My knowledge of wineries came from watching back to back episodes of the TV series Brothers and Sisters. As the owner of the Walker Landing winery, their family dramas were never lacking it. It appeared extravagantly on the TV, which was one of the reasons I settled on going for a wine tasting day tour in Australia. The other reason? Wine is my soul sister.
Known for its’ cool climate and famous wineries, Yarra Valley is an Australian wine region located east of Melbourne, Victoria. The valley was picturesque, even on a wet cloudy day like today.
Our first stop of the tour was Dominique Portet, a French family winery. We met one of the family members, Valentine. I instantaneously liked Valentine, her curly ginger hair and sense of style; more so when she praised my shocking pink beanie, which my friends pleaded me to take off earlier. “You look outrageous”, they said. Well wasn’t that the point?
She began with a fascinating fact about the imported barrels (from France). They throw it away after two times usage. I assumed, the more you reuse the barrel, the more distinctive the wine kept inside it would taste. I was incorrect. “It ended up ruining the taste of the wine”, she said.
She passed us each a wine glass to sample four different types of wine. I fell in love with their rose wine, called Rose Brut, pink in color. “This wine is famous in Europe during summer”, Valentine explained, “because it’s an easy drink”. It has a nickname, Summer In A Bottle. I coincided. Sweet and light, it’s a perfect summer-y pick me up on a chilly afternoon like today.
We then headed to our lunch place, Rochford Wines, a restaurant come winery. I had salmon, cake, coffee, macaroons and wine. It was delightful.
I think my papa would love to retire at Yarra Valley. It has the things he relishes; wine, greenery, unobtrusiveness and farm animals.
After lunch, we explored the gift shop. They had a good collection, including a few items that raised my eyebrow, like chutneys.
Our last place, Domaine Chandon, was a giant winery, owned by the same company who owns a legendary luxury brand. “It’s a multi-million dollar business”, the private guide kept reminding us. At least he was thorough, he took us to the whole process of wine making, which was exciting. I mostly enjoyed the part when they separate the yeast from the wine. He told us that were why in medieval movies they cut the wine mouth with a sword; to get rid of the yeast. Here I had been cursing the barbaric act while mourning the waste of a good drink.
At the end of the tour, he made us select from three types of wine. One choice?!! Duh, so much for wine tasting. He then proceeded to explain the different between the choices. I chose the second one, though I didn’t catch the name. It was French, and it has blublue sounding word, He told me that it was less dry, than the first one he described, and sweet. A fine choice. I contemplated buying another bottle of wine from here, after all we were in a winery, but I stopped myself. I have heard the word multimillion dollar company like multimillion times (the man was passionate about the company he worked for, I give him that) and I didn’t feel like adding to the multimillionism particularly because I am not a multimillionaire, yet. I saw many people buy wines from here though. Maybe I will try their famous sparkling wine in a restaurant back home.
As you may have guessed, I bought the so-called bottle of summer from Dominique Portet instead. I plan to fly it 4000 miles home so I can open it with Hulk on an extraordinary occasion, including “We have a fancy wine, let’s celebrate!” type of occasion.
Does flying a Summer In A Bottle across continent qualify me to be a wine snob? I did try nine types of wine, and I can articulate Sauvignon Blanc with confidence. No? Naah, I also don’t think so but I am starting to understand why wine enthusiast became well.. Snobby; recognizing and drinking wine is a luxurious act of which, pursued continuously, would even turn a neon colored beanie wearing girl into a fancy schmancy
wine snob enotourist.
The day tour turned out to be a memorable one. I had fun learning about different types of wine and drinking it. We went back with wide grins and happy buzz.
How about you? Have you gone wine tasting before? Where? Did you enjoy it? Did you buy a bottle of wine? Did you get drunk? Share some good stories with me!
Next time, yes, there will be a next time and a next next time, I plan to stay for a couple of nights at a winery’s BnB and have wine for breakfast, facial, perfume, lunch, shower, tea and dinner.
A shout out to Esdon Lee, the best tour guide we had the chance to cross path with in Australia. He was extremely knowledgeable and a joyful fellow.
I could see he loves his job and adores Yarra valley more than I do. Raising a wine glass for him and let’s make it a Pinot.