Ever since my wife bought a book about Jervis Bay (about 6 years ago) she wanted to go there and explore. This year we allocated two days of the extra long weekend for such trip and chose to spend the night in Coolangatta Estate. I think of it as a winery which offers accommodation and dining. A guy who was drinking beer in their restaurant probably thought of it as a pub with some overpriced house wines. I visited their cellar door before and found their wines nice but not special. However it was the first time ever when I stayed at a winery, so I didn’t know what to expect: drunken parties throughout the night? People knocking on the cellar door at 3 am and asking for more?
That remained to be seen, but right after arrival we went to the local restaurant for a lunch. There I confirmed my long-standing belief, let’s call it Vlad’s Law of Australian Hospitality: the further away from a state capital, the bigger the portions. Having studied the menu I was pondering whether I wanted a standard half-rack of pork ribs or I was hungry enough for a whole one. I decided to start with the standard option and, boy, was I glad I did it! Usually most of the meat is cut away from the ribs and you spend more energy extracting meat fibres from between them than you acquire from consuming the obtained protein. That half-rack had more meat on top of it than some of the steaks I ordered in restaurants.
Now about the overpriced house wines – in the restaurant they were actually the same price as at the conveniently co-located cellar door. The customers, who wanted to order a bottle, were encouraged to go to the cellar door and buy one. There they were met by an experienced lady who, just by looking at a customer, could immediately tell if the said customer wanted a cooled bottle of sparkling and if he wanted it opened on the spot. That actually happened during my visit to the cellar door and left me duly impressed by the lady’s powers of observation.
Sure enough, I paid a visit to the cellar door and didn’t leave it empty-handed. Interestingly, my choice was rather non-traditional for me. For one thing, I bought a sparkling wine which I had never done before at cellar doors. This time I fancied tasting a 7-years old sparkling wine which was kept on lees for 4 years – Estate Grown CJB Sparkling Chardonnay 2009. The wine appeared to tick all the boxes in my sparkling wine checklist – it was not sour, it was brut and it had nice bitterness from the lees. Just from tasting I could not tell if the bitterness would be too much when I drink the whole bottle, but finding this out was a good reason to buy one. I also bought Estate Grown Verdelho 2015 and Estate Grown Alexander Berry Chardonnay 2014. The latter was again an unusual choice as I don’t like the Chardonnay’s varietal taste. The Coolangatta’s version, however, didn’t have much of it, but had a noble vanilla flavour from oak – either that, or I have started warming to that variety.