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Wine of the Week – Granite Hills Riesling – 2018

There don’t appear to be many wine tour operators offering tours to the Macedon Ranges, which suits me just fine.

I am seeing a steady increase in interest for tours to this wonderful, mysterious cool climate region. Most people are surprised to learn that the Macedon Ranges is the coolest wine growing region on the mainland of Australia. The only other areas that have cooler summer temperatures for wine production are to be found in certain pockets of Tasmania.

Granite Hills is one of the earliest wine producers, with Riesling vines dating back to the 1970s. Located at the north east end of the Macedon Ranges, the vineyard and winery are nestled among the granite boulders of the Great Dividing Range.

As many of you would be aware, granite soils are perfect for Riesling vines, offering excellent drainage, and infusing stoney minerality to the wines. This minerality is often detected as a pleasant ‘wet stone’ character or the evocative smell of wet roads and concrete   after a summer storm. It is all due to the ancient granitic soils.

The two wines for which Granite Hills are most recognized are Riesling and the original ‘peppery’ Shiraz. Pepper notes are an indication of cool climate, and can vary from year to year.  It is a subject that owner and winemaker Llew Knight is tireless in conversations with his customers about.

As he explains – “Peppery aromas in Shiraz are from cool climates – so it is a bit cheeky for producers from warmer areas of Australia to market their wine with ‘Pepper’ in the description or brand name”.  Enough said. Discuss it with Llew!

I am happy to report that as well as the above highly awarded wines, Granite Hills are also producing small parcels of some of the most interesting alternate varieties in Australia. These include Gamay, Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc, to name but a few.


I will most likely publish a tasting notes on some of the more alternate varietals in future, as they are delicious, but I could not resist purchasing the new vintage Riesling – 2018 for review. Released in March 2019, Llew informed me that the yields were down around 20% in 2018 – which hurts the bottom line of small estate producers. With the warm, even ripening at the end of vintage however, the quality of the wine was very good.

One of the most rewarding ‘take aways’ from a tasting at Granite Hills, is to learn that there is no added acid in this wine. Due to the very cool climate, it is all natural acid from the Riesling grapes.

It is worth noting that even some of the most renowned  Australian regions for Riesling need to add acid to the wines because of the warmer climate. The winemakers from the Clare Valley and Eden Valley usually need to add tartaric acid to balance the wines. This can sometimes give a course, astringent finish to the wine – especially when young.

The reason I decided to review the new vintage of Granite Hills Riesling (2018), is simply due to the facts that I enjoy drinking this wine every vintage. The wines mature magnificently for 10 years or more, due to the natural acidity, and finally – it is one of the best Rieslings in Australia under $25!


Tasting Note.

When tasted at a cooler temperature, there were aromatic notes of the prized ‘wet stones’ minerality. Upon warming up in the glass, there also appeared inviting notes of rose petal and citrus peel.  The palate is clean, fresh and mouthwatering – driven by the pure natural acidity of the wine.

A perfect match for delicate white fish. Anything that enjoys a squeeze of lemon works well. I enjoyed my wine with homemade chicken and spring onion dumplings, fried rice and marinated fried tofu.

Score out of 100

Pure Deliciousness.


Why not get a tour of your friends/ family together for a wonderful tour of the Macedon Ranges?  It is a memorable drive up the Bourke and Wills Track to visit Granite Hills. Llew, Andrea and the team would love to see you.

Visit the Perfect Day Tours website for great price current offers.




Posted in Updates

New – All inclusive Budget Tour – $99!

Just announced today – I am excited to release this special all inclusive tour offer.

For 10 people – You pay just $99  – (prepaid).

Prices vary up or down depending upon numbers.

* You get picked up at an agreed central location

Then you sit back and enjoy a whole day of tasting fabulous wines at some of the best cool climate producers in Australia. You don’t even have to pay any extra for you gorgeous lunch with friends and /or family!

You are safely, and lovingly returned to your central location.


I know – What’s not to love here ???


