Basalt winery and cellar door sits out in Port Fairy’s picturesque countryside. It’s some of the coldest terroir on mainland Australia, due to the wet and tempestuous weather blowing in from the nearby southern ocean. And that’s a good thing – it’s perfect conditions to grow cold-climate grapes such as Riesling and Pinot Noir; Basalt’s benchmark styles. But the vineyard is also lauded for Tempranillo, a Spanish grape variety you won’t find anywhere else in southwest Victoria.
Before he was a winemaker, Shane Clancey ran Portofino On Bank – a celebrated Italian osteria in Port Fairy – before making the change to viticulture. But his hospitality roots continue to thrive here. The cellar door’s warm and piquant restaurant does an exceptional tapas style lunch, which spruiks the area’s reputation for seafood and world-class dairy products. Goats Cheese by Childers Cove and pioneering buffalo-milk styles by Shaw River pair perfectly with Basalt’s crisp Riesling.
Outside, a feature wall made of volcanic stone sourced from nearby Tower Hill overlooks the property. Sit out here on the picnic benches with a glass of your favourite drop from the tutored tasting, as you ponder the fact that Shane Clancey and his wife designed and built the entire cellar door themselves. And those luscious, sprawling vineyards? Twenty years ago, they were nothing but a dusty old potato paddock.
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