As we drove up to the 64 acre Coates Winery, both Lee and myself were struck by the beautiful view. Although most of the Adelaide Hills are lovely, this spot was particularly breathtaking.
Rebecca Stubbs warmly greeted us out front, along with Cooper, their four legged wine expert. She offered me a hot cup of coffee, which I quickly accepted, and disappeared back inside their charming winery to retrieve one. She left us in the care of Cooper, which I was all too happy about; I’m a big time dog person!
When Rebecca returned, she brought Duane Coates, her partner and Coates winemaker with her. Oh, and my coffee. Rebecca makes a mean cup of coffee!
After we were all acquainted, and I was caffeinated, it was time to take a tour around their winery. Rebecca went back inside to finish preparing lunch as Duane walked us through how they make their stand-out wines.
“We like to keep vintage interesting and play with lots of different varieties,” Duane mentioned. 22 different varieties, in fact!
They also use three to four different all-French cooperages, from Nadalié to Marsannay. However, what really stood out to me was their dedication to doing things the hard way in order to achieve the best results.
“We use a tank press for all of our whites. Once you fill the space, it will inflate to gently crush the grapes through a screen, where the juice comes out. It will then spin and repeat this process three times. It’s a gentler way of doing whites,” Duane says, as he walks us through where the magic happens (aka: where the wine is made.) “Our reds we basket press. You get the best results, but it’s a messy and painful way to make wine! I curse it every year, although the wine we get is fantastic. Makes it worth the energy and time.”
They also take a longer approach to fermentation and massaration. Bigger companies will go for about seven days, using added tannins and enzymes to provide colour and tannin. Coates uses skin contact post-fermentation to build their colour and tannin structure.
Lastly he showed us their in-house bottling system, which is a craft style 8 filler station. Everything about Coates Winery is about taking their time to do things right.
We headed inside after our tour, ready to eat and taste some wine! The Coates Cellar Door mirrored the experience you’ll have drinking their wine. The decor was comforting, well thought out and sophisticated while remaining incredibly warm and inviting. Both Duane and Bec joined us at their big antique dinner table to enjoy our specially prepared lunch.
Normally, Coates Winery offers charcuterie style food. However, as Bec is also the talented chef at 2KW Bar & Restaurant in the city, she treated us to a delightful array of incredible dishes.
This being said, Coates Winery does host various events, their next being a Paella Party on May 19th from 11am – 4pm. Based on our time here, I’d have to say any event hosted at Coates is not one to miss.
Everything was served family style, which can be dangerous for me. Especially when everything smelled as good as the food presented in front of us! I decided to start with the wild mushrooms placed right in front of me and began my journey through Bec’s sensational creations.
Locally scavenged mushrooms from the Kuitpo Forest offered the perfect first bite to our rustic and beautiful spread of food. Pan fried in oil and finished with a little butter, the earthy flavours were allowed to shine through and were the real star of this dish. Paired with sweet roasted carrots and a smooth pumpkin sauce, Bec is all about keeping her flavours simple and embracing the natural textures and elements of each ingredient she uses.
Rustic Short Pastry Ravioli
Can we talk about the short pastry used to make these ravioli? I’ve never tasted a ravioli like this before, where it’s flakey on the outside and tender on the inside. The pumpkin, leek and mushroom filling was warm and creamy, while the dukkah dusted on the outside gave an element of crunch. Simply delightful!
Wild Venison Gnocchi
Bec gets her gnocchi from a gentleman pointedly named “The Gnocchi Man.” When you find someone who is hyper talented, support them and spend your time doing what you do best. In Bec’s case, that’s basically everything else! The tomato ragu melted in with the local and wild caught venison, dancing together to offer a perfect balance of tender meat and bright tomato. Roasted onion gave a gentle sweetness and the parsnip chips a delightful crunch.
They call Bec a “master of dessert” and, whoever they are, they’re so very right! Just the smell of this tarte alone was enough to send me to heaven! Dusted with shaved chocolate and accompanied by a dollop of cream, it took everything in my power not to dive in before the pictures were taken.
The blackberry jam and fresh berries offered both a sweet element as well as a little tartness to each bite. The creamy layers were decadent and the crust perfectly flaky with a buttery flavour. If I could have run off with the whole tarte, I would have!
As we dined, we also enjoyed a selection of Coates wine, starting with a Sauvignon Blanc.
The Semillon Sauvignon Blanc
This barrel fermented, unfiltered wine is brilliantly clear, with tropical fruits and a hint of brioche on the nose. Yeast on the vine adds to the aroma and flavours, with notes of citrus leading to a long, crisp finish. A beautifully refreshing white! We enjoyed a glass with some freshly buttered bread over good conversation.
This one had some pineapple to its aroma, with a little wood smoke at the very end. It had a bright, acidic nature with flavours of peach, balanced out by a hint of oak. Also refreshing, but with a more comforting nature to it. A great choice to enjoy with our Kuitpo Plate, balancing out all those woody mushrooms.
The “M” in GSM. This wine gave me forward aromas of plum and the first sip was deliciously juicy with a mature finish. A little spice and berry flavours danced on my tongue and immediately made me think this is the wine Humphrey Bogart would sip if he were ever in a log cabin, laying on a bear skin rug and being all manly and sexy. A lovely accompaniment with our Rustic Short Pastry Ravioli. And, yes, I still think Humphrey Bogart is sexy.
This one was created one day when Duane was playing around on the winery. He was inspired by Chateau Neuf du Pape who use 13 different varieties, and started experimenting until he had created a fantastic wine using 8 different varieties. With a richly spiced aroma, the first sip gave a beautiful red cherry flavour with a little cedar at the end. A perfect pairing for our Wild Venison Gnocchi. One thing I know for sure, Duane should never stop experimenting! This wine was delicious.
The VP Shiraz
This wine we enjoyed with our dessert and it was the perfect pairing! A delicious hit of raisin and stone fruit on the nose, this wine was matured in oak for 22 months then bottled unrefined and unfiltered. The sweet, earthy flavours were almost sinful. A perfect end to a perfect meal.
Everything Duane and Bec do has a minimalist, slow and traditional motivation behind it. One which offers their community a stand-out product time and time again. They pride themselves on creating affordable, consistent and, above all, high quality wines with great cellarability. It was a joy to visit Coates Winery, not only for the phenomenal wine and incredible food, but for the time we spent with Duane and Bec themselves. They are warm hearted individuals who made us feel so very at home. Coates Winery will always have a special place in my heart.
I can’t recommend enough that you take a visit up there. Make sure you keep an eye on their website here for their special events. As mentioned earlier, they have a Paella Party on May 19th from 11am – 4pm and it won’t be one to miss!
Words by Jamieson EileenWHERE: 185 Tynan Rd, Kuitpo