Four Pillars Distillery- Awarded Best in the World – 2 Years Running!

Congratulations to our dear friends at Four Pillars Gin Distillery – Healsville –  Yarra Yalley!

For the second year running, Four Pillars Distillery have been awarded International Gin Producer of the Year. 

The prestigious honour was awarded at the 51st International Wine and Spirits Competition, 2020.

A wonderful tasting at Four Pillars Distillery on my day off. Thanks Brett!

“We were in the laboratory at 5am, at 5.08 we were told we had won,” says co-founder Stuart Gregor. “I had my first glass of champagne at 5.11”

Four Pillars was awarded gold medals for their two most popular gins, Rare Dry Gin and Bloody Shiraz Gin. Further to this amazing feat, another five Four Pillars gins took home high silvers.This includes the unique Spiced Negroni and Navy Strength gins. Add to this the soon to be released olive-fueled gin, delicious Sherry Cask Gin and a single cask barrel aged gin that is yet to be launched.

We love taking our happy customers to Four Pillars. So much fun and education in smelling the botanicals, and tasting the gin.


The Gins on tasting – with botanicals to sniff during a tutored tasting.The now world famous – Four Pillars Gin Distillery – Yarra Valley.
Steve with a group of friends @ Four Pillars – Yarra Valley.
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#cellardoorchallenge // This Week it’s all about…
Giant Steps Syrah – 2017.
Yarra Valley.
Supporting Victorian wineries during Covid – 19 restrictions, we are pleased to be involved with the #cellardoorchallenge.
I loved this lovely Yarra Valley wine when I first tasted it a few years ago. Such a classic vintage for Syrah and Pinot Noir in the Yarra Valley.

It went down a treat with Filet Mignon, parsnip mash and local asparagus. Red wine reduction and horseradish cream to accompany. Mmm – that’s nice.

Giant Steps Syrah 2017.
Being a cooler vintage – this lovely regional Syrah is elegant and medium bodied. There is ample natural acidity to support the vibrant raspberry / red fruit palate. There is even a whiff of white pepper – reflective of the mild and extended ripening.  Silky tannins too.
What a pity I don’t have any more of this wonderful wine. Sad face.
Giant Steps Cellar Door Tasting. Two wine lovers from Sydney on a Perfect Day Tour.
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#cellardoorchallenge // This Week it’s all about…
Quealy Winemakers  ’17 Rows’ Pinot Noir – 2014.
Mornington Peninsula.

In support of Victorian wineries and cellar doors during Covid – 19 restrictions, we are pleased to be involved with the wonderful  #cellardoorchallenge initiative.

As we are unable to conduct tours at the moment, we need to provide our own entertainment. To that end, I have been having a bit of fun with opening 1 or 2 ‘back vintage’ wines each week. The idea is to enjoy these delicious wines with a great home cooked meal. As the #cellardoorchallenge is social media friendly, we endeavor to get a decent photo of the food & wine to post.

One of our favorite cellar doors to take small groups on the Mornington Peninsula is Quealy Winemakers at Balnarring. This is because the intimate cellar door adjoins the boutique winery, and is both welcoming and intriguing.

Kathleen Quealy conducting a wonderful tasting in the winery. Note the large format glasses.

Beautiful, large  glasses allow the lucky taster to smell and taste the wines in the best style.

 Quealy Winemakers ’17 Rows’ Pinot Noir  2014. Balnarring – Mornington Peninsula. The vines were planted in 1982 – making them some of the oldest on the Peninsula. Due to this, it is the Quealy flagship – with only 17 precious rows across 3 acres on the Quealy Estate being sourced for this wine.



Deep red in colour.

Attrctive musk stick aromas, with violets and raspberry. Elegant and poised –  with medium bodied ‘confidence’.

The French oak is like a great bass player – weaving everything together – but never dominating. Medium bodied yet full of flavour and character.

As with all very good Pinot’s from mature vines – the wine slowly opens up on the back palate. Subsequently the wine is satisfying, balanced and moreish. Delightful length.