This option is currently available for the Yarra Valley, Morninton Peninsula & Macedon Ranges.

*Destinations outside of the Melbourne District may incur higher charges – please advise of your location so we can offer you our best price.



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Ten Minutes By Tractor – Pinot Noir Release 2017

Mornington Peninsula’s Ten Minutes By Tractor Pinot Noirs are due for release on the upcoming Queen’s Birthday long weekend,  Saturday 8th of June. Their  flagship Estate Pinot Noir, and many of the single vineyard wines have been sold out for some months now. This is due to their superior deliciousness and the limited quantities of these exemplary wines.

Unfortunately for eager customers of Perfect Day Tours, the 2016 vintage of the  Estate Pinot Noir, as well as the tiny quantity of single vineyard wines from the McCutcheon, Judd, and Wallis vineyards sold out far too quickly.

Patience, they say, is a virtue. Especially where these magnificent Mornington Peninsula treasures are concerned.

With  2017 being a much anticipated vintage release – we will be counting down the days until release.

How many more sleeps until  Saturday 8th of June?

Ten Minutes By Tractor Pinot Noir


Posted in Updates

Wine of the Week – Seville Hill Sangiovese – 2014

Seville Hill Sangiovese – 2014

A good Sangiovese should be medium bodied and textural. The very best are expressive of the soil in which they are grown, much like Riesling or Pinot Noir. These wines can be a window into the dirt from which they rise. I am always delighted to detect a hint of ‘dusty roads’ in my Sangio’s I find the aroma evokes the memory of seemingly endless dusty gravel roads from distant travels. Although there are many clones among the Sangiovese family, the well chosen ones have a lovely line of acidity, making them one of the best wines to match with food. One of my most memorable ‘light bulb’ moments was the time I drank a Chianti Classico (a predominantly Sangiovese blend from Tuscany), with a simple Bolognese pasta dish. Until that moment – I had not found a red wine that could taste so delicious with tomato based dishes, as well as fresh basil and Parmesan. My favourite Aussie Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon appeared clunky and disjointed when paired with such a dish.

So what is it that makes Sangiovese such a great food wine? For starters – it is not too ’big’ on the mid palate. Over more than a thousand years of cultivation – Sangiovese has learned its place. It knows how to support food, rather than dominate. A very mature attitude. Thank you Sangiovese.

Further to the dusty roads thing – Seville Hill Sangiovese 2014 also reveals subtle notes of red to dark berries. Soft tannins, due in part to the bottle age add to the allure. The palate is fresh and supple. I enjoyed my Seville Hill Sangiovese with Spanish inspires stuffed red capsicum.  The long line of fresh acidity cleanses the palate, compliments the smoked paprika in the dish.

Established in 1991,Seville Hill Winery is located in the cooler, Upper Yarra Valley area of Seville. Beautiful views of the Warburton Ranges and Yarra Valley add to the attraction of a visit to the cellar door.

Never one to sit still, owner /winemaker John D’Aloiso and his wife Josie originally farmed stone fruit and strawberries. Now, magnificent mature cherry trees also deliver an abundant crop, from late November through December. Once the cherries are picked, its time to get ready for the grape harvest in  late Februrary.

The Seville Hill vineyards were originally focused on the traditional French varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir,Shiraz and Merlot,  Seville Hill has also added other delicious, food friendly Italian varieties of  Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Barbera. The king of Spanish grapes,Tempranillo is also among the impressive suite on tasting.

John believes his wines are best after a few years in the bottle. So a tasting at Seville Hill allows you to taste wines that are more mature and ready to drink than at most cellar doors.

Further to the  cool Upper Yarra Valley site, John also has grapes growing in vineyards around Lilydale. This warmer area of the Yarra Valley, known colloquially as ‘The Valley Floor’, allows many of the red varieties the extra heat they require to fully ripen.

One of my favourite destinations for my customers for lunch – it is a delight to savour your favourite wine from the extensive tasting with your delicious, seasonal Italian inspired lunch. The value and hospitality are hard to match.

