Friday, February 28, 2014

Mornington Peninsula Wine Tour

Today was Leilani's last full day in Melbourne so I took the day off work so we could go on a wine tour of the Mornington Peninsula.  Our Wine Tours Victoria driver picked us up in the city and we got to spend the day with a lovely group of ladies from all over the globe.  We drove out of the city through St Kilda, Elwood and the bayside suburbs along Beach Road before joining up with the Nepean Highway.  It was a really nice drive and amazingly my first time on Beach Road.  I also now know where to find the Brighton Beach bathing boxes, which I have never seen in person before.  Our first stop for the day was up at Arthurs Seat State Park for morning tea at the summit.  On the drive up we stopped for some pictures of the peninsula at one of the outlooks then had our tea/coffee and a piece of fruitcake on the park benches.

The first winery we visited for the day was T'Gallant.  Known mainly for their Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris wines, we got to taste a wide variety of what they had on offer:
- Ophelia Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Vintage 2008
- Grace Pinot Grigio 2012
- Imogen Pinot Gris 2013
- Holystone Rosé 2012
- Cape Schanck Pinot Noir 2013
- Cyrano Pinot Noir 2013
- T'Gallant Pink Muscato 2013
- Romeo 2013
- Odysseus Nebbiolo 2012
My favorites were the Ophelia Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay and the Imogen Pinot Gris.  Lei was intrigued by the different flavor profiles of the wines and asked some technical questions that I think secretly thrilled our server.

Next we went to Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove where we got to sample both wine and olive oil.  The olive oils were very tasty and I especially liked the lemon infused one and their Chardonnay Estate verjuice.  Once again we got a variety of wines to taste:
- 2013 Montalto "Estate" Riesling
- 2013 Pennon Hill Pinot Grigio
- 2013 Pennon Hill Rosé
- 2012 Montalto "Estate" Chardonnay
- 2012 Pennon Hill Pinot Noir
- 2012 Montalto "Estate" Pinot Noir
- 2012 Pennon Hill Shiraz
- 2013 Pennon Hill Moscato
The reds had a peppery taste and I really liked the Montalto "Estate" Pinot Noir, as well as the Moscato, which Lei has gotten me into while she's been staying here.

For lunch we stopped at the Merricks General Wine Store where we had a quick tasting before sitting down for our meal:
- Sparking Moscato 2010
- Merricks General Wine Store Pinot Grigio 2012
- Quealy Tussie Mussie Pinot Gris 2013
- Quealy Pobblebonk 2012 Field Blend
- Baillieu Rosé 2013
- Baillieu Pinot Noir 2011
- Quealy Rageous 2013 (Sangiovese, Shiraz & Pinot Noir blend)

My two favorites here were the Quealy Tussie Mussie Pinot Gris and the Quealy Rageous, which I had a glass of with my lunch.  We moved from the tasting area to a table and began our lunch by sharing the Merricks general platter that contained a house made kitchen charcuterie served with toasties.  We then had our choice of mains and I got the beef and ale pie on a pea purée with leaf salad, which tasted fantastic.  I also got to sample Lei's chicken which was also yummy.  It was a nice and relaxed lunch stop and great opportunity to chat with the people in our tour group.

We then hit the road for our final winery of the day, Dromana Estate, which featured four different wine labels to taste from:
- Mornington Estate 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
- Mornington Estate 2012 Pinot Gris
- David Traeger 2013 Verdelho
- Mornington Estate 2012 Chardonnay
- Dromana Estate 2012 Chardonnay
- 'i' range Sangiovese 2013
- Mornington Estate 2012 Pinot Noir
- Dromana Estate 2012 Pinot Noir
- David Traeger 2009 Shiraz
- Dromana Estate Non-Vintage Ascuitto
- 'i' Range Late Harvest Arnesis
I really liked the Mornington Estate Sauvignon Blanc and the Dromana Estate Pinot Noir although by this time I think my taste buds were over it since we had sampled so many wines throughout the day.

Overall it was great to be able to try such a wide variety of wines from the Mornington Peninsula, but a bit overwhelming to have nearly 10 different wines at each stop.  The tastings also felt rushed as the servers tried to quickly get through all of them.  Perhaps over time and as the region gets better known they will shorten down their tasting menus to their top five sellers instead of trying to showcase every variety coming out of their vineyards.

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