When you are on your own in Melbourne and some time to burn, there’s an activity that is really fun – wine tour in Yarra Valley.
You can book the tour with your concierge and most agents will pick you up at a central pickup location to meet your guide and group. On the day, just make your way there and board a comfortable tour vehicle and enjoy the scenery on the way to a series of winery stops for tastings.
Most tours include a stop for lunch at a local vineyard or restaurant and toast your meal with an included glass of wine. Lunch is followed by two more tastings at local wineries (all of the day’s chosen vineyards are subject to availability). Taste whatever strikes your fancy without any worries about driving home. Your last stop is at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, where you can finish with a sweet treat (own expense). Your guide returns you to the place from which the tour originated.
Family owned, Rochford Wines is a must visit destination – as both a renowned Yarra Valley winery and Yarra Valley restaurant – all located in tranquil and picturesque surrounds. The vineyard and winery incorporates the acclaimed Isabella’s Restaurant, cellar door and shop, together with other purpose built facilities – a conservatory, a pavilion, amphitheatre and lakeside deck – to service fabulous outdoor concerts, summer food and wine festivals, and a host of other functions and events.
Pan fried Yarra Valley ricotta gnocchi with salt, baked beetroot, beetroot puree, spinach & Yarra Valley Persian feta
Vialone Nano risotto, Australian market fresh seafood and shellfish, Rochford Chardonnay, parsley & preserved lemon
Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek
24 hour braised beef cheek with sweet potato puree, cavolo nero & Rochford Pinot Noir jus
Fork tender beef cheek with a superb sauce made from a reduction of au jus and Pinot Noir. I liked the coarse texture of sweet potato mash that went really very well with the sauce. Cavolo nero has stippled, plume-shaped leaves with thick stalks. It is a dark blue-green colour and gets its name (black cabbage) because when it is cooked in the traditional Tuscan way (stewed), it turns almost black. Long cooking produces a shiny appearance with an almost melted silky texture and a pleasant, slightly bitter flavour. First time I had this, I wonder how it works with Chinese stir-fry.
The meal came with a pour of either a red or white from the winery. I went for a nice, vintaged Chardonnay for the hot afternoon. I can’t remember if it was a 2013 or a newly bottled 2014, but the sharp note was quite apparent, typically of a young Australian white. Give it a couple more years, it will mature to a more mellow, buttery taste for sure.
50 minutes from Melbourne, seven minutes from the township of Healesville, Rochford Wines has transformed its restaurant, cellar door and event destination to adapt to the current Covid situation. Do visit if you get a chance.
878-880 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream VIC 3770, Australia
Tel : +61 3 5957 3333
The tour typically covers three to four winery (a fifth if time permits, and if there’s no children on board), a lunch at the winery and a chocolate factory. Princess came along because of the chocolate factory – Daddy is a salesman, sell the USP according to the client 😉
All the wineries that you would visit were quite good, not tourist traps like the ones I have been to in Napa. By the time you stop at Rochford for lunch, you would have tasted around 7-8 wines.
And usually there are not just small tasting pours, some of them are quite generous with their tasting pours, especially if there are folks who appreciate them and are shipping them home by the crates. I ended up shipping two crates home, despite the black face from the Mrs.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
This place is so fun for Princess! We loved the free pastilles samples, seeing chocolate products being made, browsing through the huge store and the ice cream was delicious.
But what I really enjoyed was the wide open space and beautiful garden around the chocolate factory.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
35 Old Healesville Rd Cnr Melba Highway, Yarra Glen, Victoria 3775 Australia
Tel : +61 3 9730 2777
Date of Wine Tour : Nov 2014