I am pleased to say the wine was very complimentary with the Chinese style duck, mushroom, and asparagus dish I prepared to match.


Wine – Quealy 17 Rows Pinot Noir 2014.  Food – Seared duck breast with Chinese master stock reduction. Accompanied by mushroom, asparagus, red cabbage and rice noodles.



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#cellardoorchallenge // This Week it’s all about…
Knight’s Granite Hills Shiraz – 2014.
Macedon Ranges.

In support of Victorian wineries and cellar doors during Covid – 19 restrictions, we are pleased to be involved with the wonderful  #cellardoorchallenge initiative.

Granite Hills Shiraz –  2014

As we are unable to conduct tours at the moment, we need to provide our own entertainment. To that end, I have been having a bit of fun with opening 1 or 2 ‘back vintage’ wines each week. The idea is to enjoy these delicious wines with a great home cooked meal. As the #cellardoorchallenge is Instagram friendly, we try to get a decent photo of food & wine to post.

Cool Climate

I love taking PDT customers to visit Knight’s Granite Hills in the Macedon Ranges. The winery and vineyard are located at an altitude of 550 meters above sea level on the Great Dividing Range.

The cool continental climate and high altitude help to make the Macedon Ranges the coolest wine growing region in Australia (including Tasmania)!

Granite Hills was established in 1970 by Gordon Knight, primarily to run sheep. Wine grapes were eventually planted, and the wines were found to be of exceptional quality. Gordon’s son – Llew – has been the long time wine maker and owner of this magnificent vineyard and winery.

Although offering a fabulous range of wines, Granite Hills is best known for Riesling and Shiraz. As the continental climate and high altitude can deliver very cold nights, the cool climate Shiraz often displays ‘peppery’ notes.

With regard to cool climate Shiraz, the pepper aromatics are more prevalent in the cooler vintages. The 2013 Shiraz was from a warmer vintage – so not as much pepper was evident. There is however a lovely medium bodied texture – matched with dark fruits and soft tannins. The cool climate acidity and tannins helps to dissolve fattiness or oiliness from the food.


Being  from a warmer vintage, there are inciting aromas of dark plums –  with a subtle backdrop of Christmas cake. The complex aromas are due to the interaction of French and American oak, delicious ripe Shiraz grapes from mature vines – and time in bottle. There is a passing glance at cinnamon and nutmeg with pepper relegated to the back row this season.

Note – Being 14.5% alcohol this warmer year – it helps to add the ‘sweet’ aromatics.

The colour is still deep, impenetrable and dark red with a touch of purple.

The palate is medium to full bodied, with an impressive length and clean finish. This is due in no small part to the natural acidity from this high altitude cool climate vineyard.

The 40 year old vines now penetrate deep into the granite soils. Subsequently there is a depth of flavour from the minerals dissolved in the earth below.

Selling for approximately $35 per bottle AU, Knights Granite Hills Shiraz offers good value, and is one of the original cool climate Shiraz.

As the wines are matured in oak and bottle before it is released – the current vintage at time of writing was 2014.





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Back Vintage Review – Madden’s Rise Nebbiolo 2013 – Yarra Valley

Happy Father’s Day to me!

Due to Melbourne’s Covid 19 travel restrictions in September, I was unable to celebrate with my 2 adult daughters.

So why not visit my local butcher to see what he may recommend for barbecue fare? Tomahawk steak – done. Now to find an appropriate wine to help wash it down. I originally thought of a full bodied South Australian Shiraz or Cabernet from my humble collection – but decided to be a little more adventurous.


is one of the most difficult grape varieties to flourish outside of it’s spiritual home. In this case, it is the Piedmonte region in Northern Italy.  Barolo and Barbaresco are the villages most famous for Nebbiolo, with wines that last and mature for 20 years or more. Many of the single vineyard wines can age gracefully for 30 or more years, depending on vintage conditions.