Three spectacular English Elm’s offer welcome  shade in the warmer months. Dining beneath the Elms whilst taking in the spectacular views – with a glass of something special, makes for a memorable afternoon.

Seville Hill is a proud member of the Smaller Wineries of the Yarra Valley – which often have special offers and events.




Posted in Updates

Yabby Lake – Mornington Peninsula

Yabby Lake Vineyard,  Mornington Peninsula

The more I visit Yabby Lake with my valued customers, the more impressed I become.

The cellar door is nestled unobtrusively  among native vegetation, with the now maturing local gum trees offering dappled shade as you amble down to the cellar door and restaurant. For the remarkably high quality of the award winning  wines – there is nothing ostentatious here. All the team members at the cellar door and restaurant seem to have be well chosen and well trained to be welcoming, friendly, and professional.

A casual lunch at Yabby Lake. High quality food, wine, people and glasses. What’s not to like?

Much like the delicately handled grape juice in the winery, I have realized that everything flows naturally here. From the warm greeting at the cellar door, to the informal style of the restaurant, you feel welcome. There are leather couches and seats where you can sit comfortably with a glass of wine and chat. The ambiance even lends itself to quiet reading. Hopefully you are flicking through one of the many food and wine magazines or books provided –  with a glass of something fabulous in hand.  Hopefully you are not checking your emails on a smart phone?

The restaurant extends seamlessly outside, and I observed groups of friends and families relaxing on the lawn, taking in the stunning views, on picnic rugs and huge cushions – obviously supplied by Yabby Lake.  There is an an array of  art installation that form a sculpture park, and children feel welcome and are engaged, exploring the installations.

My customers were most happy with the shared platters they enjoyed for lunch. The other important thing to mention, of course, is that Yabby Lake produce some of the most highly awarded and well regarded wines in Australia.

The word ‘passionate ‘ has become somewhat cliche these days – so you will understand what I mean when I write that Tom Carson, as Group Winemaker, puts his heart & soul into producing beautiful, elegant and site specific wines. He is of course supported by a great team of like minded, talented people, flowing from the winery, the cellar door and restaurant.

Tom, ex Yering Station in the Yarra Valley, is considered to have one of the best palates in the country, and has been a great driver in producing and promoting cool climate wines that are elegant,  often lower in alcohol and specific to the Mornington Peninsula region and vineyards.  Most importantly – the wines are food friendly. Tom is a highly respected wine judge at many of the major wine shows in Australia. He has also been influential in highlighting the charms of Victorian wines at the prestigious Royal Melbourne Wine Show.

The impressive range of wines on offer at the restaurant and cellar door span several tiers.

The Red Claw range offer solid, value packed wines displaying regional character.

The Yabby Lake ‘Single Vineyard’ range ratchet thing up a notch or two, displaying premium quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, & a small amount of Pinot Gris. These  wines reflect a modern style and mindset. All about purity of fruit, gently framed by high quality French oak. Importantly, the oak never dominates the delicate flavours. It is fascinating to taste wines that are expressive of a single vineyard, especially when they are this good. Medium bodied and supple, it is a delight to savour a glass at the restaurant in their large format glassware, offering up maximum aromatics and drinking pleasure.

No wonder the 2014 Yabby Lake Single Vineyard Pinot Noir was the first Pinot Noir to win the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy at the Melbourne Wine Show!

It come as no surprise that in the current edition of the James Halliday Wine Companion – 2019, the  following points were awarded.  2017 Single Vineyard Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir – 96 points. 2017 Single Vineyard  Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay – 95 points. 2017 Single Vineyard Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris – 95 points.

For fans of  Syrah, (cool climate Shiraz), the Single Vineyard range offer a 2017 Syrah, awarded 95 points by Campbell Mattinson. For some reason, one that I shall not argue with, this wine is priced at a low $36. Inspired by the delicately perfumed Syrah of the Northern Rhone, this medium bodied beauty is supple and long on the finish.

