Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dominique Portet @ Yarra Valley

On the early 16th morning of November, I woke up eagerly for my most anticipated itinerary on my Melbourne trip list - which is to get my cherry popped for my first ever virgin visit to a vineyard. I was very honoured to have Mr. Dominique Portet, the very owner of Dominique Portet vineyard to personally drove me to his vineyard at Yarra Valley, which was about 40 minutes drive from Doncaster, the place where I was staying. He even showed me the picturesque golf course at Yarra Valley which is a haven for golfers! Mr. Dominique has been a very good friend of Big E and she helped me to arrange the visit. Thanks Big E!

Mr. Dominique Portet is the 9th generation in the family of winemaking and yet he is the 1st to establish his own label under the family name. His father, André Portet, whom is a régisseur (vineyard & winery manager) of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild in Pauillac, and then now Dominique has also been trained with Champagne giant, Moet & Chandon. Although his wines are from Yarra Valley, one cannot ignore the fact that his wines are very french-like and he still uses traditional french winemaking methods for his wines.

The Vineyard at Yarra Valley

The Cellar Door

The Dominique Portet Winery has a Mediterranean atmosphere. You can enjoy some simple lunches here such as salads which I had that day together with Mr. Dominique and it was just absolutely delicious! Wine tastings, barrel tastings, and vintage tours are carried out at his winery and it's opened to the people for tasting and lunches from 10 am until 5 am daily.

Tasting Counter

Mr. Dominique poured us a number of wines starting with the DP Brut Rose, Fontaine Rose 2009, DP Sauvignon Blanc 2008 and then followed by a round of red wines such as Carbernet Sauvignon 2006, Shiraz 2006 and Merlot 2007. We had a good taste of everything and it was great. There is a bucket ready at the side for us to pour away the excess wines since all we need was only a sip to taste and then some water to rinse our glasses or palate.

Dominique Portet Brut Rose was a delicious sparkler!

But of course the best part of the tour to the vineyard besides him showing us how the wines and sparkling wines were made was the tour into the wine cellar! This is where the oak casks are stored before bottling. He had this long glass tube-like thing that extracts wine from the casks and then poured into our glasses for us to taste. I really love the Andre 2006 (Carbernet Shiraz) - the best label under Dominique Portet. It's named after his father and this wine is a beautiful Australian blend of cabernet sauvignon grapes, Yarra Valley, and shiraz grapes, Heathcote.

The Wine Cellar and the oak casks...

Mr. Dominique & his son, Ben.

The tradition associated with the Portet family continues with wife Julia and sons Ben, Thomas and Henri, all having a close association with the winery. Thomas lives in Denmark, keeping a keen eye on exports while 27 year old Ben Portet is the 10th generation of winemaker. He has a degree in Oenology from Adelaide University and fluent in French and has worked in illustrious world wine regions, including Bordeaux, with Philippe Blanc from Chateau Beychevelle. He now make his own wine under the label of Ten Men.

Ten Men Shiraz 2008

I really enjoyed myself to the fullest at the wineyard. The winemaking tour done by Mr. Donimique himself was really educational and I'll never look at wines/sparkling wines the same way again as I know every drop of wine is made with lots of care and hardwork. Mr. Dominique takes pride in the wine he does by ensuring the quality of his vineyards and grapes.

At the same time, I managed to meet some Indonesian wine enthusiasts there too and it so happened that they are from Singapore and decided to come to Melbourne to visit their cousin. We hit off straightaway and after that, I abandoned Mr. Dominique (whom was kind enough to offer to drive me to the city) and joined them for some more vineyard visits and shopping in town!

Me & Mr. Dominique Portet

It was really an eye-opening experience for me and I love the vineyard that he has. How I wished I can make wine too! Then I can have my own cellar and vineyard! That's my cherry-popped for my first vineyard/vinery visit.


Sean said...

that's a cool stopover! the owner looks really friendly. i did a vineyard-hopping tour in adelaide several years ago, but unfortunately, i didn't know how to truly appreciate the different wines. they all tasted nice but similar :D

KY said...

I almost read Mr. & Mrs. Dominique Portet at the last caption!

CUMI & CIKI said...

look at your rosy cheeks.. life must be good. if i was let loose there.. id be drunk as a skunk! love the posts.. keep the stories coming..

Huai Bin said...

I love Yarra Valley and the vineyards! =D

suituapui said...

Lots of vineyards and winery... You didn't visit all of them - one by one...and drink to your heart's content? All free... Hehehehehe!

suituapui said...

Same as KY...I also read Mr. and Mrs...and then I looked again! Optical illusion! LOL!!!

eiling lim said...

Sean: Dominique is very friendly and nice. Maybe you had too much and after that everything tastes the same!

KY: Read carefully la... ish..

Ciki: Haha... life was good! Welcome back babe!

Huai Bin: I'm sure you do - alcoholic!

STP: You need glasses eh? I only visited two. Some tastings you need to pay one la... The vineyards are some sort the same lah...

zewt said...

i tot you'd go to moet and chandon instead. it's a really big one there in yarra.

eiling lim said...

Zewt: I did. It's called Domaine Chandon. It's the biggest there and it's nice!

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