Spring Celebrations at the Osteria

A couple of weeks ago we held our second ever Spring Lunch in the gardens outside our Osteria and once again we featured the cooking and flavours created by Rosa Mitchell from the much loved Rosa's Kitchen and Rosa's Kanteen.

Like last year, we asked Rosa to use as much local produce as possible and to feature our range of newly released Italian varietals.

This year, Rosa encouraged us to make it an authentic Sicilian lunch. She says her extended family often eat in the garden, amongst the fruit trees in Sicily, sharing platters of tasty antipasto, pasta or roasted vegetables and meat. They always use what they have at hand — fruit from the orange and lemon trees and herbs and veggies from the garden. So that's exactly what we did.

As the clouds parted and the sun shone warm and bright, my two children, Matilda and Etienne set-up some simple trestle tables under the orange trees. Along with some of their friends and my friends Deb and Doreen they also helped serve. My gentle cousin-in-law Jason Kenner brought his wonderful three-piece combo up again and their collection of R&B wafted around the tables on the breeze.

We started with our new Prosecco and some tasty nettle fritters made from nettles grown in Rosa's own garden as guests arrived. Then we moved on to some wonderful platters of antipasto and fresh salads — smoked ham from our local butcher, tiny ligurian olives from Chapman Hill Olive Grove, salumi from McKivor Estate at Heathcote and some hearty salads — all shared with a glass of my newly bottled 2015 Primitivo Saignée — a crisp yet wonderfully savoury rosé, and the delicious, fresh 2014 Vermentino.

This was followed by some wonderful grilled chicken, flavoured with lemons from our trees and Sarah Thompson's robust and zesty olive oil, accompanied by a rich and flavoursome goat ragu, platters of broccoli from Rosa’s Aunty’s garden and a simply beautiful fennel and orange salad from our garden. We partnered this with our rich and flavoursome 2013 Primitivo and the haunting 2011 Roussanne if people wanted a white with their chicken or the 2012 Shiraz Roussanne if they wanted two glasses of red wine with their main course.

Finally, we served a delicious lemon, orange and mandarin marscapone tart made from fruit grown at the farm accompanied by our 2013 Late Harvest Viognier. It was a wonderful way to finish a beautiful meal.

The last few months have been very hard for both Rosa and I with our fathers so ill. Rosa was so kind to come up on the day, distracted as she was, by worry about her father. She had everything safe in her chef, Clare's wonderful hand. I really did appreciate the effort of her and her husband Colin to come up for the lunch.

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the photo Simon Griffiths took on the day. He captured the fun and atmosphere beautifully.

We'll definitely do another Spring Lunch next year, so if you'd like keep up to date with what's happening at the vineyard, please join our mailing list or like our Facebook page.