The Single Vineyard  Pinot Gris sells for about $33 per bottle,while the Chardonnay is priced around $45. You can expect to part with about $60 for a bottle of the Pinot Noir.

As if this delightful range is not enough. Wait, there is more!

Fining down even more from the Single Vineyard Range – there is also a Single Block Range. This range is dedicated to highlighting the unique characteristics of a particular segment of a single vineyard, known as a ‘block’. Obviously these wines are made in much smaller quantities, and are an intriguing insight into the macro – climate, elevation, o

rientation and soil profile of a small parcel of land within the vineyard. These wines are also very expressive of the vagaries of the vintage. All of this information is lovingly nurtured and harvested – and offered  to us in a never to be repeated vintage wine.

Of course the quality  of these wines did not escape the great palates or the 2019 Wine Companion either.

The 2017 –  Single Block ‘Block 6’ Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay was awarded a rare 98 points. The 2017 Single Block Pinot Noir was awarded 97 points. Both of these small production wines are priced at around $95.

Yabby Lake are also the proud makers of a strapping, full bodied Heathcote Estate Shiraz. The fruit is grown in Heathcote, and when perfectly ripe, is picked and transported to the Yabby Lake Winery. This is often carried out at night,to keep the Shiraz grapes nice and cool before their fermentation. The Heathcote Estate Shiraz 2016 is  an impressive counterpoint to the Yabby Lake S.V Syrah. Grown on the hallowed, ancient Cambrian soils of Heathcote, it displays regional blueberry notes, the taste is full and satisfying.  Matured in French oak, there are enough ripe, grippy tannins to keep the ‘Big Red’ lovers enthralled for quite some time.It sells for around $45.

Yabby Lake –  Mornington Peninsula

#yabbylake #morningtonpeninsula #winerytours

Posted in Updates

Wine of the Week – Madden’s Rise Blanc de Blanc 2011 ( Sparkling Chardonnay)

Having sold out of the 2010 blanc de blanc  last October, it was with much anticipation that I tasted the 2011 vintage.

Madden’s Rise is on one of the best vineyard sites on the Yarra Valley floor. Located in Coldstream, on the famous  south side of the Maroondah Highway.

Quietly producing premium grapes that are snapped up by some of the big producers in the valley, they also make a small amount of their own characterful wines, mainly sold at their very cool cellar door.

A visit to the rustic and friendly cellar door is a must for those who like to discover the hidden gems of the Yarra Valley.

Madden’s Rise 2011 Blanc de Blanc.  Sparkling Chardonnay.

While not being considered a favourable vintage for red wine in the Yarra Valley, due the cold and wet ripening conditions, it was a classic vintage for sparkling wine. A silver lining to the grumpy red wine cloud.

This wonderfully expressive bottle of bubbles was matured on yeast lees for an incredible 7 years. This extended time on  lees is similar to what many of the major French Champagne houses implement for their most expensive ‘Presige Cuvee’ wines – often selling for between $250 and $500 per bottle

This extended time on the lees give a complex aroma of freshly baked sourdough bread, with yeasty notes hinting at cheese, and even a background hint of Vegemite – due to the complex   aromas of extended yeast lees contact.

The palate is quite fine, almost delicate, reflective of the cool vintage.

Although the colour has more golden hues that are evident in more commercially produced bubbles, the palate is delicate, clean and fresh.

In a traditional flute – the bead is fine and delicate. The taste is still fresh and vibrant, reminiscent of fresh, crunchy, Granny Smith apples. This crispiness is due to the wine not being put through malolactic fermentation. A great call by the winemaking team and owners to help the wine age slowly and gracefully. It is very expensive to cellar wines  before release, so to have a sparkling wine just released after 7 years on yeast lees is a rare gift.

I am pleased to report that it was delicious with the prawns you can see on the platter in the photo.

Official Score – Bloody Yummy.

