Yarra Valley Food and Wine -Ultimate
This is one of the best wine tours I have ever done and believe me I have done a lot!. This one was to the glorious Yarra Valley wine region. Only an hour and a bit outside of Melbourne and you are into rolling hills and moutain ranges. We visited what Epicurean describe as 5 of the best wineries in the Yarra Valley and without visiting all of them I felt we were experiencing the best. The first was the grand estate of De Bortoli, family owned and one of the bigger estates in the Yarra Valley. The wine tasting here was passionate and informative and delivered with a gorgeous french accent (thanks Val) The chardonnay and world famous Noble One were the stand outs here. All beautifully paired with local and international cheeses. Only 10 minutes away was the once home of Dame Nellie Melba, our guide Bill told us this fascinating story. If my memory serves me and remember there was alcohol involved, this was the home built for her in the Yarra Valley in 1909. It sits behind a massive cypress hedge (I remember that!) and the estate is just divine. Not only did we enjoy a wine tasting but also an oyster and sparkling wine match at the light and bright cellar door overlooking the lawn. Oh yes!, the Dames house is today called the Melba Estate and the wonderful wine is Coombe Farm. The Pinot Noir was amazing here. Then onto lunch which again was only a short drive down the road. Our funny and interesting guide, Bill gives us context on all the wineries we visit and the region in general. Bill is very passionate about the Yarra Valley and it is obvious that he has a fabulous working relationship with all the winemakers and winery staff in the Yarra Valley. Now to lunch... Tokar Estate and meeting the owner, Rita Tokar and her main man James was a true delight. Lunch was one of the best meals I have enjoyed in Melbourne which is considered to be a foodie city and we were in a wine region. I enjoyed a beautifully cooked salmon and others in our group raved about the steak and a pork belly dish. At Tokar Estate they help you decide at the cellar door counter what to pair with your meal so it is well tied in. Lunch felt very relaxed as Bill informed us of the late afternoons activities. You guessed it. More of this fabulous Yarra Valley Wine. Off to Dominique Portet which is literally across the road from Tokar but I'm glad we weren't walking as I was feeling a little sluggish after lunch. Chris and Dave at the cellar door perked me up with once again an extraordinary story of Dominique Portet and the long line of winemakers in his family and how he found himself making wonderful wine in the Yarra Valley. I bought a couple of bottles of the Cabernet Sauvignon which you don't see a lot of in the Valley and they were just to die for. The estate is typically french, round windows and vines with an expansive view. Our last stop -yes 5 wineries in total !!! was at Helen and Joeys and if I am yet to say that I have a favourite this is the one. Off a dirt road and down a long driveway is a superb winery with what I can only describe as world class wine. The story, once again is a fascinating one and expresses the dedication of people in this region to share their love for wine with everyone that visits. We felt very welcome everywhere we went and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Epicurean Food and Wine Tours to share the journey of the Yarra Valley with. They are friendly and professional and just a delight. The best thing is they vist family owned and operated so you don't have to join crowds and feel like you are on a bus tour. This is small and intimate and loads of fun. Join Epicurean to visit the Yarra Valley.