Lady Goes Wine Tasting in the Yarra Valley with Epicurean Food and Wine Tours



Yarra Valley Wine Tours

The adventures of an expat Californian living in London and traveling the world. 95 countries and counting! A Lady in London recounts her day with Epicurean to the Yarra Valley

I got a good night’s rest there and woke up to a great little breakfast box full of cereal, milk, fruit, and granola bars. It was good sustenance to prepare me for my day of wine tasting in the Yarra Valley.

I was picked up directly by Fiona from Epicurean Food and Wine Tours, who had offered me a spot on her Small Group Tour of the Yarra Valley. She drove me and a couple from Texas to the vineyards in a comfortable van. It was equipped with WiFi, which I loved, but by the time we got to the valley an hour later, the views out the window were far more interesting.

Yarra Valley Wineries

Take De Bortoli winery, for example. It is one of the largest wineries in the Yarra Valley, but is still family owned. The cellar door and gift shop were busy that morning, but we were given a special wine-and-cheese tasting. We sampled no less than ten great wines, from an award-winning Chardonnay to the famous Black Noble, which was somewhere between a Port and a Muscat.

From De Bortoli we continued our wine tour with a stop at Yering Station. Their winery was modern and light, with contemporary art throughout the tasting room, shop, and restaurant. I didn’t like their wines quite as much as I had enjoyed those at De Bortoli, but the grounds were beautiful.

I even took a peek at the five-star hotel down the footpath, a property called Chateau Yering. It looked like a British stately home transplanted on Australian soil, what with its sumptuous historic interiors, heavy low-lit bar area, and fine dining restaurant.

The next stop on our wine tasting tour of the Yarra Valley was at Domaine Chandon. It was fun to visit the Australian location after having been at its Napa Valley counterpart in California just two weeks prior.

We sat for lunch in the winery’s bright, window-lined restaurant, which had stunning views of the vineyards and mountains in the distance. My simple linguine with salami, pesto, and chili was outstanding, and certainly one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in ages. The accompanying wine pairing allowed us to sample everything from sparkling to Shiraz.

After lunch we took a self-guided tour of the winery, where we saw the grapes being brought in by the forklift load. It was exciting to be in Australia during the harvest, and made me feel fortunate to have such good timing.

Leaving Domaine Chandon, we stopped at one final winery, James Halliday’s Coldstream Hills. The small, unassuming cellar door belied the high quality of the wines, and by the time our tasting was over I had fallen in love with more than one Pinot Noir.

Back in the van, we drove to Melbourne, where Fiona dropped us off at our hotels and said good-bye. It was a sad parting after such a great day of wine tasting in the Yarra Valley, but there was more of Australia to be explored.

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