Rochford Wines Delivers with Boutique Touch
Rochford Wines is a stunning winery that has put in the investment and provides a memorable experience for those who visit. The World Loves Melbourne was invited to Isabella's restaurant to sample their 3 course menu and catch up with the Head Chef. Check out our Best Yarra Valley Wineries.
We received a "boutique" experience at a large winery and left highly impressed with the food philosophy, and the ambience, service and cuisine at Rochford. We were also treated to a tasting session with Direct Sales Manager John Bright at the Cellar Door, enjoying premium wines and hearing some of John's fascinating stories and experiences.
The Yarra Valley is a favourite region of ours; because its convenient and because we've discovered some cracking wineries. Rochford is known for its premium wines, and in recent years for its huge concerts of up to 12,000. It's the only winery with a large sound shelter in the region. If you're a cellar door manager like John Bright, you get to share your favourite fine wines with rock stars and celebrities. It was enlightening to hear that some of the rock stars that visit Rochford Wines for the concerts enjoy premium wines; breaking a stereotype of them drinking just spirits. Being an ex band member myself (although not famous) I can't recall any bands drinking fine red wine in the 80's.
When you enter Rochford you are taken by the sheer size of it all. You think "someone must have had a grand vision". The history is that Rochford Wines began in the Macedon region then moved to the Yarra Valley in 2002. This was a masterstroke. Traffic on the main road in the Macedon precinct is sporadic at the best of times; moving to the Yarra Valley was genius with high volumes of traffic along the Maroondah Highway.
Not only that, but the Isabella vineyard at Rochford has a history of producing award winning wines. Not only did Rochford gain an amazing facility and location, but they acquired top notch vineyards when they moved to the Yarra Valley.
We were also impressed with the size of Isabella's restaurant, surely one of the bigger restaurants in Yarra Valley. Yet even with a large sized restaurant we encountered a boutique experience.
So we were encouraged by a philosophy of serving honest cuisine that honours the country setting and is simple, and uses quality and mostly local ingredients. The portions here are generous. To be honest, we feel that some wineries are overpriced and under deliver when it comes to food. They cash in on their views but don't inspire with their restaurants. Isabella's is not like this.
We enjoyed the Blackmore Wagyu Carpaccio (above), featuring Yarra Valley Blackmore Wagyu carpaccio with black garlic puree, deep fried bone marrow, and green olive powder. This dish was a delight, with high grade marbling evident. This dish stayed with me in terms of its impression; so creamy and wonderfully pared with indulgent bone marrow and tangy puree.
Rochford award winning Yarra Valley 2012 Pinot Noir was elegant and to savour. It was the perfect pairing for the carpaccio, and was so good I elected to imbibe this wine for the entire meal.
Isabella's is a great winery to come with friends, out of towners, on a tour, or even alone. The large windows allow for plenty of natural light and spectacular views...
Also impressive was the tangy Kingfish Ceviche featuring a ceviche of Australian kingfish with sea grapes, pickled radish, yuzu jel & seaweed powder. The presentation of dishes here is first class.
The mains were indeed generous portions of high quality ingredients, superbly presented. The Tasmanian Salmon Fillet featured oven baked fillet of salmon with Port Phillip mussels, Rochford Chardonnay Marinieres sauce, potato stones & sea asparagus.
Isabella's also delivered on this 200g Wagyu Rump featuring marble score 9 rump with horseradish potato puree, baby leeks, pearl onions and Rochford Pinot Noir jus.
Even the bowl of vegetables was highly impressive with large carrots, kale, broccoli, beetroot and sea asparagus...
Rochford then stunned us with this dessert that looked like a budding pot plant. In fact it was the Tiramisu! It was delectable and not too heavy after our large mains.
The Apple pie was also delightful...
Then it was time for tasting with John at Cellar Door...
John gave us a history of the winery and poured us award winning Rochford wines... We were taken by the 2012 Yarra Valley Syrah, as well as the Pinot and Chardonnay.
Check out the modern look of the large restaurant and function complex at Rochford...
And enjoy the sweeping views...
Rochford Wines is a premium destination in the Yarra Valley and we've been raving about our day of wining, dining and tasting.