Winery Review – Lake George Winery by Brent Lello, Yass Valley Times Wine Columnist

Lake George is a mysterious place.  Stories abound of UFOs, lake monsters, and its water draining to other parts of the globe, all form part of the intrigue of this area.  For many years, the area was just a flat plain of pasture paddocks, but with the recent rains, George is once again rightly prefixed by “Lake”, and it’s great to see.  I would say though, that each time I have driven along the Federal Highway, I had spent more time wondering about the wineries that are as visible from the highway than to the lake itself.  The wondering and pondering got the better of me and I decided I needed to find out more, and I’m very pleased I did.

The cellar door at Lake George Winery is amazing.  Stepping down the stairs is like stepping back in time and opens up into a wonderful room that seemingly grabs you by the arm and leads and entices you to a memorable tasting experience. 

The private cellar is an amazing link to times past where you can view dust-laden bottles of wonderful wines of the past, including many going back to the early 1990’s.  I’m invited to taste by the lovely and engaging Olivia, who informs me of the significant history of the winery and specific details of the terroir of the vineyard.  It is clear that Olivia is passionate about the winery’s wares and loves her job.  Her enthusiasm is infectious as she leads me through an informative, entertaining, and memorable tasting experience.  One of the winemakers – Matt – also weighed in with his expert explanations on the winemaking techniques involved, adding another layer to the story behind the wines.  

Here is what we tried:

Riesling 2022 – aromas of lemon and lime zest along with fragrant citrus blossoms.  Racy flavours of fresh lemon and lime juice with a back note of honeydew melon.  Salt and pepper prawns with chilli for me with this.

Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2022 – tropical fruit aromas of passionfruit, freshly cut green apple and grapefruit with bright, vibrant flavours with a beguiling lift of green herbs.  Just the trick with grilled South Coast snapper fillets with lemon, butter and caper sauce.

Chardonnay 2021 – aromas of freshly cut white peach and hot buttered toast lead to a lovely, weighted wine on the palate with flavours of ripe peach, a hint of tropical melon and a dollop of vanilla.  Roast chicken with honey mustard sauce.

Pinot Gris 2022 – freshly cut ripe pear and red delicious apple aromas with crunchy pear and apple flavours with a lovely lick of food-friendly acidity and a lingering finish.  Fresh prawns with garlic aioli.

Rose 2021– picture perfect pink in a glass. Aromas and flavours of ripe raspberry and red cherry.  Chill down and wind down with this on a hot summer evening.

Eloise Rose – aromas and flavours of ruby grapefruit and strawberry with lingering tang of acidity.  Grilled salmon with sweet chilli glaze.

Pinot Noir 2021 – aromas of macerated ripe cherries with background notes of forest floor with a lovely light yet firm palate and a lingering finish.  Try this with Confit duck and cherry sauce.

Shiraz Viognier 2019 – full frontal aromas of black cherry and ripe blackberry with freshly cracked white pepper and a fragrant floral lift of violets.  I’m thinking this with a slowly braised, peppery beef stew.

Tempranillo 2021 – aromas and flavours of deeply ripened plum and black cherry with a lovely lick of vanilla and a silky-smooth finish.  Keep it Spanish with chargrilled chorizo sausage with shaved Manchego cheese.

Botrytis Semillon 2000 – superb golden hues in the glass with aromas of cumquat marmalade and burnt orange with lively acidity and lovely length.  Crepe Suzette please.

Lake George Winery – Private Cellar of Historical Wines

While the wine wares appropriately take centre stage at Lake George Winery, there are other threads woven into the experience tapestry too.  The “Westering” restaurant is inspiring and overlooks the adjacent lake’s Northern shore and to the Eastern side ranges beyond.  There are two and three-course lunch options with wine pairings to elevate your gourmet experience.  Events are catered for, and what a superb location for something special.  Accommodation is available in sustainable tiny-house style units situated throughout the vineyard, so not only can you eat in and drink in the experience, you can relax, immerse and sleep amongst the vineyards too.  They also offer a “Vine to Wine” journey as well, with the owner – Sarah – taking punters on a tour of the vineyard and then heading into the cellar door, true grape-to-glass stuff. Sarah also pointed out they are dog friendly at Lake George Winery.

So, next time you are headed to the coast, maybe take a little detour, or if you are headed to or back from Sydney, take the time to make the stop along the way.  While the lake may be mysterious, the winery of the same name is not.  What you see is what you get at Lake George Winery, and it’s all good…very good.