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A wander through the Yarra Valley

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Yarra Valley is a stone’s throw from the City of Melbourne with approximately 146 small vineyards and wineries interspersed with some major wine companies. It is one of the best-known wine regions in Victoria.

Last Sunday I had the privilege of a day trip to the Yarra whilst on a break in Melbourne for the long weekend. I was very keen to visit some of the cellar doors whose wine we stock at Beyond the Label.

First stop was Coombe Farm, once the home of world famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. The Coombe Farm wine brand was established in 2002 with the ‘Farm’ cellar opening in 2007. We stock the Coombe Farm Blanc de Blancs.

Next stop was Soumah cellar door, Well! - this place was a firm favourite of mine! The beautiful duck egg blue colour theme running through from the entrance right through to the olive oil bottles on our table.

We stock their Single Vineyard Hexham Pinot Noir which shows elegance and balanced fruit with secondary developed flavours of earth and savoury spice.

We also stock their Single Vineyard Chardonnay who’s delicate yet complex bouquet displays a struck match character with a fresh and vibrant grapefruit and citrus palate melded with cashew and minerality.

We enjoyed amazing pizzas (and wine of course) from their beautiful and extremely popular restaurant.

We then paid a visit to Helen’s Hill (Ingram road) – we stock their Ingram road Pinot Noir.

This is another lovely cellar door nestled at the bottom of the hill and surrounded by vines with a lovely ‘wine deck’ overlooking lots of trees. It has floor to ceiling views of the huge barrel room and winery.

We stock their Ingram Road Pinot Noir which displays rich varietal characters on the nose, sweet cherry and strawberry flavours on the front and mid palate with a savory, earthy (spicy) finish on the back palate. Thanks to the French oak, the wine has a wonderful full textural mouth weight and long-lasting finish.

Finally, we paid a visit to Coldstream Hills cellar door. James Halliday - Australian wine writer and critic, winemaker, and senior wine competition judge was the founder of Coldstream Hills and resides here today.

A little history on the Yarra Valley:

The first vines in Victoria were planted in the early 1840’s at Yering Station by the Ryrie brothers. The Station was bought by Paul de Castella in 1848 which lead to a number of Swiss immigrants moving into the valley. Only one family survives from this Swiss-influenced era, the de Purys at Yernigberg.

This region has certainly endured plenty of problems. In late 2006, Phylloxera, the vine louse was discovered in the region. In 2009 devastating bushfires, also frost and the effects of drought were key contributors to this. Fungal disease and birds also pose a threat to this area.

The Yarra’s reputation firmly lies with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Other varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.

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