Thursday, December 31, 2009

Grazing Restaurant & Capital Wines : Gundaroo

Grazing Restaurant & Capital Wines
Cork St
NSW 2620
(02) 6236 8777

Open : Lunch Fri - Sun and most Public Holidays; Dinner Thurs - Sat

The sky was blue, the air fresh with a gentle breeze, and the temperature sitting around 26 degrees as I left Canberra cross the border into Gundaroo. What for? Through aptronym, I got an introduction to meet Jenni at Capital Wines for some wine tasting.

What better way to do it than to have lunch at Grazing in Gundaroo as well?

The drive out to Gundaroo

Gundaroo is some 35km outside of Canberra on the NSW side. A historic town that lies in the Yass Valley at altitude of some 600m, it was established back in the 1820s and settled mainly by graziers, and an important stopover for goods and travellers travelling from railway station at Gunning to Queanbeyan.

Arriving at Gundaroo

Driving up my main street, I came upon the town's pub

The Royal Hotel was built in 1865 and back then it was known as Gundaroo Pub. Ah yes, the great Aussie icon in any rural town, the pub :) The beautiful Royal Hotel still stands, and this was where I headed for my lunch at Grazing and the wine tasting.

Arrival at The Royal Hotel

On arrival what did I see?  Not one, but two Ferraris! Even though I didn’t have a booking, the staff were very accommodating and gave me a table setting in the wine tasting room!

Ferrari F430 parked outside The Royal Hotel

Ferrari 512 TR (Left) Ferrari F430 (Right)

The menu is modern Australian, utilising local produce and herbs and vegetables from the chef’s own herb and vegetable patch. I was disappointed when I was told the kitchen had run out of Turkey and Speck Pie. I think another trip in the future is warranted in order to try it!

The freshly baked ciabatta bread was just so beautiful. A very thin crusty outer layer was then met with a  beautifully soft inner. The bread went well with the olive oil, which is produced from locally grown olives.

Ciabatta bread with olive oil

For my entrée, I had gnocchi matched to a 2008 Capital Wines Chardonnay. The gnocchi was tossed with king prawns and served with dill, caper and tomato butter sauce. I love a good gnocchi and this was a lovely example. Quite light and delicate, but the tomato sauce was on a slightly sour side to my personal tastes.

Gnocchi with King Prawns

For my main, I chose the Sirloin steak with chive béarnaise sauce, slow roasted tomatoes, wilted garden rocket and crisp chats. This was matched to a nice 2008 Capital Wines Shiraz. The sirloin was cooked to perfection for medium rare, tender and juicy and flavoursome.

And the beer-battered chips! Crunchy! Yum!

Sirloin and beer-battered chips

By the time I met Jenni I was quite full!

I am continually being amazed by the quality of the wines produced in the “Canberra District” (despite the fact that we’re actually in NSW), and Capital Wines is no exception. In fact, the Capital Wines vineyard supplies fruits to some top Aussie wine labels in their premium range.

After lunch, it was onto my wine tasting with Jenni.

For me the standouts of the Capital Wines range are:

  1. 2009 “The Whip” Riesling   A very nice and delicate Riesling, floral and citrusy. Different style to the Helm Premium Riesling from similar region.
  2. 2009 “The Senator” Chardonnay  A very nice chardonnay that’s not heavily wooded, very smooth and with good length.
  3. 2009 “ The Fence Sitter” Rosé  I have to admit I’ve never been a huge rosé fan, often finding them too light or flimsy without much length or substance. This rosé, however, is quite nice. Fragrant and redolent of rose/ Turkish delight and very refreshing. 
  4. 2008 “The Ambassador” tempranillo  Now this was another surprise. This Spanish varietal has really taken to the Canberra District clime and this is a very vibrant wine. Like a Spanish woman, it’s fiery and spicy /peppery on initial encounter, but then reveals very approachable berries and cherries. This is a wine of great depth.
  5. 2006 “The Backbencher” merlot  Again, not a wine that I drink often or familiar with but this merlot is spicy yet approachable with flavours of plum.
  6. 2007 Kyeema Reserve Shiraz  I love this shiraz. It’s big and spicy but a perfect balance of dark berries and oak. Beautiful tannin and has great depth. This wine is quite young and would do well with cellaring.

The Capital wines line-up

With the Ministry series of wines, Jenni commissioned a cartoonist to draw a label to best represent each different wine. The names to the wines were chosen with careful thought to the character of a particular wine.

It was fun afternoon learning from Jenni about their vineyards, the restaurant (which is now leased to chef Tom Moore).

Chef Tom busy in the kitchen getting ready for a wedding reception that night

 I even had a tour of the vegie patch!

The guardian of the vegie patch!

I left Gundaroo happy and content, and impressed that even in rural Australia you can still get a nice good feed! :) Till next time, Gundaroo, adieu.

Many thanks to Chef Tom and the Grazing team for a really enjoyable lunch and to Jenni for her hospitality. I really enjoyed sitting down in the wine tasting room, talking about each wine with her and discussing the approach of the vigneron to each wine. It was a fantastic experience.



Reemski said...

oh, I'm so keen to get there!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. Love the photos of the vegie patch and the main street of Gundaroo!