At Olio Mio Estate’s 60-acre plot, the time-old adage ‘quality over quantity’ is taken very seriously. Despite it being smaller in size, the family run estate produces some of the Hunter Valley’s most loved olive oils and wines.
Nestled in the Parish of Pokolbin, the established property was bought by Robert and Denise Whalan in 2002 with the name Olio Mio. They kept the name, but needed a fitting title for their wine venture. It wasn’t long until the perfect name struck: at a long lunch with family and friends, the couple watched an electrical storm from the terrace, and the wine was christened Stormy Ridge.
Pokolbin is one of the oldest wine growing regions in Australia, with a distinctive loamy clay soil. Therefore, Robert and Denise brought Winemaker, Nick Patterson, on board, a local who grew up on a vineyard nearby. Trained at Tyrrell’s with three years of winemaking experience in Italy, he has brought his skill and refined palate to the Stormy Ridge label, and was recognised as the Hunter Winemaker of the Year in 2012.
The estate’s signature drop is its 2015 Stormy Ridge Reserve Shiraz, and once you’ve tried it you’ll soon fall in love too. Its deep red colour gives way to brilliant plum at the edges of the glass, and you’ll smell the aromas of red current and raspberry, with notes of beetroot, smoky oak and white pepper. Sophisticated and long in flavour, it’s a shiraz made for chilly winter evenings, a perfect accompaniment to red meat, pork or duck.
Lovers of red will also enjoy the 2013 Tempranillo, awarded Silver at the 2014 Hunter Valley Boutique Winemakers Show. Reminiscent of a pinot noir, it’s a balanced and medium bodied red that will win you over with flavours of spicy fruit, red berry, pepper and oak. Also a Silver medal winner at the same awards, is the elegant 2012 Verdehlo, a soft-textured white that boasts notes of lime and elderflower. Make an appointment for the Cellar Door and you’ll be able to try each variety for yourself.
Robert and Denise’s other passion is their premium extra virgin olive oil, made from olives harvested and processed on-site within 24 hours of picking. The olive varieties have very distinctive characteristics when pressed: the corregiola olive produces a herbaceous, gentle oil, light in flavour and extremely versatile, while oil made from the frantoio olive is fruity and aromatic. For full bodied flavour, try the Olio Mio Estate blend, which delivers robust fruit flavours with a hint of bitterness and pungency. All the olive oil is unfiltered and bottled on-demand for the freshest possible taste.
Robert and Denise’s dream has come to fruition – with an established vineyard and olive grove, they control every stage of the growing, harvesting and pressing to ensure every bottle of Stormy Ridge wine and Olio Mio olive oil is as good as it can be.