Well hellooooo! The cool nights and blue-sky days of autumn proper have arrived - simply one of the best seasons to visit our region. We've picked some of our favourite events from the upcoming High Country Harvest program (5 - 21 May), all within 45 minutes’ drive of Rutherglen or less.
Click on the event title below for more info, or browse the full program at www.highcountryharvest.com.au
Tweed Ride (Rutherglen) – Saturday 6 May
Rutherglen’s Tweed Ride has developed quite the following, with this year’s leisurely tweed-clad cycling adventure featuring three new food and wine experiences. Stops include the new Andrew Buller Wines, Cofield Wines and Rutherglen Estates. Don’t forget your vintage attire!
Image credit: Georgie James Photography
Food for Thought (Yackandandah) – Saturday 6 May
We love Saint Monday’s ethos, which will be celebrated at this ethical, plant-based, candlelit no-waste feast. Oh, and did we mention, their feel-good food is super delicious? (Here's a little bit more about Saint Monday over on our Eating out around Rutherglen blog post.)
Image credit: Saint Monday
Smokin’ Hot Stanley (Stanley) – Sunday 7 May
Just beyond Beechworth, Stanley is a small village surrounded by apple orchards and nut groves in their autumn prime, and is now home to two exciting new farm-to-plate movers and shakers – Black Barn Farm and Garden State. Join them for an abundant feast of lip-smacking local fare, basted, smoked, slow-cooked and flame-grilled over four open fires.
New Breed Feast (Chiltern) – Saturday 20 May
This delicious lunch event features some of our favourite friends of food, wine and creative pursuits! Winemakers Ricky James and Simon Killeen, photographer Georgie James, and Pinchos Catering! To be honest, they had us at succulent spit-roasted heritage roast pork.
Image credit: Georgie James Photography
Taste Trekkers Gourmet Time Travel (Beechworth) – Saturday 20 May
Curated by gregarious local foodie Sally Lynch, this lantern-lit roving feast around Beechworth brings together some of the town’s tastiest mouthfuls with historical backdrops including the grand gold-rush era bank setting of Provenance restaurant, the old gaol and Tanswell’s cellar.
The Art of Cheese (Tarrawingee) – Friday 19, Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 May
In our book, goats cheese can add that something-something to so many meals and a beautiful hand-crafted piece of goats cheese is pure joy! If you’re reading from the same page, here’s your chance to join the goats of Tolpuddle Farm for an immersive pasture-to-plate experience: goat milking, hands-on cheese making and a shared lunch in the garden with passionate producers Melissa and Donovan.
Image credit: Tolpuddle Cheese
Harvest menu at Lake Moodemere Estate (Rutherglen) – 5 - 21 May
Lake Moodemere’s Cellar Door is a majestic location overlooking the lake. The Chambers family raise their own lambs as well as growing grapes on the estate. Check out their special harvest menu during High Country Harvest, featuring lip-smacking Moodemere Lamb and other delicious morsels by the open fire.
Ciao Biscotti (Rutherglen) – Sunday 7 & 21 May
One of Rutherglen’s lovely B&B hosts, Kellie-Anne (and sometime-grape picker during vintage at Scion!), is hosting intimate hands-on biscotti-making workshops with afternoon tea (of course matched with local wines). Open to both B&B guests and visitors.
Followers of Scion have been introduced to a series of ‘project’ wines over the years. The resulting wines form a vital part of winemaker Rowly's passion and learnings.
The latest project ‘PRC’ was dreamt up with two great wine mates of the North East – Chris Catlow (Sentio, Beechworth) and Pete Graham (Domenica, Beechworth) – to challenge winemaking skills while working together to achieve a focused result. This Chardonnay is the inaugural PRC release, co-crafted by Pete, Rowly and Chris.
