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Monday, 17 April 2017

A Day On the Vineyards




It's easy to get so caught up in the clamour and commotion of Melbourne city life that we forget what lies behind it all. Although it feels a little foreign at first being somewhere that isn't within a 10km radius of a particular set of golden arches, getting 'away' from the hustle can be exactly what the doctor ordered. That is, especially when hills are plentiful and you have eaten 82 too many easter eggs over the past few days. Flats at the ready.


This trip was in pursuit of wining, dining and unwinding. Mum and I hit the road and headed down the Mornington Peninsula to the ever-so-picturesque location of Red Hill. Aka a foodie playground that offers up some of the most delicious fresh produce in Victoria. Not to mention the alcohol. Oh my goodness. Pinot noir, moscato, chardonnay. Basically, wine for dayz.  

During the tasting experiences I put on my best 'I am a trained sommelier from Bordeaux who has definitely never ever purchased a $5 bottle of Passion Pop from Dan Murphy's' face and hoped for the best. It went something along the lines of 'Oo, ah, this one has notes of please help me I don't know what I am talking about'. 

The concept of studying and marvelling at an alcoholic substance is one that my 18 year old self is not yet akin to but I'd say that it was a pretty good first lesson, and I've gained a new appreciation for the winer things in life. Ha. A+ for efforts, C- for pun. 

Lunch at /  Montalto

By far, Montalto was my favourite winery of the day. The Cellar Door Piazza café & restaurant is sat right atop one of the most glorious, The-Sound-of-Music-ish hills in the whole region. The restaurant feels like a food-filled looking glass onto one lush sea of green. Also, the waiters were highly attractive and that is always important.

As you step outside, lofty white umbrellas scatter a buzzing vegie patch that  I hope to recreate one day but deep down know that I never will be able to because I cannot keep anything alive. My lineage of deceased gold fish is testament to this. 
At the tasting station, Montalto's finest are showcased for you to graze on and admire. I absolutely love the branding and sleek design of their oils and wines. They tasted bloody amazing also. 

There's something so cool about being surrounded by the produce that is being served to you; that right here is where it was planted, fed, watered, grown and plucked for your enjoyment.



The whole restaurant's feel and aesthetic is one huge ode to the food and wine that is plated and poured there. It's designed to be airy and open, leaving that incredible hillside view as the main attraction and even bringing the outdoors indoors with hanging plants and greenery dotted along every surface. The terracotta tiling at the bar and the wooden beams above help conjure up that rustic, country feel. You'd be mad not to snap an Insta of this place. Escape to the Country, please kindly hire me for your voiceovers. Thank you. 


LOOK AT THAT PUMPKIN-GROWING PROWESS.


At the table: A glass of Pinot Noir went brilliantly with the Winemaker's Lunch (an antipasto platter sent down directly via express shipping from heaven. Cured meats, creamy brie and effervescent pickled veggies were married with crunchy sourdough and then attacked by my greedy little fingers.)

If this doesn't make you just a little bit hot and sweaty, I don't know what will. Maybe if I stare at the Cruskits on my desk right now with enough contempt they may just go and turn themselves into this pizza. One can dream.


Something that sets Montalto apart from other Red Hill offerings such as T'Gallant or Pier 10 is its family-friendly sculpture walk. Don't get too sloshed at lunch (even though this is a difficult ask) and go for a wander through the hills. There's a clearly mapped-out trail to follow and plenty of award-winning designs to marvel at. Actually, maybe just get sloshed and then roll down the hill because that would be seriously entertaining for every other passerby. 

Well I couldn't exactly leave empty handed. Whilst a chardonnary doesn't tend to get me overly excited, this spritzy, pink Moscato felt like a girl's weekend in a bottle. With hints of turkish delight (they had me here) and strawberry, it makes for the perfect afternoon aperitif. I cannot explain how delicious this is. Please investigate at your own risk of bankruptcy and alcoholism. 


A stroll at / Port Phillip Estate

Still on a cheese and bickies high. 

Port Phillip Estate is completely different to the array of kitsch and provincial wineries that pepper Shoreham Road. It is modern and almost alien in its architecture, yet still incredibly breathtaking. For a function or special event, this is a highly sophisticated destination that sees a blur between the natural and the industrial. Also, hats off to whoever their window cleaner is because I am in serious awe. 
Question: How do you get grass that green? Kind Regards, every high school and local park in Melbourne.
My Mum initially described Port Philip Estate to me as a ' massive concrete bunker' and that isn't exactly the best way to entice potential visitors. Upon arrival, I completely understood what she meant, but it is also SO much cooler and less nihilistic than that. 

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