The drive from Newcastle to Hollydene Estate has become an easy 1hr jaunt and from Sydney just over 2 hours thanks to the new F3 freeway.
And what a scenic drive it is through the Upper Hunter. You will pass Thoroughbred studs swathed in green grass and horses until you find the large Hollydene Estate building right next to the Golden Highway, 10 kilometres west of Jerry's Plains.
Awaiting you are beautifully manicured lawns with seating under shady trees and the Hollydene Cellar Door and Vines restaurant.
A wine tasting is in order - after all, there are 21 to choose from! Then stay for lunch where you can order delicious dishes like pan-baked tiger prawns or pan-baked Camembert which go perfectly with one of our three Hollydene Semillons.
The young Sem, a 2013 drop, is crisp with lemon-lime characteristics, while the older Sems, from the 2010 and 2007 vintages, offer more golden, oaky and honey characters.
'Gewürtztraminer' - funky name, simple wine! Likened to a Riesling this slightly sweet, fruit-flavoured wine is a lovely surprise in a bottle.
Why match food to wine? You only need google that phrase and the search engine will prompt you to use the word 'pair' rather than 'match' and then provide a plethora of sites and blogs providing guides as to what to eat with which wine.
However, the main reason to match wine and food is to enhance each, or complement the flavours, spices and plain simple taste of each.
In the case of Hollydene's Gewürtztraminer it's suggested to pair it with spicier foods, an excellent example being the delicious crispy duck salad from Vines Restaurant.
The wine's sweetness will offset the spiciness of the meal.
The Hollydene Gewürtztraminer vines are some of the oldest owned by Hollydene, planted in the 1960s and the 2012 Gewürtztraminer vintage has aromas of lychees and peach.
This week's feature wine is one of our four Semillons - the 2013 Semillon - a crisp and vibrant Hunter Valley classic with lemon-lime characters. Perfect for a stand-alone glass (or three) as the weather warms up - you don't even need to imagine eating the food to complement it!
In saying that, the 2013 Sem matches the phenomenal dishes from Vines Restaurant such as the chicken fajitas and the baked Camembert with red onion jam, candied walnut and black cherry compote.
Why not come out and see for yourself?
Spring is the beginning of the cycle for the Hollydene vineyards and bud burst has well and truly begun with vineyard managers Tony Merta & Charlie Farley pleased at how the season is progressing.
Tony said the Chardonnay vines had passed through the three-leaf stage and though the Shiraz vines had a slow start due to on-off cool weather, they were not far behind.
"So far disease pressure is not an issue and there is no shortage of fruit," Tony said.
An example of a fine wine from Hollydene's Arrowfield vineyard is the 2013 Show Reserve Shiraz.
The Show Reserve Shiraz is a beautiful red which despite its youth shows blackberry and plum notes, bold flavour and excellent length.
The Shiraz is the perfect accompaniment to the four-peppercorn eye fillet at Vines Restaurant, Hollydene Estate. The steak is served with herb and cheese croquettes and a burgundy sauce topped with crispy leek.