It’s been eight years in the planning and a year in construction, but one look at Talits Estate’s new cellar door makes it clear the result has been worth the wait. Built towards the front of the spectacular 50-acre Broke property, the cellar door offers a more contemporary take on the old-world glamour of the estate’s iconic homestead, while still staying true to its French-inspired legacy.
Designed by Newcastle-based firm, EJE Architecture, it features a natural, neutral colour scheme that ensures the building is at one within the surrounding rural landscape, while the sandstone quoins, pale blue shutters and creamy rendered finish offer echoes of the homestead’s traditional Provencal façade.
Pass through the rustic timber barn doors, which add a sense of richness and warmth to the entry, and you’ll find a welcoming interior layered with luxury and comfort, which invites guests to stop and relax for a while within the embrace of its homely ambience.
Owner Gayle Meredith said the vision was always to create a destination that would encourage visitors to linger longer and enjoy everything Talits Estate has to offer.
“Essentially we’ve been coming up with our vision for the cellar door since we took ownership of Talits Estate eight years ago,” she said.
“When we first acquired the property, we transitioned from being grape growers to being winemakers, and as we built up a loyal fan base for the wines, we started to envision what our cellar door experience at Talits Estate would look like.
“There’s a lot of history with the Talits Estate homestead, so we wanted to create a cellar door experience that celebrated the kind of legacy and aesthetic of that, but also in a more contemporary manner.
“And we wanted to create a cellar door experience where people can come and stay for a few hours. We don't want people to come in, do a quick tasting and be shuffled out the door.
“We want families to come and bring their kids, have a tasting, enjoy some local produce on our cheese and charcuterie platters and stay for a couple of hours, play games on the lawn, play petanque with their friends and enjoy Broke and the landscape for what it is.”
From a fenced grass area perfect for those who bring their pooch, to a range of outdoor seating where parents can enjoy a tasting while their children play games on the lawn, the cellar door and surrounds have certainly been designed to enable that sip and savour experience.
The small, but perfectly formed cellar door offers a range of tasting spaces suitable for various groups of guests, with folding glass and aluminium doors running along the rear of the building allowing it to be opened right up to create a seamless flow between the indoor and outdoor areas.
A rustic fireplace with a gorgeous stacked stone mantel, surrounded by comfy lounge chairs, provides a cosy spot to try a few wines. At the same time, the elegant timber dining table in front of the terrace windows is an intimate space for a group of eight to enjoy a winemaker’s talk and tasting while also taking in the views.
“I think what's really lovely about the cellar door is that there's a real sense of space, an opening up between the outdoors and the indoors, with high ceilings and beautiful fixtures and fittings,” Gayle said.
“We have several spaces within the cellar door that can be utilised for tastings. There are various lounges that hug the fireplace, which is really nice for larger groups of about 12, and we've also got a sit down tasting area for eight at the dining table, which is excellent for a more formal tasting experience. This is where we’ll do guided wine tastings with the winemaker and perhaps matched canapes, as an event option.
“Then obviously there is the bar as well, where we can have up to eight people for a more casual experience with the cellar door manager, while outdoors we’ve got various lounge areas and another more formal tasting table.”
Of course, the tasting experience is about far more than where you choose to sit, with an award-winning array of wines providing plenty to look forward to.
The range is created for Talits Estate by renowned local winemaker Daniel Binet, who has spent more than 17 years honing his craft in the Hunter Valley and has been nominated twice for The Wine Society’s Young Winemaker of the Year and Hunter Valley Rising Star awards, as well as the Hunter Wine Excellence scholarship.
With extensive experience as a wine show judge on a regional, national and international basis, Daniel knows what makes great wine and, more importantly, how to craft a product that “tells a story about the vineyard, the seasons and the style of the wine”.
Daniel utilises the estate’s meticulously managed Merlot and Shiraz vines, as well as other grape varietals sourced from the surrounding Broke Fordwich area, to create a premium selection of wines under the Talits label.
Over the years the wines have received plenty of praise from customers and critics alike, with wine show success including a collection of medals from the Hunter Valley Boutique Winemakers Show and the Australian and New Zealand Boutique Wine Show.
“We partnered with Daniel Binet, who's a well-renowned and awarded
winemaker in the Hunter, and over the years with Daniel, we have
been tweaking our style to get to where it is today.”
“We’re really proud to open the cellar door and share our wine with the greater wine community that may not have come across us just yet.
“When we have guests come to Talits we want them to have not only an enjoyable tasting experience, but also an informative one, based on identifying the characteristics of the wines that they like, and then maybe learning about some new varietals or styles of wine that they can expand their horizons with,” Gayle said.
A wine tasting experience at the new cellar door will traverse the full gamut of flavours on offer, beginning with their two sparkling wines – a Pinot Noir and a Merlot – before moving on to their newly released Chardonnay, “Le Reserve Privée”.
“All of our wines have names, and when they’re translated, it’s like a nod to the French tradition. The Chardonnay is called the “private reserve” because I adore Burgundy Chardonnay, and I wanted to make something that was a nod to traditional Burgundian Chardonnay winemaking styles,” Gayle said.
“This wine features full malolactic fermentation, less stirring and brand new French oak. It’s a wine that’s drinking beautifully now but also will age quite nicely.”
The tasting will then progress on to Talit’s Pinot Noir and Merlot Rosés, before a side-by-side tasting of estate-grown Merlot, allowing guests to learn about how much the vintage, climate and different weather patterns in a season can affect the taste of a wine.
“We finish with our statement wine, which is called ‘Le Fruit Défondu’, which translates to the forbidden fruit,” Gayle said.
“It’s a 50-50 blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah, and the reason that it's called ‘Le Fruit Défondu’ is that traditionally in France it’s forbidden to blend Pinot Noir and Syrah.
“It’s a beautiful wine because the thing about Pinot is that it’s an elegant and perfumed fruit, and then you contrast that with a fine balance of the spicy and herbal notes of the Syrah, so it’s the beauty of both worlds.”
Visitors looking to extend their “tasting” experience in a different direction can also sample a variety of craft beers on offer at the cellar door, which have been created for the estate with a local brewer under the brand Broke Brewing.
There will be up to four styles on tap at any one time, with the current rotation including a lager, a pale ale, a session ale and a brown ale.
Gayle said it was all about expanding and extending what is on offer at Talits Estate to ensure each visit is a memorable one.
“It’s definitely not a cookie-cutter cellar door, and, when you come to Broke and especially when you come to Talits Estate, you feel like you’re being welcomed into the family business.”
“There are four members of our direct family who are going to be serving you at any one time, and you certainly leave with a few more friends than you arrived with.”
While the cellar door is the newest addition to the estate, Talits has long been known by locals and visitors alike for its iconic accommodation offering.
A taste of Europe nestled at the foot of the Broken Back Range, the magnificent “Farmhouse” was designed by French architects as an exact replica of a country home in Aix-en-Provence in Southern France.
Constructed by world-class craftsmen utilising the finest materials, it oozes rustic luxury and old-world glamour, with exposed timber and stonework, stunning antique copper bathtubs, vintage décor and inviting living spaces including a cosy open fireplace.
A true Provençal masterpiece, the luxury accommodation offers four bedrooms and five bathrooms, as well as a swimming pool, vine-covered terraces, tranquil gardens and magnificent views over the vineyard and surrounding Broke region.
With all this on offer, as well as the new cellar door, Talits Estate is the perfect place to stop and relax for a few hours or stay over and savour an unforgettable mini-break in Broke.
For more information about Talits Estate, visit the website at www.talitsestate.com