Tasmania is well known for our cool climate wines and there are distinct geographical areas our grapes grow. The West Tamar is minutes from the sea, on the edge of a river, and its green, when many other areas are dry. The wine trail on the river’s western bank, is a winding journey around little Tasmanian hamlets with lovely vistas.
It was the Bone and This Girl on a sisters go north tour, driven by my desire to see seahorses. And platypus. I threw in some vineyards for good measure.
A nice day can be had mooching around cellar doors tasting wines but a vineyard that serves food takes the experience to the next level.
This Girl has a low internet research threshold. I found Moores Hill with its glorious but sold out Pinot rose and cheese platters, and Iron Pot Bay vineyard with lunch, vegetarian and vegan menus. Someone who goes to that much effort deserves respect. And a lunch booking.
The restaurant is based in a 100+ year old cottage and they’ve been operating just over 12 months. The grapes were planted around 20 years ago like many in the region, producing wines for about half as long. There are a series of small rooms and a lovely outdoor eating area, underneath Holm oak trees, perfect on the mild Tasmanian summer day of our visit.
You can look high and low for a glass of Tasmanian wine for less than $10. At Iron Pot Bay, their whites are $8 and their reds are $9. Try before you buy at the cellar door. I chose the Chardonnay which is not aged in oak so there’s no big buttery flavours but it was perfectly acceptable. As were the other two I tried, the Pinot Grigio and the more spicy that sweet, Gerwuztraminer.
The Bone and I chose from the meat based lunches which range in price between $23.50, for the Pastrami on rye, to $34, for the platter for one, which included a little bit of a lot of the menu. The desserts are gigantic and include lemon meringue pie and cherry, apple and almond crumble tart, $9.50. The vegetarian and vegan menus lifts components from the earlier menu – the spiced quesadilla comes with zucchini, sweet potato and caramelised onion, $19.50, and the warm lentil salad is topped with beans and Persian feta, $18.50. The vegan menu strips out the animal products completely.
What we ate:
Salmon, $24.50, Huon hot smoked salmon served on a light sourdough with pickled beetroot, cherry tomatoes, rocket and grilled haloumi, served with a Puy lentil, green bean, carmelised onion salad and a dill potato salad.
Pork, $26.50, spiced pulled pork quesadilla with grilled corn, roasted capsicum and avocado salsa and lemon sour cream.
Belgian chocolate mousse cake, $9.50 (shared easily between two).
The meals, all produced by Sam the chef, were delicious and tremendous value, big plates that were difficult to finish, even though we gave it our best shot. Although we ended up cutting the dishes in half and sharing, we both agreed that our first choice was the perfect plate. I adored the salmon, my choice. There were so many flavours and textures to enjoy on the plate. The salmon was gorgeous with the sweet beetroot and the salads were absolutely delicious. The Bone’s quesadilla was plump full of slow-cooked pork and served with a generous overflowing of charred corn and avocado. The lemon meringue pie that whisked past us several times while we were eating was all gone by our dessert time so we decided to share the mousse cake. All the cakes are made in-house and this one was a fudgy chocolate cake base topped with fluffy mousse.
Iron Pot Bay is a lovely vineyard in a lovely setting with delicious eating and good prices. Why not visit somewhere different and give them a try?
Find Iron Pot Bay Vineyard at 7 West Bay Road, Rowella. Call them to make a reservation on 03 6394 7008.
At the start of the sisters go north tour we visited Sassafras – The Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory.
You can find more information about the vineyard including the menu on their website – Iron Pot Bay Vineyard.
Another vineyard in the general locale – The Barrel Room at Velo Vineyard.
A favourite Launceston restaurant – Novaro’s.