Gastrology recently attended one of Wine Compass’ limited series “Meet The Maker” tour events on the Mornington Peninsula. With exclusive access to some of the region’s most innovative and charismatic producers, these tours are for those who love wine, spirits, beer and food and want a fresh experience with lots of knowledge sharing, conversation with local characters, plenty of laughs and of course great wine and food.
Our hosts were Judy Gifford and Adam Nicholls. Trained and educated in Burgundy, Judy owns and operates one of the region’s best boutique labels, Darling Park. She has called the Mornington Peninsula home for the last 18 vintages. Adam is the owner and founder of Wine Compass, in the last 2 years he has run over 120 wine tours of the Mornington Peninsula. Lovers of all the region has to offer, both Judy and Adam ensured we all had a fabulous time.
First stop: Quealy Winemakers
Our first stop Quealy Winemakers where we met Kathleen Quealy, the Peninsula’s most well-known winemaker.
Starting T Gallant and building it up for sale to Fosters, she was the first person to plant Pinot Gris/Grigio in Australia and was referred to by James Halliday as “The Queen of Pinot Grigio. She is also a master of Pinot Noir, Muscat and the recently introduced Friulano.
We loved the authentic, no frills philosophy behind Quealy where we tasted their Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Italian styled white wine and late harvest Muscat and heard about their innovative viticulture.
Second stop: Tucks Ridge
A small boutique winery Tucks Ridge is one of the oldest wineries in the region and benefits from this extended regional history to produce cool climate wines of stunning intensity, quality and longevity.
We enjoyed meeting Michael Kyberd, one of the most respected winemakers on the Peninsula. Michael’s personality and humour was captivating and it was great to hear about his background and thoughts.
Michael took us through various vintages of Tucks Ridge’s Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and other great regional champions Pinot Gris and Shiraz at a special private tasting room at Tuck’s Ridge on-site residence.
It was particularly interesting to compare and contrast the vintages.
Third stop: Red Hill Epicurean
The Epicurean is an Italian Cucina and Bakery which serves rustic and delicious food. We enjoyed a gourmet 2 course lunch at the converted shed. The food was delicious.
From the shared pizza focaccias and antipasto platters to our mains.
The Grilled Gippsland porterhouse was of particular note - Simple, delicious and very well executed. The beef was cooked to a tender and juicy pink and was exceedingly flavoursome and "melt in the mouth" while the accompanying truffle mash was luxurious.
Fourth stop: Darling Park
After spending the day with Judy, we were excited to visit her winery. Judy took us though the technology behind the production of the Darling Park wine - from vinification to the blending and barrel ageing process.
We were pleased to taste their various wines including their Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and a really interesting Ice Viognier dessert wine.
We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet and spend time with the people behind some of Australia’s best boutique labels.
For more information contact:
Founder, Wine Compass
0413 360 468
Gastrology bloggers attended the tour courtesy of Wine Compass.