There really is no greater match for the humble (yet delicious) Roast Chicken than a glass of Chardonnay. Perhaps the reason we love Roast Chicken so much is so we can have it regularly with our Yellow Label Chardonnay.
When it comes to Roast Chicken there are so many ways to prepare your chook so it is moist and tender. Personally I love to slow roast my chicken, it means that I can pop it on early in the afternoon and then go about my business and it just always means that you have a lovely juicy roast chicken at dinner time. But hey, anyway it comes to me I’m happy – just as long as I can have a glass of Chardonnay with it.
The reason that Roast Chicken and Chardonnay are a match made in heaven is their complimentary flavours – the elegant simplicity of a roast chicken with herbs and garlic (my favourite) is a perfect foil for the more complex and rich flavours of our Yellow Label Chardonnay.
The only thing I do recommend when choosing your roast chicken as that you buy a free range and preferably organic chicken. We are really lucky here in the Hunter Valley to have the Nulkaba Hatchery where I get our poultry from – looking for a sustainably produced chicken does make a huge difference to the flavour of the chicken, so I really recommend you pay a few extra dollars and buy that Free Range chicken.
Here is my all-time favourite recipe for a Slow Roasted Chicken with Thyme and Garlic originally a Donna Hay recipe.
Whatever seasonal vegies you can find are a great side dish for this roast and in Summer we enjoy it with a salad.
The Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Awards isn’t just about the people of our community – the Hunter Valley Heritage Award acknowledges landmarks of historical importance that has influenced or significantly contributed to the Hunter Valley Wine Industry.
Some of these have been physical landmarks others have been a nod to the importance of printed works such as labels.
Over the past years the following landmarks and heritage works have been awarded the Hunter Valley Heritage Award:
2009 Uncle Dan's Hut at Tyrrell's Wines: Uncle Dan's Hut is a slab hut built in what is now the entrance to the Tyrrell's winery carpark, but was originally built back around 1858 when the property was first settled. If these walls could talk I'm sure they would speak of the amazing determintation, passion and hard work of Edward Tyrrell all those years ago.
Edward Tyrrell's Slab Hut. A reminder of 5 generations of hard work http://www.tyrrells.com.au/
2010 Drayton's Old Winery + Audrey Wilkinson Vineyards 'Old Vats':
The sixth generation Drayton family has proudly been making wine in Pokolbin for over 150 years. The original winery has been preserved within the new winery.
The Wilkinson family were pioneers of the Australian Winemaking Industry first acquiring their property in Pokolbin in 1866. Audrey was known to use leading edge technology for the time which included these original vats. You can see these vats at the Audrey Wilkinson Museum today.
The 'Old Vats'at Audrey Wilkinson Museum, now proudly own by the Agnew Family. https://www.audreywilkinson.com.au/
2011 The Ben Ean Winery 'Old Still House’ and Mount Pleasant Winery Maurice O’Shea labels:
The Original origin of the 'Old Stillhouse' is not known exactly but was thought to be built by the McDonalds family from whom Lindeman's bought their vineyard and winery.
The Stillhouse still found today at Lindeman's in the Hunter Valley
The Maurice O'Shea Mount Pleasant labels have a place in our heart here in the Hunter Valley as Maurice O'Shea is synonymous with the great Hunter Valley wines of character and distinction and of course Maurice was a pioneer in the region. The labels were very unique for their time always personally named after a friend, a grower or a specific vineyard - a traditional which still continues to this day.
2012 Tulloch Wines Pokolbin Dry Red Label: The Pokolbin Dry Red label was first used by Hector Tulloch in 1952 and enjoyed a reputation in the 1950's and 60's as a premium red wine of Australia and helped cement the Pokolbin area as producing reputable red table wines. The label was relaunched to much acclaim by Jay and Christina Tulloch in the late 1990's.
A few bottles of the Pokolbin Dry Red which is once again enjoying renewed interest from long term devotees and newcomers http://www.tullochwines.com/
These Heritage cairns all help to make up the wonderfully diverse and historical Hunter Valley wine growing region. Why don't you give them a visit when you are next in the Hunter Valley - they make a great and interesting break in between wine tasting and will give you a little more insight into the Hunter Valley and our rich history.
The Cairn erected at Tyrrells. You will find these at all the heritage sites.
The mother hen, chief cook, gardener, cellar door manager and so much more. Merralea defines the hard work ethic behind the Scarborough business. Originally from South Australia, she moved to the Hunter Valley in the 70s. with her husband Ian.
Merralea in the early days in the Hunter Valley
In the early 1980’s Merralea opened the first and now famous Peppers Guest House in the Hunter Valley and managed the guest house until the drive to build her own business with Ian became too strong.
In the mid 1980’s Ian and Merralea owned a mobile filtration business which was located in Australia as well as North America. Merralea could usually be found driving a pick-up truck and running the machinery with all the boys.
Merralea in one of the many pick-up trucks in Northern California
While based in Northern California running the business and dealing with some of the big wine names in the Napa Valley, Merralea had the chance to see the experiences and wine tourism offerings not yet really seen in wine tourism in Australia.
