NSW South Coast Trippin’

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Some tips for food and wine lovers visiting the NSW South Coast.

There are several wineries in the Shoalhaven Heads region, but the only one producing wine of surpassing quality from locally grown grapes is Coolangatta Estate (tastings), near Berry. Its dry white semillon and chardonnay, vinified by Tyrrell’s (tastings) in the Hunter, are especially fine. But I have a few tips for good nosh and grog in the Ulladulla area.

First up is Cupitt’s winery (tastings) near Milton for lunch. I recommend the Eden mussels cooked with curry, coriander and crème fraiche. Delicious. The wines? I only tried the two whites made from their own fruit, a semillon and sauvignon blanc, and both were clean and technically well-made, but just a bit too green for my taste.

Back in Milton, I enjoyed a dinner at Bacchus, where the wine list is put together by fellow scribe Greg Duncan Powell. As in most eateries down here, the local oysters are de rigueur. I added a copy of Greg’s book on eating and drinking, “The Pig, the Olive and the Squid” to the bill and got a lot of pleasure from reading it. Greg has an entertaining style all of his own.

Just outside Milton at Mollymook, Bannister’s is a great place to eat and stay, if not exactly cheap. Dinner at Rick Stein’s restaurant is obligatory, and I loved the food, which is big on seafood as you’d expect, far from trendy, with a homely old-fashioned feel. I was surprised to hear head sommelier Toby Evans, son of Len, who’d been there since Rick took over the restaurant, had departed.

Being art lovers, we detoured through the Southern Highlands via Bundanon on the way back to Sydney. Bundanon is a large bush property bequeathed to the nation in 1993 by the painter Arthur Boyd. It’s open to the public Sundays, with guided tours of the house and studio, where there’s a large Boyd family art collection. It’s well worth the trip; the long, slow drive through the bush in the rain and mist was just beautiful.

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