Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tahbilk Cellar Door

Tahbilk Winery has been around for donks, 150 of them in fact.  On my way back from Melbourne*, I happened to be driving past the turnoff on the Goulburn Valley Way.  Being a keen wine student, I am always interested in experiencing new wine adventures, so I turned up the nicely paved road.

 In this overhyped world, the entry to the chateau is refreshingly understated (a bit like their wine)

History abounds in this place, from the 100y.o. Victorian Heritage listed Mulberry trees, to the quaint workers cottages, not to mention the old cellar and winery buildings, this place oozes atmosphere.  A particularly musty atmosphere I admit, but a sense of history nonetheless.

Old Winery buildings, dating from 1862. The tower was a later (1883) addition.

As for the wines: I tried pretty much all the range except the Sav Blanc (I'm just not a fan, and don't go out of my way to try) and the sparkling (didn't get around to it).

In order of preference:

Rose 2010: lovely savoury red fruited style.  Not sure the varieties, but it works as a nice light wine.

Riesling 2010: Not bad, am sure there are plenty better, but liked it's limeiness

Semillon 2010: A good allrounder, is Australian sem; seems to work in many places. works here too.

Rousanne 2010: This reminds me of a riesling, liked this style

Marsanne 2010: Tahbilk are known for their Marsannes (some of which are from the oldest Marsanne vines on the planet).  It was an okay wine for me, but give me a good chardonnay anyday.  Tried the older 2003 version, the honeysuckle notes bordering on petrol to me!  I am sure I am going to get plenty of stick for that description, but that is what I saw.

Chardonnay 2010: Ripe peachey style with plenty of oak: for lovers of the riper traditional Aussie style.  I liked it, but it is lacking a little bit of mid palate, with the fruit first up, and oak finishing, but just lacking a little thru the middle order.  A roast chicken kinda wine.

2009 Reds: pretty much all were tannic wines, reflecting a hot vintage (and a winemaker's headache).  Too dry and tannic for me.  The best was the sangiovese, loved it.  One of the better sangio's I have tasted in a while, and well priced at $13 if you join the cellar club.  Will definitely go with parmasen cheese.  It's a red fruited, grippy little Itie number.

I'm sure in other years the Cabernets and Shirazes are pretty good, they were just too dry and tannic for me, I was reaching for the water after every mouthful..

Century old Fermentation vats, well used

Picnic area: a well grassed, sleepy area in front of the new winery building where you can lie down and watch Toorak tractors pull into the cafe, or rollover and take a nap.

Out the back of the old cellar building, is a nice little verandah, within bombing distance of the shady Goulburn River.   Perfect for a quiet retreat and a sip of wine.  If wishing to venture further, there is a punt to take you on short bushwalks around the wetlands, or you can just explore the cellars and old machine sheds.

In Summary, Tahbilk is certainly worth a trip, there being plenty to see and do for everybody. It's an historic wine estate, that takes you back to the early days of the Australian Wine Story, with twists and turns throughout - just like the river itself.  But it's not just that: it's also a destination to take the non wine loving missus and the billy lids for a picnic - the wife will enjoy it, and you can start the kids on a little wine odyssey while you are there...
* to pickup a new car.  See here

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