Wine columnist RICHARD CALVER visits two of the three wineries amid the hills and valleys of close by Wallaroo.
WALLAROO feels like a track that Abba might need recorded within the ’70s. However it’s truly an excellent area of hills and valleys, a inexperienced patchwork of bush and cultivated paddocks west of the Barton Freeway the place the ACT border folds into NSW.
On a sunny spring day the place the rain lastly let up, mate Tom and I headed out to the Hills of Corridor. We visited two of the three wineries that sit excessive and proud on this scenic locale: Brindabella Hills Vineyard and Pankhurst Wines. We’ll return someday quickly to expertise Surveyor’s Hill vineyards.
The Go to Yass Valley web site tells us that Wallaroo is the truth is named after “the very shy and really hardly ever noticed woolly black wallaby”. The cover as we appeared down from the terraces at Brindabella Hills Vineyard reveals areas of dense bush that hug the Murrumbidgee River the place these wallabies might conceal with impunity.
Later, Allan Pankhurst tells us that the dense bush additionally hides scores of deer. It’s a wild and woolly space all proper.
However that picture contrasts with the business actuality that’s Brindabella Hills Vineyard. The proprietor, Michael Anderson, signifies to us that the restaurant is booked out solidly each Saturday and Sunday and we rub shoulders with a lot of people who find themselves eating or wine tasting inside or who’re on the grassy terraces preventing the stiff breeze that has arrived with us. It hasn’t postpone the individuals outdoors who’re palpably having fun with themselves.
Brindabella Hills has a singular strategy to wine tasting. Derek Phillips, of Fudgemental, is a chocolatier who has matched a spread of various flavoured chocolate with every wine on supply. For me, essentially the most fascinating match on the day was the macadamia pear chocolate that fully modified the style of the 2021 Marsanne. Earlier than melting the chocolate on the tongue, this wine had a distinctly herbaceous flavour, virtually the presence of a bouquet garni, that was displaced by a extra floral mouth really feel after the affect of the chocolate.
The wine that for me epitomises Brindabella Hills area of interest is the 2021 Sweetheart. This can be a mix of late-harvest riesling, semillon and viognier that has a candy end. The cellar hand who offered the vineyard’s listing to us, Jeremy Black, mentioned of this mix: “We get a variety of younger ladies who’ve by no means tried wine earlier than they usually love this one.”
The ambiance and the clientele at Pankhurst Wines is totally completely different. It has a extra household, homely attraction with views of paddocks framing distant hills relatively than the Brindabella Hills vista of gorges and the rolling brown river because it wends its method to Wagga Wagga.
Right here we sat at a desk constructed by Allan Pankhurst from an previous wine barrel, rustic and sensible, becoming into the texture of a go to to a kindly uncle who owns a farm the place you possibly can have enjoyable.
This sense is bolstered by Christine Pankhurst’s remark about how they ended up settling in Wallaroo: “Allan needed to stay on the outskirts so he dragged me right here within the Eighties,” she mentioned.
“On the time, all I might see had been sheep bones and mud and useless our bodies.”
Her feedback underline the transformation that they’ve dropped at the property with its ordered paddocks and vines that produce some memorable wines. I’ve already written in reward of the 2019 Arneis which we tried once more and recalled the way in which this wine finishes so cleanly with a superb weight and mouthfeel. We additionally particularly loved the 2019 cabernet sauvignon with a terrific steadiness of fruit and oak, a wine that received a silver medal on the Cowra Wine Present this 12 months.
The Hills of Corridor are price a go to.
What’s funnier: mountain ranges or forests? Mountains, of course- they’re hill areas.
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Ian Meikle, editor