I should have got this out much, much sooner, but my own vintage got in the way, and there are so many good cellar doors to visit.  It’s more fun being at a cellar door than writing about it.  Anyway, I am very pleased to announce the vinblue 2012 Mornington Peninsula cellar door awards – Hastings Rules apply.

Best shedMerricks Estate.  A true and wonderful thing, full of ideal shed compatible items including the venerable George Kefford, one of the original Mornington Peninsula winemakers.

Best value diningJones Road.  Sigi’s at Northway Downs is still an absolute riot, but you can’t go anywhere to better Jones Road for good value dining.  Roast lunches, excellent pizzas from their wood fired oven and generous starters, combined with a reasonably priced and excellent range of wines.  The place is comfortable, relaxed and Rob and the team do a great job.  Please visit.

Best fine diningTen Minutes by Tractor.  Simply exquisite.  Expensive with touches of Blumenthal, but in a sea of over-priced mediocrity, this is an island of salvation.  Salix at Willow Creek, last years winners, have mislaid their mojo just a little bit.

Best Sparkling Wine at a cellar doorElan Estate Sparkling.  Selma at Elan keeps on re-inventing, and this is a beauty. $25 of superb value Chardonnay based fun and fizz.  But don’t think this is fizzy nonsense – it is a great sparkling wine.  In my opinion it easily competes with bottle shop French champagne selling for twice the price.

Best Chardonnay at a cellar door – has to go to Geraldine McFaul and the team at Willow Creek.  The Chardonnay Project was a wonderful thing, as is Willow Creek Chardonnay.  Personally I’m still smarting from the loss of the WCV range, but you can’t have everything.

Best Pinot Noir at a cellar door – Garamond 2010 by Hurley Vineyard.  You would be forgiven for wondering  whether the $60 you spent on a bottle of Pinot Noir wouldn’t have been better spent on three bottles of $20 Pinot Noir.  After the first few glasses would you notice, or even care?  Well the Garamond is a wine that is so good that you can see why it costs $60 plus.  Expensive, but still good value for money – that is how good this is.  Warning – you must appreciate good Pinot Noir and Burgundy to enjoy this wine.  Avoid if “Shiraz is your thing”.  You won’t get it at all.

Best other red at a cellar door – is also probably the best value red wine on the Mornington Peninsula.  It is the 2010 Tempranillo from the Vale vineyard.  A beautiful red wine – John and daughter Caroline are doing a great job.

Best other white at a cellar door – this was one of the harder decisions, because there are a number of worthy contenders.  In the end it goes to Jones Road and their Jones Road Junior Pinot Grigio.  For around $20 you get a delightful, fresh, flavour filled wine – just brilliant as the first bottle with a Jones Road lunch.

Best overall cellar door experience – has to go to Gary and Dromana Estate.  Dromana had a lot going for it – great location, a good variety of wines, an interesting building, art works – and Gary who worked very hard to make sure people had a good time.  I’m not sure how it will turn out for Dromana Estate – we wish them well.



Hastings Rules – we don’t count Main Ridge Estate.  Nat and Rosalie White are legends in their own underwear (and probably everybody else’s too).  They would win most things most years, so they remain vinblue legends and do not have to fight it out with the rest of them.