Archives for posts with tag: Moorooduc Estate

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.

As you peruse your April May 2015 edition of Gourmet Traveller magazine you will enjoy the “Best Cellar Door Awards”.  Naturally I was intrigued by the winners in the Mornington Peninsula section.

The Star Cellar Door went to Moorooduc Estate.  This is a most excellent choice on many fronts, but Star Cellar Door?  Well I think on this occasion I will agree with GT but only because super cellar door person Emma has surfaced again there.  Emma and Kate are running the WSET courses again.  In their own words:

Emma Mordue and Kate McIntyre are running the WSET II again this year.  The course will run at Moorooduc on Tuesday evenings 6-8pm over 8 weeks, with the exam on week 9, and starts on the 31st March.

This is a course I must sign up for, and I can think of few better places to do it than Moorooduc Estate.

Best Large Cellar Door went to Yabby Lake and again I have to agree with GT.  I end up having a glass of Chardonnay at Yabby Lake on a regular basis and they have never put a foot wrong.  A most excellent choice.

Best Cellar Door and Cellar Door with Best FoodParadigm Hill.  Now this I find very problematic.  You may have noticed that I have never mentioned Paradigm Hill, and this is because you can’t just go and taste – you have to buy the tasting platter and go through a whole rigmarole.  Personally I find it very off-putting.  And food?  The vineyard is only open the first weekend of the month and as far as I know has no reputation as a restaurant at all.  The wine is good but I think in this case GT has really missed the mark.  For good food how about Salix, or Yabby Lake, or Ten Minutes by Tractor, or Stillwater, or Jones Road, and if you want to go totally Austrian Northway Downs!

Best Tasting ExperienceCrittenden Estate.  Yes, a most excellent cellar door, made even better by the restaurant Stillwater which has always produced beautiful food.  Crittenden has for a long time had the biggest range of wines available for tasting, from at least five distinct labels – it can be quite a daunting prospect.  Just recently they have opened their “Crittenden Wine Centre” – which I have yet to try.  This “has introduced an exciting new way of experiencing wine on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula” – OMG!

Best Additional ExperienceFoxeys Hangout.  Yes, I think I can go with this one too.  I spent a very enjoyable lunch there a little while back, and the Foxeys Hangout Pinot Noir is a good example of Peninsula Pinot.

So not a bad effort from GT.  I must get on and do my own awards for 2014.

Vintage is all about buckets and hot water hoses, and scarlet skins smeared across old rugby shirts.  It’s the sound of a shovel scraping up squashed berries, and pumps whirring away and the sucking noise as grape juice empties from the sieve.  It’s wearing a pair of old shorts that should never be worn in public, knobbly knees and flappy Wellington boots.  It’s the smell of sweet must and yeast from the ferment.  It’s a sticky ruby coloured hand clasped round a glass of Pinot at the end of a long day.

Brazier

 

This was the bucolic scene I came across recently at Moorooduc Estate – the family McIntyre hard at work bringing in the harvest.  I was on a quest to find a present for a winemaker’s birthday.  What do you buy a winemaker that already has a shed filled with fine Pinot Noir?  More Pinot Noir of course!  But not just any old bottle – it has to be something a little special, and thus the trip down the dusty track that is Derril Road.

This is a good cellar door, with an interesting range of really well made wines.  For the dinner itself I picked up a 2012 Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir.  But for the man’s personal cellar I bought a 2012 Garden Vineyard Pinot Noir.

As Autumn closes in around us and the vine leaves turn gold and crimson, soon will come the clanking sounds of the wine press and the groans and creeks of the wooden blocks as the reds finish their ferment, and we squeeze what we can from our ever perplexing Pinot.

Things really do seem to be getting busy at Willow Creek.  Their function and wedding business is just going gang-busters.  This time of year they are doing up to three weddings a weekend.  But you can already see that work has started on their new 39 bed “hotel”.  Trees have been cleared in preparation for a build starting sometime in the new year.  There is talk of closing the cellar door for a year while the work goes on – and I imagine that the whole nature of the Salix operation is going to have to change too.  If you’ve got people staying in the hotel, they are going to need breakfast, lunch and dinner – unless there is a new dining facility going in.  So all change there.  It is definitely the case that if you want dinner – or lunch – at Willow Creek ring first.

Over in Red Hill, Port Phillip/Kooyong has established itself as a true Peninsula icon, and quite rightly so.  It is a magnificent building.  Emma, super cellar door person, has moved on.  She has popped up in another interesting venture with Kate McIntyre MW (no less) to offer the WSET level 2 wine course at Moorooduc Estate.  Now if you ever thought about doing a wine course, this is a good one to look at.  It is part of the journey you need to go on to get to MW (Master of Wine).  Ironically out of the UK (not exactly known for its fine wine production) it is supposed to be a very good.

Anyway, back to Port Phillip.  The thing I found a bit alarming is that the cellar door is still pushing the 2011 Pinot Noirs.  I asked when the 2012s would come out and was told there was still a lot of the 2011 left.  Now there is probably a reason for that, given that particular year.  I would suggest that they need to move on a bit there.  Hopefully they have a plan …

At the other end of the Peninsula, Jones Road continues to do good business with its English themed lunches on Sunday.  They too are picking up good wedding business.  Jones Road is always good value – no “three scallops and weird foam” there.

Moorooduc Estate should be on your list of cellar doors to visit if you love decent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  It’s the home of Richard McIntyre who has been making wine on the Peninsula since the early 1980s.  Richard makes the wine for Moorooduc and wine for number of other vineyards on the Peninsula.  If you like Peninsula wine, there is a good chance you’ve had something made by Mr McIntyre.  He used to make the wine for Osborns Harwood vineyard when Frank Osborn was alive – and most excellent wine it was too.

Wine at Moorooduc Estate

Wine at Moorooduc Estate

One of the most striking things about Moorooduc are the buildings.  They are magnificent rammed earth creations with a warm ochre finish.  I find it a lot friendlier than the rather austere colour of Port Phillip/Kooyong.  What you don’t get a sense of as you enter the cellar door is the scale of the building.  They used to run Jill’s restaurant from a stunning dining room over looking the vineyard – complete with a wooden roof in the form of a perfect sinewave, and polished concrete floors.  The restaurant does still open, but only once a month for lunch.  Get on the mailing list if you are interested.

Moorooduc Estate restaurant and tower

Moorooduc Estate restaurant and tower

Four wine varieties are on offer at the cellar door – Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.  For the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir there are four price points:

Devil Blend – typically $28 a bottle – made from a blend of wine with grapes sourced from other local vineyards, including Osborns Harwood and the Garden.

Moorooduc Estate – typically $35 a bottle – with fruit from the Moorooduc vineyard.

Robinson Vineyard – at $55 a bottle – from the vineyard of Hugh Robinson, Moorooduc’s viticulturist.

McIntyre – $55 to $65 a bottle – the “reserve” label.

The Pinots are 2011, but good despite that.  The day I visited there was a 2009 McIntyre Pinot Noir available to taste, and that was most excellent.  Of the whites, I preferred the Moorooduc Estate Chardonnay, and the 2010 McIntyre Whole Bunch Shiraz is a fantastic earthy, berry concoction.

Moorooduc cellar door

Moorooduc cellar door

Probably not the most child friendly of cellar doors – although you could leave little ones outside to chase the peacocks, and you can buy Alpaca wool teddy bears.

Wine in the Fine category.