With my blog hitting the one year mark this month and my parents taking the trip of a lifetime to Europe, it is only fitting that I took the drive to De Bortoli last week. You should all know by now from reading my first blog piece (What Am I Doing and Why Am I Doing It) that I am completely taken with the views and surrounds of pretty much any country I visit within Europe. So to finally head down to the Italian Stallion of Yarra Valley and discover that I had been transported right back to the rolling hills and quaint architecture of my travels, was refreshing and comforting – and may have quashed the raging jealousy I had burning for my parents and their adventures.
The beauty of the Yarra Valley is evident as soon as you turn into the drive way at De Bortoli. The property is laid out before you as you travel the expansive drive way. You will find, on any given day, staff in the vineyards pruning, picking and working the vines. The presence of the ever faithful winery dog will be a reminder that you are visiting a working winery. While making your way to the car park it will not escape you that this property is blessed with a 360 view that only intensifies as you draw closer to the restaurant and Cellar Door. In fact, if you are anything like me, you could become completely distracted by it and end up spending too much time admiring and not enough time experiencing.
Before you head into the restaurant, you must have a tasting at the Cellar Door. The petite entrance is similar to a little Italian courtyard (I can only imagine, as I am yet to experience the wonder of Italy!!). Once inside you have a decision to make – do I start with wine or cheese? De Bortoli is home to a maturation room, which allows them to source cheese from around the world and mature it on sight. Although, unlike Yarra Valley Dairy, they are not cheese makers you will be delighted with the variety they have on offer. Once you have sipped your way through the De Bortoli vintages and purchased your desired cheese, you will want to make your way to the restaurant.
Throughout the month of July the Valley has been hosting Gumboot Season 2016. This is a winter festival, where participating wineries offer specials for all those wearing gumboots. For example: De Bortoli offered 15% off purchases from the Cellar Door. It was with pleasure that I donned my gumboots and ordered from the Gumboot Season mid week lunch menu. For $45 you were entitled to a glass of De Bortoli wine and a two course meal. Naturally I ordered a main (fettuccine with duck ragout) and dessert (Caramel glaze nougat semifreddo, candied cumquat, poached pear and honeycomb).My son absolutely loved the freshly baked bread and olive oil to begin the food experience. It was soft, warm and delicious. I was extremely happy that my chat with Leanne was prior to ordering, as her tip of ordering the house made pasta was perfect. The duck ragout was amazing and the perfect way to enjoy one of my favourite forbidden pleasures (pasta).
This is a child, pram and wheelchair friendly venue, with easy access and a kids menu. Since 1989 the De Bortoli Estate has been a family run winery and is now managed by third generation Leanne De Bortoli and Steve her husband. With such a strong family focus for the last 25 years, it is no surprise that the manicured gardens and overall experience is a warm and welcoming one.