The last dinner for 2017 at Drink Ottelia - Eat Fodder showcasing local produce and brilliant wines
A winning team visits Coonawarra
Earlier this month Coonawarra Experiences were delighted to host some guests from Kimberly Clark who had travelled from across the country to Coonawarra. The team of Managers had won an incentive within their company and luckily for us part of the trip was a full day in Coonawarra with an experience that we had put together for them. None of the group had visited Coonawarra before so we were very keen to show them the best of what we have to offer here.
After picking the KC team up from The Barn in Mount Gambier (well worth visiting for a meal) we were off to visit Dan Redman at Redman wines for what would be a fantastic tasting. Dan as always was very generous with his time and gave the guys a rundown of the Redman family history which in itself is fascinating to listen to.
We were then shown through the winery and Dan explained the processes required to eventually bottle the iconic range. Even though we have heard the background before, it never ceases to impress on us just how hard it is to make wine. Long hours and absolute dedication to the craft is paramount and you then understand why a winemaker feels like a part of them is in every bottle produced.
We were then shown upstairs to a private room where Dan had laid out a wonderful tasting including the current Redman range as well as a couple of amazing back vintages. This included a 1999 Shiraz and a 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon. Now I love my role as tour guide and coordinator but at this very moment, I wanted very much to be a part of the tour group. The aromas emanating from the glassware was truly intoxicating without sipping a drop!
The team really enjoyed the tasting and fired off all manner of questions to Dan, which was great to see. It's one thing to taste a wine but to ask about the process and the history of where it has come from is another. We were given the opportunity to taste the 16 and 18-year-old vintages and compare with the current release, which really showed where a wine can go if treated with care and respect.
Next stop for our crew was Hollick for a winery tour along with premium back vintage tasting and lunch. Megan met us at the tasting bench and showed us all through the Hollick facility outlining the various stages required to produce a Hollick wine. There is also quite a lot of history here as well so if you're calling into the cellar door please do ask the tasting team for some background.
After the walking tour of the winery was completed the team were ushered into the Hollick boardroom for a back vintage tasting and cheese platter. Megan talked through the range and as with Redman it was an opportunity to see the differences between current and aged. The tour guide didn't intrude too much here and understands there was some flagship Hollick Ravenswood in these glasses below.
From the private and quite exclusive tasting, it was time to relax and head over to the wonderful Hollick restaurant overlooking the vines that seem to stretch on forever across Coonawarra. Hannah looks after all guests that visit the dining room with absolute professionalism and style. We left the team to enjoy their lunch and relax and discuss the day.
The team enjoyed a lovely meal consisting of three courses with wines to match each course. Below is an example of what the Hollick team can offer your group should you wish to join us for a private day tour.
Cold smoked kingfish; apple cider vegetable vinigarette; kings farm spiced salad; outback pride native tamarind syrup
Served with Hollick The Charlatan Savagnin
Coffee rubbed eye fillet; baked swiss mushroom; caramelised onion; dauphin potato’s; grilled asparagus
Served with Hollick Wilgha Shiraz
Tasting plate; white chocolate mousse cake with caramel and roasted macadamia nuts; lime tart; rhubarb crumble
Served with Hollick The Nectar
The time quickly came to head back to Mt Gambier and along with the purchases obtained from the cellar doors, we thanked the Hollick team and were on our way.
We here at Coonawarra Experiences would like to thank the Kimberly Clark team for giving us the opportunity to show them this magnificent region. We trust that they all enjoyed themselves and will hopefully return here again soon to explore and experience more of what we have to offer. The team were great fun and on the return trip, I even learnt new facts about the differences between magpies here in SA and QLD......thanks Tim!
If you have a team of staff you'd like to reward or perhaps there are some team building experiences you'd like to explore please feel free to get in touch with us and let Coonawarra Experiences put together a package of unique and fun options for your company.
What to do on a very cold, very wet, winters evening in Coonawarra? A fireplace roaring with warm toasty embers and a glass of Cabernet? Maybe get rugged up on the couch and watch a movie?
Sue Bell and Steve Brown renowned throughout the district for being the architect of some pretty incredible events at the Glenroy property. This past May saw the one and only Tex Perkins grace the stage and only last month five (yes five) artists put on a highly entertaining Urban Country concert that had toes tapping and voices crooning in time with some excellent talent.
But this time around it was a chance for Tom Tilbury of Gather Food & Wine to show off his amazing talents at Bellwether. Tom and Sarah’s restaurant in the main street of Robe has been gathering (pun intended) rave reviews for quite a while now and we here at Coonawarra Experiences can certainly see why. From Gather’s website, we can see that Tom has a passion for "gathering" wild and local ingredients coupled with his love of providing a unique food experience.
This was to be a six-course degustation with matching Bellwether wines. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Well….on entering the 1860’s refurbished shearing shed, the warmth of the log fire gave off an instant welcoming feeling and we were greeted with as much as well. We were shown where our table was and given a rundown of how the evening would progress.
