Four Pillars Gin Tasting – Healsville Yarra Valley

 B.P from Four Pillars, and Steve from PDT.

On Monday 18th of November, a day off from a Perfect Day Tour, I had a chance to indulge in a tasting at Four Pillars Gin Distillery in Healsville Yarra Valley.

As a dear friend of mine had a visitor from the U.S staying with him, who also happened to be a big gin fan, I offered to take them on a casual visit to Four Pillars Gin Distillery.

I asked for B.P. to host our tasting, as he is always entertaining and conducts a friendly, informative session.

I hasten to add that all of the team members at Four Pillars conduct wonderful tastings. It  is just that I have developed a comfortable and friendly repore with B.P over the last 2 years, so he was a good fit for the tasting.

After the tasting,my friends bought a bottle of the original Four Pillars Gin – and enjoyed classy Gin & Tonics that evening.

Thanks B.P. and all at Four Pillars, we all had a wonderful time with you.

We love taking our happy customers to Four Pillars, so if you love gin, check out their link below – and we can craft a bespoke tour for you.


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Tour on Saturday November 9 – Yarra Valley.

On Saturday November 9th, I was delighted to host a group of ladies celebrating a birthday, and looking for a fun day out in the Yarra Valley.

We kicked off the festivities with a wonderful tasting at Warramunda Estate, in Coldstream Yarra Valley.

As usual, Owner Rob conducted a spectacular tasting, including his offering of Manchego cheese, and also Prosciutto di Parma, to accompany the newly released Warramunda Estate Pinot Noir 2017.

Warramunda Owner Rob Magdziarz, conducting a fabulous tasting of Warramunda Estate and Liv Zak wines.

Outside at Warramunda Estate.After purchasing a few bottles of fantastic wine from Warramunda Estate, it was off to Oakridge Winery.

On the deck at Oakridge.

Oakridge Winery is just next door, at the famous address of 864 Maroondah Highway, Not too far to travel for more wine and fun.

Here I am imposing myself in this photo, on the deck at Oakridge. As you may notice on the left, we had a few guests in the shot. They are obviously well practiced in the subtle art of social media.

After so much wine tasting – Lunch was most welcome. Shared antipasti platters, followed by gourmet wood fired pizzas  were consumed with great relish. Not the spreadable kind – I’m sure you know what I mean.

Lunch and wine tasting at Killara Estate – Seville East,Upper Yarra Valley.

Not a bad start to lunch. Antipasti platters at Killara Estate.

Killara also features striking views of the surrounding  vineyards, as well as the Great Dividing Range to the north, and the Warburton Ranges to the south.

The next 2  photos were  taken after lunch at Killara Estate. You can just see the majestic mountain range in the background, although it was misty and overcast. Perfect conditions for wine tasting.

The next shot taken just before we headed to our final destination,

Helen and Joey, Gruyere Yarra Valley.The ladies enjoyed the wonderful hospitality at Helen and Joey, as well as taking in the sweeping views of the 200 acre property, comprising vineyards, farmland and native forest. Not to mention a safe haven for the Unicorns, found at various locations around the property.

How much did this fabulous day cost, I hear you ask?

$110 per head.

I know.

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Smaller Group Tours – Update

I have enjoyed hosting many smaller group tours of late – from 2 people up to 6. Here are a few photos to capture the fun and enjoyment of these Perfect Day Tours.

Martin gave our group a great tasting at Domaine Chandon as a first venue for tastings.
Martin giving an entertaining tasting to PDT group at Chandon. Always a great way to start the day.

As keen wine lovers are finding out, the ‘Connoisseurs Tour’ is one of the best value tours, as you usually don’t pay for the tastings.

This is because the Connoisseurs Tour is all about tasting and buying great wine, either a bottle or 2, or a case or 2!

Delicious shared plates at Meletos, St. Huberts Road Yarra Valley. I can vouch for the deliciousness, as I was lucky enough to be at the table. Yes, they are my sun glasses.
Always great fun @ Helen and Joey. The big Unicorn in the back is named ‘Bruce’.


