date of visit: Saturday 18 June 2016
Ahhhhhh, group buying. Something that can be a brilliant way of getting you out of the house and doing stuff … or just a brilliant way of parting you and your money.
I have a rough rule that I don’t buy another voucher til the previous one is used. There is a bit of flexibility there but generally I find it’s a good way of ensuring I actually use them and thus not wasting the money.
We’ve headed to a couple of cellar doors using vouchers and they’ve all worked out well. Tilbrook Estate was the first voucher I’ve purchased where the food included was more substantial than a cheese plate. For our $29 we were to receive a wine tasting (Tilbrook Estate normally charges $5 a head for this), an entree platter and one pizza. And a bottle of Red Sofa wine to take home. Considering the wine retails just under $20 you’re ahead on this kind of deal before you even turn up.
Booking was all done over email (which I love!) and James – owner and winemaker – was very clear about how to get to the winery which was particularly useful due to some roadworks around Lobethal. The cellar door is in Lobethal’s Old Woollen Mill so it’s not pretty, there’s no bucolic view over the vines – instead, you feel like you are in a winery’s engine room. The tasting area is tiny – so booking in through a voucher deal is ideal – and the tables for eating are surrounded by fermenters and winery equipment.
We arrived just as the couple before us was finishing their tasting which was perfect timing. The line up is typical Adelaide Hills varieties – things like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz (sorry, Syrah!). I’m not going to give you a detailed break down on the wines – I thought the whites looked better than the reds, and the Sauvignon Blanc which had seen some oak retained its grassiness. The Chardonnay, recently scored highly by Halliday, had been open a bit too long (something even James acknowledged) which was a shame as it wasn’t showing as well as it could have.
After our tasting, we opted for the winemaker’s pizza (topped with all the meats) and bought a bottle of Pinot to have with our food (remember – South Australia’s licensing laws mean that what you don’t finish you can take with you).
While waiting for the pizza we enjoyed our platter. Master 5 – who refuses to eat pizza – ate most of the platter but shared a little with us. The dip was delicious – skordalia-like and loaded with garlic. The almonds and olives were warm, and the two hams were lovely (Master 5 polished off the smoked salmon before we got a look-in).
Our pizza (cooked in the outdoor pizza oven) then arrived. It was pretty good! The topping outstripped the base which was a bit doughy for me. I loved the use of fresh tomato and the cheese, meats and fresh basil were a great combination. I love pizzas which remind me that you don’t need to put 300 toppings on them!
We left well fed and watered and overall quite impressed with the experience. Given that we’d paid just $29 for the experience it was definitely good value. If you do head up to Lobethal – bear in mind that the cellar door is tiny and this is pretty much a micro-business. Many tiny brands simply don’t have the capacity for running a cellar door, so hats off to James for making it work.
1 Lobethal Road
phone: 08 8389 5318