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It is no secret that I love salumi and all things pork. And I have a great fondness for wine. So when I received an invitation to attend the Celebration of the pig event at the De Bortoli winery in the Yarra Valley I could hardly resist.I hadn’t visited the De Bortoli winery for many years – I think that the last time I was at a family celebration of some sort with my parents. An added bonus is that the De Bortoli family are a third generation wine family that hails from the Veneto region, close to Treviso where my mother was born. So celebrating at the winery felt like a family event – with a massive family of about 100 people gathered indoors – on what was a cold and wet winter day in Melbourne. 

The middle of winter is the perfect time to celebrate the pig – that is traditionally slaughtered mid winter. The pig is a huge part of Italian culture and gives us so much – from prosciutto, pancetta and bacon, to capocollo and salame. In back yards, garages and on farms in the cooler southen part of Australia, families and friends are getting together to make sausages or salami on weekends during June and July. This is exactly what the De Bortoli family did years ago but these days they open their cellar door and restaurant to celebrate.

We started off our day at the De Bortoli winery meeting one of the winemakers Andy, in the tasting room, He took us through a series of lighter wines: the 2015 Pinot Blanc, La Boheme Riesling, La Boheme Dry Pinot Noir Rose and the 2014 Yarra Valley Estate Chardonnay. Words like grassy, peach, buttery, strawberry were tossed around the room to describe these wines (I am not good at this sort of thing – I was wavering between “nice” and “really nice”, with the rose’ being excellent). We then tasted a couple of reds (pinot noir) and the words became smoky, cherry and peppery, and even ethereal. Ethereal wine – now that’s a descriptor that I have never heard before in relation to wine.

The shelves in the tasting room housed some rare De Bortoli wines including a vertical series of the Noble One, an award winning Botrytis Semillon dessert wine (it has won 130 trophies and over 400 gold medals world wide!). The first vintage was from 1982, when it was called Sauternes (now the only wines that are legally allowed to be called Sauternes must come from Sauterne in France). I briefly felt tempted to break open the cabinet to put a couple in my bag – this is one of my very favourite dessert wines. 

Chef Adam Mead had prepared a fabulous spread – starting with platters of antipasti (prosciutto, grissini, terrines, olives, baccalà, smoked salmon, oysters, polenta chips among others). There was a roving piano accordion player and plenty of jugs of wine. The main course was a delicious porchetta (with fabulous crispy crackling) , roasted vegetables and salads. As my hand/wrist are still in plaster, a blogger companion kindly cut up the porchetta into little pieces for me so I could eat it (which became the most hilarious thing for us for us after all that wine!).

The main course was followed by a cheese platter (creamy Gorgonzola and Taleggio and then harder Montasio cheese). Dessert was either a lemon curd tart or a fabulous striped tiramisu torte. Glasses of sweet Noble One were being passed around at this time. I was chatting, taking photos and almost missed out on getting a glass! 

What a fabulous event! We were driven home at a very safe pace Bryan from A Day in the Valley, through the scenic back roads of Wonga Park and Park Orchards. The rain continued to fall lightly as we drove, past the rolling green hills and rows of vines.

De Bortoli Winery has three main vineyards – both in Victoria and New South Wales. Their Locale restaurant in the Yarra Valley housed the celebration and has a terrific view over the property. I would like to thank Leanne De Bortoli, who manages the Yarra Valley arm of the company and her winemaker husband Steve Webber for hosting this terrific event and for making us all feel like part of a great big foodie/wine family.

I was invited to this event by De Bortoli Winery. All opinions are my own.


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