This photo features Suzy in the background. She always gives a great tasting at Warramunda Estate. This was among the groups favorites for the day. Beautiful wine. They all bought a bottle or 2.

This happy group above chose a ‘Pay as you Go’ option. The only thing  booked in was lunch at Innocent Bystander, and the rest of the day, we visited as many destinations as we could fit in. What fun. They said it was ‘the best day ever’. Thanks guys!

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Sunday – Small Group Super Special! – 10th November.

We have availability this Sunday for a last minute amazing offer to the Yarra Valley!

4 people – tastings at 3 Premium Wineries are included in the price.

Lunch is your call. Lunch is not included in the offer, but happy to suggest where you may like to go. From Cheap and Cheerful  – up to Fine Dining?

We can cover all bases. What would you like to do for lunch?

Full day private tour for 4 lucky people – ex CBD 

$115 per person.


Full Day private tour for 4 lucky people – ex Lilydale Railway Station

$99 per person.

Why not get a few of your best wine friends together for this fantastic opportunity to taste some of the best wines in the Valley, and have a relaxing day – while I do the driving and organizing?

Oh did I mention tastings are included in the price?

Don’t you deserve this?



Posted in News and Updates

Connoisseurs Tour – October 19th, 2019

Happily, PDT are receiving more requests for smaller, Connoisseurs Tours, as outlined on the Tour Types and Packages pages of the website.

I was delighted to host a group from Sydney on Saturday 19th of October, who were keen to try a few of my suggestions for outstanding small producer wines – at a reasonable price.

These lucky people are seen here enjoying a wonderful tasting at Pimpernel Winery. They have 2 glasses each – as this part of the tasting is to show the differnce between Pinot Noir 1, and Pinot 2, both grown and produced at Pimpernel, Coldstream Yarra Valley. With the Connoisseurs Tours, I try to set up appointments to meet the winemakers and family members / owners.

The great thing about these tours are that they are such great value. Tasting fees are not charged if you purchase a few bottles – and 10% discount applies at selected wineries, even if only 1 or 2 bottle are purchased.

Thanks you to Daniel’s group (pictured), for such a glowing review of your tour on Trip Advisor and Google my Business.

Although you had a few suggestions of your own – it was nice to read that my suggested wineries were your favorites!

I hope we can get you back for another tour soon.


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Steve Noel – ‘Children of the Grape’ – Yarra Valley Tour

On Friday 4th of October, I was delighted to host American wine blogger and publisher, Steve Noel on a special Yarra Valley Tour.

How Steve found Perfect Day Tours among the myriad of Yarra Valley Tour web pages, I have no idea.

However, find us he did – and after checking out our website – Steve was confident that we would be a good fit for organizing a bespoke snapshot tasting of some of the  small to medium producers in the Yarra Valley.

Steve was flying to Australia for the annual Wine Media Conference in the Hunter Valley NSW. This is the first year that the event has been hosted in Australia.

The event was sponsored by the following.

Wine Australia
Wine Communicators of Australia
Destination New South Wales
Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association
NSW Wine Industry Association
Destination Sydney Surrounds North
Royal Agricultural Society of NSW

Prior to his sojourn north from Melbourne to the conference, Steve was keen to discover the cooler climate wines of the Yarra Yalley.

Fresh, (if that’s the right word), from his flight from the U.S, I picked Steve up from his hotel in the Melbourne CBD, where he had arrived about an hour prior.

Our first appointment was the ever reliable Warramunda Estate, Coldstream Yarra Valley. An extensive tasting, hosted by Olivier (Liv Zak range), was warmly received. A great start to the day. It adds interest and depth to highlight the two distinct ranges,’ Liv Zak’ and ‘Warramunda Estate’. Not to mention the Maranchego cheese and real Prosciutto d’ Parma as part of the delights of the tasting.

Next it was off to Oakridge Winery, Coldstream, where Cellar Door Manager Matt was waiting to show Steve the expressive range of vineyard specific wines that Oakridge specialize in. Matt even brought out the ‘big guns’ of the iconic Oakridge ‘864’ range. See photo.