Nebbiolo from the best producers in Barolo was traditionally known as ‘The king of wines – and the wine of kings’. This may have also been an indicator of the high prices commanded for these wines.

Madden’s Rise Nebbiolo 2013. Coldstream – Yarra Valley.

‘Tar and Roses’ is the traditional term accorded to describe the evocative Nebbiolo wines  from it’s homeland. As you may be aware, this term has also been appropriated as a brand name for a Victorian wine company ( ’tis often difficult to resist the lure of a sexy brand name).

Tasting – Madden’s Rise Nebbiolo 2013

Distinctive aromas of rose petal and white pepper (Violets and leather becoming evident on the second day).

The medium bodied palate shows at once a delicacy and firmness – with savoury / meaty notes. Time in the bottle has softened the tannins, giving a long and dry finish.

I enjoyed the Madden’s Rise 2013 Nebbiolo very much. I only wish I had purchased more, as it was my one and only bottle.






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International Pinot Noir Day – Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir 2016 – Mornington Peninsula

In celebration of International Pinot Noir Day on August 18th  – I opened a 375 ml bottle of Kooyong Estate Pinot 2016 – Mornington Peninsula.

What a lovely wine. A delicious background of cherry and gentle black pepper notes. Medium bodied and seamless on the palate. Soft tannins with well integrated acidity keeping it nice and fresh. It slowly unfolds on the back palate. Happily, no oaky protrusions were detected here.

I really enjoyed the subtly of the wine. I have been finding that older wines I have been drinking from my humble collection have often appeared very oaky. This is particularly apparent from the warmer regions of South Australia ( Let’s say Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale), where some producers were known to use a heavy dose of American oak.

Kooyong Estate 2016 Pinot Noir – from above.

Unlike most heavier reds would have – the Kooyong 2016 Pinot Noir wine worked beautifully with my ‘home alone’ left over roast chicken and veggies.

Once again, it proves what a magnificent region the Mornington Peninsula is for fine quality Pinot Noir.

I would like to remind you that ‘The proof is not in the pudding’. The proof of the pudding shall be in the eating! Or in this case, in the drinking! Delicioso!

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Happy Pinot Noir Day!

As some of you astute Pinot lovers may be aware – August 18 is International Pinot Noir Day!

To help celebrate – and get us into the mood – I found a few bottles that I have collected on happy Perfect Day Tours.

Now which one should we open?


From from left to right the Pinot Noirs are as follows.

1. Oakridge Wines – Henk’s Vineyard 2016 – Yarra Valley.

2. Passing Clouds 2018 – Kilmore. (Winery at Macedon Ranges).

3. Maddens Rise 2012 – Yarra Valley.

4. Curly Flat 2014 – Macedon Ranges.

5. Quealy ‘Seventeen Rows’ 2014 – Mornington Peninsula.

6. Pimpernel ‘Pinot Noir Two’ 2015 – Yarra Valley.

7. Red Hill Estate Cellar Door Release 2018 – Mornington Peninsula.

8. Kooyong Estate 2016 – (375 ml) Mornington Peninsula.


Some other cracking Pinot’s I have tasted recently are below.

Yering Station  Reserve Pinot Noir – 2017
Seville Hill Reseve Pinot Noir – 2018











Both emanating from the Yarra Valley, I can vouch that these wines are delicious – and highly rated in the current James Halliday Wine Companion.

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Back Vintage Review – Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz – 2012

What is the point, you may ask, of reviewing a wine that is no longer easily available to taste or purchase?

Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz 2012

As many are now fond of answering – ‘Good Question!’

My thoughts are that many people may be interested in reading about a wine that unfolds in time, slowly revealing hidden charms. You may then be interested in acquiring the current vintage wine for your own collection to enjoy in the future. You would also be buying at a price that doesn’t include higher costs associated with the winery cellaring / keeping the wine for many years – if they were able to do so!



