A couple of hours away from Sydney, surrounded by the beauty of grape vines, lies Keith Tulloch Wine.
Founded in 1997, Keith and Amanda Tulloch began making their own wines, out of love and for those who appreciated wine as much as they do. You won’t find their wines in store, as they’re made in small batches, without compromise on quality or taste.
Named ‘The Field of Mars’, the vineyard estate was acquired in 2007, designed entirely by Keith’s wife Amanda and completed in 2011. Consisting of the Cellar Door, the Winery, the Cocoa Nib Chocolate Shop and Muse Kitchen, one of the few restaurants in the Hunter Valley region to receive the envied Good Food Guide Chef’s Hat.
Kindly invited by Nancy Georges of Magnolia Solutions to spend the day at Keith Tulloch Wine – learning how the wines are produced, drinking exceptionally amazing Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiras; and eating fine food from Muse Kitchen that is locally grown.
After two and a half hours on the road, chit-chatting with other lovers of food & wine on a bus, we arrive. A two minute intro and we dwell into the vineyard and the winery.
Assisting his father at Keith Tulloch Wine, is Alisdair Tulloch. Both father and son explain to us that the grapevines are very hardy plants, similar to olive trees, growing in arad environments. Planted in 1969, the vines are planted the right width for tractor passage, they are the correct height for hand working, hand picking, to prune them and to tend them.
Lift wires are embedded between the vines to train the foliage to grow up, keeping the fruits in the sunlight, helping it to ripen up and develop the colour and flavour for great quality wine. Keith states that machines are no way involved in vine growing process due to its fragility and matured age.
The winery was built and completed in September 2011, made for small batch premium fruit production. Everything they produce goes through Cellar Door, restaurants, and international buyers. The use of precisely controlled elements is required to make perfect wine without comprise to its quality.
Keith quickly demonstrates how the grapes are separated from their stems and pressed. Grapes are picked by hand, brought into the winery. Picking begins at 6am and finish around 11am, just before the temperature reaches about 28-30c degrees. Ideal picking temperature is 15-20c, keeping it nice and cool. Once the grape bins are filled, they are sent into the winery and tipped into the Destemmer.
The Destemmer separates the grapes from the stem, sending stalks to one direction and the fruit into another direction into a crusher underneath the machine. Once the grapes have passed through, it gets pumped into the Tank Press where they’re pressed delicately with huge airbags, juiced and filtered through slots and finally pumped into barrels to begin the fermentation process from juice to wine.
Keith Tulloch Wine holds 350 oak barrels and they range in sizes, from 60L to 600L. The size effects the surface to wood volume ratio and changes the way the wine reacts and develops. Mixing, experimenting and trials are done to get the most complex but elegant layering of oak flavour. Each barrel is of the highest quality, priced about $1500 each, lasting almost 5 years. The ratio of oak in the wines made stays the same, offering a balance of complexity, and a sense of influence of wood that doesn’t change from one vintage to another.
After an intriguing and thought-provoking wine lesson, we made our way up to the Cellar Door Tasting Lounge, ready to devour an incredible feast cooked by the wonderful chefs over at Muse Kitchen.
The menu, ‘Nancy’s Spring Lunch at the Vineyard’, is inspired by the locally grown produce and perfectly paired with a variety of Keith Tulloch Wine’s.
We began with a plate full of Warm Hunter Valley Olives tossed through an invitingly tasty gremolata and board of soft Organic Ciabatta served warm with a side of caramelised onion and aged balsamic vinegar.
Along with a selection of flavoursome Australian Salami topped with white Anchovy, Binnorie marinated Feta, and toasted bread. This was paired with a glass of Shiraz, Forres Blend.
Pictured above is the Pork, Raisin and Pistachio Terrine with dijon, corniche and croute. The crunchiness of the pistachio adds a deliciously contrasting dimension to the pork. This was paired together with a shiraz.
Spring Garden Salad topped with a white wine vinaigrette paired with a crispy Chardonnay.
The Potted Duck Liver Pate with berry and red wine jelly spread onto toasted bread won my heart over. Devouring almost three quarters of the pot, the pate had a magical soft and smooth texture topped with an out of this world berry and red wine jelly. This has forever left a mark on my tastebuds.
A day spent with new friends filling up on exceptional wine and devouring mouthwatering dishes, made this a fantastic and memorable experience, emphasising that Keith Tulloch Wines is a must-visit destination in the Hunter Valley.
A thank you to Keith and his wife Amanda, their son Alisdair and Daughter Jessica, Keith’s father Dr Harold Tulloch, all the staff of KTW and Muse Kitchen for enabling us to experience all that Keith Tulloch Wine have to offer.
Keith Tulloch Wine is located at Corner Hermitage & Deasys Roads, Polkolbin, NSW 2321 Australia.
You can book your experience at Keith Tulloch Wine by calling (02) 4998 7500