This experience helped hone her attention to detail and she fastidiously applied this in the Scarborough cellar door.
Hunter Valley locals celebrating the opening of the original Cellar door in 1990
The original Scarborough Cellar Door on Gillards Rd opened in the early 1990’s and offered the same unique tasting experience then as it does today.
Merralea Scarborough was the woman beside the man who has built Scarborough Wine Co. from the ground up – truly a strong, pioneering woman of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Industry – a woman with a dream and passion who made it happen.
We love you Merralea. Happy Mother’s Day.
The Gillards Rd Cellar Door as it looks today
Braised chicken with peas and red wine
8 chicken thighs ( bones in and skin on)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion sliced
4 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
2 dried red chillies(seeds removed) crushed
2 carrots chopped 1cm slices
250mls Scarborough shiraz or pinot
400gm chopped canned tomatoes
150ml chicken stock
3 cups frozen peas
Preheat oven to 160.
Season chicken with sea salt
Heat oil in large heavy- based ovenproof pan with tight fitting lid. Brown chicken well on all sides, remove from pan and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic, ginger, rosemary, thyme, chilli and carrot to the pan and sauté over a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until wine is reduced by half.
Add the tomatoes including their juice, stock and the chicken. Season to taste and bring to the boil.
Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 25mins or until just cooked.
Transfer the pan uncovered to the stovetop and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer.
Add the peas and cook for a further 5mins.
Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Spoon 2 chicken thighs per person into a pasta bowls, spoon over some sauce and vegetables. Grind some pepper over the top.
Serve with soft polenta or risoni pasta.
You have to be slightly mad to start a winery. Passionate and determined as well, but to see it through with conviction takes a certain type of character. Luckily Scarbie and Merralea happened to have the requisite madness, passion and know how to get the ball rolling.It was the mid 80s, a boom time, a time of excess and wealth, the perfect time to buy a winery, but the life of a winemaker is not smooth sailing. It’s plagued with decisions, what to grow, where and when to release the first vintage. It was a modest affair from the start.
The original vineyards at Gillards were planted to Shiraz and belonged to Hungerford Hill. The Shiraz was pulled out, the vineyard bulldozed and re-configured and in its place Chardonnay was planted as well as a small amount of Pinot.
Originally the ratio of varieties was going to be 50/50 but Scarbie realised how good Chardonnay was going to be off this site, he knew it was going to offer a unique style and flavour. How right he was. Yet even they did not dare to dream about just how successful the Yellow Label was to become.
In the year leading up to the first vintage, when the vines were not quite berry-fit, the first Chardonnay grapes clung uncertainly to the vines in tiny clusters. Like a mother nurturing children Merralea painstakingly drove round the vineyard in a Volvo with a trailer full of milk crates. She picked the entire block, and Scarbie sympathetically crushed it although no wine was made.
The first vintage was in 1987 and was made in the garage at the back of what is now the cellar door, some Pinot Noir and some Chardonnay was made.
Slowly the yields grew and although in the first year only 250 dozen were produced, it grew incrementally each year. By the time the cellar door at Gillards road opened in 1990 the amount was closer to 500 dozen and from the start the Yellow Label Chardonnay was only released after three years in bottle. This has been an integral part of the Yellow label’s enduring cult success and sealing the Scarborough’s reputation as premium Chardonnay producers in the region.
As the Official Wine Partner of 2012 Sydney New Year’s Eve we’re thrilled to have our wines being poured at the Lord Mayor’s Party at the Sydney Opera House this New Year’s Eve, the Dawes Point VIP Viewing Area and Barangaroo. Over 13,000 glasses of our celebrated Hunter Valley wines, including our Yellow Label Chardonnay will be served on the night!
Our involvement with the City of Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations got us thinking abut just how much local talent surrounds us and how much there is to be proud of. It goes to the heart of what our ‘Home Grown’ ideal is all about.
Home grown is a way of life, it’s a belief and a choice. This year make your resolution count and support the amazing array of home grown talent we have on our doorstep.
As a family owned business we work closely with some fabulous local producers, restaurants and suppliers. Whether it be a boutique business, an up and coming artist or maybe just your local restaurants or wineries – there’s so much talent surrounding us and we urge you get behind those in your own backyard. Now’s the time to pledge home grown, to be proud of and actively support Australian producers.
Collectively we can make a difference by showing our active support for home grown businesses. It’s time to make home grown happen.
MAKE THE PLEDGE - visit our facebook page and actively make the choice to support more home grown talent in 2013 http://www.facebook.com/Scarboroughwine/app_460845990620916
Andy and Janet Wright have been serving up amazing food at The Cellar Restaurant in the Hunter Valley for over a decade and have recently opened a second restaurant called the Olive Tree at Wyndham Estate, Dalwood.
Their food is all about sourcing great, fresh seasonal produce and making those simple flavours the hero's. At this time of the year tomatoe's are at their best (and home grown tomatoe's just can't be beaten) and so Andy and Janet kindly shared this recipe with me - which is aptly named the Simple Buffalo Mozzarella, vine ripened tomato and basil salad.
