The Best Southern Highlands Wine Roadtrip: Part One
I cannot explain my fascination with the Southern Highlands; I can only say it started at a very young age. Maybe it stems from when Bowral and Mittagong were the familiar stop off points for our family trips to Narooma on the New South Wales. There was always this attraction, where the air seemed so much crisper, the streets just that bit wider and the shops just that bit more rustic.
Not so much as a child, but now as an adult who is surrounded by the food and wine industries, I appreciate it all so much more ( especially now that I am of legal drinking age and old enough to now chop with a proper knife and not a plastic one). There is an appreciation for a region that is growing and making the most of its natural habitat. It is proud of its cold climate wines, its world-class Robertson farm grown potatoes and the opening of many seasonally influenced restaurants that put the townships like Bowral well and truly on the 'must-dine-at' map (think Bioata and Bistro Officina).
In part one, I will take you down the misty winding roads, lined with overhanging gum trees and then down manicured lawned driveways to discover some of the best wineries in the Southern Highlands region. There is such a diverse mix of varieties for such a small cluster, and being a cruisy drive down the Hume, this is one to add to the weekend getaway lists.
It is one of the oldest vineyards in the Southern Highlands region and at Joadja; there is just so much to love about this endearing vineyard. Take a walk through the vine-covered entry and follow the smell of smokey meats as they crackle on top of pizza bases in the roaring woodfire oven. It feels like you are stepping into an old friend's place (who happens to have an award-winning cellar), where the owners greet you with that famous Southern Highlands hospitality and you feel right at home.
Joadja certainly puts its own stamp on cold climate wines, offering a diverse range of whites, roses and reds that are a combination of old favourites and some unique blends you won't find anywhere else in the area.
The Fume Blanc is a distinct white that is great for a gathering of fussy wine drinkers, who will be sure to fall in love with its intricate balance of fruitiness and elegant oaky creaminess. For the sweet tooth fans, the Boysenberry liqueur has your name all over it.
Offering more than just a decent drop to drink, the estate serves up fresh woodfire pizza's in the courtyard and on select days throughout the year local artists perform among the vines.
You can find out more here
I have previously done an article on the stunning vineyard that is Artemis ( read it here), and have added it once again to my list of must-visit vineyards. It's laid back and buzzing ambience is something which can be experienced any time of the year.
Once again we have the divine offerings of woodfire pizzas and a grazing board ( designed for two) which showcases some of the Southern Highlands regions best produce ( think cured meats, soft cheeses and chutneys full of spice and pizzazz), perfectly paired with the company of good friends and a bottle of pinot noir.
This is also a good one to visit for those who might not be big wine fans and prefer a beer, mead or cider. Artemis is also home to SunShack Cider and their original Bee Mead creation.
Artemis regularly hosts movie nights and yoga mornings among the vineyards. You can find out more here
A relatively young addition to the vine-scape of the region, Tertini produce a fruity and subtle variety of wines. The cheery staff will carefully explain the varieties and suggested food matching as you try your way through the list.
A complimentary cheese platter is a lovely touch that enriches the flavours of the wines and the allround relaxed and welcoming ambience.
If you're lucky, get a seat in the brewing area out the back, surrounded with large tanks of fermenting grapes, this is a real first-hand look at the winemaking process.
The 2015 Quattro Bianchi is diverse wine that consists of
Arneis, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and goes fantastically with a spicy curry or seafood.
Find out more here
Stay tuned for part two where I take you further south towards Exeter and some true must-visits of the region.
Is there a winery that you love? Share your comments below