We had the chance to check out the local wineries when we were staying in the seaside village of Metung in the south-east corner of Victoria, Australia. We concentrated on the smaller wineries, less than 2000 cases produced annually. With the large lakes and rivers in the area and cooler climate due to close proximity to the sea, it is probably the closest Australian wine region to BC.
Tambo is a 13 acres estate winery situated on a North East facing slope in the foothills of the Victorian Alps. They produce only 1100 cases each year, 50% of the grapes are Chardonnay. Our favourite wine was the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. Clean and fresh with expressive fruit character highlighted by natural acidity. A truly luscious wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon was also exceptional. A rich medium bodied wine with a layered array of dark summer fruits, dark chocolate and a lingering mocha finish.
Nicholson River Winery is set in one of the most beautiful locations I have ever been lucky enough to visit. Located on a cliff, high above the Nicholson River valley, there is an expansive view of the Gippsland lakes, 90-mile ocean beach and onto the Bass Strait. We had a chance to chat to one of the owners, Juliet Eckersley at the cellar door which is an 1880 farmhouse. There are 20 acres planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir from 30-year-old vines, and even some Sangiovese. It is a difficult area to grow grapes here with mildew damage often reducing the cropping rates to as low as 1.1 tonnes per acres. However, this is a bonus for the wine consumer as it results in fabulous fruit flavoured wines. We particularly enjoyed the unoaked Chard.
Wyanga Park was a total trip! The original vines were planted in the 1970s for this 12-acre estate carved from a gum tree forest. Annual production is around 1200 cases, The winery could also be reached from Lakes Entrance by boat. Our host should have been a stand-up comedian and was supposedly a distant relative of former Canadian Governer General Adrienne Clarkson. We enjoyed his wine stories and the collection of nude paintings. All 10 wines we tasted for free were great but the iced Muscat let an indelible impression!
If you get a chance to visit Melbourne, please make sure that you take a day trip to the Gippsland Lakes wine country.