Loving these longer days with evening light way past winter’s bedtime. I have a quiet hope that the temperature will arc up a notch or two. Fingers crossed! This must be the slowest move towards summer I have ever experienced this southern end of Victoria.
Thank goodness it does not matter what the weather when you plan to explore the infamous wine region of the Mornington Peninsula. There are some stunners and here are my favourite 5 and a must-see on your to-do list!
Should you be staying in one of Big Blue Backyard’s secluded hideaways, you are literally a hop skip and jump to the first of my favourite 5.
The Cups Estate
269 Browns Road, Fingal – 59885249
A pumping cellar door opens itself up to stunning views across vine-covered hills in the distance and more immediately The Cups Estate open-plan restaurant that is serving vibrant, fun, delicious food – be sure to book if you want a table, otherwise just pop in for a wine tasting. I still think they have the best bubbles on the peninsula. Greg Thomson practices hand nurturing and sustainable viticulture, Richard McIntyre is their meticulous and considered winemaker winning awards for the Estate wines year in and year out. The menu is Sicilian inspired and designed to share! Be warned you might just want to stay put once you get there!
From there it’s a beautiful wind up the hills and down into dales of apple orchards and long ribbons of green vines that wrap up the countryside as if it were a giant Christmas present!
795 White Hill Road, Red Hill – 59892022
‘Great wines come from great vineyards and all wine is made to drink with food!’.
A direct quote from brothers Michael & Tony Lee owners and winemakers of Foxey’s Hangout. How can you not take that as an invitation to visit this standout Vineyard? It’s not little ‘per say’ but the cellar door/kitchen/eatery is in a shared space is compact, unusual, incredibly social and deliciously delicious. The menu is designed to show off the wines both are usually served explained, prepared by the brothers.
Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove
Montalto Vineyard and its team of Chefs, gardeners, winemakers, wine tasters, event planners, sculpture curators continue to evolve seamlessly, organically and I follow them with continued delight. Every time I pop in for a taste of their seriously good wine, to show off to friends visiting from afar or for a very informal lunch in their piazza I leave more in love with the place than I arrived! The hat winning restaurant has a Chef that is driven to design the menu by what is growing in their kitchen garden before he pairs it with a protein. The Mitchell family continue to support the Arts with the annual sculpture exhibition dotted through the vines and around the extensive grounds are certainly worth a visit. Most of all I just love sitting in that kitchen garden in the sunshine drinking great wine and eating the best food.
62 Bittern-Dromana Road, Balnarring – 59832483
Crazy, deeply passionate, completely mad in her marketing approach, Kathleen Quealy is an incredible winemaker and if you do think it seems like the far side of the vineyards from St Andrews Beach it is well worth the effort, and of course the beautiful drive down to flinders and then along past Merricks to Balnarring.
If anything just go to taste their new Rosè – aptly called ROSA with a rose shelled tortoise on the label – see what I mean? I was lucky enough to enjoy a glass at RadioLuna 3944 in Portsea last week before a show at the Quarantine station in Point Nepean National Park – I almost didn’t get there – the Quealy Rosa nearly kept me hostage.
271 Tucks Road, Shoreham – 59896471
Go, because Ocean Eight is seriously good. Go because you may well get to the award-winning vineyard before me. It’s on my must-go do see taste list for this summer. See you there???