Fruit was sourced from one of the country’s most revered plantings of chardonnay: the Lusatia Park Vineyard in Victoria's Yarra Valley. One parcel of handpicked fruit was divided three ways, with each winemaker setting out to craft a wine shaped around their individual interpretation of the fruit.
A code of silence kicked off production across three wineries, using one second-fill hogshead barrel and five pre-loved barriques. Nine months later, the trio sat down with samples of the resulting six wines to assemble the final wine together. Minor blending tweaks were made with the aim of best expressing the Lusatia Park Vineyard.
The vineyard produces elegant Chardonnay, with the 2016 vintage showing excellent concentration of flavour. From this premium fruit we’ve crafted a focused, modern Chardonnay that would benefit from a little cellaring. Only 110 dozen produced. We hope you like it as much as we enjoyed making it!
The PRC Chardonnay 2016 is available now in our online shop.
Vintage at Scion is off to a (wonderfully) slow start! Thanks to a wet winter/spring, cool nights and only a handful of really hot days, vintage is very slowly unfolding. This generally makes for excellent sugar/flavour balance in harvested fruit. With additional ‘hang time’ for grapes on the vine, we're expecting good complexity and flavour intensity. Our bird nets are on, vines have a generous leaf canopy and are well set-up for the long haul.
This season reminds us of 2006, which saw Durif harvested in early April and just so happens to be one of my favourite wines. Being a full 25 days behind the harvest of 2016, we have only hand-picked Orange Muscat so far. This fruit is showing vibrant citrus characters along with hallmark orange blossom aroma.
Cheers from Winemaker Rowly!
As a light and fresh style of Muscat, we serve Scion's Muscat Nouveau chilled.
In summer, a muscat-based cocktail really hits the spot. Here are two recipes you might like to try at home with our Muscat Nouveau (or Rose Muscat from previous vintages would also do the trick).
MUSCAT NOUVEAU SPRITZER
The beauty of this cocktail is its simplicity, which means the varietal flavours of the Muscat still shine through. The lime's acidity cuts through the natural sweetness. Refreshing!
60ml Scion Muscat Nouveau (or 90ml Rose Muscat)
Monster Kitchen & Bar at Canberra's Hotel Hotel kindly supplied this recipe, which their bartender created for a Rutherglen Muscat Mixology event at their venue. If you don't have any apricot liqueur hanging around in your cupboard, we suggest just adding an extra 20ml of Muscat Nouveau.
30ml Scion Muscat Nouveau
20ml apricot liqueur (Monster recommends Vedrenne brand)
15ml freshly pressed lemon juice
prosecco for topping up
basil sprig for garnish
Photo credit: Kerrie Brewer (Her Canberra)
Some great accommodation options have popped up around Rutherglen recently. If you’re planning a trip up our way soon, here are some unique places to stay. Be sure to book early as these properties do book well in advance for weekend stays. Or consider a mid-week visit!
We love our bush camping, but this new glamping experience on site at Cofield Wines sounds like a beautiful way to experience a working vineyard in a picturesque rural setting. Choose from two bell tents fully furnished with king size beds. The experience is a partnership with The Pickled Sisters Café, so you can expect delicious breakfast hampers and optional dinner hampers/platters as part of your stay.
Photo credit: @departmentofwandering
Find out more about Grapevine Glamping.
If hosted accommodation is more your style, then check out Amberesque B&B. A fun and energetic couple Amber and Shannon took over this luxury bed and breakfast in Main Street (formerly known as Bank on Main) about 8 months ago. They’ve put their own touches on the historic property and Amber has a passion for cooking, with a repertoire that extends from French to Spanish to Melanesian! Prime location next door to our favourite wine bar, Thousand Pound, too!
MOODEMERE LAKE HOUSE
Situated on Lake Moodemere Estate, a working vineyard and farm, this self-contained guest house has uninterrupted, private views of Lake Moodemere. Abundant bird species and native wildlife are regular visitors to the property, and the sunsets are incredible (see below image by local photographer Ann Killeen)! Provisions for a cooked and continental breakfast with estate-grown and made preserves are included.
