Murrumbateman Moving Feast 2014

5 Oct

Canberra’s wineries do a darn good job at promoting themselves and making it easy for Canberrans and visitors alike to visit them – and to want to visit them. One such way they do this is the Murrumbateman Moving Feast held over Saturday and Sunday over the October long weekend, where wineries in the Murrumbateman region – a short drive north of Canberra – charge $20 for a home-baked main matched with a glass of wine, or $15 for a dessert (also matched, usually with a dessert wine). You don’t have to have your main and dessert at the same venue; indeed, you’re encouraged to sample different offerings at different wineries, and the tastings are – as usual – free.

Armed with my own tips from last year, at midday on Saturday we set out with a fair idea of where we want to go, having perused the online menu and map.

Our first stop is Eden Road Wines.  Today they’re putting on a duo of sliders matched with either a Pinot Noir or Shiraz. The sliders are made courtesy of high-end Canberra restaurant The Artisan, which I adore. It’s busy, with a large group inside doing tastings, all the cooking happening outside (fresh!), and plenty of people enjoying the sun around tables of wine barrels.

Pinot (front) and Shiraz (back) in the lovely gardens at Eden Road Wines

They’ve also got a petanque/boules set-up and a super-sized game of Jenga happening to keep adults and kids alike entertained.

The sliders are pork jowl and gruyere croquette with piccalilli and apple slaw, and a Riverina bavette (steak) with blue cheese and Shiraz and onion jam. While small (as sliders go), they are packed full with flavour and easy to eat. I could easily have a few more.

Sliders and wine – a winning combination!

But other meals at other wineries tempt us, so regrettably we leave Eden Road and pop quite literally just across the highway to Murrumbateman Winery. They’re dishing up a crispy skin ocean trout on a potato colcannon (similar to a mash) with matelote (fish?) and creme fraiche sauce. It’s matched with their 2014 Pinot Gris. While it’s a little wait for this one, we enjoy the shade and a glass of water. The trout is a touch overcooked, but the skin is truly crispy and it’s a delicious flavour combination, and marries beautifully with the wine. Again, I could have another of these.

Crispy skin ocean trout on potato colcannon

We’re sufficiently sated to agree on a dessert choice: the dark berry cigars with chocolate ganache dipping sauce at Gallagher Wines. This is a little further away, putting us back on the highway towards Canberra, then taking a right turn at Kaveneys Road to meet with Dog Trap Road. Gallagher Wines has some of the best wines in the region, and produce an extraordinary labneh (some of the best I’ve had). While there we purchase a black truffle labneh, and settle in their courtyard with a matching glass of chilled Sparkling Merlot as we await our desserts.

Dark berry cigars with dark chocolate ganache dipping sauce

Cigars are basically like spring rolls with a more delicate pastry and – in this case – a fruity dessert. While it’s packed with delicious minced berries which are tasty on their own, it’s not quite a strong enough match for the equally tasty but very powerful dark chocolate ganache dipping sauce. However, the Sparkling Merlot works perfectly and a glass of wine and dessert like this is great value for $15. We leave satisfied.

… but figure we can fit in one more winery. We’re “reasonably” close to Long Rail Gully Wines – home of the delicious sticky date pudding we enjoyed last year – and figure it’s just a short drive north again along Dog Trap Road to Long Rail Gully Road to get there. Well, not really. The drive is a bit of a pain along quite a windy dirt road, and it seems it would have been quicker to hit the highway again and go around that way. Still, we get there in one piece and take a seat in their large and bustling shed. The sticky date pudding is a replica of last year’s and just as good, and we’re encouraged to try out the wines before deciding on our glass. While the Pinot Noir was my pick last year, the Pinot Gris surprises me as a delicious match to the caramel gooeyness and cream.

Sticky date pudding with cream and ice cream with Pinot Gris

With that, we’re well and truly done – and it’s been a successful day. We started out early, and we knew (largely) what we wanted and where we were going. One thing to keep in mind is that each winery is slightly different, including with the serving sizes of the wines, and what wines to match. While many advertised one or two matching wines, two of the four wineries we visited allowed us to choose a different wine beyond that (if we so wanted).

Overall, a very satisfying day out.

Date: Saturday, 4 October 2014

Cost: $20 per main, $15 per dessert, each matched with a glass of wine

Value for money: High

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Download the brochure here or see my tips from last year here.

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4 Responses to “Murrumbateman Moving Feast 2014”

  1. Gary Lum (@garydlum) October 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    Looks great Tara. We’ve just come home from a day in Bowral.

    • inthetaratory October 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

      Sounded like you had the perfect day in Bowral, Gary!

  2. CBR bound October 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    More great tips, thanks. I think they missed a trick with the name — if they’d gone for Murrumbateman Moving Meal, the acronym would have been Mmm, which seems more appropriate from your descriptions.

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