It’s not often The Pop Inn team get to enjoy the weekend away from work (although we are lucky we love what we do!) but over the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, we took some time out to visit the local wineries, winemakers and explore the region.
The day was a great opportunity for some team bonding. A prime example of this was when Isaac, our resident Instagram model, revealed he had actually studied viticulture at school! Surprisingly only mentioning it the day before our winery trip.
As many of you know, The Pop Inn is a big supporter of local wines, so top of the list to visit were our favourites Gallagher, Sholto and Three Lads. We also got a sneak preview of the fantastic upcoming wines from Crowe Wines and took the opportunity to explore some new favourites - Dionysus and Granitevale.
We rolled across the border into NSW in the car affectionately known by the team as ‘Bessy’. This was also a rare day off for Bessy who is usually lugging around a 3.2 tonne pop-up bar. In this particular weekend she was filled with an excited and eager crew ready to explore Murrumbateman.
Straight from the barrel
Our first stop was to visit Bill Crowe - one third of the Three Lads, and an accomplished wine maker. We tasted straight from the barrels as Bill explained to us the intricacies and complexities of making wine. We learnt about the processes winemakers use to influence the style and use the grapes to make the best expression of their wine. While everything we tasted was not yet ready for the bottle, stay tuned for new releases from Three Lads and Crowe Wines on our menu.
Our next stop was Dionysus where we got some excellent food pairing tips from Wendy at the Cellar Door. We also met some gorgeous pups who kept us entertained as we tasted a fantastic Shiraz Viognier and Tempranillo. The Gamay was also a team favourite.
Onward we ventured to Gallagher Wines where we had the best sparkling and camembert pairing in the Southern Hemisphere. Those familiar with The Pop Inn menu know we love the Duet (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay) and Greg Gallagher is well known for his exceptional sparklings.
The 2017 Gallagher Riesling won World’s Best Riesling at the International Riesling Challenge last year as well as Best Dry Riesling and Best Canberra Riesling. Sadly, you won’t find this at the Cellar Door as it was all snapped up very quickly. The Pop Inn team were fortunate to squirrel away some of the 2017 Riesling early on, so we can assure you it is amazing if you ever have the chance to try it. We can’t wait to see what the 2018 vintage brings!
The Pop Inn
Our afternoon continued with Jacob Carter - maker of Sholto Wines, whose Sangiovese and Fume Blanc are legendary. We can’t wait to share the new releases on our menu when they are out, but in the meantime, you can find the Sholto 2016 Barbera as a regular feature on our menu.
Our last stop for the day was the cosy fireplace at Granitevale where we greeted by more dogs eager for pats. The team top-pick here was the Shiraz Sangiovese. We were also intrigued by the sweet wine made in the style of an ice wine. After a great day of wine tasting the team took a minute to recline into the big comfy lounges at Grantievale and take in some Antiques Roadshow.
Before the day ended, we were warmly welcomed to Maddie’s house in Murrumbateman where her lovely parents treated us to a generous smorgasbord of cheese and meats as we debriefed on the days’ adventures.
As Canberrans, we are very lucky to have such an amazing wine region right on our door step. At every stop our hosts were generous with their time and knowledge, which made the experience engaging, insightful and so much fun. As a team, we laughed, we bonded and learnt so much more about the wines we sell and the people behind them.
A big thank you to all the wineries we visited for sharing your time, your wines and your stories. We will be back!
Next time you visit The Pop Inn, ask our team for their top tips on local wines.