Although the Greenstone winery and cellar door are now based in the Yarra Valley, the Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz is a flagship wine on tasting at the Greenstone cellar door. Located on the western outskirts of the township of Yarra Glen, the current site of the Greenstone winery was first established by Yarra Ridge, it then became the home of Sticks Yarra Valley. Greenstone Vineyards purchased the Yarra Valley winery and cellar door in 2015, with a vision to add cool climate wines to their impressive portfolio.

Tasting on the expansive deck @ Greenstone Yarra Valley

The Greenstone project commenced in 2003, as a 40 hectare property at Colbinabbin, to the north of Heathcote. The Cambrian soils of Heathcote are unique, with the oldest known soils in Australia. Geological findings have dated the Cambrian soils at over 550 million years. These deep red soils are mottled with copper basalt, which has a green tinge, thus the name Greenstone. The mild climate and agreeable vineyard conditions have helped make Heathcote wines so highly regarded throughout Australia, and indeed, the rest of the wine drinking world. The Italian varietal Sangiovese also shows great promise from the Greenstone Heathcote vineyards.

The current vintage of the Heathcote Shiraz is 2017, so it is fascinating to see how the wine presents as a back vintage, at 8 years of age (2012 vintage tasted in July 2020).

Well renowned viticulturist, Mark Walpole was in charge of the vineyards in 2012. The magical touch of winemaker Sandro Mosele crafted the wines – further to performing his duties at the time at Kooyong Estate – Mornington Peninsula.


I recall that as a young wine, the 2012 Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz was taut and minerally, with very few fruit aromas or flavours evident. Fine grained persistent tannins and acidity were obvious. Tasting the wine 6 years down the track, I am pleased to report that the wine is maturing beautifully – with a bright future still ahead for the foreseeable future.

Aromas and flavours of dark fruits and blackberry gently reveal themselves, over a backdrop of very fine, ripe tannins. The acidity is well integrated, adding freshness and brightness to the medium bodied palate. I contend that the minerality in the Greenstone soils help to add complexity and minerality to this intriguing wine.

It is worth noting that the wine is made in a cool climate style – with French oak barrels being used for aging as well as slightly earlier picking of the grapes – retaining natural acidity. Many Heathcote Shirazes tip the scales at a hefty 15% abv.  The 2012 Greenstone Shiraz weighs in at a svelte 13.5%abv. Practically a health food!

I am looking forward to tasting the 2012 in another 4-5 years, to see how it is unfolding. I will keep you posted.

Official score out of 100 – You little ripper!

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Winter in the Yarra Valley.

A stunning winter view of the dormant vines beneath a Yarra Valley sky. This shot was taken from the top of the hill on 30th June, 2020, overlooking the vineyards @ Helen’s Hill, Coldstream Yarra Valley.

Tours are still happening – albeit it with smaller numbers. This is just right for PDT – as we specialize in bespoke smaller group tours.

Enchanting winter tours are still available – 7 days per week – for the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula. Bookings are essential.

Posted in News and Updates

Yarra Valley – Tours Back On!

I spent most of last weekend (13th & 14th of June), visiting many of the cellar doors / restaurants in the Yarra Valley, to see how old friends were coping with Covid 19 restrictions.

As we have been getting many requests for tours, I wanted to see for myself what was happening now – and expectations over the next couple of months.

I am pleased to let you know that limited tours are now available.

I have included a few photos of the venues I visited, and wines tasted. The recently refurbished Yering Station Cellar Door is now also being used as an Art Gallery. Currently the stunning works of Antonio Villella – with his display Harmonious Equilibriums  – adorns the walls of the Cellar Door.

Over the next 2 weeks – tours will be capped at 6 people.

Tours would typically be  as follows.

Visit 1 or 2 wineries in the morning.

Lunch with a tasting and glass of wine.

A final wine tasting at another venue in the afternoon.

I was happy to taste a few wines over the weekend – and found the quality to be exceptional. I hope to take you and your friends and family on a beautiful wine tasting to the Yarra Valley soon.

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