SAM MIRANDA'S cellar door is a stand-out at Oxley in the King Valley - literally.
A lofty wooden tower presides over the vineyards and manicured vines and has become an icon of the Milawa gourmet food and fine wine region.
We enter the sleek winery, designed by Sydney architect Alex Popov, through an underground tunnel, to be dazzled by daylight streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling windows and the 12-metre tower.
In a chic tasting area, we sample some of Sam Miranda's Signature range made of rare wine varieties from Italy, Spain, France and Russia. Out on the terrace we soak up the views of the King River and select grazing plates of exceptional-quality fresh regional produce. Prepared by local chef Barry Taylor, a plate of antipasti ($20 for four items) features celeriac and walnut remoulade, minted zucchini, currants and pine nuts, pan-fried haloumi with lemon chilli oil and panisse with lemon, served with Milawa Ciabatta bread.
Prosciutto, bresaola, chorizo, cacciatore, salmon rillette and capocollo appear on the popular charcuterie plate ($20) and we toast summer with Sam Miranda's excellent Prosecco ($30).
For the main course, the crisp pork belly, ($28) served with coriander braised carrots, carrot puree, pistachios, tarragon and orange segments tempts my husband. It's matched with a glass of 2010 Sam Miranda Arneis ($6).
I can't go past the brined and pan-fried chicken breast ($28) with lemon and sage veloute, coarse Turkish burghul and a tomato, feta, parsley and olive salad. A glass of 2010 Sam Miranda Pinot Grigio ($6) is perfect.
We share a candied apple tart with house-made rhubarb sorbet accompanied by a 2009 Sam Miranda Botrytis Riesling ($8).
Sam Miranda, a third-generation winemaker, opened his winery in 2004 with his wife, Rachel, and three daughters. His flagship wine is called Girls' Block, named after his family.
Reviewed by Sue Wallace, who was hosted by North East Victoria Tourism.
Sam Miranda, 1800 994 750, 1019 Snow Road, Oxley. See sammiranda.com.au. Open daily 10am-5pm cellar door, noon-3pm for lunch.
To stay: nearby options include Willoaks bed and breakfast (willoaks.com.au). Milawa Muscat Retreat (milawamuscatretreat.com.au). Lindenwarrah Country House Hotel (lindenwarrah.com.au).