We had every intention of going to the Orange Picnic Races, truly we did. But it’s 35 degrees out there, and Dad said for the twenty buck entry fee each we’d be better off going to a couple of vineyards and scoring some great bottles of plonk.
It’s about here where you can probably tell that genius runs in the family.
The Mountain Run wine tour
Moving onto other excellent ideas, we chose the The Mountain Run winery tour of Orange for exploration, which takes in Borrodell Vineyard, Ross Hill Wines and Brangayne of Orange. Firstly, because these are all top notch cellar doors, and secondly because it’s cooler up on the mountain.
Borrodell Vineyard + cellar door
Borrodell has one of the best views of the rolling hills of the Towac Valley and Mount Canobolas, so if it’s a scenic cellar door you’re after, this is it. It also has a fantastic restaurant, Sister’s Rock, overlooking the Pinot Noir block in the valley boasting inspiring views and a super convenient helipad on the grass concourse alongside the restaurant.
Folks, I am a big fan of a vineyard restaurant with a helipad. Could there be anything better? (check out my previous post on Racine Restaurant at La Colline vineyard).
Back to Borrodell, it has marvellous cottage accommodation (more here on that from the Sydney Morning Herald) and is one of the most popular spots for weddings – they were setting up for one when we dropped in. Yes, yes, yes, but what about the wines I hear you say – well, they speak for themselves. A 3 star rating for the Borodell Sparkling Wine 2009 from WineState Magazine and James Halliday rated it a 4.5 star vineyard in his 2010 Wine Companion.
After this, a nice winding drive around the charming country lanes of Towac Valley will bring you to the Ross Hill and Brangayne cellar doors – almost directly opposite each other. How convenient.
Ross Hill Wines vineyard + cellar door
Ross Hill Wines was declared ‘the toast of the town’ at the 2013 annual Orange Wine Show, and James Halliday seems to agree with the verdict, giving the vineyard a 5 red stars rating in his 2014 Wine Companion. He’s also rated the 2012 Pinnacle Chardonnay in Australia’s Top 12, while Sydney Morning Herald’s Huon Hooke rates it in Australia’s Top 10.
To be honest, the high class Pinnacle Series is lovely, but we preferred the more reasonably priced Family Series. It looks like others do too, because the 2012 Ross Hill Maya & Max Chardonnay was sold out. So we bought a 2013 Ross Hill Jessica & Lily Sauvignon Blanc.
Brangayne of Orange vineyard + cellar door
Over the road at Brangayne the vineyard is charming, and the wines even more charming. This is a vineyard of choice for me, and The Italian out of curiosity wanted to know why I adore it so much. I like its ethos more than anything, basing its brand on the legend of Tristan + Isolde and the supremacy of love. swoon.
Of course, the wine is also marvellous. The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc took the Silver Medal at the Australian Cool Climate Wine Show, the 2013 Riesling was given a 4.5 star rating from WineState Magazine and the 2011 Isolde Reserve Chardonnay received a Gold Medal at the 2013 Boutique Wine Awards and a Silver Medal at the 2013 Le Concours des Vins du NSW wineshow. We thought the divinely buttery 2013 Chardonnay (Lightly Oaked) was actually slighter better for our palates, and better value on our shoestring budget.
My itinerary add-ons
So there you have it, The Mountain Run tour of Orange NSW. If I were you, I’d start at The Lakehouse at Lake Canobolas for a coffee before reaching the Borrodell cellar. Following your first wine tasting you could stop by Fiorini’s Ristorante Italiano (a veritable #localsecret) for lunch, and take another coffee break at Miss Daisy’s Teahouse at the foot of Mount Canobolas as you wind your way towards Ross Hill and Brangayne. Or you could do the whole tour in reverse if you like.
DECLARATION: It might be obvious that we only tried the whites at all of these vineyards. It’s summer, it’s too hot for reds. And it gives us a great excuse to go back and do it all over again in Autumn.
and postscript: Fiorini’s is only open for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and dinner on Friday and Saturdays. You’ll find them on the corner of Canobolas Road and Lake Canobolas Road, it’s BYO and call to book on 02 6365 3863. You’re welcome.