I like wine. No, wait, I love wine.
I can still remember my days as a fan of vodka and alcopops, when the suggestion of wine (or coffee) was both considered ‘old’ and far too posh for the likes of me. But then I grew up, discovered the subtle joys of holding a wine glass and I was forever transformed. Whether it’s a champagne flute or a full goblet – I’ll even drink wine out of jam jars – if someone offers me the fruits of a vineyard, who am I to decline?
Which is why I was so excited to be invited to lunch at Jack Rabbit Vineyard this past weekend. There would of course be wine, but also a wine area I was not familiar with – the Bellarine. Having grown up in the vicinity of the Yarra Valley, there are many other regions I am yet to explore. My eyes were open.
And they saw the most lovely views, from the Bellarine back to Melbourne CBD. Across to the You Yangs. Further around to Geelong. The vines were magnificent in their Autumn glory, and the cliffs and rolling paddocks that stretched for as far as the eye can see had me falling in love with Jack Rabbit before I’d even taken a sip of wine.
We were met by Lyndsay whose passion for wine was clearly evident in the way she spoke and educated us while conducting the tasting. This was no ‘try this and take a sip’ tasting. This was going to be an experience. After explaining the heritage of the estate, Lyndsay started with the Jack Rabbit Single Vineyard Sparkling Blanc de Blanc. Fancy name, fancier wine. This was my favourite and why I’m going to go on about it for at least a paragraph.
This sparkling could be the best I’ve tasted – and I’ve drunk champagne in France. It’s fab. The tasting notes describe it as a sophisticated cool climate sparkling displaying delightful citrus sorbet palate and delicate yeast characters. I describe it as the perfect accompaniment to anything you are doing that requires a drink. Yummy.
We moved through the Moscato, Sav Blanc, Pinot Grigio ad Riesling (the Chardonnay was sold out!) and then onto the reds – a Rose, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cab Shiraz. The Merlot also enjoys being sold out – clearly a favourite.
It’s not often you will like an entire range from one winery but suffice to say I pretty much bought the entire collection and happily moved into the dining room to enjoy a well earned lunch (feeling slightly tipsy after all those tastings!)
The food was just as amazing as the wine, and I ordered the Thai Beef Salad, together with a glass of the Pinot Grigio on Lyndsay’s recommendation. I wasn’t disappointed and as the sun shone above us, we thoroughly enjoyed every minute we sat on the deck at Jack Rabbit House.
The winery is currently rebuilding their restaurant space and hope to open a 120 seat restaurant and function space in November. Whether you take the chopper down the coast or arrive via the meandering country lane, Jack Rabbit Wines is definitely worth a visit. I’m already planning my next trip to the Bellarine, perhaps even to enjoy their weekend breakfast!
I can have sparking wine with toast and eggs, right?