Posted by: Rebecca | March 23, 2012

The cellar door

At a sunny 26 degrees, yesterday was indeed glorious and I spent all day down at St Kilda, lying on the beach reading (yes, reading!) and eating mini apple crumble on Aclam St – heaven 🙂

Today (Tuesday), however, has been a complete contrast. They say in Melbourne, you can get 4 seasons in 1 day, and I think today was that day. At 10am it was 24 degrees, by noon it’d dropped to 16 and was pouring down. By 3pm it was glorious sunshine but, by nightfall, there was talk of snow about an hour’s drive up the road!

So, a day to be inside. And as the first day with the parents and car, what better option to consider, than a road trip up into the Yarra Valley?! The only snag with this idea was which winery to choose; the brown sign listing them all was bigger than the M6 toll charges sign! (One for Mr O’Connor, methinks…)


So, as Mum had been advised to try Chandon, we started there. And didn’t get any further, strangely enough! They took us round the tour (clearly learning from experience that, most who do this, in fact only do so to get the free samples at the end). Thus it was more like a well-polished recital, with intermittent stops at relevant points and concluding with an air-lock in the cellar – perfect – 30 minutes, start to finish!

As we were ushered through the cellar door, we were asked perhaps the silliest question of the day – would you like to taste any?… Not sure of the Aussie equivalent of ‘is the Pope catholic?’ but the looks on everyone’s faces said it all. We weren’t asked again. Instead, we samples a series of sparking whites; both vintage (using grapes from the same year, a year which can be distinguished by the style / flavour / climate / conditions of that year) and non-vintage (blended from a mixture of grapes from various years). This answered the first question; do all Chandon’s wines taste consistent? Answer: if it’s a vintage, no (it’ll depend on the year, so a Chandon Chadonnay from 2006 will be different to a Chandon Chardonnay from 2007). Whereas, a non-vintage will be more consistent (ie the grapes are blended to aim for a consistent taste). Now I know – best try some to make sure…


Typically, my favourite was the 2006 Vintage Cuvee – the only sparkling white which cannot be purchased outside the winery. Bugger. *hic*

So what other whites were there? I’m not usually a white wine fan; chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot something-or-other-else (the three grape varieties which go into champagne-style sparkling white wine) don’t really float my boat. Unless they’re sparkling *hic* I do like the bubbles as they give the wine a special kind of edge which generally indicates something is being celebrated, right *hic*

But red is more my style, and the Chandon Pinot Noir does not disappoint. A smooth body, with tannins which … *hic* …well it smells nice, looks good as it trickles down the glass, and the general pleasure of sticking my nose into the glass, breathing in (without looking like an arrogant twit in a restaurant) and feeling half-cut before a drop has passed my lips *hic*.

But the best is yet to blow my mind. “Have you tried our sparkling red, madam?” WHAT? RED, SPARKLING? But that’s just wrong, isn’t it?… Absolutely not! In fact, it couldn’t be more right, if it moved into the left lane in Melbourne, with its right indicator going, waited til the lights went amber and commenced right hand down, turning across the tram lines. It was sensational. I loved it. More than any other wine I’ve tasted (perhaps excluding Boschendal) and guess what… this one isn’t available outside the winery either! GUTTED! *hic* Whilst I could have brought it home in my case, with the pressuring in the bubbles, and little space in my bag, we all know what would happen! So that’ll remain one of the wonders of my trip – Moet’s sparkling red Chandon. Divine.

Ttfn *hic* /Boxy xx


  1. Hi Rebecca, it looks like you are having a great time and it is fun to experience it on your blog!
    Take Care,

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