Canberra Pinot Noir

Lerida Estate, Truffle Lunch and Fantastic Pinot Noir

Truffle brie, truffle honey, truffle popcorn and even truffle ice cream – it’s truffle season in Canberra and we’re getting the full benefits of its bounty at Lerida Estate.

Overlooking Lake George, the estate claims breathtaking views and a prime position in the region’s growing food and wine scene. This small production winery is open for visitors daily from 10am – 5pm, and not only can guests sample some of their fine vintages at the cellar door, but so too can they indulge in a gourmet lunch made with the best local ingredients in the area when visiting on weekends or public holidays.

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Kangaroos on Lerida Estate

Cool climate production of pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, merlot, Shiraz and viognier at Lerida Estate offer a handful of wines to suit a variety of tastes. From the smooth creamy notes of the chardonnay, to the gentle pepperiness of the Shiraz, and bright fruitiness of the merlot, we indeed find something to suit our taste buds – every single one. Standouts for this winery though are the pinot noirs. With the ideal climate and soil for the grapes’ production, Lerida Estate has recently gained a reputation for producing some of the best in the region, if not the country. Fortunately for us, pinot noir and truffles are soul mates when it comes to food and wine pairing, and it’s with three different vintages that we appreciate a truffle themed lunch.

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Lerida Cafe

Husband and wife team, Anne and Jim opened Lerida Café to complement their cellar door. Noting that most wineries in the area provide elegant dining at premium prices, they wanted to offer a casual ambience and affordable prices so that more people could relish the wonders of good food and wine together. Opened on the weekends, Lerida Café offers a selection of light plates for brekkie and lunch.

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Anne and Jim

As mentioned, it’s truffle season during our visit, and although Canberra is growing as a producer of truffles in Australia, Anne has found that the general population is still relatively new to the fungus and so goes against the trend of recipes with subtle flavours, instead choosing to serve dishes that make an obvious statement, “in your face,” as Anne describe it. We’re fortunate to try a few platters from the Truffle Festival Menu that pair expertly with the pinot noir wines that the estate is known for.

Truffle Bread ($7) is the most popular dish. It’s such a simple plate, but beautiful in the winter. Thick slices of fluffy bread are spread with truffle infused butter and baked until golden and deliciously warm.

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Truffle Bread

Any one of the three platters we tried is a fine way to experience truffle infused local produce. Depending on your preference for cheese, colds cuts, or pate, all of the collections pictured below are delicious.

Truffle Brie, Truffle Honey, Prosciutto, Sourdough Bread and Crackers ($18.50)

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Truffle Brie, Truffle Honey, Prosciutto, Sourdough Bread and Crackers

Truffle Cheese Plate: Two Truffle Cheeses, Sliced Apple, Sourdough Bread and Crackers ($19.50)

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Truffle Cheese Plate: Two Truffle Cheeses, Sliced Apple, Sourdough Bread and Crackers

Truffle Duck Liver Pate (gorgeous), Cornichons, Cocktail Onions, Quince Paste (yummo), Toasted Sourdough, Crackers ($25) and pictured below we had taste of Truffle Salami imported from Italy, which is too available as a sharing plate.

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Truffle Duck Liver Pate (gorgeous), Cornichons, Cocktail Onions, Quince Paste (yummo), Toasted Sourdough, Crackers
Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Truffle Salami

The estate’s entry-level pinot noir, the 2015 Lake George Pinot Noir ($26.50) is the third in a succession of outstanding vintages and the culmination of dedicated work with the vines. Jim describes it as a new world pinot noir with Burgundian characteristics. Subtle fruit at first develops into distinctive cherry and red currant, which transform seamlessly into a silky tannin finish. Jim says, “It’s a single entity that has a complexity of flavours that wind around the mouth.” Something he’s clearly proud of.