Recommended Retail Price – cellar door / online –  $45

Posted in Updates

Ten X Tractor – Sold out of Pinot Noir

Breaking News – Ten Minutes by Tractor, Main Ridge Mornington Peninsula, are not able to show their distinctive and delicious range of Pinot Noirs at their cellar door – as they have sold out.
This is due in no small part to the devastating fire that destroyed the restaurant and cellar door on the 25th February 2018. The temporary cellar door is located at Petite Tracteur, Main Ridge. Happily the 2018 vintage of the Ten X Tractor Pinot, as well as the Estate range, is not far away,and should be ready in late February 2019. The Single Vineyard range, as is the TXT tradition, are due for release on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June. No one from TXT knows when the new restaurant and cellar door will be opening. There should be an update on progress soon. Stay tuned.

Posted in Updates

The Magic of Veraison in the Yarra Valley – Saturday 19th Janurary

I took these photos just south of the Marroondah Highway, Madden’s Lane. This area of the Yarra Yalley is somewhat warmer than others, so veraison (ripening), often occurs a week or two before other sub-regions of the Valley. Warramunda Estate owner and winemaker Rob Magdziarz informed me that January had been quite warm, and other grape varieties, including Shiraz were starting to show sighs of veraison. Rob indicated that it was looking similar to 2016, where the ripening period was quite compressed.This can place more pressure on the wineries – if many of the grape varieties ripen in quicker succession than usual

Pinot Noir 19th January, 2019 
 Tokar Estate, Madden’s Lane, Coldstream, Yarra Valley.

There is a smaller bunch to the left that is not as exposed to as much morning sun as the bunch in the center of the shot – so it will still take a little  more time to start to ripen.
This bunch of Pinot Noir grapes looks full of promise. Disease free, and as happy as a young bunch of Pinot can be. Lovely.
Posted in Updates

Radio 3RRR Promotion

I am excited to let you know that from Monday, 21st of January,in  conjunction with Radio 3 RRR, we will be running a Perfect Day Tours sponsorship promotion.The promo will run until Sunday 10th of February.

I love listing to the outstanding programmes on Sundays, and I try to never miss ‘Eat It’ at 12.00pm.

Always great to hear Cam and Matt chatting about food.

For lovers of Food & Wine,’ Eat It’ offers great information on seasonal produce. (Thanks John at the market! So glad you are back.)  Recipe ideas, cooking techniques as well as insightful interviews with leading chefs are great listening.Wine and other exotic beverages are also covered extensively. What a treat to hear that hard working winemaker Duncan Buchanan delivering a blow by blow account of what’s happening in the vineyard and winery. He also gives insights into the vagaries of the season – that most important element that makes each vintage unique.

I am delighted to have a Perfect Day Tours sponsorship announcement on ‘Eat It’ on Sunday 3rd and 10th of February, as well as other times and shows spread throughout the weeks.

So here’s the deal.

For current subscribers only

10% off the cost of their tour.

10% off the wonderful wines from Warramunda Estate & Liv Zak Wines – as well as a meeting and tasting with the Robert, winemaker & owner. Family and friends welcome to attend this intimate cellar door experience. Coldstream Yarra Yalley.

10% off Seville Hills Wines – Superb Upper Yarra Valley wines this offer includes an special tasting with John, owner & winemaker. Family and friends welcome to attend, generous Italian hospitality and fabulous wines.A great option for lunch. Seville Upper Yarra Valley. OR

10% off wine at Yabby Lake Vineyards – Mornington Peninsula.

Subscriber’s friends & family will also enjoy a fabulous free tasting at either of the above wineries, as well as a generous and delicious shared platter lunch with a glass of wine for only $40!

There are a range of tour suggestions and options available on this website, so please let me know what you would like, and I will put together you Perfect Day.

Simply fill out the inquiry fields, and I will be in touch as soon as possible.

Once you are happy with your Itinerary, a $50 deposit will be required.

Please see the dates that have already been booked and are unavailable.

Saturday – 9th of February
Saturday – 16th of February
Wednesday – 20th February
Saturday – 23rd February

Saturday – 23rd March

Please read our Terms & Conditions.

Posted in Updates