Nagambie Icons | PS News

by John J. Williams

Just 1½ hours from Melbourne, Nagambie Lakes is home to some of Australia’s most iconic wineries – and certainly one of its most historic.

It is a sub-region of the Goulburn Valley wine region in Central Victoria and has a surprisingly temperate climate thanks to the influence of numerous lakes and lagoons. A wide range of grape varieties is grown, with the Rhône varieties,  doing well.

Tahbilk, Victoria’s oldest family-owned winery, is said to take its name from the area’s original name, talk-talk, meaning ‘place of many watering holes’.

Nagambie Icons |  PS News

Founded in 1860 and purchased by the Purbrick family in 1925, Tahbilk offers history and character in every glass. The winery is home to five generations of the Purbrick family, an enviable legacy of the winery.

Another regional icon is Mitchelton, known for its wines and its impressive 55-meter tower. One of the country’s most renowned architects, Robin Boyd, drew up its plans and completed them Ted Ashton after Boyd died in 1971.

Founded by the enterprising Ross Shelmerdine in 1969, Mitchelton cemented its reputation for Shiraz in 1991 when the 1990 Print Shiraz won the Jimmy Watson Trophy. The Ryan family bought Mitchelton in 2011 and opened a luxury boutique hotel in 2018.

Tahbilk Riesling

Fourth-generation winemaker Alister Purbrick, his wife Rosa, and daughter Hayley have turned to Italian and Spanish varietals for their Dalfarras wines, featured in this January/February column. The labels feature Rosa’s beautiful artwork, and the wines are accredited carbon neutral.

Cruising the backwaters around Nagambie offers quality wine tasting and some unforgettable sunsets. Last month in this section, we featured Ultimate Winery Experiences, a collective of premium Australian wineries offering memorable experiences beyond the cellar door.

You can book one of their experiences aboard the Goulburn Explorer and enjoy fine dining and wine as you cruise the picturesque river between Mitchelton and Tahbilk. Tahbilk has also launched an Indigenous Native Flora Walking Trail, adding another draw to the region.

Mitchelton 2020 Blackwood Park Riesling, $28: This beloved wine was first produced in the 1970s and consistently attracted awards and accolades. Refreshingly fresh and dry, it has intense citrus aromas and flavors, with a little spice in the finish and great minerality.

Tahbilk 2021 Riesling, $20.30: For a vintage that looked and went for a while, 2021 was a cracker. In January, we presented Marsanne, Tahbilk’s showpiece. As great as that wine is, don’t forget this Riesling, which seduces with its bright citrus notes and great finesse. Put some in the basement for a few years, and it will take on even more character.

Tahbilk 2021 Viognier, $20.60: Unlike the Riesling, which is a bit of a sleeper, this one is best appreciated when young and exuberant. Bright citrus and stone fruit notes and a hint of spice follow athe romas of apricot and ginger. Fresh, fun, and easy to drink.

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