The excitement of the festive season is now over — the Christmas bling has gone back into the cupboard and the flurry of family fun and social celebrations from last month have been replaced with the monotonous ho-hum of regular life, as things go back to normal for another year. If the post-holiday gloom has left you with a bad case of the ‘Bah-humbugs’, then it might be time to consider a weekend getaway, and a day trip to a family-friendly Canberra winery is definitely a good choice!
Nestled in a picturesque verdant haven of Wamboin, between the city and Lake George, Contentious Character Wines is close enough for a great day out but distant enough to feel as though you’re getting away from it all. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be enchanted by the overall character of the winery’s location and natural timber surrounds, which gives a warm first impression. The stylish interior of the on-site restaurant boasts traditional decor dotted with modern fittings and plenty of natural light. Whether you choose to enjoy a tipple and a meal on the nice cool verandah or indoors, you’ll enjoy the sweeping views all the way to the Snowy Mountains.
Speaking of enjoying things, the food is… Oh wow! With a wide selection of gourmet delights made on-site, you can enjoy a leisurely lunch, brunch or dinner fit for royalty. Chef Tom weaves his skills into every Aussie/Italian dish with enduring perfection, ensuring that all the mouth-watering anticipation results in satisfied grins. Their house specialty – wood-fired dishes and charcuterie – includes two tasty varieties of pizza; Verde (a tangy delight of green vegetables, goats cheese and pesto) and Manzo (a delicious combo of Australian bresaola, parmesan and aged balsamic). For a meal that makes you relive those warm childhood hugs from your favourite nanna, their free range pork belly with apple, celeriac and potato – as well as their Bellmount Forest lamb ragu with fresh pasta – will do the trick. If you’re a sweet-tooth, you may begin to suspect that the desserts on offer – such as the brown sugar blondie with salted caramel ice cream, milk chocolate semifreddo or cherry pavlova with Amaretto cream – are designed as a clever tactic to ensure you return again and again. Then there’s aged cheeses, vegetable chips, olives, house preserves, fresh breads, fresh fruit and so much more, including kid-friendly, gluten-free, vegetarian or dairy-free options.
Obviously, the star of any winery visit is the wines themselves, and Contentious Character have excelled in their winemaking craftsmanship in the one year they’ve been in business. Their award-winning selection of red, white and sparkling wines are symbiotic – melding traditional varietals with a contemporary flair. There’s a variety for every discerning palate; however, a special mention goes to the 2015 unoaked Pinot Gris, with its perfectly balanced flavours of pear and stone fruit creating a mellow-yet-spritely white that goes with anything. The 2016 lightly oaked variety is equally sublime. For a bolder move, try the 2015 Pinot Noir – a light-yet-flavourful red with a fruity fragrance and a subtle mint aftertaste. Amongst their founder’s old-vine range (pre-2015 Lambert Wines range), you’ll find a star in the deliciously rich 3 x award winning 2004 Chardonnay. If wine’s not your thing, you’ll also find a selection of craft beers, soft drinks and juices, as well as tea and coffee.
This magical location offers a feast for the eyes that’s only topped by the delights on offer for your taste buds. Contentious Character is located at 810 Norton Road, Wamboin – 30km east of Canberra and within easy reach of the Federal Highway and Canberra Airport. They are open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm for meals, wine tasting and vineyard tours. Doors are now open for Friday night dinners, with happy hour from 5 pm – 7 pm. Bookings aren’t required unless you’re a large group, but the team can be contacted for bookings or other enquiries on (02) 6238 3830 or by emailing email@example.com
Have you beaten the post-holiday gloom in the past by participating in any Canberra wine tastings or Canberra region wine tours? Tell us about your experiences by commenting below.
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