When I drove in I was greeted by Passing Clouds very excitable black and tan kelpie. He was at my car as I opened the door, his big, purple, slobbery ball rolling towards me before my feet had hit the ground. I had to put my foot on it to stop it rolling under my car. When I picked it up the kelpie was standing there expectantly, no question in his eyes that you wouldn’t throw it for him. Expect to throw the ball a few times for this dog before you get to the cellar door. When I got inside (followed by dog with his ball, of course) Cameron, the wine maker was behind the bar introduced me to the first wine on the list (a beautiful chardonnay, grown and produced at the Musk Estate, which I’m drinking right now as I write). He moved me on the next one (2013 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir) and told me that Passing Clouds began in Bendigo in 1974. He and his dad, Graeme then bought and put in vines at the Musk property in 1998. Cameron got started in wine from an early age but really got going when he was travelling around Europe and went to Burgundy, France. He still uses the Bendigo vines to produce a number of his wines which I think gives your palette a huge sweep of the entire region and what it has on offer. Each wine is markedly different however there’s a significant distinction between the Macedon and Bendigo wines in that you can almost taste in it the climate it’s from. The Musk Estate wines have the cool, sweet, sharp, tangy, crisp tones of wet, cold rainy days and the ones from Bendigo have a warm, rich, dry quality that will have you coming back to your glass for more. This is a super interesting winery, one I definitely recommend you go check out. By the way, the dog’s name’s Nillo (pronounced ‘Neo’).
Expect to throw the ball a few more times for Nillo before you leave and be prepared for his sad, puppy dog eyes that speak of nothing but heartache and betrayal that will pull at your heart strings as you drive away.
GO THERE FOR:
Everything. I couldn’t pick one. It’s all just so good.
The Macedon Syrah 2012. To quote him, it’s ‘so individual’.
Wines made from the Musk Estate;
- Mons Rubra Sparkling Pinot Noir 2014, Mons Rubra Sparkling Pinot Noir 2008, Macedon Chardonnay 2013
Wines made from the Bendigo Estate;
- 2012 Merlot, Graeme’s Blend Shiraz Cabernet 2012 (named after his father – 60% Shiraz, 40% Cabernet), Bendigo Shiraz 2012, CA Cabernet 2012, The Angel 2012
Wines made from grapes from around the region;
- Macedon Syrah 2012, Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2013
I wrote this a couple of months ago now. I visited again today and this time met the most gorgeous, little grey cat,10 month old Killah who’s named after one of their wines. Jesse, the sales and marketing manager of Passing Clouds and younger brother to Cameron told me she came to them as a stray which they then adopted. He then offered me a tasting, which I gladly accepted. I told him about this blog I was writing and handed him a copy of the spiel you see above as I wanted to run it past them before I published it. He told me that they’re no longer making the Yarra Valley Pinot, as they want to focus on just two regions, their Macedon and Bendigo wines; that, and their vineyard at the Musk Estate is now producing enough fruit.
I then got talking with him about their upcoming annual wine release next month (Saturday November 29, 2014 – which, coincidentally, is Voting Day). Passing Clouds will be releasing four new wines along with their new label, “The Fools On The Hill’.
The four new release wines are:
- ‘The Fools On The Hill’ Estate Pinot Noir
- ‘The Fools On The Hill’ Estate Chardonnay
- Daylesford Sparkling
- Bendigo Shiraz
Jesse said ‘come down, chef Cameron McKenzie will be there, you can get something to eat or you can bring a picnic. There’ll be live music from the Ugly Uncles, drink a glass of wine, drink a few glasses, drink a bottle, drink a few bottles..’
It’s free entry and $10 deposit for glasses. Check their website and Facebook page, http://www.passingclouds.com.au/ and https://www.facebook.com/PassingClouds.Daylesford for all the deets.