Spending six months in Asia was fantastic but a big part of me was missing something… wine! Whenever I was invited to a wine fair in Beijing I felt I had stepped through the doorway into heaven. There was wine everywhere and from all over the world. What was the best part? Meeting Nick from Paringa Estate in the Mornington Peninsula, Australia!
Nick became my best wine buddy while visiting Australia. Why? He made my wine dream come true by enabling me to ‘play’ on a vineyard after closing time. And not just any vineyard but one with an award winning restaurant and winery – Paringa Estate.
+ Paringa Estate – self-serviced wine tasting
The first thing I noticed walking through the door of Paringa Estate were the beautiful views from the glass walled restaurant. Who wouldn’t want to look at vineyards stretching out over a lush green valley? So, we moved the tasting to this superb restaurant, resplendent with its views.
Paringa Estate produces all my favourite wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. The region has a cool climate which is perfect for these types of grapes. The Single Vineyard Wine collection has more complex wines with 40-60% new French Oak.
The Estate Range offers an excellent Pinot Gris which is light, fresh and easy to drink on a sunny day. Ordering a creamy or spicy curry or perhaps a platter of seafood? This will go perfectly with the rich and elegant Viognier.
The Peninsula Chardonnay is a white wine you can keep for several years and it will develop its complexity. Too bad a bottle never lasts that long with me!
+ Paringa Estate – Drinking from the barrel
Do you know Calvin Harris’ song “drinking from the bottle”? I made my own version, which in my eyes is way better, “drinking from the barrel!” This was the most exciting part as a self-confessed, overly passionate wine lover. I tasted from 8 barrels and got to retrieve the wine myself. How awesome is that? It’s interesting to taste the wines before bottling. Although the taste of the grape is there you can tell the flavours still need to develop. The Single Vineyard Pinot Noir is one of the Estate’s most prestige wines. Honestly, I could have taken that barrel home with me. It was just delicious! The barrels are stirred and tasted every week. Sounds like the best job in the world to me!
+ Paringa Estate – Duck chasing
The picturesque well maintained vineyards at Paringa Estate have some special workers. I will give you two hints. They are fluffy and like to wiggle around….. they are ducks! These little fellows are brilliant and help rid the vineyard of weed.
+ Paringa Estate – Wine & Dine at The Hat awarded restaurant
The downside of visiting Paringa Estate after closing time – I missed the chef! The restaurant has won a Hat Award which is a prestige restaurant award in Australia. The next day I was of course back to complete my experience at Paringa Estate.
The local gurnard, calamari, smoked almond puree and roasted leek with roasted kipfler potatoes, accompanied by a glass of Pinot Gris, were divine. I can’t say it enough but the view from the restaurant just made the day so perfect. You will do yourself an injustice by not visiting the Paringa Estate which is only a 1.45 hour drive from Melbourne.
If you are interested in visiting more incredible restaurants at top notch vineyards down in Mornington Peninsula, read the blog which contains a carefully selected Top Five!