I turned into the driveway of Medhurst Wines at 4:40pm, as I drove past the pond (ducks and all) under the gaze of a private residence, I was a a little concerned that I was going to miss out on a tasting opportunity as the cellar door closes at 5pm.
Following the gravel road that snakes its way up the hill, I pulling into the car park next to the cellar door building, quickly grabbing my camera and headed straight for the cellar door. Walking across the car park I noticed the manicured gardens that the cellar door overlooks with picnic tables and inviting deck chairs topped with umbrellas, despite the latish hour the majority still occupied by people enjoying the grounds, food and wine. A deck runs across the front of the glass walled cellar door where couples were conversing over what remained in their glass, and I making mental notes of what to photograph later, but not before validating if there is still the chance of a tasting.
Entering the cellar door my concern deepened toward resigned acceptance as the staff were obviously cleaning and packing up before closing. Noticing me I was greeted with a smile as I enquired if I was too late for a tasting? The response was a cheery "sure, tasting yes, food unfortunately your too late for that".
For tasting notes on each of the wines, I recommend visiting the Medhurst website as they provide a unique approach (personality) to the description of their wines.
2013 Medhurst Sauvignon Blanc *
2012 Medhurst Chardonnay *
2012 Medhurst Steels Hill Chardonnay
2013 Medhurst Rosé *
2011 Medhurst Pinot Noir *
2012 Medhurst Steels Hill Pinot Noir
2012 Medhurst Steels Hill Shiraz
2011 Medhurst Steels Hill Cabernet
2012 Medhurst Francis (botrytis sauvignon blanc) *
Medhurst is another vineyard (the last was Redbox) where I didn't taste a wine I wouldn't buy, all drinking now and great value. I walked away from the tasting purchasing a "Medhurst Pack" - a convenient sample (wines included are * above) of the estate wines with the added bonus of the 2005 Museum Release Shiraz.
Note: as the 2005 Museum Release Shiraz wasn't available for tasting and that I have since cracked this one - it is a big deep liquorice and big fruit Shiraz. I recommend cellaring for a few more years
During the tasting I enquired as to what the bunker looking building was visible from the cellar door. I was advised that it was an architectural award winning winery built in 2011. All the facilities on the winery have been updated and include sculptures dotted around the grounds.
- Medhurst Wines is owned and operated by Ross and Robyn Wilson. Ross Wilson was the CEO of Southcorp during the period it acquired the Penfolds, Lindemands and Wynns businesses.
- The vineyards at Medhurst were planted in 2000 with the classic Yarra Valley pairing of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
- The approach the vineyard management is 'careful' with a focus on low yields averaging two tonnes per acre (with 15 hectares under vine) to produce the best possible wine.
- The head wine maker is Matt Steel, former chief winemaker from down the road at Domain Chandon.
- The new winery won a 2012 Victorian Architectural Award for commercial design
- There three 'groups' of wine sold under the Medhurst label. The Medhurst wines are estate grown; Steels Hill - are wines made from fruit acquired from premium vineyards in the Yarra Valley and the Museum Release which are wines made from estate fruit to produce a premium wine good enough to be considered a "Museum Release".
- The Medhurst Cellar Door is open from Thursday to Monday - 11am to 5pm with the cafe open Friday to Sunday. It is best to check the website prior to visiting as I found out one weekend early in December when the Cellar Door was closed for a function.
Medhurst is a family friendly, detail focused vineyard and winery, from the design of the buildings, manicured grounds with art placed around the grounds, and as you would expect to the quality of wine. The staff were really friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed the tasting, from discussing the wine and the approach to the vineyard and wine styles.
In the cellar door there is plenty of information as you would expect on the wines available, however short on the history of the place, the story of the vineyard/winery, how the vineyard is managed to realise the "Estate Grown, Low Cropped, Hand Made" quality that is on offer. There is no doubt about the quality, however in my view would be good to have this level of detail available for visitors to understand the viticultural philosophy in place, i.e. the approach to sprays, pesticides, organics, in the vineyard or how phosphates and sulphides are used or managed in the wine making process, just as examples.
I am looking forward to going back there to enjoy the kids running around on the grass, a quiet afternoon over a 'paddle' from the cafe with a glass or two of Medhurst's beautiful wines and to pick up another 'Medhurst Pack'
I visited Medhurst Wines on 2 November 2013.