On Saturday I visited Port Phillip Estate at Red Hill to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary with my family. Port Phillip Estate is a beautiful winery in the heart of the Mornington Peninsula 80kms south of Melbourne. Since the early 1970’s wineries were starting to establish in the area and this is a fine example of one worth visiting.
This Estate is currently owned by the Gjergja family. As you drive in you are struck by a rather large structure that looks like a very earthy and bold curved building. This construct was designed by award winning architects Roger Wood and Randal Marsh who have been working together for over 30 years. They are renowned for their ability to design clear and bold sculptural forms.
The design of this Estate has won national awards from the Australian Institute of Architects including: the Sir Osborn McCutcheon award for Commercial Architecture and the national award for Interior Architecture.
…’Each structure is emotionally drawn and spiritually infused. The patience of age enhances the sense of permanence. The robustness and muscularity allows it to sit elegantly anywhere…’. (Roger Wood and Randal Marsh)
Port Phillip Estate is a multi-faceted experience consisting of a beautiful vineyard, cellar door and tasting room for wine enthusiasts. The dining room serves exceptional food. If you are keen to stay the night, there are six luxury accommodation suites holding sweeping views across the vineyard.
The vineyard is a labour of love. The vines are ‘hand’ pruned, shoot thinned and positioned with the grapes being hand picked. French oak is used for wine maturation. The winemaking is overseen by Glen Hayley.
We enjoyed a beautiful lunch in the Dining Room which was awarded ‘One Chefs Hat’ by the Australian Good Food Guide under the helm of Head Chef Stuart Deller. His menu is inspired by European influences and was delicious.
The Good Food Guide, published by the Fairfax Newspaper Group in Australia, is the Australian guide listing the best places to eat. Chefs Hats are awarded for outstanding restaurants and range from one hat through to three hats.
The highlights of the meal for me was the dessert and cheeseboard.
I ordered the Michel Cluizel chocolate, orange, hazelnut and rice crisp dessert which was heavenly. I am a true fan of candied orange and decadent chocolate. The combination just made my heart sing.
The selection of cheeses was outstanding. In particular, the Cilia goat’s cheese made by Main Ridge Dairy , was an absolute knock out. It was so creamy and went very well with the quince paste.
As we drove home that afternoon I really enjoyed driving through Red Hill, which is located in the hinterland of the Mornington Peninsula. Red Hill is known for their gourmet produce stores, galleries, roadside signs promoting fresh produce, cafes and local markets.
The grand dame of regional markets in the area is the Red Hill Community Market which started in 1975. It is a microcosm of fresh produce, gourmet delights, art, craft, clothing and plants. A feast for the mind, body and soul. It is open from 8am to 1pm on the first Saturday of every month. My advice is to get there early to avoid the crowds!
Until next time.