We cruised down country lanes with the colours of autumn all around us. We saw glorious red and golden vineyards through the trees, and tantalising glimpses of the bay and the Tasman Sea glinting on the horizon, as we hopped from winery to winery tasting the best of the Mornington Peninsula’s wines.
One was Eileen’s favourite winery restaurant. The Montalto vineyard and olive grove also has a sculpture exhibition dotted around the estate which allowed us to enjoy spectacular views across the vineyards whilst inspecting the exhibits. The restaurant terrace certainly looked lovely, and we will visit again one winter afternoon for a fix of sunshine with our food.
My personal favourite was the last place we visited, the Hurley winery at Balnarring, run as a hobby by two pinot noir enthusiasts, lawyer Trish and her QC husband Kevin. They have three vineyards surrounding their house, Lodestone, Garamond and all of which produce a wonderful pinot noir. We sampled the 2004 vintage before Trish gave us a tour of the vineyards, delivering the best short course possible on winemaking in 20 minutes! It was hugely educational, and I was fascinated to see how close together the three vineyards were (they are essentially right beside each other, just separated by wind-breaking trees) given the vast difference between the two wines I’d just tasted. The third vineyard’s wine had not been launched from the 2004 vintage as they were not happy with it.
Back in the tasting barn, Trish gave us a taste of the 2005 vintage which were sitting in oak barrels. This time the three vineyards were represented, and again I was amazed at how different they were. Despite Orlando’s protestations that I buy no more wine, I had to come away with just two of the Lodestone 2004 vintage. However I was eclipsed by Kelvin who bought 10 bottles to make up a full case between us!
The Hurley wines are available at a number of good restaurants across Melbourne, and you can get on their mailing list to keep track of their wines too.