To get a true taste of luxury, visiting Eldorado Road’s newly expanded Beechworth cellar door and cantina is a destination to underline on your itinerary’s list. A tasting of their ultra premium wines, local and imported artisan cheeses and charcuterie presents a gourmand’s dream, all delivered effortlessly in a relaxed and somewhat micro storefront tastings room and courtyard eatery complete with charcoal grill.
While Beechworth is well known for its granitic soils, steep hillsides and elevation, Eldorado Road’s vineyard is situated at a lower altitude within the Beechworth foothills a few kilometres from the regional farming hamlet of Eldorado in North East Victoria. It was here that Paul Dahlenburg and Lauretta Schulz in 2008 specifically chose to cultivate vines planted in a seam of free draining red decomposed granite, loaded with granite buckshot (loose granite fragments). Their choice of site combined with Paul’s extensive cultivation and winemaking background – including production of some of Victoria’s most historically significant wines and now legacy brands – has resulted in a surprising collection of wines to sample at their Beechworth cellar door.
Working together, Paul and his son Ben have not only managed to produce an across-the-board well-balanced collection of wines – including chardonnay (using fruit from higher altitude Beechworth vineyards), old vine shiraz, durif, nero d’avola and rosé – but have also managed to perfect delicately perfumed, incredibly detailed wines that match, if not beat, other award-winning wineries of the region.
We begin our tasting with the Eldorado Road 2017 Chardonnay, made with a 50/50 blend of wild and cultivated yeast, gently whole bunch pressed and fermented on full lees in French oak barriques. This approach defines its quality, as producing differing ferments comprising layers of some complex, and some leaner, lighter-styled wine components – including a limited 20% malolactic, secondary fermented component – results in a blended wine with a finesse and delicacy that’s simply mind blowing. And no, my words aren’t over-hyping it – not by an inch. I nearly fell off my chair when tasting this wine: it’s stunning.
Eldorado Road’s Luminoso Rosé is a dedicated whole-bunch pressed wine, made in a French Provence style – this being minimal skin contact, first press and cool-fermented in barrel to retain freshness. The wine is a blend of Eldorado Road’s hero Sicilian varietal nero d’avola (40%) with fellow Italians’ sangeovese, dolcetto, plus just a hint of shiraz. This blend delivers gentle savoury aromas and a crisp palate that’s gorgeously flavoured with cherries and musk. The wine pours with that classic salmon-copper tone reminiscent of the classic Mediterranean French wines and washes down effortlessly with today’s cheese selection, among them an ultra-silky Rocamadour-style goat’s milk cheese: Cloudlet, made by The Peaks Artisan Cheesemakers, Myrtleford, Victoria.
The winery’s Beechworth cellar door is a quaint yet beautiful space featuring a long timber tastings bench, marble café tables, bentwood chairs and a cosy fireplace that warms you on entry. The cellar door space, creatively, is a family collaboration, with much of its interior design and fantastic wine accompaniment’s menu being put together by Ben Dahlenburg’s partner Ellie Stringer (ex European Group). Ellie is no stranger to matching premium wines to fabulous flavours and has curated a cheese and charcuterie list that’s so good you’ll drop Instagramming to indulge in the food only to realise you’re missing out on the wine.
The house-marinated mixed olives are as spectacular as the locally baked breads by Silver Creek Sourdough (Beechworth) and Milawa Bread, offered on differing bake days. We found it difficult to choose between local cheeses like Tolpuddle’s ultra fresh, silky goat’s curd or a French classic like comté with its subtle nutty flavours. The La Boqueria Petit Fuet (Sydney’s Spanish Charcuteria) was a wise choice, being spicy little numbers packed with flavour – hard for meat lovers to stop eating. And umami assault continued to the last bites with an opened tin of Ortiz’s aged Spanish anchovies sealing the deal – just the perfect thing to lay across those freshly torn chunks of sourdough baguette.
In terms of luxury drinking, Eldorado Road excels with its reds. The 2016 Nero d’Avola – rare to Australia – grows well in Aussie soils if planted to its specific requirements. It features gorgeous elevated candy apple aromas weighted with savoury tones – bay leaf, sage, oregano – that make the wine just so food friendly. The 2016 Old Vine Shiraz is a surprise elegant affair, lighter in weight than other historic brands that push for the big, bold old school Australian jammy flavours. This wine sees less oak contact in winemaking thanks to maturation in large oak puncheons. The result is a delicately styled wine that brings together premium cherry-chocolate fruit flavours with soft, powdery tannins. It drinks just like a Northern Rhône French Syrah; and like Eldorado Road’s cool climate 2017 Onyx Durif weighing in at a mere 13.3% alcohol volume, is a smartly restrained palate-weighted affair.
Some of life’s most memorable experiences are etched in our minds due to strong sensory inputs. At Eldorado Road cellar door, texture, aroma, taste and other emotive elements all come together to deliver layers of softly unfolding, continued steps of unbridled pleasure. There can be no greater luxury.
Cellar Door Open: 11am-7pm Friday to Saturday; 11am-4pm Sunday
48 Ford St, Beechworth, Victoria
Tel 0400 035 659