tasting Date The last Friday of every month Contact 4990 0702 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Wine, Jazz & Italian Date The last Sunday of every month Contact 4930 7473 www.adinavineyard.com.au Location 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 50
breathe summer 2011/12
VENUE: OAKVALE WINES 1596 Broke Road, Pokolbin NSW TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE GATE For more information CALL 02 4998 7088 OR VISIT www.OAKVALEWINES.com.au www.OAKVALEWINES.com.au * Includes tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets
“Client - Hunter Valley Cadillacs”
CHRIS ELFES PHOTOGRAPHY POKOLBIN
www.chriselfesphotography.com | 0413 805 222 | email@example.com
SOME OF OUR VINES ARE OLDER THAN THE ONES IN FRANCE. LUCKY YOU. When you are one of the smallest wine growing areas in the country there’s only one way to stand out and that’s by consistently producing the best wines in the world. winecountry.com.au
Come and visit the Hunter Valley and taste the difference heritage makes.