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!

Posted in News and Updates

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?

Hmmm?

 

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.

Steve.

Posted in News and Updates

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’ www.Childrenofthegrape.com.

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?

Posted in News and Updates

Yarra Valley Budget Tour – $99 each for 10 People!

Due to the popularity of our Mornington Peninsula Budget Tour, we are now offering a similar amazingly priced tour for the Yarra Valley!

Released on 22nd of December – 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.

 

*Upgrade  this Budget Tour offer to a ‘Budget Plus’ Tour option, for just a further $15 per person. The Budget Plus 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 could be either of the following.

Princess Theatre  – Spring St. Melbourne.

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                      Budget Plus Tour Offer 

Coldstream Brewery                       Killara Estate Lunch

(Includes wine tasting and glass of wine)

10 people – $99                               10 people – $114

9 people – $106                                9 people –  $121

8 people – $115                                8 people – $130

7 people – $125                                7 people – $140

6 people – $135                               6 people – $150

Posted in News and Updates1 Comment on Yarra Valley Budget Tour – $99 each for 10 People!

Wine of the Month – Pimpernel Vineyards GSM2 – 2015

Pimpernel Vineyards GSM2

Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, 2015

Region :  Coldsteam – Yarra Yalley – Victoria.

Overview:

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.

Posted in News and Updates

Wine of the Month – Warramunda ‘Liv Zak’ Syrah – 2017

The Estate.

When customers inquire as to what my favorite destinations may be in the Yarra Valley, I often mention Warramunda Estate. As a family owned business, the family are usually in attendance for a warm and instructive cellar door experience.  Most importantly, the wines are delicious.

Believed to be an Aboriginal term meaning ‘Wait for tomorrow’ Warramunda is located on the famous south side of the Maroondah Highway in Coldstream, the prized vineyard shares a neighboring fence with Oakridge Wines. However, ‘waiting for tomorrow’ is often hard to do, when you have a bottle of Warramunda wine at hand.

From 1975 – 98, Warramunda Station was used as a cattle and sheep stud. The property was purchased in ’98 by the Vogt family, who then turned over the property from a stud farm to vineyard. The first variety planted being Cabernet Sauvignon. This was then followed by Pinot Noir, Marsanne, Viognier, and Shiraz (Syrah).

One of my first tastings at Warramunda included the 2016 Liv Zak Syrah. After having purchased and enjoyed many bottles of this lovely wine, I am excited to review the 2017 vintage.

The model that works so well for Warramunda highlights 2 ranges of wine. The Liv Zak wines are overseen by Olivier (Liv), while the Warramunda Estate wines are the proud offerings of Liv’s farther Robert Magdziarz. With talented and respected Yarra Valley winemaker Ben Haines on board, the wines have an authentic style. They are at once reflective of the Warramunda vineyard, the *Coldstream sub region, and the Yarra Valley region.

The family is passionate about many of the lesser known white French Rhone Valley varietals, in particular Marsanne and Viognier. The award winning Warramunda Estate Viognier is highly regarded by wine lovers and wine critics alike. Further to this, the Syrah (Shiraz), is made in a distinctly cool climate Northern Rhone style. These wines add an extra layer of interest to the cellar door experience at Warramunda.

Both the Liv Zak wines and Warramunda Estate wines are bright and vibrant, due in no small part to the natural acidity of the soil, the cool climate, and the early hand picking of the grapes at exactly the right time of physiological ripeness.

The Liv Zak wines are crafted to be enjoyed immediately upon release. However the Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in particular will show well for at least the next 5 – 8 years.

As a wonderful counterpoint, the Estate range is structured to slowly reveal hidden charms over a decade or two. Don’t rush. There’s no hurry.

I look forward to posting a review of the Warramunda Estate range later in the year. I have been lucky enough to taste them, and they are some of the best wines I have tried this year.

Here is a quote from the Warramunda website, eloquently summing up their style and vision.

“Warramunda Estate’s wines appeal equally to the learned wine connoisseur and those new to the art and science of wine. The wines are bursting with personality and drinkability yet will cellar well should you prefer a more mature wine.”

The Wine.

Warramunda Liv Zak Syrah – 2017.

If I could drink wine like this more often – I would be a happy chap indeed. The grapes for this wine were actually sourced from the esteemed wine growing region of Beechworth. The story goes that the quality of the Syrah from the Warramunda vineyards was so exceptional, Rob decided that the grapes needed to be reserved for the Warramunda Estate Syrah.

After searching for great quality fruit to make the 2017 Liv Zak Syrah, Liv eventually found a vineyard in the esteemed Victorian winegrowing region of Beechworth. Finally finding fruit that was worthy of the challenge.

I was a big fan of the 2016 Liv Zak Syrah – purchasing a six pack for my own humble collection.

I was delighted with how the 2017 Liv Zak Syrah presented.

On the nose – showing slightly deeper and riper notes than the 2016 – due to the warmer growing region.

I found a whiff of blueberries and prunes – a very attractive combination. The palate already shows a beautiful integration of perfectly ripened fruit and subtle French oak playing a supporting role. The wine was matured in 500 litre used French oak barrels. These larger format, used barrels help the wine to soften and integrate – without any overt influence of new oak. It works a treat with this wine.

There is a hint of red spice that carry through the palate – with fresh acidity giving length and refreshment – a signature of the Warramunda style.

 

Already drinking beautifully, why not keep a bottle or two for the glorious future? I dare you to.

 

 Score out of 100 – As Judged by the Official ‘Perfect Day Tours’ Tasting Panel.

All things considered using our strict criteria, we rated this wine as – ‘Bloody Lovely – with 2 exclamation points’, as seen below.

Bloody Lovely!!

*Coldstream can be considered an unofficial sub region of the Yarra Valley.

Posted in News and Updates

Seasons at The Stables – Yarra Valley

Three photos of the rear of The Stables – Stones Yarra Valley.  Pic 1. is mid summer – Pic 2, late autumn. Pic 3. early winter

Perfect Day Tours customers love visiting this historic precinct of the Yarra Valley, with some of the oldest known buildings in Victoria. The original stables were constructed in the 1860’s. Now used as a restaurant on the weekends, the courtyard is a magnificent Tuscan

Summer 2019

inspired outdoor area. Grape vines offering shade and coolness during the summer. The deciduous vines offer magnificent autumn tones on their foliage. Finally, winter light is much welcome in this cool climate area Coldstream – Yarra Valley.

Winter tours are wonderful – and the wine tastes great!

This upcoming Queen’s Birthday – Sunday is fully booked, However Saturday 8th and Monday 10th are still available for tours.The Mornington Peninsula is featuring it’s popular Food & Wine Fest this weekend.

Autumn 2019
Winter – 2019
Posted in News and Updates