The High Valley cellar door and cheese factory must be included on any gourmet itinerary of the Mudgee area. High Valley has all my first loves under the same roof, coffee, cheese, wine and a lovely selection of dishes made from fresh, local produce on the café menu. It should probably come as no surprise that this was my first port of call on my “tasting itinerary”. High Valley is just 5 minutes from the CBD and marks the start of the wine trail, so it is also a natural place to begin a tour.
Friends had pre warned me about the amazing marinated feta, and I was looking forward to sampling for myself. High Valley cheese factory produces five different flavours of marinated feta. These are the Chili, Pesto, Olive Tapenade, Olive Oil and Sundreied Tomato. The flavours were truly amazing. I couldn’t choose a favourite and ended up purchasing three gorgeous pots of feta. Before I had even finished the tasting I already had plans to make an Angel Hair Pasta with Prawn from the Chili Feta. I was in cheese heaven!
Adding to my appreciation of this beautiful feta was the knowledge that after recently attending a cheese making workshop I could do this myself. I have learnt the secrets of making feta, and I am planning to extend my knowledge into marinating my own feta and adding herbs from my garden.
Also available for tasting are a number of other cheese varieties included a white mould cheddar, buffalo cheese and a mild creamy blue. All the cheese were absolutely beautiful with the buffalo cheese being a very strong gamey taste, but yet still strangely appealing.
We moved onto the wines, and settled into a comfortable seat for the journey. There is quite a large range available for tasting and they were all lovely. My favourite whites were the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and the Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc, both at $19 per bottle.
I am a red drinker at heart and at the risk of sounding like a lush, I have to say I enjoyed all of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz on tasting at High Valley Vineyard. The 2007 Reserve Shiraz was my true favourite at $30 a bottle. Also the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon was rich, fruity, and truly delicious and only $18 per bottle.
Both Mr GG and I like a nice dessert Semillon and the High Valley Botrytis is a gorgeous drop. A lovely citrus marmaladey lemon tang, cuts through the syrupy sweet nectar. Beautiful, we added a bottle to our shopping list and set off for our next stop.
I will need to return and sample the menu from the Fromagerie Café, the dishes making there way to the terrace looked beautiful, but alas we still have so much more to cover. We cannot spare a couple of lazy hours to contemplate the view over the vines and sample the menu on this visit.
High Valley is located at 137 Cassilis Rd Mudgee and is open from 10-5pm 7 days a week and also features a gallery showing the work of local artists. Various locally produced condiments are also available for purchase. For more information phone: 02 6372 1011.