Archives for posts with tag: MPVA

I’m annoyed with myself that I haven’t posted anything for such a long time, but as you know, life can seriously get in the way.  The cellar doors on the Mornington Peninsula still exist and are very much open for business.  To my dismay though Northway Downs has shut up shop, for the time being at least.  This was a brilliant cellar door – only open one Sunday a month, but when it was you get could lashings of superb Austrian themed food at very reasonable prices and live music thrown in for good measure.  It always turned out to be a great afternoon at Northway Downs.

Northway Downs closes but an iconic venue opens for business in the form of Point Leo Estate.  The architecture of this estate is truly magnificent.  The entrance alone – passing through the “sound torus” – is very impressive.  The cellar door space and restaurant have a superb outlook over Westernport Bay.  And just when you’re getting your head round that, there is a sculpture park to visit with some very significant works.  In terms of the Point Leo wines on offer at the cellar door – well they aren’t as magnificent as the surroundings to be perfectly honest.  There is room for improvement there, but I’m sure that will come with time.  The restaurant and Laura, the fine dining restaurant, have been pretty much packed out since the opening, which is a testament to the cuisine on offer.  Definitely worth trying, but all this magnificence comes with an appropriate price tag.

All this coming and going of cellar doors set me thinking about a different kind of cellar door “map” – one not based on physical location, but rather on when they were open.  So I gathered together all my MPVA maps going back to 2003 and began to plot it all out – and for my 100th post this is what I hoped to be able to present to you.  Unfortunately it still needs work to be attractive, but I can tell you I have identified over 100 cellar doors recorded at different times on those maps.  There are five “Red Dragons” – cellar doors that have been open every day since the 2003 map.   There are ten “Cellar Door Legends” – places that have been open in some form since the 2003 map.  It also reveals the comings and goings of cellar doors and thus to an extent, the dramas of their owners.  Some exist but simply live “off map”.  Some simply shut up shop, some transition to new owners and new names and some burn down!  Still a work in progress.

To end on a very positive note, the 2018 vintage was most excellent.  Across the board the vineyards were reporting low disease pressure, great fruit and lots of it – so much so that a lot of fruit became available for sale.  I think the wineries, in some cases, had more than they could process.  So when the wines appear next year I am hoping for great things!

Mornington Peninsula Vineyards small v01

Those Peninsula vineyards …




It is a strange thing, but in Australia we have a public holiday so that we can celebrate the birthday of the Queen of the United Kingdom.  Now I grant you that she is still the Australian head of state, and in terms of ruling things she does a pretty good job, and she has been ruling things for a very long time – but this is something they don’t even get time off for in the UK!  Not that I am complaining – I’d much rather have Queenie (God bless you Ma’m) as head of state than some hideous Abbott-Berlusconesque character as President complete with Bunga Bunga parties hosted by good catholic virgin girls.

I digress.  The sound people of the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association (MPVA) have picked the Queen’s birthday long weekend as the time for the Winter Wine Weekend – a festival of fine Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the latest in ModOz cooking.  This year 49 wineries assembled their wares in the shed on the Red Hill show grounds to showcase their wines.

Inside the Red Hill shed - Winter Wine Weekend 2015

Inside the Red Hill shed – Winter Wine Weekend 2015

One of the most important skills you need to take with you into the shed is the ability to swirl, slurp and then spit.  Technique is everything.  You will be swirling and slurping with some of Melbourne’s most fanatical and fastidious wine bores – it’s just as important to have the correct glass action as it is to have your Hunter wellies in this season’s colour or your hipster beard trimmed to perfection.  Of all these skills however, the spitting is the most important, for this simple reason – if you don’t you’ll end up so drunk that you probably won’t remember how the day ended – and chances are it will not have ended well.  The maths tells all.  There are 49 wineries.  Imagine you were able to get round them all and taste everything.  You’re looking at roughly half a glass of wine per winery, so say 25 glasses in total.  25 glasses of wine equates to about five bottles.  Five bottles of wine over lunch is a huge – but dangerous – achievement, so back to the spitting.

Most people find the spitting a bit unpleasant – it doesn’t feel very polite, and it’s hard to remain chic and elegant when you’re lining up to douse the spittoon.  All I can say is that it comes down to confidence.  Spit with confidence.  Announce to the world “I do this all the time!” and let rip.  Add a flourish at the end.  There are only two major risks with spitting – the first is that you don’t form the correct shape with your teeth and lips and manage to shoot the wine down your chin and onto your shirt – very messy.  The second is that you miss the spittoon completely and hit the glass of the person standing next to you – very embarrassing.  While you are getting the hang of it, there is no reason why you can’t move the spittoon to a place where you can guarantee a hit.  But with the spittoon in your hand, NEVER feel tempted to do a Sideways, no matter how desperate the urge.

Winter Wine Weekend 2015

Winter Wine Weekend 2015

I tried quite a number of wineries.  The ones I was most interested in were those that don’t have a cellar door.  Yal Yal put on a good show.  Very well made wines.  The Chardonnay is of that acidic style – no malolactic fermentation.  I think my preference is for the rather more traditional and softer Chardonnays, but alternatives are always good.  Principia also showed some good wines.  My feeling was that they needed just a little longer in the bottle to settle and integrate.  I bought Phaedrus Chardonnay to go with lunch, and Elan’s sparkling was superb as always.

A good day out.  May it continue for many years.