Throsby Creek meets Yarra Valley
For this years Wine of the Year Award the Throsby Creek Oenological Phalanx headed down to Yarra Valley in Victoria. What a great weekend it was!
It the carefully selected tour bus from Apple (or maybe Hyundai), the iLoad, Lee-Anne took the reins and we made great use of the GPS to visit the backstreets of Broadmeadows and finally headed to the Valley.
First stop was lunch and tasting at Fergusson Wines (www.fergussonwinery.com.au). Lunch was wholesome and yummy, the Guiness Pie was enjoyed by a few of us. The hospitality was sensational, a precursor to what we received throughout the entire week-end.
We then headed to Healesville stopping off first for a winery tour at the very hip Giants Steps and then some beers at the nearby White Rabbitt Brewery.
We then meandered to Sussans in the Valley (www.susansinthevalley.com.au) which was to be our home for the next few days. The location, the house and especially Sussan was out of this world. We were welcomed like long lost relatives and the rooms were glorious. If you ever in the vicinity or need an excuse for a few days away, make Sussans your destination.
We headed into Healesville to the Healesville pub for some refreshments and the evening meals. From a recommendation from Sussan, a few of us has the slow roasted lamb shoulder. Superb. We wandered down to the more locally visited pub, the Grand Hotel, where more refreshments were consumed and a bit of dancing to the local duo. The pub countesy bus then took us on a wild ride back to Sussans.
Saturday started with a great breakfast at Sussans and then our driver for the day, the lovely Michelle, picked us up for our day's outing.
We firstly headed off to Yarra Yarra Winery (www.yarrayarravineyard.com.au) where Ian Maclean took us under his experienced wing and we had a truly awe-inspiring two hours where Ian showed us all aspects of his winery, we tasted from the barrel and almost shed a tear as Ian recounted the devastating fires that took lives nearby and destroyed his old winery, three vintages and many of his stored old releases. Ian's passion for the grape growing process and his care when moving around his winery is the reasons why his wines are considered to be among the finest in Australia. Thank you so much Ian for what you taught us and what you shared.
We headed then to Oakridge for lunch and tastings. Yet again, the Yarra Valley hospitality was sensational. The food was great, the location superb and we conducted our Wine of Year Awards. The Wine of the Year was the Tyrells Vat 8 Shiraz Cabernet 2009 hosted and revealed by Manny and Chris. The Vat 8 was also was also the Red Wine of the Year. The White Wine of the Year was the 2008 d'Arenberg The Lucky Lizard Chardonnay and was provided by Pete and Sean. Pete and Sean also took out the Host of the Year Award for the great event organised in collaboration with Macquariedale Estate.
Wine tasting at Oakridge was then enjoyed in beautiful afternoon sunshine and their 864 Range was pretty damn fine.
We then headed back to Sussans via Chandon which was a bit touristy but their wine museum was very interesting.
After a little late afternoon nap, based upon the recommendations of both Sussan and Ian Maclean we took our little bus to Bella Vedere for a mouth watering and theatrical degustation meal. Great wines were matched with great food in an intimate atmosphere with friendly and perfect service. The night was topped off by even more Yarra Valley generosity when one of the Bella Vedere chefs drove us all back to Sussans in our bus with another chef following him to pick him up!
Sunday morning consisted of another great Sussan's breakfast and then a wandering around the main street of Healesville which was very, very pleasant. Sadly we then headed back to the airport and onward to home.
It was a tremendous time. Thanks heaps to Manny and Chris for organising most of the weekend. Also special thanks to Ian Maclane from Yarra Yarra, Michelle our driver and Sussan for welcoming us all into their lives!