Isn’t it weird how sometimes you stumble across a pocket of land that’s quite different to its surrounds?
Wollombi in in the Hunter Valley is like that.
I have always thought of the Hunter as very hot and scrubby; the home of Chardonnay, Shiraz and weather weary Eucalypts, but Wollombi stands apart. It’s more like the Blue Mountains. At the moment it’s tinder box dry but in the midst of all that schlerophyll you’ll find ferns, delicate white bush orchids and wineries that could be in Europe.
My very dear friend Maggie invited Nature Boy and I up to her friends’ bush retreat for the weekend, along with Sor, a spirited Colombian Scrabble whiz. It’s always fun landing at a place like that; a private home full of art and domestic artifacts. It’s like piecing together a psychological puzzle of who the owners are. The walls were adorned with travel treasures (a Turkish rug, Vietnamese hats, Aboriginal paintings) and the CD collection featured everything from Dixie Chicks to Eva Cassidy.
20 kms beyond the property boundary, we ventured out to the cellar doors of Krinklewood and Margan Estate in Broke. From Wollombi, you have to drive through a fairly curly section of road waisted with one lane bridges before you pop out in what appears to be the south of France. We tasted enough biodynamic wine at Krinklewood to buy a case and sat down to a white linen lunch in the Margan restaurant, all sustainably farmed and exorbitantly priced.
The highlight of the weekend was simply being in the bush with my friends; listening to the birds whooping in the trees, spotting wallabies, avoiding wombat poo and looking up, glassy-eyed, at the stars.