What a wonderful task we set ourselves as tour guides, to try all the platters we could find in the Yarra Valley - after all, it's our job to know these things so we can speak knowledgeably when advising people on their options and putting tour itineraries together - and you'll be relieved to hear we take our research seriously, and sample Yarra Valley platters regularly !
This group enjoyed two of our favourite Yarra Valley platters on their half day tour with us on Easter Day. A third may have been overkill, but if we could have finished off their tour at Soumah Wines with their platter and that view, we would have!!!
Kaylene and her husband and family are all from the Eastern suburbs and they decided to enjoy a break over Easter at Balgownie Estate and wanted a half day Yarra Valley tour, so came to us as we are one of the few Yarra Valley tour companies to do half day tours, as all our tours are tailor-made.
John collected them from their accommodation at midday and they started their half day tour with a lovely cheese platter and wine tasting at Greenstone Vineyard out on the deck and enjoying the sensational view. We know there are many a good view in the Yarra Valley but Greenstone's deck is a bit splendid and their view is seemingly endless - and only a few minutes drive from Balgownie Estate too.
It seemed a shame to leave, but after a bit of persuasion John dove the group to St Huberts cellar door, for a wine tasting with Jake under their magnificent elm tree which is a magical spot, and steeped in history as St Huberts was originally founded in 1862 by winemaking pioneer and Swiss immigrant Charles Hubert de Castella, who helped position the region as a premium wine producing area. And St Huberts were one of the first wineries to replant vines in 1966 which helped re-establish the Yarra Valley to what it is today - a premium cool climate wine growing region. Would you believe they also serve great local cheese platters!
After the St Huberts tasting, John drove the group up Maddens Lane to Medhurst Wines where Eric hosted their wine tasting and they then enjoyed some platters and glasses of Medhurst Rosé (think fresh fruits such as strawberry and raspberry, supported by white blossom of jasmine and citrus) out on the deck. Maddens Lane is hallowed ground in the Yarra Valley when it comes to wine, cited by many as the perfect terroir, ever since Dr Bailey Carrodus bought a site on Maddens Lane in 1969 at the foot of the Warramate Hills for his vineyard (Yarra Yering) after completing a study tour of the best vineyards and wineries of France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Maddens Rise is the first winery on the lane and has the distinctive shearer's shed in its grounds (gorgeous location for a rustic wedding) and is one of the sweetest boutique cellar doors in the area. Neighbouring winery Coldstream Hills set up by renowned wine maker and now critic James Halliday continued Madden's Lane fame and Medhurst Wines is perched atop a hill nearby overlooking both their sites. With lawns for children to play on, great cakes and platters to nibble on inside or out and of course their eminently quaffable wines, Medhurst is a firm favourite with people on tour with us.
On our way back to Balgownie Estate we popped in to Tarrawarra Estate as much for a look around as anything else as we knew they would be busy, it being Easter Day. The fabulous architecture of TarraWarra Museum of Art next door, the classy restaurant and delightful 'hobbit' style cellar door, stylishly built into the bank of the hill and then their pepper tree deck with views out over the vines and damn, all make TarraWarra Estate a delightful spot the laze away an afternoon. Their wines are sensational, and would you believe it, they serve gourmet platters and nibbles out on the deck!
John got the group back to Balgownie Estate at the end of their fabulous half day tour and they were looking forward to enjoying a family dinner together that night.
When you enquire about a tour with us here at Tour the Valley we can recommend a variety of lunch options - some people want to experience a degustation that takes all afternoon, others don't want lunch included at all, some people want to fish and catch their own lunch and have it served up to them at the local pub (seriously, it's very popular) others are happy as long as they are lunching with a view at a winery, you may prefer pizza, or share plates or...platters. And, because each of our tours are designed uniquely for your group, we can be totally flexible with different lunch options, so just let us know when you enquire, what it is that takes your fancy.
And as for platters - well they seem to be all the rage in the Yarra Valley, unsurprisingly as it's a simple, easy way to share food, you don't over indulge, you can always order another, and you can linger over a platter full of gourmet local produce with yet another bottle of Yarra Valley wine veeeeeery easily - trust us!
Get in touch today and let's start to put together an itinerary for you (platters or not) - just fill in our questionnaire and we'll get the ball rolling.