Sidewood Estate is a family winery based in Nairne in the Adelaide Hills. Founded in 2004, Sidewood Estate makes the kind of award-winning, cool-climate wines that the Adelaide Hills is renowned for. Since winning world's best shiraz in 2015 (Decanter Magazine) they've gone on to win Australia's finest Sauvignon Blanc in 2017 and now make their own ciders.
Adelaideans will remember the old apple shed on River Road as you enter Hahndorf from the freeway. I admit I was disappointed when it closed. It sold the most delicious apple rhubarb crumble to take home after a day out in the hills. Fortunately, something new and exciting has taken its place.
It's been replaced by a striking new landmark building and garden that is now the home of the Sidewood cellar door. The jet black exterior contrasts with the warm wooden tones of the interior. A log fire, stone floors and warm leather furniture make a winter day inside just that bit more inviting, while on warm days the interior spills out onto a huge wooden decking area that overlooks a mix of eucalypts and lawned gardens (complete with play equipment for the kids).
The gardens are spacious, shady and well-tended. Metal sculptures please the eye here and there while hanging chairs are dotted around the gardens and play area. You can even just have a picnic on the grass. Surrounding the petanque and lawn bowls courts, there are deck chairs and daybeds for the adults (daybeds are available for hire).
Next to the main entrance is a bar for pop-in wine tastings. To get a table at this wildly popular new venue, head through the glass doors to the main bar and restaurant (bookings are recommended). The menu is described as 'Australasian' and has a full range of amazing starters, platters, entrees, mains, sides, pizzas and desserts.
We opted for three entree plates to share. Along with the kid's choices and some bread, there was a generous amount of exquisite food for four.
The crispy salt and pepper tofu with enoki mushroom noodle salad, sesame, snow peas and ginger sake dressing is a balanced mix of flavour and texture. The crispy yet silky tofu matches the dressing like a dream while the noodle salad and snow peas complete the textural experience.
The chicken liver parfait (always a good measure of a chef I reckon) with cider jelly, mustard cornichons and toast is light and smooth. For me, the parfait paired with the Sauvignon Blanc perfectly, taking them both to a new level.
The crisp skinned chicken breast with eggplant and sweet capsicum relish, mint and crispy chat potatoes is excellent. The chicken is tender and juicy with a tasty skin to balance the super sweet relish.
Of course, the kids chose the Margherita pizza and the wedges and the pizza was gone before I had a chance to get any reports on it. I've never seen wedges like this with a light tempura coating and they are indeed light, fluffy and filling. I reckon they need some aioli or something with them but it's no biggie.
Do yourself a favour and save room for the desserts. They are a delight to look at and a real treat to eat. I expected the pineapple sorbet to be tart (as pineapple often is) but this dish is smooth and full of pineapple flavour and a real stand out dish.
The bar serves a wide range of Sidewood Estate wines, all from local vineyards. They brew their own ciders (available on-tap) and stock beers from local brewery Lobethal Bierhaus. All available alongside a tempting cocktail list. Sparkling sodas, soft drinks and juices are also available.
Sidewood Estate has captured the modern trend toward families and kids going out for stylish long lunches at cellar doors like this. It's a place where the kids have plenty of space to play outdoors while the adults watch over them and enjoy a drink or two.