Victoria with the world famous town of Melbourne as their capital has around 25 wine areas and is the second biggest wine region in Australia after South Australia. The Yarra Valley is found within the most famous wine producing area in Victoria and is about a one-hour drive away north from Melbourne. To me, it would be the Cote de Beaune or Willamette Valley of Australia; it is home to fantastic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties, competing with the best from Beaunne and Dundee.
This was our third trip to Australia since we visited Western Australia in 2011 and South Australia in 2013. As many Australian wines can found be on wine lists here on the island, including our own in St.Regis, I often refer to Australia as Bali’s own wine region!
Here in the Yarra Valley, there are many interesting wineries. We started at Coldstream Hills near Coldstream Village, which belongs to a particularly famous winery founded by renowned wine critic Mr. James Halliday. Here in Coldstream Hills, James Halliday makes some of the best Pinot Noirs of the country. We tried close to 15 wines, mainly coming from 2015 barrels. The single vineyard pinots here were exceptionally good. Welcomed gracefully by Mr. Andrew Fleming, the wine maker, we enjoyed a nice lunch overseeing the beautiful landscapes of Coldstream Hills.
Our journey took us to Yering Station afterwards, but before that we stopped in Mount Langi Ghiran where we stayed for two nights at a beautiful cottage house with a view over the vineyards. Mr. Gorden Gebbie, the Gm, gave us the tour. Here, like at Coldstream Hills, the winery offers Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, however they also offer Cabernet Sauvignons and Syrah wines. A particular highlight however is the sparkling wines, perhaps one of the best in all of Victoria! All in all very impressive wines complete with a long finish. At the winery of Mount Langi Fhiran, in the Grampians, Mr Ben Haines the wine maker showed us around and we savoured the best Shiraz wines of the area. The whites consisted of Riesling and Pinot Gris. A gorgeous winery with 100 kilometres of vista.
Next was the winery of De Bortoli which is one of the biggest and most featured wineries of the region. Here we were welcomed by Mrs. Leanne De Bortoli and her husband and wine maker Stephen Webber. Both invited us to stay two nights in the most beautiful Villa called Emiri’s house in the centre of all the De Bortoli vineyards. Mr. Stephen Webber drove us personally around and we could see how high the grapes ripen here. The lunch was a “tasting pass around” in the cellar door restaurant of De Bortoli with high end dishes like ink linguini with seafood, foie gras terrine and salmon carpaccio. We ate with the accompaniment of great wines of the winery. The best part was when were tasting the wine barrel of 2015, where the Shiraz was truly impressive, it had a close character to the Rhone.
The following day we visited the Oakridge winery where Mr. Danny Kane the wine maker welcomed us and gave us a tour. The winery had a boutique character and the restaurant is one of the finest in the Yarra Valley. We tasted great Chardonnays maybe some of the best in all of Australia and the Pinot Noirs were of similar quality.
We also visited Naked Range, a unique garage winery which actually makes their wine exclusively for Indonesia! Here Mr. Mike Jansz whom I have known for 9 year received us very personally. His 15 plus Pinots, Chardonnays, Roses and some other are highly regarded in Indonesia, and have been for many years. We had a great BBQ Lunch with him and his wife with the view of the long legs nature formed with hills and bushes in front of his house.
We then moved onto Punt Road, another so called Boutique winery with a great garden and who even brew up different beers by themselves. A fine winery where Mr. Jon Baxter the GM welcomed us for a tour and tasting in the cellar doors. In the evening he showed us a Vodka Bar with Vodka made in Australia and a wine bar where we had other great wines of the Yarra Valley to taste.
Like in all wine regions around the world, wineries offer an exceptional experience with incredible hospitality. For this, I must thank all those who made this Yarra Valley trip so remarkably interesting, informative and enjoyable. I must encourage you, if you are a wine lover, to indulge in a wine trip.
Harald Wiesmann, Restaurant Manager of the fine dining, Asian-inspired Haute Cuisine Kayuputi and Chief Sommelier at The St. Regis Bali Resort, has a very interesting career history spanning a number of years with different roles in various countries. His 43 years of international experience has led Kayuputi to receive prestigious awards from the Wine Spectator Magazine (USA) for six consecutive years since its opening six and a half years ago, and dubbed as a fine restaurant that has one of the best wine lists in the Asian region. Harald is set to publish his book, titled “5 Years of Wine and Dine at The St. Regis Bali Resort” in the near future.