Back in the city for a week in Melbourne. The city offered much, the hostel options left a lot to be desired. In order to escape our disaster of a hostel for a day we parted with some money and headed out to the Yarra Valley for a Wine Tour with Chill Out Travel.
Step aside, scumbags! This blog is full of pretentious stuff and I am going to fully educate you on the process of blending in at a wine tour.
Don't look like me. Don't talk like me. Don't bring me.
If you are a guy and someone is talking to you hold one elbow in your hand while your other hand is held up to your face, rest the side of your pointer finger on your chin or lips. If you are a girl walk around all day with a small clutch purse held daintily with both hands in your lap.
Now you are prepared to make it to your first tasting without raising too much suspicion, but what do you do at the moment of truth, when someone offers you wine?
- Start with Sparkling, proceed to Whites, then Reds, finish with Desserts.
- Always hold the glass by the stem, unless you are an
unsophisticated idiot. If you fail to do this you will muck up your
glass from the outside and then the contents will somehow be reduced to swill for pigs.
- Before tasting, you should tilt your glass at a forty-five degree angle and observe the color. If I have to explain why this important to you then your pea brain will never be able to comprehend the significance. If you can differentiate between White and Red that's a good start.
- Verify the "legs". The legs are small streams that run down the side of the glass after you tilt or swirl. If you don't have the appropriate amount of legs then you don't have enough alcohol. I'm not permitted to tell you the right amount because my wino inductee card hasn't been notarized yet and I don't want to get into any legal trouble.
- Swirl. This will help release the aromas and if you try to waft before swirling everyone will know you should be parking their car.
- Sip. Bring the glass to your mouth and allow a thin air and wine mixture to mingle with the various parts of your tongue and cheeks. Each of these areas have different taste receptors which will help you to fully experience all the flavors they say are in the wine even though some or none of those additional ingredients are actually in there.
- Get drunk and try to remember all the aforementioned steps but actually just look like a wobbly red-faced buffoon.
- Pass out on the bus with your mouth open and make copious wheezing sounds.
The parts we remember...
First Stop: Domaine Chandon - The Fancy Place (same owner company as Louis Vuitton)
The big name in "Sparkling Wines" (can't call it Champagne because of location). Took a tour of the facilities and learned about barrels, the bottling process, and how the bubbles reflect the quality of a wine - big bubbles that stick to the outside of the glass indicates the cheap stuff, while small consistent bubbles that rise from the center of the glass make one class act.
Stop 2: Train Trak - The Homey Vineyard
A boutique vineyard that only produces about 6000 barrels a year, but doesn't lack variety, and boasts the delicious Zonzo restaurant where we stopped for lunch after our wine tasting.
Stop 3: Yering Station - The Place with soo Much Wine
Full from lunch we figured we'd be ok for another round of tastings, but we weren't expecting the two page list of wines and generous tasting pours offered at Yering. I remember I liked some of those, now what were they called again...
Last Stop: De Bortoli - The Cheesey one.
We just couldn't keep up with the winos, we were much more focused on the cheese offered by the De Bortoli Cheese shop. A perfect way to end the day.
In all seriousness, the wine tour was awesome. Despite all my mocking there really was no better-than-thou attitude at any point of the day. Our guide made everything amazingly enjoyable, pointing out the whole reason to be here is to have fun and she even made some jabs at the typical wine drinker image. Thanks guys!
Finally, I just wanted to say that even though there is no justification I felt a bit of accomplishment when I was able to identify some of the flavors in wine other than grape.
A few other Melbourne highlights: Ranjani Shettar at the NGV, wandering around the Queen Victoria and Fitzroy Gardens, watching Penguins at the St. Kilda Pier, and a night out at Dracula's Cabaret dinner theater. Hello vampires!