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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Drink of the Gods

Yesterday was Melbourne Cup Day in Melbourne. A horse racing event which is said to stop the nation, and which also comes with its own public holiday. Living close to the beautiful Flemington racecourse, i decided to run away from all the hustle bustle the race would attract and head inland to the Nagambie Lakes region, which is around 120km north of Melbourne.

My stop was Tahbilk winery, a place i have been wanting to visit for a couple of years. I became familiar with it 2 years ago while i was studying; one of my elective subjects was wine studies, and we once tasted a Marsanne from Tahbilk. This wine is according to me the best Australian white wine i have ever tried, and upon researching the winery felt really attracted to the place and when the chance came to go on a visit i could not refuse.

The Tahbilk winery website gives the following information about it:

  • Established in 1860, it is one of Australia's most beautiful and historic wineries.
  • Vineyard has some 200 hectares under vine.
  • It includes rare French Rhone valley whites like Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier
  • As well as Rhone reds like Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre
  • It still has some old vine plantings which are producing excellent wines
Upon my visit, we roamed around the old 'Chateau Tahbilk' , the inside was filled with information about the winery, it's history, the wines, the founder- Eric Purbrick's fascinating story and awards they received through out the years. Upon stepping into the dimly lit wooden Chateau one could feel this was a place with a great past as everyone suddenly dropped into a silent mode, barely talking and if doing so in a faint tone. Each of us embarked on a solo roam around reading, looking and feeling the different things scattered around the room.

The visit ended towards the tasting section in the room. Once there all i wanted to taste was the Marsanne, which is 'One of the world's rarest grape varieties with its origins in the Northern Rhone & Hermitage regions of France, it is grown in only 3 other countries - Australia, America & Switzerland; with Tahbilk having the largest, single holding of the variety in the world ' and it is a wine that has a long & distinguished Wine Show pedigree with 11 Trophies, 60 Gold, 76 Silver and 217 Bronze Medals awarded.
First we tasted a 2011 Marsanne , followed by a 2005 one. There was a big difference between the two, the 2011 vintage had lemon, orange blossom aromas, was crisp with a mineral edge finish and perfect for a hot summer day. The 2005 in contrast was darker in color, had a lot of stone fruit, toast and honey fragrances in the aromas, was rounded, balanced and very pleasant on the palate with a lingering slightly oily finish.

The Marsanne is definitely the highlight of Tahbilk and worth a try. It is unique in its aromas and taste and ages really well.

When you roam around the estate and look at the Chateau Tahbilk, the enchanting river banks and the peaceful surroundings it is easy to understand how the place produces such an exquisite elixir. It is a place that charms ones soul and makes you want to come back.

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