Archives for posts with tag: Stonier

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.

The cellar door entrance at Stonier

The cellar door entrance at Stonier

A few years ago I was at a winemakers dinner and ended up sitting next to a food writer.  Her command of language was impressive, but one thing she said made me chuckle.  In describing a particular meal she explained “It was as though the flavours had just met at a rather dull party and weren’t getting on very well together”.

That was how I felt about some Stonier’s wines the last time I tried them – that the oak was at one end of the bottle, the fruit at the other, and they really weren’t integrating at all.  Not so now – the wines I tried there recently were excellent.

Stonier cellar door - the walkway

Stonier cellar door – the walkway

Brian Stonier, an ex Managing Director of Penguin and Macmillan Books Australia, started planting the vineyards back in 1978.  At that stage there were very few vineyards on the Peninsula – he was one of the true pioneers in the area.  More significantly he built a very capable and successful team that included Geraldine McFaul (now Willow Creek) and Stuart Marshall.  Now something happened there a bit later on, but I can’t speculate about that.  Obviously a good business man, Brian was also able to get out and sold the business to Lion Nathan in around 2002.

Stonier tank room

Stonier tank room

Now the wines – fabulous Chardonnays – the 2011 Reserve Chardonnay is a beauty.  Fruit, creamy malo and some oak – loved it.  I preferred it to the Halcyon Vineyard Chardonnay which is more acidic – it has no malolactic fermentation.

We’ve moved on to the 2012 Pinots which is a relief.  To be fair Stonier’s 2011 wasn’t bad considering the conditions, but the 2012 is great.  Very delicate with a hint of strawberry.  The 2010 Windmill Pinot Noir is a superb wine.

But the star could be the Stonier Sparkling, an 85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir blend.

After all that the one I would recommend is the 2011 Reserve Chardonnay.

Stonier tasting bench

Stonier tasting bench

So another great Peninsula cellar door experience.  Beautiful wine, and apparently you even get a cheese platter.  It would be a great place to work through a cheese platter too – the outdoor area is very pleasant AND there is a lawn with a little children’s play area.

Wine in the Fine category.

I haven’t blogged for a little while because I have been engaged in some serious research – Chardonnay.  Chardonnay is beautiful clay in the hands of a great winemaker – from cheap, silly, fruity plonk to the most glorious, complex, elegant wines.  My preferred style is a wine with good fruit and great length but with new French oak and a few years of age – just magnificent.  So what about the Mornington Peninsula?  These are some of the good ones I tracked down:

Myrtaceae: Very small winery, all hand made.

Stonier: Three excellent chardonnays on tasting when I visited including the Reserve ($45 AUD) and the Halcyon ($45 AUD).  Very much the style I enjoy – my favourite was the Halcyon.

Paringa: Three chardonnays – $22, $35 and $50 AUD.  Not so much oak as the Stonier – subtle.  My favourite was the Estate Chardonnay ($35 AUD).

Ten Minutes by Tractor:  A great place to be on a Saturday afternoon – full of the young, beautiful, well-heeled of Melbourne.  Fabulous restaurant, great brand work.

Kooyong: Very impressive architecture, excellent Kooyong 2008 Chardonnay.

Main Ridge:  If you’ve been to the five vineyards above you will have had some very impressive chardonnay – and then you try Main Ridge.  Simply one of the great wines of the world.

Honourable mentions for the cellar door staff – Emma at Kooyong and Matthew at Stonier – most excellent.  These wines are as big and flavoursome as the best reds.  Keep a mixed dozen in the boot of the car for those fabulous spur of the moment BYO occasions.