The Geelong region in Victoria is home to some of Australia’s best cool-climate wines. It is the left-hand side of Australia’s famous u-shaped arc of pinot perfection.
People from China visiting the region will probably arrive via Tullamarine airport, north of Victoria’s capital, Melbourne. The ideal way to reach Geelong involves touring the Mornington Peninsula region first, and then taking the ferry from the southern tip of the peninsula across to Queenscliff.
This beautiful and historic town is an ideal entry point for the Geelong region, which is actually three sub-regions. One sits on the majestic Bellarine Peninsula, a short drive from Queenscliff. Another in the Moorabool Valley is north west of the city of Geelong, and the third, called the Surfcoast region, hugs the southern coast.
An ideal holiday would combine wine tasting with a drive along the Great Ocean Road, which starts south west of Geelong. It is among the top four or five great drives in the world.
Scotchmans Hill is probably the best of the Bellarine Peninsula vineyards. [Note subs: no apostrophe in Scotchmans Hill.] It offers three levels of wine. The introductory label is named after Swan Bay, a lovely stretch of water on the peninsula. The Swan Bay pinot noir sells for about $US 15 and is a bargain. It presents an aroma of plums and cherries, with a slight hint of beetroot and spices.
The mid range of wines retail for between $US 19 and 25. In this range the Scotchmans Hill chardonnay and pinot noir represent examples of local excellence. Given their quality, the top of the range reserve chardonnay and pinot noir are a bargain, at $US 55.
Less well known, but of high quality, are the wines made by Dinny Goonan at Dinny Goonan Family Estate south west of Geelong. His 2008 early harvest Riesling offers a mouthful of sweet and tangy lime. Its low level of alcohol and rich aromas of lemon will appeal to Chinese palates. It costs $US 20.
* “Drink in beautiful Geelong” in China Daily, 3 July 2010, page 12.