Archives for posts with tag: Hurley

Best value diningNorthway Downs.  It remains the same crazy Austrian themed carry-on that it’s always been, but you can guarantee a good time, great oompah music and the best schnitzels on the peninsula.  A most excellent afternoon out.

Best fine diningSalix at Willow Creek.  This is unfortunately a celebration of things now lost.  Last week Salix shut up shop at Willow Creek as the new owners of the property push ahead with their plans to build a conference centre.  The restaurant has been running there for around eleven years – I remember being emotionally moved by venison sausages and puy lentils, and a fabulous scallop dish.  Amazing food, a great venue and excellent service.  I for one will miss you Salix – so long and thanks for all the confit!

Best Sparkling Wine at a cellar doorStonier.  Their 85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir blend is brilliant.  The Rose is fabulous too.

Best Chardonnay at a cellar doorYabby Lake.  The thing about the cellar door at Yabby Lake is that it is consistently good – no matter what you ask for.  Dropping in for a Chardonnay on the way home from Mornington is a real treat, and it doesn’t get much better than the Yabby Lake Single Vineyard Chardonnay.

Best Pinot Noir at a cellar doorHurley.  The Garamond – stunning.  You just know when you’ve found something special, and this is it.  A great flagship wine for the Mornington Peninsula.

Best other white at a cellar doorTucks Ridge.  For just about everything non-Chardonnay really.  The winemaker, Michael Kyberd, has produced a great range of whites which are excellent examples of their varietals – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Savagnin.  If you’re not sure how these should taste, head on down to Tuck’s Ridge.

Best other red at a cellar door100 Hunts Shiraz.  This was available at the Merricks General Store, and is a great example of a Mornington Peninsula Shiraz.

Best overall cellar door experience – Merricks General Store.  An inspirational example of what you can do with an old shed on a country road.  It has a good range of wines to taste, coffee, food and a produce store – and it’s all so gorgeous darlink!  Honourable mentions in this category have to go to: Polperro, Stumpy Gully Vineyard, Moorooduc Estate and Paringa.

Hastings Rules – we don’t count Main Ridge Estate.  Nat and Rosalie White are icons and would win most things most years, so they remain vinblue legends and do not have to fight it out with the rest of them.  But if you haven’t been to Main Ridge, then don’t delay.  Nat and Rosalie are moving on.

Best shed – I’ve taken out the best shed award this year – because I’ve run out of sheds to give it to.  everybody is going up market.  The best sheds are of course Elan Vineyard, Merricks Estate, Miceli.  Myrtaceae might count as a shed – it’s a very smart shed.


I’ve mentioned Hurley Vineyard in a previous blog from 2012.  It’s been a while since I’d darkened their door, so I dropped in recently to see how things were going.

Hurley is all about one thing – Pinot Noir.  It is all they grow, make and sell – and they don’t make that much of it either.  In a good year they make three distinct Pinots:

Lodestone – Burgundian clones 114, 115, 777 and MV6

Hommage – Clone G5V15

Garamond – Clone MV6

When things aren’t so good – like 2011 – everything goes in a bucket and they make an Estate wine.

Hurley three pinots

Three Kings of Peninsula Pinot Noir – Lodestone, Hommage, Garamond from Hurley

They are very focused on their climats and terroir, and on treating the wines in the gentlest way possible – no pumps, just gravity feeds.

The end result?  It is fabulous Peninsula Pinot Noir.  It really is about as good as it gets.  The winemaker’s notes talk about blueberries, red cherries and plums, but believe me this is how great Australian Pinot Noir should taste.  It’s Fine.  For whatever reason, my favourite was the Hommage.

Don’t go there and ask if they have anything sweet.  Don’t even think about Shiraz.  Do go if you love Pinot Noir.  Prices are between $56 and $67 a bottle which ordinarily I would call steep – but in this case you probably are getting good value for money.  Watch out for the two white ghost hounds as you drive in.

Hurley barrel room

The winery at Hurley Vineyard

The Estate wine is supposed to be pretty good.  They’ve sold out at the cellar door, but I think I saw some on the menu at Ciao Bella in Balnarring.

I’ve had two very successful cellar door visits recently.  The first was to Phaedrus, a small vineyard on Mornington-Tyabb Road.  The cellar door itself is an unassuming, but attractive little building – very simple, and there is a very strong chance you will be served by the winemakers – Maïtèna or Ewan.  What I really appreciate about Phaedrus though is value for money.  I find the wines to be excellent – some quality in depth here – but at $20 a bottle for the whites (Chardonnay, Pinot Gris) and $24 for the reds (Pinot Noir, Shiraz) they are a real bargain.  There is a reserve Pinot Noir at $45.  Highly recommended.

Contrast Phaedrus with Hurley vineyard on Balnarring Road.  Hurley is a premium Pinot Noir producer – that is all they make – different wines coming from different areas of the vineyard with different pinot clones.  For me the stand out wine was the Garamond 2010.  At $63 a bottle you would hope for something a bit special, and this I think does deliver.

And finally, something I have enjoyed from Willow Creek – a great idea from Geraldine McFaul – the Chardonnay Project.  Four chardonnays made from the same juice, but treated in different ways.  There are genuine but subtle differences between the wines and it’s fun trying to work out what they are.