That mist covered the vineyards of one of the best French wineries in Australia. Yes, you heard me correctly. Domaine Chandon, located just outside Melbourne, is one of the international estates of well-known wine producer Moët & Chandon. In the 1960s, this highly successful maker of world-class sparkling wines started exploring locations to produce outside of France. The Yarra Valley, with its own illustrious wine history, just so happens to be the perfect spot. And I just so happened to be lucky enough to stop by for a visit.
We arrived on a pretty chilly morning. My toes were frozen in my boots… and we could’t see a thing due to the fog. Once that mist cleared however, this was the view we were greeted with. Rows upon rows of vines, luscious green grass, and mountains in the distance. I could get used to this!
See, we’re wearing jackets. The cooler climate of this region in Australia is what makes it suitable for the sparkling wine Domaine Chandon is famous for. The Australian estate uses the same grape varietals as those used in Champagne, France: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. They use the “méthode traditionelle,” to make the wine, which includes allowing it to age in the bottles for a minimum of 18 months. In the late 1990s, Domaine Chandon decided to take full advantage of the Yarra’s capacity for producing great wines and began offering still wines as well. Again the cool climate dictates the offerings. Domaine Chandon offers a chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and a pinot gris for the whites, one rosé, and a pinot noir and a shirz for the reds.
As part of our tour, we were able to taste some of the wines and sample some of the food items they have for sale. We were certainly not disappointed on either front. The name Moët & Chandon is synonymous with quality if France, and this holds up 100% on their Domaine Chandon estate in Australia. I think the saddest part was when the plates were clean and the glasses empty…
We visited 3 other vineyards that day, including Train Trak Winery, De Bortoli and Yering Station. We took a tour, as it was our first time out in this area and that way no one had to navigate, or drive. There are plenty of tour companies that operate out of Melbourne, and it’s worthwhile to do for the first excursion. The other option is to hire a driver, and plan your own itinerary. Domaine Chandon is approximately an hour by car from the Melbourne airport, located in the town of Coldstream. It makes for a perfect day trip, and a great place to buy souvenir bottles of wine. We certainly stocked up. They always says “quality over quantity,” and sometimes you’re fortunate enough to be allowed both.