The Sydney Wine Trail
The weather has been quite nippy of late, windy on many days, and night comes upon us before we are ready -- all reasons for staying put! But this last week of July, cloudless skies and warmer days have lifted our spirits and we are eager to get out of the house -- more than eager. Sunshine and the juice of the grape make the perfect daytrip to lift those winter blues!
The beautiful rural Hawkesbury region is now home to a surprising number of vineyards and three cellar doors. The Hawkesbury wines lay claim to a unique 'terroir' - a French classification, which defines the environmental conditions - the soil and weather in which the grapes are grown.
These boutique Hawkesbury cellar doors share a larger area once known in 1803 as Portland Head. It is here that Dr. Thomas Fiaschi, an Italian immigrant and surgeon, imported and planted the first vine cuttings from Italy and France in 1882.
In the Hawkesbury, every vintage is unique, affected by any unusual seasonal changes and the rich river soil, producing the tannin compounds in the grape. But large wine producers across Australia have dozens of vineyards and blend grapes from among these locations to maintain a product that is similar year after year. Not so with the grapes of the Hawkesbury... each year depending upon the variables will produce grapes unique to many variables.
Hawkesbury towns & villages
Bull Ridge Estate produces Verdelho, a dry white with a citrus, pineapple flavour and a hint of pear. Our vintner suggests this wine when serving chicken or fish. Among the four varieties in the 2014/15 crop, Bull Ridge produced two reds, Shiraz and Durif (Petite Sirah). The Shiraz is a lighter dry, perfect with summer lunches while the Durif is full bodied with more tannin - beautiful with a serving of lamb or beef.
The long-established Tizzana Winery (early photo above) in an historic and beautiful cellar produces a medium bodied dry red, 2015 Petit Verdot and a lighter Aleatico Rose from grapes grown at Tizzana Vineyard. A favourite in our household is the 2013 Clarissa, a dry red blend made from Shiraz, Tannat and grapes. The dominant aroma characteristics, berry and spice, are complemented by liquorice and coconut characters and aged with oak to make this medium bodied red the perfect accompaniment with red meats. Tizzana's production also includes Ambrose Rosé - made from Aleatico grapes which when slightly chilled ideally accompanies cheeses and nuts.
The cellar doors of The Sydney Wine Trail (Hawkesbury) are opened for tastings on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from noon to 6pm. Weekday tastings are by appointment.
Address: 518 Tizzana Road, Ebenezer
Hours: Open Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 12noon - 6pm
Phone: Please call for groups or weekday tastings: 02 4579 1150
Address: 519 Tizzana Road, Ebenezer
Hours: Open Sat, Sun 12noon - 5pm Open hours vary so best to book