Mushroom Pizza at Coldstream Brewery, Yarra Valley. Bellisimo!

Time for lunch and a coffee. I recommended the mushroom pizza at Coldstream Brewery for lunch. As always, it did not disappoint. The best part was that Steve ‘got’ lunch. It made the pizza taste even better.

Refreshed and refueled after our delicious pizza, it was off to Pimpernel Winery. Wine maker Damien was waiting to host Steve through a magical tasting of their extensive range. The wines at Pimpernel are full of character and regional expression. I find they are some of the most impressive produced in the Yarra Valley. Pimpernel showcases a most eclectic range. For further information, please see PDT October ‘Wine of the Month’ for a review and tasting note of the GSM 2015. It also gives a brief outline of the Pimpernel philosophy and winemaking philosophy.

Check out Steve’s blog ‘Children of the Grape’

Children of the grape help to demystify the sometimes confusing terminology around wine and wine tasting.

It is an honest, refreshing take on the world of wine – without the jargon that can often be found in wine writing.

Thanks Steve – let’s do it again soon.

Perhaps the Magnificent Mornington Peninsula, or the Mystical Macedon Ranges next time?

A quick visit to the idiosyncratic Madden’s Rise was just the ticket to round out the day. Madden’s Rise have a superb range of interesting blends,both red and white, as well as the standard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir offering. The Nebbiolo is a welcome string in their extensive bow.

Time to head back to Melbourne – Steve was still in great shape. Perhaps an early night was on the cards?

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Yarra Valley Budget Tour – 10 people – Just $99 each!

Released on 22nd of October. For a limited time, until fully allocated.

Here’s the deal.

A full day private tour.

Visit 3 premium Yarra Valley wineries /cellar doors.

Gourmet wood fired pizza lunch at Coldstream Brewery.

This amazing offer includes all wine tastings and lunch.

Drinks with lunch are not included in this deal, but can be purchased from the bar.

What do you think?

One of the best pizzas in the Yarra Valley.

Mushroom Pizza from Coldstream Brewery.


Furthermore – 10% discount on wine at selected wineries!    I know!

*Upscale this Budget Tour offer to a Premium Tour option, for just a further $15 per person. The Premium Offer lunch includes wine tasting & glass of wine with lunch. It also features a 2 course meal of shared charcuterie platters and delicious wood fired pizza at Killara Estate Winery. Bellisimo!

For CBD pick up, the location would be as below.

Opposite Parliament Railway Station,


Federation Square Bus & Coach Pick Up – Drop Off Zone, Russell Ct.

For your convenience – find below pricing scale for smaller groups who may interested in the same great value Perfect Day Tour.

Please note – the prices listed below are as ‘Per Person’.

Budget Tour Offer

10 people – $99

9 people – $106

8 people – $115

7 people – $125

6people – $135

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Wine of the Month – Pimpernel Vineyards GSM2 – 2015

Pimpernel Vineyards GSM2

Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, 2015

Region :  Coldsteam – Yarra Yalley – Victoria.


If you happen to take a right turn down Hill Road, on the South Side of the Maroondah Highway you will chance upon an eclectic array of smaller wineries.

Pimpernel Estate, founded by Mark and Fiona Horrigan, is nestled at the base of the mystical Great Dividing Range. Situated in Coldstream, Yarra Valley, the team was joined by Damien Archibald as Head Winemaker in 2008. Working simpatico with Mark, the guiding mantra is:

Extraordinary wine comes only from exceptional fruit.’

Being totally dry grown, the lovingly tended vineyard boast vines inspired by the classic French regions of Burgundy, Loire and the Rhone Valley.

Low yields are sought by hard hand pruning. This, combined with the lack of extra irrigation, guarantees small tight bunches of exceptional fruit.

