Melbourne: Yarra Valley

Spilling a beer you paid for is the adult equivalent of letting go of a balloon.

Melbourne: Yarra Valley

It's time for Yarra Valley that weekend in April, catching onto the tail of summer in Melbourne... the fields were blooming in a luxurious shade of yellow. Oh, and it's never too early to indulge in a drink or two, as Yarra teaches. In fact, wine tasting is a deliriously happy affair.

If you intend to visit the Yarra Valley without a car, remember to check out Wine Compass for fuss-free tours.

"Trust me you can dance," ~ Wine
Oh yes.
I was gloriously fattened up during that period of time, from an abundance of awesome food. I regret nothing! Yarra is generally flat, with gentle slopes of greenlands that stretch into the horizon forever and ever. I felt as if I was transported into a scene straight out of Heidi, okay, I know that is set in Switzerland but it sure feels like it. 

Yarrabank | Yering Station
38 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen
Apparently they are extremely generous with their wine tasting servings - not that I am complaining! ;) But it is pretty safe to say my ability to remember details just deteriorated from there, so the most striking memory I could recall is that I remembered nodding in approval to Yering's wines, or were at least, pleasantly intrigued by what they offered. In particular, they had really fancy wines infused with a huge variety of fruity zests - sniff out pear, shortbread, green apple, almond, macadamia and treacle aroma in the Cuvee, and remember to taste lemon, honey, cloudy apple, orange sherbet, and grapefruit while you're at it. They had about six of those for us to try. Tastings are not charged here.
Tarrawarra Estate
311 Healesville, Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen
2014 Pinot Noir Rosé (AUD22/bottle) from Tarrawarra Estate is the best of their collection. Tarrawarra Estate has a couple of others such as the 2013 Roussanne Marsanne Viognier (AUD30/bottle), 2013 Estate Chardonnay (AUD28/bottle), 2013 Reserve Chardonnay (AUD50/bottle), 2013 Estate Pinot Noir (AUD28/bottle), 2011 Hunter's Red Shiraz/Merlot (AUD22/bottle), 2012 J-Block Shiraz  (AUD35/bottle) and 2009 K Block Merlot (AUD40/bottle). Tastings are at AUD5/pax.

Innocent Bystander
336 Maroondah Highway, Healesville
There aren't many restaurants in the region, but the most popular one evidently has got to be the Innocent Bystander given the long queues. Time passes quite quickly if you'd put your name on the waiting list and hop to the next bar to have a drink first. They have a hall of fame with guest recommendations, newspaper/magazine features that flaunt how much of a stamp of approval they have from their fanbase. Their confidence shines through their wines as well, which they describe to be 'reliable, over-performing and eminently affordable, varietal wines'. For starters, we had the Pork belly, chicken liver terrine with zucchini pickles and baguette (AUD13) and the Ora king salmon cured in pastrami spices with horseradish cream (AUD13) which hardly made a dent in our growling stomachs. The pork belly was one of the better ones I've tried, nearly achieving the instant melty effect that I love. The Ora king salmon was expectedly really tasty, so fresh and smooth, but I only wished it was a larger serving. Although it was quite a wait before our pizzas came, their Murray River salted frites (AUD7) kept us entertained for a while.
Innocent Bystander has an open-kitchen concept for guests to watch their chefs in action - particularly the Italian pizza chefs doing hand-stretched pizzas. Their pizzas are indeed overperformers, with fluffy and sinful pillows of buffalo mozarella cheese and savoury fresh slices of spicy pork sausage, San Marzano tomato and chilli  on their pizzas (AUD24). Switching up with the San Daniele prosciutto, San Marzano tomato, cravero parmesan and rocket (AUD26), both pizzas that we tried were really delicious regardless.

Dominique Portet
870 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Dominique Portet  is a 10th Generation winery in the Yarra Valley. Its architecture is telling of its historical roots from France, especially its large arched windows that allows sunlight to stream in. One of those we tried include the 2014 Fontaine Rosé which is distinctively bright salmon in color, with a celebratory blend of merlot (50%), shiraz (30%) and carbenet (20%). It is refreshing yet creamy, wonderful to enjoy during lunch just before a siesta, isn't it?

Domaine Chandon
727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream

I have given up on drinking by now because it was quite an overkill after so many stops.. so I've retreated to photo-taking outside Domaine Chandon (the rest who continued their wine tasting adventures did mention they enjoy this stop the most). Right outside Domaine Chandon is a sizable amount of grape vineyards, you can simply find a lounge chair and watch the planes go by. Most people would also make a stop halfway to the

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
35 Old Healesville Rd, Yarra Glen

so that's something you can consider if you're planning for a trip to the Yarra Valley.

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a travel and food blogger with a constant longing to be somewhere to makes her feel alive ☆ life's an adventure

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