Being a Frenchie. Dominique Portet style.

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Sunny Saturday afternoons are just meant for hanging out in the Yarra Valley, eating cheese, French food and, it goes without saying, drinking wine. And that’s exactly what we did.

A few weeks ago I was invited along with Melbourne’s elite (ok ok self proclaimed) to Dominique Portet Winery to mingle with the man himself, Q Strategies and a bevy of bloggers, writers and those in the social-media-know. Mhm, it’s a tough life we lead. Of course, you can’t have wine without ze food (well you can but on this occasion we couldn’t) so the ever talented Philippe Mouchel was in charge of the menu for the day, and trust me, it did not disappoint.

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I’ve admittedly never really been a fan of Rose (there’s a but coming…), BUT Dominique Portet is the major exception to this. Especially when it is served in its sparkling variety. I think this may be my favourite drink for the upcoming Spring/Summer sessions. Yes I’m hopefully that Spring really is just around the corner. Come on sun, show us some heat!

The Brut Rose is so refreshing, flavoursome and just so lovely to drink. Yes, ok, I don’t know a lot about wine or the details behind each one, but I do know, that it tastes damn good. We were mingling in the sunshine on this fine afternoon, sipping Brut Rose, whilst being served scrumptious smoked chicken gougeres and a damn delicious salmon rillette, and I really want the recipe! What a start to the afternoon.

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I had ventured to Dominique Portet as part of my hens day and it really is one of my favourite wineries in the Yarra Valley. The landscape is just so picturesque and you can easily spend a day (or five) relaxing in the lounge chairs sipping any or all of their wines.

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We soon moved inside and were seated at a table that seemed to be covered in wine glasses. Obviously, noone complained. Fantastic function space me thinks and I would definitely investigate that if you’re looking for a noice spot in the YV for a gathering of sorts.

I have to say, it was a cracking group gathered at the winery for the Frenchie feast. Side note. No Frenchies were harmed in the making of this feast. It was a bubbly group filled with a whole lot of talent. And me. Yay!

Now we move our attention to the food. The glorious, glorious food that captured the attention of everyone.

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Those who have read my bloggy a bit, would notice that I have many favourite food words. One of which being ‘charcuterie’. And let me tell you, this was no ordinary charcuterie selection. Take a look at that bad boy. All you could possibly want/need enclosed on one board.

This bloody delicious board of awesomeness had…(big breathe) Terrine, parfait, rillette, prosciutto and wagyu bresaola. The camera’s were flashing for what seemed like hours and we could all finally dig in. And dig in we did.

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Life’s tough when you’ve got this sitting in front of you. #perks.

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Cured salmon, horseradish cream and pickles. More fooood.

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Chickpeas, Cauliflower, Pumpkin and Pine Nuts. Mhm.

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Parfait love. Smooth. Creamy. Drool.

The conversation was flowing fantastically as was the vino and guests were offered the 2014 Sav Blanc or the 2014 Fontaine Rose. Once again, not usually a Rose fan, but when it’s D.Portet, you drink it. Delicious! I was full of charcuterie and parfait and salmon and the fourth stomach needed to kick in when I smelt the pièce de résistance entering the room.

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Oui, oui. The cassoulet was here. And boy did it smell good. It looked incredible and we couldn’t wait to dig in. But, we were surrounded by bloggers and writers and photographers so I patiently sat back after getting my snaps and drooled over it while others snapped away.

I also must say that the staff of Dominque Portet, including the great man himself were there and absolutely fantastic with their service and kindness towards the guests. Definitely a key feature of the winery, and I will definitely be returning.

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Drool.

What a dish. Take a look at that bad boy. So many meats. So many beans. I was hoping the large dish that was placed on the table was my serving (you know I could eat it all), but I had to settle with regular people portion sizes. It was rich, with so many textures…ah I want some right now please.

This was accompanied by one of the top wines of the winery ‘Andre’, as well as a 2013 Heathcote Shiraz. Both were delicious, but if you want to spoil a loved one/yourself go on and splurge on a bottle of ‘Andre’. Named after Dominique’s father (nawwww) this is a blend of Cab Sav and Shiraz grapes and well, I think I found my best friend in wine form. That sounded a lot more depressing than I intended….but you get the idea!

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The main man. Showing off ‘Andre’.

It was a fantastic afternoon and the weather (surprisingly for Melbourne) was still so pleasant and so we were invited outside for a spot of Patonque (bocce/bowls/hybrid thing) and some delicious pasties. BUT FIRST. It wouldn’t be a frenchie party without ze cheese! I have a love affair with cheese that extends way back to my childhood and the need to devour an entire bega block. Luckily my palette has matured a little since then (no offence to Bega! Love your work).

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Plateau de fromages

Sound those angels. What a platter. I think the group of us just sat there in awe for a while, then realised we were lucky enough to be able to dig into it. They even went all fancy and made a leaf out of an apple. They’ve got all the tricks. Amazing cheeses. Rich perfection.

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Pastries and proof of sunshine.

See, Melbourne. The shadows show there was sunshine. It does exist. We can hold on. Spring is coming for us and we will finally defrost. But to concentrate on the main attraction of that photo, the pastries! Phillipe Mouchel, you did so well. Citron, chocolat….well there’s the extent of my french vocab…I’ll let your eyes do the talking.

If this is a glimpse of the kind of quality that Mr Mouchel is showing off at Deja Vue in the CBD, I want me a piece of that pronto. Dominique Portet is one of my favourites in the Yarra Valley and definitely worth a visit for a tipple and a purchase of a ridiculous amount of wine when you realise just how good it is.

Brilliance. Frenchie frenchie brilliance.


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