Damien explains, “I want the fruit to be rich, not overripe, but just ripe. That perfect point when everything comes into balance – when you just want to eat it off the vine”

Each bunch is assessed for that ‘sweet spot’ of ripeness before being handpicked. To preserve the delicate flavours, and to minimize bruising and oxidation, the wine is moved around the winery by gravity, not pumps.

Comprising just 16 acres of vines, over 50 vinifications are undertaken during each vintage. This attention to detail in the winery allows for the uniqueness of each ferment to be captured. Elegance and complexity are the sole objective.

One of the hallmarks of the Pimpernel range is the delicious freshness of the wines, driven by natural acidity.

A visit to the cellar door is a happy, welcoming experience. Cellar door manager and assistant winemaker Morgan is welcoming of those lucky enough to visit. Good humour and gentle banter are par for the course, making for an informative relaxed session. It is a good idea to allow plenty of time – as the range is extensive, and the tasting is informative and comprehensive. There are lots of chances to ask questions and discuss the wines.

The cellar door is currently open from Thursday through Sunday. On Fridays you may also be lucky enough to catch Damien lending a hand at the cellar door. Saturday and Sunday you will most likely find owner Mark Horrigan holding court at the cellar door. Mark is a jolly cardiologist, who loves meeting his prospective customers and proudly presenting his prized wines. There is always a joke or witty observation waiting to escape from Mark. The cellar door sometimes has the atmosphere of an intimate dinner party when Mark is ‘doing his thing’.

The diverse array of grapes grown on the tiny vineyard include the following white varietals : Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat, Marsanne. The red selection includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre.

For lovers of great quality and well priced fine wine, a Perfect Day Tour visit to Pimpernel is a must.


The Wine:

Pimpernel GSM 2015

Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre

This wine was inspired by the classic reds of the Southern Rhone, where it is all about blending red varietals. This helps to make a more balanced and complete wine with each component playing its part.

It is interesting to note that Grenache is the most highly planted grape variety in the world. The Southern Rhone in France and huge plantings throughout Spain help to make it thus.

In the Southern Rhone, the blend is generally Grenache, followed by Mourvedre as the second most prominent grape, then Shiraz. In Australia, we tend to use Shiraz as the second most important grape, making a GSM instead of the French GMS.

In the earliest, and most iconic Southern Rhone appellation of Chateauneuf-du-Pape,  many other red and white grape varieties (including Carrignan, Cinsault, and Grenache Blanc), may be used in the blend.  A very popular wine in England – where they love to celebrate a leisurely Christmas Lunch with a bottle or two. It has been known to smooth over family tensions.

This however is a rabbit burrow for another day.

Perfect Day Tours purchased a bottle of the wine for the review.


 PDT Tasting notes:

The aroma offers subtle notes of raspberry and ripe blood plum, gaining more prominence as the wine opens up.

Gently unfolding on the mid palate, soft and medium bodied. The flavor intensifies at the back, delivering length of flavor.

The tannins are perfectly ripe and velvety, due perhaps to the Grenache being a dominant portion of the blend. There is a lovely lick of red fruits.

Suffering not the sweet, fairy floss notes of so many over cropped Grenache dominant blends from the warmer regions, there abides here a freshness and brightness. This is due in no small part to the natural, cool climate acidity.

*Interestingly, there is a 1% addition of the aromatic white grape Muscat of Alexandria, which is co fermented. The alcohol is $14.8.

Indigenous yeast, older French oak, and no filtering/fining  help to define the character of the wine.

Food pairing – a perfectly cooked lamb chop, homemade oven fried chips, steamed carrots and broccoli.

The Pimpernel GSM2 is available for $50 at the cellar door.

Official Score out of 100 : 

 Delightfully Delicious.



Posted in News and Updates

Wine of the Month – Ten Minutes by Tractor ‘Up the Hill’ Pinot Noir 2017

Ten Minutes By Tractor was established in 1997, in Main Ridge. The original business comprised just three vineyards in the cool upper reaches of the Mornington Peninsula, all ten minutes by tractor. These 3 premium sites were the McCutcheon, Wallis & Judd vineyards.

