With its architecturally designed cellar door perched above lush vineyards with the Cullerin Range forming a dramatic backdrop, Lerida Estate is hard to miss and well worth a stop on your way to or from Canberra.
A leading maker of cool climate wines in the Canberra region, the team at Lerida Estate grow and produce pinot noir chardonnay, pinot gris, viognier, merlot, cabernet franc and shiraz. Lerida's wines aim to reflect the Lake George 'terroir,' the characteristic taste and flavour imparted by the environment where the wine is produced and this is a hyper-local product. The majority of grapes are grown on-site although the demand for shiraz means some fruit from growers in the broader Canberra district is used in this wine. The wines are made in small quantities and not always easy to find, but the cellar door offers tasting and sales so you can stock up on your favourites.
The Lerida Estate website suggests you 'visit for the wine, stay for the food' and it's sage advice. The on-site cafe provides everything from a quick coffee and cake to a full three course meal. You can dine either outside among the vines with a beautiful view across Lake George or inside the cosy barrel room. We visited in late autumn and there was a crackling fire at the cellar door and more heating in the restaurant creating the perfect atmosphere to try some wine then linger over a cheese and charcuterie plate and some desserts.
The cheese and charcuterie plate provides a choice of ash brie, manchego, marinated feta, pancetta, Hungarian salami & bosquito sausage. You can choose either a full or half option (with the half you choose three of the six options to suit your taste). The board also included some relish, salad and dried fruits. The portions were generous and every item on the plate was absolute quality food. The desserts were amazing and the perfect end to a delicious meal. The autumn pannacotta was perfectly wobbly and topped with an indulgently delicious shiraz jelly and ginger shortbread and the chocolate and caramel tartlet with Cointreau spiked apricots was rich and succulent.
The seasonal menu was carefully thought out and I had a few bouts of food envy as I watched other meals come out. This was one of those meals where every bite was quality and every flavour on the plate enhanced the overall dining experience. So if you have an hour or two to spare, definitely do stay for the food even if you'd only planned on getting some wine.
Lerida Estate hosts events and live music from time to time so keep a lookout for details and add another dimension to your next wine tasting experience. This winery shows the Canberra wine region at its best and is well worth a visit. Being so close to Canberra, Lerida Estate is an easy weekend lunch destination or, for the road trippers, an excellent stop off to break up your drive on the Sydney to Canberra stretch.