Constable Estate is a hidden gem in Pokolbin, one of the Hunter Valley's most popular wine areas. Cradled against the Brokenback Ranges, this small boutique vineyard and cellar door surprises both the taste buds and the eyes with its wines and awe-inspiring gardens.
On a recent visit to this picturesque spot, it was a stroll I took first before settling in for some wine tasting. The magnificent grounds include a sculpture park, an oak walk, a camelia garden, a secret garden, a millennium walk, a rose garden and more, all highlighting the beauty of the estate in their own way.
This 15-hectare site oozes serenity with both its open lawns and secluded areas, providing lovely peaceful places to rest and admire. In 2014, owners David and Ida added to the visitor experience with the opening of the Len Evans Memorial Lookout, a commemoration to Len's contribution to the Hunter Valley wine industry. It has uninterrupted, breathtaking views over the region.
As for the wines, they're pretty good too. Many a trophy and gold medal have been won at national and state wine shows. Specialising in Shiraz and Semillon, the Constables also produce Cabernet, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, Sparkling Cuvée, Merlot and more. From their wonderful selection, I tasted some of the sweeter wines, including the Verdelho (with flavours of tropical and stone fruits) from the list of whites, the Matilda Rosé (balancing Turkish Delight and strawberry flavours) from the reds and the Pink Sparkling Matilda (a zesty wine with rose petals) from the sparkling wine list. The latter was my preferred drop and take-home choice.
Wine prices range from $20 for the Sparkling Botrytis up to $50 for some of the premium drops (per bottle). With many of the wines named after Matilda the cow, it is only fitting that the wine club is named the Matilda Club and becoming a member (there's no joining fee) entitles you to enjoy member's prices with $5 off each bottle purchased, along with VIP wine and cheese tastings for members and guests year-round, plus access to members-only on-site cottage accommodation (for a nightly fee) and free use of the championship tennis court. Your commitment in the club involves buying 6 bottles of wine every 6 months (delivered in autumn and spring), an easy task for lovers of wine.
All in all, if you're fond of wine, art, peace and serenity with great views, then Constable Estate should be on the agenda when you next visit the Hunter Valley. Should you want music as well, then head to the estate in mid-May for a weekend enjoying the annual chamber music festival, Music in the Hunter. Fine cuisine goes hand in hand with fine wines and music featuring Australian performers, led by resident artists in the Goldner String Quartet.