There are now a further four vineyards that have been added to the impressive portfolio. Over the past 15 years, Martin and Karen Spedding have chosen diverse sites from the Peninsula – each highlighting unique features. Every site reflects a different aspect, altitude, mesoclimate and soils profile. Not to mention the influence from the cool sea breezes. These maritime breezes help to keep the ripening fruit from getting too warm – helping the grapes to ripen slowly – retaining natural acidity, and building complexity.

As some may be aware, the original Ten Minutes by Tractor cellar door and restaurant were devastated by fire in late February, 2018. Since then, the cellar door has been relocated to a temporary ‘pop up’ location at Petit Tracteur, a bistro in Main Ridge owned by TXT.

The original site is being rebuilt, and everyone is looking forward to that happy day – when the cellar door can return –  and the restaurant can reopen.

I will keep you posted with progress and possible opening dates.

Having released the new vintages of the Estate and Single Vineyard wines, on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, I was looking forward to tasting the new Pinot Noirs in the range. Highlighting a diverse and impressive range of style, the tasting was memorable, confirming my view that TXT produce some of the best Pinot Noir in Australia.

Two exciting additions to the portfolio are ‘Up the Hill’ Estate Pinot Noir, and ‘Down the Hill’ Pinot Noir, both 2017 vintage.

‘Up the Hill’ uses fruit from the cooler Main Ridge vineyards, including the original McCutcheon, Judd & Wallis sites. Added to this is one of the newer sites in the TXT portfolio in Main Ridge – the Spedding Vineyard . As mentioned, Main Ridge is the coolest, highest southern portion of the Peninsula. Often, perhaps unkindly referred to by the locals as “Main Fridge”!  The vineyards here range from 206m to 142m. Altitude reduces temperature by 0.6 degrees Celsius, giving these elevated sites a stronger cool climate effect on the wine.


‘Down the Hill’ is made with fruit from the Coolart Road Vineyard in Tuernong. This site is much lower, with an altitude of 72 metres. It is also warmer and dryer than Main Ridge, producing Pinot Noir with deeper colour and more powerful fruit expression.


As usual, all of the wines on tasting at Petit Tracteur  were wonderfully expressive. However I chose to review the ‘Up the Hill’ Pinot Noir – as I found it utterly captivating.

I purchased the wine from the  Petit Tracteur cellar door to taste at home.

As always, these tasting notes are my own opinions and how I perceived the wine at the time of tasting / drinking.


Tasting notes,

Ten Minutes by Tractor,

‘Up the Hill’ Estate Pinot Noir – 2017.

Delicate, light and autumnal hues, a very slight haziness, due to no filtering and  light fining, to preserve the delicate fruit aromas and flavours.

Aromas of dark / sour cherry – and a background of baking spice – clove and cinnamon, perhaps with a fresh grating of nutmeg?

The taste is almost delicate – highlighting the cooler, higher sub region of Main Ridge. Cherry, red berries and spice persist on the palate.

There is a beautiful backdrop note of bacon/chacouterie – adding another level of intrigue.

Light to medium bodied, with layers of gently unfolding flavours and texture.

Beautiful balance – with high quality French oak gently framing the wine, so as to not dominate the delicate fruit. Fresh and vibrant natural acidity, with a gentle dusting of fine grained tannins at the end.

Such a pretty wine.

12.5% alcohol

Single bottle price – $50.


Official Perfect Day Tours Score Out of 100  –  Elegantly Delicious!


Food Pairing.

I was lucky enough to have just made Pea & Ham soup – and homemade sourdough bread.

The smokiness of the ham bone used for the soup worked a treat The natural acidity in the wine honed in on the smokey ham like a drone at a nudist beach.

With the homemade rye sourdough with butter – the wine was soft and velvety on the palate.

If we could all afford to drink this wine with such humble food as homemade pea & ham soup, with homemade sourdough and butter – what a wonderful world it would be.

It occurred to me that the time and love that had been invested in the wine was somehow reflected in my own humble constructs.

A pretty decent lunch.

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