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Day two of Andrew Catchpole's Regional Heroes blog from Australia

Published:  13 August, 2010

What better way than to open the day than with a breakfast tasting of Riesling and Pinot Noir? The second Yarra morning finds us early at restaurant and cookery school Bella Vedere near Healesville where tussle-haired young gun Mac Forbes is pouring his wines in an appetite-inducing session that has gastric-juices flowing as bacon sizzles and kippers poach in the open kitchen.


Off-piste work with the first three wines - an excellent trio of European-leaning Rieslings from the Strathbogie Ranges. "Really interesting, dynamic, delicate and feminine," noted Rachael of the '08 RS37 Riesling (RS meaning Residual Sugar), while the '08 Tradition, an iconoclastic exercise in extended skin contact, tannin-rich white wine-making was clearly the talking point of the day. And very good. Meanwhile Forbe's bright Gruyere Pinot Noir and seriously engaging (unofficial) flagship single vineyard Woori Yallock completed the appetite building session.


A longish hop, skip and jump next down to the Mornington Peninsula for a taste both of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and how the other half build cellar doors amid the magnificently minimalist architecture of Port Philip Estate. Here the ever affable and astute Mike Symons of Stonier and schoolteacher turned winemaker Lindsay McCall of Paringa led a masterclass tasting of both Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from Mornington, reading like a who's who of the good and the great. Some juicy banter, primarily directed at Yarra's wines, naturally ensued. Overall a very good and enlightening tasting, revealing the contrasting styles of Yarra and Mornington, while delivering a pretty clear picture of sub-regionality within the Mornington itself.


For the record, Team UK voted that Mornington had the slight edge on Pinot Noir while Yarra stepped ahead on the Chardonnay front in terms of overall style, quality and wines that - crucially - would be most popular with the customers. Overall, the poised wines of Kooyong and more fleshy numbers from Ten Minutes by Tractor topped a fine double tasting showing the elegance born of cool, maritime influence in this region's seductive wines.


Successful day rounded off by a flavoursome, seasonally oriented modern Australian dinner at Long Table in Red Hill South and a dam-replenishing night of rainstorms.