Tonight we Humans of the Brochure met some more Canberrans who are passionate about what they do. We headed out to the outer limits of Canberra and into the ambience of Mount Majura Vineyards.
Such imaginative wind chimes:
This vineyard is a collaboration of several local wine experts (they call themselves ‘enthusiasts’ but they certainly know what they are doing and what they are talking about. Fergus, of Mount Majura Vineyard, loves telling the story of their winery and how each of their wines is created. Here he is explaining how our climate and the red soil impacts the grapes.
Canberra’s cooler, dry climate gives the wines a lighter taste, or that is what I believe I heard.
We munched crusty bread spread generously with truffle butter while we learned about the Vineyard.
15 variety of grape are grown on the vineyard. Is it appalling that I never knew there were more than your 2 basic varieties of grape (green or red- or at a pinch 4 if you include your seeded and your seedless). I just quietly listened as I apparantly am a total noob at grapes!
We tasted 3 wines. The descriptions were what my more-learned-in-wine-tasting companions told me they could taste.
The Chardonnay is soft, sweet and there are peach tones in it
The Pinot Noir is rich and earthy.
Tempranillo was the 3rd tasting our small group did. It is an early ripening wine, and one of the great wines of Spain. Mount Majura Vineyard is having wonderful success with their Tempranillo as Canberra’s climate is similar to Spain with hot dry summers. My wine connoisseur friends could taste the Shiraz and black cherry in this currently sold-out Tempranillo. Everyone could see why it is so popular. The vineyard offers Gumboot Tours (how awesome does THAT sound!!) and wine tastings. While truffle season is on, you can book to have a truffle-infused experience which is what we had after our tour. I highly recommend. http://www.mountmajura.com.au/index.html
Sherry of French Black Truffles popped over from next door to tell us the story of how she started in the truffle industry.
She and her husband Gavan were professionals who were changed by her husbands diagnosis of serious ilnness . They bought a farm with a view of having better quality of life, a bit of a hobby. Thoughts of a gentle retirement flew out the window when Sherry was piqued by a throwaway line from someone about how ‘only Europeans can grow truffles’.
She went home that day, researched truffles online till 3 in the morning and overnight the dream was born. They never looked back.
Now Sherry’s truffle farm is one of the largest producers of truffles in Australia. They are the sole suppliers of truffles to the best restaurants in ACT as well as being sole supplier to Fyshwick markets
The farm actively used their 6 truffle dogs. These dogs are highly intelligent breeds and have been trained as thoroughly as police sniffer dogs. They find the truffles, but do not touch them.
The truffle farm has 2000 trees- some are Old English Oak trees which are very successful. Less successful have been the more recent Hazelnut trees. The farm experienced their first truffles after only 2 1/2 years, half the usual time before a first harvest.
Canberran soil is already good for truffles, as it contains limestone, but Sherry has had masses of lime (truffles love that stuff) put in and they also aerated the soil on the farm. A brilliant and inspiring story! You will need to get in fast if you want to experience the excitement of a truffle hunt. This season is nearly booked out.
Sundays at the truffle farm begin with a truffle hunt and end with watching Andrew Haskins of 3seeds doing a cooking demonstration with the truffles. Tastings of course!
Book your truffle hunt here: http://canberratruffles.com.au/the-truffle-dog/
After hearing Sherry’s story, it was time to sit down with our truffled Brie. I hear that truffles are an acquired taste; well I have acquired it!
I find it to have an earthy, somewhat musty taste. Not much is needed to infuse a dish with its flavor. The sliver in the middle of our hearty slabs of Brie was perfect.
This was just a fantastic experience of locals working together to provide a world class cultural experience here on our doorstep. Both Mount Majura Vineyard and French Black Truffles are part of the Poachers Way: http://thepoachersway.com.au/your-hosts/
Don’t be put off by the roadworks that are making Majura Rd safer. Mount Vineyard is OPEN!