Located opposite All Saints Estate in Wahgunyah is a newly refurbished self-contained cottage. The interior is fresh and contemporary, and sleeps 6 with two queen and two single beds. A cosy wood fire and bottle of wine on arrival should help you settle in! You’ll find this cottage on AirBnB.
You can browse more Rutherglen accommodation on region's destination website: www.rutherglenvic.com
We now have 4 x Gold medal winners and 5 x 90+ point scorers among our current-release wines.
Scion’s Rosé, Durif and Durif Viognier have had some ripper scores and reviews, which you can check out below.
Scion Rosé 2016 -- 93/100 in The Wine Front (Campbell Mattinson):
It’s dry and savoury and boasts a distinct firmness. A few sips and it has you singing out for another round of ‘plates’. Cut, polish, detail, satisfaction. Uncompromising in an entirely praiseworthy (and enjoyable) way. On song.
Scion Durif Viognier 2014 -- 94/100 in The Weekend Australian magazine (James Halliday):
Vigneron Rowly Milhinch has made the traditional image of durif stand on its head. It's vibrant and fresh, imposing red nuances in the foundation of dark berry fruit flavours. Its balance is such that you can enjoy it now or in ten years.
Scion Durif Viognier 2014 -- 93+/100 in The Wine Front (Campbell Mattinson):
It takes time to coax it forward. It has a pretty face but the mainstay of fruit isn’t going anywhere in a hurry. Slowly does it. Leather, rust, iodine, blackberry and anise. A distinctive palate, slaked with tannin, fruit-driven but with a clear pitch towards savouriness. Viognier seems to have been dialled back from previous releases, adding a sheen to the wine and not much more. We’re in excellent territory here.Scion Durif 2014 -- 93/100 in The Wine Front (Campbell Mattinson):
When we’re not behind the Cellar Door, we love going on food adventures in our region!
If you haven’t already checked out these spots (all within 40 minutes of Rutherglen) we recommend adding them to your next North East Vic itinerary.
Just 15 minutes down the road from Rutherglen, Hub 62 is an inviting creative space for breakfast or a casual lunch. Local owners Craig, Beth and Amy have given a fresh, contemporary lease of life to Chiltern’s historic Masonic Hall, where they’re dishing up satisfying, flavour-packed dishes.
Hot tip: Great for early birds - breakfast starts early + the coffee is good!
NEW MENU @ THOUSAND POUND
Rutherglen’s main street wine bar Thousand Pound has introduced a new dinner menu on Friday and Saturday. The juicy hanger steak (grilled over charcoal) has been a bit of a hit (perhaps because it goes so well with Durif?!), though every dish we’ve ordered has had us calling for another glass.
Hot tip: Book ahead; the place has been pumping!
A scenic 40-minute drive from Rutherglen, Saint Monday in the pretty village of Yackandandah serves beautiful food and excellent Coffee Supreme coffee in the sort of space that invites you to slow down. Owners Chris and Lauren founded Saint Monday on strong social justice and environmental principles and genuine relationships with local food producers. The creative, plant-based menu champions vegetables and ethically sourced meats with delicious results.
Hot tip: Leave room for a house-baked treat for what we call "breakfast dessert".
EBDEN & OLIVE
We’ve been chasing chef and front-of-house duo Jodie and Steve around the border region over the last decade (most recently, Broadgauge restaurant). Their latest offering, Ebden & Olive in South Albury, doesn’t disappoint. Swing by this deli to pick up restaurant-quality sandwiches (think Pork belly, kim chi & mayo, or Soft shell crab & slaw), artisan cheese and charcuterie, or take-home dinners.
Hot tip: The canelé are as good as in France (read: caramelised crust)!
Bonus: Next door is Nord Bakery, who bake beautiful sourdough, rye and pastries.