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Friday, November 25, 2011
Westend Estate Cellar Door
This is Griffith's answer to a Tuscan villa: stucco, grapevines, large doors and oakbarrels.
I had to pinch myself I wasn't in Italy, all I needed was a decent view and it would have been complete. That said, it is only 5 minutes from home..
The cellar door is a warm environment for tasting, well lit, the displays are clean and tidy; it's a place for browsing and taking in the history of the winery and the Italian-Australians in the Riverina, since 1945. On the menu are the almost complete range of current releases wines, from the cool climate series, Riverina, reds, whites, sparkling, moscatos, stickies and fortifieds. Most of the wines are well priced too: owners the Calabria family certainly do value for money. Wines such as the Richland Range, well made quaffers which are widely available, some will improve in the cellar for up to 5 years: $9.95 a bottle. No need to buy a dozen to get a good price. A step up the rung is the 3-bridges range, for less then $20 you can get a pretty good red such as the bold but eminently drinkable Durif or a classic warm climate Oz Shiraz destined for the back of the cellar, only to be pulled out at 10pm when you've polished off the fancier plonk and discarded the bow tie.
There are wines for every body and every occasion, and a couple of oddities: Aglianco (a mouthfull of medium bodied red wine wrapped around leathery tannin) and the interestingly perfumed and smokey tasting St Macaire (another red which would come into its own with antipasto one would assume).
I will definitely be taking the family there after Christmas. Wine Cellars don't have to be showy to be good: just offer friendly service, affordable wine, a smile and no pretentions. Throw in a sense of place, and you have a destination worth visiting.
(Whilst I was there, Win TV were doing a piece to Camera on the 3 bridges 'Golden Mist' Botrytis Semillon. Apparently it is being served on V-Australia. There you go, good promotion for the business and the Riverina.)