Star Cellar Door
The Balog family come from Croatia with grape growing and winemaking in their blood, so it was no surprise that they planted vines in Australia, just that they picked the fledgling Southern Highlands region as the place to plant them. From their first vintage in 1996, however, their gamble paid off, with a range of top-notch wines to prove the point. The vineyard is a mere four hectares planted solely with pinot noir and features five clones – MV6, 777, 114, 115 and D2V5. Other grapes are purchased from high-quality local growers.
Brothers Anton and Mark Balog are both involved in the winemaking. Their cellar door has recently been renovated with new features including corrugated iron cladding, polished timber benches and Old World ironwork. A delightful outdoor area overlooks the Close Vine vineyard and is the perfect setting for a board of tasty local cheese and charcuterie paired with the excellent range of wines – riesling and pinot noir being the highlights. The Sunshack Cider and BEE Mead also produced on-site make a nice complement to the artisanal Artemis wines. PETER BOURNE
OUTSTANDING WINE: 2013 Artemis Close Vine Pinot Noir, A$50