Excellent Private Wine Tour

5starstarstarstarstar First, we are not much for “tours,” but, when visiting the wine country, and especially when folk drive on the “other side” of the road, we quickly make exceptions. Epicurean Fine Food & Wine Tours came highly recommended, and my research confirmed that they deserved those recs.

We were staying at the Park Hyatt Melbourne, and the Concierge set us a tour with Epicurean, and we could not have been more pleased.

Everything went like Swiss clockwork, and Bill, our driver/tour guide was actually a bit early picking us up.

We are “winos” – no two ways around it. We have toured, or visited many of the world’s great wine regions, and are seriously into wine. We have visited maybe 1,200 wineries, spanning much of the globe. We were not interested in doing a “vineyard walk,” a “cellar tour,” or a “crush pad visit.” We have done those, many, many times. We wanted tastings, and in a region, that we had never visited before - the Yarra Valley.

We started out for De Bortoli Winery, for a lovely Cheese & Wine tasting. The wines were great, as were the cheeses.

Our next stop was Dixon’s Creek Estate Vineyard, and some time with owner/winemaker, Graeme Miller, and his wonderful vineyard dog. Lots of great history here, and the wines were good.

We did a quick stop at Chandon, and then moved onto Tokar Estates, for both significant tastings, plus a lovely lunch.

We then visited Domaine Dominique Portet, for a tasting, and eschewed the “chocolate tasting,” for a “barrel tasting.”Usually, a “barrel tasting” is the most fun, when one lives near a winery, or visits it often. However, in this case, it was more for the “fun factor.” In the course of our tasting, we had the opportunity to meet the owner/winemaker, Dominique Portet. My wife got to practice her French, and then I got to drop names, as wife’s family (somewhat removed) owns Château St. Pierre in St. Julien - Bordeaux, a 4th growth producer. Now, Domaine Dominique Portet produces more sparklers, and then more Rhône varietals, but also some Bordeaux varietals. Lovely afternoon, talking wine (not sure of all that my wife said to Dominique, as my French ends at a wine list, or menu, but hope that she was kind to me?), and sipping wine. Not sure if some that we later tasted were part of the “tour,” or because of my wife? It does not matter, as we were the recipients of great wines, regardless.

The tour was well-structured, informative, and well-worth the cost, especially as it was just the two of us. In general terms, it was a similar tour to what others have taken in a larger group, but with time to interact with each vigneron, or wine maker, and enjoy our stops..

We would use Epicurean again.

Loup -
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