- Chloe Grabham
Artemis Winery, Mittagong
Winemaking is the blood for brothers Anton and Mark Balog, who bring their European heritage with a splash of creativity to the cool climate vineyards of Artemis Wines in Mittagong, one of the most scenic townships in New South Wale's Southern Highlands region.
Meander up the dirt road that leads to rolling green hills lined with vines ( established in 1996) laden with the grapes that craft their signature pinot noir. It feels like you are another world away not the cruisey 70minute trek along the Hume from Sydney.
It is all good and well to be able to produce internationally award-winning wines, but upon visiting Artemis, you will notice that this is more than just a place that makes a good drop. There is a warmth and genuine dedication that you can feel from the friendly staff who love to have a yarn and tell tales of each vintage, going above and beyond the printed label.
Pull up a bar stool over a recycled barrel and try your way through the range that starts with lighter style whites like the outstanding riesling sparkling that has recently claimed two silver at the AWC Vienna. Their pinot grigio and sauvignon varieties use locally grown grapes in their production and exude elegance in their long finish and use more herbaceous over fruity flavours.
If there is only one wine you try; make it the 2015 close vine pinot noir. Even if red is not your colour this is a drop that is bursting with tones of berries and earthiness and is anything but a complex and heavy blend, winning countless national and international accolades. Drink it now or cellar for up to eight years.
Not a wine drinker? Then the unique selection of BEE Mead made on the property uses refreshing flavour combinations like the Honey and Ginger, perfect for a summertime spritzer served over ice with a slice of orange. The Honey and spice is literally Christmas in a drink, encompassing the sweet, spicy flavours of cinnamon mixed with the natural sweetness of the honey, this one is a crowd pleaser.
All that sampling works up an appetite, and a complimenting antipasto platter for two, filled with local delights is the ideal partner in crime to a bottle of pinot. On Sunday's the resident wood-fire oven gets fired up, serving a selection of gourmet pizzas like the Nipper made with South Coast prawns, blue cheese, caramelised onions and topped with gremolata. The Quack uses Asian style duck, enoki mushrooms, fried shallots and a pinot noir reduction.
Make yourself feel right at home with tables nestled on the hill overlooking the acres of vines and the tranquil property. Unwind with a bottle served straight from the Artemis bar as the aroma of garlic and smoky meats fill the air from the red-hot wood fire oven. This is the kind of place where friends can frolic in the sun and families can let the little ones run wild, bringing together all the best bits of vineyard dining, Southern Highland country air and all-around down to earth hospitality.
Bookings are highly recommended for dining. Pop on their website for information on upcoming events regularly held at the property.
You can find Artemis Wines at:
46 Sir Charles Moses Lane
Off the Old Hume Highway, Mittagong