Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Australian Wine Tour and Rochford Winery - Yarra Valley

My daughter gave me an Australian Wine Tour ticket for father’s day. A great gift for a guy who loves wine. Leaving from the Melbourne we headed to the Yarra Valley and visited four wineries. Two were distinctly upmarket, modern and large and two were rustic and quaint. I felt Kellybrook Winery, one of the more rustic cellar doors, really didn’t want visitors. The area around the cellar door is very illkept and there is absolutely nothing inviting about the Winery. A further personal insult was that there was nothing I tasted which I liked. Others shared my opinion. Kellybrook is a successful winery so they must be doing something right, it just wasn’t obvious to me.

Rochford Wines is a modern complex of cellar door, restaurant, gallery, picnic grounds and lookout turret.  Our host was knowledgeable, engaging and an excellent ambassador for Australian wines and Rochfords particularly.  Part of the tour package was to lunch at Rochfords. The meals were selected on the bus on our way to Rochfords so the kitchen could have meals ready after our testing. Many selected the ocean trout. With the meal we got a full glass of one of three wines. Nice.

The crux of this post is to pass comment on the lunch provided by Rochfords. I would think we were treated as any guest in the restaurant that day even though nineteen of us arrived as an organised tour. The trout, possibly the smallest serve I have ever seen, was dry and tasteless. This opinion was shared by those seated near me with the same meal. The trout sat on tabouleh with a green garnish. Left quite hungry and disappointed I managed to scavenge extra bread for a filler.

Rochford wines is worth a visit, it is a grand place and holds many outdoor entertainment events through the year. Go for a tour, a tasting then maybe coffee and cake after. It is worth the effort. Rochfords have gone to a lot of trouble and expense to present an impressive complex. Thay are passionate about their wines and providing a memorable experience for their visitors. The food side of the business needs a revamp. But then I’m basing my impression on one visit.

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