One of life's greatest pleasures is crafted wine. The Yarra Valley has exceptional wines and among them are the super handcrafted wines of Stephen Bennett at LoveGrove Winery , Cottles Bridge on the Kinglake-Heidelburg Rd between St Andrews and Diamond Creek. Formerly a reknown artists colony and winery with Clifton Pugh in residence, Lovegrove has been producing wines since 1983. This beautiful vineyard belongs to Stephen and his gorgeous partner Louise , who have been making superb wines at Lovegrove since it became theirs in 1997. Over the years I've been lucky to enjoy the harvest and help with the picking along with other "friends"and "grape-grazers". Lovegrove became a given for me, I have developed a love for this place and its product(s).
On June 1, the Friends of Lovegrove gathered for the revelation of the 2005 vintage, three superb creations from Stephen. (mystery descends now...you will have to go and find out all about them...)
The Vinyard at Lovegrove produces, on average each vintage, around 1000 cases, so it is not "glut & punishment" there unlike some broad acre vineyards elesewhere, but rare, superb varietals. The exemplary item that stirs me is Stephen's traditional methode champenoise "Petillant", a bubbly Pinot - Chardonney of extraordinary complexity, hues and surprises.
Stephen flashes his masterly talent in these rare creations. It's a talent for ensuring his berries are picked at a riskily optimum time ( based on skill, a canny sense and heart) to ensure his wines show the rich full concentrated characteristics of his unique hand and eye have captured from the berries.
Drop in when you can , Lovegrove, it's up past Diamond Creek at 1420 Kinglake Hedelburg Rd. Open weekends and public holidays, the Cellar Door in the towering mud brick "art gallery" is a haven for those seeking unique wines at an extraordinarily good price.
Wine Tasting is the way to go, ( but as always be responsible). Check out their website, http://www.lovegrovewinery.com.au/ and pop in...I am biased, you might have guessed, but coming from Pokolbin/Cessnock in the Hunter, its in my blood and so that's my excuse for giving out info on this secret gem so close to Melbourne...... oh, its also on one of the Yarra Valley/Victoria's most picturesque bike rides up to Kinglake via St Andrew's...do it...you'll be glad you didnt miss it ( the vineyard and the ride!)