The relatively unknown Macedon Ranges was our destination for our first full day in Victoria and we headed north west out of Melbourne for a pleasant hour’s scenic drive. We certainly felt the start of some elevation as we rose to 500 metres. This area of Victoria is the coolest wine zone in mainland Australia and the focus is on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, sparkling wines as well as Shiraz.
Our first stop was at the family owned Paramoor winery. Will and Cathy Fraser acquired the property in 2005 as a retirement project and have done an amazing job. We tasted in their extraordinary American style barn that was bedecked with historic saddles and tack and a smoking fire all created a wonderful atmosphere. They only make 1000 cases per year and sell most straight from the cellar door.
Will hosted the tasting and had really pushed the boat out for us with a great selection of wines including a 2013 Chardonnay – one of only three left in their archive cellar! On top of that, there was also a walkround tasting of five Pinot Noirs going from 2014 to 2007 which really showed the graceful development that Pinot from this area is capable of. It was an idyllic setting and Will and Cathy were delightful hosts.
From Paramoor, it was 20 minutes to Curly Flat vineyard – one of the bigger estates in the region with 33 hectares – about 10% of the total. We began with a rapid stand up tasting in the barrel cellar with their winemaker Matt Harrop. Matt took us through seven wines that illustrated the diversity of the Macedon Ranges and then we headed into the main building for a tasting lunch. Owner Jeni Kollka has created a real success story with Curly Flat and the wines win regular top awards.
Another huge attraction was the cat! Chewie – named after Chewbacca in Star Wars was an instant hit. 18 years old, somewhat corpulent and happy for anyone to give him a cuddle.
Matt and Jeni hosted a delicious lunch that was catered by Emma James – a top caterer in the region – and we ampled the Curly Flat range with an array of canapes, salmon tart, courgette crepes, lamb, barramundi and an extraordinary chocolate creation.
A top class start to the tour.