Box Stallion has everything going for it. The cellar door is an interesting building – an old brick built stable block for race horses, now each stable being used as a “private” dining room. There is plenty of space to park, and the cellar door has an extensive outdoor seating area for lazy summer afternoons. It always has art for sale on display, and occasionally holds exhibitions. The last one I went to was of pictures of the countryside before the new Penlink road was driven through the heart of the peninsula. There is always food on the go and Box Stallion does a good trade – lots of people enjoying lunch. And there is an extensive wine list with a number of interesting and unusual varieties. Box Stallion has won literally hundreds of awards for their wines, but …

But, I got the feeling that all was not well. I’m sure that the wine prices have come down quite substantially. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember the price of the “Enclosure” wines was $40, now $30, and the “Red Barn” was $25, now $20. Most of the wines we were tasting seemed to be from 2008 (do they have a lot of unsold wine?), but the disappointing thing was that I didn’t really enjoy any of them. I surprised myself. So just to make sure I bought a bottle of the Red Barn Pinot Noir, took it home, decanted it and then tried again. I just didn’t like it.

The overriding impression I get of the wine making at Box Stallion is that it has lost its way. I think it needs to do a ground up review of its wine making philosophy and practice, and “re-find” its flavour palette and style. So I won’t give them a cassification right now. I’ll see how things are next year.

Don’t let this review put you off visiting Box Stallion – if anything it makes this cellar door more interesting. Let me know what you think, and if you eat there look out for the waitress with a unique process for taking orders:

“Hi, can I give you my order?”

“In a minute. These people arrived ahead of you. I’m waiting for them.”

Enjoy.

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