Last week a friend from paintball, Rob, decided to take me wine touring as an early birthday present. Well, that's what he claims, but it was school holidays.... Maybe he just wanted to leave the house? Either way, it was good fun.
He chose two wineries, I chose two and away we went.
Redbox - As it turns out they aren't officially open on Wednesdays, but they were quite welcoming and despite the wines being open since the weekend they look remarkably good. I really liked the Riesling and Chardonnay. I have a feeling you may seem them recommended in the near future.
Panton Hill - Rob was really keen to try these guys out. When we went into the tasting room, no one was around. We couldn't find anyone at the winery. We even tried calling the telephone to no response. We have to go back at another time. Maybe try calling in advance.
Tarrawarra - I've been to Tarrawarra a few times in the past and it seems to get better each time. We were shown wines by Richard, who was great. He opened a few extra goodies because we showed some interest and ultimately there were some absolute winners there. The Pinots and Chards have always impressed (the Estate Pinot is a stunner). But the single vineyard Merlot and single vineyard Shiraz are sensational; hence their inclusion in the Cellar Dozen and Special Bottle Club lists respectively if you wanted to try them for yourself.
Dominique Portet - An old favourite of mine. Making possibly the best Rose in Australia and some really excellent Sauvignon Blanc. The Estate SB was so impressive it has also made it for sale into the Cellar Dozen this month. I have never tried an Australian SB so concentrated and full of loveliness (although Sorrenberg SSB has come mighty close as do some Leeuwin Art Series SB). We got to taste a cellar release of the 2005 Yarra Shiraz - direct from the cellar that morning in fact; it was so lovely and savoury, but still had plenty of youthful exuberance. I thought it was a pleasant way to finish the tasting, until the Vendanges Tardives Sauvignon Blanc was brought out; this is what sweet wine is all about. Delicious and compelling drinking. Thankfully Rob was driver for the day.
A great day in all and I tried some wines that left me seriously impressed.