Interestingly Buffalo mozzarella is not only tastier than ordinary mozzarella but has health benefits too. It has 58% more calcium, 40% more protein and 43% less cholesterol than cow’s milk and unlike the array of industrially produced soya and other cereal milks, it is totally free of additives and chemical formulations.
The Cellar restauarnt uses Paesanella brand buffalo mozzarella which is imported from Spain, but any Australian buffalo mozzarella would suffice and are just as delicious.
Drain and slice the mozzarella balls fairly thinly.
Pick some small basil leaves from a fresh bunch and wash and drain but do not chop them as this will cause bruising and discolour the leaves.
Use vine ripened tomatoes – preferably an heirloom variety for extra flavour and juiciness. Store your tomatoes at room temperature, not in the fridge. Slice the tomatoes thinly and arrange on the plate in a circle alternating the slices with the buffalo mozzarella and the basil leaves.
Finally, drizzle some good quality extra virgin olive oil over the salad (The Cellar uses Olio Mio, a local Hunter Valley oil producer) and add salt and pepper to taste.
For added flavour, try adding some white anchovy fillets to this dish. Their saltiness really compliments the other flavours.
This salad would be a perfect compliment to our Green Label Semillon
To Antonio Ruggerino, food is more than a passion – it’s a celebration of life. And that is just one of the reasons we think he’s one of Sydney’s home grown hero’s.
As Head Chef at Verde, Ruggerino is passionate about bringing the flavours of Southern Italy to Sydney diners. As a child, Ruggerino was immersed in the smells, tastes and culture of Southern Italy, despite growing up in the suburbs of Sydney. He spent hours in the kitchen preparing Italian feasts with his mother and watching his father create homemade vinegar and salami.
I was lucky enough to convince Antonio to share with us his fabulous and simple recipe of Snapper on Pappardelle. It calls for fresh pasta – and if you have the time and patience to do fresh pasta I do really recommend doing so, but if not some good quality store bought pasta will also do the trick. This dish is a great match to our 2010 White Label Chardonnay. The below recipe quantities is (as is Antonio's style) for a large gathering - simply adjust the quantities to suit.
Snapper on Pappardelle
Snapper fillet 180gms x 10
Saffron pasta 300gms or good quality store bought pasta
Baby capers 40gms
Green peas 120gms
Parsley 1 bunch
Basil ½ bunch
Fish stock 1lt
Salt and pepper
Lemon zested x 3 Blend parsley garlic and lemon
Parsley x 2 bunches with EVO for salsa verde
3 x Garlic cloves
Roll out pasta to 1mm cut into lengths of 30cms by 3cms using three per portion, next pan fry snapper on medium heat skin side down till crisp skin, turn and place in oven till just cooked or a little under.
In a pan reduce fish stock by half with the butter, then add picked herbs capers and peas season.
Blanch fresh pasta for one add to fish stock and toss.
To serve place pasta on plate and then the fish brush with EVO and sprinkle with sea salt. Finish with salsa verde.
No one expects to meet their future wife on a busy intersection. But a mechanical malfunction was to blame for this unlikely piece of destiny that brought Ian and Merralea Scarborough together.
It was in the late 60’s, Ian was studying at Roseworthy, Merralea lived on her parents property nearby and was on her way home in her Dad’s grey ute when it stalled. Enter a knight in shining armour with a car full of trainee winemakers including Philip Shaw.
Scarbie assessed the situation quickly and jumped into the car ordering Shaw to push. That’s what good mates do. This decisive action obviously impressed Merralea. The ute never recovered, but the relationship did, four years later they were married. The year was 1970 and the wedding took place at the Roseworthy chapel.
Fresh out of Roseworthy, the lure of winemaking took an ambitious Scarbie to the Barossa where he worked at Saltrams. But it was to be short lived. Just 12 months. What followed was as fateful as the meeting at the intersection. A drive through the Hunter was the start of a new journey. Scarbie vividly recalls of driving up Oaky Creek road through a procession of gum trees, with rolling hills on either side and thinking the region had potential. The Scarborough’s had arrived in the Hunter Valley with a new baby in tow (Jerome, the future winemaker).
Although family operations like Tyrrell’s and Tullochs were old news, The region was awash with an unprecedented investment boom with wineries like Hungerford Hill and Lindemans already well established, new names like Saxonvale and Rothbury were beginning to latch onto the burgeoning region. Yet, it would be a while before the Scarborough name was to be established.
From 1973- 1979 Scarbie was the chief winemaker for Tullochs and Ryecroft, an idyllic upbringing for Jerome and Sally as they lived on the Tulloch winery and were already allowing winemaking to seep through their veins, growing up surrounded by vineyards has that effect.
The pursuit of winemaking was put on hold in the late 70s as Scarbie set up a business specialising in winery equipment, a job that saw the Scarborough’s travel to California and it was here, through constant trips to the Napa that they begun to understand what wine tourism could be. It also gave them the capital to fund their dream of setting up a family winery in the Hunter Valley. Scarborough Wine Co was soon to become a reality.