A Day in Yarra Valley

SIX AM… I had to write it like that cause I can’t do 6 as capital letters and didn’t want to downplay the way I felt on Friday night when David told me I had to wake up so early Saturday to go to Yarra Valley with Friends and Family.

Yoiks! 6am! The plan was Domaine Chandon (and Green Point Wines) for some tasting and to pick up some favourites then De Bortoli for lunch. Craig and Mark were coming, along with Sharon (David’s mum), Peter (David’s dad) and Jody (David’s sister).

We did the family thing, three kids in the back seat parents in the front and just for a little fun the three of us in the back (now all 30+) decided to act like kids. A lot of “Are we there yet?”, “Mum, Jody’s on my side of the seat.” and “Mum, Jody’s touching me”… let’s just say that last one lead to a whole lot of in appropriate comments, some even from Sharon. It was an event filled ride.

Note to people reading and thinking of going to Yarra Valley Domaine Chandon doesn’t open until 10.30am for wine tasting and the first tour is at 11am. However if you arrive early, like we did, you can stop in at Yarra Glen, they have a fantastic little cafe with awesome scones and the most amazing raspberry jam you’ll ever taste.

We re-arrived at Chandon and joined the 11am tour a few minutes late. I for one learnt a lot about the creation of wine for instance I didn’t know they make red wine (at least at Chandon) with the same grapes they use for white. And that is how they have a Pinot both red and white. Apparently all they do is push the grape skins back through the wine until the colour blends.

There are also these people called Riddlers, it is their job for 25 days to turn each and every bottle one quarter one way and back by one eigth. At Chandon in the Riddling Room they had 30,000 bottles undergoing this process twice a day. They also have a machine in which the bottles reside that does riddling for them. With the machine the process only takes seven days.

In France Riddlers undertake an 8 year apprenticeship to perfect their trade… a trade which I hope, given the time, involves more than just twisting bottles round and back.

After the trip to Chandon we were still a little early for lunch so we stopped in at Yering Station for a spot more wine tasting. But didn’t bother buying any of theirs as they are readily available from any bottle shop around.
After an awesome lunch at De Bortoli accompanied by insane laughter we stopped in at their cellar door for a few purchases then back upstairs for dessert.
After three hours at lunch the restaurant at De Bortli was becoming a little empty as the other patrons finsihed and filed out… it was time for us to go.

Our last stop in Yarra Valley was Fergusson’s Winery where the service was alright but the wines not so great, must have been a bad season the last couple of years. Jody made a purchase, but on tasting later that night is pretty sure she didn’t get what she asked for (could have just been that it tasted different with the effect of the other wine tasting wearing off).

The days continued with the whole troup making the long trip from Yarra Valley back to our house at Sanctuary Lakes.

Nikki and Trudy joined us while we indulged wine and pizza while serenaded by the sounds of SingStar and Guitar Hero.

Nikki and Trudy brought along a present for David, a set of motorized Russell Hobbs salt and pepper grinders. It was incredibly unusual because we were looking at the exactly that just a few days ago. Not that we intended on purchasing them. As the funniest thing for the evening it seems the grinders also have lights in the bottom of them, so you can even salt your food during a candle lit dinner or guide in a 747 at the local airport without worry.
All up a great second celebration of David’s birthday. Food, friends and family a perfect combination.

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