I have now been living on the Bellarine Peninsula for just under a year. Within the last year, we have visited, bought from, ate, drank and ordered in from Scotchmans Hill Winery on numerous occasions. There’s a good reason why we keep going back, which is what I want to share with you all today.
Firstly let’s set the scene.. where the heck is the Bellarine Peninsula? Basically it is across the bay from Melbourne (or a 90 minute drive). It’s about 20 minutes from Geelong and oh my it’s a pretty area. You can read all about my first visit to the Bellarine which I did as a day trip from Melbourne here.
My very first experience with Scotchmans Hill wines was back in approximately 2010, when I was working in Dubai. I was working at fine wine merchant Le Clos in Dubai Airport and we actually stocked some of the Scotchmans Hill Pinot Noir. To be honest with you, at the time I had no idea where the Bellarine was. Let alone did I ever think that I would be living less than 10kms up the road from the cellar door!
So sit back, grab a glass of wine and let me fill you in on this Bellarine Peninsula winery.
Table of contents
Scotchmans Hill was established nearly 40 years ago, in 1982 to be exact. However their story actually started in 1946 when the Browne family fell in love with the Bellarine Peninsula. It was in the 1970s they bought the old dairy farm that we know as Scotchman Hill today.
It was then in 1982 their first block of vines was planted – a block of Riesling to be exact.
Not too far after that in 1992-1993 they won their first gold medal at the Melbourne Wine Show for their Scotchmans Hill Pinot Noir. And since then their list of accolades has continued to grow. Including being rated among James Halliday’s Top 100 Australian Wineries.
The winery changed ownership from the Browne family in 2014. and it is now run by a board of local families in the area.
Being on the Bellarine Peninsula, Scotchmans Hill produce cool maritime climate wines.
Their wine portfolio is made up of a range of different grape varieties which are suited to the local climate such as Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
They do some excellent sparkling wines too!
Scotchmans do a range of different labels which include:
- Scotchmans Hill
- Mount Bellarine
- Swan Bay
- Jack & Jill
- The Old Dairy Farm
- Henry Frost
- Charlotte Sound
You can read more about each of these different labels from Scotchmans Hill here. And you’ll find my tasting notes at the bottom of this post for some of the wines I’ve tried personally.
The Cellar Door
Cellar door tastings just aren’t the same anymore since COVID-19 hit in 2020. However to be honest with you, I am quite a fan of the seated and not too busy tastings. It means I can take my time tasting and fully enjoy the wines.
When Mr Spittoon and I went for a cellar door tasting late 2020, we had a ball. It may have also been our first baby free outing, so it’s safe to say we were rather excited and exhilarated by the experience.. haha!
I came out of the tasting having fallen in love with the Cornelius range, especially the sparkling. Which rivals some of the best bubbles in that $50-$60 range, even French Champagne.
Typically, when we’re not in lockdown the cellar door is open 7 days from 11:30am-4pm daily. Currently you do need to make an online booking. However if you are planning to visit, make sure to double check first.
Tastings are $10 for 5 current vintage wines or you can opt for a premium tasting for $15 where you can sample 6 wines including some of their back vintage cellar reserve!
They also do offer some pretty tasty platters so you can make a good afternoon of it.
It is one of my favourite places to dine in the Bellarine! I admit we have only dined-in once, but oh my it was good. Mr Spittoon still talks about the ‘best pork belly he has ever had’ from Scotchmans Hill Bistro.
The service, food and of course the wine are all worth raving about and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this excellent spot. Here’s some pictures from our lunch to make your mouth water just a little bit more 😉
I also love how they offered bistro food for delivery during one of the 2021 lockdowns. Mr Spittoon and I had a grand night (we virtually ordered everything off the menu) in with some of their delicious meals.
I was a bit worried the experience would tarnish my thoughts of the food, as when you have something takeaway it is never as good as dine in. However the food was perfectly hot and divine when it arrived on our doorstep.
We have actually ordered their Father’s Day Feast Box for this coming Sunday too – which looks amazing!
It’s a yes, yes, yes to the Scotchmans Hill Bistro from me!
Scotchmans Hill Cornelius Blanc de Blanc 2016
I fell in love with the Cornelius bubbles immediately at the cellar door, being a Blanc de Blanc it is made from 100% Chardonnay.
It’s up there in price, $60 (or $54 if you join their ‘friends of Scotchmans’ club) however if you’re looking for a quality local sparkling wine, it really is worth the price tag.
We bought a couple of bottles and they were gone in a matter of days. Oops!
It’s a pretty effervescent yellow in the glass. With a creamy nearly silky brioche and butter aroma to it alongside whiffs of fresh apples and lemons. In the mouth it’s super smooth with elegant bubbles and flavours of stonefruit + citrus. Pass the oysters and serve me up this and I’ll be one happy lady!
Scotchmans Hill Shiraz 2005 – Geelong
15 year old Shiraz – yes please!
We recently had family friends around for dinner and they brought this beauty from their cellar – a Scotchsmans Hill 2005 Shiraz from Geelong, VIC.
We also recently visited the Scotchmans Hill cellar door where we tried some of the younger vintages of this wine!
I made a 10-hour slow cooked pulled pork and it went pretty well with the wine.
It’s definitely showing it’s age in the glass with a red-brown brick like colour. The aromas were lovely, think black fruits, spice and aromatic wood. Black cherry and plums comes through on the palate with fine tannins and a lovely lick of vanilla. It’s drinking beautifully right now.
Scotchmans Hill 2015 Swan Bay Chardonnay
This wine is vegan-friendly which means that they use vegetable-based fining agents to clarify the wine rather than the more commonly used egg and dairy products.
It’s the colour of pale yellow roses in the glass. On the nose, it inspires thoughts of creamy vanilla custard and fresh passionfruit and peach. While in the mouth it’s smooth, mouth covering and has a nice refreshing citrus lick to it. It’s got a nice amount of oomph and flavour that matched our ‘classy’ chicken chips perfectly, in fact, they brought out some of the fruit sweetness in the wine.
Scotchmans Hill Swan Bay Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2019 Sparkling Wine
Yes this is a picture of an empty bottle ?
What can I say, I enjoy the wine and then I think about blogging about. If you’ve read this blog for awhile then you’ll know that I don’t leave scathing reviews about wines, instead I opt to share with you the wines I really enjoy whether they are samples or not.
If I don’t enjoy a wine, that’s my personal opinion and it’s doing no good for anyone if I then moan about it here. I’d just rather not post anything.
This bottle of bubbles I bought for about $20. It’s a local tipple from here in the Bellarine Peninsula. Introducing the Scotchman’s Hill 2019 Pinot Noir Chardonnay Sparkling Wine from their Swan Bay range.
The Swan Bay range is fun and informal. It’s for everyday drinking around the bbq, catching up with friends and is deliciously casual.
We tried another Victorian bubbles at the same time which was also around the $20 mark and this Swan Bay sparkling was more suited to my palate.
In the glass it’s a pale yellow peachy colour. Soft strawberries, raspberries, red liquorice, stonefruits and baking spice notes rise from the glass. In the mouth it has a super soft mousse (mouthfeel) with strawberry and cream notes and a lick of grapefruit peel.
All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!