Merricks Creek Winery Loves Melbourne
A new hot destination on Mornington Peninsula is family run Merricks Creek Winery Cellar Door. Peter Parker is a Clinical Psychologist in South Yarra who has also been making some of the best Pinot Noir around for the last couple of decades. James Halliday gives this winery gem on Merricks Rd Merricks a 5 star rating. Check out our Best Mornington Peninsula Wineries. Image credit photo above: Jamie Durrant.
Roll up to the new Cellar Door, past the family photo on the wall to a world of charm on a raised deck with vineyards up close and personal. Peter Parker describes his labour of love as "a hobby gone mad" but understates the quality of the operation here.
Yes it's great visiting a winery and seeing vines and hills in the distance as you imbibe. But it's also great when you are right in the thick of the action, as we were here at Merricks Creek Wines, with vines almost within touching distance. "We just had to have enough room to turn the tractor", says Peter Parker on the distance between vines and cellar door deck.
Peter tells you up front, "I am obsessed with Pinot." He implements a close planting method where vines are planted close together with roots in competition for nutrients. With the generous climate of the area, little irrigation is required. The result is Pinot with intensity. Merricks Creek offers a crisp Chardonnay but apart from that its Pinot all the way.
What a setting near Red Hill; a great destination to come with your small group and imbibe. With only around 2,500 bottles of Pinot made, it's a wonder the wines are on tasting, but they are with $10 a glass for Pinot.
Modern cellar door that appeals with its chic design and use of textures including stone and timber. Charm and romanticism infuse this family winery; with Peter telling us how they were originally grape growers untill a contract fell through in 2001 and they decided to make their own wine. The rest is history as they have made wines at every vintage. Peter is living the dream as a clinical psychologist and expert winemaker.
The Cellar Door Restaurant is open daily through January 2016 and we highly recommend the experience here. Dishes are rewarding with small sharing plates not taking long to come out to the table. Think Italian rustic. Dishes are only $10-15 for the smart small seasonally changing sharing dishes. It's the sort of food we are wanting to see at a winery; unpretentious, delicious, fresh, seasonal, simple and rewarding.
Roasted tomatoes, Meredith Dairy goat curd, grilled ciabatta and rocket was a delightful dish.
Tarrago marinated mushrooms with ciabatta also hit the mark and we combined some of the small dishes together for added satisfaction.
Crispy thins with pistachio, hazelnut, fetta, mint and spinach were full of flavour and wonderfully crispy, creamy and crunchy.
Crispy thins with parmesan, prosciutto and rocket was also a delightful rustic dish with cheese hit.
Meredith goat curd, ruby grapefruit and fennel salad was about excellent clean flavours and a delicate dish.
Merricks Creek Winery stepped up to the plate with the Rare eye fillet, caper vinaigrette and ciabatta.
20 month aged Italian prosciutto di Parma, Shaw River buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with ciabatta.
Sweet share plates were quality offerings, with Kahlua espresso deconstructed tiramisu a hit.
The White chocolate mousse mini pots were moorish and delectable creamy bliss.
Peter Parker gave us a tour of the wine production facility; in a nutshell it's all hand made with love. Hand loaded and pressed, fermentation in French Oak (Peter knows each barrel intimately), and hand bottled in the same large shed. Peter uses an approach with cylinders with ice to make the wine at the same temperature (12 degrees celcius) as making Burgundy in France.
Family friendly wineries are a premium; the kids can run around on the lawn. Service here is cheerful, engaging and professional with the team excited about the vision here.
Merricks Creek Winery is a charming bespoke experience with a compelling story. Pinot obsession is relatable!