Off the beaten track

Off the beaten track


ou know one of the great things of wine is you never know what surprises you are going to find and what great wines are just tucked away in places you would never think to discover.

This past weekend we decided to explore a little more about our won backyard and the wines of the Shoalhaven region just 2 hours to the south of Sydney.

These wines whilst not of world renowned status have really come on in leaps and bounds and the quality and variety of wine being produced in this region is really starting to improve greatly and is one of those regions I would say along with the Southern Highlands of New South Wales that you should be keeping a closer eye on.

We were staying with friends in the stunning Kangaroo Valley and they recommended that we take a drive an visit Yarrawa Estate. now it seems like you drive for ever up this windy and small country road through the valley, the rain forest and along a stunning little river.

Finally you find the sign to the winery just as you thought the road would go not further, head up the hill and there you are greeted by the sight of vines, sheds and of course the winery dog, if you did not know where it was well you would have never of guessed that this place could even grow wines.

Mark and Susan Foster are our hosts and in almost typical Australian laconic style we are greeted and their wines are shared with us, I was not sure what to expect but I must say that they had a few little gems in their list that we bought a few bottles of .

The winery was first started in 1997 and many of the vines were first planted in 1998 so they are now starting to show some great signs of maturity and growth, their stunning back drop is the Kangaroo Valley and Mark tells me that that they are the most western of the classified Shoalhaven Wine growing region and they lay very close to the headwaters of the Shoalhaven River.

My favourites included the:

  • Jasmine Grace which is made of 100% Muscatel grapes, this wine was made in conjunction with a northern Victorian wine icon John Gehrig (Oxley Victoria), this wine is a stunning aperitif or a wonderful late summer afternoon wine that you would share on the back deck with your friends accompanied by some blue cheese, figs, pears and walnuts. It surprised me as it had both taste and flavour and was not simply hyped up lolly water or grape juice this was a true adults wine.
  • Chambourcin 2009, now given the soil and the location of there winery I had high hopes for this one and was not disappointed at all, fresh, young, vibrant and full of dense ruby colour this wine was a great example of a good drinking wine and one I would say is really ready to drink right now. The wine is well structured and balanced and has a strong taste of wild strawberries and licorice and a great wine to serve bu itself of with some veal or lighter red meats
  • Muscat, yes I know that this is old school but this one was simply stunning with big sultana and raisin overtones this little wine packed a greta punch and hits well above its weight and would for my mind would stand well with the great Muscats of Northern Victoria- a real old world wine but one that is a great finisher to a great meal and a day with friends.

Mark and Sue are wonderful hosts and will make you most welcome even if you you do not know much about wine as we observed with as a mini bus full of young 20 something Irish lasses arrived as a part of their ” Hens Weekend” we watched Sue and Mark educate them on what they may like to drink and helped them to understand more about what they were drinking which is really nice as many cellars doors can you leave you with a feeling of not being treated as someone special and sometimes not as an idiot as well- not here this is what makes sharing their wine a wonderful memory and experience.

Go drink in the wonders of the Kangaroo Valley and the beauty of Yarrawa Estate you may be just pleasantly surprised.

The Fosters and their vineyard can be found at Scotts Road Kangaroo Valley- happy tasting…..remember to ask Sue for one of their great cheese plates whilst you are there.


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