The tiny town is about to become Melbourne’s favourite wine-tasting getaway, writes Emma Mulholland.
It’s an easy 90-minute drive north from Melbourne to Nagambie’s Mitchelton Hotel (mitchelton.com.au), where a log fire and glass of shiraz await your arrival. Set on the most picturesque bend of the Goulburn River, Mitchelton winery’s 58-room accommodation marries views of the gum-lined banks with moody lighting, linen bedding and dark timber trims. Open since late last year, it’s the luxury stay this small town had been waiting for.
The muted, earthy aesthetic extends to the day spa and outdoor pool and blends beautifully with the Modernist cellar door and restaurant designed in the early 1970s by the esteemed architect, Robin Boyd. Only steps away is Mitchelton’s buried treasure: a former wine cellar that houses Australia’s largest commercial Aboriginal art gallery.
For dinner, request a table by the open fire at the winery’s riverside restaurant, The Muse. Executive chef Dan Hawkins’ delicate Murray cod with tarragon beurre blanc pairs well with the estate’s marsanne, a French variety that thrives in the Goulburn Valley.
Though many guests while away the entire weekend at Mitchelton, there’s more to see – and more wines to sample – beyond. A hire car is the easiest way to get around but if you need a designated driver, Nagambie Taxis (0419 951 476) can help.
Head to Kirwans Bridge Estate (kirwansbridgeestate.com.au), a farm and vineyard that serves traditional breakfast items with delicious espressos from Mansfield Coffee Merchant. Leave time to admire the property’s lambs.
At Fowles Wine in Avenel (fowleswine.com), game-meat evangelist Matt Fowles – a lawyer turned vigneron and farmer – creates wines to complement wild meats. For lunch, order the Game Wine Flight of four small dishes, including goat chorizo and pork and rabbit rillettes, with paired drops.
On your way back to Mitchelton, take a detour to Tahbilk winery (tahbilk.com.au), where short walking trails offer platypus-spotting opportunities.
If you have cash to splash, part with $325 for a bottle of the 2013 Tahbilk 1860 Vines Shiraz produced from some of the world’s oldest shiraz vines, planted when the winery was founded 158 years ago.
Dinner options in the fledgling tourist town are limited but you can always settle in for more Hawkins’ magic at The Muse. His spiced-rum brûlée is the perfect end to an indulgent day.
On the way home, swing by the sleepy shopping strip, where second-hand stores peddle souvenir spoons, hatpins, tea sets and other old-world gems just waiting to be discovered – a little like Nagambie itself.