edited by Sue Courtney
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Murray Almond's "From the Left Island"
How's Your CDE? (Cellar Door Experience)
One of the great joys of being a wine enthusiast is being able to travel around and visit Wineries, which also provides the opportunity to taste wines as well. Wine Tourism is now a significant component of the economy here on the Left Island, just as it is on the North and South Islands, with regional towns now acknowledging themselves as 'wine villages'.
I like visiting Cellar Doors, and generally go away two to three times per year to various regions to taste the new releases and to talk to the people behind the counter. And while I like visiting Cellar Doors, I find the Cellar Door Experience can vary markedly. Some Cellar Doors are a joy to visit, and make an entire tour worthwhile, others can wreck the day. There's no direct correlation between company size and the Cellar Door experience, the largest companies deliver both the best and word Cellar Door Experiences, just as the Boutique Wineries can.
Things That Make a Great Cellar Door Experience:
A Decent Range to Taste
Cellar Door Only Specials
Many wineries also have back vintages available to taste and buy as well this is another great bonus.
But don't tell me what I'm going to taste before I've tasted it. In one, very well known winery I was handed a glass and advised "Here's the 1999 Shiraz, here you'll taste blackberry, vanilla, and fine tannins". In fact I tasted plums, chocolate and medium tannins. I would have found the wine highly enjoyable if not for the preamble.
Make Sure the Wine being Served is Fit for Drinking
Oxidation arises from the bottle being opened for too long, and the character of the wine changes from being fresh and young to having tired, flat characters. This can be a problem where are winery only gets occasional visitors but presenting an oxidised wine gives a misleading view of what the wine is like and can cost a sale. The wineries with Good Cellar Door Experiences are happy to open a fresh bottle if you point out the oxidation. Leconfield in Coonawarra was a classic example of this good service when I last visited there.
Don't Charge for Tastings unless Value is Delivered
If you're Closed; tell me so on the Main Road.
My Pick for the Best Cellar Door Experience
The Left Island, and Victoria in particular, delivers a wide range of Cellar Door Experiences, I've mentioned just a few already. However my top pick for the best Cellar Door Experience would be Seppelt Great Western in Western Victoria.
The Tasting Room is a great size, the staff are friendly and highly knowledgeable, and the range, and quality of wines available is fantastic. Proper tasting glasses are used and all wines are checked for soundness on opening. There's also the opportunity to take a guided tour through the historic Drives, the caves dug by ex-goldminers where a million bottles of sparkling and still wine gracefully mature (pictured).
Children are offered a glass of cordial and the grounds and gardens are big enough for them to wander around. In addition to the commercially available wines there is a great Cellar Door Selection of wines including the unique 1991 Hans Irvine Sparkling Ondenc, a sparkling wine that delivers fantastic flavours just a little different from the standard bubbly. The 1996 Drives Pinot/Noir Chardonnay Sparkling and the Seppelt Drumborg Pinot Meunier are also in themselves a great bonus to visiting Seppelt. Back vintages are also available for purchase for many wines.
Part of what makes Seppelt great is also the area it's in, on the border of the picturesque Grampians Mountain Range, about 2 ½ hours left of Melbourne, and with Best's and Langi Ghiran and other good wineries nearby, to me it's irresistable.
And did I mention the Spittoons at Seppelt? The all-important Spittoons there are the ice bucket trophies Seppelt has won at various Wine Shows. A classy, if somewhat quirky option.
So Seppelt Great Western would be my ultimate Cellar Door Experience over here on the Left Island. . I'll let Sue provide her nomination from the North and South Islands. If you have your own nominations, or others factors that make a great Cellar Door Experience email Sue or I.
© Murray Almond
Send your comments and nominations to Murray at email@example.com
[Top of Page] [Murray's views from the Left Island index] [Wine of the Week Home]
E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org