Rustic and Regional Mornington Peninsula Showcase
Last year we took a rustic and regional tour of the Mornington Peninsula, showcasing some our favourite stops on a typical Wine Compass day out. The focus was on the fine wines, the people who make them, and the amazing produce that comes from the surrounding area.
Our first stop, like many of our tours, was at picturesque Tucks Ridge, where we tasted their range with Ash, Phil and winemaker Michael Kyberd. A highlight was the 2013 Buckle Pinot Noir, Best in Show at the 2016 International Cool Climate Wine Show. There was the added bonus of tasting the 2009 vintage of the Buckle for comparison, which had developed beautiful truffle characteristics. This was paired with a stunning black truffle and hazelnut macaron made by 100 Mile Foodie from Red Hill Truffles.
Our next stop was Ocean Eight, where Michel Aylward graciously took us through the cellar and, at no small effort to himself, showed us some of the wines still in barrel. The 2016 Pinot Noir won’t see release for another 2 years but is already looking amazing.
The main event was at Quealy’s Balnarring Winery, where we were greeted by Kooky the koala, Kathleen the winemaker and not one but two versions of their sparkling Secco Splendido, to match with Bay Sea Farm oysters served with Bass and Flinders Gin and Tonic dressing.
A breathtaking table setting, styled by Hannah Ward, awaited us in the barrel room, embellished with leaves and fronds taken from the vines and surrounding local flora.
Our lunch was a tour de force demonstration of the fresh and tasty foodstuffs produced on the peninsula. Chef Marlene Hoff also goes by 100 Mile Foodie, and the ethos is evident from her name – no need to go outside that radius for the most delicious, top quality ingredients. Everything prepared for us barring the wheat and sugar was from the peninsula. Our starter was a cone of boreks with Main Ridge feta and parsley from Peninsula Fresh Organics. Marlene came to speak to us about the duo of buns, one with lamb from Coolart and another with ham from Woolumbi Farm pork.
We were also served sausages from Coolart farm with Main Ridge Dairy Cashmere dip. A tiny cornetto bearing Red Hill apple cider sorbet followed as a palate cleanser. Throughout the meal Kathleen selected wines for us to taste including Tussie Mussie Pinot Gris, Musk Creek Pinot Noir, 17 Rows Pinot Noir, Rageous red blend and the May Harvest Muscat while talking us through her winemaking philosophy.
A pair of tarts completed the meal: chocolate & Sunny Ridge strawberry, and Peninsula Fresh Organics lemon.
We finished the day just around the corner at Bluestone Lane. Another favourite of ours, we received a typically warm welcome from winemaker John Harper. We were taken through several of the many wines grown on their vineyard, with a focus on pleasure and John’s entertaining stories. Their rosé and sweet wines were deliciously matched to a cheese platter also prepared by Marlene Hoff, with amazing goat cheeses from the Main Ridge Dairy.
The day was truly wonderful and enjoyed by all our guests and producers alike. Our aim was to show the best possible food and wine available but ensure it was fun and relaxed, with a chance to meet equally unique local characters. If you are looking for an experience like this, we can create a day like this for you on the Mornington Peninsula or Yarra Valley, tailored to your specific group, whether it be family, friends, work colleagues or something else. Just get in touch with us and we will arrange an amazing day that suits you.