Tom addressed the assembled hungry group and outlined how he had built his menu and what his philosophy was as a chef and how he tries to promote and encourage the local produce in the region. It was going to be a fun evening with some really interesting styling of the produce being served.
First course was served as an appetiser around that very warm fire. Oysters on the rocks – a really unique way to display an oyster course that I hadn’t seen previously. This was paired with the Ant Series Heathcote Vermentino and they meshed together really well.
We took our seats by the warming heaters and were presented with the next dish of smoked fish with potato, fennel and beetroot. The beetroot encased the fish and potato and as you broke through the beetroot blanket you could smell the smoke from the fish. It was delicious! This dish was paired with the beautifully balanced 2012 Tamar Chardonnay, an absolute favourite of ours.
Course three was Veal tartare with spring garlic, crisp bread, beach mustard. I was expecting the veal to be a little more gamey than it was and was pleasantly surprised by its subtlety and the crunch of the crisp bread added great texture. You know when you have been given a superb tartare and this was one of those occasions. This course was paired with the new release of the 2014 Wrattonbully Shiraz/Malbec and the big flavours worked very well in unison.
You could smell the smoke from dish four coming through… Venison over the fire with a potato cigar, onions, venison jus. The plating alone made the dish one that impressed our table. The meat was cooked just perfectly allowing the venison flavours to shine through and the accompanying 2010 Coonawarra Cabernet sung in the glass.
The evening was really rolling now and the happy assembled crowd were raising the decibel levels as they enjoyed each course and the accompanying wines. And with the next course being Beef with turnips, plants, Jerusalem artichoke purée and dried flowers we didn’t think the dinner could be taken up any more notches. The rare beef was divine especially with the 2009 Coonawarra Cabernet swirling in the glass. We cracked open the croquette and the slow cooked beef just melted within it. Not surprisingly neither my wife or our other dining guest would share theirs…..it was worth a shot and asking.
The first dessert offering was not only a lovely palate cleanser but quite clever in that you paired your dish with the wine in it! Lilly pilly and gorse flower sorbet served in an old-style Marie Antoinette Champagne glass. Over that was poured the Nero D’Avola which created a fantastic flavour combination in the mouth.
By the time the last course came along we were all quite satisfied but wanted to see what would be paired with the Wrattonbully Tempranillo. Enter the Bitter Chocolate and Orange with Orange Elements….this was decadence in a bowl for certain. Rich chocolate and the sharpness of the orange elements finished off this wonderful meal in spectacular manner. If we weren’t already filled to the top with flavours beforehand we were now, a stunning dessert.
Tom’s work with the menu at Bellwether gave us a great insight into what he would offer at his Gather establishment. We will certainly be heading to Robe soon to enjoy more of this magnificent food done with extreme care and passion. We’re incredibly lucky to have Tom and his team in this region and we urge anyone that hasn’t been to Gather to book in before it gets to the point it’s tough to get a table.
As for Sue, her generous welcoming nature is just typical of why we decided to move to the Coonawarra region. Nothing is too much trouble and the skill she has as a winemaker is world class – if you haven’t tried the range you must do so. There’s a reason Bellwether wines sell out each vintage and Sue and Steve are at the top of their game.
14183 Riddoch Hwy, Coonawarra SA 5263
Hi everyone and welcome to the Coonawarra Experiences blog page.
We wanted to set up a blog to give you a greater view of the Coonawarra region and what goes on here from week to week. We hope that this will help you decide what kind of Coonawarra experience you'd like to have when you next visit this fantastic area.
As we mentioned in the about us section Kerry and I have been coming to Coonawarra for around seven years and initially for the Coonawarra Vigernons Cup. A premier country horse race meeting held in January each year that incorporates the greatest array of local wines we'd ever seen. We were blown away with the level of professionalism in setting up the event and the fact that the local vignerons were pretty much running the entire show. You are exceptionally well fed and watered with a huge number of activities that appeal to all comers even if you're not particulary a racing fan.
The best aspect about cup day (apart from the wine and food) is the camaraderie that exists within the marquee. Each vigneron is represented in the venue and it really is a day for the locals and non-locals alike to get together and let their hair down in a really fun environment.
If you're keen to get involved in next years cup celebrations ensure you sign up for updates via http://coonawarra.org/event/coonawarra-vignerons-cup-2/. Once ticketing information is released be quick as 2017 sold out in record time.
Moving on from the Cup, Kerry and I continued to come back to Coonawarra many times to experience the various seasons and vintages as well as forming strong relationships with the people here to the point we decided we wanted to make this magical place home.
We couldn't be happier living where we do now and look forward to promoting the region, people and of course the produce and wines that are quite rightly famous.
Each week we'll look to keep you updated with what's going on in the area and hopefully provide a window into what is happening in the vineyards during our tours. Every day is different and who knows what you'll get to experience when you join a day tour with Coonawarra Experiences.
Please visit our tours page to select the type of tour that will suit your needs https://www.coonawarraexperiences.com.au/winery-tours/