19.3.2017 Tour d’Yarra Valley

The beauty of having no car is that we can both drink wine together instead of one of us having to drive. The pain of this is that vineyards are on an incline, meaning hills, meaning hard work on a bike, for me at least.

We were up and out the house by 8.30am, which is some miracle for us at the moment!!!

By 10.30am we were in Lilydale at Yarra Valley Bike hire, being served by a chap from Nottingham (he left that great city aged 6 years old). We had the most expensive hire bikes on the trip, but there were by far the best, Kona Hybrid’s, we had disc brakes and lots of gears but were missing our usual wicker basket on the front to store our wine bottle collection 😂.

We set off on what was going to be a 34 degree day of sunshine. Suncream had been liberally applied and bike helmets provided some shade. We started a slow slog up 6km of Mount Evelyn under the canopy of eucalyptus,willow and other indigenous trees.

Mount Evelyn (on the way down)
It was stunning scenery​ and we were enjoying the exercise, Guy more than me! 

Our first vineyard was up a high, curved, steep driveway, called Payne’s Rise, and it lived up to its name, I decided to dismount to get a closer look at the shiraz grapes and scenery……phew!!!

We were welcomed by a stunning panoramic view and a girl from Colchester who was manning the tastings. We tried their tasting menu and purchased the 2014 Shiraz which was light and fruity, the comment ‘a good session Shiraz’ was made, we bought a bottle of it.

A 2 min walk across the fields and we were in Seville Hills vineyard which had white tableclothed tressel tables set out outside underneath the orchard. It was packed with Victorians (the Aussie state, not Queen Victorians!) enjoying great food, amazing wines on a hot autumn Sunday afternoon, music was provide by a local group. These Aussies have a great outdoors lifestyle. 

We were interested to see that this vineyard was growing, along with the usual Shiraz and Chardonnay, some more southern European grapes, tempranillo, barbera, sangiovese all influenced by their part Italian owner and climate change. They were really good wines but the place was packed so we got out after a few swigs, mounted our bikes and freewheeled down the hill to the last vineyard, Whispering Hills.

Again, this place had a small restaurant onsite, with seats next to the vines. A group of 20 yr olds were celebrating a birthday with wine tasting and gourmet pizza’s, wood fired breads and freshly made dips. How simple and wonderful is that? 

We had a few wines tastings with the Chardonnay being standout, I have never had such a buttery, creamy Chardonney. This is definitely not a session Chardonnay. 

We bought a bottle to accompany our gourmet pizza of peppery salami, roasted red peppers and stringy mozzarella, delicious. I only had one glass of wine as I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back on the bike if I had any more. 

As it was it was a big old slog getting up the hills on the way back. We broke for a rest on the way back for a water break and to record a film.

We went back to our Air BnB via the chicken n chip shop in Fairfield, we had earned it. We were planning on having a Chip Taste Test between the chicken place and fish shop, but the half chicken and chip portion with coleslaw was so huge we didn’t manage to get to the fish shop.

Wine tasted:

Whispering Hills Chardonnay 2016

McClaren Vale Chardonnay 2016 (mixed vineyards)

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