South Australia is lucky state when it comes to wine, we have a few wine regions all within easy reach. No need to drive for hours, no need to save it for a long weekend trip. In the south we have the beautiful McLaren Vale, within an hour up north you would find yourself in the historic Barossa Valley. Travel a little further and it’s hello Clare Valley with the famous Riesling trail. Go up into the Adelaide Hills and be greeted with vineyards all the same. We truly are a lucky state. Nestled somewhere in the Adelaide Hills is Bird in Hand. A winery well known for its multi award winning wine, vineyard and barrel room beautiful enough to host stunning events and weddings. Last week we were invited to an exclusive Autumn Vintage Interlude. It was the first time I visited and I liked very much what I saw.
We began the afternoon in the Cellar Door with a glass of their famous Sparkling Pinot Noir before being led through to a barrel room where events and weddings are held. As it happens they were just setting up for a wedding that weekend. Through the barrel room our host and winemaker, Jared, guided us to the vineyard, the chardonnay vineyard. Beautifully placed in the middle was a table of wine glasses, flowers and bottles of their Nest Egg Chardonnay 2015. As Jared tells us more about the winery and wine making process we were treated to a taste of the 2015 chardonnay, one that is yet to be released. There are four tiers of wines in their range and Nest Egg sits second to their top Tribute Series. The Nest Egg label is only made when the fruit is good enough. The Nest Egg series retails around $75-$100 a bottle.
From sipping chardonnay amongst the chardonnay, we moved on to the winery and barrel room where we sampled some wines from the barrels to give us an idea of the stages it goes through during a winemaking process. A little taste of Gruner Veltliner was on the cards for us. Still unrefined, it was cloudy, smelt and tasted a little like apple, much like those enzyme drinks my auntie used to make by fermenting fruit. You could definitely smell the yeast, an interesting and educational tasting. This Austrian grape variety is set to become more popular especially in the cooler Adelaide Hills region.
Our final tasting in the room was Sicilian origin Nero D’Avola. A bold red that pairs with rich Italian food from pasta to stews and red meats. The aroma is both fruity and a little floral, quite a lovely wine. We finished off with a 2016 Shiraz in the barrel that is about a couple of years off ready and it really does amaze you how something that tastes like that right now becomes so beautiful when its ready.
As we concluded our little tour we were brought back to The Gallery. Just outside we all stopped to admire the stunning view and Susie Nugent’s vege garden project. It’s nice to know that some of your vegetables and herbs were freshly picked right outside. The restaurant itself was tastefully decorated, a warm ambiance and ample natural light with the classic look of leather, wood and white. We shuffled to our seats to find a touch of fresh white flowers and a mouth watering menu.
The first course was paired with Nest Egg Joy 2010. A sparkling Pinot Noir that was light and refreshing with hints of strawberry and apple. A perfect start to the meal. The Prawn & Scallop Dumplings were not quite your traditional dough dumplings, instead wrapped in beancurd skin and filled with a mixture of finely chopped prawns and scallops served with a clear sweet sauce and small wedge of lime.
The second course was to be my favourite of the day. A fresh and light Green Papaya & Prawn Salad. I may have had thirds. Succulent fresh prawns that were almost sweet with grated green papaya, carrots, peanuts, snake beans, choppied chillies, shallots, coriander and mint with a dressing that stimulates all the taste receptors (ok except bitter). The dish had a strong Thai influence, it was a little bit of sweet, salty, sour and spicy in the right balance. With seafood came the Bird in Hand Riesling 2015. A light floral and citrus crisp wine that was just perfect with this dish. I tend to enjoy the not so dry rieslings, those that are a bit fruity and sweet.
Nest Egg Chardonnay 2012 was poured. One of the wines we have noted to try. It was a very good year for them with this particular chardonnay winning multiple trophies, medals and scoring 95 points in the James Halliday Wine Companion. Mr Foodie thinks it’s worth the splurge and he’s not normally a chardonnay drinker. Our third course was Chicken on Polenta. Seasoned breast fillet of chicken placed atop a cube of crispy polenta topped with garden salsa.
It was time to move on to the red meats with our fourth course. A nicely presented plate of Lamb Loin and Harissa arrived at the table. Thinly sliced and cooked medium rare, it was just how I liked it. The wine pairing they selected for us was Bird in Hand Montepulciano 2014.
We were lucky to be able to try this extra dish as we had two vegetarians at our table. The flavours were absolutely beautiful in this Eggplant & Lentil dish. With creamy curried lentils and sweet spices this turned out to be our other favourite dish.
Next we had the Beef Fillet with Broccolini and Hollandaise. A simple classic. Alas it was the moment Mr Foodie had been waiting for. Shiraz. He is a red wine person, along the lines of Shiraz and Merlot. His patience was rewarded when they decanted the M.A.C. Shiraz 2010 from their Tribute Series. Earlier I mentioned the Nest Egg series is made from selected top quality fruit IF they have any that season, the Tribute Series is only made if out of those selected barrels, any turn out to be exceptional. We later found out they retail at about $350. It was incredibly smooth, you get the spice at the front palate and then it lingers in the back palate and warms your throat. It truly has a lingering finish.
Soon after, these pretty plates of Pavlova came out topped with fresh local berries. We finished off with the Bird in Hand Honeysuckle Riesling 2015, the perfect end I say. A lovely sweet Riesling with floral aromas. As we sat there gazing outside, watching the winery dog and the beautiful surrounds, it was hard to leave.
We gathered our things, and said our goodbyes. We would like to say a huge thank you to Sushi, Mashoon and Jared Jared of Bird in Hand Wines who were such great hosts and thank you to the staff at The Gallery for the good service and looking after us. We popped our heads into the cellar door for a browse of their design collection. The luxury collection uses fine quality materials to create timeless classics like scarves, ties, bags and napery.
I came to realize Bird in Hand isn’t just a winery or a restaurant, it’s an experience. A premium brand that wants to provide you an experience you will have wonderful memories of.
Disclaimer: Foodie Ling was invited as guests of Bird in Hand
Bird in Hand
Cnr Bird in Hand & Pfeiffer Roads
08 8389 9488