Yarra Valley and the MCG

3 Feb

Yarra Valley

On Monday following the tennis, we took the opportunity of being in Melbourne to go down to the vineyards in the Yarra valley.

The first vineyard we went to was Coldstream Hills, where the set up managed to be both cosy and professional.

Coldstream Hills vineyard

Coldstream Hills vineyard

We started with a sparkling wine made using the “methode champenoise”. In this process, second fermentation takes place in the bottle, after the addition of a little sugar syrup (liquer de tirage). Regular turning (remuage) ensures that sediment settles in the neck and can be easily removed, often by freezing the liquid, (a process called degorgement) at the end of the process. Their sparkling wine was well made, light and quite delicious – lighter than champagne yet tastier than most proseccos and with none of that yeastiness than can be present in some champagnes. Next we tried three chardonnays.

Greg and Simone taste the wine

Greg and Simone taste the wine

This filled my heart with dread as my impression of Australian chardonnay was formed in the late 90’s, when a fair amount of oak chipping occured.  The first of these was good (a crowd pleaser our guide called it – for those who are not necessarily fans of chardonnay – i.e. me), as was the reserve. The second bottle was pretty ordinary.

Range of chardonnays tried

Range of chardonnays tried

We also tried a few pinot noirs, the nicest of which was made using Tasmanian grapes and blended by James Halliday himself. The Coldstream Pinot Noirs are rated as distinguished by Langton’s wine guide. Note that the Langton’s wine guide rates different Australian fine wines based on prices obtained at auction. The categories are exceptional, outstanding, excellent and distinguished. There is no shame in a distinguished rating as just making it into the guide puts the wine at a particular level. Some smaller vintages are not sold at auction and therefore won’t make it into Langton’s but can be of quite exceptional quality.
We next moved on to the Yarra Yerring vineyards. They were not as professional as at Coldstream, nor as attentive. They had ten wines set out, including the white, which were all warm. There was one white in particular, which was over ten years old and urine yellow. It was cooked and quite frankly, nasty. Why put that in a tasting line? There was a very drinkable non-challenging red from 2001 that was ready now but would not last. Greg bought a bottle. Their Dry Red number 1 is rated as excellent in Langton’s wine guide, based on auction results. It didn’t taste impressive to me but that could have been caused by its handling.

Yep, warm Yarre Yerring wine does not taste good

Yep, warm Yarre Yering wine does not taste good

The next stop was Chandon, a vineyard set up by Moet and Chandon. They were almost too professional and we were turned off by the coach loads.

We left and went on to a little Italian vineyard, de Bortoli’s. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a table for lunch but we tried some of their wines. Greg bought a bottle of their Noble One dessert wine – this would be a good match for a tart dessert (I thought of lemon tart, Simone thought meringue and summer berries) but definitely not chocolate. This dessert wine is listed as outstanding by Langton’s.

I bought a couple bottles of their EZ (Edelzwicker), which was a full, fairly fruity Gewurtztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris blend. I thought it would go very well with hot spicy Thai curries or Caribbean food, so we will drink it in Sydney when I do some cooking.
Having pushed ourselves to the limit of driving capabilities, we headed back in to Melbourne.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

That evening, I went to the MCG to watch the cricket.



The MCG is a massive ground – it is apparently the tenth largest sporting stadium in the world, with a capacity of just over 100,000 standing and seating.  Despite being so large, the sidings are very steep and visibility is very good.  The crowd was even rowdier (drunker?) than at the tennis – I witnessed one fight and ejection.

Despite the rain delay, the match (T20 international between Sri Lanka and Australia) was very entertaining and I got to watch a good fifty by Mahela Jayawardene.

Jayawardena on strike

Jayawardena on strike

Malinga bowls

Malinga bowls

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: