The Rob Dolan Wines cellar door is just a hop, skip and jump from Melbourne, or as Rob says, “we’re only 25 minutes from the MCG!”. That makes this winery a convenient – and extremely picturesque – place to get a taste of the Yarra Valley.
Rob Dolan started his own wine label in 2012 and he believes he’s worked out how to get the best wines out of the Yarra Valley: “It’s the old story, if you don’t have quality fruit you’re not going to make quality wine,” he says. That’s why he has spent decades in the region establishing relationships with growers and finding the best grapes from right across the area. “The relationship with growers is vital,” he says. “The Yarra is a vast area so a vineyard at one end of the valley – say in Dixons Creek – makes a totally different chardonnay than a vineyard at the top end of the valley in say Woori Yallock. The Dixons Creek area is much drier with about half the rainfall of the top end.” Soil types across the region are also significantly different. “Our best red vineyard – would you believe – is on the edge of suburbia near Lilydale at Chirnside Park,” Rob says. “That’s very hungry country on a very rocky type of soil but that’s a fantastic site for reds and totally different styles of wines come out of there than the higher parts of the valley.”
While you can taste a wide range of wines when you visit the region, Rob says pinot noir and chardonnay from the Yarra Valley need to be on your radar. “We focus heavily on these varieties because they’re early ripening,” he says.
Like all products from Rob Dolan Wines, the True Colours Chardonnay is made entirely from Yarra Valley fruit. “It’s energetic and lively but not heavily oaked,” Rob says. “It’s an easy drinking fun style.”
The True Colours Pinot Noir is a subtle, easy style that still has a bit of structure. “This is a cold soaked style, which means it’s chilled prior to ferment, then has a slow kick,” Rob says. “So we want to go from cold, to slowly warmed up to start its ferment.”
“The fruit for White Label Pinot Noir is all hand picked,” Rob says. “It’s a wine that dances. It’s very subtle but also has some nice oak.”
Proximity to Melbourne makes the Rob Dolan Wines cellar door an easy Sunday drive destination. And the mood at the cellar door is all about relaxed fun. “We want tastings to be an enjoyable experience,” Rob says. “I get frustrated at tastings where people are pontificating about wines. That’s not what I’m about. I’m about enjoying the environment and having a bit of fun and making sure the wine works with whatever food we’re having.”
To match your wine, there are cheese boards with produce sourced locally, or for a more exclusive experience, you can book the Wine Cube for private functions overlooking the vineyard.
Products featured are available from 11/10/23 to 14/11/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.