Wineries in the Macedon Ranges are an eye opener; many are boutique wineries that sing from the heart. They have passionate wine makers on hand to take you through their tasting menu and if you are like me — it is impossible to walk away without a mixed case of your favourites! Many of these wines are not available on the shelf in your wine market due to the small crops produced so it is important to purchase, as you taste.
Whilst in the ranges if you are able to book into a B & B in the area and organise a driver this is the best solution for a hassle free and safe way to enjoy your wine tasting experiences — so you don’t have to think about holding back or flipping a coin to see who will be the designated driver on that day. Perhaps air bnb might be a solution for you: Prices range from the late 20’s to six hundred $$$ per night in Gisborne South, Victoria so something for everyone.
We were fortunate some friends that live in South Gisborne organised a professional driver who drove safely and took us to four wineries or our day 1 Trevor Armstrong, Wine Tours (he and his team take tours of up to 11 pax to Yarra Valley, Mt Macedon Ranges and Mornington Peninsula. Call 1800 946 386
We commenced with Granite Hills with a very knowledgable wine maker at hand to talk us through our tasting flight. I loved The Gordon which is a Cab Sav, Cabernet France and Merlot, a classic blend with cellaring credentials. Also the Tor enticed my palate this is an old celtic word for ‘rocky peak’ – reserved for the best wines from the best vintages. Open from 11am–5pm daily
Our second winery and one of the largest in the Macedon Ranges is one of my favourites Hanging Rock Winery their Rose sparkling is gorgeous their 2015 Rock Shiraz Mourvedre Grenache at only $15 per bottle is a steal however if you would like to jump into a big red then the 2014 Members Reserve Shiraz @ $40 is for you. My pick is the Desert Riesling which is a must to conclude any dinner party @ $25. Open 10am-5pm daily
We then moved on to Curly Flat and had an interesting talk by assistant wine producer Ben Kimmorley. Curly Flat sits at 540m at its highest point of the vineyard with cool temperatures at night. their Pinot Gris has a high alcohol content of 13.9% and very gluggable @ $32. Their 2014 Pinot Noir had .1% viscosity and carried big legs and a denser profile. @ $52. Voted by Decanter WorldWine Awards 2015 – Best Australian Pinot Noir.
Top tips: To serve their chardonnay to be served at 8-10 degrees (not to cold for best tasting). Also, that screw caps increase the consistency of their wine – the best cork is apparently as good as a screw cap! Open Sat, Sun & Public holidays 12 – 5pm
Next we visited Cloud 9 with their beautiful outside terrace and inside viewing area of the region. The cheeses were interesting and the producers were at hand to talk you through White Velvet (Camberbert style), Triple Velvet (Triple cream Camembert) and the yummy Cheddar & Grana (Parmesan style). The wines complemented the cheeses so the farm produce was harmonious.
On day 2 after a foray and scramble over Hanging Rock (no picnic this time). Then we visited Paramoor Winery prior to our drive back to the city. Owned by Will & Kathy Fraser — a rather informal setting in a barn like conversion. I hear their wood-fired pizzas are superb though sadly they weren’t to be tasted on this occasion. Their wines were superb and we added to our cellar with ease. My favourite from their offerings was the 2016 Paramoor ‘Christina’ The Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir grapes are grown in the Paramoor vineyard at Carlsruhe and are whole bunch pressed to produce this light and yet smooth surprising wine. @ $22. If Rose is for you then the 2016 Paramoor ‘Isabella’ Rose is superb with notes of toffee apple, raspberry, pomegranate and lavender. – I wish we had bought more.
Lastly we tasted the 94 James Halliday wine the 2011 Paramoor “The Fraser’ Shiraz/Cab Sav. The blackberry, blackcurrant and vanilla flavours with smooth tannins were notable, delicious at $25 per bottle. Open Fri-Mon 10-5pm