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Lake George Pinot Noir

Next up the ranks is the 2014 Cullerin Pinot Noir featuring both more fruit and more texture and weight. Stewed fruits and root veggies tease the nose, and richness envelopes the mouth departing with a long fine tannin ending.

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Cullerin Pinot Noir

The Josephine is the estate’s top ranking reserve pinot noir awarded much acclaim by wine critics and media Australia wide. This 2013 vintage was an extraordinarily successful year producing mid palate fruit and a seamless emergence of silky tannins through to the finish. Jim describes its success “as a decade long journey.” The nose develops forest floor autumn notes that are overlaid by the spicy fruit of the pinot noir. “Actually this is starting to smell very nice in the glass, take a sniff,” entices Jim, “When you take a gulp, there’s a good strong palate of spicy strawberry fruit with a bit of cherry. “

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Pinot Noir

Ending our experience on a sweet note we indulge in a delicious, perfectly textured Belgian Waffle with Truffled Honey and Truffled Ice Cream ($14.50), along with Coffee ($4) and a giant-sized homemade biscuit of white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Waffle and Truffle Ice Cream
Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Macadamia and White Chocolate Cookie, Coffee

Crowning the closing is a nectarous dessert wine, the 2015 Botrytis Pinot Gris ($39.50).  Jim claims it as an unexpected success. They turned an unusually wet year, which could have potentially led to a lesser than fantastic production, into an opportunity and gave making a dessert wine a go for the first time. “The conditions were perfect for botrytis,” says Jim. “The wine started out looking cloudy and awful but after about a year it turned into heaven in the mouth.” It turned out so good in fact that they kept up its production and three years later won the sweet white of the year!

Lerida Estate, Canberra, ACT
Botrytis Pinot Gris

Delicious wines, good value food, lovely views and hospitable company – Lerida Estate is a worthwhile visit.

Reasons to visit: a relaxed café setting with a reasonably priced menu; pretty views; must try the pinot noirs and the dessert wine.

Lerida Estate
Federal Highway
Lake George,
NSW, Australia

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  1. Love that first pic, so romantic. Is that you?

  2. i squealed a little inside when i saw your photo of the kangaroos! 😀 and the pinot noirs sound lovely 😉

  3. Paradise!!!
    You and Dad, eh? – good to see that he has a good grip on thee.
    I’m surprised to see kangaroos on the property, but they are so hard to
    keep out. I would think in the vineyard area with the fences etc for the
    vines, the kangaroos would wreck utter HAVOC????
    Very interesting report, Monica.
    El Colin Cordobes

  4. Have to agree with Suituapui, first photo in this blog post was well-taken. Over the radio this morning, they were saying that they might have found the world’s largest truffle in Australia?

  5. Yeah, I just read in the papers that an Australian discovered a 1,511g monster black truffle at his property in the state of Victoria! O_o He has decided to pickle the truffle in vodka to preserve it in one piece which he can then keep and show it.

  6. Oh my goodness, I love your photos! The kangaroos are delightful, the Brie, the sourdough bread and the Truffle bread are definitely things I would want to order! I would pass on the salami, but that white chocolate and Macadamia cookie I would have to try! I have had this type of cookie before and it is delicious! I love the ambiance and presentations! 🙂

  7. Adore the first picture…it is soooo romantic…Hmmm… Now I hear the “love is in the air” song….Sorry, is that you????
    The food looks absolutely delicious – I would want to try ALL the desserts 🙂

  8. Thanks for the recommendation.

  9. Truffles and pinot – perfect match

  10. Nice view

  11. It looks kind of mysterious in the winter.

  12. Oh I hope it’s truffle season when I visit.

  13. Truffles and Pinot Noir! Yes Please!

  14. I haven’t drank pinot for a while. Time to retry.

  15. Wow Canberra has much more to offer than I thought.

  16. Felipe Saenz

    This looks like a good day trip from Canberra.

  17. Shelly Good

    Now this is my type of restaurant. Wine and food. Casual and affordable.

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